God’s Presence Revealed | November 21st, 2022
As we enter into this week of Thanksgiving, I am overwhelmed with a grateful heart for the many ways God reveals His presence and how very near He is to us. What an incredible gift to be able to know Him intimately!
On a recent hike in Arkansas, I captured some photos in nature that reminded me of the promises in God’s Word to draw us close to Him. May we take time to pause during the busyness of this holiday season to thank God for making a way for us to have a relationship with Him because of His unconditional love for us.
He transforms us…
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24
Like the leaves that transform from green to brilliant autumn colors with the presence of sunlight, God transforms us when we believe in Jesus Christ, the Light of the world. He gives us new desires to be more like Him so we can walk in holiness, honoring Him in everything we do. And when we remain in His presence, we are given the power to fight against the enticing temptations, distractions, and deceptions that pull us away from living for Him. As we grow in Christ by renewing our mind through reading God’s Word, our inward transformation will shine through our outward actions.
He gives us our confidence…
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8
Everything in today’s culture says, “Be confident in yourself!” We are told to rely on our own abilities, personality, appearance, and resources. We don’t easily admit failure or where we are weak and inadequate. Our confidence does not come from within ourselves but must come from being rooted and grounded in Christ, giving Him our worries and fears so we can stay strong to make it through the difficult times – the heat and drought – that are sure to come.
He is trustworthy…
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isaiah 40:8
Flowers and grasses all dry up and wither over time. Even the hardiest blooms only last a short while. We also quickly pass through this life on earth and whatever successes we achieve or sufferings we endure, they will fade with time. But God’s word to us is consistent and trustworthy. As our life and the world around us go through constant changes, it is reassuring to know that God never changes. He rules above it all and we can know with complete confidence that if we belong to Him, we are safe and secure for all eternity.
He keeps us on the right path…
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matthew 7:13-14
How blessed we are to be clearly shown the path that leads to life! We all start out on the broad and easy path with plenty of space for wandering after our own lusts and sinful desires that do not honor God. It is the way of those who give no regard to God’s laws because they are living for themselves and their own pleasures.
Theologian Joseph Benson (1749-1821) describes the narrow way very well:
And as for the gate, it receives none that are swollen with the glory of this life; none that are elated and lengthened out with pride; none that are distended with luxury; it does not admit those that are laden with the fardels of riches, nor those that drag along with them the other implements of the world.
The broad way starts out as enticing because of its deceptive appearance of fun and freedom which attracts many. However, it does not end well. Jesus tells us that is the way that leads to destruction.
Jesus Christ is the narrow way that leads to abundant life. When we choose Him over the world, our desire for the temporary things on earth will grow strangely dim and we will find ourselves with a greater desire to live for that which has lasting, eternal kingdom value. We begin to love the things He loves and detest the things He hates. Our instructions for living victoriously on the narrow path of a holy, godly life are all found in His Word.
He will never separate us from His love…
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
Once we are saved by grace through faith in Christ, we should never have any insecurity of God’s love for us. Even in death, we will never be separated from His love. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord! God wants us to have an unshakeable confidence that we are secure in His love and nothing can ever separate us from it.
We are all sinners and none of us can ever be good enough to earn eternal life on our own. The wages of sin is death. We deserve eternal punishment and separation from God. But the good news is that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the ultimate price for our sin by shedding His blood on the cross, was buried, and raised to life three days later.
When we put our trust in Jesus and receive His forgiveness for our sin, we are made holy and righteous in His sight and given the free gift of eternal life, guaranteeing our forever Home in heaven. He loves us so much and desires an intimate relationship that can start now and continues all through eternity.
With a grateful heart…Happy Thanksgiving!
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