Practiced Presence

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?      Psalm 118:6

Are you in the holiday spirit? Have you decorated a tree or put up a seasonal centerpiece? Are you finished with shopping? How about cookie or stollen baking? There is so much to do that, even in the most celebratory times, it is easy to become overwhelmed and anxious. Anxiety, if not dealt with, can lead to fear. Slow down, take a deep breath, and say aloud the first part of today’s verse, “The Lord is on my side.” Say it again. Contemplate the significance of the God of the universe, the Creator of space and time, the Father of your Lord Jesus Christ, being on your side. 

Saint Patrick of Ireland, born around 390 in Scotland and taken captive and imprisoned in Ireland when he was sixteen years old, penned a prayer or hymn in which he wrote, “Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left,” and that is not all. Patrick knew the strength of the Lord, and practiced the presence of God daily, as did Brother Lawrence in the 17th century, who wrote teachings compiled in the book “Practicing the Presence of God.” Just as these believers had a continual consciousness and awareness of God being with them, so can you. 

Embrace and absorb the awareness that the Lord is with you and on your side today. Ask Him for reassurance when you experience doubt. Confess any sins that might stand in the way of your conscious connection with Him. Then live fearlessly, for He is bigger than any circumstance that could overtake you. Pray for active-duty military personnel deployed in harm’s way to know the Lord, practice His presence, and find His peace.

Today’s Verse: Psalm 118:6

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. 
    What can man do to me? 

All Scripture quotations and audio are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Recommended for further reading: Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation; 
    whom shall I fear? 
The Lord is the stronghold of my life; 
    of whom shall I be afraid? 

2 When evildoers assail me 
    to eat up my flesh, 
my adversaries and foes, 
    it is they who stumble and fall. 

3 Though an army encamp against me, 
    my heart shall not fear; 
though war arise against me, 
    yet I will be confident. 

4 One thing have I asked of the Lord, 
    that will I seek after: 
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord 
    all the days of my life, 
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord 
    and to inquire in his temple. 

5 For he will hide me in his shelter 
    in the day of trouble; 
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; 
    he will lift me high upon a rock. 

6 And now my head shall be lifted up 
    above my enemies all around me, 
and I will offer in his tent 
    sacrifices with shouts of joy; 
I will sing and make melody to the Lord. 

7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; 
    be gracious to me and answer me! 
8 You have said, “Seek my face.” 
My heart says to you, 
    “Your face, Lord, do I seek.” 
9     Hide not your face from me. 
Turn not your servant away in anger, 
    O you who have been my help. 
Cast me not off; forsake me not, 
    O God of my salvation! 
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, 
    but the Lord will take me in. 

11 Teach me your way, O Lord, 
    and lead me on a level path 
    because of my enemies. 
12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; 
    for false witnesses have risen against me, 
    and they breathe out violence. 

13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord 
    in the land of the living! 
14 Wait for the Lord; 
    be strong, and let your heart take courage; 
    wait for the Lord! 

All Scripture quotations and audio are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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