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Chapter 2
What You Experience

 

To fully understand the experience of those who know God, we should consider the relationships of persons who are best friends. In the healthy interaction of individuals who have become close, it is common to observe emotions of warmth, overwhelming joy, tears of happiness, etc. As you might expect, the pleasure of knowing God well will most naturally bring about these very human reactions to love.

Often as I worship the Lord, it feels as though He hugs me inwardly, to the point that, momentarily, it takes my breath away. These expressions of love are thrilling, and they give me the assurance that He is pleased with me. Praise His holy name!

It should not surprise us that God would show His love in this way. Hugging is a very normal expression of love. I would hug Him if it were possible.

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I have a pastor friend who loves God deeply. Sometimes, when we talk together about the Lord, tears well up in His eyes. It is reasonable to expect that many who love God will have a tender spirit.

Communication is a necessary aspect of all good relationships. Those who don't converse with each other regularly, soon drift apart. Persons who know God well, revel in the pleasure of visiting with Him.

Possibly, you have never heard God speak to you. You may even find it difficult to believe that He talks to anyone. Even so, He does. He converses daily with people, all over the world.

Although you can be confident that God will communicate with anyone who sincerely desires to know Him, you can never be certain of the method that He will use. As a matter of fact, sometimes it appears that He enjoys being unpredictable.

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On occasion, God will speak to us through others, or, conversely, he might speak to someone else through us. I recall vividly a number of situations in which God spoke through me to someone else in such a way that the idea communicated literally did not come from my mind. In each case, I was very much aware that God had simply used my mouth to convey His message.

The Bible is another means through which God speaks to us. Often, as I read it, I am conscious that what I am reading is meant specifically for me.

God sometimes speaks to persons audibly. Although I have not experienced this personally, I have heard people relate how God talked to them so that they heard His voice with their ears. These were reliable people, and I have no reason to doubt them.

The most common way that God speaks to people is through their minds. It is quite natural that He would use this method because, most often, that's the way we talk to Him, isn't it?

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Some years back, I met a young man in St. Louis, Missouri. He was a new Christian, and was full of zeal. His love for God caused him to be deeply concerned that his family know Him too.

Soon after his conversion, he phoned his mother to tell her about it. Now these were Italian people, and his parents spoke the language fluently. However, the young man did not speak Italian at all, and, obviously, his mother knew it.

As he conversed with her, he suddenly felt compelled to pray for her, so he asked if she would mind. She replied that it would be all right. When he opened his mouth to talk to the Lord, the Holy Spirit took over and spoke through him directly to her, in perfect Italian. She realized immediately that this was God speaking to her through her son, and she became a Christian, right there as they talked on the phone.

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Since hearing this man's testimony, I have shared his experience with a number of persons, only to learn that God has often spoken to individuals through someone else, and in their language. What a great miracle working God we have! Glory to His name!

The prophet Joel is quoted in Acts 2:17:

"In the last days, God says, I will pour out my spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophecy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams." (NIV)

This prophetic word has definitely come true in our day. There are churches in which God frequently speaks to the people, collectively, through someone among them to whom He has given the spiritual gift of prophecy, or forth-telling. These messages are sometimes words of encouragement, but they can also be a rebuke, or a command. Typically, they are brief and to the point.

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Regardless of the mood, it is a thrill to be in a group to whom He speaks in this way. Those who are the leaders of these assemblies are careful to test what is said, by the scriptures, to be certain that the communication is from God. They strongly affirm that the Bible is God's complete revelation, and that any message from Him will be consistent with His Word.

I have also known of a number of instances in which very reliable, Godly persons have had visions and dreams. Furthermore, what God conveyed to them, through these vivid experiences, was fulfilled to the minutest detail.

God will also speak to us through pastors, evangelists, and teachers. Oh, that our hearts were more sensitive to His voice as we sit under the ministry of those who are ordained to be God's spokesmen. Also, how blessed we would be if more of these spiritual leaders had the powerful anointing of the Holy Spirit so that, when they spoke, the people would sense that God had spoken through them.

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God is so creative in the area of communication. It would not surprise me if He would write a letter to someone. On the other hand, maybe He wouldn't. There would probably be those who would worship the letter instead of Him. Others would undoubtedly start a new cult, teaching that only those who receive letters from God will get to heaven. I shouldn't be facetious, but the hearts of people are just that wicked, aren't they? How amazing it is that God desires to fellowship with the likes of us.

In all relationships, the closeness of the persons involved is very much affected by how they treat each other. Since God is perfect, His character will only allow Him to affect our lives in ways that will be for our good. So, if we have a falling out with Him, we know whom to blame, don't we? Whenever we displease Him, we need to immediately confess to Him that our actions were sin, and then turn away from them. The amazing

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truth is, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness". (I John 1:9) (KJV)

In the Bible, God refers to our sins against Him as unfaithfulness. The implication is that we have left Him and gone after other lovers. Without question, we hurt God deeply when we sin. It makes His heart ache because He loves us so much. What a wonder it is that He loves us like that! I just can not get over it! How can we help but love Him in return?

There is an age old saying which states, "Our actions speak louder than our words". Jesus said that our actions, or, our obedience to His commandments, would prove whether or not we love Him. He said it this way in verse twenty-one of John chapter fourteen:

"He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth Me will be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest (or show) Myself to him." (KJV)

In 1 Peter 1:15,16 God recorded one of His commandments:

".....Just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'be holy, because I am holy'." (NIV)

God never requires us to do anything that we are not able to do. Assuming we keep our lives dependent on the Holy Spirit, we have the power for holy living. We simply need to give our lives to Him, and yield our wills to His will.

Oh, that we might acquire a passionate hate for sin. We must loathe it as we would loathe the most vile object. The scriptures say that we should flee the very appearance of evil. That is because sin is like the proverbial rotten apple in a bushel basket. It's decay will spread until it destroys the entire contents.

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The smallest sin will spread spiritual rot in our lives, no matter how insignificant we may regard it.

There is a direct correlation between holy living and the closeness of your relationship to God. If you desire to know Him, you must be holy. There is no alternative.

Although there are many similarities between human relationships and a person's relationship with God, one of the primary differences is that, God out-gives us in the give and take of knowing Him, to the degree that we will forever be in His debt. This is just one more reason why we must never cease to praise and worship Him. Glory to His name!

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