Where Joy and Peace Are Found

wordswag_1519299649187Next week, Lord-willing, I will get on an airplane to go to see my children. Why spend the money and make the effort when I can talk with them anytime on the phone? We text message often. We swap pictures on Facebook. So, that should be enough, right? Of course not. I want to be with them, to sit at their tables, to feel their hugs, to do life in their presence for a few days.  Truth is, we are relational beings, created that way by a Relational Being! Unless we are damaged in some awful way, we want to be with other people; connecting, sharing life.

It is not just people we need. Disciple, we need to experience the Presence of God! The Genesis story tells us about the separation brought by the refusal of His will.  We know that sense of alienation, that lostness from the love of the Father, too.  But, in Christ Jesus we are ‘brought near,’ our sins forgiven, a covenant love given us by grace. Even then, though, many of us think of God as existing ‘out there, somewhere.’ We let ourselves believe that we have to go to someplace to know Him,  like I have to travel to see my kids who live a 1000 miles away.  In fact, He is here now!

Over and over again the stories of the Scripture teach us that He sees, He knows, He loves – you and me. He is not like the picture painted by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, reaching down out of a far heaven. He is Present. He is as near as the air we breathe. What a transformation comes over us when, by faith, we begin to live in His Presence.

  • Moses, who was leading God’s people to their Promised Land, knew they needed to be aware of God’s Presence.  While he was on Mt. Sinai, they made an idol, turned from His Presence, to seek another god!  The Lord pronounced the judgment – “Go up … But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.” (Exodus 33:3 NIV) He withdrew His Presence from them. Moses, ever the intercessor for the people he led, knew they could not survive apart from Him. His prayer is powerful: “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place. How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.” (Exodus 33:15-16)
Do you have that same reliance on Him? Does a living friendship with the Father, the Presence of the Holy Spirit in you, working through you, set you apart as a child of God?
  • David, when he sinned terribly, cried: “Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.” (Psalm 51:11, NIV) a cry repeated by those who have known the joy of walking near to the heart of God and then terror of being forsaken!
  • The most wrenching cry of Jesus from the cross was: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46, NIV) as He carried the sin guilt of all humanity and was separated from His Father.
The sweetest promise Jesus makes to us is “surely I am with you always!” (Matthew 28:20) Disciples no longer need go to some holy place to find God’s Presence. The Holy Spirit is with us, living in us. A life lived near to the heart of God, with an awareness of His Presence, is where joy and peace are found.
Do you live in His Presence? We can grieve Him with persistent, willful disobedience. We can ignore Him, so taken up with the daily stuff of living that we forget the treasure of His love.  But, we need not live there. Let’s become newly aware of His Presence, thanking Him for walking with us, knowing us, loving us.

Ponder this passage, our word from the Word, and then, faithfully live in the promise of His Presence. “And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:19-22, NLT)
(Come into His Presence as you listen at this link)
This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me
This is my daily bread
This is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me
And I I’m desperate for You
And I I’m lost without You
This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Marie Barnett
© 1995 Mercy / Vineyard Publishing (Admin. by Vineyard Music USA)
CCLI License # 810055

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