The Presence of God 3

Yesterday I missed church because of illness.  In my quest to practice the presence of God I have given God responsibility for my life therefore God is the one to blame for me not going to church.  Right?

Of course not! Giving God responsibility for our life doesn’t relieve us of responsibility for our free will actions.  

Psalm 127:1…”Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.”

Read that again.  The builders keep building, even though God is in charge of the house.  The watchmen keep watching, even though God is guarding the city.

This principle applied is that we are to keep doing our jobs, even though we’ve given control to God.  We give our career goals to God, but we still show up for work.  We give our academic goals to God, but we still study.  We give our relationships to God, but we still spend time with friends and those you love.  We give our health to God, but we still work hard to maintain it.

If giving God responsibility for our life doesn’t eliminate our responsibility, what does it do?  Something much more exciting! When we give God responsibilty for our life He empowers us to obey and frees us from the bondage of results — because even though we’re still working hard, we’re no longer trusting ourselves for the results, we’re trusting God for the results.  He is there with us to empower our obedience!

Have you ever seen the bumper sticker that says, “God is my co-pilot”?  I never was a fan for some reason but there is a variation of it that I like a lot better.  It says, “God is my pilot.  I’m just the co-pilot.”

This is more than just a matter of semantics. It’s a matter of who’s in charge.  Our attitude shouldn’t be “God, this is what I’ve decided to do, now bless it.”  It should be, “Father, show me what You want me to do, how You want me to do it, and enable me to do it so I can do it in a way that brings You honor.”

God wants to be in charge of our responsibilities.  But, giving God responsibility for our life doesn’t relieve us of responsibility, it just puts us in the position of co-pilot and Him in position of pilot on the journey of life. 

The Presence of God 2

When Herman Cain took over as CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, the company was in the midst of a severe financial crisis.  Within one year, he brought the company into profitability.  When he was asked how he did it, he said, “The secret to my success is my faith in Christ and God almighty — and they are no secret!  I have to give God the glory in everything I do and in every success I’ve achieved.”

Whatever it is that we’re responsible for, God wants to be in charge.  God wants to choose your major.  God wants to decide on your career.  God wants to watch over your relationships.  God wants to be in charge of our responsibilities. 

Psalm 127:1 “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.”

Among other things this psalm teaches that whatever it is we are doing God wants to be involved.   It doesn’t have to be as grant as building a house or guarding a city.   If you’ve got classes to take, God wants to take them with you.  If you have a job to do, God wants to do it with you.  If you’ve got friends that you’re concerned about, God wants to guard them.  If you’re wondering what to do with your life, God wants to guide you.  If you’ve got a family that you don’t understand; God wants to be the Lord of your family relationships.  Get the idea?  God wants to be involved in your life. 

There’s nothing about our life that is unimportant to God. Sometimes we may wonder, “Is God really concerned whether or not I pass this class?  Is God really concerned whether or not I meet this deadline?  Is God really concerned me finding a job?”  The answer is, always, “Yes!” 

But it may not always feel that way because whatever it is we do, God not only wants to be involved; He wants to be in charge. 

God wants to be involved in our responsibilities — and not only involved; He wants to be in charge.  Whatever it is we have to do, God wants us to do it His way.  There’s a good reason for this: His way, though often not our way, is always the best way.

So, as we approach our responsibilities in life, we are to surrender them to God’s control.  We’re to say, “God, I’m giving You control of my career; build my future for Your glory…God, I’m giving You control of my relationships, I’m giving You control of my family; build my relationships, including my relationship to my family, for Your glory…God I’m giving You control of my future; build it for Your glory.”

 God wants to be in charge of our responsibilities, for one simple reason, because His way is the best way.  The more we nourish a relationship with God the easier putting God in charge of our responssibilities.

The Presence of God

A little more than 300 years ago a middle aged man named Nicholas Herman entered a monastery in France and lived the remaining 30 years of his life as a cook. (I guess you could call him a French Friar.)  Though his life was lived in obscurity, he accomplished one thing that destined him for greatness. He sought and eventually achieved the ability to walk continually in God’s presence.

As he approached the end of his life, he wrote about it in a book that came to be called “The Practice of the Presence of God.”   This book, written by an obscure monk, has influenced countless Christians over the centuries, helping them discover the joy of living day-in, day-out in God’s presence.

In one of his writings, he said: “If I were a preacher I would, above all other things, preach the practice of the presence of God.  For there is nothing in the world sweeter or more delightful than a continual conversation with God.”

I believe that!  I love talking about it and preaching about it! The problem is I so seldom consistently have a “continual conversation with God.”  How about you?  Do you practice the presence of God —  do you experience God in your life on a consistent basis?  If you do you can go read your Bible because this post is for the rest of us who struggle with experiencing God in all of life here in the shadowland.  I don’t claim to have it all together but the times when I experience God most all start with this first step:  Taking God from a doctrine to a person.  Not only realizing the personhood of God but making him your partner in all you do.  That means liking God as well as loving Him.

Whatever it is that you do with the majority of your time – whether, you’re a student, or you’re in the marketplace earning a living, or whatever your situation may be — God wants to be your partner in all of  it.  That is why Jesus came to the Shadowland!

Psalm 127:1-2 can be applied to any area of life — academic, family, relationships, work, all of it.  This psalm teaches us that God wants to be involved in every area of our lives because everything we do is important to Him.  Read this several times today and see if God doesn’t use it to make you see the areas where you “labor in vain”

(1) Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.  (2) In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat — for He grants sleep to those He loves.