"Count it all joy when you fall into various trials."

Posts tagged ‘Abba’

Is the Presence of God Absent?

We walked into the church hopeful.  We had looked for a long time and we were getting discouraged.  Within a short time we knew we had hit the ‘religion’ jackpot.  There was an active ‘amen’ corner.   The lady that sang the solo had no talent and was chosen for her hair style and lack of make-up.  The reverend was very loud and pointed an accusing finger at the congregation who seemed to be used to the berating.  He talked of the devil and condemned each of us to our own private corner of hell UNLESS we repented from our sin.  I could think of no reason to repent but only had a desire to flee.  If this was ‘church,’ we wanted no part in it!  We quickly delivered ourselves outside to the fresh air and blue sky.  It was not our first disappointment and would not be our last.

It must grieve God’s Father heart that we can be satisfied to sit under this oppression and call it Christian.  Being abused every Sunday morning by a leader who has never even have had an encounter with the Living God.  There is a good chance that s/he is not even a part of God’s family.  This person is what the Bible calls a ‘hireling,’ not a shepherd.  He found a career and used his public speaking skills to try to scare people out of hell, but I think he may just have succeeded in convincing them that if this was what church was about, they wanted no part of it.

Other leaders may not be so overt, but they are all about psychology, or they are a friendly social club that only teaches the easy parts of the Bible  There are so many ways that the church has been infiltrated by the devil and the world.

When we were first brought into the family of God, we were zealous and accepted everything we encountered as coming from Heaven.  After several woundings and our son walking away in disgust, we realized that there must be more to the church thing than what we had first thought.

So, we continued our search to find a place where the Spirit of God actually showed up when we came together.  We love the Lord and spent time with Him on a regular basis.  We really did come into His Presence from time-to-time, but it seemed that the more we hung around certain churches, the less we encountered Him.  Finally we gave up and stayed home.  This was really not a solution either.  At home, we began to drift.  I started reading Christian Fiction instead of the Bible – a voyeur into the lives of people who actually seemed to get it.  My husband just pulled in and his wounds isolated him.  Every so often, I would venture into another ‘church.’  If I could persuade him to come, he would give me a list of why everything was wrong, and he was right!

But I was starved for fellowship – the kind the Bible speaks of – koininea – a coming together in unity and oneness.  Jesus prayed that we would be one as He and the Father were One.  I wanted that and I wanted it with my husband.

I attended a small 7:00 AM fellowship in my small town.  There was a young man there that changed before my eyes.  He went from being a good denominational man to a radiant expression of the Presence of God.  He kept inviting me to come to a small church he attended.  He assurred me it was different.  I was intrigued.

When I went, it was definitely different – totally different from church as usual.  The leader claimed to walk and talk with God on a daily basis and taught the Word of God with authority.  Not completely convinced, I went several times before I asked hubby to come with me.  He came but not with a happy heart.  I could tell he was impressed but sitting for a long time is hard on him and the guy could talk!  After two and a half hours, the meeting broke up.  My dear man told me that I should go to this fellowship, but it wasn’t for him.

So with his blessing, I continued to go.  I changed so much that he knew something was up.  One day, he decided it was time to visit with the leader and he found a man-of-God who not only affirmed him but drew him into a friendship.

We began to attend as a couple.  God has done amazing things in our lives in the last six or seven months.  Now we sit through sermons that can last much longer than two hours and still be hungry for more.  We are learning to enter into and abide in the Presence of God.  He is not just Almighty God to us anymore; He is now our Papa – Abba – Father God.  He loves us and we know it.  We love Him because of it.

This fellowship has become our family.  We are now involved in going to the streets to invite people into His Presence.  It has changed our lives forever.

If your church doesn’t have the Presence of Father God in their services and if it doesn’t show in the lives of those who attend, find a place where God is present.  It makes all the difference.

Is your church abiding in His Presence.  Are you?

I Am a Child of God

Very intelligent, Troy lived in his head.  He felt that if he couldn’t figure it out, then it wasn’t real.  Faith?  He scoffed at it.  He didn’t need it.  He had it all together.  He loved research and his job.  He worked with concepts and could take an idea from beginning to end.  His mind worked like a computer.  He could win any argument and found few people that could provide a challenge to his conclusions and even fewer who were able to get him to re-work a solution.

Troy’s wife, Vera, was exasperated with him.  Even in questions of raising the children, he knew better than anyone else.  Their boys were entering the teen years and she was seeing them struggling with never being heard.  Their own creativity was stifled by his “father knows best” attitude.

Because of his increasing narcissism, he was no longer tender with her.  She called an attorney.  “He talks and talks and feels he is unimpeachable,” she told the divorce attorney.  “I want to be able to have an opinion and I want the children to develop their own ideas.”

When she announced her intentions to Troy, he exploded.  “I don’t understand.  We have just recently gotten out of debt.  The kids are only going to be here for a few more years.  We have it all.”  But Vera was done and she made it clear.

After leaving, she felt like she was lower than low.  She had no sense of self-worth and began to look for a new love with purpose.  She signed up for several internet sites and had a few ‘dates’ with men who had failed in their own marriages and each had a different set of issues than Troy.  But she was not interested in multiplying her problems.  She became increasingly isolated.

Her close friend, Lizzie, had changed so much recently that at times, Vera was puzzled by her.  She talked about Jesus as her new best friend and big brother.  It puzzled her.  Lizzie kept inviting her to come to a meeting of people that she called her new family.  Vera demurred.  She didn’t need to get involved with a bunch of Jesus ‘freaks” anymore than she needed a man in her life with issues.

Some of Troy’s judgemental, opinionated ways had rubbed off on her especially as it concerned religion.  She didn’t want to be weak and felt that moving in this direction would only add to her problems.

Lizzie didn’t push, but she was so different, in a good way, that Vera was drawn to spend more time with her.  Lizzie talked about something that she called the power of God.  Vera didn’t believe in God but if there was one, it would sure be nice if He had some power.

Eventually, the kids began to get out of control and she had no one to turn to.  Lizzie convinced Vera to meet with her Pastor.  She was really scared but when she met Sam, she liked him.  He had an easy smile and an engaging manner.  He didn’t tell her what to do and listened to her in a way no man had ever done.  He had a way of speaking into her life that felt like healing to her soul.  She could feel the stress fall away.  In the meeting, she found herself calling on the name of Jesus with her whole heart and faith filled her with hope.

But as in all stories, when things get better, something happens that rocks you.  For Vera, the doctor found a lump in her breast and they diagnosed it as cancer.  She fell apart.  One Tuesday night at the Fellowship Meeting, she asked for prayer.  The power of God fell on her in a way that shocked her.  She was laying on the floor.  She didn’t remember going down.  When she got up, she touched her breast and found that the lump was gone.  The doc confirmed the healing at her next appointment.

Vera had never before had an experience of the power of God.  She wasn’t expecting it.  Such peace and joy.  Everything changed.   Even the ways she was speaking to her boys was different and they were responding.

There is so much more to this story and it will go on for years .  There will be many chapters and many changes.  Vera will grow in the Lord and she will make mistakes.  The righteous fall seven times, but they get up.  The progressions are steady and she will learn to move from her soul life to Spirit-life.  She will get to know the great Almighty God and be privileged to call Him, Abba – Papa.

Father isn’t mad at her because she is divorced, or because she thought she didn’t need Him.  His grace embraces her and as she receives it, she changes.  She is discovering that she is from another place.  This world is not her home.  She is an alien.  Her citizenship is now in heaven.  Her new job title is  ambassador of heaven.  Of course, she doesn’t find this out all at once.

Her dear friend, Lizzie, introduced her to a new family and a new home.  Her pastor, Sam, is her mentor and trusted friend.  She has a purpose and a future.

Confirming Scriptures:

2 Corinthians 12:9
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

Jeremiah 29:11
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
11 For I know the plans that I [a]have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Malachi 2:10
[ Sin in the Family ] “Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers?

Ephesians 3:16-19 – 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.  20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 1:19  19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.

Romans 8:11
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

1 John 1:3
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

In His Presence . . .

As I pulled up to the entrance to the park, I rolled down my window and inhaled the fresh air.  The water rushed over the old dam with beauty reminiscent of Niagara and an awesome sound.  Further on, the lake glistened in the sunshine and I could feel the stress falling away. Water has always had a soothing effect on me. When I am stressed, I even go there in my head and listen to the sound of the babbling brook as it flows over the rocks. It has a great ability to heal and refresh my soul.

Today, I am needing to pull into my spirit and get back in touch with my Heavenly Father. But then I need to do that every day, it’s just that some days it is more urgent than others. I am so glad that He is always available.

All this got me to thinking. Does Father need us to get in touch with Him? The Apostle Paul tells us that He doesn’t ‘need anything’ – so why did He send Jesus to redeem us. He is Self-existent, Omnipotent, and the Creator of the whole world. What does He need with me? Or you?

Then I remembered that He wants us to be His family and to call Him, Abba, ( Daddy.) He loves me and He loves you. He is not angry with us but He wants you and me – ALL of you and ALL of me.

This really boggles the mind. The great God of the universe – who is above the earth so far that to the human eye earth looks like a tiny dot of light – nothing more. If we were positioned in the same way He is in our natural state, we are not even visible. It is a mere speck of dust. And if earth is a speck of dust, then we are even smaller than a dust mite and on top of that, we are very temporary on this planet.

The Psalmist asked, “What is man that you are mindful of him?” And then goes on to say, “You (Father) made us a little lower than God (Himself) and crowned us with glory and majesty. You made us to rule over the works of Your hands and put everything under our feet.”

Really? Why do we live so far below our privilege. How come we can we just reach out when we are in trouble? Why is it that we don’t take the time to sit with Him every day and rejoice in His love and Presence? How can we not know that He wants us to be His family. He wants us to call Him Dad!

What are we doing? Papa, forgive us. Are we so’ dumbed down’ by the cares of the world and our busy-ness that we have no conception of Who He is and who we are.

I challenge you and I challenge me to wake up! Get to know Dad. He longs to spend time with you and me. He is an individual God and loves us each individually. We cannot be ‘grandfathered’ in. Will you take time to find your way into His Presence today? I will.

Related Scriptures:

Acts 17:25
. . .nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things;

Psalm 8:3-6
(NASB)
3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
4 What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
5 Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!
6 You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,

Galatians 4:4-7
But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent his Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that he might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law. Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage. You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, “Papa! Father!” Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance.

Matt 11: 25-30

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. 27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Ezekiel 43:2
. . .and behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the way of the east. And His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory.

Revelation 1:15
His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.

Aside

A Hiding Place

A Hiding Place

Upon arriving at the farm, I would run up and hug my Grandmother, turn and go through the gate and around the back of the house.  I would run up the hill and through the meadow until I arrived at the deep canyon the small cold spring had cut through the sandy hills.  A hush fell on my soul as I entered.  A cathedral-like atmosphere surrounded me.  I followed the shade dappled path that had been worn by regular use.  I would slow as I approached the old tree that had up-ended and made a bridge from one side of the canyon to the other over the spring.  The quiet was filled with the sound of happy water and bird calls.  Gingerly, I would climb out onto the old tree and sit, soaking up the peacefulness of my hiding place.  My teenage heart would quiet and here I would sit and think wonderful thoughts.  I would sing and then be silent.  It was here I pondered the future with visions and dreams.  It was heaven.

Many decades later, I still go into the secret place.  Upon rising from sleep, I step into the everlasting arms of my Heavenly Father and rest in His Presence.  I listen and talk.  Here in my secret place, I am under His shadow.  I am at home.  I delight in being with Him and He is  happy to be with me.  It is a place of rejuvenation and preparation.  As the day dawns and the light brightens, I take each of my loved ones before the throne.  After the briefing from Abba (Papa), I move into the day.  He is my life and I am His child.

It is the place of encounter and love.  It is Heaven.

Any place can be a secret place.  It can be in the middle of a crowd or in a busy airport.  You quietly drop into your spirit and find yourself in the presence of the Lord.

Related sites:

url:  https://joyousbells.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/a-hiding-place/

http://www.swimlifelessons.wordpress.com

http://www.pliableheart.wordpress.com

Scripture references:

Psalm 27:5
For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock.

Psalm 31:20
You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man; You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues.

Psalm 91:1
[ Security of the One Who Trusts in the LORD. ] He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

Psalm 63:7
For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.

Psalm 57:1  Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, For my soul takes refuge in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge Until destruction passes by.

Psalm 36:7
How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.

Psalm 32:7
You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.

Psalm 119:114
You are my hiding place and my shield; I wait for Your word.

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