Believing the Promises of God - in His Word

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed… Without weakening in his faith… Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised. ~ Romans 4 [selected 18-21]



Tuesday, February 2, 2010

GOD'S PRESENCE is EVERYTHING


Exodus 33:13-19
God's Presence and Glory
[Moses said]...13 If You are pleased with me, teach me Your ways so I may know You and continue to find favor with You. Remember that this nation is Your people."
14 The LORD replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."
15 Then Moses said to Him, "If Your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that You are pleased with me and with your people unless You go with us?
What else will distinguish me and Your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?"
17 And the LORD said to Moses, "I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name."
18 Then Moses said, "Now show me Your glory."
19 And the LORD said, "I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim My Name, the LORD, in your presence.

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2 Samuel 6:12-15
12 Now King David was told, "The LORD has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God." So David went down and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing....14 David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might, 15 while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets. [all emphasis added]

On Christmas a year ago [2008] I presented my children with this family quilt that my own mother had hand-stitched in 1991. It had been put aside in a closet somewhere and was rarely used or even brought out for any particular occasion. It is bright and colorful. She had made it when living in Arizona so the colors were more Southwest - than Eastern Shore! But there was something about that quilt that I loved. It always reminded me of Joseph's 'coat of many colors'. It also reminded me of the 'blessings of Jacob' when God gave him the new name, Israel and blessed his family line.

I dug out the old quilt for the first time on a hot sunny day back in the summer 2008. It was a Sunday afternoon, after I had come back from my first day of teaching a ladies class in another area church. I changed out of my 'dress' clothes and carried an armful of books, my Bible, and my journal outside. I laid the quilt out on the grass and began to just stare at it for awhile. I spent a peaceful afternoon laying on that quilt in the shade of the large oak trees, reading my Bible, writing in my journal, and in a time of deep prayer. Afterward, as I got up I looked down at the quilt again. In all the years I had that quilt I never realized that it was made up of 12 basic squares - all 12 STARS - yet each star was unique in its design. Immediately I thought again of Jacob and his 12 sons - the 12 tribes of Israel. I was compelled to take pictures of the quilt from every angel and view. I photographed many other items around the yard that day as well.

But only later, when I downloaded the photographs onto the computer a strange thing appeared over each picture of the quilt. It was just a slight haze - like a white mist above the quilt. "So what is she saying," you ask? Was it God showing His presence - His Glory? Maybe. Stay with me here. My God is able [and desires] to show His glory if He so chooses!

I do ask for God to 'show me His glory' quite often. He had done it before and I was learning the many ways that God reveals His glory both through His creation [Romans 1:20] - through His Word - or through prayer. Before you get all hung up on whether this was or was not God's Glory, don't miss the point of this post: HIS PRESENCE!

What are the things that you describe as "blessing" in your life?
Are they 'things' like: a house, a child, a car, a vacation, earthly wealth, a spouse, a grandchild, a scholarship to Harvard, a recognition award? Indeed we can and often ARE blessed by any and all of these things.

Look back at the text in Exodus for a moment and examine the two back to back questions that Moses asks the LORD: "How will anyone know that You are pleased with me and with your people unless You go with us? What else will distinguish me and Your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?" [my emphasis added]

For Moses, there was no greater blessing than God's Presence in his life. From the first day that God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, God's Presence in his life was what He craved, loved and lived for. Even when he wandered in the desert - God was there. God's Presence had been with Moses since before he was born and we all know the story of how his mother hid him in the marsh to protect him from being killed. God was with him every step of the way - yet it was not until God revealed His Presence in the burning bush - that Moses recognized Him as God.

Where was your burning bush? How do you recognize God's Presence in your life?
Once we get a taste of God's presence in our lives - even in the simple most unannounced ways - we are changed forever. There is a longing for more of Him. And nothing - no person - no award - no amount of wealth will ever fill that void except God Himself.

Do you crave Him? Do you love Him so? Do you know that you know that you know - Who God IS? Do you know how much He truly loves you and calls you His Beloved Child?

As we've been studying the life of David in Bible study here on Monday nights, passages from 2 Samuel 6 and 7 came into play just prior to an unexpected arrival. I had told each child/family to keep that family "blessings" quilt for 4 months and then pass it on to the next family and then back to me after it had resided in each home for that time. They were to use it for picnics, the beach, the park, to lay a newborn on in the house or even as a cover on a bed. This past Sunday when we held our good-bye dinner for my oldest daughter and her family who are going to Haiti as full-time missionaries - Becky came over to help me with some last minute preparations before everyone else arrived. When she walked in she was holding a large plastic box with a purple lid. She blurted out, "Mom, I'm so sorry I didn't get this to you sooner - I know it was supposed to come back to you a while ago and I had it here for the last month but I forgot to bring it over..... and.....", at which I smiled from deep within my heart and said back to her, "It's OK - today is the perfect day for its arrival." It was my first day in the "Promised Land" [after wandering in the desert for 40 years! What better gift could God bring my - than a symbol of His Presence? All I could think of was Obed-Edom from our lesson - how that blessing had been in his household when the Ark of God's Presence was there. David first waited... and then rejoiced to bring the 'Ark' [representing God's Holy Presence] back to where it belonged!

ONLY GOD! Only God's timing! Only in GOD'S PRESENCE!

Choosing GREAT JOY in God's Presence,
Stephanie
JESUS ONLY in 2010

13 comments:

Wylie said...

Love this. YES! I crave Him - I'm desperate for Him. I was just preparing this week's Experiencing God lesson & the scripture memory verse is Matthew 22:37-38 ~ "Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind...."

We're studying this week the love relationship God Pursues with us. It's so good. Give God your whole heart & He will put everything else in order. And, yes, He will go with us!!!

Love & hugs to you my precious, prolific friend! :)
Wylie

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

Oh, I just love this post! What a great treasure you have. If you ever come to Louisiana, bring the quilt!! We will sit in His presence and let Him minister to us deeply.

Love you friend - congratulations on your much deserved award.

Beth

Crown of Beauty said...

Dear Stephanie,

I love you post about the presence. THe passages you shared are among the ones I really love.

Yes, like you my life these past days is about the presence.

I love your heart, your passion...the way you share it with us your readers. Your joy is so contagious...

Congratulations on your award. You are truly deserving...

And thank you so much for passing this award on to me... such an honor and privilege. But truly I am humbled to be receiving it...

God alone be honored and glorified in our lives!

Love
Lidj

Patrina said...

This is awesome, Stephanie. He will cause His goodness to pass in front of you! I see what you see above the blanket and in the flowers and grass. I agree with you, It could very well be the presence of the Lord passing in front of you. Like the cross in the sky He gave you twice. I just love it when He gives me these moments of His presence. Thanks for sharing that story with me on my blog. I loved it! Did you read my response to you on my blog?

Also, thanks for your response to the attack against my blog. I feel better knowing that it wasn't just me. I think they are attacking spiritual blogs. It is the enemy. It did disturb me for a day - then I heard the Lord tell me to rest in His peace and move on. I was able to do that - I'm Ok now, but it makes me feel victimized, ya know. I just wanted my readers to be aware.

I am praying for your daughter and family as they embark on their mission in Haiti. God bless them.

A well deserved award! Congratulations.

Hugs,
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Denise Hughes said...

Wow. I was just studying Exodus this morning where the Israelites were wondering around the desert! What timing! I love how your post is so centered on God's Word.

As a quilter, I can totally appreciate the magnificence of gazing at the colors, designs, and intricacies of a quilt. Such beauty emerges from such small pieces when they're stitched together.

Thank you for your inspiring words here.

Pursuing God,
Denise Hughes

Just Be Real said...

Oh this is so ever good for my soul right now. Appreciate your sharing the scripture and commentary. Blessings to you and yours.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I desire God's presence more than anything this world could offer. I've tasted him in his fullness; you're right, nothing else compares.

Love your quilt. Before my grandmother passed away she made each grandchild a quilt. Mine is a bit weathered and weary from years of use, and usually, there is a squabble about who "get" grandma's quilt when we're wrapping ourselves up in front of the tv. And while I try and keep it hidden for preservation's sake, I think grandmother might like the fact that it's getting used and is well appreciated by her family.

I think God is pleased when we hunger for his presence in similar measure! Let's just wear him out, OK?

Thanks for this.

peace~elaine

Yolanda said...

Then Moses said to Him, "If Your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here." verse 15....I never want to go if His Presence is not with me going before me.

Love YOU!

karen hopkins said...

I wake up each morning, and from day one of my fairly short walk with Jesus, I pray a prayer of gratefulness for all he has done in my life, and also a prayer of how Great You are , Lord Jesus - for all You did in Your life.. This posting you have shared touched me deeply as I just sat here, sharing with Jesus how very much I am desperate in my need for His presence in my life.. It is sooo awesome to know that other brothers, and sisters in the Lord know that desperation to sit before our Redeemer, and King. Thanks for sharing such a powerful post, dear friend..
karen
http://www.karensthreadsofhope.blogspot.com

B His Girl said...

I read Ex 33 in my morning reading. same page. His Presence is EVERYTHING! Yes, you were laying out the truth with the blankets. I am with Beth on the blankets. Hanging out with the Lord sounds good! I have been crazy with house stuff and the move. Going to catch up on your posts now. love, B

Jack Foster said...

Wow Steph. Wonderful verses! I must keep my eyes on Him. Great blog! Very encouraging and inspiring!

Edie said...

How timely Stephanie! I'm with Moses in this one. I want His Presence! I want to See Him and I want to Converse with Him.

Much love to you!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I received my precious card today in the mail! It means so very much to me... I cherish it for a long season; especially love the candy, even though I can't eat it! Probably better that way...

peace~elaine