Presence. The definition of presence is "existence in place: the physical existence or detectability of something in a place at a particular time." I used to hear pastors speak on stage before a message with the prayer of , " let your great presence fill this room." As a young believer I was like, uhmmm God is in heaven. I actually remember looking around like Jesus was just gonna walk in the through the back doors through the pews & just sit with us. Yeah, no, I was wrong. I didn't learn about this amazing blessing we are given of his presence until about two years ago. I learned that it is the holy spirit we were so graciously given as Jesus died on the cross for us. That God is the holy spirit that lives in us & all around us. Well, I was still kinda new at the opening up to God & truly diving in so it was awhile until I really decided I wanted to try this out. So one day, the youth band was playing the song " With Everything." Everyone around me had just got back from this conference, Motion. These kids, my friends, were on fire. Like I mean you felt it when you walked in that sanctuary. God had touched them. I am a very observational person, so I watched. I watched how they forgot this world, and they seemed to disappear into what seemed to be another part of this world that I was DYING to see. So I prayed this prayer, " Lord, I wanna feel what they feel. I believe in you & your word, but I want more." & God sure did answer my prayer. I raised my hands, closed my eyes, & just sang , " with everything, with everything we will shout out your name. " Tears immediately fell from my eyes & chill bumps raised up out of nowhere. It wasn't cause it was cold, because it was summer crammed with students in a rather small space, it was the presence of God that touched me. I felt safe. I felt this love wash over me as I praised him. This is a memory that I will never forget because it was the day I truly began my journey. Yes, I had already said the prayer to make him Lord. But, that day I began my intimate romance with my Savior. I am so thankful I began this walk. It was the best decision I ever made. It is amazing how God prepares you so abundantly before the storm. Two years ago I didn't know where I would be. If somebody would have told me the relationships, the struggles, the loses, the gains, the good times, and the bad, I wouldn't have believed them. The thing is that God knew. He knew that my life would be shaken. He knew that I would cry & yell. He knew I would be attacked in ways that I didn't even think possible, but he had showed me himself. Countless nights I laid in my floor uncontrollably crying just talking to God because he is my bestfriend. He is what I held on to when I felt this huge blackhole of mourning, sorrow, & confusion was going to drag me into this neverending hole of darkness. A girl at camp asked me our small group about presence. OH how I loved telling her that God is already here. He is right here. He is with her. He is with me. He is with you right now. He is just patiently waiting for you to make that decision to come into his presence. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
~ Psalm 139: 7 He is a call away. Jesus died to have an intimate & real relationship with us. He loves us. The song " oh how he loves us" is so true. It is why I break down in tears & feel this peace in my soul. Because God is better than this world. He is bigger than the hurt. He is greater than the depression. And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” ~ Exodus 33: 14 He is the calms the storm. He wraps us in his loving arms. He openly shows us love & favor because we are his children.
A few months ago we had a speaker at my youth service. It was about relationships, I know you should have heard the complains because no teenager wants to be told that they are too young to be in a serious relationship. Trust me, I am guilty. The guys & girls were split in separate rooms. And we all got prepared to be told the same thing again.. I thank God quite often for that speaker many days. She doesn't know it but she opened a door that day. I so often, like many other girls, love to fill up my empty spaces with compliments & boys that really probably don't care all that much about me. That message was about letting God be first. About this romantic relationship with Jesus. I never looked at it like a romance until that day. At the end, she did the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I wish I had it on video to play for all of you. She put on the song " Dance with me" by Hillsong. Which came on my Pandora during my facebook scroll & brought me to tears yet again. What she did was dance with Jesus. Literally. She turned it way up & fully forgot us. She wrapped her arm around his neck, took his hand & danced. It was so perfect. That night I went home, locked the door, & did the same thing. It was probably the most intimate thing I have ever done. I may have looked crazy, but I was having a deep conversation with my Savior as I let him lead me. I find myself doing this dance when I feel alone or unloved. His presence never fails you. Surrounding yourself in his love & grace makes life so much easier. You have someone holding you up. You constantly have a bestfriend to tell your hurts & celebrations with. Like Pastor Rob Stribling said, " he wants to be part of your celebrations." God doesn't just want you when you are on your knees because you are so broken, but when you are praising him for his miracles & joyful for his favor on your life. You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16: 11 Put yourself in a constant flow of his presence. The devotional , Jesus Calling, is always teaching about keeping open communication. Listening to him & talking to him all day. Giving thanks always for everything. Diving into his unfailing love & mercy.
The earth shook; the heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God; Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel. ~ Psalm 68: 8