T H E  P R E S E N C E  O F  G O D

by W.B. Screws

The Pilgrim's Messenger

"Have a pattern of sound words which you hear from me, in faith and love
which are in Christ Jesus."--11 Timothy 1:13
Published Monthly By W. B. SCREWS, Glennville, Georgia
Twenty-five Cents a Year


January, 1949

Number 6

Entered at the postoffice at Glennville, Ga., as second-class matter.

God is spirit. He is all about us and in us. Also we are in Him. In his talk in Athens, Paul said He is not far from each one of us; also that in Him we are living and moving and are.

This truth that God is spirit, and is all about us and in us, we are in Him, is not complex. We are accustomed to thinking the same concerning wind. If we just carry the thought over to God, it is as simple as if we were thinking of the wind.

But the wind is without intelligence. God HAS intelligence. That He has power is admitted by all who think of Him as the Creator. That He is LOVE, is emphatically declared in the scripture.

There is much joy in believing that He is present at all times. That is, if one can believe it and remember that He is Love. When I was a boy I got the idea that God is present all the time, watching to see if I would do something wrong, so that He could hurt me for it. To me, He was snooping. No one can love Him if he has such thoughts about Him.

But I have learned that He is present to help, encourage and uphold; to teach and comfort. There is great joy in believing this. It is a phase of faith that can be used every day. And faith that cannot be used every day is not of much value. Here is what it means to me, in part: One of my sons with his family is in Honolulu; another with his family is in Los Angeles; the others are scattered around in Georgia. The God in Whom I am believing and moving and existing, is the very same God to them. He is as near them as He is to me. Nothing can "happen" to them while He is helping some other person, and not looking after them. He never takes His thoughts away from each person in all the world.

We feel concerned about our loved ones, but there is really no cause for worrying about them, since, no matter where they are, they are as near God as if they were with us.

While He is near each one, only those who have faith can appreciate it. His presence means nothing in the thoughts of many. He manifests Himself to our spirits, to our eyes and to our ears, through His Son. Not only is it a fact that our hearts contain faith and love through the grace of our Lord, but it is also true that the blessed Son of God is doing all that our eyes see and our ears hear. He is carrying on all by His powerful declaration, says the writer of the Hebrew letter. As I write, clouds are low and the atmosphere is darkened. This is the Son of God making a rain. He is doing it because of the presence of God. On another day the sky will be bright and the clouds gone. This, too, will be accomplished through the powerful declaration of the Son of God, Who is doing all that the ever-present God assumes to do.

The recognition of His presence at all times is a powerful incentive to not have certain religious seasons. He is with us as much when we are in the field, or on the road, or in bed, as he is when we are kneeling in prayer in a meeting house. Since He is ever present, does one have to kneel in order to talk to Him? Are you nearer to Him on your knees than on your feet? Some get the reputation of praying much, because they are seen much on their knees. Little do they think that one who never kneels may pray just as much. The attitude of body has nothing to do with it.

A story is told of Nicholas Herman, who went into a French Monastery as a cook. He was astonished to find that all the others expected God to be closer to them during hours of prayer, than at other times. Herman did not find it so. He said that, when he was in the kitchen, handling pots and pans and food, he was as conscious of the presence of God as when he was engaged in formal prayer. He said, "The time of business does not differ from the time of prayer".

As a result of the recognition that God is always present, Herman, it is said, was able to do his work on time, with composure of spirit, and never with confusion. Not many things are more important. As we look about us we see haste, confusion, doing a little of this and a little of that, all movement and effort that manifests extreme fatigue. A recognition of the presence of God might prevent much of this, and might restore order where there is chaos. This is the activity of one who thinks it is all "up to" him. God is not in the picture. A blessed awareness that we are living, moving and existing in God, would calm feelings and restore order to thoughts and activities.

The awareness of the presence of God gives us confidence in prayer. We do not let anything worry us, but we are in a state of thanksgiving. We talk calmly to our God in the name of Christ, and ask Him for what we think we need. We do this with the assurance that He will not give it if it is not good for us. But we are sure that He will always give to us His peace. This is superior to every frame of mind. With His peace we can be content to go without the things we thought we needed.

But let us not thing that peace is the only thing He has promised to us. He will fill our every need. These needs may be food, clothing, friends, money, home spiritual comfort --- anything. He will give blessings only as we need them. If we ask for more, with thanksgiving and submission, He will give us His peace to make up for what He does not give us.

In his address in Athens Paul spoke of Him as "the God Who makes the world". Not the EARTH. The WORLD --- the adornment on the earth. He MAKES it. Each day He makes a NEW world. There is some difference every day. Trees are slightly larger. Plants are a little taller. Flowers that were buds yesterday and open today. Each morning as I look out my window I see a new world---one that has not been used before.

This is what makes each dawn glorious. I arise from bed to meet new glories, to experience new pleasures. Yesterday is a memory. I may treasure its pleasures and disregard (forget) its pains. As I lay aside my garments to rest I die, figuratively, to the troubles of the day. It is gone, and so are they.

Comes the dawn, and I experience a resurrection, figuratively. A new day has brought a new world. I exult in the fact that God is so near that every event, everything, is a manifestation of His presence. He touches me as the cooling breezes blow. His footstep marks the place where the beautiful flower is spreading its petals. The glory of the rising sun is seen as His robe. The voice of the bird is God speaking to me of new opportunities, new blessings, new glories, I read His word and there He speaks to me of future glories of which the dawn is but a faint foretaste.

Man has been made in the image of God. He takes care of His image. He is always round about, to care for, to lead, to comfort, to correct, to manifest Himself in millions of ways.

Paul prays that we may know His power. Who knows it fully? We are so ignorant! The very air---veritable space ---is filled with electronic power---His power. All energy is from Him, and is imparted to our ignorant minds, and to our bodies, in thousands of different ways --- through food, drink, air, electrons, thought. All these exist because He is not far from each one of us.

What a wonderful God! What a wonderful world! What a wonderful thought! There is no room for sadness and discontent, if we but understand something of the fact of His presence. One lady said that as she sweeps the stairway that leads to the upper story of her home she is aware of the tie that binds things on earth to things in the heavens. With this consciousness we do not have to wait until we reach heaven to have joy. We are as near God here as we will be there. In the heaven we shall be differently fitted out, to accord with what will then be our environment. But God is just as much the Creator of our present environment as of that which is celestial. So he is near now. Blessed are we if we have this consciousness.

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