In His Presence

inhispresence

I had an opportunity last Sunday to share some insights of God’s manifest presence at one church in Cavite, Philippines. The lessons and insights were based on my encounter with the Lord in July 2018 and Exodus 33.

Knowing that God is always present and experiencing God’s presence is not the same thing. Manifest presence of God is a tangible, clear or obvious experience of God in a person’s mind or eye.

1. We should crave God’s presence in our lives. Moses craved for God’s presence in his life.

Exodus 3 – Moses had an encounter and experience God himself in the form of a burning bush. Then in Exodus 13 – When the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, God’s manifested His presence as a pillar of cloud by day to guide them and as a pillar of fire to give them light so that they could travel day and night. In verse 22 it says, neither the pillar of cloud by day or pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
Exodus 33 happened after the Israelite asked Aaron to make them a golden calf while Moses was at the mountain of the Lord. Because of Israelite’s sin, God told them that He will send his angel to go with them.

Our sin causes us not to experience the manifest presence of God. Sin causes us not to hear from God. God is a Holy God. But Moses is audacious enough to say to the Lord that if God will not personally go with them, it is better for them not to leave the place.
Then again, still in Exodus 33:18 – Moses asked for God’s glory. Moses kept on craving for God’s presence and glory in his life.

We should be like Moses – crave for God’s manifest presence in our lives and surely, in God’s own bidding and perfect time, He will surely, surely give that desire of your heart.

2. Manifest presence of God causes us to repent from our sins. God’s manifest presence causes us to see who truly God is. When the Israelites learned that the Lord will not go with them, in verse 4, the Israelites mourned and stopped wearing adornment and fine clothes.

But do you know what amazes me with the manifest presence of the Lord? The manifest presence of the Lord purifies us. In Isaiah 6:6-7, Isaiah experienced the Lord’s purifying presence when one the seraphim put coal on Isaiah’s mouth and declared that his sin was completely atoned and forgiven. Manifest presence of God causes us to repent from our sins. God’s manifest presence causes us to see who truly God is and God’s manifest presence purifies us.

3. Manifest presence of God causes us to worship God. Moses has this heart of worship. Moses craved for the Lord’s presence in everything he does. It was a practice for him to always go into the Tent of Meeting.

Moses has the habit of meeting God. In verse 8-10 of Chapter 33, when the people saw the pillar of cloud which is the manifest presence of the Lord, they stand and bow down in front of their own tents. Experiencing God’s presence causes us to see who God is and because of that glory of His manifest presence, nothing and no one will be able to stop us from worshipping God.

Manifest presence of God causes us to truly worship Him for who He really is.

4. Goodness, mercy and compassion are evidence of the Lord’s manifest presence. Verse 18 – Moses again asked for the glorious presence of the Lord. Moses kept asking God for the affirmation that indeed His presence will go before him and the people of Israel. He wants more and more and more of God’s presence. In our lives, let us desire to be like Moses, to be bold enough to ask God, I want more of your presence. I want more of your favour. And surely, God will not disappoint us. He didn’t disappoint Moses before and God does not change. The more we ask for His presence, the more He will give. And where God’s presence is, there is a fullness of joy.

When Jesus came as Incarnate God (God’s manifest presence), wherever He is, there is healing, there is mercy and forgiveness, there is compassion.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.                 2 Cor 3:17 (NIV)

The manifest presence of the Lord frees us from the things that we can’t control, the situations we can’t change, to the addictions we can’t turn back. The manifest presence of the Lord allows us to see that God is good; He is faithful and He is our loving God.

Little Drummer Boy

I was like a drummer boy in the song. I gave and receive gifts from other people. But that drummer boy is way better than me. He was able to sing a song for Him – a song known by most people. But here am I thinking, what could I have done to give him something on His birthday. But I can never out give the greatest giver of all – God the Father who gave His Son for me to have an everlasting life. I can easily say Lord take my life this is yours, but there are times am taking my life back. But the good of it, God is generous to lend me back my life until I learned that important lesson. God is patient for me to say back again “Lord take my life this is yours”.

** This reflection was originally posted exactly four years ago – Dec 25, 2014 **

Glory To God The Highest Praise

Glory to God in the highest.

When Jesus was born, the angels showed the shepherd His majesty by declaring His glory in the heaven. The star, the angels are all praising God the Father for sending His Son to bring joy, peace and justice to earth. Indeed, the King who left the heavens to be with us deserves our best praise. This season, amidst the shopping rush and gift giving, let us not forget the Ultimate Giver and give thanks for the Greatest Gift Ever.

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Luke 2:14 NIV

Prayer: Glory to you Oh Abba Father for you have kept your covenant that Your Son Jesus Christ will bring forth peace and reconciliation with you. Indeed, glory to you and the triune God all the highest praise that you deserved! Amen.

Good News

I just find it amazing that every references of Jesus’ birth resulted in causing great joy. One of my favorite verse about Christmas in Matthew said that when the three kings saw the star they were filled with joy. Then again here in Luke 2:10, the angel delivered the good news that a Savior has been born to us, He will be the Messiah and the Lord. And this great news will cause great joy for all the people. May the true joy of Christmas be upon us all this holiday season.

Star – A Christmas Symbol

Can you feel that soon it will be Christmas? Few more days and the most anticipated day of the year will be here soon!

People may already already have a calendar when Jesus was born; to us, our guide to Christmas is our calendar; but to them, despite having the calendar that time, their guide to Jesus was the star. Christmas season is everybody’s favorite season – there are so much cheer and love and kindness.

Matt 2:10 is my favorite Christmas verse in the Holy Bible and it says:

”When they saw the star, they were filled with joy” – NLT

I find it amazing for God to use a special star to guide the kings to Jesus. As Christmas approaches, I pray that I will be like that star shining for Jesus for all the world to see!

Thank God for Lifegroups

I attended the first of many Christmas parties to come this December. And as the month of December unfolds, what a way to celebrate it but none other than having fun and laughter with my spiritual family. We sang songs to one another, dance, exchanged gifts and eat to our tummy’s contentment.

I thank God for the gift of fellowship and the fruit of the Holy Spirit which is love and patience that I always see manifested in our life group. I pray to God that may our small group be an inspiration for other Christians do not neglect the fellowship with one another.

Merry Christmas!

Focus

Last week, while washing the dishes, God spoke to me to change my focus. I was like ”God did you really spoke to me?”. So when I went back to my room, I seek God again and He said again ”Change your focus. Focus on Jesus’ love”.

I know that God spoke to me but sometimes, we asked for more confirmation. And God was good! He confirmed His words for me through the sermon of our church pastor. In the sermon, I got a confirmation to focus on Jesus – on His persona, His integrity and character. I have to stop magnifying and overthink of the things I couldn’t control or on the what-ifs.

To focus on Jesus means to fix our thoughts to Jesus (Hebrews 3:1) whom we acknowledge and embrace as our High Priest.

To fix our thoughts on Jesus means to meditate on His persona; the incarnate God. Sometimes our thoughts have been focusing on our difficulties, problems, trials and sufferings. But when we focus our thoughts on Jesus, God will slowly reveal that all of the things we experienced as humans has been experienced by God. I remember reading an online article before and Jesus already knew that He would rise up Lazarus. But still, in the Bible, it was recorded that Jesus wept (John 11:35). This is to show that all the emotions raging in us, the things that stirred up our hearts – all of them have been experienced by Jesus. If I am lonely right now, Jesus knew how to be lonely. If I got rejected, Jesus knew the feeling of rejection.

To fix our thoughts on Jesus means to focus on His integrity. When He promised, He will surely do it. Jesus is not a son of man, His words are flawless – His words are perfect in every way. His words lead us to the truth, it is upright (Psalm 19:7).

To fix our thoughts on Jesus is to fix on His character – to fix our eyes to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith. Jesus knew that He would die on the calvary soon – but the joy set before Him of us being reconciled to the Father was enough to endure the sufferings in the calvary. Jesus gave birth to our faith based on what He did on the cross. Therefore, we can focus on the joy of what lies ahead of us.