Beginning in January, I'll begin teaching Face to Face: Women in the Presence of Christ in person and online.
We talk about being in the presence of God. We hear others talk of it, and we wonder what they mean. We long for it even if we don’t know how to define it. To dwell in the presence of our Creator? To look into the face of our Master? To kneel at His feet? To rest in Him? Even if we believe that it is possible, it is sometimes hard to imagine what it might look like in our everyday.
I am convinced that God’s plan has forever been to usher us into His presence. From before the creation of the world, He was prepared not only send a Savior but to be the Savior. He was prepared to dwell among us—to dress Himself in human frailty and submit Himself to death—in order that we might dwell with Him. Through the sacrifice of the very Son of God, a way has been opened for us to come boldly before His throne (Hebrews 4:14-16). He delights to know us and to make Himself known.
I am convinced that we are welcome. I am not always sure what that means. What is it to seek the presence of One we cannot see? What does that look like in my life? What does it look like in yours? I read of the women in the gospels, the ones who encountered Jesus face to face—the ones who sat at His feet and clung to His robe and sought Him in the crowd. I think that nothing would make me braver or bolder than to wrap my arms around the Man of Christ, to sit beside Him, to feel His hands upon my head as He speaks healing and comfort and peace.
But that very Man has promised us something that He said was even better. Jesus said to His closest followers, “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7). Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit who dwells within everyone who calls upon the saving name of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:16).
The very presence of the Living God encloses Himself in our fragile hearts. Yes, the Lord is near. No, He will never leave us nor forsake us.
What does it mean to seek Him, though? What does it mean to really live a life that is aware of His presence, that looks for Him, that longs for Him? What does it mean to come to Him and receive rest (Matthew 11:28-30)? What does it mean to draw near to God and allow Him to draw near to us (James 4:8)?
I am pulled toward the women in the gospels. It is helpful to see in the physical what I believe to be true in the spiritual.
We will open these Scriptures together to peer into the lives of these ancient women. However you come and whatever you seek, I invite you to come and chase these ancient women into the presence of God. We will watch the Man of Christ move among them that we might better recognize His Spirit as He moves among us.
May we seek the Spirit of Christ in the same way that these women sought the Man of Christ. May we know what it is to run or fall or laugh or weep in the presence of the One who invites us in. May we encounter Him in ways that we have not before. And may our every encounter cause us to love Him more. May we come face to face with an invisible God who once robed Himself in human flesh, and may we find Him to be our Savior and our Lord and our most Faithful Friend.
This study's format is different than the fall's. Rather than an extended Bible study and teaching, the devotional guide includes a gospel reading about the woman we will be discussing, my own reflections on the story and about what we see to be true of God in that passage, and several questions encouraging you to interact with the Scriptures and their Author. Each devotional concludes with a prayer prompt for you to pray over and discuss with the Lord. It's not a traditional Bible study, and it's "less work" than many. But I believe that if we will put in the time, if we will really spend the energy to seek and pursue the Lord, He will meet us just as personally as He met those women He encountered while He walked in the flesh.
If you're in the Houston area and available on Tuesday mornings, please join us from 10-11:30AM at Bayou City Fellowship (1400 Brittmoore, 77043). The study will meet every Tuesday from January 9-March 6. You can register online through Bayou City Fellowship by clicking here.
In addition, I will be hosting Face to Face online this spring, and I'd love for you to follow along either on your own or with your own small group. The online component will run January 16-March 13. On January 16, I will begin sending you the readings for each week. I will also send an audio recording of my teaching. This study is free, but I do need you to sign up if you'd like to receive the emails. Sign up to participate in this online study by clicking here.
(NOTE: I'm changing the way this works, so even if you already receive the blog posts, I need to you to sign up for this study separately if you'd like to participate!)
I hope you'll consider joining me!
It is my desire to see women come to know and love the Lord more by encountering Him in their daily life, prayer and on the pages of His written Word–by entering into our place in His presence and allowing Him to meet us there.
Opening up the Scriptures that He has placed in our hands is one way that we come to know the Lord and His ways. I am working on making several resources available that I hope will be an encouragement to you as you seek the Lord.