This week the pastor said something that planted a seed in my mind. I hope you know that the sermon on Sunday morning is not an end to itself. The sermon is not your harvest. The sermon is the seed bag. It is full of spiritual ideas that should grow in you throughout the week... well, it should be.
This past Sunday the pastor at our church was talking about the value of spending time in the presence of God. He mentioned that he never came into God's presence rich and left poor. I thought I would expand on that a bit.
I've never come into the presence of God...
Free and left in shackles.
Hopeful and left disappointed.
Healthy and left sick.
Full and left empty.
Wise and left foolish.
Holy and left sinful.
Loving and left hateful.
Peaceful and left in turmoil.
Joyous and left sour.
Contented and left greedy.
Victorious and left defeated.
But I have come into God's presence...
Bound and left free.
Downcast and left hopeful.
Sick and left healthy.
Empty and left full.
Foolish and left wise.
Sinful and left holy.
Hateful and left loving.
In turmoil and left at peace.
Sour and left joyous.
Greedy and left content.
Defeated and left victorious.
Poor and left rich.
We seek God's blessing, His favor, His hand, His direction, His defense, etc., when we should be seeking His presence. He is unchanging, but we are forever changed in His presence. He never changes us for the worse. In our relationship, I am the one coming with needs, and God is the One coming to make me whole. I regularly disappoint. God never does.
There is something about just being with God. Not asking Him for things. Not telling Him my problems. Not trying to discern what He is up to. But just being with Him. There's something about being in the presence of holiness that emanates from the source of everything. Holiness is wholeness. In God's presence, the willing person is transformed into the will of God. Here is how David encouraged people to come to God...
Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.
Acknowledge that Yahweh is God.
He made us, and we are His — His people, the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him and praise His name.
For Yahweh is good, and His love is eternal; His faithfulness endures through all generations.
Perhaps we need to quit asking God to change us on the fly and from afar. Maybe... just maybe we need to enter into His presence and be changed in person by the sheer presence of a holy, all-powerful, merciful, loving, just, gracious, magnificent, all-knowing, creative, restoring, forgiving, empowering God.
Today, before you move on from this devotional... step into His presence. Step in with an open heart, open mind, and open hands. Just say, "God, I am here... not to ask You for something, not to tell You something, but to experience You. I just want to be near You, right now. I want to be present in Your presence." You don't have to be at church to be in God's presence. Plenty of people go to church every Sunday and never actually encounter God. But it is impossible to encounter Him without having Church in your being.
What would you add to the list from above?
"I've never come into the presence of God ________________ and left _________________, but I have come into the presence of God _________________ and left ________________."
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.
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My name is David, and I want to know God more, and help other people find Him.