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CategoryGo Deeper

Longer “chapters” or handouts Sam gives to the 5:50 Club.

The Right Encounter

I’m going to give you five reasons why we all want a Divine encounter, four reasons why it ain’t gonna happen anytime soon, and how to experience the kind of God encounter you can have – on demand! Ready for it? Here it is.

Sam In Florida
Sam recently visited Orlando, for a big convention of Florida Fairs where he wrote this post

Genesis chapters twelve to eighteen record for us five encounters Abraham had with God. Can you imagine? We all envy the idea that God would come to us, physically appear in our room, sit down with us and have a conversation. Why is that? Here’s five universal reasons why all humans desire this kind of angelic encounter:

  1. It would solve all our problems
  2. It would transform us into the people we need to be
  3. It would answer all our questions
  4. It would be all warm & wonderful (it would require nothing from us)
  5. It would tell us what we should do
  6. What do you think? ______________________________________

Nice and tidy, right? Very powerful, right? So what’s the problem? If its so good, why doesn’t God make it happen? Here’s my four reasons why it doesn’t happen:

  1. It creates connection to answers, not relationship with Him.
  2. The next day a whole new set of questions would arise from trying to apply the answers from the first encounter. What then? Another encounter to solve all the questions created by the first encounter? Another encounter to fix the encounter? When would it all end?
  3. The answers to our problems are too complex to solve in a one time encounter
  4. After we were transformed we would no longer fit the life we were living the previous day. Think of Moses coming down from the mountain, glowing from God’s presence. What happened? A big giant crash between him and the fleshy life being lived by the Israelites. Not a pretty site.
  5. What do you think? ________________________________________

A Better Plan

So what is the answer? What kind of an encounter can we ask for and expect to be answered? The answer is clearly in what God has given us in the Word. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in angelic encounter and I believe Jesus still shows up on earth, in physical form. (That’s in the Word, too) He did it then, he does it now. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. History is replete with stories of such encounters. However, I believe Jesus gave us a better plan. Here’s four scriptures that reveal God’s best plan for a Divine encounter for you:

  1. Acts 2:8 – You will receive dynamite when the Holy Spirit has come upon you!
  2. John 14:26 – I will send you a helper, the Holy Spirit and He will teach you all things.
  3. Hebrews 12:2 Fix your eyes on Jesus, the one who first gave you faith, for He is the one who will take your faith to full maturity
  4. John 7:37 to 39 – Out of your innermost being will flow rivers of living water

When Jesus spoke these words He was physically in the presence of His followers teaching them, guiding them, having conversation with them, yet He said it was better for them if He went away and the Holy Spirit came. Why? So they would have the best, most productive kind of encounter God can create, one even better than Him being physically present: God in them 24/7.

His Plan For Them Is His Plan For You

What He taught them the night before His betrayal and set in motion with them on the day of Pentecost is the plan He had for them and the plan He has for you. His plan is to give you the kind of encounter Abraham could only dream of; God himself, the Holy Spirit living in you, 24/7, teaching you, guiding you, having a conversation with you.

I can hear you now, “I don’t know about this Holy Spirit thing. Life is confusing enough and I don’t need something else to think about.” I answer you by saying this, this kind of God encounter, receiving and developing relationship with the Holy Spirit, is the best kind of God encounter because it answers the five universal reasons why you need a God encounter, and it gives answer to the four reasons why the encounter probably won’t be happening for you. The Holy-Spirit-in-you-plan is the best because it leads to relationship. It invites you to partnership. It requires a lifetime of seeking and learning. It gives you the best opportunity to grow. It provides the answers you need in the most logical, effective way; one day at a time, one problem at a time, and it does it in a way that provides for you the best hot house for personal transformation. It doesn’t give you all the answers right now, it doesn’t solve all your problems today, but it does give you the very best answer to life and it focuses on the most important aspect of life; close, intimate relationship with your creator: Jesus.

Dream On

You have what Abraham only dreamed of when you accept Jesus and learn about the Holy Spirit and how He works. In doing so you step into the very thing your heart actually desires and needs: intimacy with God, and as a by product all the answers you need come along with that in due time and in the end you get the ultimate gift: eternity in God’s presence, in a new world, full of unending hope and productivity. Who knows what we shall build then! But, until then, build what is best in the here and now, intimate relationship with your earthly partner, the Holy Spirit. That will in turn will make your family, your church, your business prosper as it should, for our God is a God with a prosperous heart and He is a God of prosperous means. As He prospered Abraham so He desires to prosper you.

Here’s nine keys to avoiding Abraham’s mistakes and receiving Abraham’s success:

  1. Be in connection with God, ask Jesus to come and live in you
  2. Put your eyes on Jesus: check your filters about who He is by reading the gospel stories about the kind of person He was and the kind of things He did
  3. Quite yourself down, turn off all other voices: ideas, people, doubts, fears
  4. Tune into the peaceful, spontaneous voice in your deepest, most intuitive heart of hearts
  5. Journal what you hear Him saying
  6. Check that against your growing knowledge of the Word.
  7. Give His voice time to mature it’s answer
  8. Submit your voice answers and leadings to others who are mature and productive in the area you are called to
  9. Then act on your leading, come hell or high water, for you have an enemy who will resist you every step of the way

Keep Your Eyes On Jesus

VictoryRunner’s Rule: Keep your eyes on Jesus, but your nose on Satan.

Verse: Hebrews 12:1 & 2 – Fix Your Eyes on Jesus

In Hebrews eleven Paul reveals to us the best runners of the old covenant as an example for us. The summary of the chapter in verses thirty seven to forty is this; all these put before us as our best examples were losers. They never saw what they struggled so much for. Yet Paul lists them as the best of the best in life’s race. Why is that? It is because of what God values. Being a winner in the kingdom of God does not always conform to success as defined in our western culture. Success in the kingdom of God is to keep pressing on toward the goal, is too keep running the race, even when all hope of gaining the prize is gone. This is what God values in a runner. Why? Because He has put his Holy Spirit in you and He never quits on you. When you never quit God is pleased because that means you are letting Him do His work in you.

To have this kind of faith, the kind that endures no matter what until we cross the finish line of this life, is the kind of faith God values in His runners. Many get worn out and discouraged and stop somewhere in the race, but God greatly values those who cross the finish line, who keep the faith in all circumstances, regardless of how things look, even when it looks like victory will never be achieved. There is only one way to receive the power to keep on in the race with this kind of determination, in spite of the looses, in spite of the setbacks, in spite of lost hope and that is to keep our eyes on our best example of one who kept the course for us: Jesus.

What did Jesus do when it got tough? Hebrews 12:2 says Jesus endured by despising the shame. The greek word here translated despise means to devalue, to diss-esteem, to think against. Your thoughts are a powerful weapon in the fight. You must learn to think against the weights the accuser tries to put on you.

The greek word shame in 12:2 comes from a word that means disfigurement. Its telling you, when things get out of shape and don’t conform to our hopeful faith, we must keep our eyes on Jesus’ example and do as He did, we must be tough minded, think against it, and keep the course. We must not think what the circumstances or Satan tempts us to think: that we are failures, that we are finished, that God is not trustworthy, that we will not endure, that hope is gone! No. We must fight to stay in the race in the battleground of our minds, by turning our eye away from the lie and by keeping our eye fixed on the Life. For those who learn how to dwell in the shadow of the Almighty, youth is renewed, strength returns, they lift up as if on the wings of an Eagle, and that Eagle is the Holy Spirit ministering new strength in us as we keep our eye on Him.

Verse: 2 Corinthians 2:11 – Keep Your Nose On Satan

While your eyes see your nose smells and that function is closely equated with discernment. We often say, “Something smells rotten,” meaning we sense something out of line, something disfigured, something contrary to God’s promise. Yes, our primary activity is eyes on Jesus, but the secondary activity is smell, or discern the tactic of the enemy. In your peripheral vision you see what the enemy is doing. By very meaning of his name we know that Satan is an accuser. As you read scripture in the next few days, every where you see the name Satan replace that with the word accuser and the verse will reveal new truth for you.

As you run the race the accuser stands by the track and taunts you with lies. He wants you to believe your stumble means failure. He wants you to believe that your shortcoming will negate the purpose of God in your life. He wants you to believe that your setback is permanent. But, if you will endure, if you will despise, reject, devalue his disfigurement of the situation, you can and will run and win the race!

By keeping your eyes on Jesus, by knowing the tactics of the enemy and rejecting them, you can find the way and will to keep on keeping on. Our accuser is a master at manipulating the facts. His accusations are subtle, sly and sinister. Any believer you find sidelined you can be sure that he has believed the accusation. All of us are accused, but the question is do you receive it? You must understand, just because an accusation is based on truth does not mean it is true, for the best accusations begin based on a truth. But the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is this; an outcome in the past doesn’t control the outcome of the future, unless you believe it does. When you stay in the race you give God a chance to take the set back and turn it into a set up – for victory.

The Prime Ingredient for Victory

To often we value the truth of the present situation over the truth of the Word, the truth of what God will do, given something to work with. Staying in the race gives God that something He can work through to bring you your victory. Your resolve, your stamina, your persistent rejection of the accusations and persistent acceptance of God’s promises gives Him the prime ingredient He needs to set you up for victory: movement. Those sidelined do not cross the finish line of victory because they fail to do one thing and one thing only; they stop moving. If in the present moment you are going through hell, then my best advise to you is – keep going! In the kingdom you do not create the victory, for Jesus has already won the victory – you cannot win what is already yours! What you can do is respond to that victory already won by faithfully deciding to move forward, toward that victory, as if it is yours, even when everything says it isn’t.

The Great Distraction

If you stay in the race, if you keep going, if you patiently endure (James 1:4) then you will come to the place where you are complete and lack no good thing! What does James say to do? Ask for wisdom. What is wisdom? Simply this: keep your eyes on Jesus and your nose on Satan and patiently grow into the wisdom to know the difference between facts and truth, between what the accuser is saying and what Jesus is saying about how to act, how to move forward in your situation. Many are sidelined by subtle accusations that cause them to turn aside, take their eyes off the finished line, stop running the race and spend all their time and energy trying to win a victory that is already theirs, won by Jesus and given as a gift.

Verse: Philippians 3:13, 14 – Press On, Run With Endurance

Running with endurance means you keep your eyes tuned on Jesus and your nose tuned on the the accuser so that your actions line up with the truth of the Word, even over the facts of the situation. When you keep your eyes on the promises in both confession and in action, the sapping, distracting, draining activity of the accusation stops and your full energy goes to the race. When you keep our eyes on Jesus, your Victor, energy to keep in the race and to keep moving forward victory floods in. Begin to run in rest, that the victory is yours – because it is!