Does God still supernaturally invade people's lives today? Those in modern church history would echo a resounding yes. What would change in your life if you were personally encountered by God? If the lives of those in Scripture provide any precedent, one God encounter changes everything! And if He can break in on Jacob, Moses, Deborah, Saul, and a host of others, He can break in on you.
Jacob's encounter with the living God—in a dream in the wilderness at Bethel—changed him from a deceiving schemer and trickster into Israel, "prince of God," and father of a nation of the people of God.
Moses' encounter with the I AM—in a burning bush—changed him from a stuttering back-country shepherd into a bold leader and deliverer of a nation who could confront the Pharaoh of Egypt, the world's most powerful ruler.
Deborah's encounter with the fierceness of God changed a respectable judge into the deliverer of a nation who rendered courageous counsel to those in authority and vanquished the enemy's army.
Saul's encounter with the risen Christ—in a vision on the road to Damascus—transformed him from a fire-breathing persecutor of the church into Paul, a fire-igniting apostle and evangelist who carried the gospel of Christ throughout the Roman Empire.
The annals of history also demonstrate that one God encounter can forever transform the course of a person's life.
Augustine's encounter with God—through a voice that said, "Take and read, take and read"—led him to Romans 13:11-14. That passage changed him instantly from a doubting skeptic into a confirmed believer in Christ, and bequeathed to the church one of its greatest theologians and thinkers.
Joan of Arc's encounters of visionary guidance from the Lord changed the life of an uneducated, peasant girl into that of a renowned counselor, strategist, military leader and consecrated martyr for the purposes of God in France during her generation.
Bertha Smith's encounter with the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the healing presence of God catapulted an obscure Baptist missionary into a preacher of historic revival in China.
Dwight L. Moody's encounter with the calling of God—during a prayer meeting in a hayfield—changed him from a poorly educated, unconfident shoe salesman into one of the greatest evangelists of modern times. He preached revivals across England and the United States where tens of thousands came to know Christ as Savior.
Kathryn Kuhlman's encounter with the relentless love of God changed an ordinary, red-headed, country girl into a world-impacting, miracle-working minister—all for the glory of God.
Billy Graham had an encounter with the Holy Spirit's empowering presence—over 70 years ago, in a hotel room in Los Angeles, California—and was transformed into one of the church's all-time great evangelists who ushered hundreds of thousands of souls into the kingdom of God.
Setting the Captives Free
For years, my wife and I had cried out, "Lord, we just want to be so totally sold out and consumed with You that this fear gets completely annihilated so we won't even have it anymore." I thank God for hearing and answering those prayers. I've learned that God is jealous for relationship with each one of us. Today, God is standing up and warring on our behalf. He is setting the captives free and releasing us into the creativity He ordained for us from the beginning.
"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control" (2 Tim. 1:7 AMPC).
"There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love's complete perfection]" (1 John 4:18 AMP).
I will never forget the day—we had four small children—when in tiredness and weakness, Michal Ann leaned up against the wall and said, "Lord, I want so much to be with You, but I am so busy I just can't find the time I want. I don't have time to just sit down and soak in Your presence."
The Lord gently spoke back and said, "Ann, I know that. I am the God of the impossible, and I tell you that what you think is impossible is possible. I am going to come to you in the night hours." That is when by grace He began giving Michal Ann dreams as never before. He was totally rearranging her perception of herself, of Him and of how she thought He felt about her. He met her in her place of weakness and revealed Himself as a loving and caring Father.
To our wonderful surprise, we discovered that the God of the universe actually longed for each of us personally. He wanted us to encounter Him. It was (and still is) awesome.
Changed Lives for All to See
We are all "living stones" precious in God's sight (see 1 Pet. 2:5-6). As we stir up the gifts and callings within us and let the Lord's boldness come out, we begin glowing like uncut gems in sunlight. We become miracles visible to all. Today is the day to do business with God and decide that the enemy of intimidation will not strangle you anymore.
God wants to woo and draw you into His presence. When you come into that place, all your fear just melts away. No matter how much the enemy tries to intimidate you, he can't stand before God's perfect love. Oh, how I love His presence and the embrace of my Bridegroom, Beloved and King. His presence is so great that it changes each one of us.
We can have confidence that our Father truly loves us. This will result in hearing what the Lord will speak in the days and nights ahead. We can release the Holy Spirit's creative flow over everyone in our families, local church bodies and cities. We can be who God has made us to be. We can let Him saturate us with the "water" of His presence so that we will bloom, blossom and release our unique fragrances. God has ordained that we live under His incredible banner of love, and the fruit of His kingdom presence. We can, and we will.
God-Encounters Are for Everyone
Do you long for a genuine God-encounter in your life? Do you wonder whether or not such experiences still happen today? Do you wonder whether it could happen to you? Take heart! God encounters do happen, and not just to super-Christians. They happen to ordinary people. How do I know? Because God-encounters have happened to me and to my late wife, Michal Ann, and we are ordinary folks raised in rural Missouri in the U.S.A.
One word of caution, however: A God-encounter changes everyone it touches. Once you receive the fire of God's visitation in your life, you too will be forever changed. Let the presence of the Holy Spirit flood your being just as it has impacted my entire household. Our God-encounters resulted in being completely set free from fear and intimidation—and that can happen for you as well.
So, I invite you to step into a pilgrimage of supernatural encounters. God is not a respecter of persons; if He did it for Jacob, Moses, Deborah and Saul, and if He did it for Joan of Arc, Bertha Smith, D.L. Moody and Billy Graham, then He will do it for you. Believe me, if God-encounters can happen to us, then they can happen to you. Cry out to God and make yourself available to Him; He will not ignore you.
So, Lord, I ask that You release God-encounters today to each one who reads this, so that they will also be changed by Your presence.
Dr. James W. Goll is the founder of God Encounters Ministries, an award-winning author and communications trainer and has ministered in over 50 nations. For information on his webinars and online classes, visit godencounters.com. James continues to live in Tennessee and is a joyful father and grandfather today.
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