Choose The Presence of God

Choose The Presence of God

Intro: When I speak about presence in today's teaching, I am not solely speaking about the manifested presence of God (meaning the manifestations of the Holy Spirit), but about the presence of God in which we abide in, in which we see God's work through us for others, and in which we know without a shadow of doubt that he is well pleased with us.

Before living in my car, I was able to read the word of God for hours per day, and praise for hours per day. However, when I moved into my car, I just wasn't able to do that for security reasons. I had to understand where the presence of God was in that season. The presence of God in my life, will be different from where it is in your life. However, in all our lives the presence is wherever the Holy Spirit wants us to be. For example, if the Holy Spirit wants us to be involved in five different life groups at church, and we opt out and decide to spend the time reading the bible once per day and hang with family, we've missed the presence of God because of not understanding where God is in our circumstances. In my previous season, the presence of God was found among the chaos; serving at two churches, ANJWC Church and the one that I attended in person, as well as living in my car. My one friend asked me how am I able to be in five life groups and still have time for Jesus? The answer is because I am where he wants me to be, I am in his presence, and I never believed that I was ever without him. But if I would have stayed stuck on where the presence was in my prior season, instead realizing where the the presence is in this season of my life then I would not have had the grace, love, patience, and tenacity to do anything that God wanted me to do.

Think about it, is someone who was
  • hungry and thirsty
  • in rags
  • brutally treated (imprisoned, beaten, etc)
  • homeless
  • in addition to all of that working hard with their own hands Paul and some of the other apostles as stated in 1 Corinthians 4:11-13  had to choose the presence over God in their new season as apostles, over previous traditions and what they were used to in the past. Please note: I am not saying that we should not read the bible daily and or communicate with God daily. I am saying in all our lives the presence is wherever the Holy Spirit wants us to be. As we mature, spiritually God will move us into seasons and teach us what's important to him in that season.

"Don't get stuck! Choose the presence of God, as it will appear differently to us, depending on the season of life we are in." - ANJWC Church

In the Kingdom of God it's almost impossible to remain in the season of soil (read the teaching Seasons for details of the seasons). However, the season of soil is the foundation and I believe it is one of the most important seasons. God told me on November 1, 2019 that he is moving to a season with rain and he has confirmed the transition, and he also made it clear that I must stay in his presence despite what I am doing for him. My two questions to the father was, how do I remain in his presence, and also serve in his Kingdom, where the workers are few but the harvest is plentiful as stated in Matthew 9:35-38 (meaning there's so much he wants me to do)? What would make me get so busy with God's work that I am too busy for God's presence? Note: regarding the presence we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, so technically the presence is with us always but that doesn't mean the presence is manifested in us at equal levels. To remain in the presence at an increasing level, it takes maintenance. Maintaining the relationship that we have with God through his word, and constant communication.

In July of 2019, God the father changed my name to Martha. When God told me that my name is Martha I didn't understand the meaning behind it. Immediately my mind went to Luke 10:38-42/John 12:1-11, and I thought gee, Martha is the sister who chose serving over the presence of God. However, God told me that he spiritually named me Martha because he loves me and not because of Luke 10:38-42/John 12:1-11.
Luke 10:38-42 "As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Today I was reading John 11:20,28,29 and I realized that in a different circumstance Mary, like Martha did not always choose the presence of God. Despite popular belief, Martha was the first to choose the presence of God. From reading Luke 10, John 11 and John 12 we know that the death of Lazarus happened first and then the feast happened next. Thus, Martha was the first to choose the presence of God over what was going on in her life, when Lazarus her brother died and Jesus came to his burial site. Martha was also able to partake in the glory of God, and Jesus had the opportunity to test her faith in John 11:39-41, because she confessed that she believed that he was the Messiah, in John 11:27.  However, in John 12  during the feast that Lazarus, Martha and Mary had for Jesus, Mary wipes Jesus's feet with her hair, while Martha was busy serving. So this time Mary chose the presence of God over what was going on in her life.
John 11:17-37 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.  When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.  “Where have you laid him?” he asked.“Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
What were the circumstances?
Background: Martha was probably older then Mary because her name is mentioned first in the gospels. When Martha was serving the guest who came to Jesus's thank you dinner, Jesus told her "Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one." Jesus told Martha focus on what matters, and at that specific moment being in his presence mattered because little did she realize within days he was going to Jerusalem to be crucified.

What should matter the most to us, is what matters the most to Jesus in that moment or season, and this may vary per the situation. Why did Martha not continue on choosing God's presence over the circumstance? Because she wasn't able to recognize the presence of God in the new circumstance. In the first circumstance, when Lazarus died, she was able to recognize the presence of God because she didn't see Jesus, so she knew where to run to. Thus, she ran to Jesus and thus identified his presence. However, at the second circumstance which is was Jesus's thank you dinner, she did see Jesus and he was in her presence, but she wasn't able to identify his presence. Why? She was busy with making sure behind the scenes ran smoothly that she wasn't able to recognize the time. Btw, she also would have defied cultural norms, and plus she was down a server (Mary dipped out). So back to the question, "how do I remain in his presence,and also serve in his Kingdom where the workers are few but the harvest is plentiful (meaning there's so much he wants me to do)?" The answer is I have to be able to recognize what matters the most to Jesus in that moment when I am making a decision, and overall in the season that I am in.

Practical example:
  • Which is more important to God? Is it important for me to invest an extra two hours on to make sure there isn't grammatical errors, or is it more important for me to use those two hours to read the word of God, and praise God?
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