Jun
10

Employing the Presence of God (Pt. 4 of 4 Pt. Series)

By

Employing the Presence of God

by Pastor Pete Tackett

Philippians 4:4-7

Introduction:

• Last in a series of message…trying to untangle the lies we believe about prayer.

• We run to him to give him our shopping list when he says in John 15:7, Remain in me…let my word remain in you…THEN ask and be assured of the answer b/c you are asking in my will.

• We saw in Is. 30:15 the need to just slow down and be quiet. To withdraw from busyness and noise. To be quiet before God and have confidence and trust in Him.

• Last week, in Hebrews 13:15, we learned that when you experience the presence of God, both in the good and bad of life, the response should be one of praise, confessing His name.

• Finally, today, we get to prayer as we know it. Talking to God about the things that bother us.

• It is important to do that, but it cannot be done as though God is in a room or at a church, and I just run to him.

• It is a life lived in His presence.

• Only when we have been quiet, embraced His presence, and responded to Him, can we truly be in prayer about something.

• The apostle, Paul, knew something of this when he penned these words in Philippians 4.

1. The presence of the Lord is the cure for anxiety.

• Anxiety is at an all time high. More people are on anti-anxiety medication than any time in history.

• High bp and heart disease are rampant. Many of us cannot sleep at night. Our minds are racing in concern for loved ones and situations that seem out of control.

• Yet, into this, Paul says, “do not be anxious about anything.”

• Anxious here means to be weighted down with care and to perceive responsibility.

• It is the absence of the word, gentleness, which means to have a calm and trusting spirit.

• The Bible has much to say about anxiety.

• Luke 12:25-26 “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

• Prov. 2:25 reminds us that “an anxious heart weighs a man down.”

• I Peter 5:7 instructs us to “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

• Very hard to do that apart from Him, lingering near him, hearing from him, letting him speak his word into your heart.

• That is great, pastor, but how can I do that? I can’t get my brain to shut down and quit. I don’t do it on purpose.

• Paul gives us a hint in the previous verse. “The Lord is Near.”

• The secret to giving up your anxiety and trusting him is rooted in being near to him…dare I say it? The presence of God.

• When your nearness to the Lord allows you to trust him as we talked about a couple of weeks ago, you are ready to hand off the anxiety to HIM.

2. Prayer is the pathway to peace.

Four key words:

• Everything

• As you linger near him, there is nothing off limits.

• You are both allowed and encouraged to bring everything to him.

• No matter what others think of the importance of your request.

• As you linger near him, he speaks a word into your life about whatever you are dealing with, reveals his will, and then you are ready to ask.

• Prayer – general word for making requests known to God.

• Carries the idea of adoration and worship, devotion.

• We talked last week about praise being the supernatural result of time spent in the presence of God.

• Petition – your translation may say supplication.

• The earnest sharing of our requests with God.

• Notice I did not say needs.

• According to Matthew 6:8, the Father knows your needs before you ask.

• He wants to know what you want from him.

• He really wants to know that you want what he wants for you.

• Remember the two blind men sitting by the road in Matthew 20:32. Jesus asked them, “what do you want me to do for you?”

• Petition is simply to linger in the presence of God so long and so completely that you want what he wants and then tell him what about it.

• Our problem is that we worry so much about people and things that we just tell him what we want without ever considering what God is doing in that situation.

• Thanksgiving –

• We established last week that in order to praise God, we must first linger near him long enough to see his perspective on our situation.

• This is not to say we are grateful for pain or for the difficulty – but we are thankful to God for being near us in the pain. We are thankful to God for being merciful and gracious during our pain. We are thankful for lessons learned in pain.

• We are thankful for other times and other ways that God has answered prayer and spared us.

• Most importantly, we are grateful for his unconditional love and Father’s heart for us as his children.

3. Peace is the ultimate end of prayer.

• Health, financial stability, reconciliation-though they may be the focus of our prayer, they are not the real result we need.

• The ultimate need in the life of a believer that can only be accomplished through living life in his presence is peace.

• It transcends understanding – Unless you have tasted the presence of God in the darkest days of life, it makes no sense to you.

• If you have tasted it, even then you don’t understand it, but you know it and enjoy it.

• I could take the mic and go from person to person and hear stories of dark nights of the soul and the way God showed up and extended mercy.

• Why does God consider peace so important as we pray.

• His peace is a guard – a sentry. Paul understood this, chained to a Roman guard.

• This guard keeps some things in and some things out. Maintains order.

• One of the few verses that speak to both mind and heart.

• His peace stands guard over both areas that cause anxiety in our lives.

• His peace guards our hearts, from where we get wrong feelings and our minds, from where we get wrong thinking.

• This peace doesn’t mean absence of trials but it speaks of a mind and heart that doesn’t race in fear and plot our own answers, but simply rests in quiet confidence that no matter what we face, HE is there.

• Remember, the Lord is Near.

Conclusion:

• There is a great example of this in Daniel 6. King commanded no one to pray to anyone except him.

• Daniel opened his windows and prayed as usual.

• In v. 10, he gave thanks and in v. 11, he made petitions and prayers.

• The result was perfect peace.

• Daniel spent the night in the Lion’s den in perfect peace and according to v. 18, the King could not sleep.

• No where are you commanded to be at peace.

• You are instructed throughout God’s word to abide in Him and allow his words to abide in you. Once you have heard his word, and worshipped him, he wants you to bring it to him with prayers and petitions, not because he doesn’t know, but because he knows you need peace and he wants to give it to you.

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