Flagler Beach United Methodist Church
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Open Hearts Open Minds Open Doors
 
Cultivating His Presence
By Jacqueline Leveron
 
I once read about a boy who every night had to walk past what he believed was a haunted house. A friend gave him a good luck charm to give him courage. An adult said, “It’s sinful to be afraid. Trust God! Be brave!” But the boy was still afraid.
 
Then someone said with loving compassion, “I know what its like to be afraid. I will walk with you past the house.” That’s all the boy needed to lose his fear.
 
Moses was in a similar situation. He was in a tight spot. God had called him to lead the Israelites out of captivity. But Moses felt that a major piece of information had been left out. Who  was going to accompany him in this endeavor? Finally God answers Moses’ question. In Exodus 33:14 God tells Moses, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
 
Most people in our country are too stressed to find rest. Many of us live very busy lives but in the midst of our busyness we must be intentional about cultivating God’s presence if we want to be blessed.
 
Before Jesus left he said, “I will not leave you as orphans, I will send you the Comforter.” Jesus sent the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost to empower us to live victorious lives and build his Church.
 
You and I are called to be tabernacles of his living presence. Wherever we go, his presence should be with us. But how can we do it in a world that does not always welcome his presence? Here are some principles for cultivating his presence in our lives.
 
Pray without ceasing (I Thess 5:17) Just like a plant can’t grow without water, neither can a Christian grow without prayer. Prayer is communication, it is not a monologue, but a dialogue. We must allow time to listen to God. Prayer builds intimacy. Prayer changes people and situations. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16)”
 
Reflect on God’s World Daily (Joshua 1:8) It is imperative for us to study, to memorize, to meditate, to confess his word daily. Proverb s 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” One of the weapons the enemy will use to destroy us is our words. The words that come out of our mouth will edify or kill us. Stop negative and destructive speech; instead, speak the word of God over yourself, situations and other people.
 
Enjoy Life (John 10:10b) Jesus gave his precious life so that you and I would have abundant and eternal life. Every day we will face obstacles, but it is up to us how we react. The real obstacles are not external, they are internal. Deal with them!
 
Remember we lead three types of lives:
     1. The inner life that is the seat and foundation of our very being.
     2. The private life that happens to us behind closed doors
     3. The public life that is exposed for everyone to see. 
 
These three lives are connected and must be balanced because sooner or later “whatever is in the well will come up in the bucket.” Live life with integrity, purpose and passion. Make Each Day Count!
 
Serve Christ and others (Eph. 6:7) We must put into use the gifts that God has blessed us with. Be Jesus with skin on to those around you! It is a fulfilling experience.
 
Eliminate Negative thoughts and behaviors (II Cor 10:5) You and I choose what or who will rule our life. Whatever it is that we live by becomes our standard. One thing for sure is that negative attitudes and mindsets will produce negative and barren lives.
 
Name your sins and deal with them (II Cor 13:5) We have to get brutally honest with ourselves. We must name, identify, confront, and deal with the issues that are destroying us. Otherwise, as it has been said, “We will never change what we are willing to tolerate!”
 
Continually praise God (Psalm 34:1) When trials come your way do not forget that there is power In praise. Every obstacle that comes our way God will use to strengthen our faith. There is no testimony without a test.
 
Exude his presence (II Cor 2:15) We are called to be fragrance of Christ. How can we distinguish that fragrance from other fragrances? Jesus said, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13:34-35)”
 
People around us will recognize the presence of God in our lives by the way we love one another. As we walk with Jesus daily, we will become more like him. His presence will never leave us. He will give us rest and keep us blessed.!