If you were persecuted and thrown out of town, what would you be filled with? Bitterness? Hatred? Fear? Or joy and the Holy Spirit?
What if you were seized, led off to court, and lied about by false witnesses? (Acts 6:12-13) What would be the expression on your face? Would you be stoic, livid, or disturbed? "Throughout, Stephen's face seemed like that of an angel" (Acts 6:15).
If several people were grinding their teeth in anger against you and preparing to charge and kill you (Acts 7:54ff), what would have your attention? "Stephen meanwhile, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked to the sky above and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God's right hand" (Acts 7:55).
If you have been repeatedly treated harshly for years by a bad and unreasonable employer, did you "suffer injustice and endure hardship" through your "awareness of God's presence"? (1 Pt 2:19)
Most of us believe that God is present with us and within us. However, it makes a great difference how deeply we are aware of His presence. If we let the Holy Spirit teach us how to "practice the presence of God," we will have joy, peace, freedom, endurance, and hope. This would be impossible to have without a deep awareness of God's presence. God is always present to us. Will we be present to Him?