Happy International Day of Happiness

Call it happiness if you wish, or maybe better, joy, gladness, or delight. If you belong to God’s people, you know what it is and where it is found.

The world chases after happiness in material things. The U.N.’s international day focuses on the same. A glance at the rich neighborhoods around, or the rich countries, belies this belief — so many unhappy, broken, frustrated lives — though the majority are not convinced that material things are not the answer.

God’s saints know that joy comes from the presence of God.

“You lead me in the path of life. I experience absolute joy in your presence; you always give me sheer delight” Psalm 16.11.

This is why keeping God’s commands are also such a delight:

“Praise the Lord! How blessed is the one who obeys the Lord, who takes great delight in keeping his commands” Psalm 112.1.

It is no paradox that the letter to the Philippians, whose keynote is joy, was written from prison.

Christians have no reason to worry. They know God and this joy overwhelms the cares of the world.

#presence-of-God #joy #happiness

Where God is present

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

“God does not really live on the earth! Look, if the sky and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this temple I have built!” 1 Kings 8.27

Solomon, David’s son, was the king of Israel. God had given David the plans for the Temple and he had gathered and prepared all of the necessary materials for its construction. But, due to the blood that David had spilled in war during his reign, God did not allow him to actually build the Temple. That task was given to Solomon. The occasion surrounding this verse was the transferal of the ark from Jerusalem to the Temple. The ark was where God had met with Moses. The ark was where God made himself present. The ark was being placed in the Temple where God would be present. Solomon prayed on behalf of Israel, exalting God. Solomon recognized that God could not be contained within the Temple. God does not live on this earth. However, God is present with us. Solomon stated in 1 Kings 8.23 that God was loyal to his servants who obeyed him. Jesus states in John 14.23 that if we obey God, he will come and live in us. Today God lives in his people, the body of Christ, which is his church.

#risingjoy #1-Kings #presence-of-God

HCU book: Always Near

Brad McKinnon sent a release from Heritage Christian University about a new book whose title, description, and author catch the eye. We’ve not read it, but know the author and believe it would be well worth one’s time.

May 2019. Cypress Publications (an Imprint of Heritage Christian University Press). 264 pages. $19.99.

ALWAYS NEAR shares one self-confessed odd Christian’s ongoing efforts to hear and honor God in the events of daily life. Bagents offers personal reflections that process events and observations through the wisdom of Scripture. He invites us to join the adventure of listening for subtle spiritual messages that both bless and challenge. Continue reading

#books, #hcu, #presence-of-god

Please stay here awhile: Judges 13.15

“Manoah said to the Lord’s angel, ‘Please stay here awhile, so we can prepare a young goat for you to eat.’”

Judges 13.15

Man wants to detain God and his representatives. Something in his nature senses his need for the divine presence. If the angel brought good news, what else might he do, how else might he bless his house?

God’s presence with us is his promise, and our prayer for ourselves and others. “… the God of love and peace will be with you” 2 Cor 13.11. It is the focus of all our efforts.

#votd #Judges #presence-of-God

The why of creation

This is part of a chapter out of a book I’m writing, entitled (for now) “Total Transformation.” You might find it to be of use.

Man was created in God’s image, in order to know his person and blessing, Gen 1.26-28. As the only creature to bear the divine stamp, man is able to relate to God. “Man meets and talks with God in the Garden of Eden” Gen 2.15-17 (NIBD). Adam and Even walked with God, Gen 3.8.

Because of their sin, they were expelled from the Garden, but the original intent was for them to choose God’s love, not to spurn it. Scripture mentions that God came to walk with them after they lost that privilege, highlighting even more the preciousness of this gift. Continue reading

#creation, #love, #presence-of-god, #relationship-with-god

Two times only, in two different senses

You may see this elsewhere, but here’s something cool—and of vital importance. The Greek word monē (abode, dwelling place) is used only twice in all the NT: John 14.2 and John 14.23. In the first, Christ prepares for us heavenly dwelling places. So we ought to prepare ourselves so we can be received into them. In the second, God is seeking, today, dwelling places on earth—in the hearts of men. So we ought to prepare ourselves to receive him, and the Lord Jesus, by loving obedience. Only when he takes up his residence in us on earth, will we be able to reside with him in eternity.

#obedience #heaven #presence-of-god

in the presence of God

Exodus 32 chronicles the building of the golden calf made by Aaron when the Israelites began to miss Moses. Their leader seemed to have disappeared, and his second-in-command either did not know the law or did not have the spine to stand up to the people in their error. He made the idol, and according to verse 6, the people “sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.”

Fast forward to chapter 33. The people have been rebuked for their sin, and many were executed. God has withdrawn His presence from the people because He does not want to destroy them. A tradition begins of Moses meeting with God in his tent outside the camp.

And it came about, whenever Moses went out to the tent, that all the people would arise and stand, each at the entrance of his tent, and gaze after Moses until he entered the tent. Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the Lord would speak with Moses. When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would arise and worship, each at the entrance of his tent. (verses 8-10)

Here is an interesting contrast: in the presence of the idol, the people ate, drank, and rose to play. In the presence of Jehovah, the people rose to worship. The point? What is our demeanor when we assemble for worship, and what does that say about our understanding of what is taking place? If we feel no sense of awe at the presence of God, and therefore demonstrate a lack of reverence in the assembly, then perhaps there is some kind of idol inhibiting our communion with the Creator.

Lord, open our eyes in the assembly; remind us that You are in our midst during worship, for only then can we begin to show the reverence You demand.

#aaron, #book-of-exodus, #christianity, #god, #golden-calf, #idolatry, #israelites, #presence-of-god, #reverence, #worship

“In the Presence” OR “From the Presence”?

I’ve been chewing on this a while now and can’t figure it out. I’ve got something mixed-up somewhere. Perhaps one of you can enlighten me.

I’ve suggested before (per my understanding of 2 Thess 1:9) that perhaps the worst aspect of hell could be that the lost will be separated eternally FROM (i.e., away from) the presence of the Lord. I don’t believe we can fully fathom the notion of being separated from God’s goodness in an absolute sense as long as we are here on Earth where all humans (believers or not) continually reap God’s blessings in the material world (sunlight, rain, oxygen, food, etc.).

And then I come to Rev. 14:10 and am having difficulty reconciling the two verses. Both seem to be speaking about hell for the wicked. But, one teaches that it will be “IN the presence” of the Lord and the other seems to teach the opposite (“FROM the presence”).

This thought has occurred to me before when thinking about God’s omnipresence and my view on 2 Thess. 1:9. After Judgment Day, God will not be in “hell” in any sense, will He? Thus, those who reside there will be tormented “from” (away from) His presence (not “in” His presence), right?

Please help me with this if you can.

#hell, #presence-of-god