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I Love Your Presence
I Love Your Grace -- by Rick Founds
I love Your grace, I love Your mercy. I love the way You help me when I call.
I love Your truth, I love the power of Your name.
But You know I love Your presence most of all. (repeat)
My soul takes refuge in the shadow of Your wings.
Close to You is where I want to be.
You are my strength, You are my God, You are my King.
And all I want is what You want for me.
(Repeat first part)
But You know I love Your presence most of all.
This started with a word the Lord gave me for the Friday night prayer meeting. We had just had an unusually intimate time with Him. The word was short, "My children, I love to come where My Presence is appreciated. I know you love My Presence and so I love being here with you." I knew it was the word of the Lord, but I began to have doubts immediately. So I asked the Lord, "Lord, did I just make that up? Am I assigning human traits to You (anthropomorphism -- giving human traits to something that is not human)? Please show me a scripture if this is true of You."
I knew that as humans we love those who love us, we like to spend time with those who like to spend time with us and shy away from those who reject us. Was God like this? Immediately, He took my mind to one of the scriptures below, James 4.8. I knew then, that this was indeed a true word. I searched out some references and included some definitions.
Genesis 28.16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it." 17 He was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven." How often has this been true of me? May it never be so again! T. S. Elliott is quoted as saying, “Every bush is ablaze with the glory of God, but most of us sit around eating blackberries.” We need to train ourselves to be aware of His presence.
2 Chron. 15.2 And he went out to meet Asa, and said to him: "Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. Seek: to inquire, require, search, to resort to, frequent (a place), (tread a place), to consult, demand, to investigate, to ask for, to practice, study, follow, care for. This promise of God’s presence is like most of the others, it’s conditional upon something we do.
Ps. 22.3 But You are holy, O You that inhabit the praises of Israel. Inhabit - in, tarry, continue, place, still, taken, to remain, stay, have one’s abode, to set, place, to cause to sit, to cause to abide, set, to cause (cities) to be inhabited, to marry (give an dwelling to), to be inhabited, to make to dwell. It seems to me that many praise Him, but few are the ones who recognize and take time to enjoy His manifest presence.
Ps. 100.4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Ps.99.5 Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy. You may be tired of hearing me quote these verses, but they illustrate a point that fits here. The degree of closeness to the Lord grows from thanks, to praise, to worship.
Psalms 34:18 The LORD is near to them that are of a broken heart; and saves such as are of a contrite spirit. Broken – destroyed, hurt, torn, break in pieces, break in or down, rend violently, wreck, quench, rupture, be maimed, be crippled, be wrecked, be crushed, to cause to break out, bring to the birth, be shattered.
Ps. 40:1 I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. Wait: gather, hope, expect, look eagerly for, linger for, to collect, bind together. Inclined: stretch out, turn aside, decline, bow down, spread, still, wrest, outstretched, carried aside, offer, pitch (tent), bend down, to hold out, extend (fig.) influence.
Ps. 145.18 The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. Call: to read, proclaim, name guests, invite, bid, preach, recite, utter a loud sound, cry (for help), to summon, commission, appoint, be chosen.
Is. 55:6 Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. This verse seems to speak of timing. We often think that the Lord is always available equally. This seems to go against that thought. We need to be sensitive to Holy Spirit. When God is near, we need to take advantage of it and not put it off to a time more convenient to us. This fits with this theme. If we want God, we won’t put Him off, but will draw close when He wants us to. This implies waiting on Him when our schedules would demand that we leave, move on, do something else on our schedule.
Jer. 13:11 'For as the waistband clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole household of Israel and the whole household of Judah cling to Me,' declares the LORD, 'that they might be for Me a people, for renown, for praise and for glory; but they did not listen.' Cling (KJV -- cleave) to: follow hard, overtake, stick, keep fast, …abide, pursue, stay, follow or keep close, stick to or with, catch, to be joined together.
Jer. 29:12 'Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. The condition here is a little scary – when you search for me with all your heart. That is a tall order!
Zech. 1.3 Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: "Return to Me," says the Lord of hosts, "and I will return to you," says the Lord of hosts. Return: answer, recover, go, bring or come back (to mind), repent, refresh, repair (fig), relinquish, report to, answer, turn toward, to show a turning away, be restored.
Mt. 18.20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. It seems to me that many fellowship together, but few are the ones who recognize and take time to enjoy His manifest presence in the midst of them. There is a unique opportunity to enjoy the Lord's presence when our brothers and sisters are present. Do we just sit around eating or playing games, or do we take advantage of His presence?
James 4.8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Draw near: To be at hand, to bring or to come near, to join one thing to another, to approach.
Rev. 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man shall hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. I have been in meetings, I don’t know about you, where Jesus was at the door knocking, but no one let Him in!
Ps. 114.7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob. Tremble -- formed, calve, grieved, wounded, shake, fear, travail, be in anguish, be pained, to twist, whirl about, to dance, to writhe (in travail with), to be made to writhe, be made to bear, to be brought forth, to be born, whirling, suffering torture, to wait longingly or anxiously, to be distressed
Is. 26.17 As a woman with child and about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pain, so were we in your presence, O LORD.
Deuteronomy 23:14 For the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you, and to give up your enemies before you; therefore shall your camp be holy: that he may see no unclean thing in you, and turn away from you.
Psalms 16:8. I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. 11 You will show me the path of life: in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Look at what God has in store for us in His presence!
Isaiah 41:10. Fear you not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; yea, I will help you; yea, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness. 13 For I the LORD your God will hold your right hand, saying to you, Fear not; I will help you.
Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you: when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon you.
Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God in the midst of you is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over you with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over you with singing.
John 15.4 Abide in Me and I will abide in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me he can do nothing. Abide: To remain, dwell, tarry, endure, in reference to place: to sojourn, not to depart, to continue to be present, to be held, kept, continually, in reference to time: not to perish, to last, in reference to state or condition: to remain as one, to wait for, await one. Here we realize that apart from God’s presence, nothing of value can come from us.
Rom. 8.11 But if the Spirit of him that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he that raised Christ from the dead shall also give life to your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you
Heb. 11.6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
When Don Crum was here last, he shared two illustrations that have stuck with me: 1. Don was in an exclusive restaurant in India at the insistence of his host. There was a waiter assigned to him to make sure his every wish was fulfilled. He didn’t do the waiting himself. His job was to know Don's wishes so well, that he could fulfill them without a word. The Lord revealed to Don that this waiter was showing him what it meant to wait on the Lord. The waiter soon knew exactly how Don wanted everything and was consumed with taking care of it all. 2. Don has had the privilege of ministering to kings in some of the countries he has ministered in. We also get a glimpse of how kings are to be treated in the book of Esther. When you are granted permission to come before a king, you don't just come and go as you please. Once you are allowed to enter the king's presence, you don't just state your business and leave. You leave just as you were allowed in, by the king's permission only.
Bob Sorge, in The Secrets of the Secret Place says God has turned around the saying, "Don't just stand there, do something" to "Don't just do something, stand there"! God has called him to wait in His presence.
How long has it been since you were _____________ (fill in the blank -- reading or studying the word, praying, worshiping…) so intently, enjoying it so much, you lost track of time?
I have been convicted that I need to begin asking God -- how was the __________ (fill in the blank -- meeting, quiet time, etc.) for You, Lord? As a Christian, our goal is to please our Master. Imagine if a husband's goal is to please his wife, so he brings her chocolate and roses every week for ten years. But if, as it turns out, she hates chocolate and is allergic to roses, something is wrong with this picture! How much more is this true with our Daddy? Is He pleased with what we offer? What does He really want? I have been a Christian for a long time (36 years). It is easy for me to go through the motions and not be real, not be intimate with my God. Am I offering Him what He really wants?
Is our agenda -- personal or corporately as a church or in meetings -- designed to keep God out? When God's manifest presence is in our midst, do we stop and enjoy it. Do we wait on Him to discover what He wants? Or do we rush off, scaring off the Dove? Holy Spirit is a gentleman. He can be grieved and quenched. We can ignore God, moving on to what is next, or we can choose to interact with Holy Spirit. What will be our choice today, tomorrow, next week?