The Presence of God

The comments are turned back on. I found a much better spam filter that I was able to add as a plugin. They had great instructions, so it wasn’t too hard to figure out how to do it.

I have a couple recent prayer stories I could add to my prayer answers series, but I want to tell you a story instead. Hopefully, it will encourage you. Hopefully, you’ll be able to relate!

Unfortunately, this story is around 26 years old. Wow! It still stands in my memory, though.

It was 1982 or 1983, and I was in Florida in the military. I was on midnight shift, and one night there was no work at all for me to do. We weren’t allowed to sleep, so I got a book out to read. It was The Release of the Spirit by Watchman Nee, and I read the whole thing in about two or three hours. I was a relatively new Christian at the time, but I could totally relate to everything he said. It was not just like I could understand it, but I could feel the whole thing.

The gist of the book is that God works on our soul from the inside and the outside. He uses circumstances, trials, and other things to crack us from the outside, while the life of God in our spirit presses on us from the inside. He compared it to a seed that is planted in the ground. Pressure, heat, and moisture work on the hard outer shell of the seed, and the life inside the seeds presses its way out as the shell breaks.

Watchman Nee is awesome at helping us understand that God wants people to be able to see Christ in us. Even our best points are not what God wants others to see. He wants them to see Christ. Therefore, our greatest strengths can often be our greatest weaknesses because those are places where we trust ourselves. It may look good and righteous to us, but it’s still part of the hard outer shell of our soul. God wants to break those things and let Christ be released from our spirits.

That book completely filled me with God. I was overwhelmed, and after the first three hours or so of reading I spent the rest of the night outside under the stars praying and crying out to God. The presence of God was so strong that I felt like I’d been transported to heaven.

In the morning, as the sun came up, I sat in our dispatch office waiting for my relief to come in. Apparently, I was not the only one who could feel God’s presence. Five different people walked up to me as I sat there and talked to me about God in some way. My boss showed up and basically apologized for not following God, and he promised me that he was thinking about it. I hadn’t said anything to him. Another co-worker I barely knew came up to me, told me she went to church, and invited me out to visit her church. Another co-worker asked me a couple questions about God, then told me he’d try to be less crude around me. Again, I hadn’t said a word to him about being crude, neither that day nor previously. All this came out of the blue, and I realized the great power of the presence of God.

I was thinking about that today, and I’m reminded once more that it’s not our strength that will reach the world. It is the power of God. May our focus not be on the work of God but on the face of God, for only there will we find the power that will make the work of God something good, spiritual, and divine. It is not our righteousness but his that will transform the world.

About Paul Pavao

I am married, the father of six, and currently the grandfather of two. I run a business, live in a Christian community, teach, and I am learning to disciple others better than I have ever been able to before. I believe God has gifted me to restore proper foundations to the Christian faith. In order to ensure that I do not become a heretic, I read the early church fathers from the second and third centuries. They were around when all the churches founded by the apostles were in unity. I also try to stay honest and open. I argue and discuss these foundational doctrines with others to make sure my teaching really lines up with Scripture. I am encouraged by the fact that the several missionaries and pastors that I know well and admire as holy men love the things I teach. I hope you will be encouraged too. I am indeed tearing up old foundations created by tradition in order to re-establish the foundations found in Scripture and lived on by the churches during their 300 years of unity.
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