POSITIONING YOURSELF FOR DIVINE ENCOUNTERS

BY T. O. BANSO

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed” (Exodus 3:1-2 NKJV).

Divine encounters are real but God determines who will have a divine encounter and the time. In His sovereignty, God can let someone have a divine encounter while the others won’t. He decided to favour Mary and, through her, Jesus Christ came into the world. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you’” (Luke 1:28 NIV).  Mary was, most likely, not the only virgin even in her family but God’s favour chose her.

Nevertheless, everyone can and should position himself for divine encounters. However, nobody can set the date or time for his divine encounter.

Cornelius’ divine encounter

The day Cornelius had an encounter with the angel of God was just like any other day that he had prayed in the past. He had no idea what was waiting for him that day. He just went to keep his usual appointment with God in prayer at about three o’clock.

He had a vision in which he saw an angel of God coming toward him. He called his name and announced to him, Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He[a] will tell you what you must do” (Acts 10:4-6 NKJV). The angel said this and departed.

Cornelius acted at once on what the angel said. Consequently, Peter visited his house and Cornelius, his relatives, and close friends were saved. The Gentiles also received the baptism of the Holy Spirit for the first time. Suppose Cornelius had failed to keep his prayer appointment that day due to one reason or the other. He would have missed that divine encounter.

Zacharias’ divine encounter

Also, Zacharias didn’t know he would have a divine encounter on the day he did while serving God in the Temple and an end came to his years of childlessness. Luke 1:6-7 says,And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years (NKJV).

While he was serving as a priest before God in the order of his division, as was the custom of the priests, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary and burn incense in the Lord’s presence. The Bible does not say that he had a premonition of a divine encounter.

He was burning the incense and a great crowd stood outside praying. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared to Zacharias inside the temple, saying, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John” (verse 13 NKJV). That was how Zacharias got his turnaround. Eventually, as the angel had said, his wife became pregnant and gave birth to John.

Moses’ divine encounter

The day Moses had an encounter with the LORD in the burning bush was just like any other day. He wasn’t expecting any supernatural event as he was tending his father-in-law’s sheep. Exodus 3:1-2 says, Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed” (NKJV).

If you asked Moses what he was doing that day, he would have told you he was tending Jethro’s sheep, which he had been doing for about forty years. He didn’t do anything unusual. But that day, he didn’t know that though he was leading the sheep, God was leading him!

That encounter changed his life forever. The LORD spoke to him out of the burning bush and Moses stepped into the pursuit of his destiny – the deliverance of the Israelites from 430 years of captivity in Egypt.

David’s divine encounter

When David woke up that day to take care of his father’s sheep, it was just like any other day. But at a particular hour, he received an unexpected message to come home quickly. Most probably the only strange face he saw in his father’s house when he arrived was the Prophet Samuel. God had rejected all his brothers as king. He must have been surprised when Samuel brought out his horn of oil and anointed him king (1 Samuel 16:1-13).

The same thing happened the day he became a hero in Israel. It was just a normal message from his father that he went to deliver to his three brothers in the army of Israel. He didn’t plan to kill anybody! But he ended up killing the Philistines’ champion, Goliath, and became a celebrity (1 Samuel 17:17-51).

How to position yourself for divine encounters

You don’t know the time God has fixed for your divine encounter but you can position yourself for it by doing the following:

1. Be devoted to God and fear Him. The first thing to do to position yourself for divine encounters is to be devoted to God and fear Him. By fear, I mean, having reverence for God. He is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29; Deuteronomy 4:24). The Bible says in Acts 10:2 that Cornelius was a devout man and someone who feared God. He later had a divine encounter.

Have faith in God; be devoted to Him; have reverence for Him. If you’re not born again, the beginning of devotion to God and fearing Him is to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You must be born again (John 3:3). Ecclesiastes 12:13 says, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all” (NKJV).

2. Humble yourself before God. Both sinners and saints must humble themselves before God. Sinners must humble themselves to accept God’s offer of salvation through Christ Jesus. Saints must humble themselves in the presence of God and their walk with Him. Acknowledge that you need God. Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time (1 Peter 5:6; James 4:10).

3. Keep an appointment with God in His house and be a worker, not a spectator. Don’t forsake the house of God and don’t be a spectator there. Hebrews 10:25 says we (Christians) should not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage one another all the more, as we see the Day approaching. Some things happen in church (the gathering of believers) that don’t happen elsewhere. In Luke 1, Zacharias had a divine encounter while serving in God’s Temple as a priest before God. Be a worker in God’s House.

4. Continue to obey the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. To obey is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). The Bible describes Zacharias and his wife, Elizabeth, as both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless (Luke 1:6). Obey the words of God that you read in the Bible and hear from His servants. Follow the instructions of the Holy Spirit to you directly or through God’s servants. The Holy Spirit will never contradict the written Word of God. Any instruction that contradicts the Bible is not from God.

5. Maintain fellowship with God in prayer and fasting, and singing praises to Him. As you read earlier, Cornelius prayed to God always (Acts 10:2). Paul and Silas had a divine encounter while they were praying and singing at midnight. Acts 16:25-26 says, About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose” (NIV).Note the phrase “praying and singing hymns to God.” The Contemporary English Version says, praying and singing praises to God.”

Praying and singing praises to God will position you for divine encounters. Although Paul and Silas didn’t flee despite having the opportunity to do so, they eventually regained their freedom. They were begged to leave.

Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). In Luke 18, Jesus spoke a parable that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.

6. Keep doing good deeds. Also, as Cornelius did, keep doing good deeds. Cornelius gave alms generously to the people. Be a giver. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you (Luke 6:38 NIV). Sow seeds into the work of God and to His servants and others, especially the poor and needy. Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously (2 Corinthians 9:6).

Proverbs 19:17 says he who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, and He will pay back what he has given. The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered (Proverbs 11:25).

Show mercy to others so that God will also show you mercy. Matthew 5:7 says blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. According to Proverbs 11:17, a merciful person helps himself, but a cruel person hurts himself. Show mercy to others. With the merciful, God will show Himself merciful (2 Samuel 22:26a; Psalm 18:25a).

Never get tired of doing good (2 Thessalonians 3:13). So let us not become tired of doing good; for if we do not give up, the time will come when we will reap the harvest” (Galatians 6:9 GNT). 

7. Be faithful. Be faithful in what is assigned to you. In Exodus 3, the Bible shows us how Moses had a divine encounter while tending his father-in-law’s sheep. He was faithful in his work. Be faithful – walk with God and do what He has committed into your hands. Be faithful in little things; be faithful with worldly wealth; and be faithful with other people’s money (Luke 16:10-12). Be faithful in everything. 1 Corinthians 4:2 says it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.

Conclusion: Position yourself for divine encounters. They can happen at any time. I pray that you will have divine encounters that will change your life forever. Position yourself for divine encounters. God will visit you and your story will change.

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and cannot save yourself, and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself.  I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You must join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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