I was there, but I really wasn’t there

One of the most powerful things we can do in our lives is to be present with the people we are with. The invention of the smart phone, with Facebook and Instagram and Twitter Snapchat and now Periscope right at our fingertips, has made it difficult to be content to be present where we are.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this struggle. I have to consciously choose to put my phone away in my pocket, or face down on the table, or else I will constantly be checking e-mails, scrolling through Twitter feeds, Snapchatting my wife at work, or wondering what I should Periscope next that people would actually watch. I even changed the settings on my phone so that when I flip the switch on my iPhone it doesn’t vibrate, it completely silences any noises. I was getting too distracted and putting all of my presence into the phone rather than into the people around me. Cell phones and tablets and social media can cause us to be somewhere but to not really be there. We could go to a friends house and “be there, but not really there.”

Have you thought about how much time you spend on your phone every day? I’d be a little nervous to see the real data on that for each of us. The answer is most likely “more than I should.”

Presence is a powerful tool.

There is this crazy story in Matthew chapter 17 where Jesus Christ goes up on a mountain with some of the guys that are following Him (actually His three best friends: Peter, James, and John). While on the mountain, Jesus is transfigured before these guys and becomes like His true likeness–He is unveiled as the Son of God in all His glory. If you can imagine this…someone brings you up on a mountain and then all of a sudden they start to transform in front of you and two people who have been dead for a long time appear, and there is a voice talking to you from heaven… Kind of an intimidating situation to be in! Here is what Jesus says after these guys had fallen on their faces in fear:

But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.”

Oh okay. After what they just saw? As simple as that? Just don’t be afraid?

It’s as easy as that. Things with Jesus are just that easy. Believe. Abide. Trust. Follow. Get up. Don’t be afraid. How? How could they just get up and not be afraid? The answer is because Jesus was there with them. He was present and caring and considerate.

Jesus’ presence makes all the difference. It does in your life too. You have nothing to be afraid of when Jesus is there. Instead, you have forgiveness and love and security and redemption. You and I may struggle with actually being fully present in any given situation, but Jesus does not have that problem.

powerofhispresenceWhen we pray to God, we have His full attention. Not a piece, not a moment, not a sliver of His attention; the whole thing. When we pray, God hears us. When we pray according to His will, God hears and answers. Be encouraged. God is there, really there, when we call out to Him. Trust in Him. Follow Him. Call out to Him. He wants to know you and you to know Him.

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