After You, Lord – Going Forth in His Presence – Purity 691
Purity 691 03/29/2022 Purity 691 Podcast
Today’s photo of a pair of palm trees somewhere on the coast of the Caribbean Sea comes to us from a friend’s recent trip to sunny Puerto Rico earlier this month. This photo reminded me of the saying “Two for Tuesday” and thus I thought it was a nice pick for a symbolic representation for the second day of the work week. My morning Bible Study has me also thinking in two’s today, so it seemed all the more fitting to use it.
Not long ago I decided to begin a slow but deliberate study of the Bible using the New American Standard Version and John MacArthur’s Commentary, beginning in Genesis and Psalms. It’s been a rewarding walk through the scriptures so far and I find it amazing that no matter how many times I read the Bible, I always discover something new.
I am currently in Exodus and yesterday read the account of when the nation of Israel decided to create a golden calf and worship it when Moses had been away too long. They had obviously forgotten about agreeing to obey God’s instructions against idolatry and when Moses was away, the nation of Israel did “rise up and play”.
But those who rebelled against God’s law quickly learned the error of their ways when Moses returned. God’s wrath was poured out through the Levites and about 3,000 people were summarily put to death. The consequences of their sin and rebellion was immediate and bloody death. I am glad we don’t live in Old Testament times and have been covered by the blood of Jesus. Thank You Lord.
Anyway, today I read Exodus 33, the morning after. Well God had chosen Israel to be His people and they were yet to go to the promise land. After golden calf day, God rightly directed the people to “leave the scene of the crime” and to move forward and to move on. The ones who were left had been given mercy and God was going to be true to His promises that He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would have their descendants become a great nation.
But God was not happy. In Exodus 33, He commands the people to move along but He sends His angel to guide them and states that He will not go up in their midst as He did previously because they were an obstinate people and the Lord said that He might destroy them on the way. It reminded me of a family vacation where the kids acted badly and got in trouble but the vacation must go on but the parents were more than a little miffed at their ungrateful children.
Moses still had God’s favor and was directed to erect his on the outside of the camp and God would meet and speak with Moses “face to face” to direct their path but God kept the rest of the people “on the outs”.
Moses interceded for the people though and confronted the Lord stating that he had been directed to lead God’s people to bring them into the promise land, but Moses knew that he wasn’t going anywhere without God, saying in
Exodus 33:15-16 ) “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. “For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?”
Because Moses had found favor in God’s sight and been known by God “by name”. God put His anger aside, agreed to go with Moses and His people, and even showed Moses the glory of His manifest presence as Moses stayed in a protective cleft in a rock as God walked by!
Like the nation of Israel, we can fall into sin and feel that God is no longer with us. We can feel that we have been separated from His presence and just go our own way.
I have unfortunately known several Christians who have attended church services regularly and served the Lord in various capacities only to seemingly disappear from God’s fellowship because of personal sin or interpersonal problems with other members of the church.
And I can understand how someone could become disillusioned because of their perceived failure or decided to leave a church because of interpersonal problems or perceived slights with other church members but what I can’t understand is how Christians who enthusiastically worshipped the Lord and served Him, could just walk away completely from any body of believers.
The ones I have seen depart seem to be so hurt and angry that they not only break fellowship with the church they attended, they seem to leave the fellowship of the Lord all together because they fall deep into their sin or just end up “outside of God’s camp” by choosing to not go to any church at all.
Unfortunately, the attempts I have made in the past to encourage these hurt and wandering sheep back into the fold have all failed. They refused to come back into relationship with the body of Christ and based on my observation seem to abandon all but lip service to their God.
If indeed their confession of faith had been genuine, I know that I will see them again in eternity but the passages in the Bible that state that we are to endure in our faith make me shiver at the thought that these people may have been “close to the kingdom of God” but have chosen to go their own way on a road that will lead to their destruction.
The lesson I have learned from my up and down journey of faith is that like Moses, come what may, I am not going anywhere without the Lord’s presence!
These wandering sheep are a cautionary tale to me. I see them from time to time and there seems to be something missing. It seems as though they have lost a loved one, and I guess they have. Their decision to separate from “the herd” and isolate has resulted in their “on fire” faith to cool off and for their countenance to fall. They seem to have lost their hope.
So as for me, as I invariably will make mistakes and will prove to myself that I still have quite a bit of work to do on maturing in my faith, I remind myself of the ones who have walked away and how they seem to have lost their joy and peace.
Like Moses, I am not going anywhere without the Lord’s presence in my life. He is the giver of life and when we abide in His presence we truly live. So keep walking and talking with God. If you see some lost sheep or prodigals along the way, let them know that they are missed and that they can always come back home. Let them know that God isn’t mad at them and that as they have been forgiven, they too should forgive those who have sinned against them.
In God’s presence we can find the patience to deal with difficult people, we can find the power to overcome our besetting sins, and we can find the rest we so desperately need. So let God know that you are not going anywhere without Him because you know that He will show you the way that leads to an abundant life here on earth and that He will also lead to experience His magnificent glory in eternity.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is :
Hebrews 4:16 (NLT2)
16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
Today’s Bible verse reminds us that we can come boldly before the Lord and will receive His mercy and grace to help us when we need it most.
Unlike the nation of Israel, we don’t need Moses, Mary, or anyone else to interceded for us. God has called us into a personal relationship with Him through His Son. When we receive Christ as Lord and Savior, we receive the Holy Spirit who makes us alive spiritually. From the moment we first place our faith in Christ, we are given an intimate fellowship with God through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. We have a spirit to spirit connection with God that doesn’t require anyone to talk on our behalf.
It's walking and talking with God. Not walking and talking with God through Moses, Mary or the saints.
So come boldly before the throne of grace, by directly talking with your heavenly Father. God hears our prayers and will help us to overcome the difficulties of this life, one way or another.
God cares about us and He will help us. But to find God’s help, we have to seek Him. To receive His help, we have to ask for it. To enjoy His presence, we have to boldly come before the throne of grace and then decide to abide in the Lord’s presence and to not make a move with out Him.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from June Hunt’s Overeating: Freedom from Food Fixation.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.
IV. STEPS TO SOLUTION
Although she has forgiven him, she will never forget the judge’s cruel comment as she prepared to perform on American Idol before millions of television viewers—“We’re going to have to get a bigger stage.”
Mandisa initially got Simon Cowell’s attention for her out-of-control curves instead of her polished “pipes,” but later all that changed. After losing more than 80 pounds, even the acerbic judge was singing her praises.
Mandisa, a finalist on the 5th season of American Idol, has been set free from what she describes as a food addiction, and she is forever grateful for the dramatic change that now has become apparent in her life. The most difficult part eventually became the most empowering part … learning to retrain her brain not to be preoccupied with food, but with God. And Scripture tells us the benefit of having a Spirit-controlled mind.…
“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”
A. Key Verse to Memorize
The inspiring lyrics from Mandisa’s hit single “My Deliverer” give glory to God for helping her find freedom from food addiction. Since her national debut on American Idol, Mandisa has gone on to become a Grammy-nominated Christian recording artist who will be the first to tell you that changes in her life extend far beyond a slimmer waistline and slender legs.
“It’s more than the physical and more than what I am eating. It’s a spiritual change. I’ve had to not turn to food for comfort and validation anymore, and that is a complete mind change. Because my entire life, that is what I have done.”
Tragically, Mandisa traces the roots of her food addiction to being molested as a child and raped at age 16. “I equated being beautiful with being in danger. When I was heavy, men were not looking at me and I felt safe.”
As Mandisa learned to conform to God’s pattern for her life rather than to the world’s values, she not only lost weight but also gained vitality.
“God is showing me that my value, my dependence, and my satisfaction, need to come from Him. Satisfaction doesn’t need to come from food. It doesn’t need to come from what other people think about me. Finding satisfaction in God is what true freedom is.”
Mandisa’s hopeful and joyful outlook on life is manifested in her single, “Dance, Dance, Dance,” which encourages people to praise God in the midst of pain. “The song … shows people that, even though they may not understand all of the things God has done in their lives, they can still praise Him with their dancing. It’s like David in the Psalms. I love that!
“This song resonates so much with me, because my great God has set me free. I’m going to praise Him with dancing because of all that He has done in my life.”
Mandisa’s mind-set has changed.… She has gone from fear to faith in God … and all she does is for the glory of God. The Bible says …
“Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
(1 Corinthians 10:31)
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 June Hunt, Biblical Counseling Keys on Overeating: Freedom from Food Fixation (Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart, 2008), 27.