Thursday, January 2, 2014

Living Presently

Today started with a ton of optimism.  We began the New Year, yesterday, peacefully and quietly, preparing for our fast and I was excited and ready to begin.  Then, as the morning of day one progressed, I began to look at the fast and see a very long tunnel with just a speck of light at the end of it.  I could say the walls were starting to close in on me, but that’s really too dramatic.  However, I was starting to get discouraged about it all.  I continued with my morning, feeding the kids their breakfast, eating my carrots and cucumbers, clean up, take a shower and preparing to weather the current blizzard to our neighborhood Wal-Mart.  As I was getting dressed, I was reminded with that still small voice the importance of “living presently.”  I was praying, or more so, asking God to help me get through this long fast, when I heard the Holy Spirit say, “I’ll be with you presently.” 

The words didn’t sink in at first.  I thought God was trying to teach me another level of patience (waiting on Him).  But as I continued to ponder what He said, I began to realize that my eyes were not on the here and now, my eyes were on the flickering light at the end of a long, foodless tunnel and all the emptiness in between.

The Holy Spirit was opening my eyes to a new understanding of living in the now that I will never forget and I want to share with you on this awesome first day of fasting.  The revelation is this… God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.  Big words which mean that He is all powerful and can do anything (omnipotent), He is all-knowing, with all wisdom (omniscient), and finally, He is everywhere (omnipresent).  That is God… not us.  We exist only in the present.  We can remember the past and can consider the future but we can only exist in the now.  That is why Jesus was constantly saying, don’t worry about tomorrow1, and take nothing for your journey2.  He wanted the disciples to focus on the will of the Father and not all the other things that get in the way.  That is great but there is more to it than just “living in the now” that Jesus was trying to get us to understand. 

Living in the present includes living in His presence!  In John 15 we see Jesus telling His disciples to “abide” in Him3.  The word “abide” in the original Greek is meno (pronounced men-oh).  This word means to continue, dwell, endure, be present, stay or tarry.  Jesus didn’t want us just to live in the now with no focus or future. He wanted us to live right now, in His presence, being directed by the Holy Spirit and walking in His strength!  He continues to point out how the branches cannot survive away from the vine but can only grow and function in the vine!  When we live in the Presence, we experience a whole new growth and vitality! 

Sadly, we have become accustomed to continually looking to the past, trying to analyze it, re-live it, or even be bound by the fear perpetuated from it.  Others are striving to live in the future, always looking to tomorrow and beyond.  They are never satisfied with what they have right now and are continually wrestling with time and resources to make tomorrow happen as quickly as possible.

God’s greatest desire is for us to abide in Him and experience His presence where we find joy!  He can heal us from the wounds of the past!  He can bring us to a greater potential than former glories!  He brings us peace to stop striving or “spinning our wheels” to get to the unattainable “tomorrow” and brings about His plans to prosper us and give us the future and hope that only He can give (Jer. 29:11) because He is the only one that can live in the past, the present, and the future!

I challenge you in this season, whether you are fasting or not, to surrender your “yesterdays” and your “tomorrows” to Jesus who is there.  Why?  Because He promises to be with us presently

God bless you as you seek and serve Him!

1) Matthew 6:34
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

2) Luke 9:3
“And He said unto them, ‘Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.’”

3) John 15:4, 7-10
 4 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
"7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.  9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love."