Monday, September 7, 2009

Thou Remainest (Heb. 1:11)

I love getting together with my brothers and sisters in Christ. We meet on Sunday mornings, and it seems we are lingering later and later each week. No one really wants to leave. As I have heard said, being with each other to remember Christ and worship Him is the closest thing to heaven that we can experience here on earth.

Yesterday was no exception. We all shared; our struggles, our convictions, our joy in knowing that God's grace is there for each of us, every moment. We shared words of life and encouragement, and sat in awe of how God is working amongst us, giving us such a love for each other, and a desire to know Him more and more.

Every week I am challenged. Every week I am edified. Every week I come away with a renewed confidence in God's promises, with my heart stirred up afresh. Oh how I want to stay in that place of happy submission and dependence on Him! But the world, my flesh, and the devil so soon creep in, threatening to wash it all away, like a sand castle at the beach is slowly dissolved by the approaching tide.

Yesterday I read from my daily devotional, "Streams in the Desert". It spoke of the difference between "realizing" Christ's presence and "recognizing" it. I will quote some of it here:

"Realizing is blessed, but rare. It belongs to the mood, to the feelings. It is dependent on weather conditions and bodily conditions. The rain, the heavy fog outside, the poor sleep, the twinging pain, these make on's mood so much, they seem to blur out the realizing. But there is something a little higher up than relaizing. It is yet more blessed. It is independent of these outer conditions, it is something that abides. It is this: recognizing that presence unseen, so wondrous and quieting, so soothing and calming and warming. Recognize His presence, the Master's own. He is here, close by; His presence is real. Recognizing will help realizing too, but it never depends on it. - S.D. Gordon (Streams in the Desert, September 6th)

I was so encouraged by these words. I hope they encourage you today, to remember that no matter how we are feeling, or what circumstances we are in at the moment, He is there. Never to leave nor forsake. When our thoughts stray from Him, still His remain on us, and His care of us never wavers. Be certain of it today.


Girl in a Glass House said...

I love it when our heavenly Father moves the hearts of several of HIs children in the same direction. I too had been contemplating sensing His presence...although my post is not exactly the same in content, it is the same heart message. He is there...we need to learn how to "feel" or "know" it in a real unshakable way! Thank you for sharing the quote...very insightful!

Maureen said...

Hi Girl. Yes, I love it too when Father does that. At my group on Sunday we were talking about the same thing, and so I read from the devotional. We all want to sense His presence, but when the "sensing" doesn't happen, we can always "know" it, beyond a shadow of a doubt!

Ike said...

God is not divided up into chunks here and there, not even into conceptual chunks called attributes. He is everywhere with his whole being. Today, wherever we find ourselves, God will be with us wholeheartedly, with the whole of himself, without being limited by his giving of himself to us in all our particularities moment by moment.

Ike said...

"Spiritual desires for God render the service spiritual; when the soul 'follows hard after him' (Psalm lxiii. 8); pursues after God as a God of infinite and communicative goodness, with sighs and groans unutterable. A spiritual soul seems to be transformed into hunger and thirst, and becomes nothing but desire. A carnal worshiper is taken with the beauty and magnificence of the temple; a spiritual worshiper desires to see the glory of God in the sanctuary (Psalm lxiii. 2), he pants after God; as he comes to worship, to find God, he boils up in desires for God and is loath to go from it without God, 'the living God' (Psalm xlii. 2). . . . That deserves not the title of spiritual worship, when the soul makes no longing inquiries, 'Saw you him whom my soul loves?' A spiritual worship is when our desires are chiefly for God in the worship; as David desires to dwell in the house of the Lord; but his desire is not terminated there, but to behold the beauty of the Lord (Psalm xxvii. 4), and taste the ravishing sweetness of his presence. . . . To desire worship as an end is carnal; to desire it as a means . . . is spiritual and the fruit of a spiritual life."

Stephen Charnock, Discourses upon the Existence and Attributes of God, I:232-233.

William said...

Maureen wrote:

"Oh how I want to stay in that place of happy submission and dependence on Him! But the world, my flesh, and the devil so soon creep in, threatening to wash it all away, like a sand castle at the beach is slowly dissolved by the approaching tide."

A dawning realization is coming over me about the role I play in this "washing" away. I am becoming cognizant of the powerful discrepency between my view and understanding of the world as revealed to me by God - as I am receiving it from God - and my view and understanding of the world when I am engaging with it "on my own" so to speak, like a carefully reared child sent off alone down the road to his first day of school. God does the preparing, but we stumble as we encounter the real thing - the world He was preparing us for.

It occurs to me that this is the role that faith must play in our lives. The world presents us with a picture of reality so at odds with what God shows us. For instance, we may be taught by God, and accept the teaching, to not lust after the opposite sex, and then we find ourselves in the supermarket with our jaw dropped as we encounter a dazzling beauty or handsome gent who proves more than a match for our resolve. It is in situations like these that our only recourse it to trust God's word and teaching no matter what the world confronts us with.

It must be endlessly frustrating to God to see his children, whom He has carefully instructed, going out and "fumbling the ball" so-to-speak time after time. "If only they would not only hear but believe and put into practice what I teach them!" must be His constant lament.

Ike said...


I don't think our sovereign Lord gets frustrated. He knew, when He saved William and Ike.....that we would take that second look in the market! And He saved us anyway!!

P.S. I don't know about you....but those gorgeous women in the supermarket ain't paying me any attention!

leonard said...

that blossom looks familiar...