THE KEYS TO GOD'S MANIFEST PRESENCE
God is everywhere, at all times - omnipresent. However, as believers in Christ Jesus, God's Son, we can have a more intimate experience of God's manifest presence. The keys to God's manifest presence are thanksgiving and praise.
My Pastor's son, Logan, taught recently on this subject and stated, "The password into His presence is 'Thank You'." Psalm 100:4 says, "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name." This is a simple mindset, attitude and lifestyle we can adopt but often forget or neglect. God has blessed us with everything, now do we return to The Giver on a regular basis with thanks and entrust back into His hands what was already His? For many Christians this is a grateful lifestyle that is lived out daily.
However, Lord help us to never be so consumed by ourselves, others, society, our culture or things that we revert back to what the Israelites did - they forgot you! In Judges 3:7, 1 Samuel 12:9 and Jeremiah 3:21 the phrase "they forgot the Lord their God" is used to describe the Israelites condition. And in Judges 8:33-35 the phrase - "and did not remember the Lord their God" is used for the same condition. Again, Lord help us never to forget you. Help us to learn from King David, as he said, "Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not all His benefits." (Psalm 103:2) In this command to his own soul, David had the right mindset, the right attitude and right lifestyle - to never forget, to always be thankful to the Lord and praise or "bless" His name.
The should'ves, could'ves and would'ves of life are tools of the enemy who target our joy and progress. Unfortunately, our society focuses on what they do not have and has an I deserve attitude or spirit of entitlement that flies in the spirit of humility which is a fruit of a thankful heart.
Mr. Rick Renner stated in his Sparkling Gems From the Greek 2, "Thankfulness is a prerequisite to happiness because only a thankful heart can be a happy heart." (p.467)
Acquiring and keeping a grateful and thankful attitude not only reminds us of past and recent blessings, but of God's promises - His projected blessings yet to come. A focused perspective is the key. Keep your focus on God's Faithfulness (God's Track Record) and your attitude and future will immediately brighten beyond belief.
"If society focused its gaze on God and kept Him in their minds, it would be more difficult for Satan's deception to work its plan in the world. But when man becomes unthankful - ceasing to acknowledge God and to be thankful for His abundant blessings - that is when he begins to sink into decadence." (Renner, page 468)
"You see, a Christian may not slide into the same sins to which the world quickly succumbs, but ungratefulness, bitterness and other heart-hardening attitudes will worm their way into your soul if you do not maintain an attitude of thankfulness and constantly recognize God's goodness in your life." (Renner, page 469)
I watched a three-part movie series recently called "Death Comes to Pemberley" (attached to the "Pride and Prejudice" story). In the final installment, the female lead, Anna Martin playing Elizabeth Darcy was speaking with her beloved about perspective and said, "Let's look to the past only as it gives us pleasure. And to the future only as it gives us hope."
The Hebrew people did this eons before Elizabeth Darcy arrived on the scene. As God's people would travel from place to place experiencing the many facets of God's favor - altars of stone would be built to commemorate or commit to memory what The Lord had done for them there. In addition, they would not only build the altar, they would name the altar, like The Lord is My Shelter (protection).
Gratitude is a purposeful, humble, mature act of recognizing and appreciating The Giver. One of the ten men with leprosy in Luke 17:11-19 is an excellent example of this deliberate return to The Blesser, Healer and Giver - Jesus. We desperately need to remember and not forget The Lord as He continually blesses us whether we see it or not. Then as we remember "all His benefits", as David said, we can enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise as we use - The Keys to God's Manifest Presence.