Saturday, December 18, 2010

Times of Refreshing in the Presence of the Lord

The Lord Jesus promised to be with His people always, when He said, "And I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Mt 28:20). It's true that we do not always physically sense Him with us. But there are times when He allows us to sense His presence, and it is so wonderful!

The apostle Peter said, "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; (Act 3:19). I cannot imagine what life would be like without the presence of the Lord. It would be so empty. And if I knew that I would never again sense the presence of the Lord, it would be the worst possible thing that could ever happen. It would be terrifying. I would be hopeless and devastated.

I have experienced the sweet presence of the Lord so many times during the past 24 years of walking with Him that I cannot remember them all. Sometimes I sense his presence when I am in worship or prayer, and other times it may be when I am interacting with someone, such as while I am praying for them and they are physically present or on the phone with me. I’ve experienced His presence when I am preaching and teaching, when I am leading someone to Christ, and when someone is praying for me. I have also sensed His presence sometimes when a brother or sister in the Lord shares with me a word of knowledge or prophecy the Lord has given them for me. Here are some of the times of refreshing that I have personally experienced in the presence of the Lord.

September 28, 2006 – While on a missions trip to Ukraine, we visited a poor family’s farm in Nezhen. I had a word from the Lord for the hostess and felt the presence of the Lord as I gave it.

April 2007 - I sensed the presence of the Lord as I shared Jesus with an invalid lady, named Merle, who was wasting away in across the hall from my mother's room at Hanover Hill Nursing home. I prayed with her to invite Jesus into her heart as her Lord and Savior. When I came back the next day, the nurse thanked me for visiting her, and told me that she died less than ten minutes after I left her room. Praise God! 

December 7, 2008 – We attended a worship meeting at Hungarian Free Christian Fellowship in Budapest for the first time. In the meeting, the worship was free and vibrant. I sensed the presence of God immediately as the worship began.

April 5, 2009 – After the worship meeting, I had a great talk with my brother in the Lord, Gabor G. He prayed for me regarding support. I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit.

May 26, 2009 - While on a missions trip to Bulgaria, we had a great time of worship in Hisar. I taught on Multiplication and felt the presence of the Lord while I was teaching. Almost everyone stood to respond at the end of the message. They all want to multiply disciples and be fruitful for the Lord.

May 29, 2009 - I called my mother. She is doing ok. We talked for a while. She didn’t sound good at all. I could tell she is having difficulty talking, because her shortness of breath. I prayed for her healing and felt the presence of the Lord all over me. She was making strange sounds as I prayed, almost like weak little gasps or yells made with a quivering voice. I asked her afterward how she felt when I prayed and she said, “Good.” I went over her spiritual readiness again, and she is trusting in Jesus. I encouraged her regarding heaven and the Lord being with her right now through all this.

November 12, 2009 – My brother in the Lord, Joe Bauer, pointed out that the Hebrews consider the number 13 a blessed number. So he felt I am doubly blessed to have been born again on Feb 13 and my son Joseph was born on Feb 13. I felt the presence of the Lord as he said that.

August 2010 – My dear friend "Victor" called me to tell me that they got their official refugee status from the government, after 15 years. We had prayed for them for over a year that they would be granted this status. After our phone call ended, I rejoiced, praised God, and wept in the presence of the Lord.

September 26, 2010 - Praise God. We visited the International Church of Budapest this morning in Budapest, Hungary. We saw "Victor" there, and he showed me the refugee documents he has been given. And the ambassador to Nigeria decided to celebrate the anniversary of his country's independence at the church. It was great. He is a believer, too, and he read form God's word as well. A group of Nigerian singers got up and sang a worship song in one of the Nigerian dialects, which was great! I felt the presence of the Lord.

November 20, 2010 – Watched a video of a little girl telling the story of Jonah and felt the presence of the Lord as I watched it.

March 18, 2011 - Met with David at Spiller café in Gazdagret. It was excellent. He was very open to the things I shared with him about creation vs. evolution. Felt the presence of the Lord as I was sharing. It seemed that some of the examples I was using were hitting the mark. They seemed like words of knowledge, because he related to them and said they had actually happened to him.

May 21, 2011 - We visited a church in Hungary for the first time. At the end of the worship meeting, they were praying for the sick. The pastor asked me to come up and pray for a young lady, named Noémi, who had come forward with her mother for prayer. Her mother told me that the young lady had an obstruction in her chest that kept her from breathing freely. I prayed and sensed the presence of the Lord. I asked her if she felt better and she said she did. I asked her to take some deep breaths and she did. I asked if she felt anything while I was praying and she said, “A warmth.” Then we just took a minute to praise and thank the Lord for His healing. I confirmed that the next day she was completely healed, according to her parents.

July 10, 2011 - I felt the presence of the Lord upon me as I taught on the Supremacy of Christ at church. It felt like power from on high.

Putting it All Together
Since July of 2011, I have continued to sense the presence of the Lord more and more, as I seek His face and cry out in repentance.  The testimonies that I have written down since then are very numerous.  God is so good.  And I am so unworthy of His love, but very grateful that He cares so much about me.

If you have never sensed the presence of the Lord before, perhaps you have never come to know Him personally as your Lord and Savior and you have never invited Him into your heart. In a moment I will tell you how you can know Him.

But there may be someone else reading this who does know Him, yet you have never sensed His presence, perhaps you have never been baptized in His Holy Spirit. I want to encourage you to pray and ask the Lord to baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Then wait upon Him in faith, receiving what you have prayed for. If you ask the Heavenly Father for the Holy Spirit, He will give you this gift (Mat 3:11; Mar 1:8; Luk 3:16; 24:49; Joh 1:26, 33; Ac 2:4, 33, 38; 10:45; 11:17). He knows how to give good gifts to His children. And when you receive the Holy Spirit, don’t rely on a feeling to confirm whether you have received it. You may feel Him or you may not feel anything at all. But receive Him by faith and praise Him for it.

If you know the Lord and have been baptized in the Holy Spirit, you have probably personally experienced His glorious presence. But maybe it’s been a long time since you have physically felt His presence. One thing we should do in this situation is to check our hearts and ask the Lord if there is anything in my life that is displeasing to the Lord. Is there any sin in your life that is not confessed? Is there anyone that you have not forgiven? If so, then God cannot forgive your sin! You need to release that person and forgive them. If you have done something to grieve or quench the Holy Spirit, you will not sense His presence again until you repent and ask the Lord to forgive you. But once you ask and receive His forgiveness, then He will be able to shower the Holy Spirit on you once again.

If you know you are right with God and you are walking in the Light, but it has been a while since you sensed His presence, then let me encourage you today to spend time with Him daily. Seek His face. Don’t just look for Him to give you a little touch once a week. Instead, spend time with Him daily. Get into His Word, and read lots of it daily. Pray to the Lord, and wait upon Him. Worship and praise Him, thanking Him for His many blessings in your life, including His presence. And ask Him to release His presence in your life once again. Tell Him you can’t live without it, and let Him know how much you need and desire to feel Him near. I assure you that you will receive what you ask for, if you seek Him with all your heart.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Image used by permission from John Tussey.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also like the other posts in this blog, such as Practicing the Presence of the Lord, which are available through the Home page of this blog. Also see my daughter's poem called "The Glory of God," and this song about His presence by Mercy Me, called Here with Me. You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. 

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