Posts Tagged presence

Veracity

Psalm 24: 3           Passion

Who, then, ascends into the presence of the Lord? And who has the privilege of entering into God’s Holy Place?

How would you answer this question? Which of us is qualified to stand int God’s presence, of entering His throne room?

Here is God’s answer from verse 4, “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully” (NASB). Perhaps this doesn’t fully explain. The Passion translation reads, “those who never deceive, whose words are sure.” Verse four reveals the importance of clean thoughts and clean words which we heard in Psalm 19. This goes just a bit further, though, because it culls out those who speak falsehood or deception. What is falsehood? It is a nice way of saying lying. Deception is more insidious than lying. One can actually speak the truth and yet intentionally mislead, deceive. This is done by leaving out key data or even sometimes by the inflection in the voice. According to God’s Word, people who do this are not fit to enter His presence. That’s a pretty big deal.

We live in a time when lying has actually become, not only commonplace, but acceptable. For example, some people, even some Christians, think it is okay to lie on tax forms. What do you think God would say? For one thing, it demonstrates a complete lack of faith if you feel you have to withhold what is due. Another common example is the “little white lie.” Let me tell you, there is no such thing as a white lie. They are all dark because they all originate with the father of lies, Satan. God has never told a lie, will never tell a lie and, in fact, lacks the ability to lie. So, tell me, how is it that Christians can lie? It astounds me. Satan is also known as the deceiver. He is the master of telling a half truth. That is what he did with Jesus in the desert and Adam and Eve in the garden. He tries to get us to sin by questioning the truth or by leaving it half hidden.

I know that you know that lying is wrong and I hope you aren’t convicted because you do know better, but it is wise to be on our guard that we be not swayed by popular culture. Truthfully, this psalm is not a reprimand. It is good news. David is looking to enter God’s presence and to show us that we, too, can stand confidently in the very presence of God. David asks who can enter God’s presence. He did not phrase the question as, who is forbidden to enter the throne room. The answer is people who have not lifted up their souls to falsehood. There is nothing in their souls which is attracted to lies, misconceptions or deception. These people, honest people, get to hang out with God. However, that is not all.

Verse 5 says, “He shall receive a blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” The honest person gets to enter into the Father’s presence and when you are in God’s presence, He gives you a blessing. I want that, don’t you? How would it be if every day you entered into the Father’s presence and every day He gave you a blessing? That would be okay wouldn’t it?

So here is what I ask of you. Practice being very forthright and honest. If someone asks you a question that you do not wish to reveal the truth of, then rather than lie, refuse to answer the question. Eliminate even the little white lies. Most of all, since I believe you do this already, help me to teach others that no lie is acceptable. Help us to stand on firm soil as Christians and depart completely from the ways of the devil. Let us distinguish ourselves by our honesty. I admit it is tough, but it is what our Father requires of us. It is the way into His presence and that is a good place to be.

Christmas Presence

I hope you will join me this week for a special series of Christmas themed messages.  I wish you a happy holiday as we celebrate the presence of God with us, Immanuel. 

May your Christmas abound with the goodness of God and the joy of Jesus.

God bless you all!

God with Us

Matthew 1: 23

BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” WHICH TRANSLATED MEANS, “GOD WITH US.”

The New American Standard uses small caps to indicate a quote taken from another part of scripture. You will often find the New Testament writers quoting from the Old Testament Scripture. In this case, the quote comes from Isaiah 7: 14.

Jesus accomplished much during his tenure on earth. However, in the company of salvation, redemption and restoration, I find this great marvel and joyous blessing oft overlooked. I would say, though, that this miracle of God with us is among the greatest of all the gifts God has given us.

I have enjoyed several conversations recently on this very topic and I believe there is revelation in the land. More and more people are receiving a fuller revelation of Jesus with each of us at all times. For these people, Jesus’ presence is becoming something very real. One of the discoveries I have made about God recently is that He is very literal. We often take His words figuratively but that is us, not Him. In His statement about the child Immanuel, whom we also call Jesus, He was being very down to earth literal. He meant that God is now with us 24/7. Let that sink in for a moment. He is literally there with you right now. What does that mean to your life?

Well, first of all, you are never alone and never have to feel alone. He is as close as your next breath. Wait, did you breathe? He was there in that breath. That is a huge revelation when is sinks in. It also means that he is within your grasp every moment. One of my friends was discussing some of the wonderful traits of puppies. One of them is that you can hold and cuddle them. They are easy subjects of all the love and affection you have to give and they give unqualified love in return. There is another name for that kind of love and acceptance: Immanuel.

God is revealing Himself as that ever present love. God is love. Immanuel means God with us that means love with us at all times. God worked a miracle so that He could be with us every minute. He is really as close as your perception. If you can receive it, He is as close and cuddly as a puppy. If your heart will accept, He is arms around you. And for you tough guys out there, He is the safe Father who is big enough, strong enough to hold you in His arms and let you be a little boy. You can cry on His shoulder, giggle in His face. You can sleep in His lap, and even tell Him silly little jokes.

Our Father really is this close to us and He is making a point to reveal His presence to this generation. He wants you to open your sensors to the awareness of God with you right now and every minute. Ain’t it great? The baby savior was given a name of great comfort and presence. He was not given a warrior name or a kingly name. His purpose is to be with you. You’ve just got to love a God who makes His purpose being with you.

Nearby

Jeremiah 23: 23

“Am I a God who is near,” declares the Lord, “and not a God far off?’

God wants you to know that he is a close God rather than a faraway deity. He is a personal, close friend and confidant. Sometimes people perceive God as sitting far away in some distant space. He says that he fills the heavens and the earth (Jeremiah 23: 24). He is as close as your breath. He lives in you and all around you. Look at something near you at this moment. God is in that space between you and the item at which you looked. He is in your present moment. He is completely filling the earth. His presence is so close that when you inhale, you breathe Him in. When your heart beats, He hears the sound of it. He has filled all of the space of this earth. Everywhere you go, there He is. He is a very present God because He is in love with you. He wants to be with you all of the time and help you with everything you do. He wants to do things for you so that you can enjoy your life. You have a very close friend. He is ever present so you will never be alone. What do you want to do today? How would it be if you carried the creator of the whole universe with you? Wouldn’t that be awesome? There is nothing He would like more than to go to work with you today and go to lunch with you.