Chasing the Surprising Geography of the Presence of God

How can God be somewhere and everywhere at the same time?

It’s hard to imagine an omnipresent God dwelling in one place. And yet, every December we celebrate the fact. God dwells in the confines of a human body. And He is also everywhere.

But the incarnation isn’t the first time God has localized His presence among His people.

Presence of God

(Photo: Olive groves near Bethlehem. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

God is both omnipresent and present. King Solomon summed up the seeming contradiction when he prayed:

Will God indeed dwell with mankind on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You; how much less this house which I have built. —2 Chronicles 6:18

From creation to Christmas—and from today to eternity.

Let’s take a quick geographical journey and follow movements of God’s dwelling place among us.

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Surrendering Your Will to God in Difficult Times

How this decision is the only path to peace.

I have discovered that the most difficult battles in life simply mirror Jesus’ struggle in Gethsemane. His words to the Father remain the most challenging words we could utter:

Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done. —Luke 22:42

Surrendering Your Will to God in Difficult Times

(Photo: Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus surrendered His will. Courtesy of Pictorial Library of Bible Lands.)

Surrendering your will to God in difficult times is often harder than the trial itself.

I have found that my greatest challenges come not from those circumstances that press in upon me, but from the internal struggle to surrender my will to God. I enter Gethsemane daily and have to drag my will to the Father in prayer.

So do you.

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God is Guiding Your Life—and How I Know It

What seem like chances are really God's choices.

Maybe you feel like the Lord isn’t leading you toward anything significant in life. Or worse, that He has overlooked or abandoned you. I believe otherwise.

God is Guiding Your Life—and How I Know It

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In the Old Testament, a destitute single-again woman named Ruth had little hope for a future. One day she took advantage of a provision in the Law that allowed the poor to reap the corners of Israel’s fields. Her example gives hope to us all.

I want to show you that God is guiding you—and how I know He is.

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Compare Jerusalem’s Mountains to God’s Presence in Your Life

How Jerusalem's Geography Can Relieve Your Doubts

Life is full of moments that expose our doubts. In spite of all the Scripture we’ve learned and all the past victories the Lord has given us, occasionally something will happen that causes serious doubt.

How Jerusalem's Geography Can Relieve Your Doubts

(Photo: Jerusalem’s Temple Mount near sunset. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Maybe it’s a financial situation that undercuts future security. Or it might be a miserable marriage. Perhaps it’s a pastor or a leader who has failed. Maybe it’s our own failure.

Whatever the reason, seasons of doubts and confusion can come even to the most committed followers of Jesus:

  • John the Baptist struggled with doubts about his own beliefs about Jesus (Matt. 11:2-3).
  • The apostle Thomas found the resurrection of Christ something he had to see before he’d believe (John 20:25).
  • Some of the disciples had doubts about Jesus’ appearing to them, even at the Great Commission (Matt. 28:17).

I confess, I’ve had my doubts as well. Sometimes circumstances literally demanded I doubt God. A simple walk in Jerusalem one evening gave me an essential reminder.

I’m convinced it can help you.

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Tel Dan—Worshipping at the Altar of Convenience

In the end, we'll find God far more satisfying.

Shady walkways. Cool breezes. Abundant streams. Luxuriant foliage. The Tel Dan Nature Preserve draws the locals as well as the travelers. It always has.

Headwaters of Jordan River at Tel Dan

(Photo: Headwaters of Jordan River at Tel Dan. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In natural beauty, Tel Dan has few rivals in Israel. For the ancients, it had everything necessary for abundant living.

While the Hebrews in the south worshipped in Jerusalem, the natural beauty of Tel Dan in northern Israel offered an irresistible alternative. It was picturesque. It was convenient. It was invigorating.

And it was a complete compromise of God’s will.

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This Mind Hack Can Get You Through an Ordinary Day

Focusing on one objective helps the rest fall into place.

The ordinary days of life far outnumber the extraordinary ones. That can get discouraging. But as we look at the lives in the Bible, we see the same pattern. Thankfully, they were normal like us.

This Mind Hack Can Get You Through an Ordinary Day

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Like us, the biblical lives show years of routine interrupted by occasion moments of excitement. Thankfully, we see God at work in the ordinary day just as much as in the extraordinary. David’s fight with Goliath is the perfect example.

It can also happen with you.

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Feel Stuck? You’re Not, Really.

Here's Why Your Problems Keep You in a Corner

Problems never just go away or take care of themselves. The Lord will patiently wait and permit the circumstances to compel us to do what we should have done at the beginning.

Why Your Burdens Seem so Heavy

(Photo by Photodune)

Remember Jacob? Before his sons could purchase any more grain for the famine, he was required to bring the very person Jacob had refused to release into God’s control—his youngest son, Benjamin. In Jacob’s own words, “My son shall not go down with you” (Gen. 42:38).

However, like straws loaded on a camel’s back, day after parched day of the famine finally took their toll. It’s the same with us.

But the weight on our shoulders isn’t ours to bear.

Our problems keep us in a corner until we turn to God.

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Pools of Bethesda—God’s Kindness and Our Repentance

What motivates you most isn't fear.

Very few people are drawn to God by intimidation. Instead, the Lord urges us to come to Him by revealing the kindness of His mercy. It’s a tremendous motivation.

Pools of Bethesda—God’s Kindness and Our Repentance

(Photo: Pools of Bethesda and Crusader chapel, courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Once we comprehend the depth of our imperfections, and the futility of our own efforts to remove them, we are in a position to respond to God’s kindness.

In this post, you’ll read how Jesus revealed this simple truth one day in Jerusalem with an act of mercy at the Pools of Bethesda.

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What to Do When You Feel Insignificant

One truth easy to forget can make all the difference.

When we find ourselves dissatisfied with what God has us doing, it could reveal that we’ve confused our significance in serving God with our significance to God.

What to Do When You Feel Insignificant

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I’ve been there just like you have. When we get frustrated that our lives seem to accomplish nothing or that our ministry bears little fruit, we need to review our motives for life and ministry. Rather than merely measure productivity and activity, we need to value the “little things,” such as intentions, faithfulness, and faith.

Our relationship with God remains more important to Him than our ministry for Him.

Here’s why.

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When You’re Ready—But Nothing Happens

Two reasons may explain why.

You’re ready for a change. You’ve asked God to open a new door in your life, and He has taken years to prepare you for it. Finally, you’re ready. There’s just one problem. Nothing happens.

When You are Ready—But Nothing Happens

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The plan of God includes preparation and waiting. But why do you have to keep waiting once God has prepared you? What else must you do for God to open the door?

The Apostle Peter experienced something that may explain why your progress is delayed.

After you read this post, you’ll understand what you can do in the mean time.

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