Leslie's Personal Walk
December Daily Day 7 Practice His Presence
PRACTICE HIS PRESENCE
I am practicing a new discipline this month, prompted by the book “1000 Gifts” by Ann Voskamp. I haven't read the book yet, although I plan to. In fact, I was going to get it at church this weekend, but I told a friend about her devotional, “The Jesse Tree Devotional” and she went to the website, fell in love like I did and has already ordered the book for me. (But if you want one, they are on sale at CBD.com right now for 6.99!)
Amazing how God provides when he has clearly told me not to buy myself anything and watch him provide. But that story is for another day. Maybe tomorrow. But before I forget, let me give you the link to her website in case you are looking for something wonderful to do as a devotional this advent season. It isn't too late. Start today with day 1 and do 2 days at a time. You will be caught up before you know it.
The website is www.aholyexperience.com You will love everything she writes. She paints beautiful word pictures that draw you in and hold you there. I just love her work. You will also find the inspiration for this post, December Joy Gifts there.
But back to today's post.
The discipline I am practicing is the December Joy Gifts Challenge. In it, you find three things daily that you are grateful for. Each day she asks for something different. Todays was 3 gifts from your Savior. Mine are: His Presence, His love, and His Discipline.
Discipline. How I dislike that word. The very thought of it send shivers down my spine and makes my knees go weak. I am so undisciplined. But I need it. I want to be more disciplined. But I do not want to work at it. So God forces me with situations that I have no control over and teaches me to run to him instead of acting like the world.To have a Christ like response rather than a worldly, knee-jerk reaction. I do have a choice. But it is only through disciplining myself that I can make the right choice.
Our children are a great example of this. As babies, they react to situations. If another child takes a toy from them, they cry. If they want a toy another child has, they take it. No please, No thank you. They hit if they are angry, they cry when they don't get their way, and they do any number of other unacceptable things if they so desire. Unless we discipline them. Teach them and train them to respond rather than to react.
Proverbs says: train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old, they will not depart from it. Often we use this verse for a wayward child and that they will eventually come back to Christ. And that is often true. However, it can also be interpreted for this situation.
The same is true for our hearts. We must learn to let God discipline our hearts and lives, and one way we can do this is to practice his presence. That means to get the idea into our thick skulls that we are able to be always in his presence. But our sin kicks us out the door. So we must discipline our hearts to keep short accounts, and realize that any life lived outside his presence is just existing, not truly living.
He says he has come that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Which means that we can live in his presence thereby living life to the fullest possible measure.
Today, I am missing him. Alicia (my oldest daughter) has a friend visiting from Canada and the days have been so full that I have not taken the time I need (which is a lot) to be with Him at the beginning of the day, and so it gets shoved aside and then I am too tired or too lazy or just preoccupied and don't do it later. And so I am missing him. I want to be with him, but I haven't taken the proper time to. I haven't disciplined myself. I know he is always there, but I am not.
So what will it take for me to do what I know is best? What do I need to do to get back to where I need to be?
Anne Graham Lotz says: If you cannot hear Gods voice anymore, go back to the last time you heard it, do what he told you to do, and then you will be able to hear him again.
It is as simple as that. One step. It is amazing to me that we can wander ever so far from God and all it takes to be back in his presence is One Step. Not a giant leap. No penance. No nothing. One Step. Because Jesus Paid it All. He did what he did so you and I could practice his presence all the time. We could mess up, and he still loves. We could wander and he still forgives. And we could learn all the while to Practice His Presence so that those times of wandering would be few and far between. If you and I only realized how very much he loves us. How much he gave up for us. How far he was willing to go for us, I think we would wander less and figure out what is truly important way sooner in our lives.
Col. 1:24-27 says: 24 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Imagine that! Paul rejoiced in suffering for the people. And he took on in his flesh the afflictions of Christ so people could know the message that had been hidden, but now was revealed among the Gentiles which was "Christ in you, the hope of glory".
Christ, living in me. My living hope. In His presence always, if I choose to live there. But I have to fight my flesh and discipline myself to do it, and stay there. It is hard work. But so worth it.
And now it is time for me to discipline myself and take that step. Here I go....
I love you!
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