The following devotional is from In the Secret Place: A Pilgrimage Through the Psalms by Jerry Rankin.
The Joy of God’s Presence
Key Verse: For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Psalm 84:11)
Our greatest desire should be to dwell in God’s presence each day. The yearning and fervent desire of our heart should be to have a conscious awareness that He is with us. He has promised to abide with us and never to leave or forsake us. The essence of our salvation experience is not just being saved from the penalty of sin or gaining assurance of eternal life in heaven, but it is the fact that Jesus Christ comes to dwell within us. How tragic to lose sight of the reality of abiding in Him. Life becomes pretty miserable when we struggle with temptations and attempt to bear our daily burdens in our own strength. Our failures come from resorting to our own wisdom and ingenuity rather than relying on God who is always with us.We have had those times of blessing when we sensed God’s presence and power and therefore long for that to be our consistent daily experience. In my prayer journal I have an item which reminds me, “Praise God for His presence in my life today.” Sometime later I had added a parenthesis with the word joy. An awareness of abiding in God’s presence is absolutely the source of joy that puts a song in our heart. When we have been there, we would never desire anything else. The ways of the world and the shallow, temporal pleasures that come from following self-serving and self-gratifying carnal values can never satisfy like being in God’s presence. Enjoying one day with the Lord is better than a thousand apart from Him! Even if we don’t enter into the fullness of God’s blessing, just being at the threshold of that relationship is better than a lifestyle of sin.When we are dwelling in the courts of the Lord, every aspect of our lives—our home, our office, our cars—becomes an altar because life is an experience of worship. We find ourselves going from strength to strength as God empowers us and supplies all our needs. Our heart is simply the highway on which God is leading us on pilgrimage to Zion, the place of ultimate and perfect enjoyment of His presence and fullness. When we are dwelling in His presence, even “Baca,” the valleys of weeping and sorrow, are turned into a spring of blessing.The Lord becomes our dwelling place only by our trusting in Him. We enter into that secret place of the Most High by faith, believing and appropriating the reality of His presence. And notice what we have as a result. He is our sun and shield, enlightening us, shining His blessings upon us, and protecting us from all harm. He gives us a constant flow of grace, undeserved favor and mercy, and allows us to experience His glory. He will withhold nothing that is good when we walk “uprightly” or in the reality of these truths.Prayer: Lord, You are my sun and shield, my protection and the source of all blessing. Give me a longing for Your presence in my life above all worldly attractions and desires. It is awesome to think that You will withhold no good thing if I will abide with You and walk in Your ways. Give me a desire for You and faith to trust You each day.
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