If you’ve ever been in the presence of famous or influential people, you probably felt different than you normally do. There’s something different about them that you can’t quite put your finger on, but if you’re around them long enough, something from them rubs off on you. It seems like they emanate some sort of power, and when you leave their presence you take a little bit of them with you. Being in God’s presence is like that, only a thousand times better.
Everyday life brings us into contact with all kinds of people, and while some of them are a good influence on us, others can have a negative influence on the way we think and behave. Any time we spend a significant amount of time around other people, we can’t help but be affected by them. We tell our children about the importance of hanging out with the right kind of kids, knowing that peer pressure can either be positive or negative. Associating with some of the people we know, whose values are different than ours, can cause us to make wrong decisions or do something against our better judgment.
This kind of struggle can get pretty discouraging when we’re trying to do the right thing at work, at home, and in life. When we’re not sure what example to follow, God’s presence in our lives clears up all confusion. Inviting Him in changes our lives dramatically, and His presence transforms us permanently.
God is everywhere, and when we ask Him to come into our lives and make Himself known to us, He will. We probably won’t understand what He’s doing at first–it may not make sense to us–and that’s okay. The Bible says not to try and figure out with our own minds exactly what He’s doing. Proverbs 3:5, 6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
Experiencing His presence brings about an electrifying experience that defies explanation. The impact He can have on our lives, if we let Him, is real. In the Old Testament, when Moses stood on the mountaintop in the presence of God, the experience changed him inside and out. The changes were so obvious that everyone else knew he was a different person when they looked upon him.
Have you ever felt as if you were in a holding pattern in life? It is during these times that you may have a tendency to murmur, complain, and grumble about your current situation. Sometimes it seems as if you will never get beyond where you are currently, and it can be frustrating. Everyone will go through periods where it seems as if nothing is happening. However, during these seasons in life, you should be determined to live the life Jesus wants you to live. Determine to maintain your joy and seek opportunities to make the most of where you are, despite the circumstances. Continuing to be thankful and seeking innovative ways to maximize your time are keys to maintaining your joy during difficult seasons.
John 15:11, 12 is a foundational scripture that will help you maintain joy no matter what you are waiting for, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” Loving others is a key to keeping your joy-tank full at all times. When you bring joy to another person’s life, your joy escalates to higher levels.
Joy also comes from what you know from God’s Word. The words of Jesus reinforce the fruit of joy that is already within your spirit. By meditating on the Word of God, you will maintain the joy necessary to be content in any and all situations. Joy provokes praise and keeps you in a mode of expectancy.
Thanksgiving is an outgrowth of your love and appreciation for what God has done in your life. It is also a key to embracing God’s grace that is upon your life. First Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” The last thing you want to do when you are in a “holding pattern” is to start complaining. Complaining is verbal manifestation of ungratefulness, and it agrees with Satan’s words, not God’s words. Therefore, be sure to maintain an attitude of gratitude, no matter where you are or what you may be going through.
Also, while you are waiting for His promises to manifest in your life, thank Him for His provision and be sure to cultivate a servanthood mentality. Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” Waiting on the Lorddoes not mean sitting around doing nothing, or being idle. To wait on the Lord means to confidently expect the manifestation of His provision, and thankfully serve Him, while you are waiting.
The holiday season is here. Often thoughts about family gatherings foster pain and hurt from the past. I encourage you to let go and let God handle past offenses. Refuse to allow those memories to ruin your holiday season. Jesus is the reason for the season, so decide to focus on celebrating all that He has done. Be a loving, gracious, and sincere giver. More importantly, ask God to help you forgive those who have hurt you. Remember, forgiveness is a decision, not a feeling.
Your first step is to make the quality decision to forgive. When forgiving others, you shouldn’t require them to apologize or make amends beforehand. This defeats the purpose. Your restoration and healing comes when you decide to receive God’s grace to walk in love with the person who hurt you. His or her response shouldn’t be your concern. Your business is to forgive, let go, let God take over, and love that individual.
Love is an action word and can be expressed in many ways. It is the most powerful seed you can sow into someone’s life. Jesus said to love your enemies and do good to people who hate you, and that you should pray for those who despitefully use you (Luke 6:27, 28). Jesus wants you to understand the importance of demonstrating love to someone who does not show love in return.
When you release the love of God into the lives of others, God is released, because God is love. I call this the do-good seed, which is the action of love you extend to another person who has done wrong and doesn’t deserve your goodness. If someone has done something to offend you, pray for the person and follow the Holy Spirit’s lead. God may lead you to add that person to your Christmas shopping list this year! Remember, doing something good for someone who has hurt you is not a demonstration of weakness. It demonstrates the power of God that is within you. Only God can empower you to truly love your enemies.