A Healing Table: The Bells of Returning

(Carried over from the old blog, originally from 4/9/08p)

I just love this image of Our Lord ringing His bell, gently calling us back into His presence. Brother Lawrence called this daily returning "The Practice of the Presence of God". And below, reprinted with permission, is a wonderful sermon on this. It's from Pastor Kevin Martineau of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. From here:


Brother Lawrence was a monk in France during the 1600’s. He was assigned to the monastery kitchen where, amidst the tedious chores of cooking and cleaning at the constant bidding of his superiors, he developed his rule of spirituality and work. In his book “Maxims”, Brother Lawrence writes, "Men invent means and methods of coming at God's love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love, and it seems like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the consciousness of God's presence. Yet it might be so simple. Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for the love of him?"

For Brother Lawrence, "common business," no matter how mundane or routine, was the medium of God's love. The issue was not the sacredness or worldly status of the task but the motivation behind it. He also said: "Nor is it needful that we should have great things to do. . . We can do little things for God; I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him, who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God."

Brother Lawrence retreated to a place in his heart where the love of God made every detail of his life of surpassing value. He said: "I began to live as if there were no one save God and me in the world." Together, God and Brother Lawrence cooked meals, ran errands, scrubbed pots, and endured the scorn of the world.

To live moment by moment conscious of the Lord's presence is the key to Christian living – this is the KEY to a growing personal relationship with God in the midst of the busyness of life. But how do we practice God's presence throughout the day? I would like to offer six simple suggestions for walking daily with God so that we can grow in our personal relationship with Him:

1. Begin each day conscious of God.

When you first wake up in the morning focus on God. Meditate on a hymn, a Psalm or other portion of Scripture that will help you come before God in worship. There is power in worship. Put aside all the cares and pressures of the day and praise God for who He is: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Praise Him for His presence and His promises.

2. Read God's Word.

Psalm 119:130 says: “The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple." Ask God for spiritual insight from the portion you read in the morning. When I go to the Scriptures I ask the Lord for a verse or promise from my morning reading. Try it. Ask God to teach you during the day from that verse. You will find greater spiritual depth in applying God's Word to your daily activities. Psalm 119:11 says:
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

3. Pray.

Each morning dedicate yourself to God’s service (Romans 12:1). Confess any known sin and pray for your needs and the needs of others (1 John 1:9; James 5:16b). Speak to the Lord throughout the day as Brother Lawrence was such a great example of. Don't wait for formal times of prayer. Keep short accounts of confessed sin. Don't allow problems to cloud God's presence (Philippians 4:6-7). He has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Therefore tell Him your innermost thoughts. Ask Him for help in every difficulty. Nothing is too small to matter: nothing is too great.

4. Let thankfulness be the habit of your life.

Learn to thank the Lord in every situation you face (1 Thessalonians 5:18). You will be surprised at how much you have to be thankful for when you let the Lord direct your day (Romans 8:28). And thankfulness will produce joy Nehemiah 8:10 says: "The joy of the Lord is your strength". Your enemies--the world, the flesh and the devil--have little influence when your eyes are on God. Even if there is nothing else to rejoice in, rejoice in the God of your salvation.

5. Learn to be quiet in God’s presence.

In this hectic world God’s words, "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10), are much needed. God speaks to the quiet, attentive heart. By daily reading His Word, it is stored in your mind for the Holy Spirit to call to remembrance. Make time throughout your day to be still and to be quiet before God.

6. At the close of the day, rest in God's presence.

Thank Him for how He has led you in that day. Meditate on His Word so that the last conscious thoughts on your mind are of His faithfulness. A daily walk with God is the blessed life.

Six simple things that we can be doing THROUGHOUT our day that can deepen our personal relationship with God. Simply put: just practice the presence of God throughout your day. Jesus says: “Come to me . . . and you will find rest for your soul.”

Don’t allow busyness and other distractions to hinder and stop you from coming to Jesus and from growing in your relationship with Him and experiencing REAL LIFE!"

(Sermon reprinted from Shooting the Breeze; Image adapted from a lovely holy card at He Gently Calls Us)

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