2 Corinthians 3:12-14 (NLT)
Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ.
What is the cloud? Where is the cloud? Are we in the cloud now? These questions were raised by Amy Poehler in the famous Super Bowl commercial. Cloud computing is all the rage. If you are not techno savvy, this can sound quite exciting and revolutionary even though you have no idea what the computer world is talking about. Cloud computing is nothing more than storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet rather on the hard drive of your computer. The obvious benefit would be the ability to increase the amount of storable and retrievable information making it limitless. The cloud allows users to access important information anywhere they are and work from just about any location. The downfall is what happens if the cloud is not able to protect your information or retrieve it when you need it the most. Our office is now on the “cloud”. A week ago, the server went down on “the cloud” and we were unable to work for the entire day. So the “cloud” is not flawless. The “cloud” is not a new idea but rather a revised, remade product of the past. When computers were first developed, most of them were connected to a primary network that did exactly the same thing. Being connected to the Internet with all your data stored there allows you to access what you need, when you need it with a simple internet connection. I am on “the cloud” as the world would have it.
There is another cloud introduced to God’s People in the Book of Exodus. The tangible Presence of God descending to meet with His People. The Lord shrouded His Presence in a cloud. These men and women had the same questions, “What is the cloud? Where is the cloud? Are we in the cloud?” The clouds house the promise of God’s Covenant Promise with mankind which is evident in each rainbow. (Genesis 9:12-15) One would think as people recall this promise, they would have been more inclined to come near the cloud housing the Presence of God. But there were not so inclined. The cloud would guide the people. (Exodus 13:21-22) The cloud would protect the people. (Exodus 14:19-20) His Voice projected from the cloud. (Exodus 19:9) But when God invited the people to come into His Presence, they were afraid and sent Moses instead. (Exodus 20:18-21) The Presence of God produces His Glory in our life. Moses would go into the Presence of God and come share what the Lord spoke to Him to everyone else. The radiant glow of His Face was the Glory of God that shone on this man yet it had to keep it covered by a veil so the people would hear what the Lord had to say and not be intimidated by its effect. (Exodus 34:33-35) Maybe you are thinking today, how could they be so stupid? Why wouldn’t they want to bask in the Presence of God and be part of His Glory? Why aren’t you?
By faith in Jesus Christ, we have righteousness or right-standing with God. We now are permitted by His Grace to come boldly before the Throne of God for whatever we need. (Ephesians 3:12) The Lord actually has invited us to do so. (Hebrews 4:16) What is God’s Presence? Where is God’s Presence? How do I enter the Presence of God?
2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (NLT)
But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
We have an unfair advantage over our ancestors. Jesus Christ has removed the veil that once separated us from living in the Presence of God in fear of immediate judgment and death. By His Grace, Mercy and Love demonstrated on the Cross, we are free to come boldly into the Presence of God and remain there forever. We no longer have to worry about the sin that would call for our immediate death now there is no sing just victory in each passing. The Power of God (His Glory) no longer hovers over us, guiding us from the front or lingering behind us. No now God’s Presence is in us – He is the Holy Spirit and we are now free to interact and immerse ourselves in the Love of God without fear of retribution. The Fruit of God’s Spirit and prosperity that is produced inside of us when we believe are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) To those who have never experienced the qualities of God manifested in His People by the Holy Spirit, it is hard to understand why these would be any more satisfying than the things of this world that glitter and shine but when hard times come and things like money do not matter – the Glory of God comes forth from each broken heart to reveal the incredible worth of the Presence of God within us.
2 Corinthians 4:7-9 (NLT)
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.
Who has not ever had a broken heart? We all have. Life is full of disappointment. It is inevitable. This is not about cold hard reality, but glorious potential. God has placed His Spirit inside of us. No longer on the outside, we are developing from the inside out. When a computer crashes or the hard drive dies, all of the valuable information stored there will go too if not stored on a backup. Now there are portable hard drives that will hold important data and there are even some network servers that can reproduce select information but neither one of these have the ability to completely back up and reload information like the Internet. It is the biggest and best source of protection for the information that comprises your life. When we are pressed, it is the Presence of the Lord that keeps us from being crushed. When we are perplexed, it is the Spirit of the Lord that shows us the Truth so that we do not despair. When we are hunted down, the Lord’s Angels surround us to keep us from harm as His Spirit never abandons us but calls for reinforcement. We get knocked down, but He lifts us up on wings like eagles. As Children of God, we can never be destroyed. We have the Light of His Love shining in our hearts and if we are able to connect our faith to confident hope and bind ourselves to the altar than we have nothing to lose and everything to gain in everyday life until we reach forever. We must connect with His Presence inside of us. We must find the cloud of His Presence. We must enter His Presence and learn to live there.
Psalm 16:7-11 (NLT)
I will bless the LORD who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
Yesterday, my husband and I spent the day with family at the bedside of his uncle. This mighty man of God has lived a full life and is surrounded by family and friends who love him so very much. He is not perfect but completely forgiven having accepted the Lord as His Savior – he is ready to go home. I hate cancer. But cancer will not rob this man of victory, but soon will catapult him into the Glory of God. As we all sat together, it amazes me at the joy and laughter as sisters and cousins laugh and cry together. Joining hands to pray for him as he lingers, it is a though there is church being held in this tiny bedroom. The Spirit of God permeates the room. Having been engaged in our own battle against this ruthless disease, I am completely overtaken by the faith gained in these moment together as our spirits connect in the Presence of God. We spent the day into the night together yet hours seemed like minutes. We were sad to leave but not in fear that we would never see each other again but to leave the moment of unity and strength found together in His Presence. I slept last night like I have not slept in months. The Power of God found in His Presence is amazing. If we could only learn to live in His Presence and connect as the Body of Christ in such a way – the possibilities and potential are as limitless. The Lord has promised to show us the way of life, granting us joy in His Presence. This is only a foretaste of the pleasure to be found living with the Lord forever. But maybe if we could get such a glimpse of forever then we would give Jesus our life wholeheartedly today moving our life from this world into His Presence, never turning back. We have been given the same opportunity that the Children of Israel had but with greater potential. It is not enough to call on Jesus to be our Savior, He is to be our Lord. Allegiance to His Kingdom means venturing in and remaining there. Living life as a Christian means living as a part of the Body of Jesus Christ and living in His Presence. Sin separates us from the Lord but grace binds us together. We bless the Lord by living a life worthy of His Presence not perfect but persistent in loving, serving and pleasing Him. He is always with me. I must strive to be with Him.
Psalm 84:11-12 (NLT)
For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you.
The Lord has given us grace and glory. The two are partners. It is by the grace given to us by Jesus Christ that we are allowed to access the Glory of God without dying that instant. Sin is not permitted in the Presence of God. Those who truly experience intimacy with the Lord lose their appetite for sinful things when given full satisfaction of His Spirit. There are things in this world that seem enticing especially when packed in the pressure cooker of life, but compared to the potential of God’s Power they become nothing to us. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do right. We must trust God enough to move deeper in His Presence. God is ready to give you His Glory today. It is full of potential and possibilities. The more of our life that we bring into His Presence through the Grace of God the greater His Glory. We cannot stand at a distance and send others in for us. It doesn’t work that way anymore. The Spirit of God tore the veil in half because God didn’t want separation anymore but completion. He wants to prosper and grow us to meet the potential of His Plan including the future and hope it includes. You will not find it wandering it darkness but must step fully into the Light of His Amazing Love. It is time to live life on the cloud, not the Internet, but stepping fully in the Presence of God until His Grace and Glory overtake you!
Hebrews 10:19-25 (NLT)
And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.