Friday, September 22, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: God's promise to always be with you

A Promise of God’s Presence
A devotional by Essie Faye Taylor

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
 –Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)

I was in awe and utter disbelief as I stood before a small group of teens. I was teaching a lesson about integrity and hope. I’d asked if anyone in the group knew the story of Adam and Eve. One teen vaguely knew the details of the creation story. That fact struck a chord within me. To think that these teens experienced the absence of the presence of God’s Word in their lives was devastating. I could not imagine a life absent of God’s presence. I never want to imagine that.

My faith journey began as early as I could remember. I was practically born on a pew, surrounded by and steeped in faith. As a child, I knew God was present. His Word was present as I memorized Bible verses and by faith, believed them. The presence of God’s Word in my life has brought me great comfort and security. God’s presence in my life has always assured me of His provision. As the ninth child of fifteen, I saw God’s hand provide for our family daily. Because of my faith in God’s promise of His presence I knew that He would provide all of my needs. Philippians 4:19 (NIV) declares,“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” His provision for me is certain because of His presence.

God’s presence brings me peace amid life’s storms and despite my personal fears. His presence gives me hope that everything will be okay because God is in control of my world and I can trust Him with my life. I want all of my students to embrace the promise of God’s presence because in His presence we experience joy, hope, love, peace, and pleasures forever. I am a witness. I want teens to experience joy and hope in a world where depression runs rampant, destroying lives and families. I want them to experience true love and peace amid a world filled with those practicing hatred and environments full of chaos. I want them to know the pleasure of growing to know an incredible God who loves them unconditionally, just as they are.

God’s presence invokes His Deity. God is sovereign. He is the Creator of the Universe. He called this Earth into existence from nothing. He always has been and He always will be. He is omnipotent and omniscient. He is in a category alone. He is preeminent. There is no one comparable to God and there are no other living gods except Him.

God’s presence invokes His character. He is holy, sinless and without error. He is integral, faithful, and true. He makes no mistakes and He watches over His Word to perform it. He is morally pure and righteous. He is love and His mercy are everlasting. His truth endures to all generations.

God’s presence invokes His provision. The Earth belongs to Him, along with everything and everyone in it because He is the Creator. The cattle on a thousand hills are His. He named the stars and flung them into space. Heaven holds His throne and the Earth is His footstool.

God’s presence invokes His covenant. His promises are sure. He keeps His covenant throughout all generations. He watches over His Word to perform it. God’s Word shall last forever.

In Deuteronomy 31:8 (written by Moses) and Hebrews 13:5 (written by Paul), they testify that God will never leave or forsake His people. This is a promise that God will invoke His deity, His character, His covenant, and His provision in order to demonstrate His love and commitment to a people who were finicky at best. God’s children of Israel repeated the toxic cycle of faith and doubt throughout their course of history. Yet, God promised them His presence. They were given access to the all-powerful God who even called them His “child”.

In Matthew 28, Jesus Christ declares the same promise to His disciples just before He leaves them physically. God incarnate affirms His commitment to His followers, even in His physical absence. He is with us, by faith, always–even to the end of the age. We can rest in His presence and all that comes with that. God’s presence signifies that He will indeed take care of us. Of this we can be sure.

Call to Action:

Action #1: Believe that God is present with you, even in the face of adversity. 

Action #2: Embrace all the benefits of God’s presence in your life and be grateful. 

Action #3: Acknowledge God’s presence in your life by doing the things that honor Him and getting rid of those things that displease Him. 

Action #4: Remember, David the psalmist begged God not to take His presence from Him because that meant that His life would be void of goodness. Enjoy God’s presence and never take it for granted.

Let’s Pray:
Heavenly Father, I thank You for being present in my life. Your presence brings love, peace, joy, goodness, and mercy. Your presence brings Your essence, Your character, Your power, and Your provision. Thank You for assuring me that you are with me always. You’ll never leave me nor forsake me. I’m not worthy of such a gift, yet you extend it to me. I thank You. Help me to remain grateful for your love and mindfulness toward me. Thank you Father for hearing and answering me. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Your Presence Is A Promise” by Mack Brock. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Essie Taylor is an author, educator, minister, youth advocate, recording artist, podcaster, and improviser. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Rockford College.

She is a veteran educator of Bilingual Education, English as a Second Language, and Spanish Language Acquisition with National Board Teacher Certification. She is an advocate of lifelong learning, language learning, and multiculturalism.

Essie is the CEO of KenMar Press, an author agency, and The Essie Faye Collection. Essie is the author of Finding the Love You Deserve: 30 Lessons in Self-Love & Acceptance, and Finding The Love Your Deserve: A 60-Day Healing Journal For Women of Faith.

She is deeply committed to motivating minorities, women, and youth to pursue God while chasing their dreams and carving out their life’s path. She loves God, people, and helping others.

Essie has been a Christian for nearly all of her 39 years. She was born again at 15 years old. She has been a bilingual worship leader and interpreter for 10+ years. By the grace of God, Essie helped to establish bilingual ministries at five churches in her young life. She is a survivor of domestic violence (verbal and emotional abuse) and marital abandonment in a prior marriage.

Essie is a Chicago native. She lives in Chicago with her husband Donald Taylor II.

Connect with Essie:

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