Understanding The Economy of Heaven – Part 3
Align yourself with God’s Presence
One habit of mine is that I have a standing appointment with God – usually starting around 10:00 pm. By then, my family is in bed and I have some quiet time. This time of prayer is always unpredictable. It may last 15 minutes or go on for hours.
I spend time in thanksgiving, praise, worship, seeking God’s will, asking for His provision, interceding for others, asking Him to reveal areas where I need forgiveness and seeking His leading for the following day.
While that seems like a lot, it is not the main focus of my time with God. You see, I learned a long time ago that those prayers don’t break through to heaven if I am not in His presence . It is one of the most important keys to answered prayer.
Let’s look at some examples in the Bible of people being led by God’s presence:
“The Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people” (Ex 13:21-22).
God led the Israelites out of slavery (captivity) in Egypt to the promised land. For the entire 40 year journey, He led them, appearing as a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night.
Take a fresh look at Moses’ prayer:
“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?” (Ex 33:15-16).
God’s presence will distinguish you and me from all the other people on the face of the earth. Can you determine to meet God at your Joseph Gate and pray this prayer to Him?
Samuel was so tuned in spiritually – his spiritual senses so keen – that God’s presence was not only with him, but He did not let a single word of Samuel’s fall to the ground unfulfilled:
“Thus Samuel grew and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fail” (1 Sam 3:19-20).
David was so dependent upon God’s presence that he cried this out during a difficult moment,
“Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me” (Ps 51:11).
He always saw God in his presence (Acts 2:25).
The prophet Jeremiah cried out,
“You Yourself know that the utterance of my lips was in Your presence ” (Jer 17:16) .
Jonah lived in the presence of the Lord, until he was commissioned to go to Nineveh:
“But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord” (Jonah 1:3).
Peter urged the Jews at Pentecost,
“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord ” (Acts 3:19) Emphasis mine.
When Paul counseled Timothy, he stated,
“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels …” (1 Tim 5:21) Emphasis mine.
James admonishes us with these words:
“ Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord , and He will exalt you” (James 4:10) Emphasis mine.
Jude concludes his letter encouraging us. If you have any feelings of unworthiness or guilt keeping you from approaching God, consider his words,
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy” (Jude 24) Emphasis Mine.
God not only leads us by His presence, but protects us as well:
“How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, before the sons of men! You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man; You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues” (Ps 31:19-20) Emphasis mine.
God is everywhere at all times
From an everyday, practical standpoint, we need God’s presence leading us all day long. The good news is that God is always there. Any theologian worth his paycheck will tell you that God is omnipresent. He is everywhere at all times.
The key to be led by God, as we read about over and over again in the Bible, is our awareness of His presence . The battle for this awareness starts in our minds and filters through our spiritual senses.
A thorough teaching about this is available through The Joseph Gate article, entitled “Awakening Your Spiritual Senses”.
One role model of mine is a 17th century monk named Brother Lawrence. Brother Lawrence trained himself to be aware of God’s presence every moment of every day. He also was used mightily by God to train others to do so as well.
One winter day, while sitting under a tree, he had a revelation. The tree appeared dead, but was alive. It was simply waiting for spring to arrive and its appearance would change to reflect the life within.
He saw himself as that tree. He looked and felt spiritually dead, but knew that his spirit and appearance would change once “spring” came to his soul. In his thoughts, “spring” was the awareness of God’s presence which would bring life.
Brother Lawrence was a cook at the monastery – not the most spiritual environment to foster such awareness. Yet, he was determined to do so and toward the end of his life, people travelled from afar to visit him in the kitchen and observe this vital relationship with his heavenly Father.
This training started with a prayer. Brother Lawrence asked God to make him aware of His presence continually. He cried out to God for more – not more things, but more of God!
The scriptures tell us that faith without works is dead (James 2:26). Works is best defined as “corresponding action”. Brother Lawrence knew that his prayer was insufficient to realize his goal. So, he developed a series of corresponding actions.
At first, he set a timer for 5 minutes. When the timer went off, he would assess his thought for the past hour. Had his mind stayed focused on God or had it wandered off?
If his mind wandered away from thought about God, he would repent. Then he reset his clock for another 5 minutes.
As he mastered keeping his thoughts focuses on God for 5 minute intervals, he changes the timer to 10 minutes and repeated the process.
The days and weeks went by and he found himself setting the timer in hours instead of minutes. Finally, a “download” and he knew it was firmly established in him and he retired the timer for good. God was in the forefront of his thoughts. He was aware of God’s presence at all times.
I ask you once again to close your eyes, activate your imagination and approach God via your Joseph Gate. Ask Him to lead you, guide you, protect you, honor you before others – all through His presence with you.
Like Moses and David, ask that His presence never leave you. After all, how will the world know you are His should His presence depart? He promises to never leave you or forsake you.
Start a new direction
Imagine now your business being filled with His presence. You are in constant communion with Him. You become sensitive to His gentle nudging, His whispering voice. As you start a new direction, you hear Him say, “Yes, that’s the way” or “No, turn here instead”.
As you lie down to sleep, be aware of His presence. Ask him to speak to you through your dreams. Your Joseph Gate is even open when you are asleep. Solomon asked for wisdom in a dream and his life was never the same (1 Kings 3:5-14). Your life, your business will never be the same either.