Monday, May 17, 2010
The Source of Ignition
I love this verse, but I confess, it really didn't mean much to me for many years after I got saved. I remember the flood of love when I confessed God with my lips. I remember how wonderful I thought God was when everything was going my way. I really didn't know how to get close to God. And worse, I thought it was some sort of random chance for God's presence to manifest itself.
This week your Kingdom Bloggers are going to write about a time when God was near.
After many years as a Christian, I began to read a lot about revival. Some of the manifestations of God seemed a little scary, but also amazing. I have many memories about God's presence in prayer meetings, Sunday services and on some retreats that I went to. I happen to love communion, and quiet altars - especially the ornate ones showered in sunshine filtered by stained glass, or lit by a single candle. I really did desire to be close to God.
I remember something called the Agape feast on a Cursillo retreat I went on - and the presence there was just without words. That was amazing!
Certainly God has been near in times of trouble as well. One morning I was on the way home from an early morning prayer meeting. It was about 7:30 am and I was driving down Route 28 from Chatham to my home in Dennis, MA It had started to rain - but I was pumped from a great prayer time. My spirit was groaning syllables that even I didn't know what they meant - but I was connecting with God!
Just past Harwich Center, I took my foot of the gas to slow for the s-curve a few minutes from my house. As I came to the middle of the "s", the truck started to slide (honest, I wasn't going fast, maybe 30) . I turned into the skid when I felt a darkness surround me. As I am spinning out; in the midst of a 360, I shout "Oh God!" And it was like a hand just grabbed my truck and put it going the right way. I let the clutch out and continued as if nothing had happened. That is the kind of presence we need in our lives!
I some times meditate on how Adam might have walked with God in the cool of the day - now that's a lifestyle I could grow accustom to! I read Watchman Nee's, The Release of the Spirit. It was a lot about intimacy with God, and that is what I wanted. I wanted the lover of Song of Songs to chase after me!
The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence was a personal revelation at the time. It was so simple to look for God as Tracy describe last week. But I wanted more. I wanted God to visit me, or send and angel like He did for Mary or Paul. I wanted to get caught up in the Third Heaven and be in the Throne Room. I wanted God, whatever the cost, whatever it took.
I was at a conference with prophetic minister named John Paul Jackson,. I mention his name, because of the prayer that he said for me, and no other reason. He is a vessel of God, and not different than you and I. Here is what he prayed when I went to the altar that evening. "Lord I pray that your presence would follow this man all the days of his life. The when he turns left that You would be there, and when he turns right, You would be there too. I pray that your presence would surround him wherever he goes. In Jesus' name" I remember standing there just shaking in the presence of God it was so strong. I might have stood for 10 or more minutes just enjoying my Lord.
You might be thinking, 10 minutes is not the rest of this guy's life - and you're right.What did happen, is that when ever I even think of God; even for moment, His presence comes in like flood. I can be anywhere - in bed, driving, at work, and even in the courtroom a few times. I love His presence, and God has answered John Paul's prayer.
Even the faintest thought of God ignites His presence.
Luke 3:16 (The Message) But John intervened: "I'm baptizing you here in the river. The main character in this drama, to whom I'm a mere stagehand, will ignite the kingdom life, a fire, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He's going to clean house—make a clean sweep of your lives.