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Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 39 : Love the Lord | Day 271

Love to Be in God's Presence!

How would you have answered a 12-year-old brother who asked, "How can I grow closer to God?" Sixteen-year-old Isaac answered this question by saying, "We could get up at 4 o'clock each morning and memorize Scripture together." Derrick recalls the shock of getting out of bed at 4 the next morning to begin memorizing Matthew 5 with his brother. After they had memorized Matthew 5-7 and could quote it word perfect, they went on to memorize the Book of James and other passages. Derrick observed in Isaac's life that he did not simply memorize Scripture. Rather, he delighted in it throughout the day and would often say, "Look at the insight in this verse!"

It was evident to all who knew him that Isaac loved to be in the presence of God and to tell others about Him. In the spring of 2005, his family left the comforts of their home and went to serve the Lord in Mongolia. Little did they realize that on November 4, 2005, the Lord would call 25-year-old Isaac home to be in His presence for eternity.

After Isaac's death, his twin brother Adam wrote: "Isaac laid down his life and served his last days to bring the message of hope to the people of Mongolia. What greater love could he have shown for the One Who sent His Son, Jesus Christ, that the people of every kindred, tongue, and nation might one day stand before His throne in paradise, redeemed unto God through the blood of Jesus Christ."

Loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength is contagious, attracting others to God's love and light.

We can learn much about delighting in God's presence from the life of Jesus, Who is our supreme example:

  • He got up a great while before day to commune with His Father. (See Mark 1:35.)
  • He did nothing apart from the will of His heavenly Father. (See John 5:30.)
  • He knew the Word of God. (See Luke 24:32.)
  • He used Scripture to defeat all of Satan's temptations. (See Matthew 4:3-11.)
  • He worshiped God by singing. (See Matthew 26:30.)
  • He taught others about the kingdom of God wherever He went. (See Luke 4:43-44.)
  • He used every crisis as an opportunity to demonstrate God's power. (See Matthew 15:31.)

Living in God's presence means involving Him in all of our thoughts, words, and actions.

God delights in those who delight to be with Him. Those who spend time in His presence find that the pleasures and possessions of this world lose their glitter and glamour and that God's desires become their desires.

If the thought of memorizing large passages of Scripture is overwhelming to you, don't be discouraged. The amount of God's Word that we memorize is not as important as the depth that we meditate upon it and apply it to our daily lives. Business executive Jim Sammons takes one verse each week and meditates on it day and night. He has found that rich new insights for application of the verse come to his mind throughout the week. Let's delight ourselves in the presence of the Lord and see how He will give us the desires of our hearts (see Psalm 37:4).

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard