God Is With You Always – Guest EditorialMarcel Turner – Orlando ICC
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
If you’re reading this, I hope this article encourages you to love God more than ever before. I’m only aiming for you to be strengthened in your faith. As I was writing I realized that God was watching me…even a temptation to drift off came across my mind and I just said to myself “no, God sees what I’m doing,” and suddenly I worked a little harder! I pray this sticks with you for as long as you need it to. Let me start with something that happened to me about 20 years ago.
I grew up in Oregon along the I-5 in Roseburg, Eugene, and Portland. Every place gave me some amazing memories, especially Roseburg. One night I was with a couple friends and we were running through grass that grew above our heads. As we were running trying to lose each other I heard a sudden movement right in front of me. Startled as can be, I looked and there was a deer and its baby, close enough to touch and they ran by me. It was a moment I will never forget because I was so scared and amazed at the same time. There isn’t a moment I can remember quite like that…it makes me think of God. God scares me and amazes me at the same time. He knows me completely. He knows all of us completely. I mean that’s pretty much one of the most mind blowing FACTS you’ll ever you know.
Is there anyone in your life who COMPLETELY knows you? They would have to know every secret, every thought and every emotion. This would be impossible for a person. The only one who knows all about you is God. The Lord knows every hair on your head Luke 12:7, which shows us how caring and loving He is. If the Lord knows every hair on your head he knows every deed you do. This shows us His mercy and grace, because we all fall short in so many ways. Imagine if your parents were present every step of your day. Would they be pleased? Would they be upset? Disgruntled? Or would they be ashamed? We can so easily forget that God is always with us in every moment. When God watches your life, what is he seeing?
The Bible states that Jesus will be WITH YOU ALWAYS Matthew 28:20 and in so many other scriptures, to encourage us to stay faithful to God, especially when we are alone. A relationship with the Lord completely relies on us living like God is with us at ALL TIMES, not just when we’re near other people or at church. Have you been living like God is with you always? Take a look at Matthew 15:1-13. Jesus sees straight into the true heart and all he wants for us is to live with Him always. Hebrews 4:13 says, “…everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” We are talking about a realization that God is not closing his eyes to what we do: bad or good. There are three ways you can live that show you have this conviction: prayer, sharing your faith, and purity.
God Hears Every Prayer
1John 5:14 “This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” Confidence doesn’t come from what we do but from the FACT that God hears us. Sometimes I can go to a place in my heart that says, “Because I did this or that God will not hear me,” but it just isn’t true. God hears every prayer because He is God. Period. How comforting it is to know that our prayers reach the ears of the creator of all things. There is an element that we must understand about sin and prayer- if we are continuously rejecting God by sinning, we aren’t living according to His will. So we won’t be praying according to His will…unless we choose to change our heart and repent. I’m talking to the person who desires deeply to have a TRUE relationship with God. Whether you’ve been in sin or not I encourage you to take an hour today and just pray to God. HE WILL HEAR YOU. Remember Isaiah 59? Is his arm too short to reach or his ear too dull to hear? Of course not! Your voice is heard and it does matter to God how you feel or what you think. Pray because you love to spend time with the One who loves to listen at ALL TIMES. Check out: John 15:7, Mark 11:24, Psalm 21:2, and Psalm 34:17.
Spreading the Gospel
Psalm 96:3 “Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all peoples.” Let me get vulnerable for a second. There have been many days where I get discouraged when someone just doesn’t want to become a disciple…but why do I get discouraged? Is it a good thing? I have asked myself this question because my motives were questionable. If someone doesn’t want to be a follower of Christ, it can sometimes take me out…but why? It is because in some way I wanted glory from them choosing to worship God. I can still go there sometimes. My overall goal in this article is to show how BIG OF A GAP LIFE WOULD HAVE IF GOD WERE NOT FILLING IT. God fills my voids. There are some huge holes in my heart and only He can fill them. I tried everything under the sun to fill those voids and nothing did the job. Only God is always with me.
Which brings me to my point: imagine if someone never reached out to me. I’d be lost forever. Empty. But since someone took the courage to say something to me, I’m here today. And so are you. God sends us out to THE WHOLE WORLD to declare His praises 1Peter 2:9-10. Have you been doing what God sent you out to do or have you also gotten “discouraged”? Maybe your motives are questionable as well. We will always be taken care of by God even when we mess up…it’s something worth sharing not for personal gain but for God’s glory. Share the gospel with others because you know God can fill every void. Share the truth because you know God can save anyone. Do it because you love Jesus and without anyone having to remind you about it. Jesus chose you out of billions of people to go and do the same for others. Today I encourage you to refresh your heart and go make disciples with pure motives and intentions.
Purity is not Impossible!
Matthew 17:2 “There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as the light.” I’ve been the guy that says I’ll never be pure. And heard many people say the same thing. But we have an example we can follow here. Jesus sets us an example of what happens when someone is close to God. Literally, I believe that Jesus was so close to God that even his clothes became white- so white, so pure that they were like the sun. That’s amazing! Purity isn’t an accomplishment we can obtain alone. Purity is given to the people who strive to get close to God. The closer you are to God the more pure you become. Have you been battling with being pure? I have a question that might help: do you do WHATEVER IT TAKES to be pure?
A great relationship with God is your answer. Simple I know, but look at Jesus. He spent his days and nights in prayer and fasting. Before he was taken to the cross we find Jesus PRAYING FOR THREE HOURS to get his heart right. Tonight I was tempted…yes tempted like all of us…and I had a choice to fall into it, try to fight it off on my own or walk away and pray for however long it took to get my heart and mind focused on God. Praise God I chose door number 3! I walked away and prayed to get myself back focused on God. Whenever you get tempted to be impure (physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually) I challenge you to get up and go pray for however long it takes to set your heart and mind on things above Colossians 3:1-2. Purity is a HUGE indicator that you are concerned that God is watching you. I encourage you to live a life that shows you know that GOD IS WITH YOU ALWAYS.
I want to close out with a bit of a testimony. At 17 I remember crying out to God. My Mom was in the hospital for a sickness she has been battling since before I was born. I went and saw her and it ripped my heart out to see her in the condition she was in. Nothing the doctors tried helped her. The only thing that could help was time. In my mind there wasn’t any time. Time wasn’t something I could just throw away, so I cried out to God. Sitting outside the building, I started to pray. It was the first time I actually poured myself out. I said something along the lines of, “God please help my Mom, please heal her and save her from this. I can’t do this alone and need you to work.” After a whole lot of tears and I don’t know how long, I got up and walked away. Very shortly after, she was released from the hospital and moved in with me.
Truly God answered because he was watching… and still is. I remember that moment because it was the first time I realized God answers prayers. God heard my quiet little squeak of a voice and decided to work because he truly is watching at all times. I pray we can all get back to a true understanding that God is with us. He hears us and wants us to know that he cares for us EVERY STEP OF THE WAY. Even if it doesn’t seem like it or maybe you are struggling, I pray this serves as an encouraging reminder of Matthew 28:20 when Jesus promised that he is “with you always.”