Be thankful for God’s presence!

In any given moment, God can transform your life. Every Sunday my prayer is
that when people enter any one of our campuses, that they would experience
the presence of God. I am amazed at the stories of people that have come
through our doors. As a leadership team, we do our very best to prepare an
atmosphere that invites people to engage with God. The danger is when God’s
presence becomes routine. The Israelites faced this same problem. They left
the boundaries of Egypt and started on their journey to the promised land.
God’s presence was always in front of them. Moses wrote that by day the
Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and
by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel
by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire
by night left its place in front of the people (Exodus 13:21-22). At some
point they began to grumble and complain. Then it turned into an attitude.
It got to the point that some had even wished they were back in bondage!
They became so familiar with his presence that they forgot He was still
there. Do we come in to our worship services with the same familiarity? Do
we, like the Israelites, grumble that God is not taking care of us like we
feel he should? Have we forgotten whose presence we are coming in to? We
are coming in to the presence of Almighty God! He is the one who parted the
Red Sea, defeated the enemy, provided food from heaven and water from a
rock. God forbid if we come in with such a casual attitude! God’s presence
is a privilege, not a right. He will always be right in front of his
people. But only the people who continue to follow him and seek after his
presence will see him. God says that we will find him when we seek Him with
all our heart(Jeremiah 29:13). Don’t wait to experience God on Sunday; you
can do that right now. God’s presence is intimate. That means he is close
to us, with us every day. He is also with us even through difficult
circumstances. Remember what David said, “Even if I walk through a very
dark valley, I will not be afraid, because you are with me. Your rod and
your shepherd’s staff comfort me” (Psalm 23:4). Some of God’s brightest
moments come out of our darkest moments. When was the last time you truly
experienced the presence of God? If you have to think about it, it’s been
too long. If his presence has become too familiar ask Him to awaken your
heart again. Don’t come into His presence empty handed. Come with
thanksgiving in your heart and give him praise! (Psalm 100:4) If you are
experiencing the presence of God, maintain the attitude of gratitude and
thank him that his presence never leaves us or abandons us (Deuteronomy
31:8) and is with us until the very end! (Matthew 28:20)

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