Dwelling in God’s Presence

Happy Thursday, awesome people.

This past week has been tumultuous for me, and sorry again for publishing a post a day off last week. I officially made the move from Seattle.. four time zones in three days.. more fast food than I’ve probably ever eaten since college.. lots of laughs and deep talks with my road trip buddy and Taco Bell breakfast devourer, Ben.. a quick stop at Mt. Rushmore and a reenactment from North by Northwest.. and I arrived in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, last Tuesday.
I felt like an absolute zombie the first several days. It’s funny how changing time zones makes a noticeable difference, especially when you don’t have time right away to adjust. As a matter of fact, I celebrated the Fourth of July by getting a visit from my sister and bro-in-law, and then literally collapsed on our intern’s bed at 7pm and slept the whole night through.
And now I have the opportunity to create a new normal for myself.

One thing I want to continually integrate into my life is dwelling in God’s presence. Scripture is clear that God is always, always with us (Joshua 1:9, Matthew 28:20, Psalm 139:7-10).  And I want to be always, always with Him.

Have you ever been with someone, and you could tell he or she wasn’t present in the moment? Maybe he was texting much of the time, or overwhelmed in emotions, or preoccupied. You were present and ready to engage, but he wasn’t. Do you suppose it’s that way sometimes with us and God? He is with us, but we aren’t with Him.

Friends, I suppose the first step to spending meaningful moments in God’s presence is to be aware that He is with us. As you are reading these words, the Holy Spirit is with you. Heck, as I am writing these words, He is with me, too. Be aware of this. Stop, look, listen.

As complicated humans, we like to seek and invent patterns and rules and stipulations and exceptions. There are many who will try, even if subconsciously, to exempt themselves from the nearness of the Holy Spirit. “I must be at church to be in God’s presence.” “I’m struggling with sin, so the Holy Spirit can’t be near me.” “I haven’t prayed or read my Bible for a while, so God has moved on from me.” “God probably doesn’t even care to be near me.” And alas, we so often con ourselves out of dwelling in God’s presence. But if you will pause – take a “selah” moment – and be aware… God is with you even now. I said, God is with you even now. Yes! There are no hoops to jump through.

Once we become aware that God is with us, our inclination is to do something. And certainly there’s nothing innately wrong with wanting to do something – the doing will come – but I believe God wants us to first simply be in His presence. No striving. No complications. Friends, there is rest in God’s presence. Unfold your arms, unclench your fists, and be at ease in the still and peaceful presence of the Lord. (Sometimes we need to spiritually unfold our arms and unclench our fists, too.) Perhaps learning to let go and just ‘be’ in God’s presence, dwelling with Him, is a spiritual discipline often overlooked.

On that note, friends, let me make a point. People generally resist silence. We fill silent spaces with music or the loudness of our thoughts, and I have many a friend who prefer leaving the TV on in the background (this one I have never understood). Silence is scary for us, and I’m not quite sure why. But at any rate, it’s in the silence.. in deep stillness.. in the solitary quietness.. that God chooses to interact with us. Maybe it’s because then He has our complete attention, as He simply will not compete for our focus. Don’t resist silence. In fact, I would encourage all of us to intentionally make space for listening and interacting with the Holy Spirit, in a quiet and personal place, like Christ did. Let us just be with Him.

A verse I love is from 1 Samuel 2:21… “The boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.”

Selah for sure. The ramifications of this statement are huge to me. Oh, Jesus, I truly, earnestly want this…


I’m not sure how you usually start your Thursday morning (or whatever day and time you are reading this), but pause for a moment and practice the spiritual discipline of being… of dwelling in the Lord’s presence…

What refreshment comes from His presence! And, yes, what meaningful peace!

Again, don’t overcomplicate being in His presence. “How do I enter into His presence?” “How do I know when I’m in His presence?” Irrelevant questions… He’s already with you. Now just be with Him.
I am grateful for your continued prayers as I settle into Johnstown and as our team grows in favor with God and man. Thank you, thank you!
Josh  x


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