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God's Presence

“…holiness, the presence of God in our lives, isn’t something external, but something very internal that emanates and manifests itself in one way or another. It’s very important to understand this, so we can sense the presence of God in our lives. Because otherwise, we’ll be waiting for Him and He’ll never come through the door. He’s there, in the house, in our room, next to the sick bed, where you’re suffering in your despair—He’s there. It’s important for us to understand how the Lord manifests Himself in the life of every person.” (Fr. Charalampos Papadopoulos)

“Simon is named “Peter” long before he evidenced anything of a “rock-like” character. He was loud, opinionated, capable of trying to correct Christ at any number of points. There’s nothing rock-like in such behavior. Nevertheless, I suspect that, in the presence of Christ, Peter felt some stirring of the rock within himself. In His presence, those who could not walk felt the stirring of strength in their limbs, just as blind eyes strained towards the light of sight. Unbelieving individuals discovered an ability to believe they would have thought impossible. Christ’s presence reveals us.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“Lot picks a spot among the cities of the valley and moves his tent as far as the city of Sodom. He freely chooses land full of great possessions and compromising enticements common to civilization. But Abram elects an area where God is the only enticement. He desires only the Lord to live in the midst of him and his family. I too am called to dwell in the presence of God and to serve Him alone. “For many are called, but few chosen,” I read in Matthew 20:16. At times, I wish all were called and all were chosen. But God’s call and His gift of free will require my response. I can choose to be with the Lord, or I can separate myself from Him.” (Archpriest Steven John Belonick)

“At one time or another, those who mature and prosper in the faith report experiences similar to that which the Patriarch Jacob tasted at God’s encampment (Genesis 32:3): personal guilt, fear, the presence of God, and the miracle of God’s grace…God’s presence, when we become aware of it, changes any space from ‘normal’ into holy. It is exactly what God does in the Genesis account of creation: God converts chaos into cosmos (order). God present in time makes any moment holy, and God’s presence in people makes them saints.” (Dynamis 1/15/2019, Fr. Ted Bobosh)

“When God is present in all a man’s thoughts, desires, intentions, words, and works, then it means that the kingdom of God has come to him; then he sees God in everything – in the world of thought, in the world of action, and in the material world; then the omnipresence of God is most clearly revealed to him, and a genuine fear of God dwells in his heart: he seeks every moment to please God, and fears every moment lest he may sin against God, present at his right hand. ‘Thy Kingdom come!’ ” (St. John of Kronstadt)

“The word parousia, used in the New Testament for Christ’s return and generally translated in English as “return,” more literally means “presence.” All creation will be brought before the throne of Christ. All creation will stand in His presence. All will see His face. This will bring all the works of God to order and completion.” (Fr. Stephen De Young)

“The very presence of Christ as the Truth and the Light is itself the judgment of the world. In this sense all men and the whole world are already judged or, more accurately, already live in the full presence of that reality—Christ and His works—by which they will be ultimately judged. With Christ now revealed, there is no longer any excuse for ignorance and sin (Jn 9.39).” (Fr. Thomas Hopko)

“We all will experience the same God, but our experiences might be quite different, joyful or dreadful. In this sense, heaven and hell are not different locations, rather they both are our experiences of being in God’s presence. It is the exact same God, but for those who love God being eternally in God’s presence will be heaven/paradise. For those who hate God, an eternity in God’s presence will be hell. Heaven and hell are not locations, but how we encounter God and experience being in God’s presence. What we experience when in God’s presence are determined by the spiritual condition of our heart and mind.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)

“Our ordinary is where the kingdom of heaven comes. Unless we understand this, we will think of salvation as abstract and distant, a thing of end times and someday kingdoms rather than the power of God at work to renew creation in our own troubled times, our own little spaces of home and work and worship. We will think it requires no action or courage from us. But the incarnation means that no aspect of existence is exempt now from God’s presence. No corner of our lives can be left outside His mercy. The food we eat, our use of the world, the justice we bring, the art we make, these are the spaces in which the potency of God’s grace shows plainly in the lives of those who love Him.” (Sarah Clarkson)

“I believe that God is “everywhere present and filling all things,” but, for various important reasons, we often seem completely impervious to that Presence. I do not take this to be the fault of creation itself – but a fault within ourselves. Those moments in my own life, when I have gotten past the seeming opacity of creation and encountered God, are treasures. In particular, I treasure them because they seem to have caught me at my best, either at a place where I was capable of seeing in a healthy way, or, more commonly, because the encounter created in me a health that had been lacking only moments before.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“We may doubt God’s presence in our lives. At times such as these, we can also become angry about what we perceive as the hide-and-seek game we believe God is playing with us at the very time when we feel a dramatic need for that divine presence. As a matter of fact, if we are really being honest with ourselves, at times like these, we may question whether a God exists at all.” (Robert J. Wicks)

“In times of waiting, we look to an uncertain future. We know that the future will not be the same as the present. But how? What is on the horizon that we cannot yet see? Anxiety will not help us answer the question. Hesitation will not grasp it. In place of worry and doubt, we must do what the first believers in the Resurrection did. We must pray and reflect….In times of uncertainty, one thing is certain, Christ is Risen, and He will be with us always, “even to the close of the age” (Matthew 28:20).” (Fr. Basil)

“There are several New Testament passages which tell us that Christ will always be with us. We may not have that awareness of His presence or we may even experience a sense of His absence or of His being transcendent, yet He promises to be with us. He will be with us both now and ever and unto the ages of ages…We do not need to live as if Christ is not with us. He is present in and through the Scriptures and the Sacraments. He is with us in our prayers and in the liturgical services. He is with us in and through the Church, our fellow Christians and our neighbors whom we are to love. ” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)

“The account of the three godly youths in the Book of Daniel helps us in our struggle…First, let us observe that God remains present with His faithful even in the worst of trials. In this instance Christ intervenes miraculously, appearing as a fourth person in the furnace and walking with the three in the fire (Daniel9:92). He thereby keeps them safe from all effects of the fire and heat (vs. 94). However, we should not conclude that this unusual deliverance in any way constitutes an assurance that God will, in every instance, overturn the course of nature and miraculously rescue us from duress. Rather, God’s action assures us that He always is with us whenever we consciously and deliberately stand firm for the truth, even in the face of death. The faithful witness of untold martyrs for Christ reveals this same truth.” (Dynamis 12/17/2019)

“Even as the circumstances surrounding His Nativity were not peaceful by conventional standards, welcoming the Prince of Peace into our lives requires embracing the inevitable tension of mindfully entrusting ourselves to Him as we come to share more fully in His fulfillment of human person in the image and likeness of God. That is not a matter of sentimentality or using religion to achieve any worldly goal, but of responding with true spiritual integrity to the gloriously good news that the Son of God has become one of us for our salvation. The more that we undertake the struggle to do so, the more we will participate personally in the true peace of Paradise that the God-Man is born to share with us as “partakers of the divine nature.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“We should strive to make ourselves aware of God’s presence at every moment of our lives. Whether we are in church or at home, whether we are playing, vacationing, working, exercising, resting, shopping, surfing the internet, or in any other activity, we need to cultivate in our hearts and minds awareness that we are always in God’s presence.  Creating that awareness of God’s presence helps keep God close to our hearts rather than thinking of God as some distant or remote deity who has no concern for us.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)

“Christ did not come into the world to eliminate suffering, Christ did not even come into the world to explain it. Father, He came to fill human suffering with His presence. That is why where suffering is great, there God is, there Christ is in us. If you want to feel the presence of God, go into the hospitals. There you will see the suffering of innocent children, the suffering of old people. The presence of God, the presence of Jesus Christ, is in all their suffering. When Christ came into the world and suffered, He suffered with me! He suffered with you! Can you imagine how much dignity He gave to human suffering? To suffer with us. To fill our suffering with His presence…No one can deny that there is a great deal of sorrow and suffering in the world…But sickness and sighing are not the only things we experience in our lifetimes. For if we are attentive, we also realize we have an inner, spiritual self which experiences the spiritual world including experiencing the presence of God our Creator and Savior.” (Fr. George Calciu, Fr. Basil)

“By means of righteousness we come into God’s presence, as Moses did when he entered the thick cloud where God was (Ex 19:20). On the other hand, by the practice of evil a person leaves the presence of the Lord. For example, Cain, when he killed his brother, left the Lord’s presence as far as his will was concerned…The more someone lives according to God, the more closely he can approach Him; and the more he distances himself from a godly life, the more he is isolated from Him. God does not send him away; it is he who distances himself from God’s presence.” (St. Athanasius, Saint Paisios of Mount Athos)

“God became human in Jesus Christ to save humans, to unite humans to God. God did not become human to create the perfect rubrics or liturgy nor to develop more rules for humans to follow. Consequently, our best offering to God is our selves, to make ourselves consciously aware of God’s presence in our lives and in the world and to offer up to God all we think, say or do. St Gregory also comments: “Let us offer our own selves, the possession most precious to God and closest to him.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh, St. Gregory Nazianzus)

“If we are to gain the full riches of a life in Christ, we must also seek out times and places of solitude. Those of us living in the world must develop our own little deserts – places where we can withdraw each day into the renewing and healing presence of God…we must deliberately set apart a time each and every day to be with God – and with Him alone. Without solitude, we find no renewal of life!” (Dynamis 7/21/2020)

“In the Trisagion Prayers, we invoke the Spirit of God who is “present everywhere and fills all things.” Thus, we believe that the Spirit works in all and through all. And so we affirm what Paul declared in Philippians: “It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). But where and when are we to will and do what God desires? Surely the Spirit is present in times and places other than worship. Surely the Spirit is active in and through more of us than the ministers and ministries of the church? Surely the spirit works in us wherever we are. If all this is true, let us ask the Spirit to guide and empower us to integrate our family life with our church life, our work with our worship, our life in society with our life in the Church. Then we will realize the wisdom that the qualities of goodness are better than the practices of formal piety that do not come from the heart.” (Fr. Basil)

“Another way to account for our sleep-filled spiritual lives is our secularity – our default spiritual position. To see the world as self-existent, governed by its own rules, operating according to some set of independent principles, is to give ourselves over to an agreed-upon model of indolence. We assume the secular world-view as the basis of our lives, with “religion” or “spirituality” as optional extensions of personal preference. The truth of things is that God is everywhere present and filling all things, all things existing only because He sustains them. The “principles” which we see as “laws” are the providence of God, the bounty of His good will. Secularism is the sleep which deadens the mind and hardens the heart.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“God is Love. And if we call upon God in our life as the Holy Fathers teach us, then we are calling upon Love. If we know and believe that He is present everywhere at all times and if we are united with Him in our hearts, He will teach us how to love our neighbor. For we do not know how to love either the Lord or our neighbor. The evil spirits often so interfere with the Divine love given us by God that they often lure us away from the path of real and true love. Their suggestions are full of the physical and emotional aspects of this world: enjoyment and lust, which is nothing but enslavement.” (Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica)

“…for the Christian who knows that the Holy Spirit “blows” where He wills and “is everywhere present,” the recognition of sober thought and decency in other places than the Church is important.” (Edith M. Humphrey)

“As the Creator of all, God is also totally manifest in all beings and in all things. All creation is the self-manifestation of God. Every detail in this world conceals the self-communication of God, ‘present everywhere and filling all things.’ ” (Dn. John Chryssavgis)

“The Lord is present everywhere, and nothing happens without His will or His permission, either in this life or in eternity. When we accept this idea, everything is made easier.” (Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica)

“…the Spirit of God is and remains free: free from any ritual act or formula, free from any manipulation by sinful human beings, free to come and go as He will, like the wind (John 3:8; it is significant that in Greek there is a single word, pneuma, for both wind and spirit). The Spirit of God is a Spirit of absolute freedom, “everywhere present and filling all things.” Such total inner freedom is essential if He is to realize His work of renewal, sanctification and salvation within our lives and within creation as a whole.” (Fr. John Breck)

“God has such a great love and respect for us that He never invades our privacy although He is “everywhere present and fills all things.” He waits to be invited. He is ever eager to act in harmony with all the good and worthwhile actions that we do, but it’s up to us to acquire the habit of calling on the Lord frequently. When it happens that we ignore or maybe don’t realize…the Lord is beside us and inside us, we go it alone through the experiences that make up our lives. You know what happens to your auto when you leave it in the garage for a month and then turn on the ignition. Nothing. Perhaps not a good analogy, because the Holy Spirit is there within your heart without needing a recharge; however, all too many have never learned to call on the name of the Lord.” (Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky)

“If we concede that some of our life is drudgery, mindless but needful, while other parts of our lives are interesting and of value to God, then we have ourselves created a two-story universe of our inner world. This part of my life is of no value – while this part is of great value. This, of course, is nonsense. Even service in the Holy Altar frequently consists in washing dishes…the problem of the two-story universe is to be found primarily in our own heart – not in the culture around us nor in the tasks we find at hand. God is everywhere present and filling all things. He is even present and filling the various tasks of “drudgery” we undertake. No task is beneath us. The Mother of God changed the diapers of the God of heaven. Our love for those around us should be no less.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“…our Lord is active in every aspect of our own life. He may act through a conflict we are now facing, or a persecution we must endure for Christ, or an exile we must endure far from our homeland or family of origin. During our travels and while we are at home, in formal interviews and small talk, in planned meetings and chance encounters, God works on our dispositions and understanding. Nothing in this world remains outside His purview. The way of the Lord is to be everywhere present, filling all things. Let us be attentive to what He is doing and saying at every moment.” (Dynamis 5/6/2018)

“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 Ministries)

“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)

“When we turn from Him, God effectively withdraws from us, although in reality He remains everywhere present.” (Dynamis 7/28/2014)" faith we can enter directly into God’s presence through prayer.” (Life Application Study Bible, Ephesians 3:12)

“No one feels God's presence all the time, at every moment of his or her life. Even the greatest saints have moments of doubt, uncertainty, and darkness.” (Rev. Christopher H. Martin)

"How do we sustain an awareness of God’s presence? The Lord Jesus offers us specific guidance... First, let our charitable giving be discreet and private. We must also pray in secret…and occupy our hearts with prayer constantly.... Finally, the Lord gives us His own prayer (“Our Father”) as a sure guide and weapon against vainglory. This prayer sustains us as we lift our hearts to Him.” (Dynamis 3/1/2014)

“Nothing provides more lasting peace and joy in all circumstances than a strong faith that is a direct result of a relationship with Christ. The more anyone grows in faith due to this relationship the more they will be at peace with their lives because they will feel God’s presence and grace in all circumstances.” (Sacramental Living)

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