In His Presence

        What is it about the touch of a hand, a warm hug, a smiling face filling our hearts with peace and joy? As we celebrate our sixty-fifth wedding anniversary, we hold hands and listen to the old hymns of faith in the confines of my dear husband’s room.

         The overwhelming joy of being together is enough.  Time stands still with memories of celebrations past when we needed to ‘go’ and ‘do’ to celebrate.  It was difficult to leave this room that held our love and our memories of times past.  The future? We leave this to our Father in Heaven.  The joy of my dear husband’s presence stayed with me as I travel back home, alone.  And yet, I am not alone.
         Like a flash of lightening, I realize God’s Presence is one hundred-fold more precious. In prayer, listening for God’s voice, expecting the return of Jesus at any moment, and knowing His presence. I read His Word and learn of His promises of Hope, and I realize the truth of the verse from Matthew 28:20b – And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. This hope is not if – it simply is.
            The gift is finding His Presence in others I meet.  Their hearts are gifts of encouragement and faith to me.  How do I know?  How does faith begin?  Psalm 16:7-9, 11 I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety.
            The Old Testament is filled with the stories remembering those who learned the truth of our Lord God and believed. A search for truth in this world is battled by cynicism and doubt. God is truth.  Hebrews 11 is filled with the roll call of the faithful, and the why of their belief in God.
         John 20:25 tells us, Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.  As one who loves to read – this intrigues me.  There is no end to ‘knowing’ Father God, Jesus His Son, and The Holy Spirit.
            In the summer of 1979, I witnessed the death of my earthly Dad.  At his celebration service, our family walked down the aisle singing, For I Know Whom, I Have Believed, Dad’s favorite hymn.  One of his grandsons recently shared, he remembers his Grandpa’s favorite song, and notes that every verse begins – I know not why, how, what and when.  Yet the chorus answers each time: But “I know Whom I have believed, And am persuaded that He is able, To keep that which I’ve committed.  Unto Him against that day.” (Daniel Whittle)
         These first seven (completed number) words of the chorus say it all!  I know whom I have believed!” When we have the presence of Jesus in our hearts and minds, our life focuses on pleasing Him with our motives, hearts, minds and our actions of love. 
            God’s Presence is not contained in a building but shines from each loving heart that believes. This Presence surpasses any pleasure of earth.  God’s Loving Presence is contained in every raindrop that falls, every sunbeam lighting our way, and every breeze dancing through our hair.  We see and hear, the presence of the Lord is all around us.  His Presence is enough. When our world ends with ‘ME’, we are blinded to the presence of God.
         There is no greater love – than a man would lay down His life for a friend are included the lyrics coming from God’s Word:
     This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.  There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.  John 15:12-14
     God’s Presence is found in knowing peace in our heart.  As we pray for concrete answers to prayer – often the answer to our prayers is peace.  This peace is unexplainable, grace-filled, and a loving response to know our Lord God answers and is with us.  He always answers in His time, in His way, for He sees, not the immediate, but the far-reaching Kingdom of God. 
     Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.  Colossians 3:14-15
     Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.  Hebrews 12:14
     But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. James 3:17
     Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.  All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.  Jude 1: 24-25
    You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. Psalm 16:11
     Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. Ephesians 3:12

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