In the words of George Costanza from Seinfeld “I’m back baby!” I have had one of the busiest seasons in life and ministry over the last few weeks. Thanks to those who have prayed for me/us.
Now to the topic at hand this week – God Encounters: What are they?
The first kind of encounter people should have with God is the most important one. It is an encounter with God where we understand who he is and what he has done for us. It is an encounter that results in a conversion of our lives. It is an encounter with Jesus where you believe in Him and His work on the cross and your eternal destination changes. That is the most important encounter people should have with God.
Now that is the most important and basic of the encounters with God but I believe and see that there are many other types and encounters with God. A way that God encounters people is to show them a new direction in life. They might be headed in a direction that is not the best for them and God can come in and point them another direction. There are other times that God encounters people to show them a call to a particular ministry to lead or be involved in. There are other times that God encounters people to remind them of who He is and how He works – it is about Him and His ways and not them and their ways. There are times that God encounters people to show them His Holiness in a fresh and a new way which brings about personal revival. God encounters can be for a variety of purposes and happen in a variety of ways.
What are God Encounters? They are extraordinary experiences with God in His presence. God encounters beyond salvation only happen a few times in your lifetime if at all. I truly believe that people who have encounters with God do so because they make themselves available to God. God will not force himself upon you so you must have an open attitude toward God and be willing to change in order to have an encounter with God beyond salvation. Here is the thing that you will see in all this – God does not just encounter people who have it all together but he encounters those who make themselves available to Him.
What does it mean to encounter God? The best way that I can explain it is to tell you what an encounter with God is not. It is not just praying, it may happen when you are praying, but it is much more than praying. God encounters are not just meeting with God in your daily quiet time, although you will meet God many times in this way but a true God encounter is more than this daily meeting. You see a God encounter is a life changing moment because the presence of God will become so extraordinarily real and you sense God moving in your life like never before in your life. God encounters have elements to them that will not necessarily happen again in your lifetime.
God encounters are not about the place it happens – whether a sanctuary or a chapel or a garden or your living room. God can encounter you anywhere and He will but again it is going to happen when you are open to Him. Another thing is that it is not about just encountering God through insights from a Bible study, although you might encounter Him that way. God encounters happen at specific locations and ou will have great insight from it but it is not about the place or the insight but it is about God and what He wants you to do. God encounters are not about the place – it is always about God and God alone!
You might think that only biblical characters from the past encountered God but that is not the case because God still does it meet people and encounter them today. Age is not an issue when it comes to encountering God. Gideon and Jeremiah were young men when they encountered God. Moses and John were old men when they encountered God. Geography, culture, and language are other circumstances that make no difference when it comes to encountering God. When we look through the Bible we see that the geography, the culture, the language are non factors because all different kinds of people in all different places encounter God. Again, the prerequisite to a God encounter is an open heart, not a place, an age, a culture but an open heart to what God wants to do.
One more thing here and that is God encounters are not the answer to all your problems in life because it is not a “fix”, nor a feeling. The encounter itself is not the most important thing – God is. You must meet God; it is Him that you need. He is the only one who can help you through your problems and the only one who is the glue that can hold your life together. It is not about the encounter but it is about God and when God comes upon you like this, it will change you. God’s presence changes people and transforms life.
You see God has promised all of us a better life. Jesus has promised us an abundant life in John 10:10 but do we live in it? Paul wants believers to be rooted and grounded in love as we read in Ephesians 3:17 but are we rooted and grounded in the love of God? Paul also promised us that we can be more than conquers in Romans 8:37- do you live as a conqueror? We can read in Malachi that God says he will open the windows of heaven and pour his blessings out on us – has God poured his blessings out on you? Peter said in 1 Peter that we could have joy inexpressible and full of glory- would you say your life is full of joy inexpressible? So what I am saying is that we should be seeking God daily and praying that we will experience God’s presence in the powerful way that God’s Word describes. We should be living in the promises of God but it is a matter of being open to God to do so. When we do this – I believe we will experience a God encounter and we will experience these promises of God.
What are your thoughts on God encounters as I have described them?
(This series of post has been inspired by the book – God Encounters by Elmer Towns)