Substitutes for His Presence
“In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” – Psalm 16:11
Some time ago, I had a dream where I found myself in a large tent meeting, and it was my time to speak. I was in a place of not knowing what my topic should be or what subject I was to address. In a panic, I asked the Lord, “What should I do?” and He said, “Invite the Presence.” I did, and God moved mightily among the people.
My friend David Mains once said, “Genuine revival is aways accompanied by a renewed sense of awareness of the Presence of the Lord.” I wholeheartedly agree! Having participated in two nation-impacting revivals, and having a congregation that I pastored experience an authentic revival, I remember that all of these experienced the presence of the Lord in an extraordinary way. Some call this the manifested presence of Jesus, to distinguish between the manifested presence and the omnipresence of the Lord.
Peter said, in his second sermon in Jerusalem, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins my be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19)
I believe that real revival and renewal comes only from the presence of the Lord. Or, from the Lord being present.
Unfortunately, much of the organized church has developed what I would call, “substitutes for His presence.” These often come in the form of spotlights, smoke, and even electronic sounds. I have felt at times, that even some of our dramatic skits are substitutes for the real thing. None of these things are wrong in and of themselves, but they can become substitutes for the real Jesus who wants to dwell and minister among His gathered people. There have been times when I felt I was attending a Broadway show, with all of its sights and sounds, rather than a gathering of the family of God.
What is our part in bringing the manifested presence into our midst?
First of all, pray for His presence to come. Invite the presence. Wait before the Lord, and then move as He directs.
Moses said, “If Your presence does not go with us, how will they know that we have found grace in Your sight?” (Exodus 33:15-16)
What about you and the church you are a part of? Will you go on without Him? God help us to settle for no less than the real presence of Jesus.