2. WHERE IS GOD WHEN YOU NEED HIM?
Psalm 139: 7 - 12; Jeremiah 23: 23, 24
Each week we're looking at a different attribute of the nature of God. Today we're talking about God's omnipresence – simply means that God is everywhere. There's no point in the universe where God is not. He's not limited by space – by place or confined to any one location. That's a hard concept for us because we're finite creatures with a body. How many of you have tried to be in two places at the same time? You can't. But it's no problem with God because God is Spirit. So He can be in many, many places all at the same time. He's everywhere.
That does not mean that God is everything. That's pantheism. Don't confuse the creator with His creation. He's not everything but He is everywhere. Acts 17: 28 "He is not far from us for in Him we live and move and have our being." That's saying you cannot move apart from God. You wouldn't be alive. You wouldn't exist without God. It doesn't matter whether you're a Christian or an atheist or whatever - God holds you together. He is the cohesive force in all of the universe. He holds everything together.
FACT: God is everywhere – He’s always with me. I just need to recognize it. I need to be aware of it. Right now this room is filled with radio and television waves. Every room in your house is filled with radio and television waves. You don't see them but they're there. If you can tune in to those radio and television waves you'll benefit from them.
Likewise, God is here. You don't see Him but He's here, just like the radio waves are. If you can learn to tune in to the presence of God, it will benefit your life. God is everywhere, but my natural reaction to a doctrinal statement like that is, so what? What difference does it make in my life?
How God’s Presence Benefits My Life
1. WHEN I'M LONELY, GOD IS MY COMPANION.
Psalm 25: 16 "Turn to me, Lord, and be merciful, because I am lonely." Some of you may be lonely now. There are different kinds of loneliness. There's the loneliness of death of a spouse or friend. There's the loneliness of a business trip. There's the loneliness of a new school, of growing old, of the husband who won't listen to you, the loneliness of the feeling that you're not understood. There's the loneliness of success - life at the top is lonely. You will be lonely in life. That's a fact.
God said the first thing He didn't like about the world when He created it - "It's not good for man to be alone." God doesn't want you to be alone. So what do you do when you have those moments of uncontrollable loneliness and you can't do anything about it? You recognize God's presence. He is your companion. Hebrews 13: 5 "God has said, `Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you!'" He is your constant companion. Jesus called us friends, "You are My friends." He's a friend that knows more about you than any other friend. He understands you. Remember the song "You'll Never Walk Alone – When You Walk with God."
When we face a challenge we like to have somebody with us. Remember your first day at school and you wanted your parents to go with you? We like to have reinforcements. God is my companion - He never asks you to do anything by yourself. David got lonely often - Psalm 16: 1 "Your presence fills me with joy". That's the first benefit of recognizing God's presence. He says if you recognize it, God's presence cheers me up.
2. WHEN I'M WORRIED, GOD IS MY CONFIDENCE.
Isaiah 42: 2, 3 "When you go through deep waters and great troubles, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you won't drown. When you walk through the fires of oppression, you won't be burned up." None of us can predict the problems we're going to face. But one thing we can be certain of: God's going through it with you. God is with you! When I'm worried, God is my confidence.
Psalm 16: 8, 9 "I am always aware of the Lord's presence. He is near and nothing can shake me. I'm so thankful and glad and I feel completely secure." This is the second benefit. When I'm lonely, God's presence cheers me up, but when I'm worried, God's presence calms me down. It gives me stability. It's a stress reliever. I have confidence because I know "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." He's with me. I can even handle death. Psalm 23: 4 "Even though I walk through the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me." That kind of confidence does not come from psychology. It comes from knowing that God is with me. When I'm lonely I have a companion and when I'm worried I have a confidence.
3. WHEN I'M TEMPTED, GOD IS MY COUNSELLOR.
He is ready to give me advice. He is ready to help me make it through the temptation. 2 Corinthians 10:13 "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." When God is with you, He provides a way out.
Temptations are common. We all have the same problems. God is right there when I'm being tempted. When I realize God is right here watching me, that is a motivation to resist the temptation. I don't want to sin right in front of God. Every time I do sin it's as if I do it right in front of His throne.
The real benefit of God's presence that not only cheers me up and calms me down, but God's presence helps me out. He knows exactly the struggle going on in my mind. He's preparing an escape route. He sees it coming before I see it coming. It's not just my will power but His power and He's promised to help me. That's good news!
Job 13:27 "You, God, keep a close watch on all my paths." Circle "close". Because God is everywhere He sees everything. Last week we talked about the omniscience of God - God sees everything. Why? Because He's there. He is omniscient because He's omnipresent. God is an eyewitness to every single thing I do. As much as I, like Jonah, run from the presence of God, I can't. He's at the office, in my car going to work, at school, at home, in the bedroom. There is no such thing as a locked door to God. You can't lock Him in, you can't lock Him out. He's everywhere.
Psalm 139:11 "If I say surely the darkness will hide me and the light of the night becomes night around me, even the darkness will not be dark to You for the night will shine like the day for darkness is as light to You." God has night vision. The Bible says men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. A lot of things go on at night that don't go on during the day because they think they are being hidden. But the Bible says, God sees everything. He can see through the darkness. He created darkness. He created light. He doesn't need either one. He can see everything that is going on in my life.
When people watch us, it is a motivation. But God is always watching you. When I am aware of God's presence it helps me to maintain more control. I am more alert to the things I say. We need to be more careful when we realize He's present at all times.
4. WHEN I'M DISCOURAGED, GOD IS MY COMFORTER.
Psalm 34:18 (Good News) "The Lord is near to those who are discouraged. He saves those who have lost all hope." If you're discouraged, one thing I can say with all confidence: God is with you. "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted..." Is your heart breaking this morning? The Lord is near you. “Where is God When It Hurts?” - The answer to that question is He's with you. He feels your hurt. He feels your discouragement. He knows when you're not making it, when you're frustrated. Some of you are going through some rough times right now and you're ready to give in or give up or throw in the towel: "I'm not going to put any more effort into it. I'm going to chuck the business, or marriage, or kids." You don't know if you want to keep on going in the direction you're going. You may be ready to give up. I don't know what you're going through but whatever it is God is going through it with you. You are not alone. His presence is there because He wants to be your comforter. God is not some impersonal force. He is not some far off, far away power. He's very personal and He's right there with you.
Jesus said in John 14 "The Father will send you a Comforter who will never leave you" and He is the Holy Spirit. I see all kinds of reactions that people have in life. I see the reactions to funerals, the hospital stays, the crises that come that nobody can predict or plan. I don't know how people make it without the Lord. They don't make it. They have scars and they don't get over things as quickly as people who depend on the presence of God do. They hurt much more deeply and much more severely than those who know that God's presence is there. He's there to encourage them.
Psalm 116: 8 - 11 (GN) "The Lord stopped my tears and kept me from defeat. So I walk in the presence of the Lord. I kept on believing, even when I said, `I'm completely crushed' and even when I was afraid and said, `No one can be trusted.'" Times when you think, "I'm defeated. I'm completely crushed. Nothing can be relied on. Everybody lets me down." That's when you need to recognize the presence of God in your life.
The presence of God not only cheers me up when I'm lonely and calms me down when I'm
worried and helps me out when I'm tempted but it sees me through when I'm discouraged. It gives you the motivation to keep on going, the power to keep on keeping on. It renews your strength. It lifts up your heavy heart. It gives you a new vision. That's what God's presence can do to your life. But you have to tune in. The key to keep on keeping on, to overcoming discouragement, is the phrase "I walk in the presence of the Lord." How do you do that? God is present all around us but most people are totally unaware of it. How do you walk in the presence of the Lord?
Four Secrets to Practicing the Presence of God:
1. Invite Jesus into your life.
The Bible says that what Jesus has done for us on the cross has made possible for us to come in the presence of God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12.
2. Be quiet.
I believe why so many people never feel God's presence is because they're too busy. They're too distracted. Psalms "Be still and know that I am God." Several times a day - Just say, "God I realize that You are present with me right now, that You are with me, and in me." No matter where you are God is with you. James 4: 8 "Draw near to God and He'll draw near to you." He's always there but you have to be aware of it.
3. Talk to God about everything.
God knows everything anyway. You can pray about anything and ask Him for help. 1 Thessalonians, "Pray without ceasing." It's talking about maintaining a conversation with God. Talk to Him about anything. Psalm 62: 9 "Trust Him at all times and pour out your heart to Him." So you talk to Him about everything.
4. Develop the habit of praise. Praise means to thank God for who He is and what He's done for you. Psalm 100: 4 "Enter his gates with thanksgiving, enter His courts with praise." Nothing will help you become aware of God and His presence in your life faster than developing the habit of praise. Since God is everywhere you can praise Him everywhere.
If you will become aware that God is always with you it is going to change your life. It will cheer you up, it will calm you down, it will help you out, it will see you through. To those of you who are tired, discouraged, frustrated, hurting, afraid, worried, sick, depressed - I want to say to you: God is with you.
Prayer: God wants you to know Him. He wants you to feel His love. It's a part of life. It's a fact of life that you need to tune in to. Say, "God, I'd like to know Your presence in my life." Then just be quiet. Take a deep breath and relax. Tell God what's on your mind. Feel good, worried, tired? Tell Him what's on your mind right there where you are.