Monday, June 3, 2019

Standing on the Promises - Practicing the Presence

What made Moses Moses? Was it his pedigree? His upbringing? His take charge attitude? Did he have special gifts, abilities or skills no one else had? Was there a secret power he possessed where he could divide water or turn it into blood or call it out of a rock? Was he a good motivator, a good navigator, a good people person?

Wanting to know that is more curiosity than necessity. But what if you were to take over his job? Assume responsibility for leading the people of Israel into the Promised Land? Unless you were a highly arrogant man, boasting in inflated abilities, you’d probably be shaking in your sandals.

You’d desperately want to know what made Moses unique. Why did God pick him in the first place? Why did God pick me? Am I also unique? Not that you hope to duplicate his style or techniques, but you’d want to know, will the people follow me as they did Moses? Will God speak to me as He did to Moses? If called upon to part the waters, will I be able to do so like Moses did? Do I have what Moses had? And what was that?

Ex 33:15-16 Then he said to Him, "If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?" 

The presence of God was the distinction that made him unique. Without that presence he was just a man. He brought nothing to the table. He wasn’t loaded with ability. But because of God’s presence, God was able to use him in mighty and miraculous ways.

Moses knew it – without God he was nobody. But Joshua didn’t see that. All he saw was evidence of the mightiness. So, when Moses died, and Joshua had been appointed to take over, the first thing Joshua needed to know: do I possess that same uniqueness? Perhaps in a cry of desperation or a simple prayer for confirmation, Joshua admitted his limitations and fears, and God told Him:

Josh 1:5-9 No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." 

That promise was the promise of all promises. It was what made Moses Moses. It was what would turn Joshua into Joshua. I am with you.

In our study of Standing on the Promises, we’ve looked at a variety of men who showed us the difference having a word from the Lord made in their lives. But what we didn’t see was the foundation upon which that word from the Lord rested – God was with them. They didn’t start with calling down fire, they started with an understanding that God was in their lives. From that assurance, they could then count on all that God said.

Do we have that same assurance that God is our lives?

John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him 
Draws: It is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict of sin (exposes the separation), convince us of the truth that Jesus’ death provides access to the Father, compel us to respond to God’s invitation by realizing how much God loves us.

John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. 
The purpose of us coming to Him is so He can come into us.

The first thing He does is knock on our heart’s door for entrance into our lives.

Rom 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. 

Dwells: takes up residence, make Our abode.
Gives life: brings our dead spirits to life.

Second thing He does is makes us alive. Paul said we were dead in trespasses and sins but He made us alive.

Eph 1:13-14 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory. 
Sealed: identified, marked, labeled.

The third thing He does is stamps us as His.

Rom 8:9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 

Fourth thing He does is gives us our new identity – we are Children of God.

1Cor 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 

The fifth thing He gives is the privilege of the provisions of God. And He does all of that in an instant, the moment He comes into our lives.

His presence assures us we have everything we need for life and godliness. He is our confidence we are more than conquerors, adequate for the moment, sufficient for the circumstances, covered by His goodness. We are alive because of the Spirit and are to live by the Spirit.

Paul says: Gal 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 
Walk by: living in sharp awareness of His presence in our lives.

Paul discovered it was the evidence of God in his life that made him unique. He saw God’s reputation coming to play day after day as God fulfilled His promises in Paul’s life. To such an extent he could write: Col 1:27 Christ in you, the hope of glory. Glory – that which reveals the presence of God. The means by which God accomplishes His work in my life.

Until we grasp God is in us, we will not realize everything else that is available as well. If we continue to doubt that promise, we will not trust Him for the other promises He has made.

What I am with you doesn’t mean:
  • That you will not have difficulties. Everything won’t work out as you expect it to.
  • That you will not experience suffering and pain. Life hurts but God is good.
  • That you will not feel deserted. Friends and family may desert you.
  • That you will not doubt God’s faithfulness. Satan’s greatest attack will be your faith.
  • That you will not have to go through the storms.

But it does mean:
  • You will have all the provisions and promises of God.
  • You will never be dislocated from God’s love, power and grace.
  • You will never be without hope.
  • You will find strength for whatever you face.
  • You will never have more placed upon you than you can trust God to help you handle.

Don’t think God is only in the big things, the miraculous, the mighty moments when He breaks through and produces the miracle to delivers us, as Joshua thought of Moses, but realize is He there in the quiet. That place within you where He said He’d never leave you and from there would accomplish all that matters in your life.

So, if the presence of God is what makes us uniquely God’s children, how do we practice that presence?

·       By giving ourselves up to GOD – to settle once and for all that we belong to God because we have received His gift of salvation through Jesus’ death. Paul said: whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.

·       By acknowledge being a child of God is a permanent possession. We will never not belong to Him because no one can snatch us out of His hands.

·       By understanding as trees go through seasons, we will go through seasons of life: alive and vibrant and then deadness and quiet, growth and fruit and then stillness and rest. We will not always sense the dynamic activity of God, but there is purpose in each phase of our lives. Never judge your life by a phase.

·       By knowing that we have an enemy who will make us doubt God’s goodness. We will be tempted to deny God and live as though He isn’t present in our lives. Resist those doubts because they aren’t true.

·       By always seeking God first in whatever we face. As a habit of faith, remember: acknowledging God is a promise of His direction in our lives.

·       By praying every day. Realize that whenever we call out to Him, He hears and responds. Praying daily will remind us He is present in our lives whether we see Him or not.

  1. The greatest privilege of salvation is God in our lives.
  2. It’s what makes us unique, gives us power for life we would not otherwise have and brings in all the other provisions for being a Child of God.
  3. His presence guarantees us everything we need for life and godliness and assures us His promises are real.
  4. If we forget God is in us, we will also forget the other privileges of His promises.
  5. But if we remember, then we can be assured will have something of substance to stand on.

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