Living in Jesus’ Presence

He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul; (Psalm 23: 3 NASB

Many years ago, I read the little booklet “The Practice of the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence. It stirred in me a deep desire to live my daily life with a conscious awareness of Jesus with me.

I believe this is what Jesus was desiring for all of his followers in his prayer to Our Father when he said these words: “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”

If I wake up in the night or wake early in the morning when the world around me is quiet, it’s a great time to give thanks for Jesus’ presence and open up the ears and eyes of my spirit to any message he has for me.

The poems I’m sharing, today reveal something of what it means for me to live in Jesus’ presence. I hope they stir in your heart a deep desire to establish this practice.

The path of sorrow and grief
 Is turned into joy and relief
 When we see Jesus
 Who walks beside us
 Our eyes are opened to reality
 We were loved from eternity
 That which was crushed in our soul
 Is healed! We are made whole. 

  Jane Ault

 If I want to live in Jesus’ presence
 I must not go where he is absent—
 Anyplace the devil tempts me,
 Anywhere that the world attracts me,
 Somewhere the flesh would coax me.
 I must stop all conversations—
 With the devil, he’s a pseud,
 With the world, they are rude,
 With the flesh, it is lewd.
 Why would I seek such conversations?
 If I want to live in Jesus’ presence
 I must listen to the Spirit—
 Always hear what he is saying,
 Always go where he is leading,
 Always do what’s wise and loving.
 I must have more conversations—
 With the Spirit, he is wise,
 With my Father, he never lies,
 With my Lord, he takes no bribes.
 He gives me grace and wisdom.
 Jane Ault

The “Law vs. Grace” Conflict

“ For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”
Galatians 5:1 ESV

This greedy little squirrel and my husband are engaged in a conflict. Every morning John fills the bird feeder and scatters sunflower seeds across the deck for birds that prefer to eat it there. This squirrel not only gobbles up the seeds on the deck but also climbs up the pole into the bird feeder and eats the seeds in it.

John keeps chasing him out but he persistently returns. I’m amazed at how many times this happens in one day. It reminds me of another conflict–the conflict Paul speaks about in the book of Galatians. Here, the conflict is between the desires of God’s Spirit and the desires of the flesh.

In this context, the word “flesh” refers to the sin nature passed down from Adam to every human, not to our physical bodies. Our struggle with the flesh continues throughout life. It’s through grace, not law, that we win this battle. As usual, I think my poem conveys this truth better than these preceding paragraphs.

 When we embrace law 
 Instead of grace,
 Life is not easy;
 There’s no smile on our face.
 We get stuck in our structure
 And fight with each other.
 Feeling “right” in our ways,
 We wrongly appraise
 Our status and worth—
 Thinking it’s based on our work,
 Our wealth or position;
 What God wants is contrition—
 A heart that is humble,
 Repentant and thankful,
 A heart of submission 
 Instead of ambition;
 A spirit that’s willing
 To follow his calling,
 Unafraid of the pressure
 That this might engender,
 From family and friends—
 To whom this change makes no sense.
 Let us not fear it!
 For life in the Spirit
 Brings great freedom and joy, 
 Peace that no one can destroy,
 Strength and contentment
 ‘Cause Jesus is present!
 What hope this engenders.
 What strength it inspires.
 What wonderful knowledge.
 He shatters all bondage!
 Let us never despair
 But with praise fill the air;
 He sees our need and answers our prayer.
 We, his children, are safe in his care. 
 Jane Ault 


 Father-God, I praise you for your mothering heart—
 The love which you have for all creation;
 You feed the sparrow and provide a cliff for the goat.
 You send the sunshine and the rain.
 You smile on children of every nation.
 Your heart delights in their praises.
 Holy Spirit, I praise you for your gracious disposition—
 You accurately reflect the Father’s heart;
 With joy, you continually honor Jesus.
 With patience, you convince the skeptic of truth.
 With gentleness, you assure the fearful of forgiveness.
 With generosity, you give knowledge and wisdom to the humble.
 Jesus Christ, I praise you for your profound obedience—
 The astounding humility which you displayed while on earth;
 You knew the heart of the Father.
 You trusted him without reservation.
 You laid aside your rightful, godly-status.
 You lived as a servant and died as a criminal.
 Holy Spirit, produce the heart of the God-head in your church, today.
 So that in union with you we may labor and give birth;
 Give us perseverance in our prayers
 Give us endurance in our labors
 Give us steadfast faith, unwavering hope, and unconditional love
 Give us the joy of bringing many into your Kingdom.
 Father-God, I ask you to bless the expectant mothers—
 Those with children in their wombs;
 Show them how to care for their bodies and nourish their unborn child
 Let their hearts be filled with peace so their babes feel secure.
 Give them discernment in their choices so the life they hold flourishes.
 Give them rest when they are weary and protect them from disease and injury.
 Father-God, I ask you to bless the mothers whose children are with them
 Those who are happy, those who are weary, and those who feel teary;
 Show them fresh creative ways to express love to their children.
 Give them insight to understand and appreciate the uniqueness of each child.
 Encourage their hearts with your grace so they discipline with kindness
 Let them feel so secure in your love that they never seek their child’s approval
 Father-God, I ask you to bless the mothers whose children are missing—
 Some are prospering, some are staying, and some have been buried;
 Holy Spirit, fill each sad and lonely mother-heart with your comforting presence.
 Banish their feelings of failure and guilt and assure them of forgiveness.
 Give them the faith and energy to persist in their prayers
 And bless them with the family and friends they need to support them.
 Father-God, I ask you to bless the women who don’t or can’t have children—
 Those who may feel left out or may be ignored on this holiday:
 Holy Spirit, heal their broken hearts and fill them with laughter.
 Jesus, bless them so that children are drawn to them as they were to you
 Send them the orphans, the wounded, and the so-called “difficult” children
 Give them honor in mentoring and joy in seeing the Spirit bring forth new birth.
 Father, I bring these requests to you in the blessed name of Jesus;
 It is through him, alone, that I have the right to pray.
 Knowing that you will answer me in ways far beyond what I can imagine,
 I leave them at your throne with gratitude and thanksgiving.
 May 10, 2019
 Jane Ault 

Caring for Crushed and Broken Turtles

How many are your works, Lord!
   In wisdom you made them all;
   the earth is full of your creatures. O Lord, how manifold (Psalm 104:24 NIV)

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18 ESV)

I don’t usually insert such ugly, sad, and “unpleasant” photos into my blog posts. However, I hope you will not quickly reject this post but read it to the end.  I think turtles are fantastic creatures and tears filled my eyes when I saw this crushed and broken one–a lowly reptile but still beautiful in God’s eyes.

 Out of the corner of my eye I noticed it, on the opposite side of the road, as I walked along the highway. My immediate impulse was to avoid it. Up until that moment, I was inhaling the fresh air, watching the movement of white clouds moving across the blue sky, and admiring a tiny green fern growing in the hillside at the edge of the road.  

So I turned my head and bypassed the turtle on the other side of the road. Then, sensing a nudge from the Holy Spirit, I turned back. At first, I wished I’d kept on walking. The sight made me feel nauseated. Quickly, I realized there was a lesson in this for me. The turtle could not make it across the highway because it was too slow. Whoever hit it did not stop and notice the damage they’d caused.

At first the lesson God had for me came in questions. Who is “not making it” in the world where I live? Who is being ignored, dismissed, run over and crushed because in some way they are “slow”?

These are the people I quickly thought of: those whose skin color is not white; those, who in some way, are mentally or physically challenged; those who are defenseless—the unborn, the abused; those fleeing from persecution and —refugees, those who can’t afford health insurance or the cost of higher education; the elderly . . .

Which of these people are my neighbors? Do I see their pain and brokenness? Or am I so busy counting my blessings, or so absorbed in my own struggles, I don’t see these crushed and broken “turtles” around me? Either the crushed and broken reptile or the broken-hearted human whom God created and loves.

Regarding the crushed turtle—my dear husband removed it from the middle of the road and buried the remains. He is a gentle-hearted man, who notices and stops to care for all of God’s crushed and broken turtles.

I am asking God to open my eyes and my ears to see and hear the broken and crushed turtles (of every kind) in my neighborhood, and to open my heart and hands to love and protect him with the love and wisdom of Jesus.

This story has a happy ending. The next day my husband found another turtle in the middle of the road. He picked it up and carried it to the lake shore, where it crawled away in safety.


Jesus said, “Two sparrows cost only a penny, but not even one of them can die without your Father’s knowing it. . . Don’t be afraid. You are worth much more than many sparrows”

(Matthew 10: 29 and 31 NCV).

I’m thankful for the office space I have in my home. On some days, I don’t take time to get dressed before I start writing. Neither do I bother combing my hair. Before I forget them, I want to quickly put down the words that are in my mind. Words of a song or poem which the Holy Spirit has encouraged me with even before I got out of bed!

This morning I did get dressed and while doing so thought about the phrase “put your best foot forward.” In other words “look good.” I’m so thankful that we don’t have to look good when we come before God. What he wants is not our “best” foot but our “bare” foot.

When we come before him like a lowly sparrow, admitting our nakedness, vulnerability, and need, he receives us in his loving arms and clothes us with his robe of mercy. Out the truth of that experience this morning, I composed the following poem/song.

 Come to Jesus with all your need
Hear him before the Father plead
A Righteous Advocate is he
Securing mercy full and free

With deep compassion Jesus prays
He lived for us for many days
Hungry and poor, tempted by Hell
Yet to a Lie, he never fell.
Come like a child with trusting heart
Who knows she is not very smart
Rest in your Father’s loving arm
He will protect you from all harm
From that sweet place of victory sing
Compose new anthems for your King
When hearing them, all devils flee
They cannot stand such joy and glee
Follow Jesus throughout the day
Learn to do things in his way
Feed the hungry and clothe the poor
Receive the stranger at your door
Be content with what you have
For fame and riches, do not grab
They will destroy your inner peace
Your love for Jesus soon will cease
Come to Jesus with all your need
Hear him before the Father plead
A Righteous Advocate is he
Securing mercy full and free

Jane Ault