If God must grant saving faith, why can’t unbelievers blame Him for not giving it to them. Paul and his team sat down and explained the gospel to this small group of women. How does God’s providence relate to not losing our temper when we are treated unjustly? Supernatural encounters with God aren’t actually rare; God manifests his presence through the Holy Spirit in tangible ways every day to various people … These spiritual encounters are obvious ones because we exist in spirit and what we experience is spiritual. It is my desire that you will also have a personal encounter with God, that will set your heart on fire. So stay tuned and read the whole testimony…, As a child I used to have a real heart for God. Probably some anti-Semitic prejudice inclined them to reject Paul and his gospel. 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! Take the case of Lydia. As this continued for many days, Paul became greatly annoyed, so he commanded the spirit in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her, and it did so instantly. 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. 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. 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? One of those was our friend Moses. Have you ever had a deep spiritual encounter? I surrender and let Him do the talking. God providentially orchestrated the circumstances that led to the salvation of these people, but His messengers had to faithfully deliver the message. As this pastor was driving down this canyon, his muffler fell off his car right in front of this hippie’s shack. 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. In other words, nothing happens by chance, even though it may seem to us to be by chance. You may recall that Paul would have preached in Lydia’s home region, but the Holy Spirit forbade him at that time (16:6). I invite you warmly to sign up for GOD IS REAL. He does it through the same gospel message, proclaimed by His servants. He decided to spend the rest of his life showing others show real God is and how much he loves us. 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. That is always the order in the Book of Acts: belief first, then baptism as a public confession of faith. Everything inside of me knew she was right. But this had become a false identity. Skeptics have problems with God over ethical issues, as well. 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). Of course you grow in both faith and obedience as you mature as a Christian. Except I would never take LSD anymore. 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. 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. I found it scary, but trusted my Lord, Jesus Christ. From 1977-1992 he was the pastor of Lake Gregory Community Church in Crestline, California. So he was left alone with the dog. 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. They were themselves: pure, innocent, real. He's already promised that when we draw near to Him, He's going … If the girl had been shouting out a half-truth, I can see why Paul would be upset. 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. The experience leaves a person with a new and profound sense of awareness or understanding regarding God, a truth, or other religious expressions. 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 … I was overwhelmed with the presence of God, and felt a power rushing through me, that was incredible. The question is, how will you respond? but this time it was for real! Certainly the salvation of a soul, whom God has predestined to salvation before the foundation of the world (Eph. This is a gift from God to those whom he wishes to reach in this manner. Their rights had been violated, their backs were ripped open by the rods that beat them, and they were thrown into the stocks in prison. And don’t forget to sign up for the emails! I started studying this for several months and prayed intensely about it. I was horrified. God loves people and wants to bring them into His own family. And they are recounted here to encourage and inspire you and others as well. Lord, help…’. So God used a dog to lead a hardened sinner to repentance! Copyright, Steven J. Cole, 2000, All Rights Reserved. Just imagine the blessings that we can similarly experience, if we devote ourselves to meeting with God often in … When, though a lifelong nonbeliever, I had my own encounter with God, I found three striking traits — God was undeniably real, benign, and authoritative. I once was lost in sin and darkness, rebellion and hatred. Lydia didn’t start a seeker church for Yuppie businesspeople. There were some in this story who could have met God, but they missed Him. I would be tougher than the rest…. “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. 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. But we can hope that she was saved, since God delivered her from demonic forces. The jailer was saved in connection with doing his job. They must know who Jesus is and what He claimed. That next night however something happened that transformed my entire life. People need adequate understanding in order to believe. Only God knew this! So a “Python spirit” referred to a spirit that enabled someone to predict the future. It was extremely horrible… I felt as if I was suddenly part of a psycho horror movie…. 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. 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. His glory and eternal greatness seemed litteraly endless… It was as if I saw the universe itself and God who was even greater. After this encounter with God I felt an even stronger fire burn inside of me, to share the love of God with people. But you can’t come to Jesus as Savior and make His Lordship an optional package to consider later. The Lord said, through her voice: This was a bible verse that I had been reading often that week, plus I had been very fascinated by the name, THE LORD OF HOSTS. Is there such a thing as luck? Emperors and Roman senators, as well as the wealthy, wore purple garments as a status symbol. … They landed at the port city of Neapolis, walked the ten miles to Philippi, and no doubt wondered when God would introduce them to this Macedonian man who was ready to receive Christ. The slave girl was a piece of property to be used and discarded by her masters. I started rebelling against God and pushed Him out of my life. They also lied to the city magistrates, trumping up false charges about Paul and Silas. One of the things I do now to help you discover the glory of God, is design christian wall decor. But we can hope that she was saved, since God delivered her from demonic forces. It is because God graciously opened our hearts to respond. 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. We cannot be sure that the second person, the slave girl, actually got saved, since the text does not say. 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. I was imprisoned in a harnas of false strength. Is He providentially behind your being here today and hearing this message about your need for salvation? We’re Christians, too,” the world wrongly thinks that their message is no different than the gospel. Many, if not all, in her household also believed, since they confessed their faith in baptism (16:15). He is doing it in our day through the Mormon Church declaring itself to be just another evangelical denomination. Invariably in every case those who saw the glory of God could not adequately describe what they saw and experienced because it … The Greek term is that she had a “Python spirit.” This referred to the legendary snake that guarded the Delphic Oracle in central Greece. Then he wanted to go into Bithynia, but again the Spirit said no. Spiritual encounters have a life all their own and we can reach back over years, not to recreate them, but to touch the invigorating life we gained from the Christ who met us there. Moses had a divine encounter with God in the form of a burning bush and this was a turning point in his life. Should evangelicals work together with Roman Catholics or Mormons on social issues, such as abortion? The crowd in Philippi missed meeting God because they swallowed the accusations of the slave owners without hearing Paul’s message and thinking carefully about it. The following stories have been shared with us by real people who have had a life changing encounter with 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. Again, he does not tell us if any of the prisoners trusted in Christ, although it is not unreasonable to assume that some did. 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- … She would sit on the outside, next to the aisle. With intentionality and focus, it's relatively easy to have an encounter with God. God providentially works to draw very different people to Himself through the same gospel. 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). When I was nine years old, I had made up my mind: I wanted to become a missionary and tell people about God! A few months later I had an incredible experience with God. I convinced myself I never heard these words. Because the world was tough, I decided to become tougher so I started practicing kickboxing and karate. Lydia, who was probably a widow, had moved from Thyatira to Philippi to do business there. 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. Apollo supposedly killed this snake, and the snake’s spirit dwelled in the priestess there. What is the solution when God’s people begin to take Him for granted? The town was noted, among other commercial ventures, for its trade in expensive purple cloth. 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). God Calls You by Name. 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 … David's desire is that people would learn how to experience God as the most beautiful reality there is. Don’t miss the application: If you ever are treated unfairly, you are probably being given a major opportunity for witness. 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. He decided to spend the rest of his life showing others show real God is and how much he loves us. He says, ‘I have summoned you by name; you are mine" (Isaiah 43:1).Yes, He knows you by name. Now I use my God-given talens to show His love, His beauty and His goodness to people. David Sorensen had a dramatic encounter with God, which completely transformed his life. From that day on, I knew that God is real – very real. In Isaiah 6:1-8, is recorded an account of when the man of God had an encounter with God. 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. 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. 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. We’re out of here!” Or when they saw the jailer about to fall on his sword, they would have said, “Go for it! Discover it here…, The love of God is the reason why you are alive. We shouldn’t be surprised by the spiritual darkness. David's desire is that people would learn how to experience God as the most beautiful reality there is. This slave girl was being used by her owners for fortune-telling, much to the fortunes of the owners! God uses some unusual means to bring people to salvation. Luke is interested in the story because it shows how the Lord got Paul and Silas to their next divine appointment, with the Philippian jailer and an entire jailhouse full of prisoners. Out of this extreme crisis, he met the Lord. David Sorensen had a dramatic encounter with God, which completely transformed his life. Because sometimes one image can say more than a thousand words. A spiritual experience is an encounter with something or someone other than yourself that is not based upon material phenomena. 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). Why/why not? 2:11), he didn’t want any advantage taken of him by Satan, because he was not ignorant of his schemes. But they missed their opportunity to meet God, because as good politicians, they wanted to keep their constituency happy. 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. ), lock the door, and go get a good night’s rest, except for being awakened by an earthquake. She was from Thyatira, in western Turkey. 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. The lesson for us is not to despise any person as unimportant in God’s sight. No, I did not want to be a prophet, so I pushed it away. Make an altar there. A few years after I turned my back on God, I took an overdose of drugs and ended up in hospital. As said before, the real foundation for genuine Christian experience is a spiritual encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. When they sarted praying I immediately began to shake all over my body. 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. The "Spiritual Encounters" page is a new addition to the Trusting in Jesus website. 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. Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman … 1:27-29). Our text shows us three very different people who had different encounters with God. Once we have a real encounter with God, it transforms us for the rest of our life. As Paul put it (2 Cor. The dog sat down near the aisle, in his usual place. 29:13 NIV). 2:8-9; Phil. In panic, I woke up my mom. But after a while, an insect landed on his face, and so he had to take one finger out of his ear to brush it off. I would stick to marihuana. Claudius had more important matters to attend to than this! GOD IS REAL does not represent any religion, but shows you that God is the most beautiful reality there is. He followed it to the church and he took a seat in the back to watch. 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. Some people experience transformative events that can be extraordinary. I felt God come over me, with a majesty that is too incredible for words. One of the signs that you have had an angel encounter is if another person with you feels the same way. The Search OF the Savior: Why Jesus Came, Part 1 (Luke 19:1-10), Bible Storying Series - Teaching The Story Of God Chronologically. It would be a waste of my time to share with him (or her).” Not so! But rather than complain, they sang hymns and prayed (16:25). But why was he upset with her shouting out the truth? I had built a thick wall around myself, to protect me from the evil world. Godisreal.today. When they say, “We are one with you; we believe just as you do. This became a painful frustration for me, because I wanted to serve the Lord and tell people about him! Many people have had encounters with Jesus Christ. 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. I think so! That fascinated me. Before my encounter with God I wanted to use my creative gift to become rich and famous. Thank you, Joanne, for supporting Cat and sharing your own experience of God. One of Satan’s subtle strategies is to align himself with the truth. 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. The jailer and his family also believed and were baptized (16:33-34). Nobody would mess with me! But these three encounters with God teach us that …. I became very active in evangelism amongst students and helped lead citywide crusades. I was praying in tongues! I believe that was the moment I became born again – truly born again from the Spirit of God. In His voice I heard both great authority, power, joy and peace. 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. And, my friend certainly did. A missionary to Africa many years ago told of a woman who came to every service, accompanied by her dog. That night a pastor came to our home, at two o clock in the morning, and I kneeled with him, to give my life back to God. Rather than seeking after God, she was actively serving Satan. He gave us the Bible as His guideline to learn about His plan for mankind and to reveal who He is. I was listening to christian music and suddenly I became aware of the tender purity I heard in the voices of the singers. We cannot be sure that the second person, the slave girl, actually got saved, since the text does not say. She had a home large enough to offer lodging to the four missionaries, and so she must have been fairly well-to-do. Hell Is Real, I saw it! GLORIOUS : Whenever man had an encounter with God, he was able to have a glimpse of God’s glory. The jailer was a hardened military man. 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. God Encounters look different for each one of us. In this real life story you can read how I encountered God in a very dramatic way. God does not owe them salvation. How comforting it is to understand that Our God knows and calls us by name! He is so beautiful, so precious, so kind and so amazing. He knew my heart, He knew my deepest hidden cry for Him, although I had pushed it away, deep inside. 1:4-5), is not left to chance! If their focus had been on their own well-being, as soon as the prison doors flew open they would have said, “All right! There is no such thing as group salvation based on someone else’s faith. She did not have it in herself to believe in the gospel. I have found God to be that way ever since the events recorded in God… Badly! 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