Thank God for His Presence in our lives
In the first half of the twentieth century, preacher and hymn writer Oswald Smith, wrote many songs of personal testimony that have meant much to me all through my life. One of my favorites is “The Glory of His Presence”. Here are the words.
I have walked alone with Jesus
In a fellowship divine,
Nevermore can earth allure me,
I am His and He is mine.
I have seen Him, I have known Him,
For He deigns to walk with me;
And the glory of His presence
Will be mine eternally,
O the glory of His presence,
O the beauty of His face.
I am His and His forever,
He has won me by His grace.
On the mountain I have seen Him,
Christ my Comforter and Friend;
And the glory of that vision
Will be with me to the end.
In my failure, sin and sorrow,
Broken-hearted crushed and torn,
I have felt His presence near me,
He has all my burdens borne,
In the darkness, in the shadow,
With the Saviour I have trod,
Sweet indeed have been the lessons
Since I’ve walked alone with God.
We Christians have much for which to praise and thank God. First and foremost, our salvation through Christ. With that salvation all our spiritual, physical and emotional needs are met. We are “complete in Christ”, Paul teaches us in Colossians 2:9-10.
We have forgiveness and cleansing from sin, peace with God and unspeakable joy as we live for Him.
We see and recognize His power and sovereignty in all the events that touch our lives, including those whom He brings to political power over us. We have His protection, even when we aren’t aware of it.
Perhaps, best of all, we enjoy the glory of His presence day and night, wherever we are, whatever we are doing.
Where do you live?
Perhaps you are thinking of a geographical location. I’m thinking of something far more important than your geographical location. I’m wondering where you live according to Psalm 90 and 91. In both of those Psalms we learn that God is the dwelling place of those who belong to Him.
Whereas the non Christian and the carnal Christian settle down and feel at home in this world, the spiritual Christian realizes and enjoys His home in God Himself. Like Abraham and Moses and other Old Testament saints, referred to in Hebrews 11:13, we see ourselves as strangers and pilgrims just passing through this world.
As a teenager, I loved to sing with my friends a song by Albert Brumley.
This world is not my home,
I’m just a passing through.
My treasures are laid up
Somewhere beyond the blue,
The angels beckon me
From Heaven’s golden shore
And I can’t feel at home
In this world anymore.
O Lord, You know,
I have no Friend like You.
If Heaven’s not my Home
Then Lord, what will I do?
The angels beckon me
From Heaven’s Golden shore
And I can’t feel at home
In this world anymore.
What does it mean for God to be our dwelling place?
In Psalm 90:1 the Psalmist refers to our dwelling place as being God Himself. In Psalm 91:1, one of the most precious of all the Psalms, it refers to us as dwelling “In the secret place of the Most High”. What does that mean?
First it means that we dwell under His sovereignty. We did not choose our race, nationality, family, genetic structure with our strengths and weaknesses. God is sovereign in all those matters. We live by His providence, by His provision, and by His preservation, as Psalm 145 teaches us. We also live by His power as Acts 17:24-28 teaches us. There it refers to us as being God’s offspring. It’s true that He is our Creator; but, we are His children, only through faith in Christ, as John 1:14 makes clear. Those who reject Christ, Jesus Himself refers to in John 8:44 as “children of the devil”.
Not only is Christ our Creator, but He is also the Sustainer of life. Paul explains that in Colossians 1:16-17. That is, the force that holds our atoms together is none other than Christ Himself.
Don’t be a fool!
It is impossible for us to try to separate our existence from God. We can’t think about life or death or even the reason for our existence without bringing God into our thoughts. To attempt to try to divorce Him from our thoughts is to be a fool, according to Psalm 14:1-3.
Prepare to Meet God!
You and I will one day meet Him, Paul warned the intellectuals of Athens as recorded in Acts 17:31. That time is sooner than we think.
Not only will we meet Him, but we will give Him an account of our lives. The Bema Judgment for Christians is found in Romans 14:7-12. The White Throne Judgment of the Lost is described in Revelation 20:11-15. You and I will face Christ in one of those Judgments. Both judgments are inescapable! Romans 2:3.
Therefore, it behooves each of us to prepare now for the inevitable, the Prophet Amos warned in Amos 4:12. “Prepare to meet thy God.”
Our life span is a preparation time for meeting Him. I Corinthians 3:11-15 tells us Christ is the foundation. If you are trusting Him alone to save you from your sins, the foundation has been laid. The question follows, How are you going to build on that foundation? How are you going to live your life? The way you answer that question determines your rewards when you meet Christ.
The Secret Place of the Most High
Psalm 91, sometimes known as the fox hole Psalm, has comforted many in dangerous places. It speaks of dwelling “in the secret place of the Most High.” What does that mean? It means the Christian can have an intimate, personal relationship with The Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Most High God who came down to this earth in a body of flesh to die for our sins. If you are trusting Him fully for salvation and for your life right now on this earth, you are indeed dwelling “in the secret place of the Most High.”
With Thomas, you can say of Him, “My Lord and My God!” Read the highly emotional account in John 20:19-29. If you love Jesus enough to spend time with Him in reading and meditating on the Scriptures and in prayer, you will discover an intimacy with Christ that is unknown by the typical Christian. Hebrews 10:25 teaches us that gathering with Bible-loving Christian on the Lord’s Day to hear God’s Word preached will also help you experience this intimacy with Christ.
The Christians who live “in the Secret Place of the Most High” will experience a special protection over their lives that others cannot know. That doesn’t mean that you will be immune to set backs, disappointments and even tragedies at times. It doesn’t mean that you will experience a life of health and wealth. God sometimes uses set-backs to sanctify and draw us closer to Himself, as taught in I Peter 5:10. But in it all, He promises His presence and protection, as taught in Psalm 91.
Betty, wife of missionary Jim Elliot who was martyred by savage Indians in Ecuador back in 1956, later wrote a book that has become famous among Christians, “Shadow of the Almighty”. No matter what God allows in our lives, we can rest secure under that Shadow. For all who do not know Christ, life is thought of as simply highly developed protoplasm swimming in the Sea of Chance with no direction, no purpose and no future.
Not only do we dwell in Christ, but He dwells in us!
As life giving sap flows through a grape vine to the branches, producing grapes, so Christ’s life flows through us producing His Fruit of the Spirit, Jesus taught in John 15 in the Upper Room before He went to the cross the next day.
The Holy Spirit lives in every Christians, according to Romans 8:9. It’s one thing for the Spirit of God to live in the believer. It’s another thing for Him to dwell in us, taking full control and being at home in us. It was Paul’s prayer for the Church as recorded in Ephesians 3:14-21 that Christ, by His Spirit would dwell in every believer.
Who has the most intimate relationship with Christ?
That’s a reality that the Old Testament Israelites did not experience in their Tabernacle worship. They knew He dwelt behind the curtain in the Holy of Holies, a place where none but the High Priest could go only once a year
Jesus Disciples knew what it was to experience the presence of Jesus whenever He was with them physically, but when He was absent from them as in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee, they feared the worst. It was only when He was physically with them that they experienced peace.
Today, we have it better than the Israelites of the Old Testament or even the disciples of Jesus’ day. We have His presence in our lives day and night and we experience His constant peace and joy and victory over sin because He is right there to give us whatever we need.
Perhaps you can say today, “I know Christ as my Saviour!” That’s great! But do you also know Him as your life, as your Shepherd, as your Lord and King? Do you recognize that your body is His sacred, holy Temple? Do you keep it holy and clean for His use? Is there a continual worship service going on in your body day and night? Do you offer Him your sacrifice of praise, even when the circumstances would not normally evoke praise from your heart? That’s the sacrifice of praise taught in Hebrews 13:12-16.
My prayer for you, Dear Reader, is that you not only know Christ as your Saviour, but that you also experience the peace and joy of dwelling under the Shadow of the Almighty.
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