Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The presence of God

"The incarnation is an infinite mystery of love, but we believe it. Yet, if it were possible to compare one great wonder with another, I would say that God's dwelling in His people and that repeated ten thousand times over is more marvelous. That the Holy Spirit should dwell in millions of redeemed men and women is a miracle not surpassed by that of our Lord's adoption of human nature."

Spurgeon (Holy Spirit Power)

If we can grasp even a little of the nature of God, this idea of Him really being with us, in fact in us, really will boggle your mind. As much as the doctrine of the Trinity, heaven and hell, and the whole plan of redemption can have you wondering for hours on end, this thing about God being actually always with us is a subject for some thought.

Of course there are times in my life when I don't sense the presence of God, and those are times of serious doubting and examining for me. Not just doubting the reality of it all, but even more doubting whether I have really known God at all. It is never enough for me to intellectually know the facts about God, I need to experience his presence. And I don't throw around the word 'need' very easily. As much as I need to be saved from sin and death, I need to know that I've been saved from sin and death. And I think God made us to need to experience Him as a real person.

I confess I don't understand all this. I mean think about it this way. I am one very small person on one very small earth hanging somewhere in the middle of one hugely vast universe. Of course now that I know God is there and he's the one person who really matters and who is constant and all-powerful, all -wonderful, ect...ect...ect...I wouldn't mind spending some time with him, getting to know him a bit. But what I can't really figure out is why he speaks to me at all. I never want to lose the wonder of this miracle and take it for granted like 'oh yeah God? I know him he's cool..." He is our friend, but there's something holy and supernaturally merciful in the fact that he would call himself our friend. There's something that should be humbling to me in the reality of the Holy Spirit living in me. If I don't ever think about it, I can easily become arrogant in my attitude, and full of presumption.

All that being said, I just want to revel in the glorious reality of his presence. This manifest presence of God is amazing, and most amazing when we are gathered as one body together just to be with him. This is the reason we should meet together, and we should never lose sight of that. It's why we sing, why we give money, why we preach and teach, and have people in our homes, why we break bread together. Every thing we do is a celebration of Him being with us, and working to see his presence , his kingdom extended to the whole world. Imagine the greatest experience you have ever know of his manifest presence, I mean a time when his presence was more real than any other thing, and everything else faded into nothingness for a moment. We are working toward a time when this will be the only reality. We will never be wondering 'is he here?' we will never be crying out in our souls "where are you" or " don't turn your face from me" . Everywhere we turn we will see him, his kingdom will be the only kingdom and we will be with him forever.

The joy of being in his church is that we are able to fight in the battle, actually being there as more and more people are set free. Imagine the amazing feeling the soldiers in world war 2 must have had when they were able to walk into concentration camps and tell those people they were now free. To give them food and clothes and best of all freedom. We have a better experience than this. To say to people, you are no longer destined for hell, but heaven, you are no longer slaves but sons, you are no longer alone but part of a family, you are no longer dependent on yourself but you have the Spirit of God at work in you. All this is possible because God is with us.

And this is the joy of our faith. What is more wonderful than to be in his presence?

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