Abiding Presence

Life’s circumstances can sometimes affect us so deeply that it’s difficult to shake off the slippery slope towards the darkest depths of despair. Maybe the incident brought about gut-wrenching pain, mindboggling frustration or even caused the death of a dream. It’s in those moments when we must stand on our faith with courage and grace, fighting with all that we are and all that we have in Him to ensure that nothing and no one moves us. This is unshakeable faith, the kind that stirred and impassioned the hearts of the greatest apostles who were also the most ordinary men the world has ever known.

So how did they do it?

They walked in God’s presence. They abided in the One who gave them life more abundantly than what they could experience in the natural. It takes a lot of self-discipline and supernatural ability to retrain one’s thoughts, attitudes and habits – these are our combined response in trying times – to create an atmosphere within and around us to stay in His presence. That’s what Jesus taught and exemplified to them and ultimately, to us.

Feel discouraged or have a desire to experience the fullness of His presence right now? Here are some gems of truth we can glean from His Word and apply to our everyday lives:

Psalm 16:11 – “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy…”

No matter what happens in this life, if we stay under the shelter of His almighty wings, we will be filled with His endless joy. We can mourn but are still filled with joy as long as we don’t allow the pain of loss to cripple us towards fear, anxiety, anger, shame, or depression. We must remember that His joy is our strength! So we can praise Him even in the midst of horrific events and unmet desires. Praise and thankfulness for all that He has done and what we do have are the keys to stay in His presence and experience supernatural joy, our path of life.

Exodus 33:14 “And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

In His presence we find rest, a continuous Selah where we know that no matter what happens, we consider it nothing in comparison with the glorious riches that are found in Christ Jesus. When we are not at rest, we have allowed ourselves to partner with worry, anxiety, fear, doubt, and chaos. These negative spirits affect our atmospheres and try to push us outside of His presence. But God’s promise is to dwell within us, giving us continual rest as we commune with Him. Learning how to stand firm in His presence no matter what comes our way is the key to finding rest during challenging times. We must remember in these times what He has done for us and how He is our Shield and Strong Tower and that no weapon formed against will prosper. His promise is to never leave us nor forsake us so we must stand on this promise with all that we are.

Psalm 25:4-5 – “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.”Feather on water2

We can know we are in His presence when we are waiting for Him at every moment of the day. It’s a continual prayer where we talk to Him, listen and respond. It doesn’t matter what occupies our time while we are awake. Every moment is a constant communication. When we are done with a conversation, a task, or anything that takes our attention away for a moment, we can still be aware of His presence where there are truths to teach us and fortify our lives post-salvation. He doesn’t ever leave and He is with us no matter where we are in life which has been made possible by His Spirit who has been and continues to be poured out since the life-changing moment of Pentecost.

Matthew 5:8 – “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

We cannot stay in His presence if we have an unclean, divided heart. That’s why we have to protect our hearts, for it is the wellspring of our lives. It is the key to continuously connect with Jesus, Father, and Holy Spirit at any given moment. The circumstances of life will come against us to enslave our hearts to bitterness, apathy, hatred, disillusionment, self-pity, anger, jealousy, anxiety, and pride. So we must always be on guard, vigilantly on the offensive and recognizing the tactics of our enemy which is predictably to kill, steal and destroy us. Over time, as we mature more and more in our faith, we can learn how to do this more effectively through winning greater spiritual battles, thus enabling us to stand on our faith and authority with greater ease and purpose.

Acts 3:20 – “That times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,…”

When we are in His presence, we are revived, restored, rejuvenated, and replenished. This is what His refreshing does to us. He comes upon us like an ice cold glass of water on a sweltering afternoon. He invigorates us with strength, energy and the endurance to keep our eyes on the prize and finish our race well. His presence nourishes our souls and helps us to renew our minds with the washing of His word. His streams of living water flow within and around us, bringing new life and new hope.

So make this your commitment today, to stay in His presence by waiting on Him, protecting your heart, and finding joy, rest, and refreshment in times when life has thrown you a curveball.

Prayer: Dear Father God, fill me with Your oil of gladness as I mourn this night of my soul, knowing it is Your joy that comes in the morning. Help me to remember that You are the same yesterday, today and forever. So even though my heart is grieving and the pain seems unbearable, please give me Your grace to withstand the enemy by standing firm on Your promises and let me not be moved by anything that would cause me to stumble out of Your Presence. Help me to lay down every burden at Your feet and not to partner with hopelessness, anxiety, fear or despair. I agree with King David who once said, “Where else can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there; If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast.” Be glorified in me, O God. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen!