1 Samuel 16:7, Acts 1:8, Born Again, God's Presence, Hebrews 4:12-13, Hebrews 4:15-16, Joshua 24:14-15, Matthew 7:13-23, Matthew 7:24-26, Presents Or Presence?, Psalm 29:2, Real Realtionships, Revelation 3:17-20
Bible Ballistics: BBs #700 The Joy Of Presents Or Presence??
We have just celebrated the Christmas season, and entered a new year, yet many have no clue of the real meaning of Christmas, even many believers are so caught up in the “presents” that they have missed the import of the “presence” of “God with us” and within us! I would like to consider a few things today that I hope will help us to not only recognize the import of God’s presence but to see our need for it—to long for it—and to pursue it–with earnest diligence.
We live in a culture that is often oblivious to “presence” of any kind whether it is:
God’s ethereal presence—the heavenly come down
Loved one’s presence—real people with real interaction
Memories presence—the memories of those whom God
has sent into our lives, past and present
God’s eternal presence—that which we will share with Him
if we have been born again, by repentance and faith in Jesus.
As a culture, we seem to have accepted the pretense of the presence of people or God in our lives through the fleeting perceptions on “social media” where people can brag of hundreds, even thousands of “friends” and yet have no real relationships of substance with another living breathing person! We have bought the lies of the enemy again—we have accepted a ‘picture’ of the real in exchange for the reality of flesh and blood connections. Connections with real eyeball to eyeball, soul searching support (or even disappointments) and the touch of another living soul! A real voice of someone talking with us, someone caring who we are or how we feel, or caring about the pain we are ‘feeling’! Instead, we seem to be willing to settle for the so-called freedom to “rant” in public without regard for the damage we may cause, to satisfy our lonely, aching, starving souls with a temporary “fit”, rather than to expend the time, energy and effort it takes to build real relationships—with man or God!
We are in a sad state—but The God Almighty and His Son Jesus who created us relational beings, wants to have a real relationship with us. God wants us to have interactions and relationship with other people too. But we must recognize our need; our need for a savior—a savior who came and took on flesh and blood—a savior who walked this earth and intermingled with men and women of every sort, kind and situation. HE came that we might have “life” with HIM and real life amongst others, sharing the hope that we have received from HIM, with a world gone mad with isolation that they don’t even recognize (even in the church). Could Jesus’ words to the church at Laodicea be aimed at us?
“Because thou sayest,
I am rich,
and increased with goods,
and have need of nothing;
and knowest not that thou art
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold
tried in the fire,
that thou mayest be rich;
and white raiment,
that thou mayest be clothed,
and that the shame of thy nakedness
do not appear;
and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve,
that thou mayest see. …
…20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:
if any man hear my voice,
and open the door,
I will come in to him,
and will sup with him,
and he with me.” Revelation 3:17-20
You see, it’s not what we think of ourselves that matters! It’s what Jesus KNOWS about us that matters. Are we willing to hear HIS voice? Notice in this message from Jesus to a “church” (a real, literal church that existed at the time of the writing of this book, but also a letter written for the church of the future!), HE, Jesus, is on the “outside” knocking on the door to come “IN”! Where is Jesus in your life? On the outside knocking to come in? Or have you let Him in, but you won’t let HIM have HIS way in your heart and life? It’s your choice! But choose wisely—there is a consequence for every choice! Will we be like Joshua?
“Now therefore fear the LORD,
and serve him
and in truth:
and put away the gods which your fathers served
on the other side of the flood,
and in Egypt;
and serve ye the LORD.
15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD,
choose you this day
whom ye will serve;
whether the gods which your fathers served
that were on the other side of the flood,
or the gods of the Amorites,
in whose land ye dwell:
but as for me and my house,
we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:14-15
Even Jesus warned His followers that just “saying so, doesn’t make it so”. God looks on the heart, even when man is impressed with the outward appearance, just as God told Samuel when he was sent to anoint a king.
“But the LORD said unto Samuel,
Look not on his countenance,
or on the height of his stature;
because I have refused him:
for the LORD seeth not as man seeth;
for man looketh
on the outward appearance,
but the LORD looketh
on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
And as Jesus said:
“Enter ye in at the strait gate:
for wide is the gate,
and broad is the way,
that leadeth to destruction,
and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate,
and narrow is the way,
which leadeth unto life,
and few there be that find it…
…21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord,
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will of my Father
which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day,
have we not prophesied in thy name?
and in thy name have cast out devils?
and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them,
I never knew you:
depart from me,
ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:13-23
Don’t forget the example Jesus gave of this truth—two houses that looked alike to the world—but the foundation (which is usually unseen to human eye) makes all the difference (and this is Jesus’ truth, not just a little children’s Sunday School song to be dismissed!)
“Therefore whosoever heareth
these sayings of mine,
and doeth them,
I will liken him unto a wise man,
which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended,
and the floods came,
and the winds blew,
and beat upon that house;
and it fell not:
for it was founded upon a rock.
26 And every one that heareth
these sayings of mine,
and doeth them not,
shall be likened unto a foolish man,
which built his house upon the sand:
27 And the rain descended,
and the floods came,
and the winds blew,
and beat upon that house;
and it fell:
and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-26
How are you measuring things? By God’s Word—which never changes—or by the passing fancy of the world’s latest fad and fashion? Choose wisely—there is a test. A test of the heart, but also of the actions which we have exhibited from what’s truly IN our hearts! As my mother often said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time; and you can fool all of the people some of the time; but YOU can’t fool GOD!” For God’s standard for judgment is HIS Word not yours—or the latest social media craze or ‘viral’ video!
“For the word of God is quick,
and sharper than any twoedged sword,
piercing even to the dividing asunder
of soul and spirit,
and of the joints and marrow,
and is a discerner
of the thoughts
of the heart.
13 Neither is there any creature
that is not manifest in his sight:
but all things are naked and opened
unto the eyes of him
with whom we have to do.” Hebrews 4:12-13
When we order our steps according to God’s Word rather than man’s ideas, we can have confidence in the God to whom we belong, through repentance and faith in Jesus, who not only saves us but keeps us and is ever there for us!
“For we have not an high priest
which cannot be touched
with the feeling of our infirmities;
but was in all points tempted
like as we are,
yet without sin.
16 Let us therefore come boldly
unto the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy,
and find grace to help
in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16
In closing, some food for thought—may we base our standard on God’s Word rather than the “wisdom of man”!
“Give unto the LORD
the glory due unto his name;
worship the LORD
in the beauty of holiness.” Psalm 29:2
The Beauty of Holy-ness:
Not what I wear—but it includes how I dress–
Not what I say—but it includes how I speak–
And the words I choose to use—
Not where I go—but it includes the places that I take
the Holy Spirit who “dwells within” me—
Not where I reside—but it includes the life that I live
In God’s church—
In the private and innermost confines of my heart—
Not my occupation—but if I’m truly pursuing God’s Holiness,
it will be evident in my. professional life,
whether I’m flipping burgers or I’m a CEO—
Not my associates—but it will include the wisdom to know that
“bad companions corrupt good morals”—
Not my future alone—but it does include the fact that my choices
will affect how and/or if others SEE Jesus in me–
Not my popularity—but it does include the fact that I am
responsible for my life that is either leading others
toward the cross
or toward hell—
Choose wisely—your holiness (or lack thereof) is showing!
Is His presence seen in you/me? It’s what God saves and calls us to be and do! You are a witness—either a faithful one or an unfaithful one! Are you/I focused on “presents” or God’s “presence”?
“But ye shall receive power,
after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you:
and ye shall be witnesses
both in Jerusalem,
and in all Judaea,
and in Samaria,
and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8
Amen and Amen!!!