Monday, December 20, 2010

“His Presents vs. His Presence”

Living here in the western world, most of us have images of Christmas that would include a tree decorated with lights, ornaments, and garland, with lots of presents piled high underneath.  From childhood we are enamored with the vision of an abundance of gifts with our name on them.  Gifts coming in all shapes and sizes filled with every imaginable thing that would satisfy our every wish.  Things that not only meet all our needs, but things that bring us comfort and keep us entertained.  Not only are we enamored with the things in the gifts, but we are also obsessed at the thought of getting them at no cost to us.  That’s why we love lotteries, grants, and other kinds of handouts.   

Unfortunately, this kind of thinking carries over into our Christian walk as well.  We often treat God as if He is our personal genie in a bottle, we expect to rub the lamp of prayer, and out should pop the answer to our every wish and desire.  Like a child at Christmas we will seek vigorously for God’s presents to be piled high under our prayer tree, and like a child we get anxious and irritated that Christmas morning and the revealing of our gifts has not yet arrived.  Sadly, we are much more interested in God’s presents, then His presence. The Bible clearly states that God “gave gifts to men.” (Eph. 4:8)  However, God's presents are not to become a substitute for his presence. 

I love my grandkids immensely, and our tree is piled high with gifts for them.  But if the day should come when instead of running to me with hugs, kisses, and a big “I Love You Papa;” they came running to me, feeling in my pockets, and declaring with a stern tone, “Where are my presents?”  I am quite sure they would cease to receive presents until their love and desire for me, exceeded their desire for the gifts I could give them. 

So the question we must ask ourselves is this, “How much time do I spend thinking about how badly I need God’s presents vs. how badly I need God’s presence? How much time in prayer do I spend seeking God’s presents vs. seeking God’s presence?”    It is right and good to seek God for the answers to our needs.  However out greatest need is not about earthly things, or even the healing of our earthly bodies.  Our greatest need is to have our hearts and souls flooded with God’s presence; to be flooded with His grace, and His love, to know God, and to be known by Him.  When we get enveloped in God’s presence, concern over things and problems will melt away as we marinate in His glory.  There is no substitute for God’s presence, but it doesn’t come without a cost.  We must seek in order to find, we must knock in order for the door to be opened. (Matt. 7:7)   There is no fast food version for God’s presence, but it will be worth the time, effort, and the wait.

“Lord, make us hungry for you!  May we desperately thirst for your presence.  May we aggressively seek your face, and expectantly wait to experience your glory.  Above all else that we do today,  may we seek your Christmas presence.”

“As the deer pants and longs for the water brooks, so I pant and long for You, O God.  My inner self thirsts for God, for the living God.  When shall I come and behold the face of God.” (Pm. 42:1-2) Amp

O God , you are my God, earnestly will I seek You; my inner self thirsts for You, my flesh longs and is faint for you, in a dry and weary land where no water is.” (Pm. 63:1) Amp

“When you said, seek My face (inquire my presence as your vital need).  My heart says to You, Your face (your presence), will I seek, (inquire for and require of necessity and on the authority of your Word).” (Pm.27:8) Amp

 “I wait for the Lord, I expectantly wait, and in his Word do I hope.   I am looking and waiting for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning.” (Pm. 130:5-6) Amp

“Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” (Matt. 5:6)

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