Positioning for presence

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The question that raises in my head is can we position ourselves for an encounter with God? Are there things we can do so we can put ourselves in the ways of encounter. I guess it would be like walking repeatedly around Hollywood to put yourself in a place more likely to bump into a film star or director.

In the bible there seems to be quite random encounters with God. Many are to do with God choosing to reveal His plan and purpose to mankind. God can do what he likes. He gives us what we don’t deserve and can meet us in power just where we are. We can encounter Him after following no principles just because He loves us. But we are asked, however, to boldly seek His face so we must consider what are the ways we can seek a face to face encounter. The following are just principles that I am pondering.

Being prepared and expectant – There is something deliberate and steadfast about longing for God’s face. It is for those who have set aside their hearts ready for it and who, having a right view of God’s desire for relationship with us, know He is ready to come. There needs to be an expectation that heaven is only a breath away.

Keeping our hearts humble – This would include keeping our hearts right with God, pure and malleable. God opposes the proud and will not make his home with them.

Leaning in in intimacy – John the disciple was the disciple who felt loved by God. He positioned himself next to Jesus, leaned in and put his head on Jesus’ chest. This is the best place to encounter God. Those who want to see His face can lean in toward God and all He is and place themselves in a place near Jesus. It is the desire to share affection with Him.

Waiting on God – those who encountered often were sat with time looking towards heaven. We find David waiting for God again and again. We know waiting on God renews our strength but it also places us ready for an encounter with Him. If we say busy and distracted like Martha we could miss Jesus’ smile our face. If we sit quietly at Jesus’ feet and become familiar with the place of receiving we will be ready for his smile.

Paying the cost – Many of the encounters with God or heaven (angels) came with new revelation and purpose. Moses, Gideon, Abraham, Joshua, Mary etc had a challenge set before them. Sometimes we think that God’s call to ‘be’ means doing less or nothing, I feel it means being and doing all that is you and from a place of fullness and peace. God will come to those who He knows will say yes.

Having the character that can hold heaven – God will not blow us out of the water by appearing in his fullness and power because that will damage us. He protected Moses from the full force of His glory. Neither will he cast his pearls before swine. He can only give as much as our character can take. The deeper and greater the character the greater capacity to hold heaven within us.

Being where he is – we are called to follow him, to walk where He is. We cannot choose the time, the place or the situation. We meet Him on His turf, on his conditions where he is. He has already come to earth to meet us now we follow Him to the heavenly places to meet Him in His fullness.

Being in unity with those who are hungry – there is something so special about being united with the church in worship. His presence is far more tangible when the body is together. It is important we learn to worship together and not just as separate individuals with separate stories standing next to each other. He loves us for who we are but He is not coming back for you as an individual, but His bride made ready.

Chasing the twisters

Let us continue chatting about culture change. would like to show you how dramatic it is to change from one culture to another. It is not a case of adjusting a few things, but of a massive upheaval. Please watch the following video to help understand what I mean.

I love the line from this clip ‘I have so many questions to ask’. This is exactly how I feel at the moment. Each time I discover something new I have more and more questions. I am finding there are few who can answer them – but that number is growing.

In the past I have had new vision and revelation at times. These have been life changing moments and I devoured all the understanding I could. Spurred on by someone’s sermon or seminars I read books, magazines, thought about it and then understood it –mainly with my head and then my heart was gripped with passion for what I saw. The Spirit brought me fresh revelation that amazed me. This new thing is transferred very differently. Yes I read, I watch videos, I listen to sermons and go to seminars, but the main way of catching this is heart transfer one to one. Let me try to explain this: When you want to experience the Philippines culture you could read manuals, watch programmes about it, visit the country and stay in hotels but until you spend time with the Filipinos and chat to them, visit the poorest and richest areas, let them share their history and dreams you haven’t experienced it all. Culture is all about people, not a place or traditions. It is about catching people’s heart.

I cannot catch this thing in my head, brain power is not how you understand the new changes. This can only be caught by a spirit, Spirit and mind blend. I love the Spirit and love moving in the Spirit but there is something different about this I have never experienced before. It is a heart connection with others and then somehow downloading their heart. Catching it with your spirit before your mind gets it. Understanding love, grace, freedom etc with my spirit first hand and then allowing my head to catch up. Letting God by his Spirit expand it inside bringing revelation and understanding. Thus the statement ‘ I have so many questions to ask’ is very true.

I do not have the answers, I do not understand it all, but what I do know is the way I have done things in the past is not enough for now.

Today: Determine to find out is who is changing around you, who has seen something new, who understands this new culture, who can you catch it off? When you see them and find them get alongside them. They may not be in your home town, they may not be leaders. I am chasing those with fresh hearts and asking them questions. It is like those people who chase tornados and find the spot on where the mighty twisters hits the ground and starts changing the landscape. Find the twisters. Let them share heart with you, do a heart connection download. Catch it!

Panic strikes! The Golden Calf is born

Dont Panic

Dont Panic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4 months into the journey and crisis hits! What is the dramatic news? Enemy attacks, drought, famine, pestilence? – no Moses goes up a mountain for 40 days. The people see him go up – but now don’t know what to do.

The people are learning to stand up on their own for first time. In Egypt they were always told what to do, where to sit, where to sleep – they had no choice of there own. Moses then led them with a strong arm out of Egypt – they followed him and his faith in God. Now they have been left on their own with their own thoughts, time on their hand and choices to make. Panic strikes!

When the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come back down the mountain,they gathered around Aaron. “Come on,” they said, “make us some gods who can lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt. Exodus 32:1

Why did the people struggle so much?

In the next few days we will unpack what it was that caused this crisis and how we can learn from it. We will draw parallel with Jesus time in the wilderness. It is interesting that even the Son of God has his training time in the wilderness. A time where God called him close for intimate, undistracted fellowship.

1.        Make us = doing

Then the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.’ Luke 4: 3&4

The Devil was saying to Jesus “Don’t just sit there Jesus listening to Gods words spending time with God – do something”.

The Israelites were bored from spending day in day out working until the dropped – now they have so much time on their hands. They felt useless, a spare part, not valued because they were not doing something.

Doing is where I have found solace sometimes. I can  find or hide myself in doing. I can find on days when I am angry, upset or confused that I just want to clean and tidy – or do something to distract myself. Do I measure my self worth on what I achieve. I have notice that when people greet each other they ask “What have you been doing?” The underlying message is “How have you demonstrated your usefulness? What have you achieved? Are you worthwhile? We give labels we give ourselves as doers as this adds meaning to our life – I am a gardener, a cleaner, a children’s worker, a steward etc.

Business is not godliness. We were made for spending time with God throughout the day– not meeting God in meetings. If we can’t fit time in our day to meet with our Father then we are doing something wrong and need to adjust our lives. We were made to be children of God, to be new creations, to be lovers of God

Today: think soberly about your life. Do you find identity in what you do or do you find your identity in the presence of God. Make sure that being with God is prioritized over doing.

Presence of God

English: Crop of File:Souvenir Seller - Moscow...

English: Crop of File:Souvenir Seller – Moscow – Russia.JPG focusing on woman. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been struck recently as to how ordinary most days are for most people. We try to fillour lives with exciting moments – but our every day life can be mundane. I wonder how ordinary it must have been to wander around the wilderness. There must have been a lack of fun places to go, things on tv to watch or coffee places to hang out in. This is why when God shows up the ordinary day turns into something amazing

On the morning of the third day, thunder roared and lightning flashed, and a dense cloud came down on the mountain. There was a long, loud blast from a ram’s horn, and all the people trembled.  Moses led them out from the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the Lord had descended on it in the form of fire. The smoke billowed into the sky like smoke from a brick kiln, and the whole mountain shook violently. Exodus 19:16- 18

In the middle of the empty landscape God comes down and it was rather dramatic! Thunder, lightening, billowing smoke, earthquake – what a sight. I don’t think you could have missed God’s entry into the Israelite camp even if you were the doziest of folk!

Here comes God letting all his people know that shop is open, he is town, the show is on the road and He is in the business of spending time with his people. Tragically the people did not want to spend time with God.

When the people heard the thunder and the loud blast of the ram’s horn, and when they saw the flashes of lightning and the smoke billowing from the mountain, they stood at a distance, trembling with fear. And they said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen. But don’t let God speak directly to us, or we will die!” Exodus 20: 18&19

The people had become so fixated on the mountainside dramatics that  they had forgotten the tender words of the Father holding them and loving them. God comes as a Father with power. This is who He is. Let us not be so desiring the big experiences, the healings, the manifestations that we miss the Fathers face and His voice. Both come together. The gentle loving Father full of power and wonder.

We sometimes hide from God when he comes to speak with us face to face. Just as Adam hid in the garden afraid to face up to God it can be due to feelings of guilt, shame, having let him down and thinking we are inadequate. Sometime it can be afraid of the demands we feel he will put on our life or of feeling unworthy. But He is the one who calls us by our name, holds us close and  carries us when we are weak. He only wants the best for us and to help us in our troubles. We need not fear his response to our mistakes, failures or lack – He only has compassion and love for us.

God calls us up the mountain and wants us to come to meet with him. Spend time with him. Share heart with him. He turns the mundane walk of life into something else! The ordinary becomes exciting, the intimate becomes powerful, the plain becomes a wondrous adventure – 3D into 9D!

Today: Ask the Holy spirit to show you if there are any hindrances in your life that stop you freely talking to God face to face. With his help deal with these issues.

The rock with a tap?

Who on earth would have expected this? – it is like a Harry Potter film. How did flowing

Old Razorback Mountain at the Black Rock Desert

Old Razorback Mountain at the Black Rock Desert (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

water suddenly appear out of a dry rock. Not just a little dribble but enough for a whole nation to drink, bathe, cook with. In other words a gushing stream.

 Ex 17 :6 I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai.Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.” So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on.

 1 Corinthians 10:4 and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ.

On this adventure we are going to see some strange sights. Sights that will make our eyes pop out of our heads. Things that will make no sense our your brain but every sense to our hearts.

We know there is one that travels with us. He is a rock. He is Christ. This rock not only has the normal characteristics of a rock being solid and dependable, a sure foundation but also has heavenly surprises   Even in the hardest, driest place this rock travels with us so we know we are safe and then the rock overflows with water to refresh our thirsty souls.

Today: In the heat of today, in the hard parts of this week turn to the rock and know you are secure. Then drink deeply refreshing waters that flow out of Christ

The call to unshackled worship

I remember the first time I danced before God. It was in a Spring Harvest meeting 1984 

English: freedom in the rain.

English: freedom in the rain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

and I was sat a long way back. The song was ‘I get so excited Lord every-time i realise I’m forgiven’ It was a battle of wills for me but knew if I was excited I couldn’t sing the words standing still. I felt so embarrassed to start with and then a freedom burst inside that I had never felt before. I stopped taking myself quite so seriously. It was a breakthrough in truth that still causes me to dance even now.

 

 “This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me.” Exodus 8

 

The Israelites were  eventually given freedom by Pharaoh  in order that they could go and worship their God. They were not randomly allowed to go free – there was a reason, a purpose. Our primary call, our purpose in being free, is to worship God.  Lets use our freedom to worship God with unshackled hearts and hands.

 

In the story Pharaoh didn’t like this ‘free’ worship – he wanted to restrict and control the worship the people brought their God. He perhaps felt threatened that the people thought there was someone higher, greater and more powerful than he. It must have hurt his ego somewhat. He agreed to let God’s people go to worship Him but he tried to lay down guidelines in which to restrict them

 

  •  Ex 8:25 go sacrifice to God in this land

This is worship with not much effort or movement. There is no change to the position of what they are doing already. This keeps complete control on the activity.

 

  •  Ex 8:28 don’t go far away

This is worship with tight restrictions. You can worship a little way off but don’t go mad you still have tight limitations as to what you can do.

 

  •  Ex 10 :11 Go now you who are men

This worship is not inclusive of the whole family. It lacks united generations, enthusiasm of the young, wisdom of the old, practicality of the experienced and dreams of those starting out.  It lacks unity, togetherness and therefore power! It is only half a family encouraged to worship.

 

  •  Ex 10: 24 Let your flocks be held back

This is worship of our body only but doesn’t include the sacrifice of our money or time. If we withhold our finances and belongings our hearts are severely restricted in overflow and abandonment.

 

Let us use our freedom to worship God with crazy overflow. To go all the way. To do what we feel God telling us to do – no matter what. This is what we were set free for.

 

Today: Is there any expression of worship that you struggle with or do not express? Eg lying prostrate, dancing, giving, standing on your chair, etc. decide that you will not be held back any longer but you will make full use of your freedom to bring all your worship

 

Learn more about how much the Father loves you

Try reading this book – Daddy, you Love Me: Living in the Approval of your Heavenly Father   Brent Lokker

Daddy Loves You

Daddy Loves You (Photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik)

I realise that for some of you this title will put you off. It seems a little gushy for you. I felt a little like this and find the book perhaps over the top. What I love about it is that it completely challenges the way I think and feel about my Father God. I am letting it wash over me until one day I understand it  and believe it fully.