Archive for the ‘God’s Presence’ Category

My daily reading brought me to Jeremiah 23 and suddenly it seemed that God was speaking directly to ME through these verses. Something has been bothering me lately about the state of the Gospel message in the United States. It seems that there is a consistent ‘theme’ being presented by Christian radio stations (KLOVE) and by media preachers, that God loves us no matter where we are at, that He is always there for us, and that He will get us through whatever problem we are facing. After all, God is a caring loving God. It seems we have switched our preaching and our gospel message to a man-centered appeal. After all, it is all about ME, isn’t it.

We all need a god who is on our side, who is there for us, to help with our problems.

KLOVE had a gal call in with a real heartbreaking story about being young, pregnant, and her boyfriend dumping her. She was in church feeling all alone and abandoned. Then the pastor seemed to be speaking directly to her when he said, “God will be a husband to you. God will love you better than any earthly husband.” She felt so encouraged and touched by that message. Then she proceeded to tell how she had met someone new, a great guy, had become pregnant AGAIN and had been dumped, AGAIN. But sure enough, while sitting in church, another pastor said the same thing, “God will be a husband to you!” Now she is with another ‘great’ guy.

I am not questioning her sincerity, nor her love for God, but the thought ran through my head,”if God is your husband, why did you cheat on Him?” Are you going to keep going back to him every time some jerk gets you pregnant and dumps you? When will you learn to stop having sex before marriage?

Smooth talking preachers want to tickle the ears of their listeners. They don’t want to explain that God is a God of Justice as well as mercy. Sure, He loves us unconditionally, but when God’s love touches someone, it will always change them! God will always work to bring His justice and righteousness into our lives! God’s mercy and love is ALWAYS given with the intent of bringing righteousness and justice into our lives.

God’s mercy and love is ALWAYS given with the intent of bringing righteousness and justice into our lives.

“Do not listen to smooth talking preachers”

This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says to his people: Do not listen to these prophets when they prophesy to you, filling you with futile hopes. They are making up everything they say. They do not speak for the Lord! They keep saying to those who despise my word, ‘Don’t worry! The Lord says you will have peace!’ And to those who stubbornly follow their own desires, they say, ‘No harm will come your way!’ “Have any of these prophets been in the Lord’s presence to hear what he is really saying? Has even one of them cared enough to listen? Look! The Lord’s anger bursts out like a storm, a whirlwind that swirls down on the heads of the wicked. The anger of the Lord will not diminish until it has finished all he has planned. In the days to come you will understand all this very clearly. “I have not sent these prophets, yet they run around claiming to speak for me. I have given them no message, yet they go on prophesying. If they had stood before me and listened to me, they would have spoken my words, and they would have turned my people from their evil ways and deeds.Am I a God who is only close at hand?” says the Lord. “No, I am far away at the same time. Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?” says the Lord. “I have heard these prophets say, ‘Listen to the dream I had from God last night.’ And then they proceed to tell lies in my name. How long will this go on? If they are prophets, they are prophets of deceit, inventing everything they say. By telling these false dreams, they are trying to get my people to forget me, just as their ancestors did by worshiping the idols of Baal. “Let these false prophets tell their dreams, but let my true messengers faithfully proclaim my every word. There is a difference between straw and grain! Does not my word burn like fire?” says the Lord. “Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes a rock to pieces? “Therefore,” says the Lord, “I am against these prophets who steal messages from each other and claim they are from me. I am against these smooth-tongued prophets who say, ‘This prophecy is from the Lord!’ I am against these false prophets. Their imaginary dreams are flagrant lies that lead my people into sin. I did not send or appoint them, and they have no message at all for my people. I, the Lord have spoken! Jeremiah 23:16-32

“Am I a God who is only close at hand?”

We hear preachers say that God is always there, always ready to forgive, but God asks the question here, “Am I a God who is only close at hand?” The answer is NO!, God can be far away at the same time! We may confess a sin here and there, but our life and the intent of our heart still denies the Word of God. Our confession is only because things are not working out. Absent is a heart felt desire for God’s Lordship of our life!

How long will this go on?

“Have any of these prophets been in the Lord’s presence to hear what he is really saying? Has even one of them cared enough to listen?”

Preachers, instead of pleasing our people with futile hopes, and heart wrenching stories, God calls us to spend time in His presence. Instead of modeling your messages after the latest ‘popular preacher’, isn’t it time we spend time in God’s presence, hearing from His Word what we should proclaim to our people?

We need to preach a God-centered Gospel. We need to proclaim mercy, righteousness and justice, for in these God delights (Jer 9:23-24) We need to stop preaching “God in the Box” sermons. God is not just someone we can call upon every time we need some help. We can’t carry God in a box. He is close, but He is distant as well. Sometimes everything won’t be alright.  Sometime God will work what He wants. And what He wants is our total devotion and obedience to His Word! He is God, and we need to spend time trembling before His mighty power!


mediocre livesWe need to grasp the amazing truth that God has made ME His dwelling place. David and most of the Old Testament saints sought to make God their dwelling place (Ps 91:9). They would never had considered even the thought that Jehovah dwelled within them. He was too awesome, too dreadful, too holy to dwell in human flesh.

1Corinthians3_16This is the wonder of grace. Because Jesus could dwell in human flesh and satisfy the wrath of God against our sin, we experience in REALITY what the Old Testament saints could only imagine. The veil is torn and now we not only have access to God through the blood of Jesus Christ, but Jehovah God Himself dwells in us. Paul exclaimed “Know ye not you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Cor 3:16).

God-Dwells-in-MeIf we fail to grasp this truth, that God dwells in us, we will live our lives in mediocrity, our behavior, our speech, our thoughts unmoved by His presence. Once we are awakened to this revelation, we will take the steps that the Corinthian church did, and remove those things that are unpleasing to the Holy Spirit. We will no longer accept a mediocre Christian life. The Spirit of God lives in me! His Holiness dwells in me! How will I walk and talk to show forth this truth to my friends and family? DO YOU SEE THE POWER OF THIS TRUTH? Kneel before the Father and ask that He reveal this life-shattering truth to your spiritual heart. May you see that God dwells IN YOU!

Prayer: Father, reveal this truth to my heart, that YOU LIVE IN ME! May I never accept a mediocre life, for YOU are so AMAZING!

From Pathway of Blessing

Gracelyn in Mommys TummyGracelyn, today you are Five years old! I want you to know how special you are to me, and what you mean to me. When Lydia and I heard your Mommy (our daughter Tonya) was pregnant with you, she was working for me at Tompkins Paving. It was the fall of 2003, and we were having a disastrous year. Stupidly I had allowed the company to grow too fast and we were doing  jobs we had no business doing. Cash flow was horrible. We lost over $600,000 even though we had our best sales year ever-over $7 million in revenue. I owed the IRS $200,000 and the pressure was too much to take. I kept thinking I would have to shut the company down. Every week was a tremendous struggle to meet the payroll for 50 employees. On top of all that, I was also pastoring a small church in Edgerton, and some of the people were being fleshly and causing problems over trivial things.I was beating my head against a wall there as well.Jim and Gracelyn

Gracie July 2005021All this time I was constantly going to the Lord, seeking His strength and provision, but my faith was deteriorating badly. I was having so many troubling thoughts-thoughts of running away, giving it all up, even thoughts of suicide. I thought that there was no way for God to turn things around. But every time I was tempted to give up, I would look over at your Mommy and see the growing baby in her stomach. I would think about you and pray to God that I would be able to see your birth and watch your grow into a Godly woman. I prayed that I would have an influence on your life, that I would be able to see a Godly Heritage begin in my grandchildren. I wanted to be able to tell you about a Mighty God, Jehovah Jireh, El Shaddai, who TRULY is able to provide our needs! God began to keep you ever before my heart, and used you to keep my heart open and depending upon His matchless GRACE, the GRACE that kept me having the WILL and the DESIRE to do His goof pleasure!

Gracie painting toesAlthough I had no part in your name, I know that God did, for you have become a Living Monument to God’s Grace for my life. It was almost miraculous, but at the time of your birth, God started to do amazing things to turn the business around. Profit and cash flow improved dramatically. God even brought a buyer for the business just 10 months after your birth. The church turned around, problems were solved and people came together. God’s Grace showed once again how powerful He is. He even enabled me to pursue that full-time ministry He had called me to over 34 years before.

Gracie-on-ScooterSo Gracelyn, I pray that someday you will give your heart and life to Jesus Christ. He is God’s only Son, the one He gave to die on the Cross for you and me. Jesus is the Monument of God’s Grace for the whole world. When you give your heart and life to Jesus Christ, you immediately come into the awesome Grace of God, the same Grace that kept my trust in God through all my trials. God has a miraculous purpose for your life, it began when you were but a tiny bump in your mommy’s stomach. God used you then to keep my eyes focused on eternity. I pray that God will continue to use you to turn others to Him!

Gracie Luke Wrestling with Big D

Gracelyn, you are a constant reminder to me of the Amazing Grace of God in my life. I am praying that you will allow God’s Grace to capture your heart and lead you to LIFE in Jesus Christ. I LOVE YOU! You are a Visible Monument of God’s Grace in my life! Love – “Big D”

I really hate Monday’s now. Sunday is such a high. The excitement of seeing my folks, meeting guests, standing in the pulpit and declaring God’s Word. But Monday is always a downer. Sometimes there is this gnawing in my gut that people just didn’t get the message. Or that I was an empty shell proclaiming empty words that fell to the ground the moment they left my lips. One of the most amazing sentences in God’s Word describes Samuel’s care and attention to God as he served in the Temple. “Not a Word from God fell to the floor”. What a delight Samuel must have been to God. He must have immediately became His favorite.Would that preachers, me included, treat the Word of Gold like precious diamonds and rubies. Would that our sermons would not have any doubt as to the Power of God to Profit His Word. Would that our people gaze intently, looking for the Cloud of God’s presence as we proclaim the Word that has come from meeting with God through the week. Would that we dig our feet in the ground and beg God for His Power and Presence as we preach His Holy Word.Tent of Meeting Exodus 33 describes an image that God has burned in my heart. Moses walks outside the camp 2000 cubits to the “tent of meeting”. The people all stand at their tent openings, watching Moses as he enters the “tent of meeting”. When they see the cloud of God’s presence descend upon the tent, they know that God is with them, and He is meeting with Moses. The Bible says they stood at their tents and worshipped. I don’t think it was quiet worship. They were praising God with uplifted hands. Hallelujah, Praise be to Jehovah!And then to have been Joshua, who was there in the tent, listening to Moses talk to God as friends do over lunch.

Moses My Idol

And to hear Moses get persistent with God, saying:“If you aren’t going with us, don’t let us move a step from this place. If you don’t go with us, who will ever know that I and my people have found favor with you, and that we are different from any other people upon the face of the earth?”

How bold and passionate Moses must have been! How zealous of God’s presence! Then to cry out to God, his friend, “Show me Your glory!” Moses is my idol. I need his passion!

Monday’s are downers, because I feel emotionally let down. I feel empty, as if I accomplished nothing. I must cry out like Moses: “I Need Your Presence!” I can’t go on if you are not with me, leading me! God, may I see Your Glory this week. May I see You Glory in the lives of my people. I simply can’t go on by myself.