Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Half Time devotion: With Us - Exodus 13:22

Exodus 13:22             Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.

It must have been an amazing thing to see: the presence of God signified by a pillar of smoke during the day and by fire at night. For most of the Israelites, it must have been a comforting sight. For some of them, however, it must have caused some anxiety. The proximity of God would have affected all of their lives in ways that either inspired the people, or filled them with awe.

How close is God in our lives? Are we aware of His presence through Christ’s Spirit each and every day? Do we take that presence for granted, or do we wish that God was a wee bit further away? As Christians, we believe that God is always with us, but is that fundamental belief evident in what we say and do?

I wonder what would happen in each of our lives if we could see a similar pillar of cloud and fire before us every day. How would our choices be changed? How would our decisions be re-directed? Part of the problem about our faith today is this: as Christians, we say that God is with us, but people don’t see us acting or behaving as if we actually believe it.

Perhaps today, we can take time to think about God’s real presence in our lives and how we can help other people to see Him through what we say and do. It won’t be easy, but if God is with us, it won’t be difficult either.

Questions for personal reflection

When do I actually feel God’s presence in my daily life? How can I show that His sacred presence is real to other people?

Prayer:            Lord Jesus, You came among us to show us that God’s presence is real in the world. We have given our hearts to You, but sometimes we hold back from our lives. Help us to be more aware that Your godly presence is with us at all times, so that we may positively witness to Your reality to all whom we meet, encounter, and interact with today. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to

Today’s image is one of John’s latest digital glass drawings for Pentecost. It’s called “Spirit Window” and features the Holy Spirit descending to earth as a dove. If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link:

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