Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Experiencing God's Presence (or NOT!)

Psm. 139:7-10, 16:11 - praising the presence of God
Contrast:  Psm. 13:1-4, 88:13-18 - lamenting lack of God's presence

Example:  Pastor Ed's test = called, drawn, convinced by the sense of His Presence, which, however,
waned through the years!
(this is not everyone's experience.  However = very common testimony among Christians!  Certainly every believer would like to experience His Presence.

Why?  Why do we not experience Him more?
On one hand, could be sin.  Isa. 59:1-2   But, that's not always the case.
However for example:  Job - was a testing, no sin in his life involved

There are many promises of His Presence:
  'lo, I am with you always'
  'I will never leave nor forsake you.'
  'I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.'
  'Go, and I'll go with you.'
Could do dozens more of these - personal presence and continual presence

However, the experiences of David, Job, Jeremiah, Christ on the cross, martin Luther, Charles Spurgeon, Mother Teresa, St John of the Cross (1542-91) who wrote a poem about this lack of presence.  Called it "the Dark Night of the Soul".

So, what's a believer to do when he/she doesn't FEEL or SENSE the Presence of God?  The Presence of Christ?

#1.  Seek  HIM.  (whether you sense His Presence or not.)
Example:  Deut. 4:29 - doesn't matter if you find Him.  Told to seek Him!
There's a subtle distinction between seek Him.... not the experience!

#2.  Be Aware of His Presence (whether you sense it or not.)
ie:  mental certainty based on...
     A)  His Omnipresence - you have His Presence all the time wherever you are.
     B)  His many promises
Example: Psm. 23:4 - "fear no evil" - this because I feel your Presence?  or because I know You are with me?

Question:  Is He less present when He's less perceived?  Whether we feel His Presence is irrelevant.
Example:  the sun on a cloudy day, or at night.

#3.  Acknowledge His Presence (whether you sense it or not.)
Example:  worship - "Ill sing about You but not to You until I sense Your Presence.  Same compared to prayer, confidence, seeking counsel, comfort, assistance
Psm. 13:1-6 - Are no promises that we will fell His presence.

#4.  Be Satisfied with His Presence (whether you sense it or not.)
I offer this with reservation, BUT,
1)  darkness could be His Will - example:  Job     Comparison:  Paul's thorn...if He can use the ailment, affliction....??
and, 2)  He is in charge of the experiences, we are not.  Example:  Moses

#5.  Respond to His Known Will (whether you sense His presence or not)  Isa. 50:10  2 Cor. 5:7 - "we walk by faith, not by sight" - Keep on and do what supposed to do.

#6. Press On - 2 Cor. 4:6-9 - My Presence will always be with You.

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