The Lord opened Lydia’s heart, along with the hearts of those in her household, to respond to the gospel (16:14), and they got saved. Apollo supposedly killed this snake, and the snake’s spirit dwelled in the priestess there. 2:8-9; Phil. How can we know that all things are ordered by a wise and loving Providence? I had built a thick wall around myself, to protect me from the evil world. We’ve seen that God works providentially to draw very different people to Himself. Isaiah’s encounter with the Lord in today’s reading provides a good example. Is God behind bugs that land on someone’s nose, and dogs that go to church, and mufflers that fall off cars at precisely the right place along the road? But this had become a false identity. But we can hope that she was saved, since God delivered her from demonic forces. When I was five year old, I told my mom: ‘You need to read the Bible more often.’ She often found me on my knees, praying – all alone. He knew my heart, He knew my deepest hidden cry for Him, although I had pushed it away, deep inside. 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. Later, I met a christian friend, at university, who told me that he also used to stammer really bad. She was from Thyatira, in western Turkey. After the service, he watched the dog go forward and take his place at the altar, where his wife had prayed. But Paul told the jailer, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved” (16:31). “I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” (Revelation 2:4 NKJV) Our nation is at a point of a moral and spiritual crisis; much like it was during the time when Isaiah experienced his fresh encounter with God. There are some in evangelical circles who say that since salvation is by faith alone, that to tell people that they must accept Jesus not only as Savior, but also as Lord, is to mix faith and works. David Sorensen had a dramatic encounter with God, which completely transformed his life. Those who reject Jesus Christ cannot blame God for not opening their hearts to the gospel. You can take your pick in accordance with your preferences. How does God’s providence relate to not losing our temper when we are treated unjustly? 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 hope GOD IS REAL will be a tool in the hands of Jesus Christ to bring His rivers of love and goodness in your life and the lives of millions of others. 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. They must know who Jesus is and what He claimed. Find out today…, Is there proof that God exists? Are Religious Experiences Evidence for God? These three encounters may seem insignificant, but actually they were the beginning of a movement that changed world history. Because sometimes one image can say more than a thousand words. So as soon as the pastor began speaking, the man put his fingers in his ears. 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. ‘But the Holy Spirit has healed me’ he added excited. Sometimes Satan will use outright aggression against the Lord’s people, such as unjust beatings and imprisonment. “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. If you had asked Paul if his intention was to start a church with a group of women, I’m sure he would have said, “No way!” But it was God’s way to begin the church in Europe. Paul and his team sat down and explained the gospel to this small group of women. When I was nine years old, I had made up my mind: I wanted to become a missionary and tell people about God! They all had to learn to accept and love each other in the same church in Philippi. 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 once was lost in sin and darkness, rebellion and hatred. We are so sure that we will never meet or see that man again. It became my burning desire to show the world that God is not an illusion, but the most beautiful reality there is. Luke reports that they ran a straight course, which means that the wind was favorable, and got to their destination in two days (later it would take five going the other direction, 20:6). Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture Quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, Updated Edition © The Lockman Foundation, Related Topics: Character of God, Evangelism, Predestination, Soteriology (Salvation), Steve served as the pastor of Flagstaff Christian Fellowship from May, 1992 through his retirement in December, 2018. From that day on, I knew that God is real – very real. But you can’t come to Jesus as Savior and make His Lordship an optional package to consider later. They also lied to the city magistrates, trumping up false charges about Paul and Silas. Indeed, we would expect angelic help for God’s people at various times. In your hardness of heart, will you cling to your greed and sin and respond in anger to the message, as the slave owners in the story did? The Christ he preached is the Christ revealed in the Old Testament and the Gospels. So God used a dog to lead a hardened sinner to repentance! One of Satan’s subtle strategies is to align himself with the truth. For the last ten years, my stammer has been gone. When they say, “We are one with you; we believe just as you do. I felt God come over me, with a majesty that is too incredible for words. Badly! What He said was an important personal message for me. Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit. You won’t regret it! The slave girl didn’t join the hippie church for former street people. There were some in this story who could have met God, but they missed Him. Because the world was tough, I decided to become tougher so I started practicing kickboxing and karate. You must trust in Him as Savior and submit your life to Him as Lord. 1:4-5), is not left to chance! Let me first say that everything that I am about to tell you is in no way false, or an exaggeration of the truth. 29:13 NIV). It was on glorifying God and seeing other people, no matter how undeserving, experience God’s saving grace. The "Spiritual Encounters" page is a new addition to the Trusting in Jesus website. As the missionary team wandered down by the river, they came upon a small group of women praying. I was praying in tongues! The Jesus Christ that Paul proclaimed is clearly eternal God in human flesh, who came to bear on the cross the just penalty that God requires for our sins. But the story does not say any such thing, and it specifically states that those who got baptized had believed in God (16:34). It’s free and it will help you tremendously to experience God for yourself and encounter Him in a life changing way! 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. This is a gift from God to those whom he wishes to reach in this manner. God does not owe them salvation. A spiritual experience is an encounter with something or someone other than yourself that is not based upon material phenomena. Take the case of Lydia. Before my encounter with God I wanted to use my creative gift to become rich and famous. The jailer and his family also believed and were baptized (16:33-34). But He loved me, even before I truly knew Him. The lesson for us is not to despise any person as unimportant in God’s sight. 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. Yet this shouldn’t surprise us. I could not understand one word he said.’. Many, if not all, in her household also believed, since they confessed their faith in baptism (16:15). And don’t forget to sign up for the emails! The Search OF the Savior: Why Jesus Came, Part 1 (Luke 19:1-10), Bible Storying Series - Teaching The Story Of God Chronologically. Except I would never take LSD anymore. With intentionality and focus, it's relatively easy to have an encounter with God. 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. It would have been counter to Paul’s pharisaic background to teach women about spiritual matters. Finally, through the vision of the Macedonian man calling for help, Paul and the missionary team went to Europe. Our text shows us three very different people who had different encounters with God. Don’t miss the application: If you ever are treated unfairly, you are probably being given a major opportunity for witness. I'm sure he wasn't a common man because nobody comes for a walk in that area at 7:30 p.m. when its getting pitch dark. Advocates of infant baptism use the story of the jailer to argue that surely there were some infants among the household that got baptized. For the last 25 years I have been serving Him with all my heart. The next day I was taken home by my mom, and I decided to forget this whole experience and go back to my drug lifestyle. 5. The New Testament is clear that if we believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, it is not because we were so brilliant as to make that decision. The city magistrates could have listened to Paul’s defense, which surely would have included the gospel. My childlike faith believed God heard me, and that what mattered to me also mattered to Him. Jesus Christ did not come to establish a new religion, but to restore all of God’s creation back to Him. One morning a pastor and his wife prayed that God would direct their day and perhaps lead them to someone who needed to hear about the Savior. 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. He was suddenly awakened by this powerful earthquake, and when he saw the prison door opened, he was ready to fall on his sword and die, since he would be tortured and executed if any of the prisoners had escaped. Please don’t ever seek a religion, but seek God Himself, who fills all things and who is the essence of our existence. One of the signs that you have had an angel encounter is if another person with you feels the same way. David's desire is that people would learn how to experience God as the most beautiful reality there is. These spiritual encounters are obvious ones because we exist in spirit and what we experience is spiritual. Thank you, Joanne, for supporting Cat and sharing your own experience of God. In panic, I woke up my mom. We have compiled several stories here from people we personally know whom we find no reason to doubt. She had a home large enough to offer lodging to the four missionaries, and so she must have been fairly well-to-do. 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. If their focus had been on their own well-being, as soon as the prison doors flew open they would have said, “All right! Those were perfectly true words! Is there such a thing as luck? Is He providentially behind your being here today and hearing this message about your need for salvation? 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. We shouldn’t be surprised by the spiritual darkness. They are responsible for their own sin. But these three encounters with God teach us that … Content may be used, after permission has been obtained from the author David Sorensen. According to polls, there's a 50-50 chance you have had at least one spiritual experience — an overpowering feeling that you've touched God, or another dimension of reality. The owners of the slave girl missed God because of their greed and anger toward Paul for taking away the source of their income (16:19). How comforting it is to understand that Our God knows and calls us by name! 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. But the jailer and his entire household believed in the gospel and got saved. I convinced myself I never heard these words. It was extremely horrible… I felt as if I was suddenly part of a psycho horror movie…. Everything inside of me knew she was right. 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. Then I saw the Lord Jesus Christ… He was walking towards me and spoke to me. 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. They stayed in Philippi for some days, but no Macedonian man materialized. I think so! Also, every Sunday morning, the dog would leave about 9 and return about noon. So the Lord brought Lydia from western Turkey to Philippi and Paul from wanting to go into western Turkey to Philippi, and brought them together here so that she could get saved! Godisreal.today. I was horrified. Rather, “God opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul” (16:14). I also read a book by Benny Hinn, who used to stammer as a little boy, and who is a famous healing evangelist now. Just imagine the blessings that we can similarly experience, if we devote ourselves to meeting with God often in … If your focus is on yourself and getting your rights or getting revenge, you will miss the opportunity. God Calls You by Name. 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). Again, he does not tell us if any of the prisoners trusted in Christ, although it is not unreasonable to assume that some did. The result: he partnered with God to deliver the Israelites from slavery. But they missed their opportunity to meet God, because as good politicians, they wanted to keep their constituency happy. I was imprisoned in a harnas of false strength. As said before, the real foundation for genuine Christian experience is a spiritual encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. This became a painful frustration for me, because I wanted to serve the Lord and tell people about him! November Showing posts from December 2020 December 29, 2020Tuesday THE REFINER’S FIRE MALACHI 2:17–3:5 Start Reading December 28, 2020Monday LOVE SCORNED MALACHI 1:1–5; 2:10–16 Start Reading December 27, 2020Sunday SUFFERING FOR HIS NAME PSALM 83 Start Reading December 26, 2020Saturday READING BETWEEN THE LINES MATTHEW 2:13–23 Start Reading December 25, … Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught” (Isa. But these three encounters with God teach us that …. One that changed your life? “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation” (16:17). 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 … I found it scary, but trusted my Lord, Jesus Christ. Is God real or is God an illusion? But the truth is, the Roman Catholic Church and the Mormon Church both proclaim different ways of salvation than the gospel. 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, my friend certainly did. Paul and Silas bore witness not only by their proclaiming the gospel verbally, but also by their example. 1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. People need adequate understanding in order to believe. Have you ever had a deep spiritual encounter? At that moment it dawned on me that I had become too tough. I invite you warmly to sign up for GOD IS REAL. What is the solution when God’s people begin to take Him for granted? 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. These weren’t people who tried to be cool, tough or sexy. Certainly the salvation of a soul, whom God has predestined to salvation before the foundation of the world (Eph. The jailer was a hardened military man. I kneeled down and asked God to set me free from my hardness and make me pure and tender as a child again. Jesus saw the Father in heaven and the Holy Spirit came upon him. It is my desire that you will also have a personal encounter with God, that will set your heart on fire. A few months later, I was reading the Bible and had finished praying, while suddenly I heard the voice of God, really loud. This means that when people and angels encounter the Lord Jesus Christ, they are not encountering some angel or group of angels filled with God’s presence. 2:11), he didn’t want any advantage taken of him by Satan, because he was not ignorant of his schemes. 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. We literally become different people. And yet this was how God intended to start the church in Europe. but this time it was for real! 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. Also notice how different the circumstances were in which these three people encountered the Lord. 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