Interactive Flash presentation of the Gospel:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Find Joy in His Presence - Abide in Him alone

Life. Snuffed out. Can’t comprehend. Wish to explain. No words to do so. A sad state to be.

The best is to carry on, press on, persevere, continue, hold tight, hold fast to the hand of God who lifts you up to higher ground, a higher plane than you have been.

A bookmark I have … Jesus is the Song – Of Life, Of Joy, Of Love … leaves me with much to ponder.  Jesus is the Song. Jesus is the Life. Jesus is the Joy. Jesus is the Love. What destroys that song, that life, that joy,  that love …

John 10:10 tells us “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.”

The thief, Satan, Sin steals our joy, kills our body, destroys our soul.

John 10:10 also tells us that Jesus came so that we may have life, and that we may have it more abundantly.

Jesus’ resurrection destroyed Satan.  

Yet for all Jesus did for us, do we have abundant life?  Are we living our lives in total communication with and total obedience to the Lord? I venture to say we are not. It isn't an easy task. There are many followers of Christ who seek the abundant life, but self-things get in the way of nearly every activity that comes along.

“Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)  

 “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; At your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)

“For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)

When we become aware of our disobedience to the Lord, when God’s commandments convict us, we weep and mourn and are ashamed. But if we confess our wrongful deeds, if we turn away from them and turn to the Lord, there is no need to weep or mourn.

Do not weep
Do not mourn
Today is Holy
It is the Lord’s Day.

The word of God has the power to convict – to convert – to revive.

I’m thinking a large percentage of us who are believers need to be revived.  We've been convicted and are continually convicted, IF we are in His word, IF we fellowship daily with Him. And we've been converted. But over time we may become like stale bread. Kind of yucky, no flavor, discolored, ready for the trash bin. We've taken a step or two back, we've listened to the complaints of man and forgotten what God has taught us in His Word, forgotten His commandments. 

“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” (James 1:14-15)

We must seek His voice
We must listen to His voice
We must hear His voice
We must discuss everything with the Lord
We must not harden our hearts
We must be revived

Problems are a given
Every day something new will be on the horizon
Do not keep it to yourself
Do not determine you alone can handle whatever comes
Only God can equip you for every task you encounter.
Only God can keep you from floundering, from drowning.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)

The Lord is with us. We need not fear the evil that hangs out on every street corner, within our minds and even sitting on church pews.  Jesus did defeat Satan through His death and resurrection. There is no reason for us to weep and be sorrowful. With Jesus’ resurrection, our sorrow and anguish at His death is reason for joy. Jesus has overcome the world. Can we do any less? His strength is in us.

Trouble is here and more trouble is coming
But the rejection we receive
and the sorrow we feel
will not last.
We bear our cross every day
Jesus overcame the world,
defeated Satan,
and we can too,
when it is to Him we cling.

Jesus will equip us.
We must not give in
to the evilness that invades
Jesus guaranteed adversity
would be present
He guaranteed He would be with us
every step of the way
If we would only ask.
Ask, seek, believe, trust, rest.

Have we failed to ask
Do we refuse to seek
Do we not really believe
Is trust too hard
Does rest come only when exhausted

“You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away; Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. … For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, Fear not, I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:9b-10, 13)

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

We struggle how to escape it
But are overcome
by the destruction
and the dissension
around us.
Our emotions
run in paths that do not connect
Right, left, forward, backward
We think we know
what we need
But if that is so,
Why do we not seek it?
Perhaps we really don’t know.

In Lamentations 1, it is written,
“How lonely sits the city that was full of people. How like a widow is she.”

Like a widow --
weeps bitterly in the night
none to comfort
finds no rest
desolate, rejected
adversaries rule – become the master
and the lonely one
has become their slave
The enemies prosper

Who is the enemy?
The Lord allows events
to come into our lives.
He guaranteed pain and trials
He has said He will strengthen us
He will help us
He will hold our right hand
He has said, “Fear not!”

Yet we fear.

The enemy --
is it everything and everyone against God?
is it fellow Christians
who think they help when pointing out perceived errors
when they really hinder?
is it family who tire of being there and doing?
is it our thoughts, hidden from all except the Lord?

The enemy prospers
We are cornered on all sides
by our sins
real and imagined

The Lord said He would go before us,
and behind us and would walk beside us.
Yet we feel chained,
held captive by the world
and its turmoils.
We cannot find rest
Our strength vanishes

We are mocked, scorned on every side
Where are you God?
Why do you inflict me so?
You are to be my comforter,
yet I am not comforted
I seek restoration
yet find none

The enemy prevails
I am in distress, troubled
I find no peace
I perceive my end is near.

Come into My presence
He says
Do not dwell
in your own muddied thoughts
Join hearts with fellow believers
It is a blessing to be among them
and with Me
I bring you peace. 
Peace is not found in the world around you
Why do you insist on viewing the world
as having the answer to all your questions
and concerns?

I sought you out.
I called you to be Mine,
to share the gospel to all,
to go wherever I sent you.
I provided fellowship for you --
through and in Me
and through others
I also have called to come.

Your struggles do not define you.
They should not define you.
Reach out – ask for prayer
to overcome the burdens you carry.
Meet regularly --
not just so you can minister to others,
but that you too can be ministered to.

Our failures highlight our need, our dependence on God. We cannot live a mistake-free life. When we think we can, we fall prey to the sin of pride. We open ourselves to another sin – the sin of self-reliance when we refuse to take all of our problems to the Lord and instead think we should be able to deal with them ourselves. God desires us to come to Him for everything, all of our problems, all of our struggles.

It is not just when life seems to flow well that we should thank Him. He deserves our praise all the time. Even with bumps on the road, we should thank Him. The praise we offer up to Him releases us from the negative focus and transfers our focus onto Him. Not easy to do. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. But the things we learn, the growing we do.

The thief – the enemy – Satan – Sin is dangerous, deadly, destructive.

I am a child of God. I don’t have to sin. I have been set free from sin. By God’s grace and through Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, I can experience victory over sin – I can walk in consistent victory over sin.

“And He said, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14)

His Presence…. His Presence brings us joy. His Presence brings us rest. His Presence brings us love. His Presence brings us life. His Presence brings us hope. His Presence brings us peace. Jesus is the Song of all and to find it, we need only abide in His Presence always and at all times.

Jesus says to us in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all you who labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Why do we not come or not return or not stay connected? Why do we not believe and not trust? What has happened to our faith? Why do we harden our hearts, disobey the voice of God? Why do we reject His promises? Why do we now say no when we have been saying yes? Why have we given up?  

"I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)

by Cathy Orrick Luders

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this article. It's a great reminder to abide in God's presence always. Only when we are in His presence can we crush the enemy under our feet! Amen


"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will direct your paths." - Proverbs 3:5-6