Category Archives: Uncategorized

Present in the Moment

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen . . . But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:1, 6 NKJV

While praying about the coronavirus—this invisible enemy—the Lord reminded me of three words that He spoke to my heart last Fall: faith, focus, fearless. These words are a reminder of what God is saying, not only to prepare us, but to equip us to survive this pandemic, victoriously.

Any difficult journey in life can try your faith, distort your focus, and shake your courage. But let’s not allow plagues, pestilence, life’s troubles, and other distractions dampen our faith, blur our focus, or grip us with fear. We must continue to do God’s will, and in the end, we will triumph if we remain faithful, focused, and fearless.  We must set our face like “flint” (i.e., strength and determination, Isa. 50:7) and stay present in the moment.

“Now faith” is faith that is present in the moment. True faith is always now (Heb. 11:1). Being present in the moment is the only time where there is no time. It is the point between the fears and failures of the past and the uncertainties of the future. God is here right now with us in the midst of this fight against this unseen enemy. So, what is God saying? What God is saying to me may be different than what He is saying to you.

Being present in the moment with our faith in and our focus on God, He will speak to us right in the middle of this “de-normalization” of our lives: being sheltered in placed with your spouse and loved ones; not being able to send our children off to school; stressing out to purchase groceries and supplies as the unbelieving make a run on the stores; and, our limited ability to go and come and gather in community with other believers.

We may hear God challenge us about our true love and commitments for our spouse, children, and others. Was it love all along or just toleration? Were we really trusting God for our supply and the needs of children? Are we now being forced to face the fact as to whether we ever had true love for God and His people? Everything that happens, happens in the present moment, and without faith right now—in the present moment—we cannot pleased God (Heb. 11:6). So, let us love one another and care for each other during this crisis and afterwards.

In the present moment, there is no point in worrying about the past and or being anxious about the future (Phil. 4:6). We only need to be present. To be present means, in the words of Isaiah the prophet, to “Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say” (Isa. 28:23 NIV). Being present is being fully engaged, involved, and attentive to what God is saying and doing in you in every situation.

Have faith in God. Seek Him and He will reward us even during these difficult times, where it may feel like our world is being turned upside down. But remember  “. . . that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18). Stay faithful,  focused, fearless, and present in the moment!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Blessing of Being Conscious of the Presence of the Lord

Then David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every leader. 2 And David said to all the assembly of Israel, . . . 3 and let us bring the ark of our God back to us, for we have not inquired at it since the days of Saul” . . . 7 So they carried the ark of God on a new cart from the house of Abinadab, and Uzza and Ahio drove the cart. 8 Then David and all Israel played music before God with all their might, with singing, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on cymbals, and with trumpets. 9 And when they came to Chidon’s threshing floor, Uzza put out his hand to hold the ark, for the oxen stumbled. 10 Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against Uzza, and He struck him because he put his hand to the ark; and he died there before God. 11 And David became angry because of the Lord’s outbreak against Uzza; therefore that place is called Perez Uzza to this day. 12 David was afraid of God that day, saying, “How can I bring the ark of God to me?” 13 So David would not move the ark with him into the City of David, but took it aside into the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. 14 The ark of God remained with the family of Obed-Edom in his house three months. And the Lord blessed the house of Obed-Edom and all that he had. 1 Chronicles 13:1, 3, 7-14 NKJV

In 2 Samuel 21:1, during a famine when David inquired of the Lord, he wasn’t seeking to get the presence of Lord in a place that God wasn’t already present. He sought the spirit of the consciousness of the presence of the Lord—that’s when the blessing comes.

When God’s presence is restored, consciously in our minds, He answers our famine, and afterwards, He fills us with His glory. Our scripture text above bears out this truth. For example:

The Ark could only be transported on the shoulders of the Levites with poles on their shoulders (See ex. 25:14; Num. 4:15; 7:9; 10:21 and 1 Chron.15:15).  Transporting the Ark on a new cart was the way of the Philistines (1 Sam. 6:7), but not the way God prescribed. The methods of the world can violate the law of God, and produce death, as it did for Uzza. Uzza and his brother Ahio drove the oxen and the new cart carrying the Ark. This was a man-made attempt to bring back the presence of the Lord (the Ark). The right motivation is no guarantee of God’s blessing. God’s service must be rendered according to God’s law. The work of God calls for right motives and methods.

In verse 9, when the oxen stumbled, Uzza— whose name mean strength—put forth his hand to steady the Ark and the Lord struck him dead. Why? The hands of human strength tried to keep the “moving of the spirit” under control. We don’t move God; He moves us; we don’t touch God; He touches us! So, what is the blessing of being conscious of the presence of the Lord? You can clearly see the blessing when you compare and contrast the houses of Abinadab and Obed-edom (verses 11-14).

Abinadab had the Ark in his house for twenty years (1 Sam. 7:2) and there were no reports of his house being blessed; why, because he wasn’t conscious of the presence of the Lord.  Is it because, you lose consciousness of God’s presence when you start practicing the presence of the problem. On the other hand, Obed-edom had the Ark in his house for three months, and had a consciousness of the presence of God and the Lord blessed his household and everything he had. God’s presence is the answer to famine, and there are blessings when you’re conscious of the presence of the Lord!

 

 

 

 

Why Does Famine Come?

Then David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every leader. 2 And David said to all the assembly of Israel, “If it seems good to you, and if it is of the Lord our God, let us send out to our brethren everywhere who are left in all the land of Israel, and with them to the priests and Levites who are in their cities and their common-lands, that they may gather together to us; 3 and let us bring the ark of our God back to us, for we have not inquired at it since the days of Saul. 1 Chronicles 13:1-3 NKJV

In the face of famine, spiritually speaking, you ought to seek consciousness of the presence of the Lord—you ought to inquire of Him; when you do, God will speak if you really want to hear from Him about your famine (2 Sam. 21:1). But why does famine come?

In the above text verses, you can see Saul’s biggest problem is our biggest problem—neglect! Saul’s neglect of the Ark symbolized the neglect of God and His presence. Neglecting the things that remind us of God will cause us to neglect God. We must keep God consciously in the center of our lives. Unlike Saul, David sought the presence of the Lord (2 Sam. 21:1). Ergo, famine comes when you (1) Ignore God’s presence; (2) because of what you think, say, and do; and (3) because of decisions you make in disobedience to God; thus, dishonoring God (Job 36:11).

For example, when Satan rose up against Israel and tempted David to take a census of Israel. David’s thinking, what he ordered to his army’s commander to do displeased the Lord. David sinned and acted foolishly. As a result, God gave David the choice of three consequences of his sin: three years of famine, three months of his enemies overtaking him by the sword, or three days of a plague (1 Chron. 21:1-2, 7-13). David chose to fall in the hand of God. David had ultimate authority as king, and was a wise and effective leader until Satan tempted him with pride (Prov. 16:18). Thank God that David repented and sought the presence of the Lord.

Famine doesn’t come to destroy you or cut you off from God; it comes to bring you to repentance, and to seek the presence of the Lord. You can always know that you lose consciousness of God’s presence whenever you’re on a path of committing sin (Jas. 1:15); living a life of sin consciousness (Rom. 8:1); and not being grateful, joyful and thankful (Deut. 28:47-48). This is why famine comes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bring It Back!

Then David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every leader. 2 And David said to all the assembly of Israel, “If it seems good to you, and if it is of the Lord our God, let us send out to our brethren everywhere who are left in all the land of Israel, and with them to the priests and Levites who are in their cities and their common-lands, that they may gather together to us; 3 and let us bring the ark of our God back to us, for we have not inquired at it since the days of Saul. 1 Chronicles 13:1-3 NKJV 

The single reason for Saul’s maladministration and lost of the kingdom was—he didn’t seek the presence of the Lord. Unlike Saul, David’s first order of business was to bring back the Ark of God, i.e., bring back the presence of the Lord. And, when there was famine in the days of David for three years, year after year, David sought the presence of the Lord (2 Sam. 21:1). When David sought the presence of the Lord, he became acutely aware of the answer instead of being acutely aware of the problem. He shifted his consciousness from awareness of famine to an awareness of God’s presence. He brought his attention back to a consciousness of the presence of the Lord. Like David, we need to bring it back!

Consciousness is focused attention; an awareness of self, others, and one’s environment; it has also been called the superego (Sigmund Freud). One’s consciousness can be molded to be problem-conscious or God-conscious (1 Tim. 4:1-2). When our conscious is aware of the problem only, we need to bring it back to a consciousness of the presence of God.

When you seek the presence of the Lord—when you bring God back consciously. You’ll begin to feel that you know that God is on the scene to manifest a mighty blessing to answer your famine. You’ll know that God is not there just as an intellectual truth that you assent to, but He’s there because you sense He is there. Sort of like what you experience when you “pray through.” You feel that you are there in God’s presence.

So, how can you know you’re conscious of the presence of the Lord when you’re experiencing a problem?  First, you know God is on the scene when the presence of God has more of a reality than the problem (Ps. 16:11); second, you begin to feel joy and gladness, and then,  you find something in your circumstances to give God thanks for instead of just complaining about your problem (1 Thess. 5:18).  When you are conscious of the presence of the Lord, God will speak to you, somehow in some way (2 Sam. 21:1c).  The ultimate secret to success in life is to seek the presence of the Lord (Ps. 34:10). Just bring it back!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Secret to All Supply

“Am I a God near at hand,” says the Lord, “And not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?” says the Lord; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord. Jeremiah 23:23, 24 NKJV

There was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord, and the Lord answered (2 Sam. 21:1). Like David discovered, the presence of the Lord is the answer to every situation. It is not an answer; it is the answer; it is the master key. In the face of famine, David didn’t seek rain or aid from another nation, David sought the presence of the Lord. God is always near at hand; you or your situation can never hide from God because His presence fills heaven and earth (text).

Christians read the Bible, and say that they believe its words, but often failed to understand that the God of the Bible is always present. The Bible begins with the answer—not the problem. In the beginning God—not problems, not need; not acute shortages of any good, lack or depravation. God created Paradise with Adam & Eve in mind (Gen. 1:1, 31). He never had in mind for them or us: pain, struggle, tears, toil, and unhappiness. So why is it, when things go awry, we often find ourselves not seeking the presence of God, but the thing that we think is the solution?

Let us not forget three powerful facts about God: God is Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, i.e., all powerful, all knowing, and all present (Ps. 139:7-8; Prov. 15:3; Isa. 66:1).     God is present everywhere and absent nowhere. God is       everywhere, or God is not God anywhere. For example,    when sickness becomes health, God is just as much present during sickness as He is during health. So, what does it mean, “David inquired or sought the presence of God?

For sure, it doesn’t mean that God wasn’t present, or David somehow escaped the presence of God. What David sought was the consciousness of the presence of God. Instead of being acutely aware of the problem, he became acutely aware of the answer (2 Sam. 21:1). David discovered the secret to overcoming famine; which is, to stop practicing the absence of God by dwelling on the problem, analyzing it, thinking about it, and constantly talking about it. After three years, year after year of famine, David inquired of the Lord—he sought the presence of the Lord.

From a conscious standpoint, God is not present where you choose to believe He is not, because you have choose to “Ease God Out” (EGO) of your consciousness and focus on your famine rather than His presence. The secret to all supply is seeking the presence of the Lord!

 

 

Are You Practicing the Absence of God?

Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, “It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites.” 2 Samuel 21:1 NKJV 

Famine is an acute shortage of any good in life. For example, if you’re experiencing a lack of health or well-being, unemployment or under-employment, a lack of finances, broken relationships; not getting your prayers answered—any kind of lack or depravation is a famine. In the face of famine, you must learn to do what David did: inquire of the Lord, i.e., seek His face; seek the presence of the Lord. It is up to you to inquire of the Lord because you are responsible for your famine, and you have the power (Gen. 1:26; Luke 10:19)

Famine is where you are practicing the absence of God. Why? Is it because you believe that God isn’t there? Here’s how you can know that you are practicing the absence of God: consider your mood and your confession—how you feel and how you talk is telling.

If your mood is doom and gloom; fear and uncertainty; murmuring and complaining; griping and fussing; frequently annoyed and irritated; and perhaps, mad enough to “spit nails”, you are probably experiencing a spiritual famine. And, if your confession is: “I’ve got a problem”; “What am I going to do?”; “Why me?” or, “People are lying on me”, you may be experiencing an unabated famine.   Tell me what you’re complaining about, or what you fear and I’ll tell you where you are practicing the absence of God.

God is always present, here and now (Ps. 139:7-8). So, when you’re practicing the absence of God, you can insidiously have a place in your belief system where God isn’t present. The truth is: the only place God isn’t present is where you believe He isn’t.

On the contrary, when you practice the presence of God, you are filled with joy in His presence, and you stand at His right hand, i.e., a position of honor, favor, and power (Ps 16:11). When you inquire of the Lord, something wonderful and marvelous happens, and you’ll begin to feel something awesome. God is good and He has laid up great blessings for you in the shelter of His presence. Yes, God laid up for us before we got here. The thing you desire is seeking you and you’ll find it when you seek the presence of the Lord! (Ps. 31:19-20).

 

 

The Answer to Famine

Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, “It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites.” 2 Samuel 21:1 NKJV

Jesus healed the sick; raised the dead, casted out devils; fed the multitudes; and, He is still going about doing good—now (Acts 10:38). God is a “Right Now God.” He is the answer to every problem, supply to every need, fulfillment of every desire, the provision that includes every provision, and the greater that includes the lesser. But is there is a way to experience these things now?  Yes, by seeking the face of God, i.e., seeking the presence of the Lord.

When there was a famine in the days of David, he sought the presence of the Lord (inquired), and the Lord answered that it was because Saul had massacred the Gibeonites, whom Joshua and the leaders of Israel had swore an oath not to ever do (Jos. 9). There is always a reason for a famine. Just like God told Solomon, “when I shut up heaven and there is no rain, . . . if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, . . . then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:13, 14). A shut up heaven when there is no rain spells a famine in the land (Amos 8:11).

A spiritual famine is an acute shortage; experiencing the lack of any good in life, e.g., health and well-being, employment, finances, relationships, getting your prayers answered; any kind of lack or depravation. David experienced three years of unabated famine. Why? Well, David didn’t do anything about it for three years. Have you noticed how long you can go before you do something about your famine? What do you do about the famine in your life? First, look at what you’re not doing about it. Are you acting like a victim in the face of famine? Are you blaming God and others? You must make the first move because you’re responsible for your famine (Gen. 1:26; 2 Cor. 5:17; Col. 1:13).

David sought the presence of the Lord (Ps. 16:11). He didn’t pray for rain or seek rain; he didn’t register for a class or a “how to” workshop or seminar; nor, did he attend a special conference (Prov. 8:17, 35). He inquired of the Lord—he sought the presence of the Lord.

In your famine, whatever it may be, don’t seek what God has—seek God Himself. For example, God doesn’t give health, wealth, or peace, etc. God is!  Jesus told the Jews who were following Him only for the fish and the loaves, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). Jesus didn’t say that he had bread; He said that He was bread! The answer to famine is not rain, but God. Whatever you need, don’t seek the thing; seek God because God is (Heb. 11:6).  The answer to famine is God!

 

 

 

 

 

Turnaround

Then the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. 2 Chronicles 7:12-15 NKJV

Notwithstanding powerful manifestations of God, e.g., fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple (2 Chron. 7:1), some people still don’t forsake sin. They continue to live self-centered lives, unyielding to God’s Word and His will, even to the point of becoming cold and callous towards the things of God, having their conscience seared with an hot iron (1 Tim. 4:2).

God told Solomon that pride, prayerlessness, and a lack of devotion to God was sin, and if God’s people didn’t turnaround from their wicked ways, the heavens would be shut-up the heavens and there would be no blessings, locust would be commanded to devour their land, and God would send pestilence and plaques if the people didn’t turnaround.

A “turnaround” is the act of turning about and facing and moving in the opposite direction—it is a spiritual breakthrough—moving towards God in repentance and faith (Heb. 6:1). Repentance (metanoia, Greek word) is after thought, a change of mind, and to think differently. Repentance is not just an Old Testament concept. John the Baptist was the first to preach repentance in the New Testament. He stressed in his message that the kingdom of God was right here, right now, and furthered insisted that true repentance produced fruit (evidence) of change (Matt. 3:1-2, 7-8).

The fruit of a turnaround is evidence of change. You must change your mind about sin, God, and yourself. God is not overlooking sin, especially the sin of idolatry, “but now he commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). Idolatry can be a subtle sin because it so easy to idolized, and place before our jealous God (Ex. 20:5) your spouse, children, your house, your car, and your job, etc. Be careful. Unrepented sin will do you in!

Seems to me, there are three things that we need to turnaround from, face God and move towards Him in faith: sin, transgression, and iniquity. Sin is a falling away from God, missing the mark (disobedience) with respect to what He commands; transgression is a violation of law (the Word of God) committed through ignorance or by rebellion; and, iniquity is wickedness, crookedness, perverseness (moral distortion).   The bottom line is: again, unrepented sin will do you in by shutting up heaven, locusts devouring the fruit of your life, and suffering the problems of pestilence and plagues. Just turnaround!

 

Face-to-Face

Then the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. 2 Chronicles 7:12-15 NJKV

God is a jealous God (Ex. 20:5), and He has a problem when we ignore Him or seek Him only in an emergency, but refuse to seek Him continuously. God desires a face-to-face relationship with His people. As God says in the above text, when God’s people get tired of shut-up heavens so that there is no rain, and devouring locusts, suffering pestilence and plagues of sickness, they will seek God’s face, and then God said He would hear their prayers, forgive their sins, and heal their land.

What does it mean to seek God’s face?  “Face” is an idiom for presence in Old Testament writings. It’s not seeking God’s outward appearance, but rather seeking to experience God’s presence (Ex. 33:20).   Without seeking God’s face, His people can, at best, have a long distant relationship with Him. But long distant relationships are hard due to loss of passion, things lost in translation, communication breakdowns, etc.  The prophet Isaiah warned against such relationships with God when he said, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near” (Isa. 55:6). A face-to-face relationship seeks out the presence of the Lord in every situation: good, bad, or ugly. Isaiah is further saying that if you have something to say, say it to God’s face.

After the Ark of the Covenant was returned to Jerusalem, King David wrote a psalm of thanksgiving and delivered it to Asaph, the chief musician. The psalm included these words: “Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face continually” (1 Chron. 16:11). A face-to-face relationship with God seeks His presence continually—not just in an emergency or a time of need.

God wants His people to live, work, and worship seeking His face. It is not where you worship or seek His presence that counts, but it is how you seek His presence. “Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with their whole heart” (Ps 119:2).  “God is spirit, and those who worship Him [seek His face] must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

It is time to seek the Lord, until He comes and rain righteousness upon you (Hos. 10:12). They that seek God, face-to-face, shall not want for any good thing (Ps. 34:10). No shut-up heavens; no devouring locusts, and no pestilence and plagues because God hears from heaven. He forgives sins and heals your land. So feel the joy of His presence (Ps.16:11). He is always there. Wherever you are, God is. So ask and it shall be given unto you; seek His face and you will find. God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, face-to-face!

                                                                                

 

 

Wide Awake

Then the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. 2 Chronicles 7:12-15 NKJV

It is interesting how people are quick to dedicate everything to God but themselves. God accepted Solomon’s dedication of the newly built temple, but warned him of conditions of drought, devouring locusts, and pestilence that would come against the people unless they dedicated themselves to God. If God’s people dedicate themselves to God—and not just things—then God would forgive their sins and heal their land, and God’s eyes would be open and attentive to their prayers, i.e., God would be wide awake: “ . . . he that keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep” (Ps. 121:4).

To be wide awake (idiom) is someone who is fully awake and unable to sleep. “Prayerfulness makes you, the believer, wide awake. Prayerlessness characterizes you as one who lives a life of “slumber and sleep.” Prayerlessness is an insult to God, because every prayer-less day makes a statement: “I do not need God today; “Lord, I got this.”  On the other hand, a life dedicated to God is a life constant with prayer. As apostle Paul told the Roman Christians: rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer (Rom. 12:12).

“Continuing steadfastly in prayer” is praying without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17).  To pray without ceasing is having a spirit of prayer that depends on God for everything, and an attitude that says, “Without God, I can do nothing.” Praying without ceasing is both a daily attitude and an activity of being wide awake, i.e., talking to God from your hearts. Continuing steadfastly in prayer is also a natural expression of faith, and without faith, it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6) to whom you belong (1 Cor. 6:20); it is just like breathing is a natural expression of one’s life. Without prompting, you are committed to inhale and exhale to live. When your life is dedicated to God, prayer—formal or informal—keeps you wide awake.

Wide awake is praying earnestly (Matt. 7:7-8); praying persistently (Luke 18:1-8); and, it is praying and not losing heart—not quitting, ever!