Sunday, April 21, 2019

Practice the Presence: How a simple man from the 17th century can help us simplify our lives today

















By Bunni Pounds


The longer I walk with God the simpler my walk gets. I am convinced that we over complicate our relationship with God. 

For younger believers, I have always broken down devotion to God into three areas so they can remember them- worship, prayer, and the Word of God. Yet even those three can flow in and out of each other and comes down to a simple posture of turning our eyes to Jesus. A healthy vibrant spiritual life really in simplicity to being with God and making Jesus our number one thought every day - turning our affections toward Him through our often weak and half-hearted prayers.

In our crazy busy culture that we live in, this can seem so hard, but it is because our souls are so cluttered. Just as we de-clutter our houses or our closets, the Holy Spirit, our teacher, wants to take us on a journey of de-cluttering our souls.


If you are a born again believer who has accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then your spirit is reborn and is in the constant presence of God; but so often we don’t tap into our spirits, our internal lives, because of all the noise going on in our souls- our mind, will, and emotions.


Our spirits are yearning for communion with God and Jesus died for us to be with Him and know Him, but what is the answer for us today? How do we do that?


I believe the answer lies in the PRACTICING of the presence of God in simple moments in the car, washing dishes, changing diapers, taking a break from our computers, throughout our day taking a moment to remember we are walking in His presence.


I work in politics where our souls are always getting attacked with pride, anger, and fear. If we, as Christians in this field, don’t deal with our souls, we will turn into horrible, prideful, angry, and controlling people. It is not pleasant. In whatever field you are in, I am sure you can list out the enemies of your soul.


I recently ran for Congress and found joy and peace in the midst of the hardest six months of my life. My testimony at the end of it all was that God is so faithful to our hearts in the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. He was faithful to protect my soul as I daily and minute by minute turned my heart toward Him.


Last week, I picked up a book from my shelf in my office that has always inspired me - but even more so this week than ever before - The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. I have consumed this book again this week because I believe this is really the fight for all of us in the Body of Christ in our generation.

Will we steal away with God in our hearts during the most turbulent moments of our lives?

Will we cut through all the voices and the noise and seek God in the stillness of our hearts?

Will we fulfill the desire and prayer of Jesus in John 17:24 that we would be “with Him where He is”?

Will we really admit that He is our ultimate source and if we don’t have His presence with us, we can’t do anything?

Now is the time to connect with God like never before and we will have to be intentional and militant to see it happen in our lives.

Brother Lawrence (1614-1691) was a just a lay brother who served at the Carmelite monastery in the 17th century. He washed dishes and later in life repaired sandals. He sought God in the midst of his simple work and became known for his great peace, his contentment in life, and his words of wisdom concerning how to access the presence of God every day at any moment.

I think we here in our modern culture have something to learn from Brother Lawrence. I have been convicted and provoked by this simple man’s wholehearted love for God again.

Every day I will be posting on my FacebookTwitter, and Instagram pages a quote from Brother Lawrence and then I will give you some practical instruction or a story from my own life on how I #PracticeThePresence.

He said such profound things as “Believe me, count as lost each day you have not used in loving God.”

Or “Let what may come of it, however many be the days remaining to me, I will do all things for the LOVE of God”

He didn’t need to retreat to find God because he found Him every day in the noise of His kitchen doing hundreds of dishes. He would turn his thoughts toward the Living God and commune with Him in prayer and meditation of the Word of God.

As I have said many times, being in the presence of Jesus is what we are going to be doing for all eternity- we might as well practice it now.

The four living creatures and the elders in the book of Revelation never get tired of saying “Holy, Holy, Holy” because they see again and again and again another aspect of His beauty. They cannot stop because they have seen Him- the beautiful Son of God.

Will you go on a journey with me for as many days as we want to - discovering the words of this simple monk who learned the art of practicing the Presence of God?

We are going to #PracticeThePresence. I have much to learn. 

After thirty-one years of walking with God, I believe this is the essence of the Christian life and the place where true joy and peace is found. If we don’t have JESUS, we don’t have anything. I am by NO means perfect and I am more hungry for God now than every before. 

Let’s #PracticeThePresence together and discover more about the beauty of Jesus than we ever imagined.



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