PART ONE: WITH GOD: devotional series
By: Tim Mannin
In addition to our Sunday teachings about choosing to be with God we are providing these simple devotionals as a way to encourage your heart and grow your relationship with God.
Scientist, Dr. Duncan MacDougall back in the early 1900’s wanted to prove that every human has a soul and he believed that with that soul it carried physical presence so he performed some experiments with people who were near their death. Right before they died he would place them on a special bed that would measure weight. The bed was sensitive up to two tenths of an ounce. Through several experiments he discovered that the human body lost an immediate and approximate 21 grams at the time of death.
Now this is still a theory and isn’t a proven fact. However it’s an intriguing thought. To think that when we die something noticeably leaves. MacDougall did the same experiment on dogs and that showed that dogs lost absolutely no weight at the time of death. So maybe all dogs don’t go to heaven? Perhaps, that's why this dog is so sad.
Regardless if we really lose 21 grams or not I think most people, regardless of their religious or spiritual beliefs believe that every human feels a spiritual weight in this world. Recently, I’ve been using the term “spiritual gravity” – there is a weight to the spiritual realities of this world. When I’m more tuned in and spending more time praying and seeking the Lord I feel this gravity more.
It’s as if the more I seek Him…the more I feel Him.
It’s spiritual gravity.
We can feel his presence.
Do you feel it?
Too often we don’t feel God. As a result, we feel empty, or like we are failing, and we even question God. Living a life with God begins by paying attention to the spiritual gravity in this world. He’s everywhere! He’s in a good story, in a great laugh, in a glass of orange juice (the seed, growth, fruit, harvest, manufacture miracle), in a single breath, in perfect fall day, and in a great dinner with friends. He’s in all of that.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the Heavens you are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings on the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea,
Even there your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me.
When we pay attention we can feel His presence press in on us. It’s not a burdensome, cumbersome weight. It’s a gravity of depth, warmth, meaning, and realizing life has more to it than just jobs, busyness, and breathing. Life has this invisible reality that we feel in the depths of our soul. It’s a gravity and a weight that’s there. Some dismiss this sense of God’s Presence With Us to emotional swells, or wishful thinking. Perhaps at times, but what does it mean to live WITH GOD? He’s clearly said HE’S WITH US. But what about us…do we have a responsibility or opportunity or role to play in this whole thing? Is it just about Him being with us—what about us being with God?
REFLECTION & APPLICATION
- How do the scriptures above speak to you about God’s presence?
- Consider the endless ways His presence (withness) interacts with your life. Journal a list of thoughts.
- The scriptures clearly teach us that He is with us—we have the opportunity to feel his presence more every day by paying attention and seeking Him. What are 1-2 ways you can seek him this week?
- Consider doing something significant to be WITH GOD and follow through for a period of time. Here are some ideas: 1. Commit to Pray for 7, 14, 30, or 40 Days at the same time each day. 2. Fast: choose a type of fast for a period of time and during the fast spend additional time in prayer and study. 3. Conversations: Choose 2-3 people to meet with individually over the course of a week or two. Encourage one another, talk about life and faith and pray together.
Thank you God for your presence and how you go before us. May be become people who hunger and thirst to be with you as much as you have chosen to be with us. Lord may we walk humbly and courageously today as your servants. Amen.