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|Articles - Outreach|
|Written by Cathy Duplantis|
I can't explain the feeling I had that night, but for the first time in my life, I knew God was real.
I was in awe of His great love and realized my need for Him in my life. Although I didn't physically see God or audibly hear Him, I knew I was in His presence as I reached out, I was instantly transformed as I asked Jesus into my life.
The Word of God is full of testimonies of lives that were dramatically transformed by being in God's presence. My favorite is in chapter six of the book of Isaiah which records Isaiah's call to the ministry after seeing a spectacular vision of the Lord sitting upon His throne in all His glory. It changed his life forever (see Isaiah 6:1-8).
The account of Isaiah's vision begins with the phrase "In the year king Uzziah died...." This was not just a casual introductory phrase, nor intended to simply give the approximate date of his vision. It reminded him and his people of the uncertainty that prevailed during that period of time.
Up until this point, Isaiah had known only one occupant to the throne of his people. That man, King Uzziah, had taken the throne at the age of 16 and reigned for 52 years (2 Chron. 26).
As soon as he took the throne, he set himself to seek God, which began a period of remarkable prosperity. He waged war with the enemies of God and regained lost territory. However, in the last stage of his life he was lifted up in pride and died of leprosy.
Suddenly the throne was empty! The terrible news traveled quickly from house to house, village to village, and hopelessness grew as the people questioned the future of their nation. What would happen to their lives?
With a history of notorious kings that had plunged them into sin, it is understandable why the people were concerned about the man that would succeed the king and fill the throne. This was Isaiah's motivation to seek God's face and intercede for His nation.
During these precious moments in the presence of God, Isaiah's life was totally transformed. His vision of a filled throne brought strong encouragement and hope during a time of uncertainty and despair. While beholding the awesome glory of the Lord, Isaiah was compelled to worship God, repentance toward God and service for God.
When faced with the Holy presence of God, all creatures are compelled to react in one way or another. Some become angry like the demons that came into Jesus' presence and demanded to know why He had come to torment them before their time.
Others are resentful like one thief that was crucified along side of Jesus. The soldier at the cross was amazed by Jesus' compassion for the people that had persecuted Him. When the crowds saw Jesus' miracles of healing and feeding the multitudes, they reacted in wonder.
However, when confronted with the reality of the presence of God, worship is the only reaction that will transform our lives. When we keep our eyes fixed on heaven and spend time in true worship of God, we are empowered to rise above the circumstances of life.
The result of being in God's presence is a revelation of God's glory, which reveals the condition of the heart and the need for repentance. When faced with the awesome holiness of God, Isaiah cried in verse five,
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 mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.Isaiah recognized the need for repentance. This was Jesus' message in Mark 1:15, "...The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel."
Later, when He sent forth the twelve in Matthew 10:1,7 and the 70 in Luke 10:1,9, Jesus sent them forth with the same message of repentance.
Just Preach The Kingdom
Years ago I watched an interview with the pastor of the largest church in the world in Seoul, Korea. They wanted to know what he considered to be the reason for the tremendous growth he was experiencing in his church. I know they were expecting him to outline various programs, but instead he simply answered, "I just preach the Kingdom."
In that small statement hangs the essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In Col. 1:9-13, 21-23, Paul reminds us that, as born again believers, God has delivered us from the kingdom of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.
Membership in this unshakable kingdom brings tremendous privileges and benefits. Second Peter 1:3-4 declares that we have already been granted everything pertaining to life and godliness through the knowledge of God. We have precious and magnificent promises that grant us the privilege to become partakers of the divine nature.
Repentance toward God is the only requirement for entry into this glorious kingdom. Repentance is simply turning from your way of running your life, and giving your life to Jesus. He alone can open the door by cleansing you from sin and purifying your heart.
Isaiah's motivation for service was born out of time spent in God's presence. It was during those precious moments that God was able to reveal His heart to Isaiah and impart vision.
Isaiah wrote in verse eight of chapter six,
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.Your success in serving God and fulfilling His vision for your life depends upon your obedience to the call, boldness to relate the message, and perseverance to complete the vision.
When confronted with opposition to the call of God on their lives, the disciples prayed to be filled with boldness to relate the message. "And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto Thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak Thy Word..." (Acts 4:29).
The Apostle Paul never forgot that moment on the Damascus Road when he was knocked off his donkey. In an instant, Paul was changed from a persecutor of the Church into a persecutor of Satan.
He told King Agrippa about his heavenly vision and call to preach the Gospel, he said,
...I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: but shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.He was transformed by God's presence. Paul persevered to finish the race that was set before him. At the end of his life of service to God, he could confidently say, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith (2 Tim. 4:7).
God desires to reveal Himself to all who will seek Him with their whole heart. Draw near to the Lord today in prayer and He will draw near to you (James 4:8). I must warn you though, one moment in the presence of God will spoil you and transform your life forever.
You won't be satisfied with empty religion. You will hunger for more and your desire will be to serve Him continually. You may even respond to the Lord the way Isaiah and countless others have: "Here am I; send me."
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