Thursday, June 15, 2006

His Presence

Ps.27:4 - One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.
What we DO, is what we BELIEVE; everything else is religious talk. I watched a religious TV show several months ago that dealt with reaching homosexuals for Jesus Christ. On the show was a former homosexual who now is a servant of Jesus Christ and has a wife, children, and is the founder of an organization that reaches the gay community. Although he still had some effeminate mannerisms, he spoke with the unmistakable anointing of a preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Perhaps the most poignant moment came when he was asked how he walked in victory and where he got the strength to avoid relapses. His immediate reply was,"The strength is in HIS presence". What was he saying? He further expounded,"The deeper into HIS presence I get, the greater the strength there is to overcome any strongholds and sin".
Now there is an enormous difference in being aware of His presence, and being IN His presence. You can be aware of His presence and still live according to your own fleshly desires. We all have from time to time been confronted with a situation in which we had to choose between our desires and God's will. All of us have sometimes made the wrong choice while being aware of God's presence. These were not the times when we neither were aware or cared about God's presence, we've all had too many of those. No, these were times when we were definitely aware of His presence and did not find the strength to overcome.
It takes more than being aware of His presence, it takes being IN His presence. You and I can wander about the outer court and smell the incense that escapes from the Holy Place. We can even be aware that God's presence is just a few feet from us, but to be in His presence will require a sacred journey that has a God ordained chronology that cannot be altered. Metaphorically speaking, of course, no one can lift one of the three outer coverings and enter the Holy of Holies. We must proceed through the parted veil.
After, and only after, you have been through the Brazen Altar, you can now wash yourself at the Brazen Laver. There you can confess your sin and receive the forgiveness and cleansing from all unrighteousness. You are now ready to enter into the Holy Place. Approach the Table of Shewbread and consume the Word. Not just a nibbling as if you really weren't hungry, but a consistent and ravenous eating produced by an insatiable appetite that comes from living by "every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God".
Look across the room and see the Golden Candlestick. You see, the Word has changed, is changing, and will continue to change you into a reflection of Jesus' exhortation that,"You are the light of the world". The Holy Spirit has taken the Word of God within you and has ignited it to create an unmistakable light in a dark world. People may now ask,"What is the reason for the hope in you?".
Now approach the Altar of Incense, the last piece of furniture in the Holy Place. Even though the burning incense changes the aroma in the Holy Place, its upward destination is definitely headed into the Holy of Holies. The Word teaches us that the incense represents prayer. These are not "Polly want a cracker" prayers, these are broken, seeking, and travailing prayers that seek the heart of God Himself. They beg God to capture me, use me, take me, and allow me to see your face. We all may sing "Open the eyes of my heart, Lord", but it will take more than singing to enter into a presence that strips you of everything. You see, "No man has seen God and lived". All who wish to enter into His Sacred presence must die.
How long did it take our Blessed Lord and Savior to die? Six agonizing hours. How arrogant are we to think, if we even give it a thought, that we can die at a moment's notice and experience the fellowship of His sufferings? A two-minute while driving prayer. A five minute reading of a devotional. A ten minute reading of a religious publication while in the bathroom. Listening to Christian CDs. No, it must be an incredibly rewarding path that seeks and seeks and seeks His presence. Narrow is the path that leads to eternal life, but even more narrow is the path that leads into His Very Presence. Check your schedule for today, this week. Is His name carefully given special appointments that by an outsiders account would overwhelmingly show His preeminence in your life? Remember, spending time with Him is more important than anything congress, Bill Gates, or the United Nations will ever do. People call - work calls - meetings call - children call - newspapers call - TV calls .....but HE calls...

He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit says...Come! PTL-Rick

1 comment:

Mike Ratliff said...

Well said Rick! To attain this presence requires our death though. We must be DEAD to self and divorced from the world. Oh, we get tastes of it from time to time as we grow in grace, but until we surrender we are only in the outer courts looking in. The way of the cross is hard and few find it, but those who do are eternally changed and have the ability to remain attached to the vine as the Father prunes away all that hinders our fruitfulness in the Kingdom.

In Christ

Mike Ratliff