Seeking God's Presence-The Key to Power in Our Lives
Our theme for this New Year has been Seeking God’s Presence. We have talked about how important it is that God’s Presence must be in what we are doing or it will not work. So we have been Seeking His Presence to hear His voice so that we can be moved by His heart to do His will for this community.
We know that Jesus gave us His authority and we are told in Acts 1:8 that after the Holy Spirit comes upon us we will be given His power to be witnesses, yet many Christians live a life that seems to be missing the power of God. Even after spending a week in prayer and fasting, we may still feel like we don’t have the power to do God’s will in our lives. So today I’d like to address the question of why it seems we do not have God’s power in our lives.
I asked the Lord many years ago “Why does it seem there is no power in my life?” He gave me this simple truth which as I have learned to apply it has changed my life and has helped me to have His power to live a victorious life. So the key to having power in our lives is that we must develop a DAILY dependence on the Lord!! Now you know the key, but let’s see how this works in practical living.
¨ Matt 6:11 (KJV) “Give us this day (today NIV) our daily bread.”
Jesus taught us, in what we call the Lord’s Prayer, to ask the Father for our DAILY bread. Have you ever thought about why? The word “daily” implies what is needful, necessary, and adequate for today. Not what is necessary for yesterday, or tomorrow, but what is necessary for today.
In the Old Testament there are 2 practical examples that God gave to show the importance of this DAILY dependence upon Him:
1. God provided manna DAILY while the children of Israel were in the wilderness (except on the Sabbath):
¨ Ex 16:4-5, 21, 35 (NIV) 4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. . . . 5 On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.” . . . 21 Each morning everyone gathered as much as he needed, . . . 35 The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan.
So everyday of those 40 years that they were in the wilderness, God provided just what they needed for that day. In fact, He provided twice as much on the 6th day so they did not have to gather any food on the 7th day (or Sabbath) and could rest. I believe that promise is still true for us today that if we work 6 days and rest on the 7th day God will multiply our labor and provide for our needs from the 6 days of work. Then, instead of working and wearing ourselves out, we are free to come to church on Sunday to worship God.
2. Israel made DAILY sacrifices:
¨ Exodus 29:38 (NIV) “This is what you are to offer on the altar regularly each day: two lambs a year old.”
God told them to offer these sacrifices twice a day, every day, one in the morning and the other in the evening.
The way that God worked in the Old Testament was often a type of how He wants us to live today. So there is a principle of DAILY dependence upon the Lord in the Old Testament. But how does that help us in having God’s power in our lives today in 21st century America? Let’s go back to what God shared with me:
I read somewhere that the famous preacher F.F. Bosworth said,
“Most Christians feed their bodies three hot meals a day, their spirits one cold snack a week and then they wonder why they are so weak in faith.”
The Word of God must become our DAILY food just as the manna was to the children of Israel. As we DAILY feed on the Word of God it will be refreshing to our souls and bring brightness to our eyes.
¨ Psa 19:7-11 (NIV) 7 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. 9 The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. 10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. 11 By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
This is why we have The Upper Room magazine on the back table and encourage you to use it. Each day as you read the scriptures and meditate on the devotions you are feeding on the promises of God. The key to having God’s power in our lives is to DAILY feed our spirits some of God’s promises from His Word.
Seeing God as our DAILY PROVIDER because of His DAILY PROMISE helps us see God at work in our lives every day rather than just when we need Him.
This keeps our eyes focused on God as our provider, not on our own provisions (e.g. ourselves, jobs, parents, credit cards, loans, etc.). Bill Gothard says that as Americans we may see God as our provider on a monthly basis or as a need arises (e.g. when car note or rent is due), but we don’t see God as our DAILY PROVIDER.
¨ Prov 30:8 (NIV) “Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the LORD?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”
Jesus taught us not to worry about our needs (for today) because our Father knows what we need.
¨ Matt 6:25, 31-33 (NIV) 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? . . . 32 your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
You may say to me, “Oh pastor it is easy for you to say don’t worry about our needs, but you don’t know my situation.” And I will agree that this is easier to say than it is to do. I will also agree that I may not understand your situation; however, I will tell you that I have found that if you will apply what I am telling you today to your life you will have the power you need to live victoriously in any situation.
Each Sunday in our Prayer and Praise time we share how God has blessed us and how He has answered our prayers. This helps us to see that God is working in our lives every day in many different ways and helps us to trust Him more for the DAILY PROVISION that we need.
Recognizing God’s DAILY PROVISION based on His DAILY PROMISE will cause us to give Him DAILY PRAISE.
¨ Num 11:1-5 (NIV) 1 Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when He heard them His anger was aroused. . . . 4 The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”
Israel didn’t praise God for His DAILY PROVISION instead they murmured and complained (vs. 6 “we have nothing to look at except this manna (i.e. God’s provision)”). Can you imagine complaining like that—“God we don’t have anything except what you have provided for us today!” Oh friends, when we complain about our jobs are we not doing the same thing? The Bible says that promotion comes from the Lord (Psalm 75:5). When we complain that we don’t have anything to wear, are we not guilty of the same attitude that the Israelites had? When we complain that we don’t have a nice house, a nice car, etc, are we not saying that God’s provision isn’t good enough for us? (Say AMEN or OH ME!)
As we learn to see God’s DAILY PROVISION in our lives it will increase our love and respect for God, if we keep the right attitude—that is, if we don’t take His DAILY PROVISION for granted or treat it as worthless like Israel did.
I heard, the contemporary Christian group, Phillips, Craig, & Dean once say that God’s mercies are new every morning just like the sun coming up. So if the sun came up today, which it did even if it is cloudy outside, then His mercies have been renewed in our lives!! That means we don’t have to live off old, stale mercy and grace left over from yesterday, but we are given new, fresh mercies and grace for just what we need today!
¨ Lam 3:22-23 (KJV) 22”It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.”
We sang the song earlier based on this verse, “Great is thy faithfulness . . . All I have needed Thy hand has provided, great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.” But do we truly give God DAILY PRAISE for His mercies and grace and His great faithfulness or do we complain daily because of what don’t have?
The key to having God’s power in our lives is DAILY PRAISE, not just in the church, but whenever or wherever God blesses us each and everyday.
Acknowledging God’s DAILY PROVISION based on His DAILY PROMISE will cause us to give Him DAILY PRAISE and then because we see God’s goodness to us we will be encouraged to have DAILY PRAYER.
Communication is vital to any human relationship, and is just as vital in our relationship with God. If we never talk to our spouse or partner, our relationship will be weak and will be in danger of damage. But if we maintain that DAILY communication with each other we will have the kind of vibrant and loving relationship that all men and women desire.
The Bible tells us that Jesus is our bridegroom and we (the church) are His bride (Rev 19:7). Do you will remember when you first met your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend, how you wanted to be with them all the time? It is normal to want to get together and spend time with the one you love on a DAILY basis. Because of our love for Christ we should desire to DAILY spend time talking and sharing our lives with Him. One day we will be with the lover of our soul, Jesus Christ and then we will talk to Him face to face. But for now we must pour out our love and petitions to Him in DAILY PRAYER.
Through DAILY PRAYER we keep the lines of communication open between us and God, and giving DAILY PRAISE to God for his DAILY PROVISION based on His DAILY PROMISE will bring the DAILY PRESENCE of God into our lives
Here is an amazing truth about God’s mercy and grace, His presence went everywhere with the children of Israel while they were in the wilderness—a cloud by day (to protect them from the blazing sun) and a pillar of fire by night (to keep them warm)—even when they were in rebellion!! That is the awesome mercy and grace of God that we should DAILY praise Him for that even when we get in rebellion God doesn’t give up on us.
The scriptures tell us that the Lord inhabits (dwells, lives) in the praises of His people
¨ Psa 22:3 (KJV) "But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel." .
So when we praise Him, His Presence comes to live with us. When we praise Him DAILY, we will have His DAILY PRESENCE in our lives!
Adam & Eve walked with God (I believe DAILY) in the cool of the day. When they sinned they lost the DAILY presence of God in their lives. Thank God that through the blood of Jesus we can have God’s presence in our lives every day because we are His children and He loves to fellowship with us. Church, we NEED His presence in our lives everyday!
Having DAILY PRAYER time with God and giving DAILY PRAISE to God for his DAILY PROVISION based on His DAILY PROMISE will bring the DAILY PRESENCE of God into our lives and wherever God’s presence is that is where His POWER is.
There can be no doubt that when God’s Presence shows up, His power is present to heal, deliver, and set free all who are in the bondage of sin. When God’s Presence showed up in Egypt He delivered them with a mighty hand from Pharaoh. When the Israelites were backed up against the Red Sea, He parted the waves and they walked over on dry ground then Pharaoh’s army was crushed beneath the waves. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were bound and thrown into the fiery furnace, He set them free and they did not even smell like smoke. When Daniel was cast into the lion’s den He shut the mouths of the lions and Daniel was not hurt. When Jesus Christ was lying in the grave, He raised Him from the dead. Oh my friends there is no lack of power on God’s part!
Like the Israelites in the wilderness who had to DAILY gather manna for food we must learn to eat (spiritually) from the Bread of Life DAILY for our strength and nourishment. Fellowship and communion with God on a DAILY basis is the Key to Having Power in Our Lives!
Now that you know the Key to Having Power in Your Life (which is what? DAILY), you have to decide if you are willing to apply this in practice on a DAILY basis. The more consistent you are in reading God’s Word, recognizing His provision in your life, giving Him praise for that provision, and taking your petitions to Him in prayer, the more you will experience God’s presence and power in your life. When you have developed a DAILY dependence upon God then you will have learned that He is in control of everything that happens to you and you will know that you can trust Him in every situation.
I want to ask you if you have been experiencing God’s Power in your life on a DAILY basis. If not then maybe you haven’t been feeding your spirit on a DAILY basis and acknowledging His DAILY PROMISE for your life. Or maybe you just need to be reminded that He has already given you your DAILY PROVISION based on the promises in His Word. Or maybe you just need to start giving Him DAILY PRAISE for what He has already done in your life. Maybe your relationship with God is weak because you have not been communicating with Him in DAILY PRAYER . But as you learn to do these things on a DAILY basis, I promise you that you will begin to see God’s DAILY PRESENCE in your life and you will be able to walk in His DAILY POWER.