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.

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Moses sees God face to face -what does Joshua see?

picture066Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent. Exodus 33:10-12 (NIV)

God would speak to Moses face to face, as a friend. Moses was so accustomed and used to the presence of God that it didn’t blow him off his feet, he didn’t cower but stood up, looked God in the eye and shared his heart: just like a friend. Wow!

Joshua would enter the place of worship just like Moses. He would be there as God showed up. He was present when God spoke and chatted with Moses – so the question I have is why was it never said of Joshua that he spoke with God face to face as a friend? Was it trust? Was it lack of something? We do know it certainly wasn’t lack of being in the religious tent. He was there waiting longer than Moses. He knew that to see the presence of God he should follow someone who has experienced conversation with God face to face and keep close to them. Yet  he still couldn’t see.

Joshua was mighty man. He led the people. He entered the promise land. He led well. But no-where in the bible does it say that the intimacy with God that Moses had was ever Joshua’s experienced. We will never know what was in Joshua’s heart. There is no telling what went on in the secret place between Joshua and God.

We can be in the same place where some experience the presence of God heavily and not feel a thing. We could be next to someone who is having a vision of the heavenlies and yet not see a thing. We could be standing next to someone being bathed in the love of God and still  be lonely. It isn’t where or how we wait that brings intimacy – the key is our response to God during our secret interactions.

What conversations you have in your heart with God that builds trust and friendship so God loves spending time with you?

We can be like the place of Bethany. The town where Jesus was drawn to. The place where he loved to spend time with his friends. The place where Jesus face was commonplace. Bethany was a place of intimacy but it cost (see picture above). It meant brokenness, repentance, humility, sacrifice, adoration, passion………

Today: Soften your heart toward God and positioning yourself to see God’s face to face