The Lord is always looking for opportunities to bring those who are desperate and hungry into a life-changing encounter with Him. When we look at a few stories in Scripture, we can see the heartbeat of God as Jesus brings people transforming encounters that shift the direction of their lives.
In the beginning of Jesus' ministry, we see how He goes about finding His disciples. There are two men, Simon and Andrew, who are going about his daily activities as a fisherman. They are just going through the routines of life with the struggles and monotony of their occupation. When Jesus comes on the scene, what is it about Him that calls to the heart with such authority that these men are ready to leave it all to follow?
"As He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, his brother, throwing a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, 'Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.' Immediately they left their nets and followed Him" (Mark 1:16-18, MEV).
Jesus sees deeper into the hearts of Simon and Andrew, speaking into the call upon their lives and saying, "I will make you a fishers of men." In other words, He took what they did in the natural making seeing the parallel of what they were called to do in the kingdom of God. In another instance, we see Jesus waiting for the woman at the well. The Lord had a divine appointment with her as she is drawing from the natural well of water. Jesus unveils Himself as the Source of Living Waters where if she only knew who He was, she would have asked for these waters of life and never thirst again.
"Jesus answered her, 'If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who is saying to you, "Give Me a drink," you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water'" (John 4:10, MEV).
Jesus then reads her mail, showing her that He knows the intricate details of her life. He comes to bring her the answer and solution to her desperate struggles, saying, "Come and drink!"
"Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price" (Is. 55:1, MEV).
There are many other divine encounters that Jesus orchestrates throughout His ministry where those who are searching come into a place of discovery in His presence. Simon, now Peter, recounts an encounter he has when he sees Jesus on the mount of transfiguration, where God's glory is manifested in a tangible way.
"For we have not followed cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received honor and glory from God the Father when a voice came to Him from the majestic glory, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased'"(2 Pet. 1:16-17, MEV).
And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain." In this place where God's glory is manifested, we see some things take place. If we look at the manifestation of heaven on Earth at the Mount of Transfiguration, we see that there was a physical literal change in the robe Jesus was wearing. It is transformed to glistening white. As well, we see Moses and Elijah appear in that place of glory. It is such an experience that Peter, in his own flesh, starts getting ideas of pitching tents. Then the voice of the Father speaks from heaven saying, "This is My Son. ... Hear Him!"
"Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, 'Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah'" (Matt. 17:1-4, MEV).
The Glory and Presence of God
Peter had some amazingly profound encounters with God. These were all manifestations of His glory. It is what the glory of God does, making heaven tangible and real on Earth. The glory makes manifest on Earth the realities of heaven. For those who are looking, searching and needing an encounter with God, the glory of God brings about this life-changing experience. Jesus walked as a man anointed with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of glory. It was the power of the Spirit that brought about the miracles and wonders. The glory, the Holy Spirit and the presence of God are all very interconnected as that all emanate from the person of God. When we look at the word "glory" in the Hebrew, we see kabod with the definition as "the weight" or "the splendor." For example, we can see in this passage it being used when Moses asked God to "show me Your glory."
"And he said, 'Please, show me Your glory.' Then He said, 'I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.' But He said, 'You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.'"
What is the difference between the glory and the presence of God? As much as some would like to separate them it is not all that easy. For instance in the definition of presence, p̱âniym in the Hebrew, it means the "face of God, the front or the heaviness." Compared with the word kabod for the glory it is very similar in that heaviness and weighty are the same thing. Then if we look at the verse where Moses is asking the Lord to show Him His glory, God says, "No one can see My face and live." So even through in the definition of glory "the face" is not mentioned, it is connected in the Scripture here. Then we have Moses tell God not to send him if His presence does not go with him.
"And He said, 'My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.' Then he said to Him, 'If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how will it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we will be distinguished, I and Your people, from all the people who are on the face of the earth?'" (Ex. 33:14-16, MEV).
All to say, it is like trying to separate the Godhead. There are different functions in the Godhead: Father, Son and Holy Spirit but they all have the same goal. It is an even narrower distinction between the glory and presence of God. Can you have the presence without the glory? Can you have the glory without the presence? Our natural mind likes to have this figured out but to no avail. Just love the Lord and just soak in His presence or glory or both. Again, we can see the oneness of the Holy Spirit with the glory in this passage here.
"Now the Lord is the Spirit. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, seeing the glory of the Lord with unveiled faces, as in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Cor. 3:17-18, MEV).
It is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Lord, that brings transformation from "glory to glory" into the image of God. As we spend time in the "presence of God" or the "glory" we are being changed into His likeness. This is the place of encounter where God world enters into our natural world making eternal deposits into our hearts.
The Power of Prayer
We must understand that we need the glory of God in our lives. How do we access the glory? What gets us into that place? One of my favorite revivals, which I love to read about, is the Welsh revival. In this revival, a man by the name of Evan Roberts spent 13 months just praying for "the wave" of God's glory to come. What a great prayer! Have you ever thought about praying for a wave? It is really a simple prayer when you think about it.
What have you been praying for? There are a lot of things we can pray for, but a "wave"? Evan Roberts prayed for a wave of God's glory for 13 months, and he got the wave! Worship and prayer, with an exceptional spontaneity of the Holy Spirit, hallmarked this revival. It really wasn't about great preaching as much as it was about people finding the Lord just by getting in the atmosphere of God's glory. Once people would get into that place, they could not escape the reality of heaven on Earth. Even though worship and praise were key in this move of the Spirit, many times the worship was just acapella, people making melody in their hearts to the Lord. The amazing thing is that this all began by a prayer of asking for "the wave of God's glory" to come.
"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who remains in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit. For without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5, MEV).
"Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, 'So, could you not keep watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak'" (Matt. 26:40-41, MEV).
Can you imagine Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane where all He wanted was someone to pray, stay awake with Him for one hour? Did you know that He is still looking for those people today? Are you willing to hang with Jesus for an hour? Are you willing to just "stay awake" with Him, to watch with Him? God is inviting us to stay awake, keep watch and pray for His glory to cover the earth as the waters cover the seas. It is the glory that will awaken the hearts of the people, bring many to know the Lord and bring people into a place of real encounter with God. We are called to be "catalysts" of the glory of His presence. That means we are not waiting for an event to happen, but we are carriers of His glory. What is a catalyst? A catalyst is a person or thing that precipitates and event. In other words, we are those who change the atmosphere. You can be a thermometer that reads the temperature or you can be a thermostat that changes the temperature.
Be a Catalyst of His Glory
Through our prayers, worship and devotion, we can change atmospheres to heaven's degree. Don't be passive; activate! Don't wait for an event but create an event by stirring the waters of your spirit to be a catalyst for God's glory today.
John Belt helps people discover abundant life in God's presence through intimacy and breakthrough. He is co-founder, along with his wife, Brandi, of Overflow Global Ministries and travels itinerantly through speaking and worship in the U.S. and abroad. John has produced over 30 instrumental and worship albums that create an atmosphere for encounters with heaven and can be found around the world in places such as Bethel Redding, 24/7 Burns, Catch the Fire Toronto, XPMedia, International Houses of Prayer and people's living rooms. He the author of Overflowing in His Presence, to be released later this year.
For the original article, visit overflowglobal.com.
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