Our church is offering a marvellous Lent study course called, ‘Making Room for the Presence of God’. Our first evening, last week, was about how to be still, and learn to declutter our mind from distractions, so that we can consciously make time and space in our life where we draw close to God. We have been given exercises to practise this by ourselves.
After doing an exercise of quietly sitting and just ‘being’, I decided to go and play on my keyboard and sing from an old songbook (published in 1987). I came across a song called ‘Lord I feel Your sweet presence wherever I go’. Afterwards I was curious to know whether I could find it anywhere on the internet.
I found it on a You Tube, just the soundtrack without any lyrics on it. It came from an LP record called ‘The Valley of Achor - a door of hope’, made in 1975, and nobody seems to have done any updated CD versions. As I listened, I was taken straight back to 1978, when a friend lent me this record. I was a new Christian believer, having come to faith in Jesus the previous year, when living in Cape Town, South Africa. But we had now moved to Bahrain in the Persian Gulf.
I was to discover that there is a world-wide family of believers wherever one goes in the world and, even if the local church is not alive in the Spirit, God provides fellowship with Bible believing friends. Psalm 139:9-10 says, ‘If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me’. Rose ran a Bible study in her home, and it was there that I experienced the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.
The anointing was there in those lovely voices blending together in harmony, and people had made comments such as, “Whenever it’s played the presence of the living God comes in the house”.
‘Lord, I feel Your sweet presence wherever I go. Lord, I feel Your sweet presence wherever I go. 1. Lord, in You is my security. I can trust You to keep me safely. 2. If I should fail and feel despair, You lift me up above all my care. 3. Lord, I love You and I know that You love me. I feel Your love embracing me’ (by Dave Bolton 1975).
God is a God of delightful surprises, because I then discovered the whole album. Every bit of it was so beautiful and heavenly and all the words were taken from Scripture. I sat and listened, stopping it to transcribe the words and to absorb the blessing in them. I felt the Lord was giving me such a special gift.
‘Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?’ (Psalm 139:7). It is absolutely true. After four years in that desert place of Bahrain, we moved to the big city of Tokyo, Japan, a concrete jungle. Yet the family of true believers was even there, and a Spirit-filled, international assembly with vibrant praise and worship was meeting right next door to our ‘high rise’ apartment block.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, thank You for the many pathways into Your presence, whether it’s sitting quietly in a chair, reading the Bible, singing praise and worship songs, praying in tongues, doing something creative, or admiring the beauty of creation. Please speak to me with Your still, small voice or overwhelm me with the things that only You can do. Thank You for Jesus being my Lord and Saviour and for sending Your Holy Spirit to help me. Help me to remember to intentionally make space for You in the busyness of my life. Amen.
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