This summer our church went through a series on the presence of God. It was all seriously SO GOOD. If you are interested in listening to any of the messages, check out Sunshine Hills’ website where you will find the messages to listen to. This has been a fantastic season of learning about God’s presence and feeling the truth of being never alone.
God With Us
The name “Immanuel” means “God with us”. This name was given to Jesus when He came to the earth as a baby. When Jesus returned to heaven, one of the things He said was, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b, NIV). He sent His Holy Spirit to be with us as the fulfillment of the promise that He would be with us always. I love what Pastor Tom said about the assurance of God’s presence: assurance is a pledge, something that will happen, and it is only as good as the one making it. Not a single one of God’s promises have failed; He has proven Himself completely reliable and trustworthy. When He promises something, you can take it to the bank.
Believe in His Presence
I have a challenge for you: what would change if we really believed the promise of His presence? Believing in the promise of His presence means you believe that you are never alone. My experience is that, when I have not fully believed the promise of His presence, fear tends to take over. When I forget that God is with me I find myself withdrawing and I get anxious and I avoid taking risks. I become overcome with fear and I allow other’s opinions (or rather, what I think people are thinking) to dictate my actions. Without God, I would be a mess. I would lack purpose and direction and likely be overcome with fear of failure. Thankfully I don’t have to live like that. God knows my past, my present, and my future. He knows the big picture stuff and all the minor details. It is incredibly freeing to know that I can surrender myself to Him and allow Him to guide me and give me courage when I don’t have any.
What changes in my life when I really believe the promise of His presence? I take more risks; I am comforted knowing that even though I am home alone all day with Esther, I am not really alone; and I am more open to being used by God to encourage people and serve Him.
Prepare for His Presence
In order to experience God’s presence and walk in it daily, we need to be prepared for it. Pastor Danny stated, “Our level of preparation determines our outflow.” If we are unprepared, we will miss out on all that God has for us. That being said, here are two ways to prepare yourself to experience God’s presence and walk in it daily:
- Set aside time every day to read your Bible and get to know God. Like you would spend time face to face with a friend to get to know them, you have to spend time with God to get to know Him and be able to recognize His voice.
- Deal with sin and disobedience. We all have sin that separates us from God (Romans 3:23) and because of Jesus’ sacrifice we have been completely forgiven of all that sin. In accepting His forgiveness, ask God if there is anything standing in the way of experiencing His presence. Unresolved sin and disobedience only creates barriers between you and God’s presence.
“Be still and know that I am God.”