There are some amazing experiences of ‘church’ in my memories. Thousands of men standing in a stadium singing anthems to God led by a great band rank high on that list. For those of you who might remember, they were the “Promise Keepers” events of the 1990’s. There a few sermons that linger in my mind, too, when it was readily apparent that the speaker was in God’s hands and the words were coming from another plane!
Worship, however, does not require a church, musicians, or a preacher. God shows up in many places, in many ways, when we invite Him to and if we will keep an awareness of the divine.
On this Monday morning, I want to remind us to live in His Presence all of the time. David says it best – “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.” (Psalm 16:11, NIV)
So, why don’t we enjoy the joy of the Lord more? He is present everywhere and all of the time. You know that answer too well, I am sure. Everything conspires to keep us from living apart of God. Headaches, car trouble, stormy weather, disagreeable people, the blare of media, temptations – the list is lengthy – all become distractions from being ‘before the Throne.‘ Every one of us would have to admit that we have gone an entire day rushing from job to job, putting out fires, coping with the ‘stuff’ that comes at us- and in the process of living – we forget God’s wonderful Presence.
It may be common but we cannot accept that way of living as the normal Christian life! We cannot control our world, but we can and must choose our response. The Word reminds us to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NKJV) Perhaps your first thought on reading that line is the one that came to my mind – “Sure, I could do that if I lived in a monastery, but not in my world!” If that were true, then God would be asking the impossible from us, something He will not do. So, what do we choose?
We choose joy. The person who chooses joy is not fake, nor does she live in denial of the pain that comes her way.
We choose the next step which is to pray continually. How can a busy person do that? Keep an attitude of submission to God and refuse to go anywhere or do anything that would offend the Spirit and break your communion with Him! Selfishness, filthiness, greediness are a few of the things that move us away from being in a prayerful attitude. You can call me strange if you want, but I know the voice of the Spirit that says to me, “Stop what you’re doing right now!” Or, He says, “Refocus your mind, now!” If I obey, His peace persists. If I resist, the serenity of living in His Presence ebbs away. The more a Christian chooses to live ‘before the Throne,’ the more he treasures the Presence found there. When my sinful words or actions, grieves the Spirit so that He removes His peace from my life, I cannot stand the loneliness that results and I find a place to renew our fellowship quickly.
We choose to be thankful! Knowing how important this decision is to a person’s experience of the Presence of God, the Enemy of our souls, does whatever he is able to do to get us to think we are deprived. He really works to cause us to live in envy of other’s place. The 10th commandment forbids coveting. The Lord that envy is a spiritual toxin. I will never live serenely, if I want what belongs to another- even if it is his spiritual experience. Thankful acceptance of this day and the provision of God for me to meet its challenges, is a key to living ‘before the Throne.’
The Bible says that we are the ‘temples of the Holy Spirit.‘ We are ‘God’s house.’ Wouldn’t it be a shame to claim to be a living temple, yet be bereft of the Presence that makes the temple glorious?
Here are words from the Word for your meditation today. May He keep you close as you choose to live ‘before the Throne!’
“I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies. …
To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.
You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” (Psalm 18:1-3, 25-28, NIV)
Before The Throne Of God Above (click here to listen)
Before the throne of God above,
I have a strong, a perfect plea,
A great High Priest whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in heaven He stands,
No tongue can bid me thence depart,
No tongue can bid me thence depart.
When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there,
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the Just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me,
To look on Him and pardon me.
Behold Him there the Risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I Am,
The King of glory and of grace,
One with Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God,
With Christ my Savior and my God.
Cook, Vikki / Bancroft, Charitie Lees
© 1997 PDI Worship (Admin. by The Copyright Company)
CCLI License No. 810055
Jerry D. Scott, Pastor Faith Discovery Church