As you continually reflect on Scripture and commune with Him in prayer and worship, you will become more and more like Jesus. And as you see how loving and merciful He is to you, you will trust Him more and more to see you through all trials. His Word makes it clear: “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
Seek Him with all your heart and desire His presence in your daily life. Then you will know and experience His incredible glory.
I cannot imagine how unbelievers can know any peace whatsoever in these perilous times without the presence and assurance of Jesus. Fear and anguish now hang over humankind like a black cloud.
At a recent gathering of some of the richest men on earth, one speaker said in an agonized tone, “We are all in the worst possible mess. We brought it on ourselves, and we do not know how to get out of it.”
I thank God for the nearness and closeness of Jesus in this awful hour. I am taking all my anxious fears and cares to a quiet place of prayer, where I simply love Jesus. I quietly worship Him there, thanking Him and committing all my pains, stresses and family cares to Him. I daily sing that old gospel song:
Shut in with God in a secret place, There in His presence beholding His face, Gaining new power to run in the race, I long to be shut in with God.
Beloved, Jesus is going to walk with you through your troubles. He rejoices over you. You are going to make it, dear overcomer.
You may wonder why Moses so earnestly sought a vision of God’s glory and I believe we find the reason in the following verse:
“There I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory” (Exodus 29:43, my italics).
The word sanctified means “made clean.” God was saying, “As you worship Me, I will meet with you and give you My presence. And when you are in My presence I will reveal My glory to you. It will lift you above all your circumstances.”
So, where can we find this revelation of Christ? We find it only as we come to prayer trusting in God’s Word. Paul says as we allow Scripture to reflect to us an ever-increasing revelation of Jesus, we will be changed from glory to glory:
“We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
This revelation of Christ’s glory will provide a keeping power for our lives: “Upon all the glory shall be a defense” (Isaiah 4:5, my italics). In other words, His glory will keep us heavenly minded in our worst hour.
What God is telling us here is to take time to get to know His Son. We are to search the Word and turn daily to prayer. Then, as we abide in His presence, our eyes will begin to open to His glory. It is all revealed in Christ. Jesus is the full revelation of His love, grace, mercy and tender kindness.
Some may ask, “What about the disciples’ incredible experience on the Mount of Transfiguration? Wasn’t that a manifestation of God’s glory? There was an overpowering light and the miraculous appearance of Moses and Elijah.”
In that incredible moment, God’s glory wasn’t in Moses or Elijah or even in the spectacular light. Rather, His radiant glory was in Jesus:
“His face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. . . . Behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matthew 17:2, 5, my italics).
Here is God’s glory personified in Christ. Jesus is the revelation of all that God said He was to Moses: gracious, merciful, longsuffering, abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving sins. At the Mount of Transfiguration God revealed a living picture of His own glory. “It is all now embodied in My Son.”
Beloved, God wants to open our eyes to “the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:18). This means, simply, that all the glory revealed to Moses is embodied in God’s Son. And now Christ has been given to us as our inheritance.
“In [Christ Jesus, our Lord] dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9, my paraphrase).
“Understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty” (2 Timothy 3:1).
Paul does not say this to scare us. He attributes it all to the sin of the human heart:
“For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people” (2 Timothy 3:2-5).
That’s quite a list of sins. Yet Paul is talking not only to the world but also to us Christians: “Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.”
When he says people will be lovers of themselves, he quite accurately describes the situation in many churches today. While evil increases, these churches increase their pursuit of self-promotion, gain and comfort. God never tells us to avoid the unsaved; they are our primary mission. So when Paul tells us to “avoid such people,” he is referring to fellow Christians who deny God’s authority in their lives. In fact, he affirms this, saying, “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. ‘Purge the evil person from among you’” (1 Corinthians 5:12-13). As God’s people, what clearer call to repentance could we hear?
Satan will continue to spew forth death. And only one thing can resist his hell on earth: a church that is able to stand up and speak God’s Word boldly with integrity. Without a holy presence in this darkening world, the world will never know an alternative.
Today I implore you—as a pastor, as a father, as a brother—to get right with God. At times I feel like Noah, standing outside a place of complete safety as people casually pass by. In Noah’s day, many who heard him might even have agreed with him, yet they still refused to turn from their own ways and follow God. However, you and I must realize that we will not be able to stand in the coming days if we do not fully commit ourselves to obey the Lord. As the Scripture says:
“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).
In other words, the Lord commands us to have a change of heart; to agree with Him and turn from what is wrong.
LISTEN FOR GOD’S VOICE
Lately, I have been praying, “Lord Jesus, help me see if there is anything in my life that might lead me astray and, if so, give me the grace to put it away.” Over the course of my life, God has had His finger on attitudes I had embraced that I thought were acceptable but in reality had fallen short of God’s standard. Some practices were obvious, others were not. But I believe the one thing that has kept me up until this point in my life is that my heart has been open for the Lord to speak and reprove if needed.
And so I ask you again; Can God speak to you? Can God go after that issue of the heart; that practice in your life; that sense of self-righteousness? Or will you reject His counsel and end up locked out of His power?
CHOOSE TO HUMBLE YOURSELF
If you continually choose to come to Him in humility of heart and with a willingness to agree with His Word, God will bring down the mountains and raise the valleys. He will create a clear pathway between you and Himself, and you will find that He promises not only to keep you but to give you power, joy and victory in the coming days!
Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 at the invitation of the founding pastor, David Wilkerson, and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001.
It is a wonderful thing to have quality time with the Lord. He promises that as you seek more intimacy with Him, His presence will break forth in your life, working His divine order all around you. Yet something even greater than this will happen: The continual pursuit of God’s presence will lead you into a revelation of Christ’s glory.
Moses sought God for a manifestation of the Lord’s presence “that I may know thee” (Exodus 33:13). Here is how God answered His servant: “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest” (33:14).
Moses’ request here would be enough for most Christians. Who among us does not want God’s promised peace and rest? What more could anyone desire? Yet, having the assurance of God’s presence wasn’t enough for Moses. He knew there was more, and he cried, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory” (Exodus 33:18).
And God did show Moses His glory!
The Lord’s glory didn’t appear in some luminous cloud or in an earthshaking demonstration of power. Instead, God expressed His glory in a simple revelation of His nature: “The Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (Exodus 34:6–7). Do you see? God’s glory was a revelation of His goodness, mercy, love and compassion.
When God’s presence is missing, everything is out of kilter, with no guidance or righteous teaching. Everyone becomes a law unto himself, doing his own thing. This is a picture of many Christian homes today: everything out of order, with no peace or rest, everyone doing what he or she pleases. The Lord in His mercy grieves over such disorder.
Yet, it doesn’t have to be that way. God’s promises are unchangeable, and His Word pledges, “For the rest of your life, if you will continue to seek Me I will be with you. When you cry out I will be found of you” (see Jeremiah 29:13).
This isn’t some complicated theology. Anyone can have the abiding presence of God if he or she will simply call out in faith. We are promised, “The Lord . . . will be found of you” (2 Chronicles 15:2). The Hebrew word for found here means, “His presence coming forth to enable, to bless.” In other words, “Reach out to the Lord with your whole heart, and He will manifest His presence. It will be an almighty power enabling you to be steadfast and fearless.” Only when God’s presence is upon us can we behold and comprehend His glory.
When the Israelites were in the wilderness, God manifested His presence to them through a cloud. This cloud was a physical manifestation of God’s pledge to be with His people. It covered the tabernacle night and day, and it acted as a guide for every undertaking. When the cloud moved, they moved, and when it stayed, they stayed. The people never had to try to figure out their direction or future. They put all their confidence in that visible cloud of the Lord’s presence.