Press in—Finding Your Secret Place in God

Spending quality time in the presence of the Lord God is absolutely necessary to secure your personal relationship with Him for eternity.  Living a holy and powerful lifestyle as a Christian requires spending private time in prayer, praise and worship, study of the Bible, meditation (thinking) on Him , and even just sitting in silence listening. Being in the presence of the Lord on a regular and consistent basis makes a difference in your attitude, altitude, and certainly your perspective on life. In essence, finding your secret place in the presence of God will determine whether you live here on earth in victory or defeat!

Do you realize there are many unstable, insecure and uncertain Christians? They are insecure about who they are and where they belong. They are uncertain about what they believe. They are insecure due to ignorance about their spiritual inheritance, and the abundant life that’s promised by being in relationship with Jesus Christ.  Consequently, they live beneath their privileges in the natural and cannot tap into the supernatural realm of dominion, power and glory. To live beneath your privilege as a Christian equates to not having a solid foundation in the Word of God—not understanding your life is hidden in Christ. In other words, not finding your place of security and significance, which comes from being in the presence of God, makes you open prey for the enemy because you have no supernatural protection.

“Press into His presence” is not some cute, religious church jargon. It speaks of progressive course of action that Christians should take, as well as an aggressive attitude that is absolutely essential in order to experience spiritual growth in your relationship with God.  Spiritual growth means developing Christ-like character, godly conduct and contentment, as well as faith and trust in God regardless of external circumstances and conditions. Usually going through a process of any kind is unwelcome by most people merely because of the time factor involved. Spiritual maturity is not instantaneous as some would have you to believe based on the world’s belief system.  Spiritual growth is achieved through trials and tribulations. James 1:3-4 substantiates the need for patience as believers walking by faith and not sight. Sadly, many Christians have been deceived into believing that instantaneous success and spiritual growth can be achieved without seeking God—being in His presence in private worship and fellowship.  But this is not the case for those who hunger and thirst for the glory of God’s presence and power in their life above all else.  Of course, as with anything in life, it is a personal decision. It is an individual’s choice to press into His presence and find your secret place in God.

To press into Father’s presence requires self-discipline and determination. It is a ‘press’ because of the antagonism between the Spirit and human sinful nature (Galatians 5:17). This resistance comes disguised as distractions, interruptions and pressures of life, but mostly due to the dominant and controlling area of your life—the sin nature (flesh). Pressing into God’s presence requires not only time, but also effort and mind exertion for elevation above the many distractions and interruptions in the course of a day.  Ultimately, your thought process and your thinking initiates the “press.”  In addition, you must resolve to train your spirit by pressing into the presence of the Lord and spending time with Him until it becomes part of our lifestyle like everything else we do in the course of a day or week. Once your spirit is trained and disciplined, your secret place is established, and it becomes part of our routine; although there is nothing routine about the benefits. Finding and dwelling in your secret place in God will change your life eternally!

For many Christians, a simple lack of interest is the reason for not spending time with God and finding their secret place in Him. Many are satisfied with being mediocre Christians, and indifferent in their spiritual walk. They are the ones that say, “It don’t take all that.” In essence, they are blind to their instability, uncertainty, ignorance and insecurities. Basically, they have another “god” before the only true and living God. Satisfaction with being a lukewarm Christian qualifies them as a scapegoat and gives them an excuse wherein they justify their own pleasure-seeking desires. They substitute sensual pleasures for eternal treasures. Mediocrity and indifference among Christians promote self-gratification and self-indulgence in things that will prove detrimental in the end—a small three-letter word called “sin” (Romans 6:23).

I compare the psalmist’s declaration to that of a parent-child relationship experience. Oftentimes, because of experience, parents will try to advise their children in order to protect them; however, the child is consumed with doing what they want regardless of impending danger. Of course, after ignoring parents’ advice and warnings they suffer the unpleasant consequences of their actions. Then and only then do they realize the error of their ways. And thus the familiar confession, “I should have listened to you!” Instead of an after-the fact confession, a lot of unpleasant experiences could be avoided if Christians would heed the voice of God, obey His Word, listen to the voice of experience and grasp the promises of God, such as the one in Psalm 91:1-2. The writer says, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand].

Naturally, physical protection immediately comes to mind when reading the above passage. However, while meditating on this scripture, found that it speaks intrinsically of mental and emotional protection. In essence, the mind is covered and protected if you take refuge and stay in the presence of God—a place hidden and secure—a place that protects my mind and soul (spirit). Stability is a state of mind. If your mind is unstable your actions and behavior will reflect the instability of mind. And, instability is accompanied by insecurity. The main reason Christians are unstable and insecure is because they have not found their security (secret place) in God. They do not know that their new, real life is hidden with Christ in God. A combination of ignorance, distractions and disinterest have stunted their spiritual growth, and their desire is to always please their flesh/sin nature (Colossians 3:3; Romans 8:1-14). If Christians fail to get into their secret place by spending time in God’s presence, not only do they suffer the consequences personally, but society as a whole suffer. Our communities, families and homes also suffer.  When Christians spend less time with God and more time with things that satisfy their natural desires, and fit into their personal agendas, our witness is weakened and we are powerless in handling Kingdom business for the King.

As darkness and gross darkness cover the earth, there will be no substitute for pursuing the things of God. Your security, stability and protection come only from spending time in the presence of God Almighty. The need to press into His presence and find your secret place in Him will literally be a matter of life and death. Being covered, protected, and secure in God during the transitions of life will provide the mental and emotional stability needed to be more than a conqueror in the challenges ahead. It is my sincere prayer that everyone reading this article will evaluate and examine where you have placed your trust. Ask yourself: “Do I have a secret place in God?”
 

If you haven’t found your secret place, I encourage you to get into God’s presence and dwell (abide, stay, remain) because spending quality time in the presence of the Lord God is absolutely necessary to secure your personal relationship with Him.

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This article was originally published in Blessed Room Magazine. Rev. 9/3/12.

© 2003, 2012.


Spiritual Garage Sale

Garage sale

Garage sale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since I had the day off (July 4th) National Holiday, I decided to do some much-needed cleaning…throwing away unnecessary stuff that I’d stockpiled for too long. I know. Usually this type of cleaning is done earlier in the year, and it’s called “spring cleaning.”  Oh, well. I’m late; had a lot going on in life.

If you’ve done any serious cleaning, you know you’re going to find something that you talk yourself into keeping.  And, if you’re a writer…OMG!  I have so much paper!  Anyway, in a box of papers I found this, which I don’t recall reading before.    Just felt inspired to share it… You may have read it somewhere before…

 

A SPIRITUAL GARAGE SALE

By Karen D. Gill

 

I said Lord, my finances are dwindling and I wish I could have a garage sale.  It would bring in some extra needed cash.  But, I just moved and all of my old stuff, extra stuff, and unwanted stuff are gone.

“You can still have a garage sale” He said, “How Lord?” I asked. “You still have some stuff around that needs to go away.”  His soothing voice was very clear.  So I perked up my little ears and asked Him to tell me.  This is what I received.

Go into the attic—your mind.  Shuffle around in all of those little compartments and pick out all of the useless thoughts, vain imaginations, doubts, and fears and take them out.

Go through the living area—your life. Pick up all those things you do that are not pleasing to me.  Those things that waste your time and take you from seeking my face. Take those out too.

Go into the basement—your heart, your soul, your foundation that deep place that holds your very being.  It is dark, so turn on the light of my Spirit so you can see. “Oh Lord, I don’t like the basement,” I cry. “It smells funny down there, it’s damp and musty, and it scares me!”

His voice is strong and firm, “It is not pleasant, and there are hurts, scars and open wounds that are festering.  The mold of unforgiveness grows there.  The hate, anger, and bitterness need to go.  Out with them.  But return, for we are not done here. That unforgiveness must be removed.”  I cried out, “Lord, it’s all over, little spots, in crevices; it really hasn’t been that long since I cleaned it and it just keeps coming back. How can I just make it stop?”

His voice calmed me as He spoke, “Take this bottle of “I Forgive You”, and as you clean then spray it on.  It is something that you will have to do daily and keep under control.”

Well, what a collection I now have in my garage. “What now, Lord, what am I going to with it now?” I am appalled by what I am looking at! It is all unwanted garbage.

“My child, give it all to me, I want all of it” He again spoke with a soft voice.  “I will cover it all with my blood, the blood shed at Calvary, it is already bought and paid for, just hand it all to me.”

As I picked up each thing and handed it to Him, it melted under His precious blood.

“One more thing my child,” He said as He reached out to me. “Those hurts, scars and bruises, pour this healing oil on them. And just bask in my presence. And you will find I have replaced all you have given me.  I have given you Love, happiness, kindness, joy, patience, goodness, peace, gentleness, and self-control. You have done well, and I am pleased.”

Yes, a garage sale was a good idea. I think I will do it again soon!

You have what it takes!

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.   —2 Peter 1:3

   

Ignorance can be the greatest hindrance that keeps people from living a godly lifestyle—having a personal and intimate relationship with God. Instead of total surrender, many offer excuses as why they cannot live a holy life.  An individual’s ignorance of God will keep them in spiritual bondage, and lead them to believe mediocrity is sufficient, and they can’t be a fulfilled and happy Christian.  Dearly beloved, you have what it takes to master powerful living.  There is more to learn. There is more to receive. There is a place in God that satisfies the longing that lingers in your soul although you have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior. And growing in the knowledge of Christ empowers you for life.

 Unfortunately, many believers are discontent, discouraged and depressed because they are ignorant— not knowing what God has freely given them as their possession because they belong to Him. Therefore, they continue living in poverty instead of enjoying the riches of Kingdom life.   

Dearly beloved, you have what it takes to live victoriously.  You are spiritually prepared because your salvation came with a benefits package—everything you need that are “requisite and suited” to life.  It’s time to stop living beneath your privilege if you’re in the Kingdom of God.  Sure, you will face challenges in life, but when you know what you have and who you belong to, you will be triumphant through Christ Jesus our Lord in spite of what life brings your way. Knowledge of your spiritual inheritance is critical to the abundant life Christ promised (John 10:10).

 Think about this in the natural. For example, your father left you a million dollars but you don’t know; you are broke, and you believe that you are broke.  Guess what?  You are not really broke; you just don’t know you have money. However, since you are ignorant of what you have been given your situation remains the same and you still believe you are broke even though you have a million dollars.  Because of your ignorance (not knowing), you continue living in poverty, beneath your means because you don’t know what you have from your daddy—$1,000,000,000.

Likewise, the above scripture declares that EVERYTHING we need to live a godly life has been given to us by God’s divine power.  In essence, God has given you His divine power so that you can be empowered to live an abundant (rich and satisfying) life that pleases Him.  But this divine awareness is only realized through your personal and intimate relationship with Him.  You will know what you have as you get to KNOW him through life experience, by spending time with Him in prayer, and studying the Word, then everything that He has given you will began springing forth; and will empower you with desire to live a victorious life.  You are empowered to live in obedience to His Word.  You will be humbled and appreciative of His goodness and mercy.  You will desire to give Him glory. You will delight to be in His presence and let Him satisfy your life with good pleasure.  Oh! How we delight in Him and give Him the glory that is due His name alone.

It is my prayer that 2011 be the year that you realize that God has already given you everything you need to live for Him.  Be steadfast. Live a godly life by drawing closer to God and He promised to draw closer to you. Let there be no excuses for living ungodly in 2011.  There is nothing greater than knowing God. Don’t let your ignorance of Him hinder you from becoming all that He has predestined for you.  Get to know Him personally and intimately in 2011.

A Call to Holiness

“For God has not called us to impurity but to consecration [to dedicate ourselves to the most thorough purity]. Therefore, whoever disregards (sets aside and rejects this) disregards not man but God, Whose [very] Spirit [Whom] He gives to you is holy (chaste, pure). —I Thessalonians 4:7-9 AMP

countryroadI grew up in a small country town in northwest Louisiana, and attended a Pentecostal church, secure within denominational boundaries. It was during the time when being identified as “holy-rollers” and belonging to a “sanctified” church was ridiculed.

The entire student body of the school I attended knew I was a member of the ‘sanctified’ church. As a teenager, I was ashamed because word spread rapidly that I could not participate in the extracurricular activities because of my religious beliefs. Of course, they weren’t my beliefs. They were my mother’s, namely, my grandmother’s. I just had to live as if they were mine.

I recall the embarrassment and isolated feeling that had already possessed my soul because I was an only child. I felt out of touch with reality, not mention denial of the chance to enjoy teenage life. After all, it was boring enough growing up in a small “country” town that was not on the map, so I thought.

My frustrations grew for four years of high school. By my senior year, I presented my case before the court and won without any deliberation before a jury of one—my mother. Free at last! I could attend a basketball game occasionally and began designing my own outfits. However, this was after my grandmother went home to be with the Lord.

Although sadden by my granny’s death, in my heart was a sigh of relief as I anticipated the beginning of a new life of “freedom” for me. It was an adjustment, but not to the extent of my anticipation. Godly principles and biblical teachings still dominated the home although Grandma was gone. I was still bound to the standards of holiness. Perhaps, Granny’s spirit permeated the atmosphere. What she had taught in word and deed lived on— much prayer, fasting and consecration—holiness or hell is what she taught and lived!

Now as I reflect on her sincerity of heart to live a pleasing life before God and men, I appreciate her commitment to the call to holiness. Today I hold the highest respect for my grandmother and mother because they, and others of their generation, chose to stand for holiness. It didn’t matter they were called ‘holy-rollers’. They were proud to be called ‘peculiar’ rather than lower God’s standards and be labeled hypocrites.

Yes, there was a long list of do’s and don’ts when I was teenager. And, they focused just as much on the external as they did the internal. The truth is, they provided balance in the demonstration of holy living. An expression of genuine love prevailed among fellow believers. They prayed earnestly for each other. They shared their possessions freely with others.

In essence, they dressed the part, inside and out. The “Saints” (as they were called back then) were committed to living lifestyles that modeled sanctification both inside and out. They were sincere about God being the Potter; they wanted to be placed on the potter’s wheel and made into another vessel (Jeremiah 18:4). They called it “yielding yourself” to the will of God.

They were serious about obedience to God’s word; therefore, as a minor, under their authority I was bound to a lifestyle that reflected their beliefs although my understanding wasn’t clear about their commitment to biblical teachings. It may have caused frustrations for a while. However, once I changed my attitude toward the matter, I noticed the world didn’t end. In fact, I was spared from troublesome incidents because obedience kept me from being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In essence, rules, guidelines, and high standards protected me from dangerous situations. (“Live as children of obedience to God; do not conform yourselves to the evil desires that governed you in your former ignorance when you did not know the requirements of the Gospel. But as the One who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all your conduct and manner of living.” I Peter 1:15-16)

I’m convinced that my protective and restricted lifestyle was hands-on training in holiness that prepared me for answering God’s call to holiness today.

Living in obedience to God’s standards in character, conversation and conduct should be the desire of every Christian serious about their relationship with Christ. Living in obedience to God’s command to be holy keeps us from self-destruction and eternal damnation.

Has God lowered His standards for the 21st Century so that we can participate in the many extracurricular activities that appeal to our egocentric lifestyles? Are Christians being driven by the need to conform to the world that we devote our time to meditating on ways to compromise; and then, read the Bible to try finding justification for worldly desires?

From the Old Testament to the New Testament, He has commanded that we be holy like Him (Leviticus 11:44, I Peter 1:15-16; I Thessalonians 4:7-9).
Holiness is the identifying trait of our Father. If we are His children then we should possess at least some of His characteristics! Holiness (purity) is one of His many attributes that make Him God—He is HOLY! Will you answer His call to holiness?

Holiness is a standard of living that applies the Word of God in practical day-to-day living. A Christian’s behavior, actions and attitude are evidence of having a relationship with Jesus the Christ. To live a life of holiness is to possess a heart of penitence. It is impossible to live holy without possessing a spirit of repentance from evil thoughts, saying and doing the wrong thing. Holiness does not mean masquerading piously or flaunting an attitude of perfection; instead, it is being confident in the power of the Holy Spirit and the sufficiency of God’s amazing grace to admit your faults and imperfections. Consequently, yielding yourself to the Potter to make you into another vessel that reflects the image of His Son, Jesus Christ equates to answering the call to holiness. Moreover, the initial step it is making the decision to do so. “For I am the Lord your God; so consecrate yourselves and be holy, for I am holy…” Leviticus 11:44

“Will you answer His call to holiness?”

©Queen E. F. Phillips. All rights reserved.  Permission granted to distribute for nonprofit purposes only with credit given to copyright owner.