Feeling the Presence of God

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Feeling the Presence of God

Adam and Eve had intimate fellowship in the presence of God before the fall (Genesis 3:8). Since that time, sin has prevented our ability to be in the physical presence of God (Exodus 33:20). Now only the holy, sinless angels are in the physical presence of God (Luke 1:19). But Christians have the presence of God within us by virtue of His indwelling Holy Spirit (John 14:23; 15:4), and that indwelling presence comes only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are aware of the reality of this presence from our obedience to His Word. “We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praise of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). Note that Peter says that “we are chosen people . . . belonging to God.” If we belong to Him, will He not be present among us? We never lose the reality of God’s presence, no matter how badly we fail; we never sin so much as to lose our salvation; we never sink so far as to banish the Holy Spirit. We can anger God because of our sin, but true believers never lose the presence of the Holy Spirit. While we will never lose the reality of God’s presence, we might lose the “sense” of His presence.

Every child of God invariably goes through this feeling of losing God’s presence from time to time, like a landlord who has left his house and gone away on business for a while. He has not left the house completely empty, for, if he had, he would have taken all his belongings with him. But because he has left all his furniture and belongings in that house, does it not mean that he will return once again? Any believer knows that there are times of spiritual leanness when perhaps the Lord determines to test our faith. Does He not push us through the winnowing flames of affliction that we might be all the more pure (Job 23:10; 1 Peter 1:7)?

But the practical result of being in God’s presence is joy! Many Christians seem gloomy and dejected because they lack this sense of God’s presence. The fellowship is sweet for those who walk with the Lord in obedience and faith. But the sweet fellowship that comes from obedience and trust in the Lord is not a passing feeling. It sustains us, especially during trials, for “the joy of the Lord shall be your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). James, the Lord’s brother, writes, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2) because trials produce faith and develop perseverance. When we persevere through trials, proving to ourselves and to others that our faith is real, our sense of God’s presence increases, as does our joy.

David speaks of a joy that only the righteous can know (Psalm 16:11)—a joy that is but a foretaste of a far greater and everlasting joy when we see the Lord’s face in the glory to come.

Article by S. Michael Houdmann

Image by Revive Nations

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‘YOU DON’T HAVE TO BECOME SOMEBODY ELSE FOR GOD TO LOVE YOU!’

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‘YOU DON’T HAVE TO BECOME SOMEBODY ELSE FOR GOD TO LOVE YOU!’

To many times, we change who we are to get the attention of others, but not with God!

God loves you for who you are. Not for what you do. Not for what you possess and not for where you live. Those things do not concern Him.

When He created you, He created you in His love and no matter what you do, say or become, He will always love you for you, so you don’t have to change to impress Him or get His attention…He’s already aware of who you are and He already loves you for you!

May the grace of God keep you and the love of Christ Jesus forever rest upon you from this day forth!…Amen

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When God Writes the Blueprint For Your Marriage

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Originally posted by Logos Resource Pages by Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.

There is one key statement about marriage that occurs four times in the Bible. To my knowledge, this is the only statement about marriage that God includes four times in the Bible. Lets take a look at this statement

Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Matthew 19:5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

Mark 10:7-8 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.

Ephesians 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

The outline for this chapter is going to focus on the three recurring statements in these verses leave, cleave, and one flesh. Since God so often repeated these things, once before man fell into sin and three times after he fell into sin, I believe Gods blueprint for marriage can be found within these verses.

Outline Gods Blueprint For Marriage

Leave — Husbands & Wives Are Directed To Leave Their Fathers and Mothers!
Cleave — Husbands & Wives Are Directed To Cleave To One Another
One Flesh — Husbands & Wives Are Directed To An Exclusive One Flesh Relationship

  • LEAVE

Husbands And Wives Are Directed To Leave Their Fathers and Mothers!

What It Does Not Mean

 

    1. It does not mean you ignore, abandon or forsake your parents Mark 7:9-13 makes that clear that God does not approve of this! 1 Timothy 5:4 , 8indicates a special responsibility for children and close relatives to care for the widows in the family.

 

  1. It does not mean that you must make a move away from the vicinity in which your parents live “Living too close to parents at the beginning of a marriage may make it more difficult to leave, but it is possible to leave your father and mother and still live next door. Conversely, it is possible to live a thousand miles away from your parents and not leave them. In fact, you may not have left your parents even though they are dead.” Strengthening Your Marriage by Wayne Mack, page 1)

What It Does Mean

Once you are married there is to be a fundamental change in your relationship with your parents. Leaving your parents means

 

    1. The husband-wife relationship is now the priority relationship Your relationship with your parents must now take a back seat to your relationship with your spouse. In fact, all other relationships must now be secondary.
    2. It means that you are more concerned about your spouse’s ideas, opinions, and directives than you are of your parents Some times there is a power struggle between the two sets of parents. A husband and wife must be careful that they do not allow the parents to manipulate them.
    3. It means you must not try to change your mate simply because your parents do not like something about him or her.

 

  • It means that you are not primarily dependent on your parents for finances, affection, approval, council, etc.

 

Pointers For Parents

Parents, your goal should be to prepare your children to leave, not to stay. As they advance toward maturity you should train them to be independent of you, not dependent on you. Teach them to be decision makers and to manage their money carefully.

Husbands and wives make your mate your best friend, not your children. Dont become too emotionally dependent on your children. As your kids get older be sure to cultivate common interests with your mate. Learn to do things together and deepen your friendship together. Parents who make their children “their life” are in for difficult times when they leave the nest. Im not saying to ignore your children, but I am saying they should be second and your spouse should be first.

When your children have married, dont try to run their lives! Dont criticize their spouse. You must allow the husband to be the head of his home, to make decisions for himself, to look to his wife, not you, as his helper and his responsibility. You must encourage your daughter to look to her husband for companionship, encouragement, affection, guidance, etc.

  • CLEAVE

Husbands And Wives Are Directed To Cleave To One Another! The Hebrew word translated cleave in Genesis 2:24 is dabaq (daw-bak’; 1692), which means to adhere, stick or be joined together. The Greek word translated cleave or join to in the New Testament passages is proskollao, (pros-kol-lah’-o; 4347), which means to glue to. Marriage glues two people together!

Look at Mark 10:7-9 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. God planned marriage to be permanent. It is a vow until death do we part! Dr. Wayne Mack says this of marriage “Marriage means that a husband and wife enter into a relationship for which they accept full responsibility and in which they commit themselves to each other regardless of what problems arise.” Marriage is an irrevocable covenant or contract to which we are bound. God is clear about that. Malachi 2:14 says; Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. (See also Romans 7:2-3; Matthew 19:8-10)

Gods kind of marriage involves a total and irrevocable commitment of two people to each other in good times and in bad times, agreements and disagreements, in joy or in sorrow, in sickness or in health.

God’s kind of marriage means that people know that they must face problems, discuss them, seek God’s help in them, resolve them rather than run from them, because there is no way out. They are committed to one another for life. They must cleave to one another today and tomorrow, as long as they both shall live. So, work at keeping your marriage strong!

  • One Flesh

Husbands And Wives Are Directed To An Exclusive One-Flesh Relationship. Becoming one flesh involves the act of marriage but is more than just that physical act. Within the bounds of marriage and only within that boundary the sexual relationship is holy, beautiful and good (see Hebrews 13:4; Proverbs 5:18-19). A husband and wife are a team. Each is to be as concerned about the other’s needs as he is about this own (Ephesians 5:28; Proverbs 31:12 & 27).

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When You’ve Hit Rock Bottom

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If you never wonder whether God loves you, this little article isn’t for you. It’s for those of us who have hit rock bottom, right there at Jesus’ feet. We bring nothing but shame to Jesus, day after day after day. We’re the ones who have catastrophic failures in our Christian walk. It’s a wonder anyone loves us still, let alone God. We are the ones who hide our sin for a long while before stepping out into the light. No one has to tell us we are fallen people—we see the vileness of our heart everyday. And so the notion that God loves us every day, no matter what can get a bit too scandalous for our taste. It’s like hearing that Hitler’s mom was super proud of him—every day, no matter what—at the height of his power. It doesn’t feel right; it doesn’t compute so easily when you’ve met a horrible sinner in person. Especially when you wake up to see that person in your bathroom mirror. Every day. No matter what. There you are with morning breath, a sinner.

I wish it wasn’t always so hard for me to grasp the love of God, yet this is what he wants from me. He wants us to believe he exists and that loves us tremendously…still. As screwed up as we are. He is love, and he loves us.

So. Let’s all just calm down and rest in God’s love lest we run off ruining our lives trying to prove how evil we really are. Not that I’ve tried that or anything, but if I had tried that, I’d tell you that the plan isn’t a good one. Don’t try this at home, people. Trust me, it won’t feel as satisfying as you think to surprise people with how evil you can be.

In the end, no one will be surprised to know that human beings are inherently evil people with evil plans and evil plots to rule over one another. God said it many years ago and humanity’s atrocities continue to affirm this: we are a fallen people. We will all die and turn into dust bunnies. Nothing good will come of our (fallen) attempts to prove how evil or how wonderful we are. Give it up. In the end none of that matters anyway.

Nothing matters except that you choose to believe that God loves you and that he offered his son’s death in exchange for your eternal damnation. Your accepting that gift means you understand that Jesus’ blood continues to wipe your slate clean, every day. God is not caught off guard by your actions. There’s nothing you can do to make God love you any more and nothing you can do to make God love you any less. Just believe it. Every day, no matter what.

Article by Grace Biskie

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Lord, I’m Not Humble Enough!

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Being humble for most people brings to mind a form of weakness. If someone practices humility, it means they’re not a “go-getter” and don’t care about performance or working hard. It’s the weak one who is humble and is dependent on someone else (hopefully you sense my sarcasm). Why do you suppose the Bible has so much to say about being humble? Maybe we’ve got it all wrong and the one who practices humility is actually the strong one?

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7

God cares for us. He is mighty. He calls us to humble ourselves under Him. Not because He is a controlling God that wants you to bow down to Him because you are nothing, but rather because He wants to exalt us and care for us. As we humble ourselves, that is when we truly worship Him. We’re trusting Him with what’s going on in our lives and believing He is the provider instead of ourselves.

Stop Putting Everything On Your Shoulders

I’ve noticed lately in the majority of my conversations with people that everyone is tired. We’re busy. We’re weary. We’re taking on a lot of responsibilities. We’re working hard for our families. We’re trying to attend as many social events as possible. We’re trying to pay the bills as best as we can. We’re just trying to “get by.”

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus doesn’t seem to be talking about a life that is full of anxiousness and weariness as we follow Him. He makes a point to state the exact opposite on how we can find rest in Him. He is speaking to those that labor and are heavy laden.

I can’t speak for you personally, but I know for a fact that we are all suffering from this. We are working too hard. We are thinking way too much mentally. We are putting things on our shoulders that don’t belong there. We are forgetting what Jesus said and what He has done when we feel that it’s “all on us” to get things to happen. Most of the time, we’re probably putting so much effort into the wrong things all together (I am guilty of this too).

In today’s culture, we’re told if you labor and are heavy laden then you are doing the right thing. You are sacrificing for your family and friends. You are pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and working hard to hopefully one day achieve paradise (retirement) where you get to do nothing as you live out the rest of your days. This is wrong. Don’t let culture tell you that putting everything on your shoulders is wisdom. Trust Jesus when He tells you that His burden is light.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God,which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 4:4-7

Trust In God’s Character

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” –Philippians 4:8

Most of the time when we don’t humble ourselves, we are really saying we don’t trust God. There are times as a follower of Christ when we forget God’s character or doubt Him. We’re told in Scripture to think on the things of God. To meditate on anything worthy of praise.

These things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, or excellent are all praiseworthy because God is all these things. You’ll never find an area of the Bible that contradicts God’s character at the end of the day and that should encourage us in those moments of doubt.

Most of all, when God gave His one and only Son for us (John 3:16), it tells us a lot about His character. That sure doesn’t seem to come across to me like a God who is a tyrant and just demands power all the time. It doesn’t seem to match up to a God that doesn’t care about us. He knew that we could only come to Him through His Son who had to suffer and die before rising again. With that perfect knowledge that only God can have, He followed through and sacrificed His Son for us. Not only does that tell us everything we need to know about God’s character, that shows us just how much He loves us.

Look At The Humility Of Jesus

Jesus is our ultimate example of humility. Out of obedience to His Father, He humbled Himself all the way to the point of death on the cross. The Bible says because of this that God exalted Him just like how it says He will exalt us (1 Peter 5:6-7).

“And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:8-11

If Jesus practiced humility Himself, then why would we think we don’t need to? Why would we consider this weakness? Even He was dependent on His Father and this was a good thing, in fact, the best thing. It was a God glorifying thing in every way. We couldn’t even have a relationship with God if it wasn’t for what Jesus did for us in the first place (John 14:6). We had to humble ourselves to trust that Jesus is King and to ask Him to be our Lord and Savior. This is no different today whether you’ve been a believer for a week or 50 years.

We still need Him in everything we do. We still need the Holy Spirit to guide us and give us wisdom in all matters. We still need help to practice things that are honorable, pure, lovely, commendable, or anything praiseworthy. We are still not capable of doing anything on our own and will never be. As soon as we begin to live in a way where we are no longer dependent on God to do everything for us, we are forgetting our first love and proclaiming what Christ did for us was not enough.

As you’re reading this, take a deep breath and let it out. It’s going to be ok. As a follower of Christ, no matter what circumstance you find yourself in, I promise that you can give it to Him. This is because God’s Word is true. What Jesus did was enough. And you have the Holy Spirit and can trust Him to lead and guide you. Humble yourself and pray to God truly casting your anxieties to Him and trust that He does indeed care for you.

Article by Mike Mobley

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“You’re Wasting Time!”

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“You’re Wasting Time!”

It’s 2016! Another year has passed and you’re still not living for the Lord. Each day that you don’t surrender to the Lord, you allow the enemy to keep you from God’s bountiful blessings for your life. You’re wasting valuable time.

Don’t you know God has a divine plan for your life! A plan filled with wonders and joys beyond your imagination. Some of you reading this are struggling to make ends meet, but guess what; God has a plan for that and His plan involves prosperity. Some of you are dealing with illnesses right now, but again, guess what; God has a plan for that too. He wants to heal you and a little hint…He can heal you without medications or surgery!!!

God’s plan for your life involves so much more that what you’re doing right now, and all you have to do to tap into His plan is say ‘Yes Lord’

The clock is ticking…isn’t it about time you begin living a blessed life with Jesus?

May the grace of God keep you and the love of Christ Jesus forever rest upon you from this day forth!…Amen

Missionary Laraine Turner

Follow me at http://www.facebook.com/turnerlaraine

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Let’s Pave The Way To Be More Kind, Compassionate and Mindful in 2016

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I find that the Christmas and New Year’s holidays bring along a time of personal reflection for me and many other people.  The slowing down at the end of the year, receiving cards from old friends, seeing extended family members, etc. makes me revisit the events of the past year and take toll of it all.

It really is a wonderful time of year to sit and reflect on where you are, what you are doing, how you are feeling and what you are planning for yourself for the near future.  During such times of reflection, however, we are often quite harsh on ourselves and we are quick to note the negative instead of highlighting the positive.  Therefore, I challenge you now to take some time to reflect on yourself and your life in a thoughtful and compassionate manner.

Over the years in practice as a psychologist, I have recognized a theme where people, in general, do not act compassionately and lovingly toward themselves.   What I have seen is a trend where people are more than happy to put others above themselves and care for others first, but these same people are often lacking in the self-compassion and self-care departments.  On top of that, our society is largely negative and drama driven. As a result, we are often quick to judge others who excel and we are taught to downplay our strengths and feel a sense of embarrassment or even shame about our accomplishments.  This self-critical path only leads to negative energy, negative moods and negative consequences, and is one to be avoided.

Instead, let’s take the path less traveled.  Let’s pave our own way, because we can, and because it will lead to positive consequences.  Let’s take this special time of year to do some personal reflections and begin changing the way we talk to and treat ourselves.  Start with some small steps TODAY by saying something like “nice work,” “job well done,” “that was a definite accomplishment,” or “I can and will keep trying because I am improving with every step.”  Be kind, compassionate, mindful and purposeful as you reflect on the past year and the year to come.   Then, commit to making this style of self talk and personal reflection your own norm instead of an exception.

Article by Dr. Lori

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