The waters saw you, O God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed. The clouds poured down water, the skies resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth. Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked. Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. Psalm 77:16-19
I’ve been doing quite a bit of walking in recent days touring college campuses. With guides and groups its easy to settle back, enjoy the company and hear about great things taking place on the various campuses. Much as life, becoming complacent toward the presence of Christ in me is worth being particularly mindful.
It’s easy to think that Christ is walking or sitting or sharing in fellowship with others through my conversations. But the evidence of the reality of His presence is difficult to find at times, and not just on these tours. But for instance, when walking alone on the beach and taking a glance behind to see only my footprints. Or as I talk in the garden and listen for His voice I hear only the sounds of my neighbors mower. Or more lonely, I stand in line at the bank and wait for the next teller and no one is standing with me.
Imagine what it would be like to walk in the garden with Him or stand in line at the bank with Him. And what would it be like to pick a flower with Him or repair a hole in the wall with Him or have Him help me clean the garage. Oh how it would change my thoughts if I could see just one of His footprints in the sand.
But the joy of The Lord in His strength is found not only WITH me — but the fact that He can be found IN me! There is comfort in not questioning His presence, but believing through faith in the promise of His presence in me. God has promised to reside in my heart as I have also “hidden His word in my heart.” And John states that that “the Word was with God and the Word was God!” This means God in me!
Thank you Lord for taking up residence in my heart — in my life. Thank you for the moments of unexpected fellowship as well as moments of planned conversations. Remind me in the tough moments when I neglect your presence and your inescapable longing to spend time with me to ping my spirit back to you!
At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. Acts 10:1-2
Admittedly, remembering to spend time with someone whom you never, or rarely, see is at best … difficult. There is an old saying that may be familiar that says, “Out of sight, out of mind.” The truth of this phrase works great when you’re trying to keep something from your children or working diligently on a diet. To introduce whatever that is, regularly brings it to mind – and then your mind latches onto it like a tractor beam and your thoughts revolve around it.
But this phrase carries with it a danger when it comes to spending time with my Lord. If I don’t look for Him, have faith in His presence, call on Him casually as well as during defined moments, then recognizing Him becomes far more difficult and I become less at ease with my time with Him. In this instance, out of sight and out of mind equates to Jesus my acquaintance instead of Jesus my Lord, my Friend, my Confidant.
Nothing spells love better than time. For Christ in me, His time is everlasting and abundant. His measure of love through time is endless. And the more I spend time with Him, the more at ease I become in my awareness of Him in my daily events. There have been some unusual places (or at least seem unusual to me) where spending time has fueled my fellowship with Him. Speaking with Him at the grocery store, sipping coffee at Starbucks, mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, learning at conferences, visiting with others, at the playground, fishing on the lake, wading at the beach. Precious moments where there are conversations – simple conversations.
Let’s here of some places in which you’ve had a conversation with your Lord Jesus because you’ve been at ease in His presence.
 Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.  You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:5,11 NIV
Breakfast is such an important start to any day. But this morning, life took a turn rather unexpectedly for more than forty professionals. While preparing for their three hour journey aboard a charter bus, each scurried around gathering their things and talking with their colleagues about their quality of rest overnight. Typical small talk. And then came the news. There was little known of the whereabouts of the bagels and coffee. You could have heard a pin drop as those with an affection for that daily cup of joe began to strategize in obtaining their much needed fix. Luckily, as time would have it, the bagels and coffee did arrive, but not without a scene like termites on fresh wood!
The walk to the bus was a delightful, but short, journey as everyone enjoyed their close embrace with a styrofoam cup. The joy, however, was quickly set aside at the stench of diesel fuel inside the bus. Bagel and coffee in one hand and now the smell of diesel – life sure does serve the unexpected for breakfast sometimes.
God reminds us of the fellowship He wants in us. We sing songs of adoration and praise that echo the truths of who He is. Truths that declare the sustaining grace in Him, the endless love He empowers and how through those things He is all we need. It is within this that He becomes our food and drink both in the morning and throughout the day. It is in 1 Corinthians 1:9 that Paul says, “God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” And it is in all circumstances, with or without bagels, smelling of diesel or roses, that we can fellowship, commune, embrace and consult with our Heavenly Father.
Thank you Lord Jesus for the joy I can find in you regardless of my circumstances. Would you like to sit and have a bagel? I have an extra!
My determined purpose is that I may know Him, that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him . . . . Philippians 3:10 AMP
It’s more than just a goal. It’s determined! This means God has gone before me, prepared me, designed in me a purpose, an intent to fellowship, commune, delight in and know my Father.
Knowing the intimate and delight in my designed purpose brings a level of joy into my heart. The idea that God created me with this in mind says an immeasurable amount for the love He has for me. And as I manage my relationships on this earth and experience the lack of intimate fellowship with those I have wounded through poor decisions, I stand tall still in the unmistaken truth that I may know Him!
So, today, and each day, till I breathe my last breath, may I make all relationships second to my determined purpose of getting to know you deeply and intimately. As I walk and talk with others or as I sit in want of fellowship with others may I include you in all things both in my heart and on my mind. When I want to hide, may I make you my hiding place. When I’m lonely, may I find refuge in fellowship with you. When I’m filled with joy, may it be unspeakable and filled with your glory.
We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete. 1 John 1:3-4 NIV
Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel. Proverbs 27:9
The presence of God in my life is often treated as something I take from the shelf and use at will much like a staple from the pantry. But the joy of Christ in me is difficult to contain. Keeping the lid on Jesus is like bottling a fireworks display.
But how does Christ resonate through me through my brokenness? Is it truly possible? The answer is a resounding YES! I am much like the perfume vessel that has been broken. The grace of God is released and the aroma of Christ in me fills the room! It is sweet and brings joy to the heart!
Lord Jesus, may I learn today to live in my brokenness so that the sweet essence of your Spirit and grace is ever present – unavoidably noticed! And thank you for such pleasantness through your friendship!
I am in pain and distress; may your salvation, O God, protect me. I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hoofs. The poor will see and be glad—you who seek God, may your hearts live! The Lord hears the needy and does not despise his captive people. Psalm 69:29-33
As I both reflect and experience the depth of my own hurt and continual pain, I’m dumbfounded by the salve. As I encounter hurt by others, I’ve learned how quickly my demeanor is squeezed of what one might conclude to be the essence of happiness. But while rejection produces hurt and hurt, pain, I cry to my Lord for comfort. Not a bad idea actually, it seems like the right thing to do for deliverance. But in the depth of my own outcries what do I bring? Certainly no ox!
When the wounds of rejection present themselves in portion, my heart drips with self and desperate pleas for God to rescue my heart from bleeding out. And while turning my eyes, cries, and broken heart toward the Savior for comfort, He tells me of the tone, expression and essence of me He most desires and in which, delights.
God’s salve to the pain and hurt from rejection and isolation comes through His salvation! Call this a moment of discovery, but I’ve never seen the word, nor meaning, of salve in the word salvation — until now! And while an ox is a bit bulky to bring before the Lord, but would most definitely please Him, the inward and outward expression of praise and glory through song from the depths of my soul brings Him far more pleasure in fellowship with me than any ox with horns and hoofs. Makes me smile a bit to think of that!
Lord Jesus, I’m listening to your gentle voice. You are showing me what to do in my pain, hurt and rejection and it is not what I expected. While it hurts beyond description to be unwanted by fellow man, you want and invite me daily to be in close fellowship with you! And with my hurt, you heal through your salvation! May I continue to sing your praises through the pain – despite no ox! 😉
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Psalm 73:23-24
Ever enjoy a walk with a dear one? No where to be, just enjoying the stroll, hand-in-hand. Sometimes these walks are for the protection of the other. Such as when you exit the grocery store with your little one and you quickly remark, “Hold my hand now!” While other moments, like the one mentioned earlier, are moments of endearing fellowship.
But what happens when you find these strolls no longer happen? It’s not a matter of no place to go, it’s a reality of no one with which to walk. Life suddenly becomes a series of lonely strolls in the garden, along the shoreline, down the street or through the neighborhood. No longer protecting, no longer engaging, no longer sharing, no longer enjoying – it’s quiet, still and thoughtful. Different.
As sad as that seems, lonely as it appears, it is not so. The evil one would like for me to think this way in order to reflect on my isolation and seek to meet my needs in other ways contrary to Christ. Even in the midst of rejection, isolation, abandonment and the absence of those with which to walk hand-in-hand, God says and does something that is extraordinaire. He walks with me, grabs my right hand and with every hand I shake, and every rare moment I have to stroll with someone He shares in the moment … participates in the fellowship.
Lord Jesus, when I’m left out, rejected and removed, thank you for extending yourself, clutching tightly to my right hand and walking and talking with me wherever I go – whomever I’m with. Not only do you know my name – by name – you know my heart, my sadness, my desire for intimate fellowship and there you are! Continue to clasp tightly to my hand – there will be times I’ll want to dart across the street without looking both ways and I’ll need your tight grip to protect me. There will be times when I’ll not want to speak to you or to your face, but continue to hold me tightly as I will draw near to your comforting interest into my deepest thoughts. There will be times I will want to run and not walk and holding hands while running is no easy task, but stick with me for running is my way to get away from my pain, but you are my Comforter!