Snippets from My Journal #16 November 13, 2018

November 13, 2007   (exactly eleven years ago today)

Lord Jesus, it was written of you in the book of Hebrews that You are ‘the radiance of the Father’s glory, the exact representation of His nature’.  Heb. 1:3  So I guess I could say that you are the mirror image of the Father.  How incredibly awesome is that!

But You say that You want us to be a mirror image of You.  I feel so inadequate! I want to and yet how often I stumble.  Will I ever be able to be a reflection of You, Jesus?

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I heard the Lord reply, ‘No, you won’t; you’re not able but I am.  It is My life within you that will make you a reflection of Who I am. Do not take on a responsibility you are incapable of fulfilling.  Just take Me and let Me do it in you.’

Lord, I’ve given myself to You a hundred times – maybe a thousand times over the years – and I still get frustrated when I want to be like You and I fail.

Jesus: ‘Did you listen to yourself? Did you hear what you just said? It is not by your effort; it’s by your surrender that you become like MeSurrender means to stop resisting, to yield, to give in, to cave in, to back down.  To surrender to Me is a moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day habit of yielding to what My Spirit says to you and what My Word teaches you. It’s actually simple on the one hand and extremely demanding on the other.  The principle is simple; but to live it consistently is where the challenge lies.

I realized as I pondered what the Lord said that the key to living a surrendered life is learning to hear the voice of the Spirit within.  I can’t submit if I don’t hear the instruction.  I can’t yield if I don’t hear the warning.

Lord, I cry out to You for the ear of a disciple. My mind talks too much; it never stops.  It’s as if I have this ‘radio’ on within me, always ‘broadcasting’ thoughts, ideas, feelings, opinions.  How do I turn it off so I can be quiet in Your presence and hear what You say to me?

Yes, Lord.  I heard that. The more I spend time in Your Word, the more my mind will come under discipline.  Thank you, Jesus.  Grant me grace to be faithful.

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The Presence of God #1 May 29, 2018

Welcome to a new study in our ongoing quest to know the LORD, to love Him with all our heart, soul and strength and to learn His ways.

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Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.  1 Cor. 2:9 NASB

Most of us read this verse and apply it to what lies in store for us when we get to heaven.  While that is absolutely true, there is more to be said about this verse in the here and now because of its context.  Look at the very next verse:

But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit. I Cor. 2: 10

Look at it in the Passion Translation:

Things never discovered or heard of before, things beyond our ability to imagine – these are the many things God has in store for all His lovers.  But God now unveils these profound realities to us by the Spirit.  I Cor. 2: 9-10  TPT

Can we actually know and sense His presence here and now on this earth? YES – unequivocally YES!

To be sure, when we get to heaven we will be changed. We will be glorified as our perishable bodies will be exchanged for imperishable ones (I Cor. 15: 51-53) We will see Him just as He is and all of what Paul calls ‘the former things’ will have passed away –  sin, sickness, pain, sorrow, insecurity, anxiety and the like.  What a glorious day that will be!

However, here on earth in this life, we can experience the presence of God and in doing so, get a taste of what heaven will be like.  Look at I Cor. 10 again: But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit. (NASB) and But now God unveils these profound realities to us by the Spirit. (TPT)

Our study over the next few weeks will demonstrate that we not only can experience the presence of God in this life but even more, that the Lord wants us to.  Knowing and sensing His presence now is an appetizer for what’s to come in eternity.

We know that without faith, it is impossible to please God. Hebrews 11:6  Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Therefore, faith is the foundation for learning everything and anything contained in the Word of God. There is no miracle, no healing, no experience in God that will ever remove our need for faith.  You will never experience the manifest presence of God on this earth without faith as the foundation of that experience.

Yet when God at times makes Himself so real to us, we may momentarily feel as though we’ve somehow reached a place beyond faith. Not so, for the manifest sense of His presence in our lives here on earth does not last indefinitely but the memory of it is a gift that lasts a lifetime and engenders a hunger in us for more and more of Him.

To actually feel the presence of the Lord is beyond wonderful for His presence is far greater than anything that we can say about it. But we are often like Jacob, who upon awakening from the dream of a ladder going up into heaven, cried out, Surely the LORD is in this place and I did not know it. Genesis 28:16

The disciples en route to Emmaus had the same problem. Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the way? Luke 24:32a  Jesus was manifestly present yet they did not recognize Him.  In this series we want to become more conscious of the presence of the LORD and explore some of the surprising ways in which He may decide to show up in our lives.

Know this as we begin: though we be unconscious of His presence, He is as real and as operative in our lives as in those moments when His presence is manifest. He is constantly at work in us, even when we are clueless! Paul wrote: For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to do His good pleasure. Phil. 2:13

Before we embark on this quest of experiencing His manifest presence, let us first thank Him for His ‘unconscious’ presence in our life every moment of every day of our earthly sojourn.  He is ALWAYS with us, He will NEVER leave us.  On that bedrock truth, we stand in utter faith.  You are NEVER alone!

If you are hungry for more of God in your life, if you long to sense His vibrant presence in your daily walk, stay with us for the next few weeks and together, let’s learn how to enjoy His manifest presence more than we ever have before.