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$485 AUD ($485 USD), 75 cm x 55 cm (29.5″ x 22″), Framed size: 97 cm x 77 cm (38″ x 30″), Inktense Pencil, Watercolor Pencil, Colored Pencil and Acrylic on Watercolor Paper, Prints Available
“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD. They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness. For you are their glory and strength, and by your favor you exalt our horn.” (Psalm 89:15-17)
“How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young–a place near your altar, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Selah…Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” (Psalm 84:1-4, 10)
“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11 NKJV)
God’s purpose for us is that we would enjoy personal communion with him forever. God created us to worship him, to glorify him and to be with him throughout eternity.
Tragically, our sins separated us from God, and as a result we have been cut off from his perfect, holy Presence.
Thankfully, however, God out of his great love for us provided the way for us to be reconciled back to him. He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the punishment for our sins by dying on the cross in our place.
In order to be forgiven and reconciled to God you must first repent (confess and turn away from) your sins. Secondly, you must trust in Jesus to save you from your sins and their penalty (death, hell and eternal separation from God), believing that he has paid the full punishment for your sins through his death on the cross. As soon as you receive Jesus Christ as Savior, you will be forgiven, reconciled to God and granted eternal life.
“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13)
Because believers’ sins have been removed through their faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross, they have direct access into God’s Presence. (See “Message“).
God said: ”I will forget their sins and never again remember the evil they have done.’ And after everything is forgiven [through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus], there is no more need for a sacrifice to pay for sins. And so, brothers and sisters, we are completely free to enter the Most Holy Place [the place of God’s Presence]. We can do this without fear because of the blood sacrifice of Jesus. We enter through a new way that Jesus opened for us. It is a living way that leads through the curtain–Christ’s body. And we have a great priest who rules the house of God. Sprinkled with the blood of Christ, our hearts have been made free from a guilty conscience, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. So come near to God with a sincere heart, full of confidence because of our faith in Christ.” (Hebrews 10:17-22 ERV)
True Christianity is a loving relationship with the living God through faith in his Son, Jesus Christ. However, sometimes as Christians we forget that the very purpose for which we were created is communion with God. We can become so consumed with trying to live a proper “Christian” life that we can actually strive completely independent of God. We can become so distracted by going to church that we can actually forget God in all the religious activities we are undertaking. We can go through all of the “Christian” motions without his Presence actually being with us. (This is what the Laodicean church did: Revelation 3:14-22)
And yet God’s Presence is the very thing that defines us as Christians and sets us apart from every other people group on the planet. His Presence is far more precious than all the treasures of the earth combined, and without him there is no purpose to our lives, neither is there any satisfaction or purpose to anything we do.
The LORD said: “‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ Then Moses said to him, ‘If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?’ And the LORD said to Moses, ‘I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.'” (Exodus 33:14-17)
God’s Presence is where we are continually meant to dwell as Christians, and yet there are many veteran church attenders today who know little or nothing about the actual presence of God, his character or his ways (Psalm 95:10-11, Matthew 7:21-23, Luke 13:22-30). They are familiar with “church” and its traditions, they are familiar with the doctrinal distinctives of their denomination and they are familiar with an image of God formed out of the teachings they hear every Sunday, but they aren’t familiar with God himself.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” (Matthew 7:21-23)
“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’
But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’
But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’
There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.” (Luke 13:24-30)
However, for those of us who truly know God, or rather, are known by God (John 10:14), God’s presence is our home.
The Holy Spirit always inclines us toward our home in God’s presence just as a compass always points true North. Therefore, church meetings devoid of God’s presence are strange to us true believers. Cultural “churchianity” without the presence of God is a foreign religion to us. When others speak of keeping the “traditions of the elders” in the church (Mark 15:1-20), they are alien practices to us.
May all of God’s people who wander around in this strange, foreign, Babylonian land return home to God’s presence.
“In those days, at that time,’ declares the LORD, ‘the people of Israel and the people of Judah together will go in tears to seek the LORD their God. They will ask the way to Zion and turn their faces toward it. They will come and bind themselves to the LORD in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten.
My people have been lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray and caused them to roam on the mountains. They wandered over mountain and hill and forgot their own resting place. Whoever found them devoured them; their enemies said, ‘We are not guilty, for they sinned against the LORD, their true pasture, the LORD, the hope of their fathers.
Flee out of Babylon; leave the land of the Babylonians, and be like the goats that lead the flock…” (Jeremiah 50:4-8)
All of us true believers know the place of God’s Presence. We are familiar with it and clearly recognize it whenever we are there…And we never want to leave it…we can dwell there even now…and praise the Lord, by his grace we will dwell there for all eternity!
In the place of God’s presence we feel the warmth of his love. We feel the peace of reconciliation and justification through Christ (Romans 5:1-2). We rest in his Presence as we commune with him, hear his voice, see his face and learn his ways. It is a place of total liberty where we can worship the Lord naked in heart and unashamed. It is a place where we are free to live just as God created us to be and not to be torn down as Michal tried to tear down David (2 Samuel 6). (May we always be careful to preserve this place of freedom, worship and acceptance in our fellowship assemblies).
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
Religiousity and Christian Pharisaism have a way of clamping us down, confining us and molding us into its strict forms, but the presence of God is a broad and spacious place (Psalm 18:19) where we thrive like fragrant flowers of praise and worship freely reaching up to him. There is no condemnation, wrath, anger or rejection towards his children in this place but only freedom, acceptance, love and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Healing is found (Psalm 34:18), strength is rejuvenated (Isaiah 40:30-31), understanding and revelation are granted (Revelation 4:1-2), discernment becomes clear (Psalm 36:9), all hungers are satisfied (John 6:35), all thirst is quenched (John 4:13-14), all distress gives way to the peace that surpasses understanding (Philippians 4:5-7), the things of earth grow strangely dim and inconsequential (2 Corinthians 4:17-18), our vision is arighted and we see things clearly from a heavenly perspective (Colossians 3:1-4). Worship is the song that bursts forth from us in this place; praise and thanksgiving flow out of us like a fountain (Revelation 4-5). In fact, God’s presence actually extracts worship from us (Revelation 4:6-11).
God’s Presence is not physically bound to some locale here on earth (Acts 17:24). Therefore, wherever and whenever we assemble together for Christian fellowship our sincere intention should always be to consciously enter into the place of the presence of God.
In my personal experience, whenever believers humbly and earnestly seek to meet with God (Jeremiah 29:13-14), when they do away with sin, pride and idols (James 4:4-10), when they genuinely seek to worship him in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24) he never fails to Presence himself quickly and powerfully among them.
“For where two or three come together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20)
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1:5-7)
Indeed, God sent his Son to die for us for the very purpose of bringing us into his Presence forever. All glory and honor and thanks and praise be to God for the unspeakable riches and treasures found in Christ Jesus!
“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” (Hebrews 12:22-24)
The idea for this piece of artwork has come back to me over the years on so many different occasions (with slight variations). It’s Time To Fly, Church (John The Baptist Artworks Series) is the first version I put onto paper. This is the second.
We believers, free as eagles, soar on the wings of worship into the Presence of God. I have only symbolically depicted the outskirts of his inexpressible glory through the light and rainbow colors. In doing so I have referenced the Scriptures in 1 Timothy 6:15-16 and Revelation 4:3.
I specifically drew this piece for the purpose of reminding both myself and other believers of that place of God’s presence, so that we always remember what we are really seeking and so that we do not get lost or sidetracked into Churchianity or anything else.
(See also: “Where We’re Meant to Be: Worshiping Jesus” (Praise and Worship Series), “Home is Where Your Heart is” (Praise and Worship Series) and “Pentecost: True Spiritual Unity and Fellowship in The Holy Spirit” (John The Baptist Artworks Series 2).)