KEY REVELATIONS ABOUT THE PRESENCE OF GOD:
Whilst having a conversation with father (God) one day about his presence, it became clear that I was missing the point. His words (I believe) are in black, my comments are in grey.
Before we dig in further, we need to realise that another translation of the word presence, is the word face. ‘My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek.’ (Psalm 27:8). When we seek his presence, we are really seeking a meeting with God himself, as if face to face. Bill Johnson calls this ministering to God himself. (1)
So here is the revelation:
He said “When I tell you about my presence you think you have understood, but you haven’t. You need to listen more carefully.”
I repented “Please tell me Lord, I repent of misunderstanding…”
First my presence is everywhere.
We understand this biblically – ‘in him we live and move and have our being’ (Acts 17:28). We exist in his creation and he is sovereign, as Psalm 139 declares – ‘Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.’
Second it’s in you.
Again biblically, Acts 2:17 ‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.’ resulting in our ability to hear God’s voice … ‘Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.’
Also ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’ (Colossians 1:27). He is in us by his Holy Spirit. He promised also…
Matthew 28:20 ‘surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
I would expect that most Christians would know or at least heard these first two points fairly well. However, this revelation becomes deeper when we grasp the next few of his points…
Third it becomes manifest when you ask for it to.
Manifest means to become obvious. Often what is described as the presence of God in the context of an experience of the Holy Spirit, is really the manifest presence of God. His presence that was already there has now become obvious. This was a shift in my journey of understanding, we are often calling for a meeting with God, when he is already present.
Jacob expressed this after a God encounter “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” (Genesis 28:16).
Fourth you can live in it all of the time.
A hero of mine, Brother Lawrence, in the book about him ‘the Practice of the presence of God’ is proof of this. He was so aware of God’s presence, that the mundane became worship. The limitation to living in awareness of God’s manifest presence is not his availability, but ours.
Revelation 3:20 ‘Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.’ Jesus is waiting to meet with us, if we will only open the door. He often reminds me of this with a vision of a door, on his side he has removed the handle, there is only one handle and its on my side. My choice. Will I open my heart to him and meet with him or not? This has become a daily pursuit to remain in the awareness of his presence. It is amazing just how distracted I can be from him. More on that in another blog.
The context of this revelation passage is a distracted Laodicean church that has fallen into boasting about their material wealth. He instead counsels them to find real wealth in him. ‘I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich.’ (Revelation 3:18). How much must we take heed of this call as the Church in the west?
Fifth becoming distracted by earthly things robs you of quality time with me, it doesn’t rob you of my presence, it stays, but isn’t seen by you when you look elsewhere.
Following on from the last point. He doesn’t remove his presence from us, he is available to, as we would say, ‘fill us again’. But we are so caught up with other occupations as to miss him completely. When we grasp these (what I believe to be) truths, we realise that the first two more basic points are the most powerful. We do not need a special conference, occasion or location to be soaked by God’s presence, to meet with him in power. We just need availability, expectancy and hunger.
Often, really, this is more accurately about our understanding. Knowing the truth, this moment, can be a moment, where I meet face to face with God. Conferences, special occaisions and what people call ‘thin places’ help us, because they provide us a way to let go of our distractedness and simply meet with God. They provide a context for our expectancy and an opportunity to forget the natural, in favour of the supernatural presence of God.
Its worth noting too, that this is not about straining, striving, or trying to make something happen. When we do this we make it about earning a meeting with God. No, he is already there, this is a gift of his grace and kindness to us. We just need to know the truth.
Sixth becoming manifest allows you to see what already is happening, within you, it enlightens you to my presence which was already there. It means closeness. In you is power enough already, believe and you have access to it.
His presence in us and his presence on us, seem to work together. As a follower of Jesus Christ, it is impossible to be separated from him, we are joined together, our spirit and his Holy Spirit – ‘whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit’ (1 Corinthians 6:17). As his presence becomes manifest or obvious, we become aware of his presence and power in us too.
Here also the word power is introduced. His power is always there also, to heal the sick, to raise the dead, to speak in tongues or prophesy etc. That is why in Mark 16 these signs follow. ‘And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.’(Mark 16:17-18).
The power is already in us, we need only believe, or have faith that it is possible, or in other words, align with the truth of God’s word, the bible, that says it is possible.
Seventh the key, is to understand my availability to you always, never alone. Declare my majesty, breathe in my presence, lift others to see me, delight in me.
This is both the key and the assignment.
Back to point one, he is here. Right where you are now, surrounding you and in you, become aware of this truth, expect for his presence to become obvious, and meet with him face to face. It is to become like breathing.
Our Lord Jesus said ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.’
Soak in him, receive him, you might find it helpful to read my longer article. It’s raining God’s presence – always, everywhere
Hopefully, the teaching and work such as this page will reveal more to you reader of our fathers face, to encounter God through his presence in your lives.
(c) Rev Laurence Brackpool 2018
(1) FACE TO FACE WITH GOD, BILL JOHNSON
SCRIPTURE QUOTATIONS ARE TAKEN FROM THE NIVThis article contains prophecy please weigh it carefully against scripture, and what we know of Jesus. Does it resonate, with the Holy Spirit in you? Is it encouraging? What does it speak into your life?