Our Refuge, His Presence

If you are poor, tired, forlorn, and lost there is a place you can go to meet Jesus. It does not depend on your being accepted by a bunch of snooty church folks, you do not have to wear the right clothing, or smell nice. It is a certain and guaranteed thing, because it depends on Jesus alone. Therefore it is not subject to the whims and religious attitudes of men. It is also a place that many have been denied, because the most basic information about it has been obscured for hundreds of years, yielding generations of babies who know a little (or maybe just a lot of academic schlock) about Jesus, but who do not know Him personally (or by means of the Spirit).

 

The place I speak of is the place where Peter was when he was praying in Joppa, (Acts 10:10) and it is where John was when he mentions that he was “in the Spirit” at the beginning of “The Revelation Of John” (Revelation 1), It is where Paul was when he mentions casually that he was taken up to the third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:1-6).

 

It is as if, when you hear the good news and accept it, you are set down in the outer courts of Solomon’s temple and you tramp around there enjoying all the praise bands and the religious goings on, but to get to the court of the Priests you have to seek the entrance, you have to find the door. Further on to gain access to the temple itself and the Holy of Holies which is your right as a child of the Living God, you have to find the entrance, The entrance in all cases is Jesus, getting to know Him in the most intimate way, is your doorway to these wonderful places. You might say, well this Scriptural evidence is sketchy, yet I am only scratching the surface, there are many examples of this in the New Testament, you just have to look for them, Jesus set the tone in this way of life by spending considerable time, alone with the Father, in prayer.

 

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:19

 

“19 You should know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit who is in you. You have received the Holy Spirit from God. So you do not belong to yourselves,” New Century Version

 

Paul said very much the same thing in several places in his epistles, and I would like to suggest to you that for Paul the Temple he once served and the temple God was building in His people were not so different, just far more personal.

 

When you ask, seek, and knock (Luke 11:9-13) God sets up a place in your heart for His presence, a Holy of Holies to which you can retreat to be with Him. I also think that in a slightly different way He is speaking of the same thing when He said “Behold I stand at the door and knock,” Revelation 3:20-22
He encourages us to seek Him, but I believe that He also actively calls us to seek Him.

 

The initiative was God’s from the very beginning, it is our responsibility to respond. To live the life that He has so graciously provided we must walk with Him and dwell in Him. But the flesh resists this simple and beautiful gift which God has placed on our doorsteps. The flesh wants an appearance of Godliness, but please none of that radical stuff!! But sometimes, in it’s contrary way, the flesh makes a religious duty out of being radical. So you can see it all around you in the religious observances that Christians occupy themselves with every day.

 

On the one hand, it is fairly easy to detect an immature approach to the Lord, when others try to convince you to follow their example (and they will!), because the followers of babydom do not have the Spirit to guide them, they only have the book (the Bible) and lacking clarification from the Spirit they cling to whatever interpretation of Scripture they have obsessively, because that is all they have.

 

On the other hand, life in the Spirit is multifaceted, you can walk and talk with Him, listen to Him, and obey Him, He guides you, there are secrets and gifts He will share with you so that you may help people, and He has secrets and gifts for you alone, it is never dull and Scripture will unfold for you in the brilliant light of His Spirit, the very one who wrote it.

 

When you give up your feeble, and failed attempts at controlling your life and place yourself solely in His hands you will find that He is adding to you and augmenting your life beyond anything you ever thought possible.

 

This is our legitimate claim on Jesus, and He is pleased to help us receive it.

But it all starts when we find our refuge in Him, our sanctuary in His Presence.

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4 Comments on “Our Refuge, His Presence”

  1. Rachel Says:

    Love this post. Your statement “He encourages us to seek Him, but I believe that He also actively calls us to seek Him.” — is right on. Jesus is the door. He made it possible for us to come into the presence of God – yet so many stop at the door b/c they’ve been erronously taught that is all there really is – all that is necessary. Jesus came so we could go into God. To not seek is to miss the whole point. This is why many will say — Lord, Lord .. and Jesus will say I never knew you. They never sought.

    Rachel

  2. Nathan Says:

    Thank you Rachel,
    So much of modern religious practice is based on show, how comforting the service is, or if it gained results (manipulation) in terms of money or converts. I hear more and more people asking variations of this question, “What does the institutional church have to do with meeting God face to face, and living in Him?”

    I believe that Jesus is moving, moving in hearts and shaping lives to bring us into a place where we must choose, to go on with Him or turn away. And our response need not be complicated, we can just grab hold of His hand and go on with Him, like little kids do when they meet someone they like a lot.

    Thanks for coming by Rachel,
    Your comments encourage me
    Nathan

  3. Louise Brookes Says:

    I love this post; how you share about dwelling in spirit and point out that folks who don’t have that connection grasp the only thing they do have, the bible. And also about having to seek. It’s as though Jesus is always waiting for us and for every inch we take towards prayer, connection, silent reflection Jesus will go a mile! It’s not jut Jesus that responds like this for me, it’s almost become a nameless grace that Jesus is a part of. I’m not sure but I think that anyone on the planet so dedicated to love and compassion can and have gained such a place and that there have been a few over history to have done this and who serve now in a spiritual sense whether passed beyond or still present. Sometimes I can hear Jesus through very ordinary people and situations, as I think Jesus was and is; without judgement and overflowing with kindness and love and gentleness, but also awareness and wisdom and an antidote to ignorance or cruelty. My nan never went to church except maybe for weddings etc and sunday school as a child. But every night she got on her knees and talked to Jesus and asked him to ‘Please look after so and so…’ Like she was sitting down for tea with him, so simple and so trusting. My nan had so much grace in her from that kind of daily surrender. I don’t think she even knew much of the bible, maybe only stories. But she took the kindness advice and applied that to great effect!

  4. Nathan Says:

    Hey Louise,

    I think you are right about how Jesus meets and exceeds our expectations when we seek Him, It is interesting that you mentioned the nameless grace that Jesus is a part of because I think Michael Molinos (Miguel de Molinos) expressed something similar (and was sent to jail for that opinion, by his Catholic superiors), and yes I believe that Jesus contacts people all over the globe regardless of their religious affiliation, He knows their hearts, and He knows if they are wanting to know the true God instead of the intellectual and traditional glop that so many religions trot out as Spiritual fare (including institutional christianity).

    I think that our concept of who Jesus is, is very two-dimensional and in reality He is beyond description to the religiously biased POV. He is so much more than what is preached about in so many pulpits, especially when those pulpits are so busy re-establishing the Mosaic law.

    I am so pleased that you had your nan as a wonderful early influence in your life. The gospel is so simple that it must be communicated to our hearts instead of our heads, your nan is a perfect example of what happens when a person holds and cherishes the Spirit of God in their hearts and doesn’t try to make an intellectual exercise out of life in the Spirit. She must have been a grand lady!

    Besides who needs the book when you can chat with the Author everyday!


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