Some years ago, George Barna surveyed adults who don’t go to church. Two out of three said that they would be strongly motivated to come, IF they could truly experience God. There are many people are hungry for God. And the best thing that could happen in their lives is for them to have a close encounter with Jesus Christ. I don’t care if you shake and quake or jump and dance… you may squall and ball, and your eyes and nose be running, or outwardly show no physical signs at all…. But that’s not the point… what matters is a genuine encounter with God….that changes the heart and life.
The prophet tells us in Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart”. Jeremiah is declaring that every person will have those moments and God knows how to bring each person to that place, where everything else has failed them and let them down, and now they are willing to do what they were unwilling to do before!! We need to be ready for those moments of encounter….They are transformative and life changing!
In one town, the electric company headquarters put the words “ENERGY BUILDING” in huge letters, at the front of their business. Perhaps that’s what should be on every church sign that claims the power of the Holy Spirit! An encounter with Christ is a meeting where power is released to testify of His reality and His presence among us!
The scripture we begin with today tells us a story that took place right after Jesus rose from the dead.
Luke 24:13 “Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem. v14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. v15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; v16 but they were kept from recognizing him. v17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, with their faces downcast.
v18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” v19 “What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. v20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; v21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.
v22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning v23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. v24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” v25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! v26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”
v27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. v28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. v29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
v30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. v31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight”.
Let’s look at this close encounter…. Notice that Jesus was walking very close to them and with them, but they didn’t recognize that it was Him! They had just been talking about the encounter Peter and John had with the empty tomb, that Jesus was not in the grave… they talked about the encounter the women had with the angel and how Mary saw Jesus, who told her to spread the news to the others. But they weren’t ready for their own encounter with the risen Lord.
You may have heard many stories of people’s experience with Jesus, and while you don’t doubt those stories, you aren’t expecting your own visitation… Well, you had better get ready, because you’re about to have your own personal encounter with the King!
You see, it’s like there was something covering their eyes, so they didn’t recognize Him when He was right in front of them. I feel that the Holy Spirit is telling us that the veil is about to be lifted and we will be able to see what we could not see before. We will be able to recognize what we couldn’t recognize before. And We will be able to understand what we couldn’t understand before. Holy Spirit is here and present for the unveiling, and the revealing of Jesus to us in new and glorious ways!
When Jesus came to the disciples walking on the water in the midst of a storm that was about to destroy them, they were so busy bailing out the boat, and keeping the boat from sinking, that Jesus had to shout “It is I, be not afraid”! That’s what I’m hearing right now…. Holy Spirit, coming into the storm of fear, of uncertainty, of deception, where folks are just so focused on keeping their marriage, their family, their home, their finances and health afloat that they haven’t recognized Jesus when He came right up to them so He could help them rebuke the storm.
Jesus disguises Himself sometimes when we encounter him, like He did with the disciples when they didn’t recognize who he was.
He told us in Matthew 25:35-40 “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, "I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (it was as though you did it for me)
I wonder how many times God arranged a close encounter for us, but because it didn’t look or feel like we thought it should, we totally missed it…
No wonder David cried out, “Lord, open my eyes that I might see Your wonderous works”….
What if the people we have been praying that God would raise up, and be used mightily of Him, to show His love, His grace and power, and to share the gospel with others, is not someone else but we ourselves!
When the disciples were shut up in the room for fear after Jesus was taken before Pilate, and the doors were locked and *…….bolted, once again Jesus shows up in their terrible dilemma and has to tell them….“Look, it’s really me! I’m flesh and bone – look at my hands and feet!” It takes them a mind blowing, brain reset moment to realize that this really is the same savior who was crucified who now stands before them. It was a wake up encounter that pointed them toward the future, and letting go of the past. Leave it all behind and head toward the upper room of empowerment.
I was at Winn Dixie on Monday with Winnie and we went separate ways as we were shopping. She needed to ask me something but I had my phone on vibrate and was preoccupied so I didn’t answer her call. When we got back together she let me know that she had called 3 times, and she was beginning to get a bit feisty by then……
I believe the Lord is letting us know that He has been trying to get our attention to move ahead into empowerment for the future no matter what has happened before…., He’s ready to do it, and He’s more than *…….able, but like Proverbs 1:23 &24 says, “Surely I would have poured out my spirit on you; I would have made my counsel known to you. v24 But you refused My call, and no one took my outstretched hand…..”
It was when Thomas finally put his finger in the nail prints, and the spear pierced side, that He opened himself for a new level of revealed grace, and power. Skeptics stop being skeptics when they have a straight on encounter with Jesus… the unlearned and the ignorant gain wisdom in His presence…. The agnostic and the atheist can no longer deny when they truly experience Him… the evolutionist becomes a creationist when confronted with His pure light of truth….
Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Marxist, or modern American– are all looking for what can only be found in a spiritual encounter with Jesus Christ….even if they don’t know it yet!
Let’s answer the call, take His hand…. Let Him take you where you could never get to on your own, by yourself. If He’s able to carry you safely, all the way to heaven…. Can’t He get you to where you need to be in the here and now!
The first time the Lord showed Himself to me at 12 years old, it scared the spit out of me….
The second time He appeared to me at 18 years old,
(yuup, that’s the wild thang folks, it was so life changing, and I cried and repented for several hours, for ignoring Him and pushing Him away. Oh, Yes, I know what Isaiah felt, when he cried out: “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 my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”….. I sold everything, my car, my guitar, I quit the rock band I was part of, and ended up at college to prepare for the ministry a few months later.
Close encounters will change your life forever, and you’ll never want to go back to where you were before!
You might know that the professional golfer Lee Trevino, was struck by lightning one day on the golf course. He thought it was going to end his career because he was very affected by it, and while he was recovering, one of the reporters asked him, "What have you learned from your experience, Lee?" He said, "Well, I learned that if the Almighty wants to play through, you better let him." We shouldn’t have to be hit by lightning for God to get our attention, but sadly, it happens!
God is waiting to work through each of us, why don’t we just let Him!
John 12:40 "Their eyes have been blinded and their hearts have been hardened, or they would see with their eyes and understand with their heart, and turn, so that I would heal them.''
Another scripture that describes this is…2 Corinthians 4:4 “The god of this age has blinded, the minds of them who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them”.
Holy Spirit, cut away the things that blind, and unstop the ears that cannot hear, so there can be a turn around and a release of healing power!!! God has never seen emptiness He cannot fill, and will often allow the runners and the hiders and rebels to hit bottom, so that His fullness can be received… and His healing and restoration will be accepted.
God has a cure for every crisis. He’s got the right side up for every up side down….He’s got the turn around for every spiral downward….He’s got your benefits in every Satanic hit….He can bring healed relationship into every marriage split… When times are tough, He’s still enough! Just be still, at the center of God’s will…
When Isaiah had one of his encounters with the Lord, he said “I saw the Lord, high and lifted up, and the train of His glory filled the temple”….
When we encounter Him today, every thing that has taken a prominent place in our lives will come down, and He will be high and lifted up! What ever has pushed him out, will be brought down and He will be high and lifted up! It all has to bow to Him and His lordship!
Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all the things, will be added unto you. Every knee must bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord to the glory of the Father!
In Luke 5, as Peter experienced an early encounter on the shores of Galilee, Jesus told him “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” v5. But Simon answered and said to Him, "Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing, nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.''
v6. And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. v7. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink”.
An encounter with Jesus will transform your excuses into a “Never the less at Your Word, Lord”….. I don’t feel like doing that, but never the less at your word Lord….. I don’t think I can, but never the less at your word, Lord…. I don’t feel like praying but nevertheless….. I don’t have time to study the bible, but nevertheless…I don’t want to tithe my income but nevertheless Lord!!! (I need a nevertheless encounter)
Jesus had a close encounter with Satan, so that your victory is assured. When he tempted the Lord in the wilderness, Jesus triumphed by the word of God, and because He overcame by the Word, you can too! When Jesus encountered Satan on the cross, He used the word and when He said “it is finished”… Satan was defeated and we win!! But to seal Satan’s defeat, Jesus ascended and presented His blood to the Father, then sprinkled it on the heavenly mercy seat. Judgment was satisfied and mercy and grace flowed forth to all who could never have deserved it!! What God has forgiven is cleansed from the record as though it never existed! Jesus said “Go and sin no more.”
Friends, right now, when a believer quotes the word, it is just like Jesus speaking it, because He is the living word, given unto us. The bible says that we should decree things in earth and they would be established in heaven. A decree is a rule of law issued by a higher authority.
When we quote the word, we are establishing in the earth that which has already been established as the rule of law in heaven….
Revelation12: 11 “And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony…” (because God’s word has become my testimony) Shout, if that’s you today!!!!
We are given some life changing close encounters in scripture, there’s Abraham, Jacob, Moses, the woman at the well, Peter, James, and John, the two Mary’s on resurrection morning, and the Children of Israel crossing the Jordan River, the church on The Great Day of Pentecost, Saul on the Damascus Road, and Paul and Silas in the Roman jail, just to mention a few.
These are all given us, to let us know that what God did for them, He will do for us as well! God wants us to experience what we can’t explain!
Like the blind man whom Jesus healed said so well…. All I know is that I was blind but now I see!!!
In the last encounter that I mentioned, an angel caused an earthquake which opened every jail cell, and the chains were loosed from every prisoner. Jailhouse Rock is not just a song by Elvis! There was a whole lot of shaking goin on!!! Paul and Silas’ encounter, touched the lives of many people who before, were only spectators. Friend today, when you open yourself to a personal encounter with the risen Christ, it will have a lasting effect on many lives around you! People will be set free, homes will be transformed, marriages will be healed, lives will be restored and deliverance and healing will come!
Why read the bible? Because we are expecting an encounter. Why pray, because we are expecting an encounter. Why come to church, because we are expecting an encounter. You shall receive Dunamus, (Divine energy), energy that overwhelms whatever would overwhelm you, as you open yourself to the energy of the Holy Spirit!
I read about a humorous encounter at a church dinner…..
One of the church ladies was asked to cook a pot of her award winning chilly for the church dinner. Her son came running through the house with his BB gun and he had a handful of BB’s in the other hand, which he spilled in the pot of beans. The dinner went well, and as usual everyone raved over Betty’s beans. On the Monday following, Betty’s *……good friend Francis came by for a visit and said my goodness, those beans were so good. But you must have put something different in them this time, cause this morning I bent over to feed the cat and I shot the canary!!! (we’ll leave that encounter alone)
What was Jesus really like? He was constantly meeting unlikely people. People with a wide variety of backgrounds and unusual occupations or unusual circumstances and unusual needs. He didn’t just sound spiritual, He met proud people and they walked away humbled by Him…. He met rich people and they gladly gave their riches to have what He offered them… He met fishermen and tax collectors and they walked away from every thing to follow him….He talked to people and touched the deepest places in their heart and soul…. He met dead people and they got up from the grave and followed Him….
Charles Sell wrote, “If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist. If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us a banker. If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer.
But our greatest need was forgiveness and guidance so God sent us a Savior and king”.
When He encountered the lame, He said “Get up” and they did!
When He encountered the blind, He said “Open your eyes”, and they did!
When He encountered the deaf, He said “Be opened”, and it was!
When He encountered the leper, He said “Be clean”, and he was!
And when we hear Him say “Be made whole”… we shall be whole!!
Cancer, hear Him…. Disease and affliction, hear Him…. Demons of lack, poverty, and waste, hear Him speaking today!!!
I AM THE LORD THAT HEALETH THEE!! I AM THE LORD YOUR HEALER!
We need an encounter with the water walker, the devil deliverer, the way, the truth and the life…
We need to experience His will, His way, and His finished work….I believe an encounter is taking place, in this house, in Jesus name!!!
Prayer To Have A Divine Encounter…..
Today I encounter the Living Lord who is my healer and my deliverer. He sustains me, He raises me up, He encourages and empowers me to RECEIVE His promised and completed healing and deliverance in His mighty name. JESUS, by the POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT, I serve notice on SICKNESS, INFIRMITY, and DISEASE, and I release HEALTH, HEALING, DELIVERANCE, BREAKTHROUGH and PEACE in my life and my family.
In the NAME of JESUS, I command FEAR, ANXIETY, BACK INJURY, INSOMNIA, DEPRESSION, HYPERTENSION,MUSCLE AND NERVE PAIN, DIABETES, and CANCER to leave and not return, for GREATER is HE that is in me than he that is in the world. GOD has not given me a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind, and by JESUS' STRIPES I am now andwill continue to be HEALED.
In JESUS' NAME, I declare and decree prosperity and abundance in my health, my home, my family, and my finances. I declare and decree overwhelming peace, with nothing broken, nothing missingand nothing lost. In FAITH, I thank You Lord, for all that has been done and finished for my healing, deliverance, and protectionthrough the blood and the Cross of my redemption.
NOW, RIGHT NOW, I RECEIVE, BELIEVE, and DECREE that this WORK in me has been PAID IN FULL, FINISHED ANDDONE. GOD SAID IT, I TRUST HIM, I BELIEVE HIM AND NOW I’M GOING TO WALK IT OUT!. In JESUS’ name, Amen.
THIS IS MY TIME, THIS IS MY LIFE CHANGING ENCOUNTER