The original “eternal flame”

“And you shall command the children of Israel that they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually. In the tabernacle of meeting, outside the veil which is before the Testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening until morning before the Lord. It shall be a statute forever to their generations on behalf of the children of Israel.” (Exodus 27:20, 21 NKJV)

As the LORD details the building of the tabernacle, the first positional work detail he assigns is for Aaron and his sons to tend the lamp stand and make sure it stays lit.  Make sure the lamp never goes out.  It is to be lit 24x7x365.   Always on.I wonder why?

I have my opinion – which is why I have a blog. 🙂  Honestly though, I wonder if I fully comprehend all God was (and is)  trying to communicate with the “eternal flame”.If you remember when the Israelites first left Egypt, we see the LORD continually before them in the form of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  I have to thing that was one of the most amazing things to see in human history.  This grand, enormous pillar that would lead from the front and them move to the back to protect them.   This amazing phenomenon that would morph from a cloud to fire.  I wonder if it made any sound as it burned or transitioned from cloud to fire or fire to cloud?

But I also wonder – beyond the literal guiding and protecting – if it was to keep a constant reminder before the Israelites that God, the LORD himself, was ever present and constantly guiding and protecting.

See, here’s what I know.  I am a very forgetful creature and I live among a host of very forgetful creatures.  We see it all through the great exodus of Israel from Egypt and actually all through the Old Testament that Israel continually – and quickly – forgets the goodness, the love, the greatness and the authority of our great God.  I wonder if God ordained and established the eternal flame to not only be a visible and constant reminder to Israel (and me) that He is always present with guidance and protection.  I wonder if He created it to be tended so that Israel (and I) would constantly remember that and that they had vowed to obey his statutes, covenants and ordinances.

This leads me to ask myself the question, what do I have before me – that I need to continually tend – to continually remind me that Christ is IN me and WITH me to provide me with guidance and protection?

Running After Papa…

Day 12 – His present Presence…

All day, I have continued to ponder Day 4’s revelation.

I’ve been in St. Louis the last two days on business.  We had a big custom demo to deliver today to a potentially large customer.  The room had about 12-15 people in it of many nationalities and I expect it was likely a big salad bowl of beliefs.  I didn’t ask, but I would guess there were Muslims, Buddhists, possibly a Hindu or two, and then I expect a big mix of “Protestant” faiths… probably had an atheist and an agnostic thrown in amongst the crowd.

As I began to dwell on the reality of the physical office building and conference room and that God’s presence fills up every inch of space there, I wondered why more people don’t see, know, and relate with God.

It was a similar experience on the flight home.  I’ve flown enough over the years that I get to board early, and I sat in row 10 and watched almost everyone board that plane – it is one of my favorite things to do on a flight is to watch every person board… weird, I know… I guarantee there were all kinds of faiths and non-faiths alike on that flight… even more than I listed above.  And yet, the TRUTH is this – God’s presence filled every cavity, overhead, cabin, seat-back, snack cart and square inch of that 757 including the luggage compartment and the air around the plane as we flew from St. Louis to Dallas.  Think about it… that plane flew through the presence of God from takeoff to touchdown – and yet, how many people had no idea.  Many of them don’t know, don’t acknowledge, or worse, don’t care that The God of the universe, The Creator of every living thing, is “in da house” and is right up in every one of our faces – all the time – every moment of every day – every day of our lifetime – close enough to feel the breath we breath and be tickled by our eyelashes when we blink… yet we sit there unaware…  How are we so ignorant of the truth?  How am I so ignorant of the truth of His presence?

I shudder to think of how many flights I’ve flown and been in one of those categories – didn’t know, didn’t acknowledge, didn’t care…  I cringe at how many days I’ve been on this planet and walked utterly oblivious to Him – either intentionally or in ignorance.  Thank you Lord for your mercy, your unfailing love, and your consistent, gentle presence always in my present – even when I wasn’t aware.

This contemplation has progressed to wonder why many I – and likely many in the Church – associate the presence of God with some sort of one-at-a-time experiences or “special and infrequent event”.  How many times have I said, “The presence of God was really powerful today”, or “God really showed up today in worship”…. really?

Today my question is:  When did God’s presence leave? I didn’t hear an announcement… “Attention, God has left the building…. repeat, God has left the building.” (Yes, that was an Elvis throwback for those old enough to remember…)

David wrote it best…

Psalms 139 5 You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!
7 I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!
8 If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave,* you are there.
9 If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night—
12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.

Paul said it similarly in Romans

Romans 8:38-39 (NKJV) 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I’ve been guilty of this.  I am currently more often than not guilty of this.  I think my theology might be askew to assume that God’s presence “comes and goes”.  I believe it was true in the Old Testament as there are numerous examples of God’s presence coming and going.  But the Scripture is fairly clear that after Jesus’ resurrection and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit – that He was here to stay.  I’ve not found where the Holy Spirit bugged out.

I’m sure I think this way because of  the Church culture and mindset in which I grew up and live in.

Take, for example, the lyrics of a LONG TIME FAVORITE worship song… One I have lead many times.

I`m here to meet with you
Come and meet with me
I`m here to find you,
reveal yourself to me

As I wait, you make me strong
As I long, draw me to your arms
As I stand and sing your praise
You come, you come and you fill this place
Won`t you come, Won`t you come and fill this place


Did you catch the lyrics… “won’t you come, won’t you come and fill this place?”

Didn’t we already establish that God’s presence is everywhere, all the time, every day of our lives?

To where is He going to come… or go for that matter?  Is He or is He not Omnipresent?

Yes, I’ve had a major shift in my perspective and understanding and ultimately my Theology.  Instead of viewing God presence as “come and go,” as my current theology-view is, I think it to be more accurate to say ” I CHOOSE to recognize and live in His ever-present presence” or “I CHOOSE to ignore His ever-present presence”.

Psalms 46:1 (NIV) God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Regardless of what I CHOOSE – the TRUTH is that His Presence is still present and is always everywhere…

I’m choosing to live in His present presence….  Lord, open the eyes of my heart to always recognize and see your Presence in my present.

… Running After Papa


Day 11 – Here in Your Presence…

Today was a really busy day.  I was supposed to be at the airport by 7:30 to meet “The Airport Valet” who picks up my car.  I set my alarm for 5 am so I could get up and read and have some time alone with God while the house was quiet and before I had to go.  That would leave myself plenty of time to pack and get out the door by  6:30 or so…


It appears I “snoozed” my alarm OFF and (thank the Lord) woke up at 6:20.  Yes – I had 10 minutes to get dressed, clothes packed, computer packed and out the door….

I left by 6:40… world record time.  I really hope I remembered to pack everything today!  Anyway from the time I landed in St. Louis, I hit the ground running with 3 different meetings in various “suburbs” of St. Louis.

The point is this – I didn’t get time to pursue Him today like I wanted to, but He did continue to bring up Day 4’s revelation… so I just meditated on it.  I verbally said many times today “I acknowledge that I am in Your Presence here (in this car, in this office, on this highway, etc.).  Help me to see, hear, understand and receive it.  Help me to live it.”

By my 3rd meeting, I really began to physically, emotionally, and spiritually feel His presence with me… even driving in the 5 o’clock traffic in my rental car on a highway outside of St. Louis, Missouri.

Tonight – in the hotel room – the TV is off.  The Bible is open and I plan to spend some quality time with my Daddy.