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Tuesday: A God Who is Close — 7 Comments

  1. I walked from the car park at the railway station onto the platform and counted 14 security cameras on the way. And that is just in a fairly ordinary regional railway station. Its a bit scary when you think about it. Somewhere there are images of me kicking my toe, scratching my nose, talking to myself, yawning, glancing at passersby, adjusting my pants, and all the other things that I am not admitting to in this discussion. In today's modern technological world they could probably work out who I am and where I have been and so on. I take refuge in the fact that the security cameras are not really there to record my little quirks and oddities but are there to protect me. Unfortunately, if I was attacked and donged on the head for no good reason, the system would not protect me but would probably go a long way in catching the offender.

    Living with surveillance is part of life these days and while some of us think that it is pervasive mostly is it there for our protection (even speed and red-light cameras).

    I know it is not a perfect example. but God's proximity is not there with the purpose of catching us out. He is there for us. Some of us have to grow beyond the childhood view of "Jesus is watching you" with the inference that you had better behave yourself.

    John gives us the right perspective on proximity and immanence:

    And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
    Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. John 14: 16,17 KJV

    That is a much better view of God's closeness.

  2. I love the first paragraph of today's lesson study. The author of the lesson just summed up the entire quarter's lesson. The cleansing of the sanctuary! Please pardon my ignorance, if you will, here are my findings. As Jesus Himself said, talking about His faithful followers: “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me” (John 17:23, NKJV). It doesn’t get more intimate and closer than that.

    Therefore, After Jesus' return to heaven, His work is to cleanse the Temple from sins, right? In other words, Jesus is preparing those of us who love Him, love our fellowmen, love His laws and character traits. While He is doing that at this moment, He is also inviting us to accept His gift of grace.

    Right there and then, the cleansing looks a whole lot easier than one would suppose.

  3. King David, in Psalm 139, knew exactly what God‘s immanence and transcendence are all about:

    „You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
    You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
    You hem me in behind and before,
    Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, lofty for me to attain.
    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.
    If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.“

    David sees God’s surveillance as positive and comforting, because he loved God and trusted Him.

    At almost every stage of human history, and in many cultures, people have looked for the assistance of magic objects called talismans to ward off evil forces.

    I have seen many, in the Middle East, hanging a nazar amulet (the protecting blue eye of God) in a home or business, or even in a car, believing this allows only good, constructive feelings to flow in the environment, causing a feeling of peace, success and balance.

    What a blessing to know that we don‘t need that fake stuff which leads to naught!

    I like to read Psalm 91, quoting verse 1:

    „Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
    I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

    • Thank you so much, Amina, for your thoughts and for bringing us more of King David's words. That portion of Psalm 139 is such a beautiful meditation on God's immanence, and Psalm 91 is a comfort too!

      David was a physically strong person, a renowned warrior, a leader of leaders. People of David's day probably saw him as an Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Sylvester Stallone, or Bruce Lee,....or whoever is considered strong these days.... muscled and able to fight off the "bad guy". And yet it's David who says:

      The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
      He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.... Psalm 23

      David could have said, "I will fear no evil for I have trained for these situations", or "I will fear no evil because I'm the strongest man alive!", but he shared the secret of his fearlessness with us....he leaned on God's presence always with him, and not on his own strength.

      Helen Reddy in her song "I Am Woman" in 1971, sang,

      "If I have to, I can do anything, I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman."

      It became an anthem for women who had experienced belittling and limiting stereotypes. I get it. One of Satan's hurtful tactics is pigeonholing and denigrating the male-female relationship. And yet, we women, too, cannot depend on our own strength. We are creations and desperately need our Creator.


      Last September, my Mom fell. That night, I took her to multiple clinics and emergency centers -- one didn't have an X-ray machine that was working, one didn't have the traction equipment to straighten her bones; finally, the local hospital did a scan of her head and found internal bleeding,... and so at 1 a.m. an ambulance sped her toward the hospital in the major city about 45 minutes away, with me following.

      It was a long, sleepless night for both Mom and me, with many doctors and nurses working for her. She had broken her wrist in multiple places, as well as her eye socket bone. Doctors thought she'd need surgery on her wrist, but miraculously they were able to straighten it enough through manipulation, and her occipital bone was in place to heal on its own. No broken hips. Internal head bleeding was not serious. We were so blessed!

      She remained in the hospital for the next 4 days. Mom has increasing dementia as well as anxiety, so I was with her almost constantly. When I came home, I was readying her bedroom to make it a safer place. Once she was tucked safely back in her own bed, we placed a baby monitor nearby. I've never been one to sleep very soundly anyway, and knowing she needed help for toileting in the night, I again had very little rest. I was developing strong chest pains, and it was getting hard for me to breathe. I was completely exhausted in every way!

      One morning, with my brother at the house to watch over her, I took the car away from home and drove to a pull-out to sleep. The nerve pains in my chest were twinging and keeping me from sleep. I was so tired it was hard for me to rest. Finally, with the morning rays streaming in my driver's window, I dozed off. What happened next is odd, and I'm not sure how to describe it. I heard my name clearly and audibly outside the car at my left ear, and then it felt like an arm coming through the car wall and touching my chest where the pain was. Immediately, there was no more hurting, and I felt an instant calm there. It was very quick and sudden. I fell back asleep for about 20 minutes and awoke refreshed enough to head back home.

      Yes, yes, Amina!

      "Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
      I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

  4. "So that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;"(Acts 17:27).

    God has been with us since we were formed. In our daily business, we are the ones who forget this.

    God lives “with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." (Isaiah 57:15)

  5. Some scientists describe God as an absentee landlord, a God who is not involved in man's affairs. Sufferings, pains, wars and there's no solution, yet He lives. What do you people say about this?

    • Hi, Simeon. Many may have much to say about this, but I'll start with a few words. There is so much evidence available to us that God is love, that there is no reason for us to let such questions bother us. Really, the cross says it all.

      What are just a few things that the cross says?

      1) The sin emergency is much worse than many think.

      2) Sin is far more evil and difficult to eradicate than many may suppose.

      3) God's solution, carried out in with great patience and infinite wisdom, involves wholehearted self-sacrifice on His part.

      In summary, you can know Him, and to know Him is to love Him.


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