Knowing God Versus Having Religion

Copyright ©2007  Lisa Tyler

If I could only instill one idea in a reader, it would be the incredible joy of knowing God and feeling His presence.  When you are with Him, all your problems melt away and you can take yourself out of the world for a while.

I think He wants us to put all the traditions and rules aside and just get to know Him, and make it really personal.  I had a talk on yahoo messenger with one of my sons last night and we were talking about how hard it is to witness to friends and co-workers in his age group.  (He's a delivery boy for Dominoes pizza in our town.)

I told him about some experiences I had at the church in Albany we go to sometimes.  That when I would be down front being prayed over, a white sparkling cloud would settle down over my head and a feeling of deep peace and joy would come over me.  (Only I could see the cloud as it happened to me.)

Another time, I was down there with my handicapped son, standing in line.  The pastor came to us and began to reach out to touch me, but I was saying 'no, it's my son, he needs this and that....blah blah' and I was going on a mile a minute about what I wanted the pastor to ask God for.

Suddenly the "presence" of Jesus Himself approached me from my left, and said hello (in the way we do when we're trying to get someone's attention - "HeLLOOoooo").  I stopped in mid sentence and burst out laughing, and answered Him "Ok Lord, Hello."  Like I get your point.  You're here and I'm wasting time talking when I could be COMMUNICATING with YOU.

The happiness of that realization, that He's so approachable and so gentle.  Meek and humble, all that the Bible says about Him is so true.

I want to tell people how Personal and Intimate God is with us. 

Although I've usually attended traditional churches, I've come to realize that true communion with God is more than following along with a bulletin that says we're going to sing this now and pray then and after that take up a collection etc.

The church is ALIVE.  It's a living entity and it speaks, breaths. How can you capture and confine a living being?  How can you confine it to a certain thought or doctrine?  God cannot be placed in bonds or boundaries.  He's infinite and incomparable.

You speak with the church; you interact with it.  You can sit quietly in love and awe, or jump up and down and dance and shout because of your reaction to being in His presence.  Whatever is appropriate at the moment.

But donít treat communing with God as a business or a school setting where all there is, is a program to follow.  Let your worship be a give and take with the Holy Spirit and listen for His leading.  You may have to start out with some kind of instruction to the people in a format.  Like Pastor Stan does by blowing a horn to signal the beginning of service and then spending 45 minutes or so in worship.  (They play music and people sing along or participate in some form of worship and praising for that time.)

After the praise, there is no problem having God's presence and attention.  There is a scripture that says He inhabits the praises of His people.  So if you want God to be there, praise Him!  (It also says "Where two or more are gathered in my name, there will I be also.")

(Stan's music is sometimes rhythm and blues, very modern, like a concert where everyone is really happy.  So 45 minutes is not LONG, but a joy.) 

Sometimes I want to stand with my arms out wide and absorb God into my being.  To say, ďI want more of you, itís just you and me God.Ē  To be filled with the joy of being His, to be touched, and to realize that you ARE Him.  So intimate an experience that you can make a statement like "I AM God" and not be blasphemous, because at that moment, the two of you are entwined in a loving embrace way down to your DNA level or even lower.

After talking with Matt about the Lord, I felt so much better physically.  My stomachache had gone away.  How can sickness exist in the presence of God? 

My son felt it too; a physical lifting and healing, and I told him this is how you interest your co-workers and friends. 

I think the Holy Spirit will guide you about what to say and when, or IF to speak.

Can churches in magnificent buildings with preacher's titles that must be earned by expensive college degrees or rubbing elbows with the right organizations, pass on the power of God to the people who need it?  Beware that they are not simply museums of the dead.

For some, though, this is the level where they believe they will meet God, and thatís ok.  I only hope that each person keeps on searching and moving up through the various styles of religion until they find Him. 

Or just be innocent, uneducated, and stand in your cornfield or wherever you live, and speak to Him.  The bathroom or your car, or wherever you are, if you can give Him your total attention and praise, there you two are.

I have nothing AGAINST those churches and itís not wrong to attend them. But I hear so many ask me where is the power of God?  Why isnít God at work today in the world, where He is so needed?

The answer, at least partially, is that He IS here and you can find Him.  But just as you wouldnít go to a cemetery to find a group of people to talk to, donít expect to find much life in a gathering of people who have never experienced what itís like to KNOW ďLIFEĒ Himself.  

So many leaders of large churches go through theological school as a career choice, and obtain a lovely, high paying job, but have no real belief that God even exists, and theyíll tell you so.

Instead, go straight to the source, (God, in prayer) and listen when He answers you.  Let Him lead you where you need to go, and let Him feed you the information you need for the particular kind of person you are and where you are in your stage of spiritual development.

 

Keep reading the Bible and measuring what you hear against scripture.  He promised that Whosoever would seek Him, would find Him.  Happy Hunting, dear brothers and sisters!

 

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Lisa Tyler pastors the Blessing Meadows Ministries Church and is a writer and artist.  You can read more of her work and devotionals at www.blessingmeadowsministries.com.

 


© Lisa Tyler 2007

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