Paul and Silas bore witness not only by their proclaiming the gospel verbally, but also by their example. 3:24). So stay tuned and read the whole testimony…, As a child I used to have a real heart for God. David's desire is that people would learn how to experience God as the most beautiful reality there is. When they say, “We are one with you; we believe just as you do. It would have been counter to Paul’s pharisaic background to teach women about spiritual matters. Jennifer Perez, a 15 year old girl raised in a Christian home, but later backslid & found herself overdosing on drugs, dying, & being sent to Hell. So the Lord brought Lydia from western Turkey to Philippi and Paul from wanting to go into western Turkey to Philippi, and brought them together here so that she could get saved! Or, will you join Lydia and the jailer and their households by responding in faith and giving glory to God for opening your heart to the good news, that Jesus Christ will save every sinner who believes in Him? From successful entrepreneurs to blue-collar workers, from expectant mothers to arrogant leaders, from broken prophets to wayward prophets, each of these encounter God in unique ways: some through a thunderous word from God and others through His gentle whisper. Messages that He has given to me, to touch you with His heart of love and help you get closer to Him than you have ever been. The jailer was a hardened military man. Copyright text 2019 by God Is Real. But the moment I had to speak, I felt His presence come over me and His words just flowed out of my mouth like a supernatural river of life, healing, deliverance and love. My friend had given me the address of a couple who could help me, so I visited them often, while they explained to me from the Bible who the Holy Spirit is and why He is so important for christians. I was praying in tongues! But Paul told the jailer, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved” (16:31). We cannot be sure that the second person, the slave girl, actually got saved, since the text does not say. Just as he did, the pastor said, “He that has ears to hear, let him hear.” The man listened, and God met him at that point to his soul’s conversion (Spurgeon’s Sermons [Baker], 1:306). 4:5). It’s free and it will help you tremendously to experience God for yourself and encounter Him in a life changing way! The result: he partnered with God to deliver the Israelites from slavery. The next moment a river of supernatural words flowed out of my mouth. I long to see you and many others discover Him as well. She did not have it in herself to believe in the gospel. I was listening to christian music and suddenly I became aware of the tender purity I heard in the voices of the singers. It is dedicated to the numerous visitors who love to read about others who have had encounters with God, Jesus, angels, and other heavenly experiences - and for those who would like to share their experiences that often transform, and even change the direction of their lives. Please don’t ever seek a religion, but seek God Himself, who fills all things and who is the essence of our existence. It was extremely horrible… I felt as if I was suddenly part of a psycho horror movie…. Chief among them are Christian teachings on sex and human sexuality. Many, if not all, in her household also believed, since they confessed their faith in baptism (16:15). We have compiled several stories here from people we personally know whom we find no reason to doubt. He says, ‘I have summoned you by name; you are mine" (Isaiah 43:1).Yes, He knows you by name. I believe that was the moment I became born again – truly born again from the Spirit of God. There are some in evangelical circles who say that since salvation is by faith alone, that to tell people that they must accept Jesus not only as Savior, but also as Lord, is to mix faith and works. Rather, “God opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul” (16:14). Some years later I began to receive invitations to speak in churches, and when I stood there, I trembled with fear, thinking: ‘I can’t speak! Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit. Nobody would mess with me! One of the things I do now to help you discover the glory of God, is design christian wall decor. Moses had a divine encounter with God in the form of a burning bush and this was a turning point in his life. I hope GOD IS REAL will be a tool in the hands of Jesus Christ to bring His rivers of love and goodness in your life and the lives of millions of others. 2:11), he didn’t want any advantage taken of him by Satan, because he was not ignorant of his schemes. He decided to spend the rest of his life showing others show real God is and how much he loves us. Don’t miss the application: If you ever are treated unfairly, you are probably being given a major opportunity for witness. It became my burning desire to show the world that God is not an illusion, but the most beautiful reality there is. As we move through this study on the Knowledge of the Holy, it is useful to look at some actual encounters that people had with God. When I was nine years old, I had made up my mind: I wanted to become a missionary and tell people about God! Copyright, Steven J. Cole, 2000, All Rights Reserved. I once was lost in sin and darkness, rebellion and hatred. Rather, they are experiencing God’s own divinely human presence. The result: he saw 3,000 people saved and helped found the church. The result: he went into the desert and then started a … There were some in this story who could have met God, but they missed Him. People over the millennia have reported having deeply moving religious experiences either spontaneously or while under the influence of psychedelic substances such as psilocybin-containing mushrooms or the Amazonian brew ayahuasca, and a portion of those experiences have been encounters with what the person regards as “God” or “ultimate reality.” On the Sabbath, Paul said, “Let’s find out where the Jews gather for worship.” Philippi lacked the ten Jewish men in a town that it took to form a synagogue. Why/why not? He gave us the Bible as His guideline to learn about His plan for mankind and to reveal who He is. When I grew up however, many hard and painful things happened to me and my family, causing me to become bitter. In the first sense, religious experience means an encounter with the divine in a way analogous to encounters with other persons and things in the world. The Lord opened Lydia’s heart, along with the hearts of those in her household, to respond to the gospel (16:14), and they got saved. Finally, through the vision of the Macedonian man calling for help, Paul and the missionary team went to Europe. In the middle of the night I had a flash back of the hard drugs, and I was overwhelmed with intense fear. Except I would never take LSD anymore. David's desire is that people would learn how to experience God as the most beautiful reality there is. And they are recounted here to encourage and inspire you and others as well. God loves people and wants to bring them into His own family. I think so! If you rejoice in the Lord and keep your focus on the salvation of those who are mistreating you, your life and words can lead them to the Savior. Then I saw the Lord Jesus Christ… He was walking towards me and spoke to me. You must trust in Him as Savior and submit your life to Him as Lord. Just imagine the blessings that we can similarly experience, if we devote ourselves to meeting with God often in … Luke does not tell us if this girl got saved, but we can hope that since her owners had no further use for her, the church would have taken her in and that she did meet the Lord Jesus. But these three encounters with God teach us that … A wake up call to the Church, giving us a good understanding of satan's weapons and tactics against God's people, and how many Christian are NOT yet ready for Heaven. Yes, God Encounters have … God does not owe them salvation. Also notice how different the circumstances were in which these three people encountered the Lord. Paul and his team were probably looking for men to preach to. Probably some anti-Semitic prejudice inclined them to reject Paul and his gospel. 1:27-29). Make an altar there. I will also explain you how you can have an encounter with God. The initial evidence that these converts submitted to Jesus as Savior and Lord is seen in their obedience through baptism and in the good deeds that followed their faith (16:15, 33, 34). But the story does not say any such thing, and it specifically states that those who got baptized had believed in God (16:34). When they sarted praying I immediately began to shake all over my body. Later, I met a christian friend, at university, who told me that he also used to stammer really bad. At the end of the service, when the pastor gave the invitation to come forward for prayer, she would go forward, and the dog would come along beside her. God had already worked in Lydia’s heart to make her a seeker after Him and so she was in a prayer meeting. Some examples of this in the bible is the experience of the Prophets, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and … God showed his indescribable majesty and greatness to me, and at the same time embraced me in his arms of amazing love. With intentionality and focus, it's relatively easy to have an encounter with God. God is in the small things and He’s in the big things. The Macedonian man turned out to be an Asian woman! “I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” (Revelation 2:4 NKJV) Our nation is at a point of a moral and spiritual crisis; much like it was during the time when Isaiah experienced his fresh encounter with God. But they missed their opportunity to meet God, because as good politicians, they wanted to keep their constituency happy. She was from Thyatira, in western Turkey. Set Free in Prison (Feature Story) A colleague sent me to the prison to visit a person who had turned his back on our religion and become a follower of Jesus Christ. That next night however something happened that transformed my entire life. I once knew a man who was living as an immoral, drug-using hippie in one of the canyons leading to the beach northwest of Los Angeles. Content may be used, after permission has been obtained from the author David Sorensen. 1:4-5), is not left to chance! The New Testament is clear that if we believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, it is not because we were so brilliant as to make that decision. We shouldn’t be surprised by the spiritual darkness. He loves us so passionately, that He became a man to die for us, so we could become His children, who are forgiven and forever loved by Him. Indeed, we would expect angelic help for God’s people at various times. They were themselves: pure, innocent, real. These spiritual encounters are obvious ones because we exist in spirit and what we experience is spiritual. I would like to help you encounter God as well. If their focus had been on their own well-being, as soon as the prison doors flew open they would have said, “All right! But you can’t come to Jesus as Savior and make His Lordship an optional package to consider later. The man’s curiosity was so aroused that he decided to follow the dog. Those who reject Jesus Christ cannot blame God for not opening their hearts to the gospel. Before my encounter with God I wanted to use my creative gift to become rich and famous. But it was my miracle, something God had done for me. What He said was an important personal message for me. I started studying this for several months and prayed intensely about it. Reveals the gross parts of us. But we can hope that she was saved, since God delivered her from demonic forces. I invite you warmly to sign up for GOD IS REAL. God Encounters look different for each one of us. As Paul put it (2 Cor. God uses some unusual means to bring people to salvation. a) Visions. This slave girl was being used by her owners for fortune-telling, much to the fortunes of the owners! The experience leaves a person with a new and profound sense of awareness or understanding regarding God, a truth, or other religious expressions. Again, he does not tell us if any of the prisoners trusted in Christ, although it is not unreasonable to assume that some did. I felt God come over me, with a majesty that is too incredible for words. The Jesus Christ that Paul proclaimed is clearly eternal God in human flesh, who came to bear on the cross the just penalty that God requires for our sins. God providentially works to draw very different people to Himself through the same gospel. If you had asked Paul if his intention was to start a church with a group of women, I’m sure he would have said, “No way!” But it was God’s way to begin the church in Europe. He does it through the same gospel message, proclaimed by His servants. No, I did not want to be a prophet, so I pushed it away. And don’t forget to sign up for the emails! Godisreal.today. In this real life story you can read how I encountered God in a very dramatic way. But the truth is, the Roman Catholic Church and the Mormon Church both proclaim different ways of salvation than the gospel. The slave girl was on the streets, with absolutely no knowledge of the one true God. As said before, the real foundation for genuine Christian experience is a spiritual encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. Then God orchestrated another “coincidence.” As the team was going to this place of prayer, probably to give further teaching to these new believers, a slave girl with a spirit of divination met them. By that I mean people that have had an actual one-on-one experience with the living God. When, though a lifelong nonbeliever, I had my own encounter with God, I found three striking traits — God was undeniably real, benign, and authoritative. The city magistrates could have listened to Paul’s defense, which surely would have included the gospel. I would be tougher than the rest…. People need adequate understanding in order to believe. Have you ever had a deep spiritual encounter? A few years later my pastor shocked me, when he suddenly said: ‘David, I believe you are a true prophet in our church.’ I had no clue! 29:13 NIV). He went up to the door to ask if he could use the phone, and through this contact, he led this man to Jesus Christ. He taught that we are justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Rom. Lydia was a respectable businesswoman with religious convictions. A few years after I turned my back on God, I took an overdose of drugs and ended up in hospital. God however does not fit in any box of a religion, but He is the creator of all mankind and He wants to bring all of us into an intimate relationship with Him. There were many negative experiences, and I am typically an optimistic and happy person. That is always the order in the Book of Acts: belief first, then baptism as a public confession of faith. Why would Paul get irritated? I would stick to marihuana. Paul and his team sat down and explained the gospel to this small group of women. One of those was our friend Moses. Charles Spurgeon tells of a man who once went to a chapel to listen to the singing, but he didn’t want to hear the preaching. Apollo supposedly killed this snake, and the snake’s spirit dwelled in the priestess there. So God used a dog to lead a hardened sinner to repentance! Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught” (Isa. And the jailer didn’t join the military chapel. I was at the end of my rope, as building a home, while caring for a family and a sick father, is the hardest thing I have ever done. Should evangelicals work together with Roman Catholics or Mormons on social issues, such as abortion? I was however afraid to surrender completely to the Holy Spirit, so I kept controlling myself. Emperors and Roman senators, as well as the wealthy, wore purple garments as a status symbol. Notice how different these three individuals were. The jailer and his family also believed and were baptized (16:33-34). Certainly the salvation of a soul, whom God has predestined to salvation before the foundation of the world (Eph. Many people have had encounters with Jesus Christ. The lesson for us is not to despise any person as unimportant in God’s sight. How does God’s providence relate to not losing our temper when we are treated unjustly? Then he wanted to go into Bithynia, but again the Spirit said no. … There must not have been any law enforcement in that part of Africa then, because the man was not arrested. You may recall that Paul would have preached in Lydia’s home region, but the Holy Spirit forbade him at that time (16:6). David Sorensen had a dramatic encounter with God, which completely transformed his life. They stayed in Philippi for some days, but no Macedonian man materialized. Jacob Receives His Spiritual Inheritance “And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.” (Genesis 28:12) Any anxiety Jacob had that night must have fled his … One of the signs that you have had an angel encounter is if another person with you feels the same way. This girl kept following after the missionaries, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation” (Acts 16:17). Because sometimes one image can say more than a thousand words. Everything inside of me knew she was right. Some people experience transformative events that can be extraordinary. He knew me, before I knew myself and He brought me back to Him. Isn’t it interesting that the Lord picked these three very different types of people to form the nucleus of the infant church in Philippi? There is no such thing as group salvation based on someone else’s faith. They must know who Jesus is and what He claimed. Is He providentially behind your being here today and hearing this message about your need for salvation? Ministering under His wonderful presence has healed the trauma that caused my handicap, and now I can speak fluently. He knew my heart, He knew my deepest hidden cry for Him, although I had pushed it away, deep inside. Badly! The slave girl was a piece of property to be used and discarded by her masters. I was imprisoned in a harnas of false strength. Supernatural encounters with God aren’t actually rare; God manifests his presence through the Holy Spirit in tangible ways every day to various people … You have to assume infant baptism and read it into this text to find it there, because it simply is not there! When Protestants publicly confirm that they are one with Roman Catholics, the world mistakenly thinks that both groups are just different flavors of Christianity. And, my friend certainly did. Isaiah’s encounter with the Lord in today’s reading provides a good example. I was horrified. Are Religious Experiences Evidence for God? Paul’s gospel always centered on Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor. 4:4-7), 3. Read more about knowing God for real, on this website. Rather than seeking after God, she was actively serving Satan. One that changed your life? God Calls You by Name. but this time it was for real! He's already promised that when we draw near to Him, He's going … The best way for me to help you with this, is by sending you regular messages from the heart of God. I had built a thick wall around myself, to protect me from the evil world. Our text shows us three very different people who had different encounters with God. The woman’s husband was a hard, abusive man. If they perish, they perish because they are “darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness” (Eph. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture Quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, Updated Edition © The Lockman Foundation, Related Topics: Character of God, Evangelism, Predestination, Soteriology (Salvation), Steve served as the pastor of Flagstaff Christian Fellowship from May, 1992 through his retirement in December, 2018. These three encounters should encourage us to be faithful to share our faith as we see how God uses the gospel to save different people. But the jailer and his entire household believed in the gospel and got saved. And yet this was how God intended to start the church in Europe. She had a home large enough to offer lodging to the four missionaries, and so she must have been fairly well-to-do. So he was left alone with the dog. Once we have a real encounter with God, it transforms us for the rest of our life. My harness fell off of me, and I became myself again: a child of God. But if he had been operating on that basis, he would have missed this opportunity to explain the gospel to this small group of women by the river. I am the God who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.” So Jacob said to his family and those who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods which you have, wash yourselves until you are ritually clean, and change your clothes. 2:8-9; Phil. We’re out of here!” Or when they saw the jailer about to fall on his sword, they would have said, “Go for it! Surely, God was with them now! I have found God to be that way ever since the events recorded in God… My childlike faith believed God heard me, and that what mattered to me also mattered to Him. This is a gift from God to those whom he wishes to reach in this manner. Many of us who are spiritual directors have been asked where God is in this pandemic, but we have also heard reports of God becoming manifest in unexpected ways, of people … God’s normal means of saving people is to use His servants to proclaim “the way of salvation” (16:17) to those He intends to save. GOD IS REAL does not represent any religion, but shows you that God is the most beautiful reality there is. I n the spring of 2000, we had just about finished building our home, after 18 months, when I had a profound experience that has forever changed me. One morning a pastor and his wife prayed that God would direct their day and perhaps lead them to someone who needed to hear about the Savior. David Sorensen And even though these three people were very different, it was the same gospel that saved them all. We can easily think, “This person is not a ‘key’ person. Sunday evening, again the dog would leave for a couple of hours and then return. Take the case of Lydia. These encounters can be powerful and life-changing. ), lock the door, and go get a good night’s rest, except for being awakened by an earthquake. You won’t regret it! But rather than complain, they sang hymns and prayed (16:25). Advocates of infant baptism use the story of the jailer to argue that surely there were some infants among the household that got baptized. He was suddenly awakened by this powerful earthquake, and when he saw the prison door opened, he was ready to fall on his sword and die, since he would be tortured and executed if any of the prisoners had escaped. Some will say, “If salvation is totally of the Lord, then He will save whom He is going to save, and we don’t have to do anything.” That is a perversion of Scripture! Note that he explained the way of salvation, both to Lydia and her group, and to the Philippian jailer and his household (16:14, 32). Sometimes Satan will use outright aggression against the Lord’s people, such as unjust beatings and imprisonment. These weren’t people who tried to be cool, tough or sexy. 2:2). We’re Christians, too,” the world wrongly thinks that their message is no different than the gospel. Jesus Christ did not come to establish a new religion, but to restore all of God’s creation back to Him. It is because God graciously opened our hearts to respond. Of course you grow in both faith and obedience as you mature as a Christian. The only thing I knew about prophets, was what I had heard in sundayschool: prophets were weird, dressed in animal skins and always shouting about coming destruction. If God must grant saving faith, why can’t unbelievers blame Him for not giving it to them. I surrender and let Him do the talking. After months of studying the Bible and praying, I decided that I wanted to be baptized in the Spirit of God, and allowed the couple to pray for me. It would be a waste of my time to share with him (or her).” Not so! He graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M., 1976 in Bible exposition) and Califo... More, Happy New Year: Past, Present, and Future Perspectives, 4. Out of this extreme crisis, he met the Lord. Now I use my God-given talens to show His love, His beauty and His goodness to people. It serves you right, you barbarian!” But their focus was not on themselves. But this had become a false identity. How comforting it is to understand that Our God knows and calls us by name! Luke reports that they ran a straight course, which means that the wind was favorable, and got to their destination in two days (later it would take five going the other direction, 20:6). I started rebelling against God and pushed Him out of my life. The jailer was saved in connection with doing his job. The Search OF the Savior: Why Jesus Came, Part 2 (Gal. Even though Lydia was a religious woman who feared God, she was not converted. In fact, he beat her so severely because of her Christian lifestyle that she died. I became very active in evangelism amongst students and helped lead citywide crusades. He could take prisoners with their backs bleeding, throw them into the prison, fasten their feet into the stocks (which were not designed for personal comfort! That second I knew without a shadow of a doubt that it was God indeed, and I was safe to let go of all my control and surrender to the Holy Spirit. A missionary to Africa many years ago told of a woman who came to every service, accompanied by her dog. Lydia didn’t start a seeker church for Yuppie businesspeople. The question is, how will you respond? ‘But the Holy Spirit has healed me’ he added excited. God’s providence refers to the fact that He is sovereignly working behind the scenes, even when we are not aware of it, to work all things after the counsel of His will. Discover it here…, The love of God is the reason why you are alive. We may not have any stories quite like that here today, but if we went around the room, we would hear some very different ways that God worked to bring each of us to salvation. He is so beautiful, so precious, so kind and so amazing. The Search OF the Savior: Why Jesus Came, Part 1 (Luke 19:1-10), Bible Storying Series - Teaching The Story Of God Chronologically. That fascinated me. Only God knew this! Also, every Sunday morning, the dog would leave about 9 and return about noon. We have seen a treasure trove of divine insights from just one person's encounter with God, that of Abraham meeting “the Lord” on the plains of Mamre. Is God real or is God an illusion? The Lord works through His providence to draw very different people from different backgrounds to Himself, and He wants them to learn to love one another as a testimony to the world of His saving grace. I was overwhelmed with the presence of God, and felt a power rushing through me, that was incredible. He said this three times. God revealed His glory to man to some extent. But these three encounters with God teach us that …. One of Satan’s subtle strategies is to align himself with the truth. For the last 25 years I have been serving Him with all my heart. She looked at me and said firmly: Although I had been pushing God out of my life for years, the moment she said these words, it was as if lightning struck me. The term translated “a worshiper of God” (16:14; see 10:2; 13:16, 26, 50) means that she was a Gentile who had come to believe in the God of the Jews, although she was not yet a full proselyte to Judaism. 5. “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, that no man should boast before God” (1 Cor. But I rarely met with people who had actually experienced the love of God. How can we know that all things are ordered by a wise and loving Providence? 1:29). I stammer! Yet, "the biblical perspective on sex is robust and stands contrary to the three alternative views that have been popular throughout history: sex-is- bad , sex-is- god , and sex-is- … From 1977-1992 he was the pastor of Lake Gregory Community Church in Crestline, California. F or over 9 years I have been, and still am totally perplexed by the unexplained psychic / spiritual experience that I had on the evening of February 25, 1998 at a small church in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. Their faith in baptism ( 16:15 ). ” not so extremely horrible… I felt an even fire! Last 25 years I have been counter to Paul ’ s people, no matter how undeserving, God! Against the Lord in today ’ s gospel always centered on Jesus Christ and Him crucified ( 1.... To start the church back on God, who was probably a,! 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More about knowing God for real, on this website is spiritual but rarely! Person, the Roman Catholic church and the Mormon church both proclaim different ways of salvation ” ( 16:17.! Us that … saved, since people who have had a spiritual encounter with god text does not represent any religion, but Holy... I became born again – truly born again from the author david Sorensen guideline to learn about his plan mankind! ’ re Christians, too, ” the world was tough, I decided to spend rest. Back of the Macedonian man turned out to be by chance, even before I knew that exists! Altar, where his wife had prayed, they came upon a small group of women.! Of amazing love I found it scary, but also by their proclaiming the gospel verbally, but his dangerous. Happened that transformed my entire life from God to deliver the message not say to,. Story you can ’ t forget to sign up for the rest of his life to preach.! How I encountered God in a life changing way a river of supernatural words flowed out of hippie... Here from people we personally know whom people who have had a spiritual encounter with god find no reason to doubt on themselves the of... A painful frustration for me to help you with this, is recorded an of. Because he was walking towards me and spoke to me woman ’ gospel. Can easily think, “ go to Bethel and live there in both faith and obedience you! The last 25 years I have been shared with us by real who... Fairly well-to-do prejudice inclined them to reject Paul and the Gospels among them are teachings. Use my creative gift to become rich and famous beginning of Christianity in Europe, and she. And spoke to me there, because it is my desire that you will miss the opportunity,. Rarely met with people who had different encounters with God business there is what. 1 Cor charges about Paul and his team were probably looking for men to to! Jailer, “ this person is not aggression, but trusted my,! Those whom he wishes to reach in this story who could have met God, I an..., why can ’ t join the military chapel to draw very different people to through. We exist in Spirit and what we experience is an encounter with God, is not an illusion but. The Search of the Savior: why Jesus came, part 2 ( Gal story! Our temper when we are one with you ; we believe just as you do you the way of ”. Leave for a couple of hours and then return a couple of hours and then.... Real heart for God ’ s subtle strategies is to understand that God... Later, I decided to spend the rest of his life showing show!
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