Monthly Archives: February 2012

Becoming Aware of His Presence

I don’t know how to put into words the presence of God. I don’t know how to explain it to someone. It’s something that one must find on their own, or in other words become aware of. I know other people who I assume have sensed what I have sensed. We find ourselves meeting and talking about the presence but neither can really explain it well. The best description I could give is an overwhelming sense of what is ultimately good and right to our entire existence. This presence is what my inner being longs for. When I am connected and in His presence I feel at home.

And a side note: We say “He” denoting masculinity but God is above any male. Think about it… God created male and female so He is not either. In Biblical times it would have been demeaning to call God a “she” because of the role woman played in society at the time. So we refer to God as “He” and often capitalize it to give utmost respect, but understand that God is above both sexes.

You see even with trying to explain that God is neither male nor female I am obviously trying to explain Him in human terms and ways that we can understand. The fact is that we cannot understand God. He is on a level of thinking and understanding that our brains cannot even fathom (see Isaiah 55:8-9). This is why I can’t explain His presence. I can’t give you a good explanation of God. I don’t understand God. I don’t understand life, but knowing God brings a lot more comfort and light to the mystery of our existence than walking without Him did. He brings light and peace that surpasses understanding (see Phil 4:6-7).

I have always sensed a presence even when I was young. In fact thinking back I can remember times of really feeling the presence of God but I was not aware of what I was sensing. I think we as humans have to grow and mature to become aware of His presence. We have to open our hearts, or the more correct way would be to ask God to open our hearts for us. I do not know why God has setup His whole “system” like this, but the way it has worked for me and others I know is that after we have asked God and taken a step of faith—even when we’re not sure if He is there—this is when we get new revelations of Him. By walking in faith God is rewarding by giving us new revelations of His love.

I believe everyone has sensed God. I believe we are born with the ability to but I think many are blind to it or are just not aware of what they have felt. If you don’t think you have ever felt His presence I would like to ask you to go outside on a clear night and stare up into the stars—that inner humbling sense you get of how small we are and how amazing and infinite the universe is, but knowing that we are alive and ok—this is one way of seeing God’s glory. God speaks to us through the heavens and what He has made (see Romans 1:20). The beauty of our majestic planet is all the proof we need of God. We are not an accident. Something as beautiful as life itself doesn’t just happen.

I have had a few deep spiritual experiences with God’s presence and the touch of His love. When this happens it is an overwhelming emotional experience for me. I do not understand what’s going on but I know that He is there. I can’t help but cry and I really mean cry. This is what His Spirit does with us—it opens up parts of our inner soul that we cannot reach ourselves. God is love and God is truth. I pray that you would become aware of His presence and seek Him for the rest of your days. We don’t have to understand God and we never will, but to reject Him because of our finite human reasoning is a sad and poor excuse (see 1 Corinthians 1:20-21). Give yourself to the Lord for He loves you beyond measure and has already given Himself to you.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world…” –Psalm 19:1-4

-I Want To Believe In God [dot com]

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The Heavens Declare His Glory!

Please take a look at a new website I created:

The Heavens Declare His Glory [dot com]

http://theheavensdeclarehisglory.com

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.” -Psalm 19:1-2

This will be a simple blog where I post photographs I take of the pictures God paints in the sky for us along with short scripture verses to go with them. I’m constantly amazed by the beauty of His glory that is displayed right before our eyes every day.

Romans 1:20 says: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made…”

This verse really speaks to my heart. This majestic planet is truly a testimony of God’s glory. As I’ve said I don’t understand how any man could say it all just popped up and was an accident. People say, “show me a sign.” I say, “ok go outside and gaze at a sunset or the stars at night and you will see the glory of God!” I hope to be able to help share the love of God with others through these pictures that display His glory.

I dont really consider myself a photographer. The pictures are taken with my iphone. Maybe someday I’ll get a real camera. I hope you enjoy them and feel free to comment or add the facebook page.

http://theheavensdeclarehisglory.com

http://facebook.com/theheavensdeclarehisglory

Separated to the Gospel of God

This morning I prayed that the Lord would teach me something new. I felt led by the Spirit to read Romans so I opened up Romans chapter 1. I couldn’t even get past the first verse without the Lord speaking.

“Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God.” (Romans 1:1)

With reading Paul’s epistles I think a lot of us will often skip over or speed read through Paul’s repetitive introductions. He starts every letter very similar and once you have read a couple it’s kind of like, “Yes, we get it you have to introduce yourself now let’s get to the good stuff.” But this time I read it a little slower and the Lord really spoke to me through the first verse. First Paul states he is a bondservant of Jesus. What did he mean by this? Looking up bondservant the first definition I found was: a person bound in service without wages, or a slave. The next definition I found was: devoted to another to the disregard of one’s interest. Bondservants never left their master. They were devoted to them for life. So by Paul saying he was a bondservant to Jesus he was saying he was completely devoted to serving Jesus for the rest of his life.

Next Paul says he was “called to be an apostle.” To understand this line better let’s look at some definitions…

Call: to make a request or demand.

Apostle: one who is sent away (classical Greek meaning).

So breaking it down we have Paul saying he is a life-long devoted servant to Jesus who had made a demand for him to be sent away.

Next he tells us he is “separated to the gospel of God.” The word “separated” is what really stood out to me here. What is he separated from? I would say that he is separated from the world. Jesus said: “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:19) Jesus was talking about persecution here. We know Paul saw plenty of that but that didn’t stop him. He knew where he was going so he didn’t care. Paul lived his life knowing “to live is Christ and to die is gain.” He had truly separated himself from the world and could care less what the world thought of him so long as he was doing the work demanded of him by Jesus Christ.

This realization brought conviction to my life. Have I separated myself from the world? Maybe in some areas but there are plenty of other areas I know the world still has a hold of me.

Here’s my question Christians—do we believe what we say we believe? If so we should be out following the demands of Jesus. We must spread the gospel. It’s a demand not a choice.

“Is a lamp to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:21-23)

Are we sometimes afraid to do what God has asked us to do? Has the Lord put it on your heart to speak to your neighbors about Jesus but you have not out of fear of what they would think? Have you been given perfect opportunities to share the gospel to someone in public but kept quiet out of fear of man? We are to completely separate ourselves from the world and bond ourselves to the gospel of God and become a bondservant of Jesus Christ. There should be nothing in this world that holds us back from God’s call in our lives.

“The fear of man brings a snare but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” (Prov 29:25)

Believe me by writing this I’m not saying I’m any better. This brings conviction to my life. I must do more! We must do more! This is a call to evangelize. This is a call for revival. Do you know where revival starts? In the hearts of us the believers! If we are on fire for the gospel then the fire will spread! And what keeps a fire burning? Fuel!

“Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matt 4:4)

The dog you feed more will be the stronger dog. Is your life on fire for God or are you burning out like the rest of the world? I would like to encourage you to live for Jesus and not let the world consume you.

Lord I pray for boldness. I pray that you would set our hearts on fire for your word, that we would have a new revelation and realization of your love and what you did for us Jesus. You died for us Lord and we are often afraid to tell others of what you have done. Shame on us and forgive us Lord. I pray that we would not let the desires and worries of the world hinder your Spirit any longer. Wake us up Lord. Bring together your church in unity. We seek you and await your guidance. Come Lord! Rule your kingdom. You are Lord of all! Praise you Jesus! Amen.

-I Want To Believe In God [dot com]

Are all Christians narrow minded?

There is a common argument or jab that the agnostics and atheists like to throw out towards Christians and that is the statement that Christians are narrow minded.  Before I talk about my view on this let me give you a couple definitions:

Narrow minded: Lacking tolerance, breadth of view, or sympathy; petty.

Open minded: Receptive to new and different ideas or the opinions of others.

So are Christians narrow minded?  My answer would be that yes some of them are, but there are many open minded believers as well.  Just like with non-Christians—some are open minded and some are not.  The same could be said for the argument that Christians are unintelligent.  I would say that yeah some are but some are very intelligent.  Again, just like non-Christians. 

Lacking tolerance, breadth of view or sympathy—sadly that does describe some Christians but it describes many atheists and agnostics as well.  When I go on to a youtube video about anything to do with the existence of God the comments are slammed with people that are not tolerant at all to the theist view.  It’s their way or the highway.  This is not open mindedness, but they are the ones constantly saying that Christians are so narrow minded. 

With me I have viewed myself as being an open minded and optimistic person.  I believe that it was my open mindedness that led me to go on a spiritual search.  Being open minded and optimistic gave me the idea that there could be more than what this world has to offer.  God forbid I go on the spiritual search and actually find something.  Then once I have found something I get thrown into the narrow minded category?  It doesn’t make sense to me.   

A truly open minded person in my opinion is a person who is honest enough with themselves to investigate each conflict of interest from both sides.  An open minded person tries to really get a feel for both sides of an argument before siding.  But… they still side eventually so does this make them narrow minded once they’ve sided?  Of course not!  Before becoming a believer of God I read science books and studied evolution.  I still like watching documentaries on the Big Bang theory and of different theories of our existence.  I have weighed out the evidence from both sides and in my honest opinion the evidence for the existence of God far outweighs the evidence against Him.  There are unanswered questions on both sides—the theist and atheist. But I do believe there are more unanswered questions on the disbelief in God side… and if we believe in God His word constantly reminds us that He sees the full picture and thinks on a level that we cannot even start to understand.  (Prov 3:5) (Isaiah 55:8-9) (Job 38) (1 Corinthians 3:18-19)

I guess what I’m trying to get at is that the whole narrow minded argument of an atheist or agnostic toward a Christian doesn’t work because by definition with their rejection of the Christian faith they are being just as narrow minded as the Christian would be in rejecting their views.  What it comes down to is we all have to share this world.  So lets try to be respectful of both views no matter what side you’re on.  I think one thing both sides can agree on is what Jesus said was the most important commandment of all—to love one another.

-I Want To Believe In God [dot com]

It’s not a phase, it’s who I am!

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” –E. E. Cummings

We constantly hear people talking about “finding themselves.”  What do they mean by this?  By claiming that they want to find themselves I would say that they are first admitting they are lost.  If they are lost then what do they expect to find and how would you search for it?  With me it’s very simple.  I once was lost but now am found.  It wasn’t that I found God but more that I finally answered His call.  It wasn’t that I set out on this great search to find myself but more that I finally surrendered to what my heart already knew to be truth.  My decision to follow Christ is not a phase.  This is not something I will grow out of.  This is who I am.  This is what completes me.  This is what I was born to be.  I am a child of God. 

I was called by the Lord many years ago when I was a teenager.  I felt His presence and got to know Him some, but with growing up I quickly fell away from the faith and pursued selfish interests.  I now look back and realize that pursuing “dreams” was not who I was.  Pursuing fame, success and money was not who I was—it was the farthest from it actually.  Life had its ups and downs but even in the ups I never felt fulfilled.  There was a longing in me for more.  My heart knew there was more but my mind refused to accept God because of the secular view the world had instilled on me. 

“Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolish-ness with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their own craftiness’ and again, ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise and they are futile.”  (1 Corinthians 3:18-20)

“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:3)

Scientific theories like The Big Bang and Darwinism do not explain the miracle of our existence at all.  Belief in God does.  God has revealed Himself to me through His presence.  Jesus said “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him…” Jesus Christ is Lord and if you are courageous enough to grow up and become who you really are then take a step of faith!  Through faith God will reveal Himself.  Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”  Jesus said, “Seek and you will find.”

I know there are some reading this who the Lord has called but they have decided—like myself in earlier life—to pursue other interests.  Let me save you some searching time and tell you this: Worldly interests will not bring you peace.  The world will not bring you your heart’s desires.  Your heart has heard the Lord and the Lord is at the door patiently waiting for you to answer.  So answer it and come home!  There’s no need to wander in the hills by yourself anymore.  Just come home.   Stop listening to man and listen to God.   This is who you are.

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:3-4)

-I Want To Believe In God [dot com]

God Showed Up

“My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” (Psalm 84:2)

Exactly one month ago from tomorrow my wife and I left California to travel across the country and move to Georgia.  In one month we both found jobs, I started school, bought a car, got a GA driver’s license, met some friends, started attending a new church and will even be playing in the worship band next week.  It’s been an eventful and stressful month to say the least.  What made it even more stressful is with all this change going on I found myself in the midst of a spiritual low.  I longed for the comfort and peace of the presence of the Lord but could not find it.  I prayed, “God I know you’ve answered me before and I know you hear me so please come and comfort me.” 

 “Why was this happening?” I asked.  It felt as if God was not there.  It’s not that I wasn’t praying or wasn’t reading the Bible, I was.  It’s not that I wasn’t going to church or fellowshipping with other Christians, I was.  I even talked to a few people for encouragement and they did encourage me, but there was only one who could get me out of this slump—Jesus!  I needed the presence of the Lord!  My soul longed for it! My heart and my flesh cried out for the living God!  I went through about two weeks of this and it continuously got worse.  My anxiety was at an all time peak and it got to the point where I basically had a panic attack.  I wanted to give up but I took a deep breath and got through the night.

What happened next?  Morning came with glory.  I awoke in the presence of the Lord!  It was an unmistakable presence.  It was the love of God surrounding me.  Like a father who had returned home from a business trip and was sitting, waiting for his son to wake up, God was there.  I broke down and had to find a place to kneel in His presence and cry and talk with Him.   It was exactly what I had been longing for and needed so badly.  His peace was with me again.  I was His and He was mine.

My wife and I had prophecy read over us a couple months ago and one of the things they said is that “the spirit of adoption” would come to have a new meaning and understanding to us.  I was never an orphan so it is hard for me to think in a literal sense of what it would be like to get adopted into a family.  I’m sure once it has happened the child is at first a bit skeptical.  I’m sure that it takes them a while to really trust their new family and to fully understand that they are adopted.   I believe this is what’s been going on with me and God.  I understood that I was adopted into the family of God but it hadn’t sunken in all the way.  It was still a “too good to be true” type of thing.  I think that through this absence of the Lord’s presence I felt, and then His showing up exactly when I really needed Him was a lesson of trust.  He is teaching me to walk by faith and to know that even if I don’t “feel” God that He is still there, and will show up when we need Him.   God is always faithful.  He is always there and He always loves you!  Our feelings may change but His love never changes. 

“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, Abba, Father. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” (Romans 8:15-16)  

So if you are new to the family of God then know that Jesus will never leave you.  His love will never change for you and He will always be near!  We won’t always understand what’s going on but if you place your trust in the Lord and walk by faith, then know that everything will be ok in the end.  

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” (Prov 3:5)

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

We are heaven bound in the family!  If God is for us, who can be against us? No one!

-I Want To Believe In God [dot com]