Practicing the Presence of God

From: Rose , Posted Date: Mar 31st, 2011

"Practicing the Presence of God,"
As we have discussed before, in Luke 10 we see the Lord sending His disciples out two by two to preach the gospel, heal the sick, and cast out demons. They were so successful that when they returned, Jesus said that He saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning. However, it is not until the next chapter, Luke 11, that the disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray. They did all of this and did not even know how to pray yet!

     These disciples were obviously far from perfect, or even mature, when the Lord trusted them with extraordinary authority. Yet, I doubt anyone who was healed, set free, or who heard the good news of the coming kingdom through them, complained. Even just before Jesus was crucified, the disciples were arguing over who was the greatest, and they were to be the leaders of the church through its most delicate formative times just a few weeks later. Many years afterward, some of them were still making extraordinary mistakes, such as Peter, who had to be rebuked by the youngest apostle at Antioch because “he stood condemned.”

     We are foolish if we look for perfection in ministry or in leadership, regardless of how mature they are. Our hope should not be in the vessels, but in the treasure that is in the vessels—the Holy Spirit. If we keep our trust rightly placed in Him, we will not be overly dependent or disappointed by people. If the ministries and leaders are true servants, they will not be seeking to build people’s trust in them, but in the Lord. Jesus, Himself, is the only foundation that can be built upon that will last. If we build people’s trust in ourselves instead of the Lord, we have failed, and that foundation will fail too, because no one but the Lord can carry that kind of burden.

     This is important because it is the perfectionist mentality that is based more in a trust in ourselves than in the Lord, which hinders most from stepping out into their calling and ministry. We do not get perfected so that we can be used by the Lord; we get perfected by being used by Him.
 
Another basic characteristic of the message that comes from God is stated in James 3:13-18:
      Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth.
This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
 
 I greatly appreciate the zeal of so many Christians concerning the crucial social issues of our times, such as the right to life and family values, but if the economy collapses the way that it has a potential of doing, these will not be the main issues—simple survival in the midst of unimaginable chaos and anarchy will be the main issues.
 
We know that understanding the economy is very important at the end of the age because the “mark of the beast” is an economic mark, which determines whether we can “buy, sell, or trade” in the world system. Taking the mark of the beast is not the sin but is just evidence of the sin, which is worshiping the beast. We must understand this beast, and we must build our lives on another economy—the economy of the coming kingdom of God.
 
Those who have had much experience with deliverance discover quickly that most demonic oppression enters through trauma of some sort. The same is true in history—many gates of hell are opened for demonic inroads into societies and cultures through crises and cultural trauma. This is why understanding the present economic crisis is so important. It will be the open door to one of the ultimate evils to ever come upon the earth.
 
As we’ve discussed before, no map would be useful unless we know where we are going, and where we are presently on the map. Economics are important at the end, and the mark of the beast is an economic mark because both of these deal with ultimate issues of the human heart. Money is not evil, but we are told in I Timothy 6:10 that “the love of money is the root of all evil.” A more literal translation of this would be “the love of money can be found at the root of all the evils.” This is because money can be an ultimate idol of the human heart. An idol isn’t just something we worship, but what we put our trust in instead of God.
 
Many Christian scholars and Bible teachers believe that a worldwide economic collapse will precede the antichrist who will come with the seeming answers to the great problems of the times. If that is so, and this is destiny, how do we get ready? If it is not so, and we allow it to happen because we did nothing, we have failed in our purpose in a most basic way to be the light and salt we are called to be.

     Even if it is destiny for a worldwide economic collapse, which seems more likely almost every day now, we have an obligation to be engaged and to seek to counter the enemy in every way we can. In Daniel 11:31 where it speaks of “the abomination of desolation” being set up, the very next verse says, “but the people who know their God will display strength and take action” (see Daniel 11:32). Those who really know the Lord will always be people of action and will display strength even in the darkest of times. That is your destiny.
 
To understand the times, I always try to go to the foundation of a matter to see if I can recognize the hand of God in it. We are told in Psalm 90:17, “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and do confirm for us the work of our hands; yes, confirm the work of our hands.” I pray this often because I do not want just to be busy but to be about our Father’s business. I want to know that what I am doing is truly His work, and that what I am studying is for His purposes. Many things interest me, but I am not here to be entertained; I am here to do the Lord’s will, so I seek confirmation for what I’m working on.
 
 
Another basic characteristic of the message that comes from God is stated in James 3:13-18:
      Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth.
This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

     As we see here, where there is a devotion to our own recognition, or “selfish ambition,” it is an open door to “every evil thing.” The seed, or word, whose “fruit is righteousness” must first be pure, peaceable, gentle, reasonable. By these things, we must learn to judge both the message and messengers as being true or not.
 
     We are in the time when “everything that can be shaken will be shaken” (see Hebrews 12:27), and all other worldviews will fail because they are not based on truth. We are told in the parable that it is by hearing and obeying God’s Word that we will build our houses on the rock which will stand in the storms that are coming (see Matthew 7:24:25). God’s Word alone will stand, and building our life and worldview on His Word must be a primary devotion of our lives.

     Seeking God’s perspective, especially through the Scriptures, is fundamental to prophetic ministry, or even basic discipleship. I have not known a true prophet who was not deeply devoted to diligently studying the written Word, and most were more knowledgeable of the Scriptures than almost any theologian I know. True seekers read it out of passion and love, not just duty, or as a profession.
 
He is actually in all things and holds the universe together. As the Apostle Paul put it in his interesting discourse on Mars Hill, “In Him we live and move and have our being” (see Acts 17:28).

     In Colossians 1:27, we are told that it is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Sometimes it is easier to see the Lord in nature than it is to see Him in us. Remember, we are the temple! He therefore speaks to us from within, and we need to recognize His voice when He does.
 
     I love to read about the great discoveries in physics and astronomy because Psalm 19 is true—the heavens do declare His glory! As someone once said, the worst problem for an atheist is to see a glorious sunset and not have anyone to thank. How can we see anything of the glory of creation and not marvel at and worship the Creator?
Elizabeth Barrett Browning once said, “Earth is crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God; but only he who sees takes off his shoes—the rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.” This is why we want to see, not just with our natural eyes, but with our spiritual eyes too. This is what the Apostle Paul prayed for in Ephesians 1, that the “eyes of our hearts would be opened.”
 
We are promised that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose (see Romans 8:28)
This may also be reflected in how only about 5 percent of those who “make a decision for Christ” end up in the church. In the New Testament, everyone who received Christ was added to the church. Certainly this could be because much of the church today is so far from what true church life is supposed to be, and new converts do not feel any connection to it. Obviously something must change to correct this most basic disparity between modern and biblical Christianity.

Article from online Bible Study Site.