God's Presence

November 19, 2019

“Within our daily lives, if we confront the day with thanksgiving, the Cross will quickly reveal itself. The first moment that the giving of thanks becomes difficult, we have reached the wood of the Cross itself. We stand in the very gates of Hades. If in that moment of difficulty we persist in giving thanks, then Hades trembles and the dead are raised. This is our personal kenosis, our self-emptying in the presence of the good God. “Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

 

“We fast in joyful repentance…fasting heightens our awareness of the ineffable, living presence of Christ among us.” (Dynamis 6/20/2014)

 

“God has not left the created order abandoned, nor has He simply “visited” it in a cursory way: The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard. (Ps 19.1–4, NKJV) He has filled up the universe with his presence: with illumined eyes, we can see His traces everywhere!...God’s presence is always with us…Each person finds God in a unique manner and in a special place in their lives. It might be a pastoral scene, or a still lake, or a busy city that might provide us with the experience of God in a special way…May we seek God’s preens in a way that unites us most closely to Him.” (Edith M. Humphrey, Marianne C. Sailus)

 

“When we are in a relationship that is real, open, and unconditional, we can sense the presence of God.” (Robert J. Wicks)

 

“Solitude and silence are not self-indulgent exercises for times when an overcrowded soul needs a little time to itself. Rather, they are concrete ways of opening to the presence of God.” (Ruth Haley Barton)

 

"The central work of the Christian life is to enter the heart through prayer, so that God’s grace will give us the treasure He has buried there…As we strive to remain in His presence through prayer, His gifts become more available to us, transforming everything we do. By laboring at prayer, we uncover His riches.” (OCPM 7/19/2017)

 

“To pray without ceasing seems impossible, but a person can develop an attitude and habit of constant prayer. No matter what else is going on, we should be aware of God’s presence with us, and turn to Him with every thought and action.” (Foundation Study Bible, 1 Thessalonians 5:17)

 

“Through worship in general and the sacraments in particular we experience a personal relationship with God, who infuses His life into us. We experience His uncreated energies touching, healing, restoring, purifying, illumining, sanctifying and glorifying both human life and the cosmos. We participate in the saving acts of Christ's life, in order to be continuously renewed. We experience continually the presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling and active within us, leading us to and bestowing upon us the resurrectional life.” (Rev. Alkiviadis Calivas)

 

“When we practice mindful breathing, we lay aside discursive reasoning and every other kind of mental gymnastics. The goal is simply to reestablish our communion with God and to be still in His presence…Our goal is not to empty our minds, like the Buddhists, but rather to fill them with the presence of God so we can commune with Him.” (Kevin Scherer)

 

“I’ve enjoyed God’s handiwork in nature—we all have done that. I have felt God’s warmth during times of extreme stress, His comfort in times of loneliness, and His reassurance in times of doubt. I’ve been blessed to do things that I didn’t think I should be able to do—preaching, praying, pastoral encounters, directing summer camp. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt scared or unsure, and through prayer, have felt a sense of God’s presence, with His reassurance that everything will be all right. The only way that these things happen is by putting my faith in God. He leads; I follow. He provides; I accept.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

 

“There are dark spiritual voids in our lives when we neither feel nor discern the presence of God…Emptiness comes but then it goes away – and even these difficult times are used by God. The Lord’s clear implication is that we should expect periods of emptiness, when we are to wait for His presence.” (OCPM 5/31/2017)

 

“When Paul had moments of struggle, and possibly doubt, Christ appeared to him and told him to “be of good cheer,” (Acts 23:11), reassuring and comforting Paul that he was on the right path and doing the right thing. Sometimes it is hard to discern God’s presence but Christ promised He is with us always (Matthew 28:20).” (Sacramental Living Blog)

 

“To all who commit their lives to Him, Christ our God promises the gift of the Holy Spirit…The Spirit will abide with the disciples of Christ and dispense light, life, power, healing, mercy, and the presence of Christ Himself, exactly as needed. This work of the Holy Spirit…has particular bearing on the issue of pain, for the Spirit brings us the strength to overcome pain’s terrible and dehumanizing effects. He enables the faithful to endure and even transforms their lamenting into joy (John 16:20-22)…” (OCPM 5/31/2017)

 

“Our world is not a kind one. At one time or another we all have been stricken with anguish…God is with us! He speaks to us even in the desert when our hope runs out…In the midst of the worst, God comforts His people (Isaiah. 40:1).” (OCPM 2/23/2016)

 

“...we can find comfort and peace in God, who is present with us and in us and through us..." (Abbot Tryphon)

 

“Faith increases the likelihood of our sensing the presence of God…Faith comes as the Lord reveals Himself within us.” (Dynamis 12/4/2015)

 

“A heart that’s properly prepared for worship doesn’t simply endure the journey...It prepares itself for a marvelous adventure in the presence of the God of the universe, and it expects and works toward a deeper relationship with the Creator.” (NIV Men's Devotional Bible)

 

"The more sensitive to His presence we become, the more aware we become of our own sins. And our response to this sinfulness is not a paralyzing despair, but a renewed hope and desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit."  (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)

 

"We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito. And the incognito is not always hard to penetrate. The real labor is to remember, to attend. In fact, to come awake. Still more, to remain awake…In the end the heart longs not for any of God’s good gifts, but for God Himself. To see Him and know Him and be in His presence is the soul’s final feast. Beyond this there is no quest.” (C. S. Lewis, John Piper)

 

“David says,"Your face will I seek” (Ps 27:8). God is, of course, omnipresent—He is everywhere (Ps 139:7–12). What does it mean, then, to seek His face and to"draw near” if He is everywhere already? When we speak to someone, we don’t look at and address his or her kneecaps or feet or back or stomach. We address the person to his or her face. The face is the"relational gate” into a person’s mind and heart. To seek God’s face is not to find some place in space where God is located. Rather, it is to have our hearts enabled by the Holy Spirit to sense His reality and presence.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

 

“In the Crucified Christ, God does not remain a distant spectator of the undeserving suffering of the innocent but He participates in their suffering through the Cross and plants hope in the life of all afflicted persons through the Resurrection.  When faced with the mystery of evil and suffering, the story of Jesus as the story of God is the only adequate response. The human quest for meaning and hope in tragic situations of affliction, draw from Christ’s death and Resurrection the power of life needed for sustenance. Thus, as Christians we do not argue against suffering, but tell a story.” (Fr. Emmanuel Clapsis)

 

“There are times in our lives when God seems distant or even absent from us...In such times, it is good to remember that God is closer to you than your own breath; you only feel He’s absent. God uses such periods as a way to make you work at your relationship with Him. As you struggle, you grow stronger. When God seems to withdraw Himself, He is like a parent who stands his toddler on his feet and moves a few feet away, encouraging the child to take his first steps alone. The parent is prepared to reach out, should the child fall, but letting her take that first step is necessary for her development.” (Abbot Tryphon)

 

“Too often God can seem distant. The troubles of the world depicted on our television screens can seem unreal – like a video game. We might feel bad, or pity for the scenes depicted, but it doesn’t touch our personal lives. Participation in works of charity makes it real.”( International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC))

 

“Christ is not a distant God foreign to my needs, but is my brother…” (Rev. Theodore H. Chelpon)

 

“God, the only good of all intelligent natures, is not an absent or distant God, but is more present in and to our souls, than our own bodies." (William Law)

 

“ ‘Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.’ But how do we draw near? The first step is the simple decision to begin each day in prayer.” (James 4:8, Sacramental Living)

 

“If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing [God] that has them?” (C.S. Lewis)

 

"We go about our lives as though there probably is a God out there, but He can hardly be interested in us. If we begin to live each day with the expectation that God is not only there, but is actually interacting with us in a real way, we soon experience the truth of this. We begin to see with new eyes and hear with new ears how much God enters into each and every moment of our lives.” (Abbot Tryphon)

 

“To step out brings us nearer God and to true joy, but God goes with us as we journey. He is both in the midst of the struggle and waits on the other side.” (Dynamis 12/29/12)

 

"I am as sure as I live that nothing is so near to me as God. God is nearer to me than I am to myself.” (Meister Eckhart)

 

"God’s presence is always with us…Each person finds God in a unique manner and in a special place in their lives. It might be a pastoral scene, or a still lake, or a busy city that might provide us with the experience of God in a special way…May we seek God’s preens in a way that unites us most closely to Him.” (Marianne C. Sailus)