Some people hate surprises, don’t like parties, and could definitely live without the battle that ensues when trying to free the package their grandma just gave them from its layers of tape and wrapping paper, but most EVERYBODY loves presents! If the person giving you the present knows you and knows what you like, then the gift receiving experience can be even more exciting than usual. Well, God is in the gift giving business. He is the King of Kindness, the Master of Magnanimity, the Father of Freebies, the God of Giveaways, the Prince of Presents, and the list could go on and on. Here are just a few of the gifts that God has given us.
Gift # 1: Life
Gift # 2: His Son
Gift # 3: Forgiveness
Gift # 4: Salvation
Gift # 5: Peace
Gift # 6: Joy
Gift # 7: His Presence
Of course, we could continue this list, and it would never stop until it filled volumes of books and countless pages on the web. Everything we are and everything we have is a gift from the Father above. So my goal here is not to list the unlimited gifts of God in a single blog post. My goal in writing this, is to focus on just one of the amazing gifts of God, and it is the last gift I listed… the gift of His presence.
Too many times and for too many Christians we go about the business of religion by doing and achieving and accomplishing. We read our Bible. We spend x amount of minutes in prayer. We write in prayer journals and memorize scripture verses. We go to church on Sundays and even Wednesdays and hang around others of like faith. We’ve got this Christianity thing down pat. The problem is that we can be exemplary Christians, all while missing out on one of the biggest things, in fact, THE biggest thing that God has for us. I’ll get to that in just one moment, but first… I’m going to share with you the purpose of life. Yes, that great mystery that scholarly men and women have been searching out since the beginning of time… I know what it is. In fact, not only do I know what it is, but countless other people have uncovered and discovered the great and elusive enigma as well. That’s because the purpose of life is really not a mystery at all if you simply look within the word of God to where you find the heart of God. God’s children understand the purpose of life because our inner being cries out to fulfill it. So here it is. We were created for God’s glory… plain and simple, and we were created for fellowship with Him. When everything went wrong and Adam and Eve sinned, God had an elaborate plan to restore fellowship with mankind. That is what salvation is all about. That’s what Christianity is all about… fellowship with God and the charge of bringing as many people as heavenly possible into right fellowship with God right along side of us.
So how could we as good Christians miss that divine purpose of life? We know we’re supposed to “spend time” with God, but true fellowship with Him is so much more than going through the motions of religiosity. We need to learn to break from the incessant busyness and craziness of life and wait on Him. We need to learn to turn off the constant output of our minds and wait silently and reverently for God to pour into us. We need to learn to calm ourselves and make ourselves aware of the fact that there is a whole other realm… a spiritual realm, which exists all around us at all times, but so often we miss it just because we can’t feel it or see it or maybe because we don’t fully understand it. So even though dwelling in God’s presence isn’t always about an experience or a feeling, it is definitely about the awareness that He truly exists, He is ever present, and He is with us in a way every bit as real as He was with Adam and Eve walking in the garden of Eden before the fall. It is about Psalm 46:10. “Be still and know that I am God.” To KNOW that He is God, is more than just a statement of fact that we learn by studying and searching and seeking. It is a truth that we come to understand and embrace by sitting and stopping… by stillness. God is revealed to us in all of His fullness and awesomeness when we STOP, when we SIT, and when we quiet ourselves with the intent of hearing from Him.
This isn’t easy in our world of texting, and face timing, and instagraming. We know how to ignore the person sitting right next to us while we talk to a complete stranger or acquaintance through the electronic device in the palm of our hands. We are good at being connected, but connecting with God happens when we disconnect from all those other things. In Psalm 46 we read in verse 1 that, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Did you catch that… EVER PRESENT, as in, WITH US ALWAYS. Verses 7 and 11 of the same chapter, are exact replicas of each other in their declaration. They both say, “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Within 11 verses, we are reminded 3 times that God is with us. His presence is with us. We just need to be still and be aware and be waiting. Even though He is already here, we need to start living like we believe it, and sometimes we need to STOP living BECAUSE we believe it. It is more than worth it. God’s presence is overflowing with all kinds of good gifts that He is just waiting to pour out on us, and here are just a few of them.
In His presence we find peace. In His presence we find healing. In His presence we find answers. In His presence we find joy. In His presence we find fulfillment. In His presence we find communion. In His presence we find satisfaction. The gift of His presence is one that truly and absolutely keeps on giving. The fullness of God can be accessed when we spend time in His presence. There is no limit to what God can do and what we can receive from Him when we are spending time sitting and soaking in His presence. The presence of God is a life changing, mind changing, soul changing gift. The presence of God is the essence of God dwelling among us and in us and with us. It is worth the time it takes of tearing away all the pretty wrappings and bows and the layers and layers of tape that surround it, to reveal the awesome gift that lay inside. It is the sweetest gift you will ever receive. Ah yes, the PRESENCE of God is truly one of the the greatest PRESENTS of God.