Why We Need the Manifest Presence of God

Filed under Evangelism & Missions, Revival & Prayer, The Kingdom of God on August 27th, 2013 by Bryan Anthony

The debate about cessationism vs. continuism—meaning, whether all the gifts of the Spirit are still in operation today—is not just an abstract theological debate. It is often a matter of life and death, and as I heard some testimonies during a recent ministry trip to Canada, I was reminded of how critically important it is to have the manifest presence of God in our midst.

But before anyone misunderstands me, I’m not talking about specific manifestations, nor am I talking about how we respond outwardly to the Spirit’s presence. I’m talking about people having a life-changing encounter with the living God as He moves in our midst.

The first testimony I heard involved a Jewish man in his late 30s or early 40s. Although his mother, brother and sister were believers in Yeshua, he was totally lost and heavily addicted to drugs. In fact, when he showed up one night at a summer tent meeting in Ontario, he was near death.

The pastor leading the meeting was a graduate of our ministry school, and he deeply values the presence of God and the moving of the Spirit. When he saw this drug-addicted young man, he said to himself, “If he makes it to the end of the week, that will be a miracle.”

The man was gaunt and weak, with death in his eyes, the result of years of heavy drug abuse, and no program had been able to help him. But people were praying for his salvation.

That night, the man encountered the risen Lord in power, and he was instantly delivered from drugs.

Now, more than two years later, he is burning bright with passion for the Lord, and a result of hisdeliverance, his father, the son and grandson of Polish Holocaust survivors, became a believer. In fact, it was his father who shared the story of how the Lord set his son free.

The second testimony was from a young woman about 20 years old, full of joy and glowing with enthusiasm for Jesus.

As a little girl, she witnessed her father having a seizure, and she became so traumatized that from that day on, she suffered from deep depression.

On numerous occasions she tried to take her own life, sometimes accumulating pills with a plan to put an end to her pain, at other times cutting herself as an expression of her torment.

But people were praying for her as well, and one year ago, under that same tent, she encountered the same risen Lord. Her depression vanished instantly, and she has not had another suicidal thought.

That is the power of the gospel! That is the power of the Spirit! And that is why it is so important that we welcome God’s Spirit in our midst, however He wants to move and whenever He wants to move.

Yes, it is absolutely true that we are called to be disciples and make disciples, and that requires day-to-day obedience in big things and little things. It requires ongoing submission to the Word of God and the continual conforming of our character to the image of Jesus by the grace and help of God. It calls for careful and prayerful study of the Word, solid relationships with other believers and a consistent outreach to a dying world.

Without these important foundations, we will not bear lasting fruit for the glory of God.

But this is not the whole picture, and throughout Scripture, we see God coming suddenly and bringing radical, dramatic change, most famously in Acts 2, when the Spirit was poured out on the 120, Peter preached his powerful message, and 3,000 Jews were added to the body in a moment of time. Nothing like that had ever happened before.

Over the course of my years in the Lord, there have been times when a personal breakthrough seemed so difficult, whether it was a besetting sin that seemed so hard to resist or a step of obedience that seemed so impossible to take. And then, during a glorious worship service where the Spirit of Godbegan to move in power or while praying at home alone, the Lord’s presence took hold of me in a profound way, and suddenly that sin was gone or that seemingly impossible step was taken—and it wasn’t hard at all.

At other times, I have witnessed breakthroughs in public gatherings where repentance or healing were suddenly poured out and lives were instantly changed. This is what happens when the presence of God is manifest in our midst.

Moses understood this well, saying to the Lord, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” (Ex. 33:15-16, NIV).

Yes, we must love one another so the world will see Jesus in us (John 13:35), and yes, it is by our acts of kindness and compassion that people will glorify our Father (Matt. 5:16).

But that is not all. We serve a risen Lord who has ascended to heaven and poured out His Spirit, and He desires to be glorified in our midst by a demonstration of that divine power. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power” (1 Cor. 4:20).

And that is why, when he brought the gospel to them, he explained, “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Cor. 2:4-5).

Where is the demonstration of the power of God in our midst?

Michael Brown is author of The Real Kosher Jesus and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.



Spread the Word:
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Mixx
  • Technorati
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter



Possibly Related Posts:

5 comments
Leave a comment »

  1. How the presence is needed for change. Billy Graham is quoted in the latest Decision Magazine as saying the Church needs a new baptism of the Holy Spirit. Consider the USA today, as to its assumptions of being without the Presence. We are entering a season where the local churches need to organize themselves for at the very least a weekly or twice weekly prayer of petition and spiritual warfare.

    The nation is in transition, from its past moral plumblines and general order references of: 1) the Word of God, 2) the Ten Commandments (as once found displayed in some government property contexts, now less and less so), 3) the personal family of fidelity and basic authority and purpose, 4) being able to raise one’s own children and business without official regulation groups plodding along beside (not today protected under civil family and other laws), 5) the church or synagogue being included in wider community planning regard, 6) prayer as a tool of humility and recognition of confessed need as recognized in public contexts, and, 7) the practices of mutual submission, not equality at all costs, as regarded giving to and serving those indeed in need. The apostasy spoken of in scriptures as coming before the reign of Christ in the Prophets and New Testament is not just about those falling away from the faith, but a general moral climate, heart, and way prevailing with the times that welcome societal encumbrances of unspoken and spoken social conduct, expectations, and boundaries bearing down on most common references of past freely recognized order. What Michael Brown writes about weekly in logical opposition to illogical trends, has come full bore upon us.

    What has been amplified as attempted and has succeeded to change these listed traditional past personal and cultural societal plumbline references, from being moral conscience references, has stemmed from the marketplace, higher educational and general educational systems’ values and attitudes indoctrination, by various special interest organizations, as motivating a traceable move away from acknowledgement of being under God. The new supposed tolerance based world order upheld by thousands of secular humanist workers and regulators is ever-present on the government payrolls. These are they who now saturate government ordered service and regulatory agencies as are solicited as to their use, and judgments as replacing personal rights, family centered self governance, and past general due process procedures–as are now entwined and paid by tax income and government money printing presses. These groups and agencies act for advising courts,families, schools, so called safety net resource organizations, public assistance mechanisms,etc. increasingly active after 2008 financial markets and banking system changes, and all educational system policies and procedures: for determining day by day societal policy making. Their input permeates all connected age groups, various agencies and official structures, and the policy makers of the Federal and State government. What were once citizen and under government resources infrastructures handling minor citizen needs, are now handling major entitlement and regulation needs.

    Without an awakening among those in such unelected power positions, in these placements of policy sway and enforcement, our nation will continue to evolve to be unrecognizable as the oversight of care cradle civilization once establishing the then New World’s past structured by the founding Fathers (i.e. that of the USA). Yet there are so many areas where the people of God in Christ are proceeding or unwittingly agreeing right along with these changes and regulators enforcement, without understanding what the cost and outcomes are or soon will be on our past freedom of choice. Our basic creed has shifted from love your neighbor, enemy, brother, and sister, as yourself, to love not disturbing the walls, assumptions, expectations, and boundaries placed around an active self life. This is the change the least recognizable, as to the values now sacrosanct for all Americans to conform to a general socially boundaried mutual appropriateness. Good appropriateness finesse has replaced the values of what once were good citizenship attributes. This is the first of essays on the identified trends now shaping, and strapping our unwitting lulled to acquiescence self manners.

    Civil law in the USA has moved around traditional constitutional due process to wield new directions for our society. This mostly occurs with the guise of regulating and structuring matters it seems no one would disagree with on the surface, simply so by their titled realms of influence (money, social services, safety policy, equal rights, equal opportunity, entitlements, regulation by considered expectations, etc.) Family law has been replaced over the years by the preferences of new kinds of domestic social strata and protection law, supposed new safety policies and laws in the past few years, and nonharming principles seated in the language of the supposed equality of opportunity and accountability to socially correct behaviors (as determined by agencies, policies, and the new order conducted of nonelected direct regulators). There are processes and procedures today, where, if one person in a family is dissatisfied with something, they have avenues to bring these new unelected authority structures full influence on anyone the family wherever it interfaces with the culture. This bears weight as once held anyone attempting to follow Biblical principles of devotion and conduct.

    More and more traditional Chrstian values are seen as controlling (not shepherding), as insistent (not forbearing), and as inappropriate and intrusive (not referenced of principle and logos). Adults, spouses, and children alike merely have to accuse and not work through ongoing communication, issues differences, and reconciliation processes (see Mt. 18: 15 and on) to align with forces in motion in culture that can take over and remove persons from their central family core all at once. Safety matters, supposed parental coercive control, sexist innuendo, and supposed negligence matters seem to be the stuff of beginning shift in the culture toward accusation carrying the full weight of witness fact in matters of dispute, with the expectancy of an anti-Christ world governmental system so agreeing (which is already here in unspoken regulations attitude). This is actively pursued as bearing on culture within what has been a past well ordered individual business society, and its evolving infrastructures.

    All the nuances of alliances and other realities spoken of of the last days, final struggles and events toward one world government, religion, and economy in the Revelation, Isaiah, and Daniel (carried forth from the Middle East and Mediterranean region nations, and the classical regions of Biblical civilizations) only lack the final intrigue of economic and power alliance civil war unrest to move us into the final season of world Apostasy. Then, in the well developed world, social workers and counselors in schools and agencies, and world system adjusted financial centers will have the right to reframe, regulate, and regard their new world order as the only societal order holding until the Return of Christ.

  2. I edited the above into article format for all to consider.

    My pasted in response, below, was to an article written in a Christian online magazine on needing the presence of God for discernment in the body of Christ.

    How the presence is needed for change. Billy Graham is quoted in the latest Decision Magazine as saying the Church needs a new baptism of the Holy Spirit. Consider the USA today, as to its social reference assumptions of being without the Presence. We are entering a season where the local churches need to organize themselves for at the very least a weekly or twice weekly prayer of petition and spiritual warfare, and form too committees to influence the writing of State law. It is time to not simply passively accept all happening around us, which is taking over our once traditional frames of reference.

    The nation is in transition, from its past moral plumblines and general order references of: 1) the Word of God, 2) the Ten Commandments (as once found displayed in some government property contexts, now less and less so), 3) the personal family of fidelity and basic authority and purpose, 4) being able to raise one’s own children and business without official regulation groups plodding along beside (not today protected under civil family and other laws), 5) the church or synagogue being included in wider community planning regard, 6) prayer as a tool of humility and recognition of confessed need as recognized in public contexts, and, 7) the practices of mutual submission, not equality at all costs, as regarding giving to and serving those indeed in need. The apostasy spoken of in scriptures as coming before the reign of Christ (in the Prophets and New Testament) is not just about those falling away from the faith, but a general moral climate, heart, and sway prevailing with the times that welcome societal encumbrances of unspoken and spoken social conduct, expectations, and boundaries bearing down on most common references of past freely recognized moral order. What Michael Brown writes about weekly in logical opposition to illogical trends, has come full bore upon us.

    What has been amplified as attempted and has succeeded to change these listed traditional past personal and cultural societal plumbline references–from being moral conscience references–has stemmed from the marketplace, higher educational and general educational systems’ values and attitudes indoctrination, by various special interest organizations, as motivating a traceable move away from acknowledgement of being under God. The new supposed tolerance based world order upheld by thousands of secular humanist workers and regulators is ever-present on the government payrolls. These are they who now saturate government ordered service and regulatory agencies as are solicited as to their use, and judgments as replacing personal rights, family centered self governance, and past general due process procedures–as are now entwined and paid by tax income and government money printing presses. These groups and agencies act for advising courts,families, schools, so called safety net resource organizations, public assistance mechanisms,etc. are increasingly active after 2008 financial markets and banking system changes. They stem of all educational system policies and procedures: for determining day by day societal policy making. Their input permeates all connected age groups, various agencies and official structures, and the policy makers of the Federal and State government. What were once citizen and under government resources infrastructures handling minor citizen needs, are now handling major entitlement and regulation needs.
    Civil law in the USA has moved around traditional constitutional due process primarily based on preservation of the family to wield new insistent directions for our society. This mostly occurs with the guise of regulating and structuring matters it seems no one would disagree with on the surface, simply so by their titled realms of influence and need (money, social services, safety policy, equal rights, equal opportunity, entitlements, regulation by considered quiescence expectations, etc.). Family law has been replaced over the years by the humanistic preferences of new kinds of domestic social strata and protection law (as accelerated by legislative responses to supposedly needed new safety policies and laws in the past few years, and non[harming principles seated in the language of the supposed equality of opportunity and accountability for socially correct behaviors (as determined by agencies, policies, and the new order conducted of non-elected direct regulators). There are processes and procedures today, where, if one person in a family is dissatisfied with something, they have avenues to bring these new unelected authority structures full influence on anyone the family wherever it interfaces with the culture. This bears weight as once held anyone attempting to follow Biblical principles of devotion and conduct. Some ministries of past influence during recent past US eras of influence are now regarded as marginally not only inappropriate, but crazymaking (e.g., look up net responses to the parenting literature of James Dobson).
    Without an awakening among those in such unelected power positions, in these placements of policy sway and enforcement, our nation will continue to evolve to be unrecognizable as the oversight of care cradle civilization, once establishing the then New World’s past justice and freedom emphases, structured by the founding Fathers (i.e. that of the USA). Yet there are so many areas where the people of God in Christ are proceeding or unwittingly agreeing right along with these changes and regulators enforcement, without understanding what the cost and outcomes are or soon will be on our past freedom of choice. Our basic cultural creed has shifted from love your neighbor, enemy, brother, and sister, as yourself, to love not disturbing the walls, assumptions, expectations, and boundaries placed around an active self life. This is the change the least recognizable as we go about our business as usual, as to the humanist values now sacrosanct for all Americans to conform to a general socially boundaried mutual appropriateness. Good appropriateness finesse has replaced the values of what once were good citizenship attributes.

    More and more traditional Chrstian values are seen as controlling (not shepherding), as insistent (not forbearing), and as inappropriate and intrusive (not recognizable as referenced of principle and logos). Adults, spouses, and children alike merely have to accuse and not work through ongoing communication, issues differences, and reconciliation processes (see Mt. 18: 15 and on) to align with forces in motion in culture that can take over and remove persons from their central family core all at once. Safety matters, supposed parental coercive control social services resistance, sexist innuendo, and supposed negligence matters seem to be the stuff of beginning shift in the culture toward accusation carrying the full weight of witness fact in matters of dispute, with the expectancy of an anti-Christ world system so appropriately agreeing (which is already here in unspoken regulators attitude). This is actively pursued as bearing on culture within what has been a past well ordered individual business society, and its evolving infrastructures. Business then is replaced by regulatory motivators which do not stimulate capital investments, as were past so regarded by Federal policy making. Recall how the “economic stimulus” after the 2008 equity markets failure wormed its way into hearts, and other stimuli, like buying a newer car model advanced the perception of self life strokes.

    All the nuances of alliances and other realities spoken of of the last days, final struggles and events toward one world government, religion, and economy in the Revelation, Isaiah, and Daniel (carried forth from the Middle East and Mediterranean region nations, and the classical regions of Biblical civilizations) only lack the final intrigue of economic and power alliance civil war unrest to move us into the final season of world Apostasy. Then, in the well developed world, social workers and counselors in schools and agencies, and world system adjusted financial centers will have the right to reframe, regulate, and regard their new world order as the only societal order holding sway and clout until the Return of Christ.

    This is the first of essays on the identified trends now shaping, and strapping our unwitting lulled to acquiescence self manners being the new social etiquette.

  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ux-j0mHbG5g We love your presence, Lord.

  4. Let’s suppose God came to a people in such a way as to make his presence known, in such a way as it could not be denied, in such a way that everyone knew who it was that was presently experienced, as in though we understood in our minds that he was in the room, now we experience it, now we know!

    How would it be if one was then found talking about how homosexuality is OK, that it has no effect upon others, how abortion is OK, that it doesn’t kill anyone or anything, that it doesn’t wound a conscience, or how
    pornography and gambling is OK, or….?

    Would you want to be in a Casino at that time, if you were winning?

  5. Thank you for this article- it reflects my heart’s cry as of late. I have learned that there is indeed power working in us (Eph.3:20), and that has made a world of difference moving forward in faith. But I fully recognize the need for the power to come upon us. As in the Genesis flood, there were two sources: the windows of heaven and the fountains of the deep. Many believers fail to tap one or both of these sources. And by fountains of the deep I am thinking of the truth of Christ in you. You’re not a beggar any more. You are not a worm. You are accepted in the beloved.

Leave Comment