Rest

By Brooke

rest

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
Genesis 2:2-3 NIV

The Lord is serious about rest. Serious. He speaks of it in His Word 271 times in the NIV. To rest is to remember. If God Himself rests, we have to recognize it’s importance.

I don’t think God gets tired and yet we see that He rests. I think its because He doesn’t  want to miss the goodness of His creation. If God rests in order not to miss the goodness of His creation, why do we wait to rest until we are dead tired, dragging ourselves half wrecked around our lives barely able to keep our eyes open? That’s not rest, that’s exhaustion.  How can we enjoy the goodness of our God  and our lives like that?

God came to give us life and life abundantly. Rest helps us maintain balance. Rest gives us space from ourselves in order to remember the good things God has given us in our lives.

Rest today, friends. Rest, recognize and and remember His goodness in the land of the living today.

Selah.

Delight

By Brooke

he-is-the-one-thing

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Isaiah 61:10 NIV

We have learned this week that, in His presence, we find out who we are and – better than that -more about who He is. To delight is to rejoice while displaying great joy. Whenever we rejoice in Him, He is magnified and the object of our joy.

He is the One thing that never disappoints. We will never find ourselves sorry for adoring Him or lacking anything because we’ve spent time with Him. Its easy to fall into overwhelm in our everyday lives and to buy into the lie that time with Him is not time well spent. We can find ourselves convinced that the time we invest in Him does not yeild a harvest.  In His presence we find joy. In His presence we find our soul needs. We find love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. We find what only He can give and He is delighted to give.

It gives God great joy to give Himself to us. We are delighted in as we delight in Him.

Think of the person who brings you the most joy. Think of how much you enjoy being with them and how much it blesses you to give yourself to them. Now imagine that all of your joy is only a drop in the bucket in comparison to His joy. How does it feel to know that YOU are your Father in Heaven’s object of affection. All of it. He holds nothing back when it comes to showing you His great favor.

Live, Move and Breathe

By Brooke

remember-and-be-renewed

Acts 17:24-25,28 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.

My friend Jimmy Pena recently said “God doesn’t need my body to spread the gospel, I do.”  Isn’t that the truth? I think we often elevate our role in what God chooses to do through us. We often mistakenly think that we have much more to do with the outcome of our faith than we really do.

As we’ve journeyed together this week in participation with God’s Presence, we have come to know that power found in it. God is gracious enough to not hold us accountable to things that we do not know, but He is faithful enough to hold us accountable to the things that we do.

Knowing that our strength and capability comes from knowing who He is and who we are in Him, we now have a responsibility to act in obedience to that knowledge.

Is there is any part of your life today that you are acting independently of the Spirit? Maybe it’s in your marriage, a friendship, work, mission or ministry. In obedience to the knowledge of God, would you be willing to repent of that today? Would you be willing to enter into God’s presence and be fully exposed to the places you’ve forgotten God’s power for?

Sin is not shame. Sin simply means we’ve forgotten who God is and who we are in relation to Him. Sin exposes our forgetfulness of His sovereignty.

Go on now. Turn back. Remember and be renewed.

…And Why Not?

By Brooke

enter-in

We can be afraid of God’s Presence, can’t we? Maybe because we don’t trust that it’s reality. Maybe because somewhere deep down we realize that in it we can actually come alive to the deepest parts of our heart.

And that scares us. After all we’ve been denying our deepest selves for years. Maybe even decades. What would it mean to live again?

Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest says:

Having the reality of God’s presence is not dependent on our being in a particular circumstance or place, but is only dependent on our determination to keep the Lord before us continually. Our problems arise when we refuse to place our trust in the reality of His presence. The experience the psalmist speaks of— “We will not fear, even though . . .” (Psalm 46:2)— will be ours once we are grounded on the truth of the reality of God’s presence, not just a simple awareness of it, but an understanding of the reality of it.

When we don’t believe God’s presence is our reality, then we don’t trust that we can enter in. Like really enter in, believing for the resurrection of our own hearts on this side of glory.

Enter in today.

Do it afraid. Do it unbelieving. Do it for the resurrection of the deepest fear that your life is based on your circumstance and failure. Do it trusting that your life has meaning steeped in a reality far beyond any goodness you could ever create.

Your life and your heart have value steeped in God’s reality. And it is good.

Enter In

By Brooke

Mark 15:38 NIV The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

Heaven came as Jesus went. The final sacrifice of Christ on the cross shattered the divide between God and humanity. Christ’s atonement for the sin of all humanity split the veil from heaven to earth and allowed for entrance into the throne room.

Entrance into the throne room. The holiest of holies. The place where the glory of God is revealed to each of us as He would want it. In Christ, there is no separation for those of us who believe. For those of us who trust that He did what he did so that we could have fellowship with Him in the Light of His glory.

2 Corinthians 3:16 says that whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Our eyes are opened. Not just to our sin and our own shortcomings, as we would presume God is waiting to reveal to us, but His glory. His radiance opens the eyes of our hearts to the love He has for us.

In Christ alone we find out who we are and what we are living for. In Him Alone. In His presence after we elect to enter in.

It’s not a have to. It’s a get to.

Choose for yourself which fount your draw your worth from today.

His Power

By Brooke

But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. Exodus 9:16 NIV

His power is never for our glory, but for His. When we are invited into the presence of our King, it is always so that he is magnified.

In our weakness, we are made strong BY HIS grace and His presence. There is no way in us that would ever equate to righteousness, and yet He makes a way by the Power of His presence, to be reconciled and deemed worth of any good work.

Thank Him today for His Power. Tell Him how His ways is Higher than your ways. Thank Him for the way He has paved for you.

Repent for participating in anything less than belief. Receive His forgiveness. Rebuke the enemy’s schemes to thwart His goodness in your life… and replace that space in your heart with thankfulness for the ability to experience His mighty power.

God is for you. He is not against you. Selah.

His Presence

By Brooke

The Scriptures often speak of God’s presence in human history. The most common Hebrew term for “presence” is panim, which is also translated face, implying a close and personal encounter with the Lord.

Gods Presence has a wide variance in scripture. It may be something humans fear because it exposes sin (Genesis 3:8) but at the same time it is the place of greatest comfort in times of anxiety and peril (Joshua 1:5).

Only the nature of God can be 100% opposite and made to reconcile. He alone is the integrator of opposites.

He is just and He is love. He is mercy and He is judge.

In the Presence of God, our truest selves are exposed. Only God can absorb our humanity. In His presence alone are we exposed and still adored.

He is the God who makes dead things come alive.  He is the God who can love you and detest your brokenness all at the same time. In His presence we find out who we are and what we are living for.

The invitation back to fullness is found in the face of your King. Dare to gaze today.

31 Days Series, Welcome!

By Stephanie

31-DAYS-HIGH-RES

I am excited to be here. I generally don’t commit to things like this because I tend to fizzle out somewhere around day 7. That’s just true. I don’t like that its true, but it’s true. Not this time! This time is different because I’m already 2 days late to this party and well past fashionably late. Mercy.

So this time I am in. I am committed…to 28 days of His presence.
Here is the thing about God’s great love and mercy. Its totally undeserved, totally radical, totally accessible and found only in His presence.  God is clear in His Word that in Him is abundant life. A free and spacious life. A life lived in the unforced rhythms of His grace while He is unveiling the beauty of our intended design. Simply put, God’s presence brings life.
I am honored you are with me here. I look so forward to entering in to His presence with you this month as we explore different facets of abundance found in His presence.
Welcome home, fellow sojourner. Welcome home.

Doubt Doesn’t Disqualify

By Brooke

even in doubt

I went to sleep last night on a wet pillow. St. John of the Cross would call it a dark night of the soul. I call it familiar.

Listen, before you start citing me well meaning verses, you need to know that I know Him. I know He is good and that He has plans to prosper me and that what He has promised WILL happen. I know His Word is true and that His Spirit is comfort that surpasses all understanding. I know He is my shield and my strength and that His portion is more than enough.

But why then does it seem the enemy is winning? Why doesn’t it seem like my Savior has come yet? Lord knows I have been crying out. I’ve been lamenting (and praising…but lots of lamenting). The Psalms say that He hears the heart of the afflicted and He comes. He changes things, and He wins…because His Love never fails.

Then why does it feel like the enemy is winning? My enemy is prowling around like a lion and he is pulling out all the stops to get me to buy into the lies that God has set me free from.

I am not worth loving.

My children will inherit the sins of the generation before me.

I will be left for something better.

If given a choice, people will choose someone other than me.

And everyone has the power of free choice, right? So where does that leave a little girl lost? I mean a woman found and saved by grace, but the little girl abandoned inside of this woman of faith. She’s easy prey.

I need faith today. Today has to be a day that He believes for me because I cant believe for myself. He has to give me eyes and a heart that can hope for what has not yet been seen. Today is a day where if doubt disqualified me from faith, I would be out. 

When Jesus appeared before His disciples, the Word in Matthew 28:17 tells us that “When they saw Him, they worshipped Him, but some doubted”. 

The word doubt in Matthew 28:17 means to withdraw from one, desert, to separate one’s self in a hostile spirit, to oppose, strive with dispute, contend and to be at variance with one’s self. To hesitate.

Doubt is a powerful tool in the hands of the enemy. It can get us to desert the One we know is Faithful. It can get us to separate ourselves from Him and others in a hostile spirit. To oppose His promises and to strive IN dispute of His goodness. It can (by definition) cause us to be at war with ourselves and to hesitate in our faith.

Here is the relieving news. Doubt doesn’t disqualify the Chosen. Even the ones closest to Christ, who saw him with their own human eyes, resurrected from the dead, doubted. In His great mercy and compassion, He didn’t rebuke them. Instead He extended His power to them and invited them into the fullness of co-mission with Him.

Have you even had one of those days? Or, like me, one of those seasons? I am reminded today that Christ is not at all offended by my doubt. He is strengthening my faith by reaching for my hand and placing it to His side as a reminder that He does win.

Here’s something we can all believe in today. His Love wins and even in the darkest places, He is there. He is coming. And He alone saves.