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.

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!

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.

Confidence in Him

As I continue to seek God in this season of worship – God brought me to the word confidence. I was listening to the song Do It Again by Elevation Worship and suddenly, I am already meditating on the word Confidence.

I ask my soul, where does your confidence lie? Why are you confident with your God? And surely, the Holy Spirit spoke to me in five points why I can put my confidence in Him.

God is Faithful. Throughout the entirety of the Bible, we saw how God showed His faithfulness to His people. His love is new every morning and it doesn’t stop and will never ever stop.

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

We might try to think that when we make mistakes, His love and faithfulness for us will cease. And we know for a fact that is not true – because He will continue to love us.

God does not change. We can have confidence in His faithfulness and in His love because God is God – He does not change.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

The God that created the world can start creating something new in our life. He is the Alpha and the Omega – the beginning and the end. We just have to hand Him the messy things of our life and He can end those stuff and He will create something new in our life.

God’s Word will always come to pass. Whenever there is something not good in my life, I like to meditate Psalm 19:7 ” The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul, the statutes of the Lord are trustworthy”. We will see countless scriptures providing proof that God is not a man that when He says a word, it will not come to pass.  These verses are so good to meditate on why we can be confident about God’s promises to us:

11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

Isn’t our God is amazing – whatever He has called us forth, it shall come to pass. If God promises us that He will provide our daily bread, it shall be done. If God promises us that He will provide comfort, it shall be done. Not one promise of God will come to void. Therefore, we can place confidence in His words.

God’s grace is sufficient for us. Sometimes, when our life is bright and full, we tend to overlook God’s grace. We only seemed to remember His grace when we are feeling low and blue. But God’s grace is always there for us – though we are not worthy, God still gives Himself to us and that is the very definition of grace. I prayed that I will continue to depend on His grace for indeed, whether I am full or in need, His grace is sufficient for me.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

No one can snatch me out of His hand. Isn’t that a wonderful promise? With this promise handy to me, I can always be confident with my God, with my relationship to Him. He will not let anyone snatch me out of His hand. Oh, how lovely is my Lord. I love you, Jesus.

28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:28)

And you know what, God does not only promised us that no one can snatch us out of His hand. Jesus promises us that He will give us eternal life and we will not perish to those who will receive Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. You are an awesome Lord.

Delight

Last Sunday, our pastor shared to us that God told her that she is in to be a season of worship, of singing songs and continue dwelling in His presence. She asked the congregation to join her in this season especially this harvest season. It is true that at most times that we are so caught up with our ministries, planning for church activities, doing God’s work and often than not, we forgot to dwell more in God’s presence.

In today’s meditation, God gave me the word ”Delight” from Psalm 37:4.

Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart. (ESV)

This is one of my favourite verses in the Bible, but truth be told, sometimes too much familiarity breeds complacency. More often, I focused only on the second part, that He will give me the desires of my heart. I always seemed to fall short of the actual delighting in Him. To delight in Him is to make God our utmost delight and pleasure in our life regardless of the circumstances. Many times, we feel the pleasure in our life when we are in plenty or we have a new blessing or when we are newly promoted. I often asked myself whether I still take pleasure in God in other seasons of my life?

While I was reading the whole chapter of Psalm 37, God brought me to four ways to delight in Him:

Trust Him (Psalm 37:3). Last week, God spoke to me about surrender – trusting God means total surrender. We don’t just surrender the good parts of us, we also surrender the bad parts of us. I am still a work-in-progress. Every day, I lift up the things and emotions that I couldn’t control.  To trust in God is to fix our heart on the promises of God for the one that promised is Faithful (Hebrews 10:23).

Commit your way to the Lord is me giving God the right to direct my life (Psalm 37:5). The issue with me is that many times, I struggle and think of ways to solve a problem. Then I will thank the Lord for wisdom. I got it all wrong. God doesn’t want me to struggle, He wants me to surrender everything, even the ideas, solutions to any problem and not to lean on my own understanding. Sometimes when the problem comes, we started to rattle our mind and think of how to do this and that. We rely on our own strength, our own understanding and when we think of a solution, we present it to God. And when it doesn’t work, we asked God why? I am learning this lesson the hard way, to be honest.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him (Psalm 34:7). Quiet your heart, your fight-or-flight stimuli, your brain, your soul in His presence and pray. How do I do this? I meditate on His word. I meditate on the phrases and keep repeating it until my heart and my mind calmed down. These are some of the phrases I meditate upon on – ” You are my Shepherd”, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me”, “His grace is sufficient for me”.

Keep hope alive as long for God to come through you (Psalm 34:7 TPT). Keeping hope alive is fixing our eyes to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, holding fast on our confession of hope without wavering because the one who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23). Surely, the hope put to Jesus will never be put to shame.