Experiencing God
     Experiencing God.  Henry Blackaby wrote a classic book and study under that title.  I remember the church I was a part of at that time having multiple classes going on that were studying that book.  They were not alone.  It was a "hot item" throughout the church.  Everyone wants to experience God.  Surely this class would offer the pathway on how to do just that.  That was many years ago, and I wonder, of all the people who participated in that study, how many were there who really entered into a true experience and revelation of the Father, and how many just took a class, and at the close of that class, closed their notebooks, the study guide they'd used, and placed them neatly on the shelf, right alongside all the other studies and notebooks they'd been in, filled up, yet emerged from.....the same?
      In my prayer book, I have written down a lengthy list of the attributes of God.  Savior, Deliverer, Redeemer, Provider, Bread of Life, Master, Almighty, Peace.  These are just a few, and I've known these characteristics of God for sometime now.  Perhaps you have as well, but do I, do you, know them as a descriptive list, or as a result of intimate encounter?  In the aforementioned prayer book, I ask Him to reveal to me, to those He's put on my heart, the fullness of those characteristics.  But just how does He go about revealing Himself?  Through a study?  By listening to a sermon or a song.  He certainly can, but only if we have an encounter with Him in the midst of it all.  We can "know" that He is Provider, Healer, Deliverer,Savior, but it is only by a true encounter with Him in that role that we know Him as such.  As pastor and writer Bill Johnson says, "An encounter with the Provider brings provision."  An encounter with the Healer will bring healing, with the Deliverer, deliverance, and with the Savior, salvation.  These are no longer things that we believe that He is, we know He is.  We have encountered Him, we've been healed by the Healer, provided for by the Provider, saved by the Savior.  In His mercy, He may well have done all these things in a life, but in the midst of it all, that life never encountered Him, and so they went on, unsure as to whether He really is who He says He is, and that uncertainty will only grow.  We may do another study, join another group, listen to another sermon, and sing another song, but we still will not know Him.  We will still not have encountered Him.
     A.W. Tozer asked, "How many Christians harbor in their own spirit the daily expectation of God's presence"  He did not mean a vague "I know He is with me," expectation, but an expectation of encounter, of interaction, of intimacy?  Do I harbor it in mine?  Do you in yours?  In Exodus Moses told God that what would distinguish the Israelites from all the other people's they would contact was that His Presence was with them.  This, His Presence, is as Johnson says, what distinguishes us from all other people.  It can not be had through any means other than a one on one encounter with Him.  Most of the people who followed Moses, never encountered the God that Moses Himself followed and knew.  His Word tells us that Moses talked to the Father "face to face, as a friend."  The heart of the Father never wanted it to be only Moses.  He still doesn't.  He calls us to encounter, to come and see; to come and know.  Simply, to come.

Blessings,
Pastor O
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