the present of his presence
"The disciples could not but be filled with joy and the Holy Spirit." —Acts 13:52
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?
Prayer: Father, send the Holy Spirit to cry out in my heart "Abba" (Gal 4:6).
Promise: "I solemnly assure you, the man who has faith in Me will do the works I do, and greater than these." —Jn 14:12, our transl.
Praise: Bearing a difficult, close relationship in his life only brought Jim closer to God.
Reference: (Presentation Ministries presents a Married Couples' Retreat, June 7-8, 2002 at the Paul Jansen Discipleship Center. For information, call 937-587-5464 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Giles H. Pater, November 15, 2001
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, November 16, 2001