June 2020: Proximity to The Father
Last month we talked about a healthy mind and a healthy body. It's so important that we keep both in the best possible conditions we can. Look at the floodgates in your ears and those in your eyes, along with the best possible care. This month, let's focus on the proximity.
** Note: you should not, unless you wish, have to respond to this letter **
June: Proximity to the Father
Monthly approach: Being close to God
Key verses: Joshua 1:9; Deuteronomy 31:8
Verse to memorize: Deuteronomy 31:8
8 "The Lord himself goes before thee, and shall be with thee; He will never leave you or leave you. Don't be afraid; don't be discouraged."
Proximity is something I'm sure you're aware of. Every day you have to be in enclosed spaces, confined spaces, with people and/or things always close by. Being around is a beautiful thing when you are given the choice of how close or far you would like to be from someone or something. In fact, I'm sure your heart longs to be close and close to your loved ones and friends who aren't around. I'm sure you think of times when distance or closeness is a choice, not an order. Trust me, those days are coming, but what happens now?
There is a necessary satisfaction to sail now. That is, there are some options that can make your stay worthwhile. I can't do anything about those loved ones who are far away, but I can help you meet the One nearby. So where is he? Where is God? How do you know it's close and what does that mean to you? Not bad. I'm glad you asked.
Our key verse for this week (Deuteronomy 31:8) is a promise from God. He tells us he'll never leave us or leave us. Language here is important because we use these words to mean similar things, but they have very different meanings. "Leave" in context here physically means. God is an omnipresent God. He is everywhere one in it (Psalm 139: 7-12). In short, these verses mean that there is no place on earth, under the earth, in heaven, NOT where they can go, that is not there. There are several other scriptures that support God's presence, and we'll talk more about it later.
"Abandoning" here in context means emotional abandonment. God is a good father. His Word says that He is close to the broken of heart and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). It is at times like these that we must remember that when we cross deep waters, He is with us, and when we cross rivers of difficulty, we will not drown. When we go through the fire of oppression, we will not burn (Isaiah 43:2). There are so many places in God's Word where He assures us that His physical presence, along with His emotional support, help, comfort, direction, guidance, and love, are also with us. God doesn't leave us alone. He's a god nearby.
One of the things our community always prays for you is that you feel and know God's presence. Our letters and words of encouragement come to you when they can, but above all, we want you to experience the fullness of who God is where you are. Recognizing and enjoying awareness of God's presence is extremely important, because there are promises that come with them. The scriptures affirm that there is a fulness of joy in his presence, and at his right hand there are pleasures forever (Psalm 16:11). There is rest (Exodus 33:14) for tiredness, an exchange of praise for its heaviness (Isaiah 61:3), so many things. Too many to list. Just know that what you need, can be found and supplied in your presence.
It is important that we focus on the realization that God will never "abandon or abandon us." God repeats this promise several times throughout the scriptures to remind us. So where's God? God is where you are because you accepted it in your heart when you received salvation. You are now a temple of the Holy Ghost (this will be explained more next week). You are the hands and feet of Jesus on earth, predestined beforehand to do good works on his behalf. You are his labor, and it is important to trust and know that there is no place in the world where he would rather be with you.
My prayer is that after reading this month's Bible study, take a moment and silence the noise around you, silence the noise within you, and simply feel God's presence. My prayer is that, whether audibly or in your spirit, you invoke it and give it time and space to respond to any need you have, any problems you are facing, any damage you need to heal and any questions you need answers to.
Here are some remarkable verses for your learning and reflection.
And he said, "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest."
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
The Lord is close to all who call upon Him, to all who truly invoke Him.
The Lord your God is in the midst of thee, a Mighty who will save; He will rejoice for you with joy; He will soothe you for His love; He'll exult you with the loud singing.
For He has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and has not hidden His face from Him, but heard Him, when He has wept him. Matthew 28:20
"Teach them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.