September 19, 2011

Spiritual Disciplines VI: Being In The Presence of The Lord

My Mind Turns to God When Not Diverted By The World

We can nowhere evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with His presence. Hmmm. My thoughts usually drift to a question or pattern of thought that asks, “what should I be studying in the Bible? What can I learn of God today?" If I am not thinking of these things I am thinking of how I can earn my keep as a husband and a father. By God’s grace these two things are beginning to merge as I study the Bible to produce sermons, blog posts and other things for ministry, some of which are affording me a living fiscally. I am clearly not raking in the dough right now but it is enough to encourage me to stay on this path. $100-200 dollars for 30-45 minutes of speaking is actually a good chunk of change. The truth is I suppose I should just learn to be still and meditate on God. My question though is what does “being still” really mean?

My Thoughts Reveal A Heart for God & My Priorities

I believe my intent to stay focused on the Lord is there, perhaps misguided according to the world, but it’s there. I do not know anyone including myself that applies themselves fully on Jesus all day. I believe this is due to our sinful nature as humans and the rotten condition of the flesh. We may not be of this world but we are living in it and it still has its detrimental effects on us. I believe that I consciously seek out God on a routine basis is a benefit to me not a burden. I suppose I could be labeled a “God chaser” but I prefer to be just called Andy.

I Am Aware of His Presence in My Day

I am aware that God is all over my day. It is not often that I need to look real hard to find Him. He makes Himself manifest quite often. Of course it may be that He always been highly visible and it might be that only now I have the correct vision or “God goggles” to be able to see Him as He wishes to be seen. There was a time I never sensed let alone saw His presence. Most of the world would just say I am delusional and fabricating a fantasy world akin to the Greek pantheon. Poor people, their lives must be miserable in its god-forsakeness.

Unexpected Moments Aren't Always Unexpected

Strangely I view it as serendipitous when I am caught off-guard but at the same time…I kind of expect it. I guess based on this statement then… I don’t necessarily believe it is always fully unexpected to encounter "unexpected" blessings in life. I know that God will not always rescue me from suffering or down times in my life but at the same time I do know that there will be times he will be my shield and my advocate full-on. Perhaps I am spoiled in this manner but I expect nothing from God as I know I do not deserve it but I also know that He loves me and my family and I can rest in that thought. He will act according to His will for the eternal benefit of all believers...and that includes me.

God Focus vs World Focus

Most times I understand when God is trying to get my attention. It is in the moments that I get caught up in the sins of the flesh (sarx) where my observational skills diminish. I get overly annoyed with repetitive nonsense from my children or childlike adults that I have repeatedly vocalized displeasure about. In these situations I practice "long-suffering" and it is not easy. God is giving me marginal victory on this area where I have routinely failed under my own attempts. Longsuffering is not a strong point for me. My patience fails on nearly a daily interval. It is also difficult form me to see God trying to get my attention through my kids or my wife. There is a familiarness that breeds complacency (not necessarily contempt). I often ignore what is right in front of me or I “cut my nose off to spite my face”.

I Can Still Hear The "Still Small Voice"

I can still hear His voice. No, I do not mean in a weird "drug fueled" or hippie-type mystic experience way, "Aaaayyyy maaaaan, the dust bunnies under the sofa are talkin' to me maaaaaan"....I mean...when all the blocks in life stack perfectly and all the doors spring open in a certain direction to guide my family and I in the perfect direction. When manifestations of grace are absolutely undeniable. I also sense subtleties when I am in my quiet times and when I am in His word. If I have to pick the most prominent manifestation of God’s presence it would be when I am meditating on His Word.

Going Into the Uncharted Territory of God

I certainly need more quiet time as I have children and family duties that distract me from this depth of devotion. To some extent I would also need to tweek my personality to become more patient in the lulls of spiritual life. When it feels as if God goes silent I need to become more patient and realize these are often times of testing that are going to be like a refiner’s fire. I pray they do not burn me too much and ask God that they are not any more painful than they have to be. We must never underestimate the depth of God. Not only should we search His richness we need also ask Him to be our guide in the search. The stepping off point from the world and ourselves is the entry into the glory of God. As the old saying goes: "Where we end, God begins".

Photo: h.koppdelaney

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