God's Presence

What's So Important About Awe?

Greetings Friends!

A few months ago I heard the word awe briefly referenced in a sermon. By the time I left the church service, the Holy Spirit tattooed that word on my heart and mind in gigantic capital letters. AWE. I needed to find out more.

I commenced an investigation and am convinced awe is a bigger deal than we realize. I invite you to discover how awe impacts our relationship with God.

Let’s take a look at the definition.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary concisely defines awe as a response of wonder, reverence, or even dread. My definition of awe is slightly wordier. Awe is an impressionable moment attributed to God because of the undeniable display of His active presence.

When God’s magnificence, glory, and power grabs our soul’s attention it prompts the realization of God in it or God with us. Awe is a step beyond thankfulness. It’s a declaration, a confession. Biblical examples include David and Daniel. Here’s an excerpt from Daniel Chapter 9.

“O Lord  you are a great and awesome God! You always Daniel 9What a profound confession from Daniel’s heart. Having personally experienced God’s life-saving power when confined with lions, he had every reason for awe of God. His awe expresses reverence and a love for God.

Have you ever wondered what our awe means to God? What if He receives awe as a love offering from our heart?

Here is the first reason why being awestruck by God is a big deal.

Awe of God expresses our love for God.

Awe of God 1

Below is a quote by Brennan Manning, author of Ruthless Trust, and it says volumes about awe.  

Awe of God Manning Quote

Brennan is saying pay attention. Let yourself be amazed. Why? Awareness of the awesome nature of God invites an inpouring of strength, peace, security, and joy. Awe beckons Jesus.

Here’s an example from the Book of Acts.

Acts 2Are you surprised prayer, the Word, and community cultivates awe? The closer you get to Jesus the more awestruck you become.

Here is the second reason why awe is important.

Awe significantly enhances your relationship with the Lord. 

To better explain, here's an example from my life. Twice, my heart has physically ached from being heart-broken. The first time it happened I didn’t think to ask Jesus for help. I went through it alone with misery. The second time I asked Him to join me.

Friends, oh, how He met me in it. I felt His strong presence though the grief threatened to overtake me. Overwhelmed by awe, I confessed it to Him.  I didn’t feel lost and desperate. Darkness didn’t enter my heart. Rather, a strength outside of my own lifted me, guided me. Over time, His peace sealed the broken places of my heart. Further, I continued to express my awe to God for being by my side all the way. My expression of awe intensified my relationship with Jesus. I am closer to Him.

Perhaps you, too, have been lifted by the Lord when otherwise you might have been buried by love and loss. 

We have many reasons to be awestruck by God.

A crucifixion

A resurrection promise fulfilled

Promised life with God in a way we’ve never known before

Getting to be in His presence and love

Whenever you utter the words, Jesus, you’re my Savior, heaven erupts at your declaration. Whether it’s the first time or the 1000th, God embraces you with life-giving love and an unbreakable commitment, sealed with the Spirit in you. The day Jesus saved you was an awe-filled day!

May awe well up inside of us overflowing into a love offering because He loves us. In turn, He will fill you with his strength, joy, peace, and hope. He is our Lord and Savior.

Thanks for reading and your encouragement! God loves us, Terri

P.S.  Find more quotes, insights, and conversation at Hearts Encouraged Facebook Page.

References:

Merriam Webster Dictionary - https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/awe


Experiencing God's Presence

Hello!

It is a great privilege to write to you and I hope this blog post peaks your interest in God’s presence. In the Soul Focus we’ll explore the benefits of having a greater awareness of God’s presence. I hope you’ll be encouraged to believe that He is near you. Beside you. Always close.

Soul Focus

Experiencing God’s Presence

Though it’s a challenging topic, I feel passionate about increasing an awareness of the nearness of God. My main reason for this passion is I don’t want us to miss out on what God has for us. I know the Bible states many things about God’s involvement in our lives and of God’s nearness. I know that each of us experience God’s presence in a unique manner. And, I know I’m missing out on the benefits that come when I don’t acknowledge His presence with me. Let’s explore the possibilities of increasing our awareness.

There are various ways we can envision God. One way is a picture of God as being over all because of His nature as all knowing, all seeing, and all powerful. God is on His throne, majestic, holy, the Master of everything. Another vision we may see in our mind is Jesus on the cross. Perhaps it’s seeing Jesus, when he was on earth, in a home, on a path, in the storm, walking and talking with the disciples. Yet, when I take these views of God it places Him far from me, dwelling in the past, but not near and by my side. It’s easy for me to view God and Jesus in these ways, but it’s not so easy to live believing that He is so very near, here present with me.

Too often, His presence with me is not always at the forefront of my mind. I forget. And believe me, I don’t want to forget that He’s near. I need Him and I’m okay with needing Him. But that’s not all I forget. I forget that He hears my voice among all the voices on this earth. I forget that I’m not lost in the crowd. Too often I let myself be lulled into a false sense of aloneness forgetting that my Heavenly Father truly knows my heart. I forget that He sees the state of my heart with the turmoil, the hurt, the anger, the hopes, and the dreams. I forget that He truly knows me, Terri, more than anyone else. If I believe God is truly by my side, then what am I missing out on by not acknowledging His presence with me?

Aloneness

If my dominate image of God is that of Him distantly monitoring my choices and thoughts and how I’ve followed His ways or not, this sets me up for trouble and my thoughts becoming tangled. Why? Because I jump to assumptions as to God’s attitude toward me. I envision God as a critical reviewer of my heart and mind and our relationship becomes skewed. I step into a frame of mind of self-criticism and judgment. But, everything changes when I choose to view God beside me, near to me. Something changes within me. I am able to see God and I are doing life together—He’s guiding me, leading me, comforting me, teaching me, loving me, correcting me, delighting in me. Believing God is that close to me is the hard part. Sure, I have many days when I’m absolutely certain of His nearness. I’m so amazed and filled with gratitude over His care of me. I can hold onto that for hours and days. But there are other times when I can’t seem to feel, sense or believe God is near. Part of it has to do with forgetting to remember God’s promises within His Word and standing firm in my trust in those promises regardless of what I feel or don't feel.   Come near to God

Come near to God and He will come near to you -- James 4:8

God is near. God is present in my life. God always hears me. God is not affected by my doubts, tentativeness, or forgetfulness. The one that is affected is me. I am immensely affected. In my opinion, I believe the doubt, lack of trust, lack of confidence in His intimate nature gets in the way of my ability to experience the fullness of His presence.

There are so many situations and circumstances that have the capacity to overwhelm me. My desire is to choose to be overwhelmed by the presence of God in those times. My desire is to immediately call, reach, and seek God with such confidence that I can immediately be affected by His presence. Do you know why I want this? Because when I’ve asked God to draw near, He has. And when I’ve asked with an expectation of experiencing of His presence, I received it completely. I have chosen the word completely because, beyond forgetting, I can do other things that block my ability to experience God’s fullness of presence.

BarrierYou and I can set up barriers keeping us from experiencing the closeness of God. Here are a few examples: self-condemnation, self-judgment, comparisons, assumptions as to how God perceives you, experiences of rejection, striving to show your worthiness, doubt in the depth of God’s love, and more. When I started my journey with God, there were set in place plenty of barriers between Him and I. God has and continues to guide me to an awareness of what keeps me from experiencing the fullness of His presence. By giving God full access to my heart, He and I assess for any barriers and I do the work of tearing these down. Even today, I have a couple very stubborn default barriers. God’s word is the power tool of choice when knocking down or removing specific barriers between you and God. Other important tools can include professional counseling and prayer.

God is my helper; the Lord is the sustainer of my life. 

Psalm 54:4 HSB

God has made a promise to us through Jesus. And, Jesus made this promise to His people, “I am always with you” (Matthew 28:20). Jesus proclaimed that he lets nothing comes between us and him and no one snatches us away from God (John 15:4; John 10:28-29). The barriers to experiencing the fullness of God’s presence are often within our control. One barrier that we have substantial control over is related to our capacity to be present in His presence.

I love God’s word and it has the power to encourage us and lead us to truth. Let’s encourage ourselves. Take a moment to read the verses below and let these resonate within your heart. Allow the words to become an image in your mind. Place yourself at the center of the image and experience it as real. Let the image and the words root in the garden of your heart.

Sunrise-165094_640For He will give His angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways.

Psalm 91:11 HSB

…I will turn darkness to light in front of them and rough places into level ground.

This is what I will do for them, and I will not forsake them.

Isaiah 42:16 HSB

Be gracious to me, God, be gracious to me, for I take refuge in You. I will seek refuge in the shadow of Your wings until danger passes. I call to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me. He reaches down from heaven and saves me, challenging the one who tramples me. God sends His faithful love and truth. 

Psalm 57:1-3 HSB

The Lord your God is with you, he is might to save. He will take great delight in you,

he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17 NIV

I hope your imagination gifted you with an experience of God’s delight and a quietness of heart and mind. I hope you imagined God commanding on your behalf, being your shelter, and battling for you. For me, it took the extra effort of taking God’s words from the page and imagining these as truth. I hope this post encouraged you to discover the increasing depth at which we can experience God’s presence in your life. If you're willing, please comment and share how you experience God's presence. Or, you can always email me directly at heartsencouragedministry@gmail.com. Thanks so much for reading! Terri