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Entries in Dwelling in God's Presence (2)

Monday
Oct122015

Peace—It's Not “Pie in the Sky”

Isn’t it draining? Those days when it seems like no matter where you turn, you face aggravation? You get cut off in traffic. Your roommate or spouse is upset that you did/didn’t do x, y, and z. You’ve barely had the chance to wake up and are already dealing with unhappy customers, difficult meetings, unforeseen accidents, speeding tickets, tactless responses…and on and on.

Stuff like that would normally eat at me. But one day, it was all different.

I don’t usually hop out of bed feeling super spiritual, but one particular morning, I woke up acutely aware of God’s presence with me and how much He loved me. I couldn’t stop thinking about His goodness and how kind He is.

Later that day, I encountered some relational issues. Two people I care about got into it with each other, bickering over something I don’t even remember now. My blood would boil, and I’d find myself taking sides without trying. Grrr… Come on, guys. Seriously? It’s not that important! is what would normally be going through my mind.

Except that day, none of it fazed me. In fact, nothing that day came even remotely close to unsettling me. The peace I felt was so strong that I actually tried to test the bounds of it by getting myself upset—and I couldn’t! In hindsight, I understand now that I was experiencing the presence of God.

In Andrew’s brand-new teaching, Dwelling in God’s Presence, he says this:

You need to get to where you control your thoughts and [are] meditating on the things of God, getting in the Word of God, focusing your attention, laying hold of truth, and keeping your mind stayed upon God. (brackets mine)

It used to be very hard for me to believe I could have “perfect” peace. To me, this idea of perfect peace was too good to be true. Maybe only spiritual people attained it—and only if they were very spiritual. However, Isaiah 26:3 says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (English Standard Version). The only limitation on this blessing is the believer’s focus—nothing more, nothing less. If you’re like I was, you’d say, “Really? So, if all I do is focus my mind on God, I can experience unadulterated, unequaled peace?”

Yes!

Just as people have made the habit of meditating to the point of worry, they can make the habit of focusing on God. Jesus never tells us to do anything we are incapable of doing. So, when God calls us to focus on Him “day and night” (Josh. 1:8), He has already given us this ability in our spirits, and it almost always comes tagged with a promise—

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Joshua 1:8, ESV

Sounds like a pretty cool deal, doesn’t it? And it’s not pie in the sky either!

Get your copy of Andrew’s Dwelling in God’s Presence teaching. It’s offered as a CD and a DVD series, and it is also available to watch on the Gospel Truth television broadcast. If this has ministered to you, please share a comment below.

Monday
Oct052015

Where’s Your Focus?

Brewing coffee, bright lanyards, and the rustle of Bible pages turning—the new Charis Bible College school year had officially begun. I was a third-year intern filled with optimism, opinions, and perhaps a little too much caffeine. As I prepared for classes, I did what any well-meaning intern would do when they’re a little unsure of the next step—I enrolled in the School of Ministry. Who could go wrong with that, right?

As the days turned into weeks, my uneasy conscience slowly started distracting my mind from the classes I was in. Fidgety and uneasy, I had the strangest sense that everyone around me knew exactly what I was thinking. I wonder what they’re doing in Media School… No! Stop it! You’re in Ministry. Pay attention to the… If I switched over to Media School, I wonder if anyone would notice.

What I really wanted was for one of my esteemed instructors to walk over to me, look me in the eyes, and speak a mighty word from the Lord, instructing me in the exact path that I should take. I would solemnly reply “Bless the Lamb,” and we would part ways. Surprisingly, that did not happen, and as the cutoff date to switch Third Year schools creeped closer, so did the fear of making the wrong decision—one that would ruin my life forever.

Thankfully, it didn’t take me too long to realize that the Holy Spirit guides us through the desires of our hearts, and as we dwell in His presence, He begins to direct us through His peace.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.

Proverbs 3:5-6, The Message

In Andrew’s teaching on Dwelling in God’s Presence, he explains:

You’ve got the Spirit of God Almighty residing on the inside of you. It’s in the spirit realm, and you have capabilities in the Spirit that most people don’t even believe exist, let alone walk in. But you can know things by the Spirit.

The cutoff day came and went, and that very next Monday, I started Media School. Although I don’t ever remember hearing a distinct voice saying “This is what you must do,” I know I never thought of doing anything else once I started. I realized that the Holy Spirit lives on the inside of me, and I don’t have to go looking for answers outside of my relationship with Him. Living in constant communion with Him enables His thoughts to become my thoughts, His desires to become my desires, and His plan to become my plan.

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

Isaiah 26:3, New Living Translation

Now, I know I don’t have it all figured out quite yet, but as I dwell in the presence of God, I get to know the One who is leading me. It’s because of this that I know I will accomplish the call of God on my life. So, I guess I don’t have to know it all. I’ve got connections.

Andrew’s new teaching, Dwelling in God's Presence, is available in CD and DVD format. You can also check it out on the Gospel Truth broadcast. If this teaching has inspired you, please post a comment below.