God Is Near

June 26, 2016

Zephaniah 3:17

How close can we get to God and how close does He desire to be to us? John was known as the beloved disciple because He would put himself in a position to be very close to Jesus. We find in John 13:23 the Word says that, “One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to Him.” One version says that John lay on the bosom of Jesus. His desire was to be as close to Jesus as possible in order to know and experience everything that Jesus was sharing with his followers. We too should desire closeness to God as well in our spiritual lives. 

Separation 

Many people believe that God exists. Why do so many people who believe in God choose a lifestyle that leaves God out of the equation? I always tell people that one-step away from the presence of God is a step in the wrong direction. We have been given the privilege to draw near to God in our journey of faith and yet we often choose loneliness, emptiness, ignorance, and selfishness instead of being surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. How can one expect to run a ship if the captain is not on board? It appears we blame everybody and everything for our problems in life. Could it be that we are a part of the problem and most likely we are the problem. It is natural to understand that a newborn buffalo in Yellowstone is in great danger if he/she is separated from their mother and the rest of the herd because of wolves and other predators. Are you so immature in your understanding of God that you would separate yourself from HIM? My college roommate that went on to be a lawyer had a favorite saying that I think of often. He said, “If you are going to be stupid, you need to be tough.” The consequences of separation may be disastrous! 

What cause you to move away from the presence and power of God? 
How can one find their way back? 

Strength

“The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save.” (v17) I like the Message version of this scripture, it says, “Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you.” The strength of the Lord is like that of a strong warrior. There is no greater strength than that which comes from the Lord. The power of God to save you is a miracle in and of itself and then to know that His strength is there for us to face every need and situation we face is amazing. How has God strengthened you? It seems to me that the closer I get to God I become more aware and overwhelmed by His Greatness and power. I begin to realize how small I am and how great He is. I am drawn deeper and deeper to be dependent on His strength and not my own. I have discovered again and again that His grace is sufficient for my every need. The Holy Spirit calls us and guides us into the almighty, miracle working, and never ending power of our loving God. 
In what area of your life do you need the strength of God today? 
Does your faith believe He is able to help you? 
How would you praise Him today for strengthening you?

Sweetness

The Message version says, “Happy to have you back, He will calm you with His love and delight you with His songs. When you remove all the interruptions and junk that stand between you and God you can feel the closeness of God. When you shut the door on all the demands on your time and attention, it is possible to know the peace God brings through His presence. When you reorder your list of things to do, you can move God to the top of your list. When God is close to you, He will calm you with His love. Why not try it; you can probably use the calmness in your soul. Be still and quiet and know God as never before in your life. Allow the Lord to delight you with His songs. His songs are songs of hope, strength, love, and comfort to our souls. Why not ask God to quiet (calm) your soul and allow God to delight you this week through His presence. You might find yourself rejoicing and singing songs of thanksgiving and praise because your Lord is very near!