Knowing who you are
Sat May 25, 2013
by Jeremy Pace
Resurgence roundup, 5/24/13
Fri May 24, 2013
The places grace empowers us
Thu May 23, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
‘Each next risk is the biggest one’: James MacDonald talks with Mark Driscoll
Wed May 22, 2013
by Mark Driscoll
Tue May 21, 2013
by Amanda Edmondson
Run Jonah, Run
Was God’s concern for heathen Nineveh too much for narrow-minded Jonah to take? Was the prophet alarmed at the prospect of preaching his uncomfortable message to the heathen? Whatever he felt, he ran. God had plans for Jonah, "but Jonah ran …" (Jonah 1:3).
Many people wonder if it is possible to be out of God’s presence.
The answer is both yes and no.
“Yes,” David says in Psalm 51:11, “Do not cast me from your presence”.
”No,” David declares in Psalm 139:7-8 “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. I cannot run away from you.”
We can experience both God’s closeness and His withdrawal. One of Jesus’ names is Immanuel, which means “God with us”, but he didn’t say we would always feel his presence. He promised simply, “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20).
Being there isn’t the same as being present
Some Christians would simply quote the doctrine that God is omnipresent. When they hear someone say enthusiastically they felt the presence of God, they react matter-of-factly, “Well, he’s always there.” Such dry application of doctrine provides a snare for the evangelical church, robbing us of the anticipation of feeling God’s presence.
Moses said to God, “If your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here” (Exodus 33:15). He wasn’t careless about the presence of God. God had just said that he would go with the people (33:14). But Moses wanted God to know how determined he was that his presence be manifest among them.
When Jonah fled from the presence of the Lord, he was escaping from the revealed will of God and was forsaking the enjoyment of his fellowship.
Unlike Jonah, Paul was determined to do the will of God and therefore experienced his guidance. On one occasion he wanted to preach in Asia, but the Holy Spirit stopped him (Acts 16:6). A little later he tried to enter Bithynia, but again the Spirit said no (Acts 16:7) and drew him back into God’s will.
The prophet went down to Joppa in search of a ship bound for Tarshish. On finding one he probably thought, “It was meant for me. What an extraordinary coincidence! Here’s proof I’m not off course after all.” After paying his fare he went aboard. He failed to realize the devil could have supplied a whole fleet of ships headed for Tarshish.
If Jonah had been listening to his conscience, he would have heard the words, “You shouldn’t be going this way.” But he chose instead to take note of circumstances, and they seemed to suggest he wasn’t on such a perilous course.
You can go your own way
When you’re determined to go your own way, not only do you turn your back on the revealed will of God, you also become vulnerable to putting significance in coincidences. “I know my girlfriend/boyfriend isn’t a Christian yet, but look at how we were thrown together. We were obviously meant for each other.”
“My boss wants me involved in that business deal. I know it’s shady, but it’s come across my path in such an amazing way.”
Creatures of conscience
Begin to listen attentively to your conscience. Learn to detect the voice that tells you to keep away from that place, avoid a relationship with that person, or of finding a ship – the voice that shows you where the Spirit is leading you.
“Humans are the only creatures in the material world who can think about their thoughts, who can contemplate why they think the way they think, who can understand their motives, who can make moral self-evaluations. And that is a God-given gift, the innate ability to sense what is right and wrong,” John MacArthur, The Vanishing Conscience
More from Terry Virgo on Facebook
Follow Terry Virgo on Twitter: @terryvirgo