Posts Tagged ‘God’s presence’

  

“Suddenly…the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified…” (Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭9‬ NLT)

In 1984, Ray Stevens used comic storytelling to frame what occurs when a young adolescent boy catches a squirrel (while visiting his grandmother in Pascagoula, Mississippi), brings it into church, where several self-righteous members – all with sinful secrets to hide – are prominent members … and the squirrel breaks loose from a box the boy has kept it in. As the squirrel wreaks havoc, several members admit to their fellow congregation members their faults, and by song’s end they all make a vow to change! A squirrel-inspired revival! (Watch the video on YouTube! Hilarious!)

I grew up in church. I learned God’s word and worshipped with His people. But then one day, while visiting another church as a teenager, I experienced something different: His presence! I never knew such a thing existed! I saw and heard things that I didn’t understand, making it a little frightening. But just as quickly, I had a realization: If this is God, then it’s okay and is probably something to desire for. And so I did, and it has made all the difference in me. 

God doesn’t need a squirrel to draw you into His presence! What He looks for is a hungry heart. When He finds it, He reaches out with something real and tangible, which should be in every church. Come today and feel His presence for yourself! It will make all the difference! You are loved! 

The LORD is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good.” (Proverbs‬ ‭15‬:‭3‬ NLT)

On April 18, 1924, Francis Leavy, a Chicago firefighter, was washing a large window at the department when he apparently had a premonition: He would die that day. And he did. The next day, as fellow officers were dealing with his death, they noticed a handprint on the window that Leavy had washed, which wasn’t there before. When it was washed again, the handprint, possibly Leavy’s own, remained. Not even chemicals removed it. The handprint remained a mystery until 1944, when the window was broken by a newspaper boy’s wild throw. 

Everyday, God gives us “handprints of His presence” to show us that He’s there and involved with us. It might be a random song, a glimpse of nature, or a call from a friend, but each moment is associated with a feeling, even a brief one, that everything’s going to be okay. Consider it for what it is, your Heavenly Father reminding you that He’s there with you!

As I watched the snow gently fall yesterday, I felt it. When I talked to a friend on the phone yesterday, I felt it. And today, I’ll look again for another “handprint”, knowing that my God loves me and wants me to know it. May you see it too! You are loved!

mike@poyenassemblyofgod.org

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O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water.” (Psalms‬ ‭63‬:‭1‬ NKJV)

According to Healthy Living Plus, America is a very dehydrated nation:
•75% of the population is chronically dehydrated.
•37% of the population has such a weak thirst mechanism that it is often mistaken for hunger.
•Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers, as well as clear up short-term memory loss, not to mention prevention of certain cancers!

Just as our bodies become dehydrated, so does our soul. We are made to be drawn to God, energized by His presence. That is why when we recognize our spiritual thirst, we gravitate to the places where we know we can find it. And the best place to do that should be at Church!

So as you come to Church today, come ready to find God because He’s looking for you. As much as you thirst for God, God does for you as well. He desires to have you near, to place in you every good thing He possesses. If water can prevent bodily destruction, how much more should we care for our soul needs! You are loved today! Come join us!

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Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood.” (Psalms 73:17 NLT)

In Hereford, TX, on 15th St., is the old First Assembly of God Church where my wife and I held our first Senior Pastor position. In the back of the sanctuary is a small balcony, could probably seat 40 people. No matter what I was going through, I could always go up there and feel God’s presence and hear His voice. Even years later during a visit, that place was still sacred to me.

The psalmist was questioning God in our text, wondering how evil people could seem to be blessed. His questioning made him despondent. But when he came into the sanctuary, the one place on earth you should REALLY feel God, he understood the real picture and was at peace again.

There are many things in life that are competing for your attention and most don’t bring peace. Come to church, the place where God dwells most potently among His people, and lay your questions and quandaries at His feet. Life and all of its complexities can be made much simpler by being in the intimate presence of Him who made life! You are loved today! Come join us!
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Are you seeking great things for yourself?” (Jeremiah 45:5 NLT)

Imelda Marcos, widow of the former dictatorial president of the Philippines, is known for many reasons, but none more than her hunger for money and shoes. Today, since returning from exile years ago, she serves as a politician in the Philippines, is the 3rd richest Filipino at $5 billion in net worth, and has a museum that houses her 3,000+ pairs of shoes. In a poverty-ridden nation, she lives in continued excess and extravagance.

In the Christ Life, we must gauge whether we are still desiring more stuff, or are we desiring to be a better person. Some do try to live for God simply to get things from Him, but that account will soon dry up. As much as God loves to bless us and meet our needs, He is more concerned about long-term spiritual health than our immediate desires. A telling sign would be our prayer time: do we spend it just being in His presence or always asking for things?

Learn the value of desiring God’s presence more than His presents! By hungering for the right things the right way, you can ensure that you’ll have both! Stuff will never satisfy, always being replaced with more, but the richness of a true spiritual life is limitless! You are loved today!

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Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left.” (Romans 11:3 NKJV)

Jackie Robinson was an American baseball player who became the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball in the modern era. Robinson broke the baseball color line when the Brooklyn Dodgers started him at first base on April 15, 1947. While there were those supporting him from the sidelines, he had to stand out there alone.

In life, and especially as a Christian in a secular world, we often feel like those in the Bible that we’re alone in the field of faith. And we must be. We must be so alone that we never feel alone, because we are that confident of God’s presence with us at all times. When we draw more comfort from others than God, He allows us to be alone, that we will draw closer to Him.

You need to know today that you are never alone. I pray that you have a support team, especially those from your church, that stand with you. But know that God is with you to whatever end you face together. He will always be there for you! You are loved today!

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Then they went home and prepared spices and ointments to anoint his body. But by the time they were finished the Sabbath had begun, so they rested as required by the law.” (Luke 23:56 NLT)

Easter time is always a hectic time for us Pastors. You worry about whether you’ll get everything done in time. For me, it’s contacting newspapers & advertisement posters, getting the Palm Sunday illustrated message & songs together, coordinating with the neighbor church to raise candy to stuff thousands of eggs, planning the days, securing sites… You get the idea.

When Jesus died, nothing else mattered but getting Him buried with the dignity He didn’t have in His death. But when sunset and the Sabbath beat them, all the women could do was sit. And wait. And think. Life has those moments where it comes screeching to a halt and nothing else matters but just getting into God’s presence.

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. As you plan to go to Church tomorrow, and you should, come ready to set everything else aside for a moment and simply sit. And listen. And relax. Because, Life is not about the hustle of accomplishment, but the drawing near to the Life-Giver! Find your time with Jesus! You are loved!

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