Presents of His Presence

Yesterday was Christmas. Most of us gave and received gifts. No longer are there brightly wrapped packages under the tree. All the presents have been exchanged. So, how are you today? Is your heart feeling as empty as it looks under the Christmas tree? Psalm 73:26 says, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Material stuff does not satisfy the heart indefinitely. I wonder if we gave and received the most meaningful gift possible yesterday.

John 3:16 says, For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” We may say we give Christmas gifts because God gave. This is good – but do our gifts reflect what God gave? I want to think about this more deeply.

What did God give? He gave His Son. He gave of Himself. He gave Emmanuel – God with us.

What are we to give? We are to give Him. We are to give His presence – not just store presents.

Our goal should be to present (offer) to others the present (gift) of His presence (God with us). God is omnipresent – so He is present everywhere. Jesus assures us in Matthew 28:20, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” However, when there is a manifestation of His presence, there is a greater awareness of His nearness.

We are not required to wrap the present of His presence in holiday paper or put it in a Christmas gift bag. However, we can give this gift in two unique ways.

First, we are actually God’s presents to those around us. Jesus says in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three gather in My name, there am I with them.” Galatians 2:20 NLT says, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” Since Christ lives in us, we share His presence with whomever is in our presence. His presence radiates from within us. The presence of God is often described as His glory. Colossians 1:27 says, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Secondly, our prayers are presents to those for whom we pray. Psalm 145:18 says, “The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” We give the present of God’s presence when we ask God to intervene in people’s lives. Philippians 4:19 NLT says, “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Answers to prayer are provided when the Lord is present. His presence is manifested.

Yesterday we celebrated the birth of Jesus. We recognized the fulfillment of John 1:14 ESV, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Have you received the present of His presence? If not, receive it. Jesus says in Revelation 3:20, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with Me.” His presence is not a gift you will ever want to return. However, it is a gift you will want to give. Remember, His presence is not a gift you can purchase at a store. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Although it is the day after Christmas, it is not too late to give this present. You can give His presence 365 days of the year.

The present of His presence is amazing! If your heart is discouraged today, unwrap the present of His presence that He offers you. Psalm 16:11 assures us, in Your (God’s) presence is fullness of joy.

The present of His presence is the greatest expression in Emmanuel, God with us. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! II Corinthians 9:15.

 

 

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God’s Presence Is a Present

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God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.
This is what you are to say to the Israelites:
‘I AM has sent me to you.'”
Exodus 3:14

The best present anyone can receive is the presence of the Lord! In fact, He assures us of His daily presence when He refers to Himself as the I AM. Francis Chan says in Crazy Love, “God already has a name, an identity. We don’t get to decide who God is. God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’ Exodus 3:14. We don’t change that.”

I AM has always been one of my favorite names for God. It is made up of only two words totaling three letters. Yet it is so all-inclusive and constant. This name has been defined as “the unchanging, eternal, self-existent God.” In Exodus 3:14 God is saying that He is a covenant-keeping God. Malachi 3:6 says it this way, “”I the LORD do not change.” The Psalmist declares in Psalm 102:27 “But you remain the same, and your years will never end.”

I am thinking about scriptures that support the statement of Exodus 3:14 describing God as the I AM. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” That’s the all-inclusive I AM. Revelation l:8 declares, “’I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’” This is reiterated again by John in Revelation 22:13, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

I AM describes God as being eternal. He has no beginning or end. He was the I AM before He created the earth and He will continue to be the I AM throughout all the tomorrows of eternity. As human beings, we each have a specific birthday denoting the day we were born into existence. We will each have a date of death when we breathe our last breath on earth. God does not have a birthday; He will never have a death date. He always has been and He always will be.

I AM speaks of God’s living presence; it states that He is. These two words, one name, speak of life and of the Lord being active in our lives. Paul says in Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” God is not dead – He is alive because I AM is in the present tense. I AM is who God is today. I WAS is the I AM of yesterday – I AM is for every today – I WILL BE is the promise of I AM for tomorrow. I never find the name I WAS or I WILL BE quoted in scripture. He always is the I AM!

I AM is always a reassurance to me that I am never alone. However, I AM describes much more than just His presence. I want to look at three attributes of God that are important aspects of the Lord being the I AM. First, He is omnipresent, meaning He is always with us. Secondly, He is omnipotent describing that He has the power to do anything – nothing is too difficult for Him. Lastly, He is omniscient, He knows everything, nothing is beyond His comprehension. All of these descriptions are present tense saying HE IS, or I AM.

In the gospel of John, Jesus chooses to describe Himself by completing the I AM name in seven different ways.
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:9
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I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11
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Jesus said to her,I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26
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Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6
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I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

I have often said that what I liked best about God being I AM was that I could personalize and complete this name to fulfill whatever my current need. However, as I meditate upon the name I AM today, I realize that I want to keep God’s name as simple as possible. I AM IS WHO I AM is how God described Himself to Moses and I do not want to add or detract from who He declares to be. If I add more words to I AM, I could be limiting God to be only who I describe Him to be. The two little words I AM allows God to be who He knows I need Him to be. I AM is a simple yet complex name! I praise the great I AM!

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Note: Another whole study could be done regarding the Old Testament name of Jehovah. Hosea 12:5 says, “the LORD God Almighty, the LORD is his name! Jehovah and Lord can both be translated I AM. Consequently, each time God reveals Himself with a compound Jehovah name, He is describing Himself as the I AM. I am not going to delve into these names today, but I will include a couple of scriptures as reminders of some of these names. He is Jehovah-rapha according to Exodus 15:26, “for I am the LORD, who heals you.” He is Jehovah-shalom according to Judges 6:24, “So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD Is Peace.” Finally, He is Jehovah-tsidkenu in Jeremiah 23:6, “In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our righteousness.” My Reader, I encourage you to do a study on the compound Jehovah names of God.