Big Words of the Christian Life: Omnipresence (Part 1)

April 27, 2018 at 10:55 am | Posted in big words of the Christian life | 4 Comments
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God is present everywhere all the time. This is a simple thing to say, but a difficult thing to meaningfully grasp. We are finite creatures, and so are all the things we can see and touch and explain with our finite human minds. However, God is infinite and is not limited in the ways that we are.

1. God’s presence is inescapable. 

There is not a place in this universe where we could hide from God. He sees us at all times, and is actually present whenever we say anything, do anything, achieve anything, commit a sin, or find ourselves trapped by circumstances that are beyond our control or are of our own making.

O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

Psalm 139:1-12

This could be a comfort or a dread (or at times a bit of both) depending upon our mindset. The fact that God is immanent should serve as an exhortation to holy living, a threat against disobedience, and comforting proof of His love and desire to be intimately present in our lives.

2. God’s presence is invisible.

God, Who is spiritual in nature but also capable of manifesting His presence in glorious brilliance, fills every bit of His creation. He is in the farthest reaches of space and in the most minuscule particle of matter. While He has at times chosen to “reveal” evidence of His presence to biological eyes, for the most part we are called to experience His presence with eyes of faith.

For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Colossians 1:16-17

God is immanent and transcendent at the same time. He exists both within and without His creation, and, apart from Him, it could not exist, much less feature organization, complexity, and consistency.

Next time we will see that God’s presence is infinite and invigorating.

Do Birds Sing about Eternity?

May 9, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Posted in Ecclesiastes, Eternity | 5 Comments
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The next time you find yourself grumbling and complaining because you think you’ve had a bad day, or because you feel like God’s providence hasn’t been especially “fair” to you that day, try going out into your backyard and sitting quietly as the sun sets. Depending on where you live, there is a good chance you will be able to hear a bird singing somewhere. If you do, try to imagine all the things that bird had to go through that day, compared to your own experiences. Did you wake up this morning and have to hunt for your food, or was there a pop tart conveniently waiting for you in your pantry? Were there other birds – bigger and swifter than you – trying to swoop down and chase you away from your nest? Any snakes coiled around the branches where you were trying to land, or hiding in the bushes ready to strike when you landed on the grass? Did any mean kids with BB guns take pot shots at you? Birds don’t have houses or refrigerators or grocery stores. Their nests don’t have locks or burglar alarms, and they can’t call “Bird 911” if their eggs are attacked. Yet, there’s that bird – all day he’s been struggling just to survive – and at the end of the day he’s singing a song of glory to God!

Solomon’s rebuttal to his own arguments concerning the vanity of life in Chapters 1 and 2 of Ecclesiastes is found in Chapter 3. He recognizes that man’s life is a gift from a loving God. Human beings have an internal link to eternity: we have souls, we are created in God’s image.

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

We know – inherently – that we were made by some higher Being for some eternal purpose. This universe is not a “closed system.” It’s not closed off from its connection with God, and we ourselves are never severed from our connection to God. God is transcendent and “immanent.” This means that He is actively and intimately involved in the affairs of this world. We use the the other homonyms of that word to describe theological principles also. We say that the return of Jesus Christ could be “imminent:” about to happen. And we say that God is “eminent:” having a glorious and prestigious character.

I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.

Ecclesiastes 3:14

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