The Powerful Presence of the Lord

The Powerful Presence of the Lord

Squeal with delight

It was about 57 A.D.

Paul stood before a group of Christians in Troas in the land of Troy. He must have had a lot to say to the followers of Jesus. Quite literally. We don’t know when he began his speech, but he talked, and people listened, until dawn.

I find this story funny and convicting. Did Luke record it with a chuckle as he remembered that night?

 “On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. ‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘He’s alive!’ Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted,” (Acts 20: 7-12 NIV).

Raised from the dead

Imagine this. A young man falls asleep in a window and then falls from the third story to his death. Paul, apparently without losing momentum, walks downstairs and throws himself on the boy, bringing him back to life.

The crowd must have gone from shock to horror to awe and reverence, followed by joy and adoration.

I’m unsure if Paul portrayed God’s presence through his words and tone. However, I feel certain the people listening experienced the powerful presence of the Lord when Paul raised Eutychus from the dead.

God was among them, working and moving within this new family of believers. Paul’s actions taught them more than his words ever could. He did not panic. He did not cry in horror or apologize for the length of his speech. Paul simply demonstrated confidence in the Lord and faith through his actions.

Determined to finish

Nothing could deter Paul from communicating what he wanted the people to hear. He did not seem at all surprised by this event. He didn’t change one thing – except a few minutes away from his speech and food. I think Paul must have demonstrated multitasking before the term came along.  He ate, preached, got distracted and rescued the boy who died on his watch, then went back upstairs and continued preaching and eating.

This early church came for one experience — a meal and Paul’s preaching. They left knowing the presence of God was real. I’m sure that night was forever etched in the memories of those in attendance.

Power in His presence

What are our expectations when we go to church? Do we expect a sermon and a snack? Or do we come expecting to experience the presence of God?

I admit, I have zoned out from time to time. But I want that experience, don’t you?

Jesus has much to say about it. He even had his servants write it down for us on the pages of His Word.

I pray that today we will know God’s powerful presence in our lives. I pray that we will read, absorb His Word, draw closer to Him, and live expecting the miraculous and powerful presence of God.

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Don’t know Jesus? You can.

It would be my greatest honor to take your hand, introduce you and walk you through how to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and how to have a personal relationship with Him.

Find out more here.

 

Finding God

Finding God

My Christmas gift to you

“Mommy, look! There’s Jesus!” my 5-year-old at the time said as he pointed to the sky. Taken aback, I quickly looked out the front window.

Early that morning, I had asked God to reveal Himself to me during the day. Boy did He ever. It was a hot and humid summer afternoon, and my heart skipped a beat at my son’s outburst. He then proceeded to name animals and characters he saw in the clouds as well.

Even so, that was a lesson for me. It had been a crazy, fretful, exhausting week and I desperately wanted to see Jesus in my day. In fact, I often prayed for that. This one got my attention immediately.

The message for me? God was right in front of me all along. It reminded me that I just had to look.

So how do we find God?

A.W. Tozer once said, “Brain power is not the means by which we find God! It is in our dependence on God that we see Him. He graciously and in love revealed Himself to us.” (A.W. Tozer was an American evangelical pastor, speaker, writer and editor.)

Maybe it’s in our desperation that we sense the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Saul found God

Consider the Apostle Paul. Before he was an apostle, destroying Christians consumed him. He went to great lengths to drag them out of their houses and commit them to prison. On his way to do just that in Damascus, Paul, then Saul — the accuser and one with power and control — lost all control and found himself to be the helpless one. (See Acts 9.)

Blinded and lacking vision, Saul was desperate. In that moment, he found Jesus. One of the men he traveled with led him by hand to Damascus. For three days, he waited without sight, food or drink.

Totally dependent on God, he was rescued by one of the very people he came to persecute. God ordained his disciple, Ananias, to restore Saul’s vision.

According to Scripture, after a discussion with the Lord, Ananias obeyed and laid hands on Saul.

Two things happened. Saul regained his sight. He was filled with the Holy Spirit.

In that unforgettable event, Saul found God.

Jesus didn’t fear Saul’s sin. Instead, he took his darkness, miraculously changed him and welcomed him into the kingdom. Saul still had power but this time he went out with the power of the Holy Spirit to bring light to the world.

God is near

Where do you go to experience the power of the Holy Spirit? Do you feel your life (or part of it) is out of control? 

One day we will see Jesus face-to-face. In the meantime, we can live in the power of the Holy Spirit today.

We can find Him

In our waiting.

In our healing.

When our world comes crashing down.

When we’re walking through a fire.

Or fighting a battle.

Wherever we go, He is beside us. Every moment of the day, He is near.

He is at work in every detail, even in the smallest details of our lives.

“But Jesus replied, “’My Father is always working, and so am I,’” (John 5:17 NLT).

My busyness has often blinded me from recognizing Jesus in my day. The truth is He can show up whenever and wherever, even in a young boy’s imagination.

 

 

 

_____________

Don’t know Jesus? You can.

It would be my greatest honor to take your hand, introduce you and walk you through how to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and how to have a personal relationship with Him.

Find out more here.

 

Change the Way You Think

Change the Way You Think

I saw myself in scripture today.

I read the story of Gideon in Judges 6 and 7. I didn’t see myself in the way you might think — the prophet Gideon leading people to conquer the Midianites. (The Midianites had oppressed Israel to the point they were hiding out in caves in the mountains.)

I didn’t see myself in the way Gideon asked God for a sign (remember the fleece story in Judges 6:36-40). I’ve certainly done my share of that, though.

I saw a man given to fear—a man who acted faithlessly. I saw a man full of questions, and one who doubted God.

Look for God in your story

But then I saw God in this story. God knew Gideon, knew his shortcomings, and knew his fears and doubts. God didn’t reprimand or lecture Gideon. Instead, He acted patiently. He walked beside Gideon and encouraged him.

God knew what Gideon needed the most was a glimpse of who He was.

And Gideon saw God defeat 120,000 Midianites with 300 Israelite soldiers whose weapons were only trumpets and jars with torches inside.

My friend, God knows what we need most too. We need a glimpse of who He is. Because of that, we can know He is with us too.

And with faith in Jesus Christ and the knowledge He is with us, we too can fight our battles with confidence.

W. Tozer said “We can’t think rightly of God until we begin to think of Him as always being there — and being there first! (Mornings with Tozer April 25)

See who God is

Do you need a glimpse of who God is? I know I do.

I pray that that is exactly what we will find as we worship and acknowledge who God is. The God who meets us where we are – even in our questions. The God who is patient with us — even in our doubts and fears. And the God who walks beside us and encourages us — even when we lack strength and confidence.

Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. (Romans 12:2 NLT)

God of Possible

God of Possible

“What a fool,” I thought as I read Zechariah’s response to the angel Gabriel’s news. An angel of the Lord appeared in front of him, and he asked this question – How can I be sure of this?

In his mind, he and his wife Elizabeth were too old. (He wasn’t really a fool, but in that moment, he focused on his earthly limitations over what God said he would do. In his defense, the Bible says that he and his wife Elizabeth were righteous before God. Luke 1:5-7)

However, I can just imagine Gabriel’s indignation when he said “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.”

Speechless

The result? Zechariah was not able to speak again until that very child was born.

God put an angel in front of Zechariah. An angel who had just stood in the presence of Almighty God.

Oh, how many times have I questioned God’s word to me? I may not have seen an angel standing before me, but God’s word is clear.

In contrast, what did Elizabeth do? She didn’t hear from the angel. But she gave God the credit. Luke 1:25 says “The Lord has done this for me. In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

Blessed

Six months later and about 100 miles north in Nazareth, Gabriel shows up on another mission. This time to a young virgin named Mary who was Elizabeth’s relative.

Mary’s response? Not “how can this be,” but “how will this be?” A few moments later, she demonstrates her faith when she says “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” No human reasoning. No asking for a sign. Just, let it be done.

When Mary later visited Elizabeth, she summed it up perfectly.

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:45)

Wow. These two stories teach us what it’s like to just trust—no questioning what God said. No assumptions. It will be what the Lord says it will be. And know that the good that comes to us is the Lord’s doing.

So, the next time I question something God says to me, I’m going to think of Zechariah and Mary.

  • One old. One young.
  • One mature. One inexperienced.
  • One who’d likely seen God work many times.
  • Both knew the scriptures.
  • One led by human reasoning. One spirit led.
  • One who saw through a “how CAN this be” lens. One who saw through as a “let it be as you say” lens.

Let us, too, see from Mary’s lens and respond accordingly. Because nothing — not age or physical condition — is impossible with God.

Let the miracle of the Christmas season lift your spirit today.

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