Monday, February 7, 2011

Just to Be Near Him

We had two wonderful services this past Sunday but the evening service was so incredibly special that I had to tell you about it. From the very outset of the song service God's presence could be felt. Everyone was worshipping in unity and I know God was well pleased. He was there! The God of all creation was there! The Word of God says "But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” (Psalm 22:3)

The worship service just seemed to prepare us to receive the Word as it was preached. I'm sure all of Heaven was rejoicing with us. Hebrews 12:1 tells us that we are surrounded by heavenly beings who are watching us run this race."Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us."

It's important that when we come into a church service that we put off the weights that pull us down, those problems that we have faced during the week, the conflicts and strife and stress, so that we can be in the presence of the Lord. It's not easy to just shrug our week off, in fact we can't on our own. But there is a way, that with God's help that we can. When we praise the Lord, when we worship Him, the Word tells us that He will be there with us. When times seem to be so tough, so impossible to bear and especially when we don't feel like praising, those are the times when we need to praise all the more.

The enemy of our soul doesn't want us to sing praises or to lift our voices in worship to God, because he knows that God will show up when we do and things will happen. Satan knows that God inhabits, or lives in, the praises of His people. When Paul and Silas were thrown in prison, they could have been discouraged or angry at God. They had been beaten and misused. They didn't know when or if they would ever get out of prison. But instead of being angry or discouraged they chose to sing. They sang praise songs to God. They praised God despite their circumstances. (Acts 16:25) and God changed their circumstance!

Take a minute and read the account of what happened when Paul and Silas chose to praise the Lord:
"About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family." Acts 16:25-34

When you have been in the presence of the Lord, whether in a church service like we had last Sunday night, or in your own time of prayer and praise, you never want to leave His presence. All you want to do is to be near Him. It was such a wonderful feeling to know that He was there with us. I can't imagine how awesome it will be when some day I will see Him face to face! What a day that will be! 

"Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." 1 John 3:2

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