Friday, December 1, 2017

“The Presence of His Heart”

"The Presence of His Heart"

    As one called to communicate the Gospel both verbally and in print, I spend a significant amount of time in prayerful reading, study, contemplation, and preparation of messages.  While the privileged responsibility requires concentrated application of heart and mind, the calling never seems burdensome.  To the contrary, I never feel more at peace or more fulfilled than the times when performing the groundwork, as it were, that makes possible preaching and writing.  The Psalmist's affirmation we frequently mention seems appropriate regarding the present consideration: "In Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right and there are pleasures forevermore" (Psalm 16:11).

    That being said, I nevertheless think it important to suggest that time spent in the Scriptures or prayer must not be viewed as more lived in God's joyful, pleasurable presence than the rest of our lives.  "I am with you always" proclaims the promise of the Lord Jesus Christ, referring to the indwelling and abiding presence of the Holy Spirit in every believer (Matthew 28:20).  Indeed, our Savior was forsaken on the cross of Calvary by both God and man, dying alone as the most abandoned soul who ever felt the sorrow of loneliness (Matthew 27:46).  The wondrous flame of resurrection that issued forth from the ashes of His sacrifice ignites the spirits of all who believe with the eternal presence of the living God.  "The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord" (Proverbs 20:27).  Our Lord does not come and go regarding the temple of our hearts.  Just as John the Baptist saw the Holy Spirit remain on the Lord Jesus, so do all who trust Christ become the spiritual dwellingplace of the God who comes to stay as He comes to save.  "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee" (John 1:33; Hebrews 13:5).  This we must believe because it is true, and because we must know the reality of our Lord's abiding presence no less along the dusty lanes of life than the special places wherein we focus our attention on the Life of our lives.

    Many times I have been seemingly "interrupted" in the midst of reading, study, and writing by phone calls, emails, and text messages.  Or, an earthly necessity or responsibility demands my immediate attention.  As a young man, I tended to consider these occurrences as a nuisance that "took away from my time with the Lord!"  I no longer feel this way.  While I don't always suspend my labors to answer or act in the moment, there are times when I do.  Many of those seeming interruptions become simply an extension of whatever aspect of the Lord and His Truth I contemplate at the time.  Sometimes they do not appear to relate at all, but I am learning that as we walk with our Lord, it all somehow fits together.  The messages I speak or write, if they proceed from the Lord's leading, do not simply result from having my head in the Book, as vital as that is, but also from having my heart in the Book's Author.  If He chooses to "interrupt" my reading, study, and prayer, well, I would never accuse the Lord of interrupting anything!  Yes, He somehow fits it all together because His promise is true - "I am with you always."

    In mountains, deserts, and gardens, the Lord Jesus retreated to times of aloneness with His Father.  He also walked with God along the highways and byways of Palestine, and in His encounters with multitudes of needy hearts.  He gives to us the same wondrous gift, the bestowal of grace whereby God gave to us Himself when we believed.  May He grant much grace that we not limit the possibility of knowing Him by confining our expectations to times or places.  He rather eternally abides in the spirits of all who believe, and who choose to open the eyes of the heart to see the presence of His heart.

At the drop of a heart, you can come to Me.
You need not wait 'til you're on your knees.
For I have made a way for you to come to Me,
at the drop of a heart, at the drop of a heart,
o come to Me…

Any time and any place, you can seek My face.
For everywhere you'll ever be, you will need My grace.
Just open up your eyes and altars you will see,
at the drop of a heart, at the drop of a heart,
o come to Me…

I am with you now, and I will always be.
Our hearts are joined as one, oh I will never leave.
The sound of your voice is in My ears so sweet,
at the drop of a heart, at the drop of a heart,
o come to Me…
come to Me, come to Me.

"I will be with thee."
(Isaiah 43:2)
"Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him."
(John 4:21-22)

Weekly Memory Verse
    Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
(I Timothy 1:17)

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