The thought of wondering WITH God continues to run through my mind and heart. To wonder is: to explore, to think about, to feel, to ask questions, to learn, to hear, to respond.
As I was ‘wondering’ about this yesterday I continued to have the words ‘be present’ running through my mind and heart. To be present – what does that mean?
What does it mean to be present throughout our days? I don’t mean present as in ‘being engaged in every conversation and to be engaged in your work’. Although that is REALLY important. What I mean by present – is to know that the Holy Spirit is teaching, correcting, re-aligning, reminding us – all the time(or at least often). To be present is to know you are in the presence of God (Holy Spirit) throughout the day – and the Holy Spirit is wanting to lead and guide you.
When we are not present – we are likely not responding to the Holy Spirit throughout our days. At least not as often. When we are not present, we listen to other ‘spirits’ speaking to us. When we are not present we can more easily be lead by the flesh, our own desires, selfishness (however you want to put it). To not be present means that we are missing out on incredible God encounters throughout our day.
When I read scripture, I am constantly alarmed at how present the writers seemed to be. Open your Bibles to Acts chapter 8. I won’t write the passage out for you – but I am going to reference the story. So maybe read through it first and then continue with the rest of this blog 🙂
Saul was persecuting the church. The result? The church was scattered. And everyone who was scattered preached the word (vs. 4). One needs to assume that this wasn’t just church leaders that were being scattered. Saul went into all the house churches – and threw anyone he could into prison. These people would be every day folk (like us), who testified about God everywhere they went.
I think we wrongfully assume that ‘preaching’ means standing up in front of a church and teaching the oracles of God. Rather, preaching may be better described as ‘urging people to change a belief or an idea that they have, resulting in a change of course in their lives’. So in the church this would be sharing the good news about Jesus with people that they would meet, helping them encounter the life changing power of the Spirit in their lives.
Philip must have been good at preaching – crowds gathered around him to hear about this CHRIST! And not only to hear – but many miracles were being performed and people were being set free!
In the midst of this, there is a magician who was amazing people with his magic. Everyone thought he was great and he thought he was really great too.
And this is where I started wondering with God…
This wasn’t Philip’s job. This was who he was :). He desperately wanted people to know Jesus. His life had obviously been transformed and others needed to know this Savior. And Philip stays present! He didn’t just preach. He must have sensed the Spirit wanting him to pray for healing – and people got healed. He would have sensed the spirit wanting to deliver people – and demons came out. We read the story like it is just a list of cool things that happened. But Philip was present. Responding to all the things that God has in mind for that time.
Even Simon the greatest magician is so enamoured that he comes over.
The story doesn’t end there. People are starting to fall in love with Jesus and encounter the presence of God. As this is happening Philip finds water and starts to baptize people. This is turning out to be a whole day affair. Even the magician got baptized. And Philip just continues to be present.
SIDE NOTE: We can quickly write off a story like this as: that was then; its different today; I’m not like that; I could never preach; I’ve never seen a miracle etc. But that is not the point I am making. I am saying that we can learn from Philip to be present throughout our day. Responding to the Spirit working in us and around us.
And the story continues…
Philip continues to share about Jesus after that – and now Simon the magician has joined him. And word starts to spread with what happened. So Peter and John show up and start laying hands on people to receive the Holy Spirit – it must have been quite an ordeal. This seems to be going on for days!!
Simon, who wasn’t a believer in Jesus: encounters God, gets baptized and starts ministering with Philip. But he has a weak moment and asks how he can buy this Holy Spirit power! Philip, Peter and John all remain present, sensing what is going on, they reprimand Simon, they tell him to repent, they reveal the wicked nature of his heart – and the response of Simon? Repentance and begging for prayer! It’s not about blasting people – it is responding to the Spirit at work. The result is AWESOME!!
From there, its not done. They continue to preach (share about Jesus) everywhere they went. And then we get to the best part.
Vs. 26 – Philip meets an angel who tells him to walk somewhere! (Again, some are thinking – I have never met an angel. I say – maybe that is about to change as we become increasingly present :). He walks there without knowing why – just simple obedience. There are people there. But the Spirit highlights one – telling him to go over to a specific person. And what is Philips response?
Vs. 30 – HE RAN TO HIM!!!
Here is a guy that knew how to be present. He is RUNNING from one encounter to another. I can imagine his excitement as the Spirit says ‘That one’!! And off he runs. Starts talking to a complete stranger about the scriptures, and Philip ‘preached’ all about Jesus. Eventually they stop at some water – the man gets baptized!! WOW!!!
And then God helps Philip get to his next ‘appointed meeting’ quickly. God just transports him there :). Actually!! That is what he does! BOOM!! Philip disappears and appears in another town. I can only imagine the Eunuch, still in the water after having his life transformed – wondering where this ‘God man’ went to – he must have started worshiping. What else can you do when you encounter God!
To be present!! To be present with God throughout our day.
- Present with the needs of our children
- Present with our co-workers
- Present to sense the Spirit at school
- Present to recognize the Spirit highlighting someone to you
- Present while reading the word this morning
- Present to what you are feeling
- Present while bringing your needs to God
- Present in the store as you are shopping
- PRESENT all the time
To grow in our awareness and awe of God.
Today, my encouragement is to just be aware of the Spirit throughout your day. Even if you don’t do anything about it. Just say ‘God I saw that; God thanks for showing me that; God is that you?; God I love you; God help me to see you more.’
This is my prayer for you (and Me) today!
God I ask that you would help my friends reading this – to be aware of where you are at work today! I ask that they would have their eyes open to see you everywhere they go. God fascinate us today, awaken us today – we want to know you and your love more! Amen.