Seeking The Presence of God

He is with you forever once you come to Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word: 812: Seeking The Presence Of God.

Good morning my friends, what an awesome Sunday we just had. The church was full of people, because we had three Thanksgivings for babies. It was so good because as we praised the LORD, sang songs, listened to His Word and prayed, we sensed the presence of the LORD.

Acts 23:11 (NIV) “The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.””

There’s absolutely nothing more encouraging for any Christian than to KNOW the presence of the LORD. When you know that He is with you, then you can endure anything in this life.

It was true of some of the Ancients in the Bible: St Paul and Joseph, both in PRISON sensed, knew and experienced the presence of the LORD.

  • Paul in Prison in Jerusalem and Philippi Acts 23:11, Acts 16:16-40.
  • Joseph in Prison Genesis 39… That LORD was with him.

Genesis 39:20-21 (NIV)
20  Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21  the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favour in the eyes of the prison warder.

Of course we can’t forget many others; Jacob, Moses, Abraham, Elijah and King David who begged the LORD not to take the presence of the Holy Spirit away from him.

My friends, when you are going through stuff in this life, troubles, hardships, tests and trials, attacks from people and persecution for you faith in the LORD Jesus Christ, then know this truth, the abiding presence of the LORD will encourage you, strengthen you and sustain you through it all.

It’s good when friends stick close in troubled times, but it seems to me that friends will always let you down when you need them most. It was true of Jesus and King David, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, Paul’s companions abandoned him when he was thrown into prison in Rome, and it will sometimes be true for you as well. So many Christians have been let down by those they expected would be there for them in sickness or hardships. However, the LORD would never leave you, that’s His promise once you’ve come to Jesus and put your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin. There is NOTHING we need more, and nothing more we need, than the abiding presence of the LORD.

There is NOTHING we need more, that to know and experience the presence of the LORD.

  • He will never leave you.
  • He will never forsake you.
  • He is with you forever.

If there’s any verse that a Christian should take to heart and memorise it’s this one:

James 4:7-10 (NKJV)
7  Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
8  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
9  Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
10  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

God’s saying to you today, “…Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…”

YBH: Yes, but HOW? 

It’s easy to say, “Draw near to God”, but how do we actually do it?

Try this my friends and you’ll soon discover that God will reveal Himself to you in awesome ways.

  • Praise: Sing a few songs of praise. Look what happened when Paul and Silas did that in Prison (Acts 16).
  • Prayer: Honour God first by Praying The Lord’s Prayer, then Confess any known sins.
  • Repent: Repent afresh and seek His cleansing and forgiveness.
  • Trust: Trust in Jesus Christ again for your Salvation… Keep TRUSTING…
  • Seek: Seek the fullness and presence of God the Holy Spirit right now.
  • Praise: Worship the Lord in Spirit and Truth. Sing and make music in your heart to the LORD.
  • Seek to Serve: Be obedient to what the LORD is showing you to do today. God’s always got something He wants you to be doing for Him, every day. Just do it… You’ll be amazed when you listen to that prompting of the Holy Spirit.

 

There is NOTHING you need more, that to know and experience the abiding presence of the LORD.

Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)
10  Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

If ever I’m feeling troubled and need the LORD’S presence and fullness, that is what I do.

Have an awesome week with Jesus my friends,

Don.

 

When ALL Seems LOST: Praise the LORD!

Love lifted me, rock, feet, firm place, stand, set free, freedom, rescue,

Daily Spirit & Word: 669:

When all seems lost, Praise the LORD!

LOVE LIFTED ME

Good morning my friends, last night we had our Governor’s meeting at St Luke’s School. I asked if I could begin with a short Bible reading and a prayer. The reading I choose was from Psalm 40. The psalmist reveals that he was in a muddy pit that was too slippery to escape from, so he cried out to the LORD.

 

Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV)
1  I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
3  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.

When in an impossible position this psalm reveals some amazing principles that we can follow.

Firstly: Wait patiently for the LORD.

Now when we’re going through turmoil that really difficult, but it’s NOT impossible, even in life-threatening situations. However, when we’re in difficulty, hardship or just struggling with something, determine in your heart NOW before it happens, that when it does, you are going to WAIT upon the LORD.

Secondly: God WILL Respond.

“He turned to me and heard my cry”.

As soon as you acknowledge God in: Prayer, Praise, Worship: He inclines his head, his ear and his attention is focused upon you.

He hears your heart’s cry.

Paul & Silas:

We can see this played-out in the book of Acts when Paul and Silas are beaten and thrown into prison. They’d delivered a girl from a Demon that was possessing her, it enabled her to predict things for people, it became a famous business and once she was delivered, she could no longer make them any money. So before they could do any more damage, the whole town made a fuss about Paul and Silas and they were beaten severely and thrown into prison, guarded carefully and their feet in stocks to stop them escaping. What did Paul and Silas do? They praised the LORD!

Acts 16:16-19 (NIV)
16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.
17  This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”
18  She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned round and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.
19  When the owners of the slave girl realised that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market-place to face the authorities.

Now look what happens to Paul and Silas in Prison:

Acts 16:22-33 (NIV)
22  The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten.
23  After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.
24  Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25  About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
26  Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose.
27  The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped.
28  But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
29  The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas.
30  He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31  They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
32  Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.
33  At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptised.

When was the last time you praised God when things got really, really tough?
At midnight, with their feet in stocks, locked in prison; they prayed and praised the LORD!.

If you are in a slippery pit or stinking prison: Impossible places to get out of on your own.
What are you going to do? Pray, Praise, Wait Upon the LORD!…

  • The LORD will hear, the LORD will do something for you.
    If you’ve got a debt mountain that’s impossible to climb.
    If you’ve got a disease that can’t be beaten.
    If you’ve got family trouble, relationships that have broken down,
    If you’ve got a problem with a friends or colleagues at work,

Wait upon the LORD
Pray:
Praise the LORD.

No matter what your situation is, even now: Praise the LORD. Try it today.
Take a few moments to spend time with Jesus.
Wait upon Him. READ God’s WORD.
Fill your heart with good things.
Praise Him in song. Even if you are on your own.
Sing your little heart out to Jesus, even if it’s through tears.
He’ll hear your heart’s cry.

He’ll HEAR YOUR HEART’S CRY

You’ll see those chains fall off.
He’ll break those chains.
He’ll lift you up, out of the slimy pit you’ve fallen into.

In St Luke’s School we’ve seen a mighty turn around. We’re being brought out of the pit. A School that was not very good is becoming great. Thank you LORD for your deliverance. Amen!

He’s AWESOME!
Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.
The jailer who locked Paul and Silas up, knew something weird had happened.
He began to fear and tremble: He asked Paul and Silas
“What must I do to be saved?”
People will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD when He delivers you from trouble.

So don’t forget to praise the LORD for the Deliverance that you are about to experience today.
Keep going for Jesus sake this weekend.
Praise HIM today.
Don.

 

The Chains Fell Off.

Peter's Chains Fell Off

Daily Spirit & Word 573: The Chains Fell Off.

When you are feeling under pressure, when you know things are looking bleak, there is ONE who can and will help you my friends; you too can sit back and watch those chains fall off:

Acts 12:1-18 
1 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them.
2  He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword.
3  When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
4  After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover. 
5  So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. 
6  The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance.
7  Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. 
8  Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him.
9  Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision.
10  They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him. 
11  Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating.” 
12  When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.
13  Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer the door.
14  When she recognised Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!” 
15  “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.” 
16  But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.
17  Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the brothers about this,” he said, and then he left for another place. 
18  In the morning, there was no small commotion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter.

 

Herod was the horrible puppet king, but he didn’t even think that Peter and the new believers were trusting another KING. Their KING was no ordinary king though, because Jesus has something written upon his robe and thigh:

Revelation 19:16  “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

What’s written upon His robe? “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

What’s written upon His thigh? KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

My friends, even when you’ve been handed a death sentence, when the bills are piling up, when your enemies are out to get you, when your family and friends don’t treat you the way you want, when you loose your job and you have a mortgage; Oh my friends, get a handle upon this, because when Peter was facing certain death, he fell asleep peacefully. He was behind iron gates, between soldier guards and in chains, but he fell asleep.

He was heavily guarded: He slept.

He was in prison: He slept.

He was in chains: He slept.

Peter was able to SLEEP, but why? Because He’d already died, He was now living for Jesus.

My brother remineded me today about his baptism, on the day he was baptised with my sister and the JOY of the New LIFE. He heard the congregation singing this song, “Up from the grave he arose”… WOWzer! You are alive after death in baptism.

My friends, when you got baptised into the Lord Jesus, you died to your old life and are now resting in the LORD to live a NEW LIFE. So no matter what the circumstances may be: You are living for The “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

Every earthly king will one day bow before HIM.

Every knee will bow and tongue confess HIM as LORD.

TRUST HIM and watch what happens to those problems as the CHAINS FALL OFF.

No prison can hold you:

No gates can keep you locked in:

No guards can keep you:

No chains can bind you:

You are FREE in Christ Jesus: Let those chains fall off, the gates open and guards struck dumb, walk free in Jesus Christ today.

LIVE today for the LORD. No matter what: You too can be a peace and rest in the Lord.

“KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” Amen!

Don.

 

How Important is Knowing God’s Word?

How Important is Knowing God’s Word?
I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Ps 119:11
I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Ps 119:11

Daily Spirit & Word, 448: How Important is Knowing God’s Word?

Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You”

Good morning my friends, I’ve been reading a little book about getting God’s Word into our memory banks, the importance of knowing God’s Word. Today, I’ve copied a little story for you, it’s powerful and will encourage you in your walk with Jesus. The story will move you to tears and strengthen your resolve to get to know God’s Word better.
Psalm 40:8 “I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”
Taken from 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know: “One night several years ago I sat up into the wee hours, engrossed in a book I’d picked up at a yard sale. ‘In the Presence of Mine Enemies’, it was the memoir of Vietnam POW Howard Rutledge, who was shot down over North Vietnam on November 28, 1965. When his plane was hit, Howard bailed out, but he descended into thick mud near a large village and was soon surrounded by a crowd welding knives, machetes, and sticks. Forming a ring around him, the townspeople blocked his escape and descended on him, pounding him with blows, stripping off his clothing, and dragging him into their little jail, half dead. Shortly thereafter, he was transported to the infamous Hanoi Hilton where he was brutally interrogated and tortured.
Howard described how, in an initial set of tortures, his legs were forced into rough shackles, with his arms hog-tied in an excruciating position. He was deprived of clothing, food, and sleep and forced to lie on a cold slab in a mucky cell. The walls, floors, and ceilings were caked with filth, and a large rat shared his space.
Until his incarceration Howard had felt little concern for spiritual things; but now he desperately tried to recall snatches of Bible verses, hymns, or sermons he had heard in his childhood. Fortunately as a youngster he had attended a church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with a Sunday school that had stressed the importance of Scripture memory. There in the POW camp, he racked his brain for every single verse he could recall. During the rare moments when he could communicate with other POWs, he found them seeking to do the same.
“Everyone knew the Lord’s Prayer and the Twenty-third Psalm,” he said, “but the camp favorite verse that everyone recalled first and quoted most often is found in the Book of John, third chapter, sixteenth verse: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
With a friend’s help, Howard even managed to reconstruct verses 17 and 18.
Howard wrote, “How I struggled to recall those Scriptures and hymns! I had spent my first eighteen years in a Southern Baptist Sunday School, and I was amazed at how much I could recall; regrettably, I had not seen the importance of memorizing verses from the Bible…. Now, when I needed them, it was too late. I never dreamed that I would spend almost seven years (five of them in solitary confinement) in a prison in North Vietnam or that thinking about one memorized verse could have made a whole day bearable. One portion of a verse I did remember was, ‘Thy word have I hid in my heart.’ How often I wished I had really worked to hide God’s Word in my heart. I put my mind to work.”
In his memoirs Howard described days and nights of tortures that made my skin crawl as I read about them; but he also testified of being able, as time progressed, to recall more and more Bible verses from the recesses of his mind. His recollection wasn’t word perfect, but he was amazed at how many phrases and sentences from the Bible lay buried deep in his memory, waiting to be discovered.
Those Bible verses literally kept Howard Rutledge from losing his mind. The memorized snippets of Scripture in his brain were potent. They faced down death, rallied his spirits, steeled his nerves, and tapped into the deepest strength known in the universe. They beat back the torture, stifled the despair, subdued the terrors he felt, and maintained his sanity even when he was immobilized for days in a stifling hut, chained to a metal frame, lying in his own waste, and covered with ants, flies, and biting insects.
Those verses, long ago learned by heart, proved more restorative than any tonic. They dispensed strength and were sufficient to the pain; and they bolstered his mind and his mood with the strongest thoughts of an omniscient God in the midst of humanity’s most sadistic ravings. They were the reason he came home alive.
“That first New Year’s Eve in Heartbreak Hotel,” he wrote, “I had resolved never to be without a Bible again. Those verses of God’s Word that I had memorized or that I had scrounged from other prisoners’ memories had been a living source of strength in my life.”
Most of us will never be POWs in a concentration camp, but all of us occasionally find ourselves at Heartbreak Hotel. Life is hard, full of anguishing moments and dangerous temptations. We need strong minds – brains that think clearly, emotions that remain calm and steady.
Bible verses, committed to memory and applied by the Holy Spirit, are the most powerful medications in the whole world. They’re a balm for sore hearts, an elixir for low spirits, an immunization for bad habits, a booster shot of high spirits, a pick-me-up for dreary days, and a stimulant for positive nerves.
How many Bible verses could you reconstruct from your memory banks if push came to shove?
Here’s the little verse again, hopefully the importance of knowing God’s Word will sink down deep today and you’ll begin to hide God’s Word within your head and heart, then with the Holy Spirit’s help, they’ll surface just when you need them.
Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
God bless and have an awesome week.
Don.
P.S. We’ll be sending out links to a brand NEW Bible Memory Course coming very soon. If you want to know more, please let me know and I’ll add you to the list of those who want to learn; “HOW to Hide God’s Word in your Heart”.
Can also be read on St Luke’s Church Facebook Page.