Personal Encounter

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Personal Encounter

Joel 2:28 (NKJV) – “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.”

As some of you know, I have been a PK (Preacher’s Kid) since I was nine and in the church since birth. During my childhood, I pretty much assumed I had a strong relationship with God since my parents did. I went to all the services, conferences, camps, and mission’s trips with this assumption. It wasn’t really until after I moved out at eighteen to go to college that it hit me, this is real. My relationship with God is strictly between me and Him. It’s kind of like the difference between renting an apartment and buying a house. When you are renting, if something goes wrong you call maintenance. But when you own it and you encounter a problem, it’s your job to maintain it yourself.

In 1 Samuel 3:1-10, we see where Samuel had his first encounter with God. Historians say Samuel was around 12 at this time and had been a servant of Eli in the temple since birth. The story follows that during the night, the Lord called to Samuel and Samuel replied, “Here I am!” And he ran to Eli, the prophet. Eli told him I didn’t call you; go lie down. This happened two more times and the last time Samuel ran to Eli, Eli perceived that the Lord had been calling Samuel. Verse 9 and 10 read, “Therefore Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, “Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.” So, Samuel went and lay down in his place. Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel answered, ‘Speak, for Your servant hears.’”

There are several principles for us to take from this passage of scripture. The first one we see is that even though Samuel grew up serving the Lord in the temple, his real influence came after knowing God through a personal encounter. A personal encounter with God is the key to knowing Him intimately. It’s in this place that we can hear the voice of the Lord.

On Sunday’s, my husband plays drums at a small Korean church. It’s a little different because they sing in English and preach in Korean. But either way the worship is powerful. This past Sunday about halfway through worship, the pastor in her broken English spoke prophetically. It was simple, but in exact correlation to what I was studying. She said, “My sheep hear my voice, this is the only way you follow the shepherd. Sheep need to listen, hear the voice of God, this is how you follow the shepherd, Yahweh.” It wasn’t a crazy deep prophecy, but it was affirmational. Sheep need to listen, hear, and follow.

God is looking for us to respond as Samuel did, with an open and receptive heart, willing to obey. He is calling us by name. We must be willing to listen. We allow so many other things to distract us. Somehow, we are open to the opinions of our friends and family but can’t take a minute to hear the truth. John 18:37 says, “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

My final takeaway from this passage of scripture is when we are willing to listen to the voice of God, He will reveal His love to us through correction or instruction. You wouldn’t try to put a piece of IKEA furniture together without the instructions, so why try going through life without the correction or instructions from God. “For the LORD corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:12

Ask yourself, Have I ever had a real encounter with God? Are you willing to take the time to stop and listen to voice of God? I pray that God reveals Himself to you in a way you have never experienced through a personal encounter with Him.

All For Him,

Melissa Byers-Bond

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