I WAS SEEKING THE LORD ON howtopractice the Presence of God and I had a dream. I was sitting in a Catholic church and the priest was talking on this very subject. After the service, I stayed and talked with the priest for a long time. When I left he gave me a key. I went to eat lunch with some friends. On my way home, I stopped by the church to return the key. I went inside, the doors to the inner sanctuary were closed. I left the key on a small table in the front entryway.

As I turned to leave, suddenly I was on a balcony overlooking a beautifully manicured garden. The garden was filled with beautiful fountains. In the center of the garden was a Communion table with the bread and wine. Monks walked around the garden in hooded robes. The thing I remember about the place other than its beauty was the deep sense of peace that filled the atmosphere there. I wanted to stay, but I knew I had to leave to go home and take care of my children.

Suddenly, I woke up and the Spirit of the Lord spoke to me and said, "Communion, the Lord's supper, is essential to walking in the peace of God and in experiencing God's Presence. Read the writings of the Catholic mystics because they hold the key to practicing the Presence of God."

Finding the Key

Having been instructed by the Holy Spirit, I purchased a number of books by pre-reformation Catholic mystics. As I read them I found that they all held forth the same key to practicing God's Presence. To summarize the admonition of these teachers to their students: "Take communion as often as possible because in it is the abiding Presence of God."

Shortly after this Mother Teresa died. The Catholic channel was honoring her life and holding a memorial to her. As I watched, a priest who had attended one of her training schools was being interviewed. They asked him to tell about the most important thing he learned from Mother Teresa. He recalled that thing that he remembered most from those meetings was a key that mother Teresa had given him about practicing the Presence of God. She had told him, "Spend one hour daily in holy communion and in worship and you will experience the Presence of God all day long."

The great reformer of the 16th century, Martin Luther said that the most important sacraments of the church that should never be done away with were water baptism and Holy Communion. Of Holy Communion he explained that the Presence of God is communicated to the believers through the elements of the bread and the wine.

John Wesley, revivalist and founder of Methodism in the 18th century, encouraged everyone who was waiting for salvation with a sincere heart to wait upon the Lord, taking Holy Communion as they, through true repentance, sought for forgiveness for sins. He encouraged all those who had experienced the New Birth to participate in the Lord's Supper as often as possible because it was necessary for maintaining the Presence of God in your life.
The book of Acts tells us that one of the features of the early church was that they broke bread (the Lord's Supper) from house to house (Acts 2:46). Taking Holy Communion was the centerpiece of New Covenant worship and fellowship and the teaching of the early church fathers.

The Cup is the New Covenant

If we look at the ordinance that Jesus instituted before his crucifixion, He gave His disciples the bread and the wine and He declared, "This is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me. This cup is the New Covenant in my blood that is shed for you" (Luke 22:19-20).

Jesus called the communion cup, "The New Covenant."

The significance and power of this is more than most Christians realize. The only other time that Jesus talked about eating His body and drinking His blood was after He had fed the five thousand. The people who had partaken of the miracle of the multiplied bread, sought Jesus and found Him the next day. They came to Him again seeking bread. Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst" (John 6:35). If this is true, then why are so many Christians going around singing about how hungry and thirsty they are? Something is wrong.

Jesus went on to say, "I am the bread of life. This is the bread, which came down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood you have no life in you" (v51-53).

"Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me and I in him. As the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven - not as your fathers ate the manna and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever" (John 6: 54-58).

The only other time Jesus speaks of eating His flesh and drinking His blood is the night before He was crucified when He gave His disciples the bread and the wine.

Your Body-His Temple

When the woman at the well tried to ask Jesus religious questions about whether worship should be done in Jerusalem or on the mountain that the Samaritans believed was holy, Jesus said, "True worship is no longer about a holy mountain or a holy temple, true worship must be in spirit and in truth. In fact the Father is seeking such to be His worshipers" (John 4:19-24).

Paul would later explain about the proper place to worship under the New Covenant: "What, don't you realize your body is the temple of the living God!...the one who is joined to the Lord is One Spirit with Him" ( 1 Cor. 15, 17).

Now when the early temple was present, the manifest Presence of God, the Shekinah, dwelt within the Holy of Holies, enshrined above the Mercy Seat on the Ark of the Covenant. Into this holy place the high priest could only enter once a year, and he had to bring blood. That system has been done away with. Now the body of each believer is the temple of the living God, and deep within our spirits, the holy Shekinah dwells.

Approaching His Holy Presence

Most Christians busy themselves in the Outer Court of noise and people, and never go in alone to commune with the Holy Presence that dwells within. But, if we want to experience the Presence that abides within, we must become very still and know that He is God. We must approach that Holy Presence within with blood if we desire to enter into that intimate communion.

What is the blood we bring? Jesus has provided that blood and He has given the way -
"The cup of the New Covenant, in His blood." We must drink His blood and eat his flesh. This can be done in the privacy of your own devotions as well as in a small or large gathering of believers. As you set aside the

bread and the fruit of the vine, every believer as a New Covenant priest, may consecrates it as Christ's body and blood, and then partake of it in faith.

The writer of Hebrew says, "Therefore brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is His flesh. (When did He consecrate the new and living way? The night when He gave His disciples the bread and wine before He went out to be crucified). And having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Heb. 10:19-22) This passage is a clear reference to taking Communion, through which remembrance of His blood is our hope of access into His Presence.

This is the whole secret of the Melchizedek priesthood. We have a new priesthood that is not after the order of Aaron. The sign of Melchizedek was that he offered to Abraham the bread and the wine; this is the secret sign of the New Covenant. Many Christians put taking Communion last on their list, or to be done after you sing for an hour so you can become holy enough to partake of the communion elements. No, we should come bringing the bread and wine first, because we have only one right to enter into God's Holy Presence and that is through the blood of Jesus.

I have seen people struggle to worship for over an hour, but as soon as they take communion the Presence of God shows up. Why not take communion first and begin where most people end. Think of where you could go in worship from there. It is here in this place of His Presence with a heart of worship that we behold His glory and are changed into His image.

And how do you know you have touched His Presence? You actually feel purified, cleansed, and filled. Jesus has made a way of entrance for us all. He proclaimed from the cross, as the veil of the earthly temple was torn open, "It is finished!" We don't need to strive any longer need to strive through sacrifice or self-effort to try to enter in. He has done it!

Jesus has made the Way

Thomas Merton tells of a priest who wanted to get closer to God. The man decided to dedicate two years to seeking God alone. He went to live in a cave and cut himself off from all outside conversation and every worldly distraction. He had his meals placed outside the cave so he never had to see or talk to anyone to disrupt his noble endeavor. Strangely, when he came back to society after those two years, he wasn't any closer to God than he was before he had entered the cave two years before. Why? Because he was trying to reach intimacy with God through his own striving and self-effort and sacrifice.

Jesus has made the way. He instituted the Covenant sign and seal of Communion, the Lord's Supper, to take us there. Down through the ages in Christian liturgy, the Lord's Table has been called "the marriage supper of the Lamb." It is the supper that leads to intimacy. (Many Christians think the marriage supper of the Lamb is fried chicken and chocolate pie to be served at a big banqueting table in the sky when you die).

Entering into worship and the Mystic Presence of Christ through taking communion daily is the key to experiencing the abiding Presence of God. You can do this in your private devotions. Take the bread and the juice from the grape, (grape juice or wine) and bless it. Then take it in faith and you will enter right in to the Presence of the Shekinah. The key to the Early Church's Power was that they "broke bread" from house to house and availed themselves of the power and the glory of the New Covenant blessing.

C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity states: "There are three things that spread the Christ-life to us: baptism, belief, and that mysterious action which different people call by different names-Holy Communion, the Mass, the Lord's Supper...I cannot see why these things should be conductors of the new kind of life. We have to take reality as it comes. But though I cannot see why it should be so, I can tell you why I believe it is so. It seems plain as a matter of history that He taught His followers that the new life was communicated in this way. In other words, I believe it on His authority."

petrusf.jpg"I was so stunned during the Weiner's conference Born Again '97 in India and could hardly believe what I saw. It was a historical moment for India and the rest of the world."

--Dr. Petrus Agung, Church Planter in Indonesia

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