Each week in this series of posts we’re looking at a different attribute of the nature of God.
His omniscience, God is all knowing.
His omnipotence, God is almighty.
Today we’re going to ask, “Where is God?” How would you answer that question? Some would say that God is in heaven or He is in their heart. Some people believe that God dwells in church buildings. God is much more than a weekend service. That’s why we are much more than a weekend service.
The Bible says that God is all over the place. David says in Psalm 139 that we cannot escape from God’s presence.
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” Psalm 139:7-12 NIV
It’s mind boggling to think that God never has to go anywhere, because He’s already there.
“‘Am I only a God nearby,’ declares the Lord, ‘and not a God far away? 24 Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?’ declares the Lord. ‘Do not I fill heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 22:23-24 NIV
There is no place in the universe where God is not. Theologians call this God’s omnipresence.
Omnipresence: God is everywhere
God is not limited by space and place. He is not confined to any one location. That’s a hard concept for us to imagine because we are finite creatures with a body. It is impossible for us to be in two places at once. But it’s no problem with God, because God is Spirit.
God is not limited by the physical realm. So He can be in many places all at the same time. In fact, He’s everywhere.
It does NOT mean: God is everything
That’s pantheism. Pantheism claims that a tree is God, an animal is God, the sky is God, the sun is God, you are God. Pantheism is behind many cults and false religions like Hinduism and Buddhism to an extent. Don’t confuse the Creator with His creation. God is not everything but He certainly is everywhere.
“He is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’” Acts 17:27b-28a NIV
Fact: God is always with me, I just need to recognize it
The air around you is filled with radio waves, television waves, wifi… We’re constantly surrounded by this stuff. But we don’t benefit from them until we connect to them.
In much the same way, God’s presence is constantly available, and if you can learn to tune in to the presence of God, it will benefit your life.
There are lots of ways to recognize and sense His presence. Reading scripture, stepping out in faith, praying, sharing your faith, singing out to Him.
Worship music doesn’t increase the presence of God, it increases our awareness of the presence of God.
Before we practice the presence of God, we are going to take a Selah moment. Selah just simply means, “pause and calmly think about that”. Weigh the meaning of what you have just read or heard.
Before we make it about us, let’s rest in the fact that God is always with us. We’re going to stop and take just a moment to pause.
Here’s an instrumental playlist you can have playing while you sit in wonder and awe of a God who is completely and eternally omnipresent.
The Benefits of God’s Presence
God is with you. God is everywhere. That is a basic theological truth, but the natural reaction to a doctrinal statement like that is… so what?
What difference does it make in my life? Especially in times like these? If God is truly everywhere, what does that mean for me when I’m lonely, worried, tempted or discouraged? God’s presence will make a difference in those four areas if you’ll let Him.
1. When I am lonely, God is my companion
“Turn to me and have mercy, for I am alone and in deep distress.” Psalm 25:16 NLT
We already lived in an era where there are more people in the world than ever before, yet there are more lonely people. Now we’re expected to social distance and quarantine. So many of us are feeling lonely right now.
We were working in an office full of people, now we’re working remotely. The reality is, there are many different kinds of loneliness. There’s the loneliness of the death of a spouse or friend. There’s the loneliness of a new school, of growing old, of child who won’t listen to you, the loneliness of not being understood or the loneliness of success.
So what do you do when you face uncontrollable loneliness and you can’t do anything about it? You recognize God’s presence and remember that God is your companion.
“God has said, ‘Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you!'” Hebrews 13:5 NIV
God is always with you. When we face a challenge, we like to have somebody with us. Remember your first day of school and you wanted your mom to go with you? We like to have reinforcements.
When you are lonely remember that God is my companion, because He says “I’m always with you.” What’s the benefit of this?
David got lonely sometimes. In Psalms David said:
“You will fill me with joy in your presence…” Psalm 16:11 NIV
There is still joy to be had in God’s presence today. There are benefits to God’s presence. The first one is:
BENEFIT: God’s presence lifts me up
In the midst of these rapid changes and fears about tomorrow, and in the midst of our loneliness, God can, indeed, lift us up. He can lift the despair and spirit of heaviness. God lifts us up.
2. When I am worried, God is my confidence
God told Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt into the Promised Land. Moses started making excuses, and God gave one answer to his excuses. “I will be with you.”
God’s presence will be your confidence.
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 42:2-3 NLT
Some of you are going through a fire right now. Some of you are going to go through a difficulty this week, but one thing you can be certain of, God is going through it with you.
“I am always aware of the Lord’s presence; he is near, and nothing can shake me.” Psalm 16:8 GNT
Are you always aware of the Lord’s presence?
BENEFIT: God’s presence calms me down
God’s presence is a stabilizer, a stress reliever.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” Psalm 23:4 ESV
Why fear no evil? Because God is with you. God is your confidence. God’s presence calms you down.
3. When I am tempted, God is my counselor
God is ready to help. He is ready to help you make it through the temptation.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV
When God is with you, He provides a way out. Notice that this verse says that temptations are common. We all have the same problems and temptations. If there are common problems, it means there must be common solutions in God’s Word.
BENEFIT: God’s presence helps me out
He knows exactly the struggle going on in your mind. He sees it coming before I see it coming. He knows I’m walking right into it and He’s already preparing an escape route for you to get out of it.
It’s not just by will power but His power and He’s promised to help you. No matter what temptation we face this week, temptations of fear, of purity, temptations of injustice, God is there with us to help in that time of temptation.
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 NIV
This is a time of need, but God already knows that. He knows it all. We’ve talked about the omniscience of God. God knows everything, God sees everything, because He’s there.
He is omniscient because He’s omnipresent. He’s all-knowing because He’s everywhere and sees everything.
God is an eyewitness to every single thing we do. Maybe in this time of distance, you feel a little lost without a weekly gathering, or accountability or your sponsor or friend or whatever it may be. Lean on those relationships as much as possible still, but also learn to lean on God like never before.
4. When I am discouraged, God is my comforter
If you’re discouraged, God is with you. Is your heart breaking today? The Lord is close to you. Where is God when it hurts? The answer to that question is He’s with you. He feels your hurt, your discouragement and when you’re frustrated.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 NIV
We’re going through rough times right now and some of you are ready to give in or give up and throw in the towel. Whatever you are going through, 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. God is not some far off power. He’s very personal and He’s right there with you.
Jesus Christ experienced these things and more. He experienced loneliness, temptation and frustration, yet he conquered those things. He did not give in and did not give up. We can look to him and he has sent us a comforter. Jesus said in John 14,
“The Father will send you a Comforter who will never leave you.”
That comforter is the Holy Spirit. Some of you are listening to this and thinking of this as intellectual truth, information to fill your mind.
Others of you know from experience what I’m talking about. You’ve been through some deep waters in life and you have felt God’s presence in your life. He has comforted you and encouraged you. He has given you the strength to keep on going.
People can have all kinds of reactions in the hard parts of life. Reactions at funerals, hosptials, or job loss. How do people make it through these kinds of things without the Lord? The reality is, many don’t.
“The Lord saved me from death; he stopped my tears and kept me from defeat. 9 And so I walk in the presence of the Lord in the world of the living. 10 I kept on believing, even when I said, ‘I am completely crushed,’ 11 even when I was afraid and said, ‘No one can be trusted.’” Psalm 116:8-11 GNT
BENEFIT: God’s presence sees me through
God’s presence gives you the motivation to keep on going. It renews your strength, lifts up your heavy heart and gives you a new vision.
That’s what God’s presence can do to your life, but you have to connect to it. The key 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?
Let’s finish with four ways to practice the presence of God.
How To Practice God’s Presence
1. Invite Jesus into your life
God is around you, God is by you and He wants to be in you. He wants to put His Spirit inside of you, so you can handle the stress.
When you feel all the pressure of life pressing in on you, you must have an equal pressure from the inside enabling you to cope.
Whenever people get under pressure they always begin to fill themselves with something to equalize the stress: food, work, alcohol, drugs…
They put something on the inside to equalize the pressure on the outside. Yet the Bible says clearly…
“Don’t get drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.”
As you are filled with God’s presence in your life it equalizes the pressure on the outside so you can cope. You can handle this stuff, it doesn’t have to cave you in.
The starting point is to invite Jesus Christ into your life. 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.
“Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.” Ephesians 3:12 NLT
2. Be quiet
Just be quiet and don’t talk. Many people are not experiencing the presence of God in this time because they’re too distracted. They always have their radio, TV or news or some feed going.
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 NIV
Several times a day, “Tune in and drop out”.
Tune in to God’s presence and drop out of the environment around you. Just say, “God, I realize that You are present with me right now. You are by me, with me, and in me”…
Take these little breaks during the day to be quiet and recognize that no matter where you are, God is with you. As you tune in to Him, you’ll begin to be aware that He’s always there but you have to be aware of it.
3. Talk to God about everything
The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians, “Pray without ceasing.” How do you do that?
How do you get on with life and be continually in prayer? It’s talking about maintaining a continual conversation with God. Talk to Him about anything and everything. Your needs, your concerns, your thanksgiving.
“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:8 NIV
Pour out your heart, out loud. Pray, out loud. Read scripture, out loud. Sing, out loud. You maintain an ongoing conversation with Him at all times because you recognize that He is omnipresent.
4. Develop the habit of praise
Praise means to thank God for who He is and what He’s done for you.
“Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.” Psalm 96:2 NIV
We move into an awareness of God’s presence. Nothing will help you become aware of God’s presence in your life faster than developing the habit of praise. Nothing helps you tune in to Him than beginning to praise God. God is always around us, He’s always present, but sometimes we sense His presence more than at other times.
He’s equally present no matter where you are, but sometimes we sense His presence more. We talk about entering His presence through praise. That simply means to tune in or connect.
Since God is everywhere, you can praise Him everywhere.
You can do the same things you do in a physical church building on Saturday night and Sunday morning, at home. You will have the same experience of feeling close to God during the week that you do when we’re here together on Sunday morning.
A whole new life is about to open up to you if you will become aware that God is always with you. It will lift you up, calm you down, help you out and see you through when you become aware of that.
To those of you who are tired, discouraged, frustrated, hurting, afraid, worried, sick, or depressed…God is with you.
Check back on your discussion from last week, “What God Knows About You.” How has knowing that God knows all about your failures, feelings, future, fear and faithfulness made a difference in your life? Any more thoughts or conclusions about that message?
The Bible says that God is all over the place. There is no place in the universe where God is not. Theologians call this God’s omnipresence. The omnipresence of God simply means that God is everywhere. God is spirit so he is not limited by space or place. He is not confined to any one location.
Now, this does NOT mean that God is everything. That’s pantheism. Pantheism says, “A tree is god, an animal is god, the sky is god, the sun is god, you are god…” Pantheism is behind many cults and false religions like Hinduism and Buddhism. God is not everything but He certainly is everywhere. God wants us to recognize his omnipresence because when we do, we are empowered knowing God is with us.
“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, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” Psalm 139:7-12 NIV
Discussion & Application
- Describe a moment or two when you felt more aware of the presence of God more than others. What were the circumstances? Worship? Change? Fear?
- Of the four benefits of God’s presence, which one do you feel you need most? Do you need God most to, lift you up, calm you down, help you out, or see you through?
- 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that when we are tempted God will provide a way out. What might this look like? How has God empowered you to flee from or resist temptation before?
- Whenever people get under pressure, they always begin to fill themselves with something to equalize the stress. It may be food, work, alcohol, drugs or something else. They put something on the inside to equalize the pressure on the outside. What might this be for you, and why is it so great to be filled with the Spirit of God?
- Of the four ways to practice God’s presence, which one comes most naturally to you? Which one do you need to work on?
Ask the group for how you can pray for and support one another this week. Also, pray for nations, states and community’s leaders. Pray for first responders and medical personnel.
During these times, the church can be a light for Jesus Christ. We are a church on mission. How can you simply serve or check in on your neighbors and friends at this time?