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 Desiring the Presence of God

John Hoole March 30, 2008

I don't fully know what God is doing in me since I visited and spoke in El Salvador and Guatemala. But I know something has changed - and I can't go back. I don't want to go back. And I am sure He has more changes in store for me.

I don't know about you, but there is a driving passion in my heart that whispers to me that there is more than what I already know, more than what I already have.

As I study the seven churches and the writings of the apostle John, it makes me very jealous of him. God snuck up behind John - Revelation 1:10 - gave him a glimpse of heaven and earth. It makes me envious of people who get glimpses out of this world into that world and see things I only dream about. I know there's more for me and you.

I know there's more because of those who have encountered the "more," and were never the same. I am speaking of people like Jacob, who wrestled with God. And David's encounters with God occurred while tending his father's sheep. That tells me I don't have to be here at church to experience Him. And then there is Moses, who desired to see God's glory, and had that prayer answered. My prayer is, "I want to see You like John saw You!" I want to experience Your glory like Moses did.

There have been a number of defining moments in my life. These are moments that changed me from that point forward. On March 18, 1959, I was praying in a basement chapel, when at about midnight, wave after wave of God hit me, baptizing me in the Holy Spirit. And the next morning, in downtown Eugene, Oregon, I felt I was walking 6 feet off the ground, and knew I better not go into a store to shop, because I was having difficulty speaking in English.

Then there was the Fall of 1975, having been sent by Boeing to Anchorage, Alaska. I was in the apartment Boeing had provided me for the 3 months I was there. Again, I was praying earnestly, laying prostrate on the floor. My desire from God was that my teaching would be more than disseminating Bible information, but that I would rightly divide the Word of Truth anointed by the Spirit of God. Sound Bible teaching is an imperative in the Church of the Living God. Without it no church can be a New Testament church in any strict meaning of that term. But, teaching may be carried on in such a way as to leave the hearers devoid of any true spiritual nourishment whatever. For it is not mere words that nourish the soul - but God Himself. And unless and until the hearers find God in their personal experience, they may not be the better for having heard the truth.

And now I spend a little more than a week in El Salvador and Guatemala, and once again God's presence has redirected my coarse. I don't know just what has changed, so I covet your prayers.

When I think of those moments of God's visitation, whether in the lives of biblical people or me, it speaks strongly of the difference between the omnipresence of God and the "manifest presence" of God. The phrase, "omnipresence of God," refers to the fact that He is everywhere all the time. And yet, even though God is everywhere all the time, there are also times when he concentrates the very essence of His being into what many call "the manifest presence of God." When this happens, there is a strong sense and awareness that God Himself has "entered the room." You might say that although He is indeed everywhere all the time, there are times when His glory and power are more "here" than "there." For divine reasons, God chooses to concentrate or reveal Himself more strongly in one place than another, or more at one time than another. My question for you and me: Do you (I) want that to happen here?

I feel like we are like the children of Israel after Moses died. God speaks to Joshua, and says:

"Moses My servant is dead! Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land I am giving to them." (Joshua 1:2)

At times, I feel like God is saying to me, "stop your wandering in the wilderness, and cross over and possess the land I have promised you." "The land is there. All you have to do is take it!"

How hungry are you and I for the bread of Heaven? Let's explore the Promised Land together. Are you ready to say with the Psalmist in Psalm 63:8 - "My soul follows hard after God." God says, "Moses is dead." I am sure Joshua knew Moses was dead. But now it was time for a new beginning - a new blessing - a time of possessing. God says, "Arise and go over Jordan." We can't stay here anymore. We won't be the same any longer. Arise, take the promises I have given you.

Throughout that first chapter and following, God says I know there will be opposition. The enemy doesn't like you crossing the river. But, like He says to Joshua, He is telling us to "be strong and courageous." Don't turn to the right or the left. Go forward and I will take care of your adversary. I, the Lord God, will be with you. God has made a promise, and it will come to pass. We need to arise, go forward in Jesus' Name.

So how are we to take the land of promise? We find the answer in Joshua 3:5. It says, "Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you."

We not only have been given the promise. We also have received what is required of us. His presence will mark us only if we are a holy people. That's what the word "sanctify" means. This kind of lifestyle would will demonstrate to those around us the benefits of being a people under God's rule.

Do you have things you have asked God for? Are you really seeking a miracle from the hand of God? Is there something you desire? Then, get ready, sanctify yourself, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you. Don't let the devil steal the promises of God from you.

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