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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

By Invitation Only

Matthew 6 : 9 - 10, In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. NKJV

What do I mean when I say, "By invitation only"? The Holy Spirit is very gentle and sensitive. He will not come unless he is invited. In fact, the Lord told John to look for the presence of the Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove as the very evidence that Jesus was the Messiah. Therefore, how important is it that we position ourselves in a way that invites the presence of God is in our lives? Let's go back and take a look.

In the beginning, God created man in His image, blessed them, and gave them control over the earth. The Lord wanted them to rule the earth in the same manner that He ruled in heaven. Unfortunately, Adam rebelled against God's authority in his life and lost his own dominion over the world.

As a result of Adam's rebellion, all of mankind was placed in bondage to sin and Satan. Adam's sin grieved the presence of God, and His presence lifted off them, allowing them to see their own nakedness and shame. It was shortly after the fall of man that God instituted the plan of redemption. His first redemptive act was to kill an innocent animal in order to cover the shame of man's nakedness. This covering was a shadow of what the blood of Jesus would do for our sin-ridden conscious under the new covenant.

Through the knowledge of sin, man lost the presence of God because sin grieves His presence. Sin is not a suitable atmosphere for the Lord. Therefore, as believers we must guard our hearts from indulging in the pleasures of this world so that we don't grieve or quench the presence of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus gave us the model prayer, He began by honoring the Lord's presence. Hallowed means to set apart from all other names or gods and to exalt His name above all others. After He spoke of honoring the name of the Lord, Jesus went on to say that we are to invite His kingdom or rule of authority to be done on earth as it already is in heaven. 

The body of Christ is in desperate need for the presence of God to return in great power. Therefore, we must first train ourselves to honor, revere, and esteem the name of the Lord in our lives through obedience to His Word and will. Secondly, we must create a pure and sacred place in which the presence of the Lord will feel welcomed. I used the word "feel" because He can be grieved and quenched. I have been in places with people where I was made to "feel" very unwelcome, and it wasn't comfortable for me.

Jesus gives us a clue in Matthew 5 as to how to become a vessel that honors and attracts the presence of God. He said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled." We might not be perfect; we might not get everything right. Nevertheless, if we focus our heart's attention on hunger, then He has promised to fill our hunger and quench our thirst with His righteousness. Will you join with me in prayer that the hunger for God will return to the church, and His presence will once again fill the houses of worship in an unprecedented way?
"Holy Spirit, thou art welcome in this place."

Seeking the Presence of God,
Pastor Asa Dockery

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