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Comfort from God's Presence

Greetings All,
    This weeks 'thought' comes to you from a collection of Spurgeon's devotions entitled, "Beside Still Waters."  I have quoted from this book before as it is my favorite devotional, and I've also told you that if you do not have a copy you need to buy one.  I will say that again! It's one of the best.
    In fact, I have actually started giving this book to people who are going through difficult times, since it offers such great comfort and wonderful insights from Scripture. Today's thought has to do with the comfort that comes from the knowledge of God's presence in our lives. Enjoy.

  "Sometimes in deep depression, in the midst of the darkest shadows, Christ appears and seems sweeter than He ever was before (Acts 23:9-11).  When all the created streams have run dry, then the everlasting fountain bubbles up with a pure and cooling stream. Remember those occasions and the circumstances that made them cheerful, and say, 'This God, even the God of Bethel, is still my God.'  If I am in trouble, if I am lonely, if I am brought so low that I literally have nothing but a doorstep for my pillow -- if I should lose house, home, and be left like an orphan with no one to shelter me -- oh God of Bethel, you who cover my head and protect my spirit, you will still be with me. The God of Bethel (Gen. 31:13) is a God who

concerns Himself with the things of earth. He is not a God who shuts Himself up in heaven. He is a God who has a ladder between heaven and earth (Gen. 28:12)...
     The Puritans believed in an ever-present God. Oh to be able to feel God everywhere, in the little as well as the great, in our rising up and our sitting down, in our going out and our coming in.  I cannot imagine a life more blessed or a spirit more related to the spirit of the glorified than the mind and heart of the person who lives in God, who knows and feels that God is ever-present.
    If you are in personal danger, or in the midst of a storm, or facing illness, and if you hear a voice saying, "Surely the Lord is in this place," you will be perfectly at rest.  The anxious air grows pure if He is there.
Lightning cannot strike you, or if it does, there will be joy. 
 The storm cannot devour you, nor can the hungry ocean engulf you, or if it does, it is happiness if God is there.  There is no need to fear. Nervousness is wickedness when 'the eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you" (Deut. 33:27). 
     You may be in great poverty.  Your walls may be bare and your furnishings scant.  And still you may say, 'Surely the Lord is in this place.'  Remember the old Christian's exclamation, 'What, all this and my God present with me too?'  Better to have poverty and feel His presence than to own the world's riches and not know that He is here.
    Some of you are in deep affliction.  Your difficulties are so great that you do not know where things will end, and you are deeply depressed. But remember, 'Surely the Lord is in this place' (Gen. 28:16).  Some of you are called to some extraordinary duty and do not feel strong enough. Yet follow that call, and remember that surely the Lord is in that place. He will help you."

      How true it is that any hardship or affliction is endurable -- and can even seem like a weightless burden -- if we know and can sense God's presence with us in it.  Few words should bring more comfort to the believing soul than the words of Jesus Himself where he says:
"Lo, I am with you always..."  Or the assurance of the psalmist in Psalm 139 where he tells us it is impossible to be in any place that God is not.  After all, as believers in Jesus His presence -- the presence of the Holy Spirit -- lives within us.  He doesn't just go with us, He has taken up His residence within us.
    And though the felt presence of God is a blessing beyond words, we need to remember that His actual presence is a reality whether we can feel it, or sense it, or not.  Although we as people tend to be so reliant upon our feelings, the truth of His presence with us and in us stands as undeniably true whether we can feel it or not.  For as one preacher has said,
"I am asked to believe it, not feel it." 
And when I do it makes all the difference in the world.

                   With you in the fight, Pastor Jeff