Thursday, July 7, 2011

Experiencing the Presence of God

Heb. 13:5 , Deut. 31:6 - Texts - the promise of His Presence.

Founding fathers, early patriots believed this applied to themselves and their cause.
AND, reviewing history, journals, biographies, we'd mostly agree with them.
We believe God had a divine intention there.

BUT, did they feel His Presence?? Sense His Presence??
ie: were they always confident, comfortable, secure, at peace????
- when forging and signing the Declaration of Independence?? (a rash act, akin to a declaration of war)
- when taking up arms against a Super power?
- when war seemed to favor England?
-when attempts to forge an Nation from 13 separate, independent-minded/free spirited colonies.....?

Then undoubtedly believed in His Presence (favor).

But, did the confidence (faith) come accompanied with a feeling? experience? sense of His immediate presence?
What about doubts? fears? second thoughts???

So...... did they believe in/trust in/ act on the certainty of His Presence? Ans: yes.
BUT, did they feel? sense? experience His Presence? Ans: don't know, but suspect (being human) their experience is much like ours.

So today, "Experiencing the Presence of God"
(a subject we often explore.... because it is important/relevant/close to our heart)

We know that Christ is always with us. We also know there are times when He doesn't seem near.


#1. For most believers, experiencing His Presence is not the norm. According to Barna stats, most Christinas do not sense His presence and guidance that much.

#2. Whether this is His will is an ongoing debate.
On one hand, the relationship with God, Jesus, Holy Spirit leads to experience!
On the other hand, "we walk by faith, not by sight." - answer is probably a balance.

#3. The whole thing is subjective (internal) therefore impossible to measure!
And, therefore, a claim to experience not necessarily true.

So, a claim to never experience the Presence of God is not necessarily true!!
It's a matter of definition! Have you experienced conviction, correction? comfort/ confidence? illumination? a realization? clarity?

Some Biblical Examples to guide us....

#1. Job
- situation - no sense of God's Presence??
He kept questioning, lamenting. BUT, he never stopped believing. His heart caused him to doubt, but his head demanded that he keep believing.

#2. Jeremiah - his call, ministry, response
He did experience God's Presence, BUT that's not evident from the outcome!
So...... he cried aloud, lamented, vented.
Then, he resubmitted and carried on. Jer. 20:7-9

#3. Joseph - 17 when sold into slavery, 30 when second to Pharoah. That is 13 years of slavery and prison!!
We know God was with him. Gen. 39:1-2, 20-21
But.... what did he (Joseph) feel???

#4. Moses
On one hand, he clearly experienced God's Presence! Ex. 33:11 (a) - "friend"
On the other hand, Moses' words to Israel? us??? Deut. 6:4-9 Deut. 30:15-16
Nothing about "feeling and sensing"

Wrap up and summary....
A true experience/true sense of God's Presence is in His Hands!!

Therefore: our part (your part)

#1. Choose Christ He is the way into God's Presence. John 14:6

#2. Seek God (clear Biblical command) - not - seek the experience.
But it's more than experience!! Matt. 6:31-33 says seek His will/ways

#3. Request His Presence (experience)
Moses: "show me Your glory".
Jesus - "I won't leave you orphans"
Nature and person of the Holy Spirit in our life.
John 17:3 Phil. 3:10 (a) - "resurrection"

#4. Accept what you're given. (provided you've done your part)
This is in His wisdom, His best... Heb. 13:5 "be content...."

#5. Carry On - Gal. 6:9-10 1 Cor. 15:58

#6. Know that He is with you. Matt. 28:20 (b) ...."and surely I am with you....."

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