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

Posts tagged ‘heaven’

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?

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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