Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Changed by God's Presence ~ Rabqa

It is so good to know that a brief moment in the presence of God can impact your life-your entire life;
so much so that you will; never be the same again. Approximately thirty eight years ago I walked in to a church, my life was a mess, I thought I’d never get back on track.

I can’t explain the feeling I had that day, for the first time in my life I knew that God was real. I mean I always believed, but now I just knew it; I was in awe of His great love & realised my need for Him in my life Although I didn’t physically see God or audibly hear Him, I knew I was in His presence & reached out to Jesus; A few days later I asked Him to my life & I have never looked back.

The Word of God is full of testimonies of lives that were dramatically changed by being in the presence of God. In Isaiah 6:1-8 it says It was in the year King Uzziah died[a] that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. 2 Attending him were mighty
seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. 3 They were calling out to each other, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory!” Their voices shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire building was filled with smoke. Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. He touched my lips with it and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.”
Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us? ”I said, “Here I am. Send me.”

A seraphim is a fiery gliding angelic being; also a fire coloured agile gliding desert creature, presumably a fiery serpent. The root word is the word seraph meaning to set on fire, to burn. Accordingly, the seraphim may be angles of a fiery colour or appearance, or flam like in motion or clearness. Only in Isaiah 6:2 &6 does the word appear as seraphim; in all the remaining five
occurrences (Numbers 21:6 & 8; Deuteronomy 8:15; Isaiah 14:29 & 30:6), it is translated fiery serpents & appears along with scorpions & vipers. Perhaps the colour or motion of earthly fiery serpents resembles that of fiery angels.

The ministry of the seraphim is closely related to the throne & praises of God. They are seen constantly glorifying God-extolling His nature & attributes, & apparently supervising heaven’s worship. It is possible the seraphim are the parsing angels of Psalm 148:2 though they are not specifically identified as such. Whereas cherubim are positioned beside & around the throne of God (Psalm 96:1); Psalm 99:1; Revelation 4:6), the six winged seraphim are seen as hovering above the throne as they minister in worship.

Before God can use us He needs to cleanse us, Isaiah realised that he had a sinful unclean mouth that needed to be dealt with, I believe that because Isaiah cried out for his heart to be changed, God sent help.

The coming forward of the seraphim with a coal of fire is recorded in verse six as an instantaneous happening, but answers may not always come quickly to us. We all prefer miraculous deliverance,
but most of the time the Lord puts us through a cleansing process.

Notice that God forgave Isaiah’s sin & than issued a call: “Who will go for us?” Isaiah responded “Here I am send me.” Isaiah’s heart wanted to serve the Lord, & God knew that. He (God) will always look at the person’s heart making sure that it is the perfect heart, & can always change the behaviour.

This truth should encourage those who want to be used by God, but who often feel that they have too many flaws. But God uses cracked pots as the saying goes. We come to Him as we are, & He moulds & makes us into vessels fit for His use. (2 Timothy 2;2).

After Isaiah’s mouth had been cleansed, God called saying “Go & tell this to the people”... (V9). The call, the anointing &the appointment can occur in different time periods, but no matter how they take place or in what order, the process of preparation is as important to us today as it was to Isaiah long ago. One thing is sure when God calls us into His presence, He is going to deal with us, & we must let Him do that. He is doing a good work!

During these precious moments in the presence of God, Isaiah’s life was completely changed. His vision of a filled throne brought strong encouragement & hope during a time of uncertainty & despair. While beholding the awesome glory of the Lord, Isaiah was compelled to worship, repentance & service to His God. His wise reaction empowered him for his calling & propelled him toward his destiny.

All creatures are compelled to react when they encounter the presence of God in Matthew8:29 we Learn: They began screaming at him, “Why are you interfering with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before God’s appointed time?”

Time in this verse refers to Jesus’ overthrow of satanic forces anticipates their final destruction on the day of judgement.

In Luke 23:39. The thief on the cross said to Jesus “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us... When we encounter the precious presence of God, worship is the only reaction that will change us from the inside out In John 4:24 Jesus said: God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.

Worship God frequently, employing your spiritual language as well as your own understanding.

John’s gospel introduces the Holy Spirit as the key to a tritely dynamic devotion to God. It anticipates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit who will become the very energy of the believer’s devotional life. The Holy Spirit will maximise prayer & worship, minister through the Lords Supper, & enable the believer to continually draw his life from Jesus Christ Himself.

When we are faced with the awesome holiness of God, Isaiah cried in 6:5 “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.” Here he had a revelation of God’s glory & recognised his need for repentance. God’s presence will open your eyes of our heart to respond for repentance.

This was Jesus’ message in Mark 1:15 The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”

This was Jesus’ announcement of a new era of salvation of which repentance & belief in the gospel were perquisites. Later He sent forth the twelve in Matthew 10:1 & the seventy in Like 10:1; 9 Jesus sent them with the same message of repentance.

Pastor Cho from Seoul, Korea (Who has the largest church in the world) when asked what he considered to be the reason for the tremendous growth he was experiencing in his church. They were probably expecting him to outline various programs, but instead he simply answered, “I just preach the Kingdom.

In that small statement hangs the essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In Colossians 1:9-13, 21-23, Paul reminds us as born again believers; God has delivered us from the kingdom of darkness & translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.

Membership in this unshakable kingdom brings tremendous privileges & benefits. 2 Peter 1:3-4 declares that we have already been granted everything pertaining to life & godliness through the knowledge of God. We have precious & magnificent promises that grant us the privilege to become partakers of the divine nature.

Repentance toward God is the only requirement for entry into this glorious kingdom. Repentance is simply turning from your way of running your life, & giving your life to Jesus. He alone can open the door by cleansing you from sin & purifying your heart.

Isaiah’s motivation for service was born out of time spent in God’s presence. It was during those precious moments that God was able to reveal His heart to Isaiah & impart vision.

Isaiah wrote in 6:8 (AMP) Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send? And who will go for Us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

One of the tasks of the Holy Spirit is to call godly leaders in the kingdom. All men & women are called to God (Romans 8:28, 30); yet only a few
respond (Matthew 7:13, 14; 22:14; John 15:16) Leaders however experience a different kind of call & are called in different ways:
1. Many are called sovereignly. Moses was singled out by God who spoke to him from a burning bush (Exodus 3-4:17). The child Samuel was called while he was sleeping (1 Samuel 3:1-18). Young Isaiah was worshipping in the temple when called by God ( Isaiah 6:1-9).

2. Others are called through men. Samuel went to David & anointed him with oil (1Samuel 16:1-13). Paul instructed Titus to appoint elders in the churches of Crete (Titus 1:5). There is a difference between being a man of God-as all are called to be, & being God’s man-one called to leadership.
Your succuss in serving God & fulfilling His vision for your life depends upon your obedience to the call, boldness to relate the message, & perseverance to complete the vision.

When confronted with opposition to the call of God on the lives of the disciples they prayed to be filled with boldness to relate the message. Acts 4:29 And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us,
Your servants, great boldness in preaching your word

The apostle Paul never forgot that moment on the road to Damascus when he was knocked off his donkey. In an instant, Paul was changed from a persecutor of the Church into a persecutor of satan. He told King Agrippa about his heavenly vision & call to preach the Gospel. He said in Acts 26:19-20 “And so, King Agrippa, I obeyed that vision from heaven. 20 I preached first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that all must repent of their sins and turn to God—and prove they have changed by the good things they do.

Paul was totally committed to His call to spread the gospel & establish churches throughout the known world. He lived what he wrote, that “the gifts & callings of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). His life demonstrated three basic concepts of leadership:
1. He was committed to the goals & spirit of his call (Philippians 3:7-8).
2. He translated his objectives into the lives of his followers (2 Timothy 2: 1-2) & bore all necessary hardship in pursuing that end (2 Corinthians 4:8-11; 23-33). He was alert to change. He adapted to cultural, social & political changes & therefore never lost his relevancy (1 Corinthians 9:19-22).

We see that he was totally changed by his encounter with God & not disobedient to his assignment.

Paul persevered to finish the race that was set before him. At the end of his life of service to God, he could confidently say I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. (2Timothy 4:7)

Whether Paul regarded his life as a battle, a race or a test of the truth of the gospel, he had achieved victory. The past with its many duties, has been completed; the present is secure in faith; the future promises rewards.

Do not be frustrated by opposition. Continue to stand strong. Be tirelessly faithful in those things God has commissioned you to do.

Faith believes absolutely in the divine inspiration of the Scriptures. Therefor the man or woman of faith has a very high view of the Bible, & is able to courageously face opposition unmoved.

God desires to reveal Himself to all who will seek Him with their whole heart. Draw near to the Lord today in prayer & He will draw near to you (James 4:8). I must warn you though: One moment in the presence of God will spoil you & change your life forever. You won’t be satisfied with empty religion. You will hunger for more, & your desire will be to serve Him continually. You may even respond to the Lord the way Isaiah & countless others have: Here I am send me.

Acknowledgements Cathy Duplantis.