You Can’t “Be with God”. – Lies of the Enemy #36 – Purity 1048
Purity 1048 05/20/2023 Purity 1048 Podcast
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Today’s photo of sunrise from the vantage point of the Panther Top Tower in Murphy NC comes to us from Fred Dimmick who shared this scene on social media back on May 12th with the following prose:
“Fire in the sky
From the morning sun
As whippoorwills sing
The day’s begun”
Well It’s Saturday and while I am happy the day has begun, because I have to work today, I am looking forward to the end of my shift because I will be headed north to join my wife at our countryside home to celebrate the 18th birthday of her son Jakob with a barbeque. Although the local forecast is calling for showers today, you can’t rain on my parade because, as long as the Lord wills it, rain or shine I will be in the company of the one I love.
And this is how you know that you are in a love relationship, you find peace in the other person’s presence no matter what the circumstances are. It doesn’t matter if it rains or it’s sunny and it doesn’t really matter what you are doing, when you love someone you long for and enjoy their company. A love relationship’s “quality time” is not necessarily based on the things you do or the places you go to as much as it has to do with being with the other person.
Early on in my relationship with TammyLyn, we recognized that often couples worry about what plans they could make, what things they could do, or what places they could go and are busy trying to “make one another happy” by creating circumstances for happiness and when those activities stop they don’t know what to do with one another. But we agreed that true intimacy, true love was found in just being at peace in one another’s presence. So early on we took some time to grow closer together by just being with one another, talking, looking in one another’s eyes, embracing, and just “hanging out”. We tried to establish being comfortable with one another by just “doing nothing” and “hanging out” and I think we have benefitted from it because now whether we are “just hanging out”, or working on something together, or going out to explore and enjoy God’s creation or the things men have built, we are “together in it” because we know one another and focus on that aspect – we aren’t striving to accomplish “some thing to make us happy” because we already have peace being with one another.
Likewise our relationship with God shouldn’t necessarily “doing everything right” to “make God happy” where we feel good if we are doing everything we think we should to please God and where we feel condemned when we mess up, step out of line, or make a mistake. We are not in a relationship based on performance. God has sought our love and presence by revealing the truth of Jesus to us and He has fully accepted us the moment we put our faith in Christ. However, most Christians forget about God’s grace the moment they receive it and quickly make their walk of faith about “doing everything right” where they judge their relationship with God on the things they do – I’m not praying, I’m not reading my Bible, My attitude isn’t right, I should give more, I should do more. I got to clean up my act. I have to learn more.
Now don’t get it twisted because, I usually define the path of Christian Discipleship by some of the things listed here as they are “disciplines of our faith”. But a love relationship isn’t about discipline, it’s about being in love and acting in love. It’s not about getting approval or acceptance; you already have it. Its about being at peace in God’s presence. Prayer, Bible Study, serving, giving and living for God are not things we do to earn the love of God, they are the things we do because we already have it and desire “to be with Him” and “to be together in” whatever it is you are doing. Whether you are just hanging out, working, or going somewhere or doing something “fun”, no matter the circumstances or outcomes, when we are “with God”, we already have what we need: peace in His presence.
And that brings us to our current series the “Lies of the Enemy”, which is an examination of some of the common lies, sometimes sneakily whispered into our minds as “first person” statements, that the enemy tells us to cause us to doubt our faith, lose our peace, cause division, or influence us to not follow the Lord with the way we live our lives.
So today’s big lie is:
Lie #36: You Can’t “Be with God”.
This lie of the enemy is the foundation of “religion” where the only relationship you have with “god” is by trying to please him through performance, where the foundation of one’s faith is little more than following rules and often degenerates on looking good on the outside but having little or no changes on the inside, perhaps other than the puffing up of one’s pride if one is able to “do everything right” or the establishment of a double life as secret sin and shame are stewing just below the surface of what would look like a “normal Christian life”.
Church sex and financial scandals and abuses testify to the fact that things were actually not “okay” when it seemed everything was good, righteous, and holy. Although the people involved in these scandals seemed to be walking with God, it turns out that they were putting on a show as large portions of their lives were not spent “being with God.” because their attitudes and behaviors in some areas demonstrated that they chose to not follow the full counsel of God and twisted things to have their will be done rather than His.
This is an extreme example however and as much as it may be popular to go after the “mighty who have fallen” I would choose to go after those whose “simple faith” sneers at the idea of “being with God” as something extreme and our as artificial as the “seeming faith” of those who have fallen in to sin.
These “regular Christians” are wary of any claims of intimacy of God and treat the subject as “hocus pocus” and reduce their relationship with God to “just being good people”. They “just believe”. They don’t pray. They never read the Bible (Why would I? I’m not the priest). They give sparingly. They never serve. Their church attendance can vary. These “believers” could go to church a couple of times a year or could go to “the building” once a week or even every day but that’s as far as they will go with their intimacy with God. God apparently lives in the church building so that’s where you can “be in His presence” but the moment you step beyond the threshold of the local cathedral or sanctuary, you are no longer with God as “normal resumes.” Regular Christians like this honestly don’t even understand what someone is talking about when someone mentions their “relationship with God”. How can you have a relationship with someone who is invisible? Impossible! I’m pretty sure those people are cuckoo!”
Now before anyone gets upset. I have to admit that I lived most of my life with similar attitudes. My liturgical church tradition was a religion not a relationship. We went to church; we weren’t the church. That’s crazy how can we be a building! Church was for Sundays and the occasion weird non-Sunday Holiday like Ash Wednesday, Not every day.
You can’t be with God. You can’t have a relationship with Him. He’s in heaven.
OF course that all changed back in 2010. I was so far from God it wasn’t even funny; I had basically stopped believing in “a God” and had adopted a spiritual philosophy that denied the Creator as a mystical unseen impersonal force that was too mysterious to know, Karma. I was wrong of course but many “regular Christians” still believe this lie – of an impersonal God, a distant God, or a Super-Mysterious God that you can’t know, that you can’t have a relationship with, that you can’t “be with”.
God is alive and well and is available to those who seek Him. But if you believe the lie that “You can’t be with God”, you will never even try to have relationship with Him.
God revealed Himself to Abraham, Moses, the nation of Israel, and to all of us through His divine interventions, His word, and the word made flesh, Jesus Christ. We can know Him and when we put our faith in Jesus we can “be with Him”.
Jesus is also known as Our Immanuel – which means “God with Us”. So don’t believe the lie that you can’t “be with God”. God gave us His word and His Son and the Holy Spirit to believers so we could be with Him. SO when we treat our Christian faith as a set rules or empty disciplines to appease an unseen entity, we deny and fail to receive the fullness of God’s love.
We can “be with God” but it does require our interest and desire to know Him. Contemplative prayer or listening prayer is heralded as one way that you can know God’s presence. Googling “being with God” turned up several books on the subject, in the fact. Liberating Prayer by Dr. Neil T. Anderson is good book on prayer but reading the book won’t do much good unless you decided to actually pray and to do it as a means to “be with God” rather than by trying to do something.
My basic instruction for “being with God” is to “seek Him” and to do so in whatever ways the Lord guides you to – whether through prayer, Bible study, thinking about God, listening to sermons, reading Christian books, or by serving His will in some way – all of these “activities” as long as they are done from a heart that wants to know and connect with God can be means to be with Him. Give it a try because I assure you that when you seek Him, you will find Him.
For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple apologetic will provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verses are:
Psalm 23:1-3 (NKJV)
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.
Today’s verses were offered by our resource under the heading: when you feel burned out in your job…. And direct us to focus on the peace that we have when we stop the striving (I shall not want) and rest (lie down in green pastures) in the Lord’s peace. When we do this we will be renewed (He restores my soul) and gives us a direction for the future (He leads me in path of righteousness).
Notice this dichotomy of rest and walking - God leads us to lie down but also to get up and walk in righteousness. To be restored and to “not want” we need to follow the Lord’s lead and live with and for 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 The Holy Spirit By A.W. Pink.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available online for $0.99 (https://www.amazon.com/Holy-Spirit-Arthur-Pink-Collection-ebook/dp/B008CM5292/ref=sr_1_3?crid=AHKAQOM39CTN&keywords=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit&qid=1684376225&sprefix=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit+%2Caps%2C96&sr=8-3)
A.W. Pink’s The Holy Spirit
2 - The Personality of the Holy Spirit
If we were asked to state in a comprehensive form what constitutes (according to our views of Scripture) the blessedness of the Lord’s people on earth, after His work of grace is begun in their souls, we would not hesitate to say that it must be wholly made up of the personal knowledge of and communion with the glorious Trinity in their Persons in the Godhead—for as the church is chosen to be everlastingly holy and everlastingly happy, in uninterrupted communion with God in glory when this life is ended, the anticipation of it now by faith must form the purest source of all present joy. But this communion with God in the Trinity of His Persons cannot be enjoyed without a clear apprehension of Him. We must know under Divine teaching God in the Trinity of His Persons, and we must also know from the same source the special and personal acts of grace by which each glorious Person in the Godhead has condescended to make Himself known unto His people before we can be said to personally enjoy communion with each and all.
We offer no apology, then, for devoting a separate chapter to the consideration of the personality of the Holy Spirit, for unless we have a right conception of His glorious being, it is impossible that we should entertain right thoughts about Him, and therefore impossible for us to render to Him that homage, love, confidence, and submission, which are His due. To the Christian who is given to realize that he owes to the personal operations of the Spirit every Divine influence exercised upon him from the first moment of regeneration until the final consummation in glory, it cannot be a matter of little importance for him to aspire after the fullest apprehension of Him that his finite faculties are capable of—yea, he will consider no effort too great to obtain spiritual views of Him to whose Divine grace and power the effectual means of his salvation through Christ are to be ascribed. To those who are strangers to the operations of the blessed Spirit in the heart, the theme of this chapter is likely to be a matter of unconcern, and its details wearisome.
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My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ), her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)
For those who require the assistance of a Deeper Walk International Prayer Minister to experience healing or your freedom in Christ, I highly recommend Christy Edge’s Life on the Edge Freedom Prayer Ministry. You can schedule a session by going to : https://cedge216.wixsite.com/life-on-the-edge
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship