Encounter Changes Everything

Encounter Changes Everything

Encounter Changes Everything

3C

Acts 9:3-5 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.  Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? "And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”( NKJV )

Many were the religious scholars of the day when Jesus walked the earth, but it was these people, who believed in the Messiah, who taught about the Messiah, who were waiting on the coming of the Messiah, it was these who ended up crucifying the Messiah. Believing that God exists does not make us like God or make us a part of His family. And this is in essence what the term Christian means – just like Christ. To be like Him, to be a part of His family, to be a Christian, we need to have a personal encounter with Jesus that will transform the very core of who we are, from darkness to light, from lost to found, from blindness to sight, from death to life!

Throughout the Scriptures we see men and women have personal and powerful encounters with God that changed them forever. In the book of Isaiah 6:5 The prophet writes" “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.”( NKJV ). Isaiah had an encounter with God. He saw God and it made him painfully aware that in our humanity we could never be like God. But when God touches us, restores us and empowers us by His love we can never be the same again.

In Genesis Jacob comes face to face with God he is confronted with his scheming and deceitful way of life.  He encounters God on a very personal and physical way and determines not to leave from that place the same as he says: " I will not let go until you bless me.” Jacob realized that he cannot change by himself that he needed God to set him free and God being so faithful honoured his request and said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray. "And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there." Genesis 32:28( NKJV )  Jacob’s identity and destiny was changed forever from that day onwards.

In the New Testament we read of Saul who had devoted his life to persecuting Christians.  He was a part of the public execution of Stephen who was stoned to death by many zealots like Saul. It is evident from his actions that Saul was convinced of his beliefs and that nothing would stop him from carrying out these acts of cleansing the church of blasphemers like Stephen: Acts 9:1 “Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.” 

It is beautiful to behold how God chooses this unlikely candidate to become one of the greatest followers of Jesus through an encounter: while he was on his way to Damascus to imprison and sentence all the saints, his trip was interrupted. Jesus confronted him and we see how Saul's personal, supernatural encounter with Jesus that changed everything

When we encounter God we will know that it is God. There will be no confusion in our minds even if we had never encountered Him before. His presence is amazing like that! There is a longing to surrender, a readiness to surrender to his will and an awareness of love like we have never known. 

When Paul arose from the ground he could not see anything Acts 9:8-9 "Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.  And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.” Encounters are very personal. It needs to be us, cut off from our busy lives, away from our many doings, in order for us to just experience the love and grace, the forgiveness and kindness that is Jesus Christ. It is the goodness of God that brings us to a place of repentance and change.

On an encounter weekend we dedicate three days to experiencing the presence of God. We consolidate our new birth during this time and we find deliverance and freedom from all our past sins. It is an essential part of the journey with Jesus.

Join us over the next few weeks at our encounter weekends as we set time aside to encounter the love of God like never before.

 

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