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Grace-filled Presence - First15 - May 3, 2018

  • 2018 May 03
  • COMMENTS

Grace-filled Presence

Weekly Overview:

Grace is a gift most of us don’t know how to receive. We’ve been so inundated with the earthly systems of give-and-get and work-and-earn that grace is a concept few ever fully grasp. Yet it’s grace alone that has the power to transform lives. Grace alone has the power to bring freedom to the captives. By grace alone we are saved. There could be no better use of our time than consistently and passionately pursuing a greater revelation of God’s grace.

Scripture:“The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.” Numbers 6:25

Devotional:    

The most gracious gift God continues to give us as his children is his presence. Moses writes a beautiful and powerful prayer in Numbers 6:25: “The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.” Rest in the sweet imagery of that prayer for a moment. Reflect on the goodness of having God’s face shine upon you. Feel the peace that comes from God’s graciousness.

There is nothing better in life than encountering God because it’s only in his presence that we are truly satisfied. Scripture illustrates this truth in Psalm 84 when the Psalmist writes:

For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!

To encounter God is to experience his goodness. To spend time in his presence is to experience the very “favor and honor” that only comes from his nearness.

What would it be like to live your life entirely in the presence of God?What would change if you were to experience his goodness with every moment, waking or sleeping? How would the reality of his presence change the way you live your life for the better? The remarkable thing is that we have no reason to live our lives apart from God. When Jesus died, God tore the veil from top to bottom that separated us from him. His tearing of the veil symbolizes the entire reason for the death of Jesus: that God can once again dwell among his people. And furthermore, when you became a Christian you were filled with God himself. He’s closer to you than the very breath that fills your lungs.

You see, it’s by God’s grace that we have his presence. It’s by his love that he makes himself near to us. God’s word tells us we can never escape his presence. Psalm 139:9-10 says, “If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” Acts 17:27-28 says, “Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being.’” Your greatest gift is always available to you. No matter where you turn, God will be there. No sin can separate you from his presence because his presence comes to you by grace, not by your works. So great is God’s love for you that he offers you his gracious presence regardless of anything you do, right or wrong.

All that is required of you is to open your heart and receive the gift he offers. There is an endless amount of God’s presence to receive. He is a vast and endless ocean that will never be fully discovered. But still he calls you to come and dive in. The Bible commands us in Ephesians 5:18 to “be filled with the Spirit,” to be filled with God himself. This passage is better translated, “Be being filled.” God asks us to constantly be filled with his presence because he knows it is our greatest gift. And the death of Christ has paved the way for us to receive this gift constantly.

Spend time today simply being filled with God’s presence offered to you by his grace. May you experience the “favor and honor” that can only be found by resting in the presence of your heavenly Father.

Guided Prayer:           

1. Meditate on Scripture about God’s presence. Renew your mind to the fact that he is with you right now and that his presence is your greatest gift.

“For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!” Psalm 84:10-12

2. Receive God’s presence. Open your heart and ask him to come near to you. Take note of how you feel different in response to his presence.

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” James 4:8

“But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” Psalm 73:28

3. Live today in the continual presence of your heavenly Father. If you notice yourself living outside of the nearness of God, just take a minute and receive his presence again.

“If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” Psalm 139:9-10

“Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being.’” Acts 17:27-28

As you go out today in pursuit of the presence of God, keep this quote from Brother Lawrence close to your heart. May it fuel you toward the goodness and simplicity of encountering your heavenly Father in all that you do.

He does not ask much of us, merely a thought of Him from time to time, a little act of adoration, sometimes to ask for His grace, sometimes to offer Him your sufferings, at other times to thank Him for the graces, past and present, He has bestowed on you, in the midst of your troubles to take solace in Him as often as you can. Lift up your heart to Him during your meals and in company; the least little remembrance will always be the most pleasing to Him. One need not cry out very loudly; He is nearer to us than we think (Practicing the Presence of God).

 

Extended Reading: Psalm 84

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