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Close To God

If you’ve ever been to Jerusalem, you’ve probably visited the Western Wall. It is what’s left of a retaining wall built on the Temple Mount to create a flat area to add more buildings around the Temple. I’ve been to the wall a few times to pray. On my last couple of trips over there, I’ve been able to go underground where the foundation of the Temple is. There’s a long corridor running beside it. As we moved down that hall, we came to a place where these women were praying. Our guide informed us that this was the closest spot to where the Holy of Holies was, and that these women come there to pray instead of praying above ground at the wall. In the Jewish culture, God’s presence is found in the Holy of Holies and the closer you are to that point, the closer you are to God. In the Old Testament, all of Israel would come to Jerusalem for the feasts and to pray so that they could be close to God and be heard.

In Ephesians 2, Paul is addressing people with this mindset. In verse 13, he wrote, “Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ” (NLT). The phrase “far from God” in that culture had a two fold meaning. People that lived outside of Jerusalem were considered far from God which is why they visited Jerusalem so often. They wanted to be close to God. There are times that you and I feel like we’re far from God. It’s like He can’t hear our prayers. We can’t feel His presence. We feel isolated and alone. We all go through these feelings of being far from God, but the truth is that God never leaves us. In fact, He’s made His home in our lives so that He will be with us always.

Paul makes more analogies about us and the Temple as the chapter continues. He then ends it with, “God is transforming each one of you into the Holy of Holies, his dwelling place, through the power of the Holy Spirit living in you!” (TPT) You and I have become the Holy of Holies because He dwells in us. When those feelings come that we are far from God and He doesn’t hear us, declare this verse over your life. Your feelings will lie, but God’s Word never will. You are never far from God because you are the host of His presence. You don’t have to go anywhere special for Him to hear your prayers. He hears ever prayer, spoken or silent, and knows how you feel. God is close to you today, listening to your prayers, walking with you and working things out for your good despite what your feelings are telling you. Push past your feelings and enter the presence of God. You are closer to Him than you think.

Photo by Thomas Vitali on Unsplash

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God Is Standing With You

There are times in life when we take a stand for what’s right only to find out we’re the only ones standing. In those moments, you wonder why no one else is standing with you. I’ve done it before and had people private message me that they were with me. I asked why they weren’t standing with me. They said they were too afraid to stand up too, but wanted me to know I had their support. I wanted their public support instead because standing there alone was tough. I knew what I was standing for was right, so I kept standing.

There are other times when we come under attack. We’re standing on the battlefield of life, and the hits won’t stop coming. We wonder when it will let up and if we should just give up the fight. We need someone to come stand with us because we feel all alone out there in the struggle. We may lose our strength to fight back, but we still stand in the face of relentless attacks. In each case, we feel all alone, but the truth is we are not. Whether we stand for what’s right or we are under attack from the enemy, God is standing with us.

Psalm 59:10 says, “In his unfailing love, my God will stand with me” (NLT). God’s love never fails us, nor does it ever leave us standing alone. I once heard someone say, “Me plus God equals a majority.” We need to let that sink into our spirits. We are not standing alone in those moments. Our physical eyes tell us we are alone, but we need to learn to see our situations with our spiritual eyes.

I love how in 2 Kings 6, Elisha’s servant looked outside and saw the whole army encamped around them. He panicked and asked Elisha what they were going to do since they were out numbered. Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid. There are more on our side than theirs.” The servant thought they were standing alone, but God was standing with them with a full army that surrounded the other army. That’s how it is for us. When we stand for what’s right or we are standing in our battles, there are more with us than we see with our physical eyes because God stands with us.

Photo by Poet AD on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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