Presence of God

Never Alone

by Andy Wood on February 11, 2019

in 100 Words, Life Currency, Love, LV Cycle, Waiting

Your confusion doesn’t confuse God.

Your weakness doesn’t separate you from His hand of power.

Your wandering doesn’t isolate you from His leading.

Your loneliness doesn’t deny His steadfast presence.

Even your death is no barrier to His manifest care.

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Man with hands folded in prayer

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.

Yes, I have searched you and known you.

Now I want you to search me and know Me. 

You know when I sit down and when I rise up;

I want you to know when I sit down and rise up.

You understand my thought from afar.

I want you to understand my thoughts,

even in the places that seem distant.

You scrutinize my path and my lying down,

I want you to search Me like that.

And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

I can be found!

I can make you intimately acquainted with all My ways. [click to continue…]








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Shadows

Into every life there come those moments that cut new paths – awkward, ugly paths – across our landscape.  Shadow experiences that block the warmth of the sun’s rays and leave us in a dark spot – or leave dark spots on us.

Most of these shadow moments are fleeting.  Just as the sun stays in motion across the sky and recasts the shadows on the ground, life moves on and the light returns to our lives.

But sometimes the Shadow has a life and mind of its own.  Sometimes it simply refuses to leave, and we’re left with the scars and the questions and the daytime darkness that threaten to block our sun forever.  Sometimes, regardless of the truths we know or the time gone by, it just seems that the Shadow’s always there.

When the Shadow’s always there, if feels as though you have your own personal cloud suspended right over you, while the rest of the world basks in the sunshine.  It’s easy to worry that you’re everybody’s else’s downer… when the Shadow’s always there. [click to continue…]








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(The Twelve Names of Christmas, Part 1) 

Cross and Cradle

As you may have detected from one of the previous posts, we spent last week in the magical confines of Disney World in Florida.  “We” means all 15 of us – kids, spouses, and grandkids from age 5 to age 11 weeks. And, of course, about 12 thousand of our closest friends.

Every once in a while in this sea of strangers, about half of whom weren’t speaking English, I’d see somebody with that familiar cursive “A” on a cap or shirt, and out it would come – that instant bond forged among strangers as the result of two simple words:  Roll Tide!  And brother, it was instant.  Truth be told, I did see a few people wearing blue and orange and was tempted to say “War Eagle!” to them, but just couldn’t get words to form in my mouth.

And if you have no idea what any of that last paragraph means, never mind.

There is another rallying cry, however, I do want to tell you about.  In times of trouble in ancient Israel, including times of going into battle, they would summon courage and unity with one simple word:

Immanuel!

Immanuel was their way of expressing confidence that God was present with and fighting for the cause of his people.  And it was no accident that when Jesus arrived on the scene in Bethlehem at that first Christmas, one of his biographers made mention of it: [click to continue…]








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Dead Fish

There’s a certain kind of tired, a certain kind of strain
A certain season of get-it-done-now
When it’s a good thing that some things run on autopilot.
Otherwise, I may just forget to breathe.

But then You specialize in keeping my whole world turning
My light still burning, My heart still yearning –
And after all these years I’m still learning
To trust and know You’re there. [click to continue…]








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joylessThis morning I have the privilege of preaching at Shadow Hills Baptist Church here in Lubbock.  After dreaming about hearing John Piper preaching in my head all night long that “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in him” (and I’ve never actually listened all the way through to one of his messages), I believe the Lord was “instructing me in the night watches” (Psalm 16:7) to preach on joy, and specifically how we can lose it.  Here’s a quick summary of what I’m sharing there…

The most joyful people on the planet are believers in Jesus Christ.

The most joyless, miserable people on the planet are Christians, too.

Those who don’t have a relationship with Christ don’t know any better, and as they say, “Ignorance is bliss.”  But those of us who have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, then somehow lost that sense of His presence, know there is something missing.

I’d like to show you how that’s possible.  How can someone who has experienced this amazing joy suddenly find themselves without it? [click to continue…]








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Nighttime PrayerJordan’s heart is still awake, even though his body surrendered to sleep an hour ago. He’s restless. Anticipating. Watching and listening for that heart connection he once knew. In the psalmist’s language, Jordan is thirsty like a deer panting for streams of water.  He knows what he’s thirsty for, and He knows that God is faithful.  And yet in this dry season, He feels so far away.

Caitlyn waits all the time, but the nighttime seems the rudest. She waits for a change in her mother’s prognosis, even though no change is coming. She waits for that dreaded decline in respiration, though it seems her Mama is too tough and too stubborn to die. The days keep her busy, but the nights at the bedside turn up the volume on Caitlyn’s grieving heart.  She knows that ultimately what she’s waiting for is the Lord.  And He feels so far away.

Brody is exhausted. It’s been the longest night of his professional life, but the rookie firefighter forges ahead through the rubble of what once was a safe place for kids; a cruel tornado had other ideas. Keeping his own two children, ages 4 and 2, close in his heart, Brody alternately prays he will find survivors and rages that a just, loving God lets innocent children die. His faith is as weary as his body and mind. He wants to believe God.  But He feels so far away.

Cindy sorts through photos and memories of what sometimes looks like someone else’s life. She called it her “days of awakening,” and so they were.  Though she had been a believer since she was 11 years old, amazing things began to happen in Cindy’s life when she was a student in college. Unusual, near-instant answers to prayer. Life-changing mission trips where once she even witnessed a miraculous healing. Extraordinary spiritual growth.  Now ten years later, Cindy is hungry to see those days of awakening again. But it’s been a long time, and He feels so far away. [click to continue…]








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Where can I go to get away from your Spirit?
Where can I run to get away from you?
If I go up to heaven, you are there.
If I make my bed in hell, you are there.
If I climb upward on the rays of the morning sun
or land on the most distant shore of the sea where the sun sets,
even there your hand would guide me
and your right hand would hold on to me (Ps 139:7-10, GW)

It’s the fundamental reality – the primal fact on which all else we know is built.  The immortal, invisible, only-wise God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, knows no limits of time or space.  For those who have experienced the kindness of His grace, the implications of that are profound.  Simply put, wherever you are, there He already was, is, and shall be. [click to continue…]








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As Long as You’re There

by Andy Wood on September 1, 2012

in Life Currency, Love

The one lasting promise that rewrote the rules,
Reinvented the contract, and changed my horizons
Was made with the faithfulness, love, and great power
That rolled back that tombstone and conquered the grave.
You said You’d be with me – that You’d never leave me,
Regardless of how well I held onto You.
Still Your “always” and “never” bring peace and contentment
And courage to love and declare You are true.

As long as You’re there, there’s an intimate boldness –
To fearlessly show you what’s real in my heart. [click to continue…]








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