God is present now

Every-now-is-an-eternity_Frank-Laubach

Who’s the person you enjoy hanging out with the most? The one who makes you feel happiest? Most loved?

If you had Jesus here in the flesh, think it’d be him? The one who is all love. All light. All life.

But he’s not here in the flesh. Can we still enjoy his presence now?

Yes. I believe it’s his presence we crave, even when we don’t know it. And it’s in his presence we’re most loved, even though we can’t see him.

“Just the privilege of fellowship with God is infinitely more than any thing that God could give. When he gives himself he is giving more than anything else in the universe.”
– Frank Laubach

But how can we tap into that fellowship with God, especially in the everyday moments?

It’s a concept that’s intrigued me for years. I’m not alone in this quest. Not now. Not ever. Whether straight from scripture, from a monk in the 1600s, from a missionary in 1930, or from a friend in 2014, there’s much to learn about being more mindful of God in the now, of intentionally grasping God’s hand in this moment, in this thing.

I find motivation every few years when I reread Brother Lawrence’s The Practice of the Presence of God. And now I’m finding it also in finally reading Frank Laubach’s Letters by a Modern Mystic.

letters-by-a-modern-mystic

 

Here’s how Laubach explains it in Letters by a Modern Mystic.

“Perhaps a man who has been an ordained minister since 1914 ought to be ashamed to confess that he never before felt the joy of complete, hourly, minute by minute – now what shall I call it? – more than surrender. I had that before.

More than listening to God. I tried that before.

I cannot find the word that will mean to you or to me what I am now experiencing. It is a will act. I compel my mind to open straight out toward God. I wait and listen with determined sensitiveness.

I fix my attention there, and sometimes it requires a long time early in the morning to attain that mental state. I determine not to get out of bed until that mind set, that concentration upon God, is settled.”

Easy to do?
Absolutely not.

“I have undertaken something which, at my age at least, is hard, harder than I had anticipated. But I resolve not to give up the effort.

Yet strain does not seem to do good. At this moment I feel something ‘let go’ inside, and lo, God is here! It is a heart melting ‘here-ness,’ a lovely whispering of father to child, and the reason I did not have it before, was because I failed to let go.”

But worth attempting anyway?
Most definitely.

“The most important discovery of my whole life is that one can take a little rough cabin and transform it into a palace just by flooding it with thoughts of God.”

It’s not a method, a formula, a procedure.
It’s an attitude, a belief, an intention.

Enjoying God’s presence is knowing that in this hour, this situation, this relationship, we are never alone.

“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.”
Psalm 139:9-10

We sang this song yesterday morning among my church. The words are true:

“There’s nothing worth more
That will ever come close
No thing can compare
You’re our living hope
Your Presence, Lord”
Jesus Culture

May you live more aware that God is present now.
Fill up this hour with God.
This is eternity.

* * *

How do YOU remember to be more aware of God’s presence?  Please share your ideas in the comments.

“How I wish, wish, wish that a dozen or more persons who are trying the experiment of holding God endlessly in mind would all write their experiences so that each would know what the other was finding as a result! The results, I think, would astound the world.”
– Frank Laubach

[On the lighter side, here’s a cute cartoon I had to pin on Pinterest last night about Jesus being present.]

40 thoughts on “God is present now

  1. Dianna

    A LOT to think about, Lisa. I think I am most aware of His presence when I am reading my Bible and when I am memorizing Scripture. One of the ways that I memorize Scripture is by thinking that the Lord is sitting there in the room with me and we are having a conversation…which includes the words I am memorizing. He says them to me and then I say them back to Him. It truly does make a difference in how it penetrates my heart!
    Dianna recently posted…WeekendsMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Memorizing scripture is a great way for me to stay aware of his presence, too. And John 15 has been especially appropriate so far! All that “abiding.” 🙂 Love your conversational back-and-forth you describe. Beautiful, Dianna.
      LisaNotes recently posted…God is present nowMy Profile

  2. Linda@Creekside

    ‘It’s an attitude, a belief, an intention.’

    Not a program, a plan.

    It’s a relationship. And the best ones, we know, take a huge commitment of time and focus. Thanks for this wise counsel, as always, Lisa …
    Linda@Creekside recently posted…Blessings UnlimitedMy Profile

  3. Rick Dawson

    It’s a desire – born in us by Him for Him – and nothing else satisfies. Nothing else can substitute. Being stubborn creatures who want the easy answers, we’ll often look elsewhere, but we’ll keep coming up against that sense of something being incomplete – the God-sized hole that only He can fill. Having been one who tried all the available substitutes? I can save those who will listen time – but if they don’t want to listen to the prophets of old or the prophets we have now?

    It is also a discipline, like the practice of a musical instrument.

    Great post, Lisa – I love this stuff 🙂
    Rick Dawson recently posted…Homeless?My Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Great comment, Rick. Wonder why we have to be so stubborn to try so many wrong things before we give in to the right thing. Yes, only God satisfies. And yes, it does take discipline on our part to consciously spend time with him. But oh so worth it. Thanks for sharing!
      LisaNotes recently posted…God is present nowMy Profile

  4. Sheila at Longings end

    It is a heart melting ‘here-ness,’ a lovely whispering of father to child, and the reason I did not have it before, was because I failed to let go — ALWAYS purposing, Lisa, to LET GO more and LET GOD in more 🙂 And being ever more aware of all these tiny moments that add up to one huge priceless gift called LIFE. Thanks for a very good post, as usual. Blessings…
    Sheila at Longings end recently posted…Do you know this in the gnarly nooks and crannies of your heart?My Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Beautiful, Sheila. It’s those very “tiny moments” that can distract us, but that also can lead us straight into his heart if we’re watching for him in them. Letting go is such a journey….
      LisaNotes recently posted…God is present nowMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It’s a quick read. I downloaded a free PDF online (but I don’t know if it’s the full book or not). It’s always encouraging to me to hear how others are abiding in Christ. Blessings to you as you abide in him, Mari-Anna!
      LisaNotes recently posted…God is present nowMy Profile

  5. Pamela

    I love the book about Brother Lawrence. The other one is new to me. Love finding books others are learning from. It’s the best kind of recommendation. I cannot imagine the hole God would leave in my life. 50 years of Him living in me–from childhood through the teen years, marriage, motherhood…oh how I need him!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      If you like Brother Lawrence, you’ll probably like Frank Laubach too. He’s even easier to read (in my opinion) since he’s a tad more current.

      I used to feel I had a boring testimony because I grew up in a household knowing about Jesus, but now I view it like you–it’s such a blessing to have had God to depend on through all these years. I can’t imagine where I’d be now without him. He knew I would need him from the get-go. 🙂
      LisaNotes recently posted…God is present nowMy Profile

  6. Betty Draper

    Oh Lisa you have made me thirsty for Him. My first thought was, I got to have this book she writes about. Then a soft sweet voice spoke to my heart…no…you don’t need another book, you need me. Wonderful post , wonderful thoughts, wonderful Savior who so loves us and wants to empty us of all but Him.
    Betty Draper recently posted…White Hankie Movie.My Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’re convicting me, too, Betty. It’s so easy for me to want to grab the next book, song, seminar, etc., about God. Although all those things are avenues for me to experience and know God, they’re still not God himself, and HE is the the real thing I want! So thank you so much for leaving that comment.
      LisaNotes recently posted…God is present nowMy Profile

  7. Sharon

    This was so full of such good stuff. I am particularly moved this morning, as everything you’ve talked about has such timely importance for me in a season of anxiety and worry. I am hit every morning with panicky thoughts. It seems to me that some of what you’ve talked about – trying to replace worry with concentrating on God’s presence, learning how to let go – will do much to bring me peace.

    I wish God was here in the flesh – but, He was, and in my heart, He still is!

    GOD BLESS!
    Sharon recently posted…WOULD YOU PRAY FOR ME?My Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’ve been a lifelong worrier, so I relate to what you’re saying, Sharon. The thing that has helped me the most, though, is actually what you’re saying–realizing God is here in THIS moment, and that right now, everything is okay. And it’s always “now” with God. When I can stay in the moment, the worries release their grip. There is such power of being aware of God in the NOW. Praying for your journey through this season….
      LisaNotes recently posted…God is present nowMy Profile

  8. emily

    “I fix my attention there, and sometimes it requires a long time early in the morning to attain that mental state. I determine not to get out of bed until that mind set, that concentration upon God, is settled.”
    This sounds like an ideal way to begin moving with the day…thinking I need to add a couple books to my collection 🙂
    Thanks for sharing these thoughts…lots for me to ponder here.
    emily recently posted…For the bride…When You’re Thinking of Walking AwayMy Profile

  9. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    There was a saying, around 2000…that God left Africa a long time ago.

    Ten years before that, He’d abandoned Central America (my patrol beat at the time, and I tended to agree).

    But God was never really gone, and to feel His immanence, all I had to do was keep an ordered heart, and look in the mirror. He left it up to me, and those around me, do carry His presence to a savagely tortured land. We didn’t carry Bibles; our hands held harder and more lethal tools, and we used them with proficiency and without hesitation. But we used them for Him, and I think we brought hope back, and the feeling that God’s presence could truly be touched, even in the guise of hard, bearded and violent men.

    This is what I remember when God feels far from me personally – the people who saw us bring the thunder, and whose prayers of deliverance we answered.

    Humbling days, spent at the very foot of the Cross.
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Lies and MarriageMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, yes, Andrew. As long as God’s people are anywhere around, so is God. The Word inside us is proof that God is alive, regardless of the absence or presence of written words in our hands. Your written words here do touch me though; thank you for sharing the richness of your experience in dark places. I’m sure you have lots of stories inside….
      LisaNotes recently posted…God is present nowMy Profile

  10. Amber @ Beautiful Rubbish

    This is gently pricking my heart, Lisa. I both love and feel convicted by what you share hear from your own heart and from this man’s book. It strikes me as such a tension, a seeming contradiction, this not-straining and yet working hard to let go. A type of work that is hard but without strain. And then it strikes me, also: this is so like Jesus. The Lion and the Lamb. The Servant-King. There are brief moments when I think I’ve experienced this, but I’m a long ways off from living in it. I long for this kind of knowing him. Thank you. Visiting you today from Unforced Rhythms.
    Amber @ Beautiful Rubbish recently posted…A car’s last great act and those bare moments of gratitudeMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It does seem contradictory, doesn’t it? The discipline of attention yet the abandonment of surrender. So many things are upside-down in the Kingdom, like those you mentioned. I’m thankful we serve a Lord who understands our limitations and more than makes up for them with his grace.
      LisaNotes recently posted…God is present nowMy Profile

  11. Jen Ferguson

    He caught me with the “not striving” part. Oh, I really love formulas. This other way – heart-melting is so obscure to me, but on a level that I cannot describe, it makes total sense. I love the quotes you put up here and now I think I must also put this book on my list of ones to read. I think I see a large Amazon order in my future!
    Jen Ferguson recently posted…Connections: Hope for a Scorched SoulMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Jen, I got a copy of it free online as a PDF, then transferred it to my Kindle. I’m not sure if it was the full version of the book though, so if you want the whole thing, best to get it off Amazon. I always keep my wish list pushing the limits.

      If there were a formula, I’d be the first one to sign up for it. 🙂 I try to be grateful that there’s not one, because I’d miss out on relationship instead.
      LisaNotes recently posted…God is present nowMy Profile

  12. TC Avey

    This sounds like a really good book! Thanks so much for sharing.

    Just this morning I woke up feeling flustered. I knew immediately I needed more time with God! He’s the one I seek, the one I need.
    I love my family, but nothing can take the place of spending time with God.
    TC Avey recently posted…No Duh!My Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It was very good and very brief. Books don’t have to be long to be good, we know that. 🙂 Laubach wrote letters during his time working with the Moros people (I believe I have that right) and this is partly a collection of those.
      LisaNotes recently posted…God is present nowMy Profile

  13. Angie

    Thank you so much for this Lisa. I am on a journey into listening to God that I find very difficult and this was very encouraging. Just wrote a post about it and quoted some of what you wrote – hope you don’t mind (I linked to your post) but let me know if not and I’ll change it. It helps encourage me when I reread my online diary!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m glad this came to you at the right time, Angie. God is good to provide for us what we need, when we need it. And yes, it’s fine to quote whatever you’d like from here. I appreciate your sharing.
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  14. ~ linda

    Frank Laubach…I have not read him in many-a-year. I don’t even know if this is the book I read but I shall be on a search as I believe I need to read him again.
    “And it’s in his presence we’re most loved, even though we can’t see him.” I have been reading books, posts, and hearing messages lately that tell me I am enough just as I am, loved absolutely, made beautifully…and the list goes on. God truly want the message brought home to me.
    Glad I came by, Lisa, from SDG.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda
    ~ linda recently posted…Not of Confusion…NO!My Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Laubach may have written many things, but this is the book I have always heard about by him, so I’m guessing it probably is what you’ve read before. It is definitely one to return to though. I appreciate books like this that can provide fresh inspiration every time we read through them. Not all books can do that. 🙂

      The message that we are loved just as we are is one I never grow tired of hearing! I’m glad God is repetitiously giving you that in this season, Linda. It’s wonderful.
      LisaNotes recently posted…God is present nowMy Profile

  15. Beverley

    Occasionally when i think that God has forgotten me and is no longer listening to my anguished prayers, he speaks! He speaks through the mouths and actions of others, the gentle breeze to cool the heat of the day, the smell of a wild rose, almost forgotten. When we feel forgotten all we have to do is wait and God will always arrive.

    I have sat with those who are passing from this life to the next and the one thing they all want is one more…touch, hug, kiss, minute, moment…morning. So many people that i have nursed in these moments have waited for the morning to arrive before they have found the courage to leave.
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    1. LisaNotes Post author

      These are profound thoughts, Beverley. I like to listen to experiences of people like you who have sat with the dying. I know you’ve been through much with others, and now go through much yourself with your fibromyalgia, so I like to hear what God is speaking to you through it all.
      LisaNotes recently posted…Need perspective? Try 10/10/10My Profile

  16. Dolly@Soulstops

    Lisa,
    I can relate to what Frank says….about how hard it is to let go and to be quiet…and how does one put into words a taste of God’s Divine Presence? I’m often asking God to open my heart and mind to be aware of His Presence…sometimes it is verse or a song that opens me up…just being quiet before Him and waiting and knowing He is with me even when I may not “feel” Him at that precise moment….Thank you 🙂
    Dolly@Soulstops recently posted…A story about missing pancakes (& walking by faith)My Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Music often is the entry point for me, too, Dolly. Whether it’s one I hear someone else singing, or something rising up from within, songs have a way of bringing God to the surface for me. I’m very thankful for that and anything else that helps remind us that he is here with us!
      LisaNotes recently posted…Is your “to-do” list holy?My Profile


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