Monday, December 27, 2021

God's Visitations

 At Christmas we:  (1)  celebrate His Coming  (Incarnation - came in humility as a human baby)
                             (2)  Anticipate His Return  (2nd coming) - He will come in power and glory
But in the 'tween time ....??  ie:  the time between his first coming and his 2nd coming.
                            (3)  We hope for His Visitation(s)

Definition:  On one hand He is always with us - as a people group and as an individual
However, we sometimes have a special sense of His Immediate Presence!  (an experience, sensation, or evidence.)
Hence the song:  "O Come, O Come Emmanuel"

Broken into 2 categories:

I)  Corporate Visitations - moves among a people group
Examples from Scripture:   the Exodus, the time of Christ, Pentecost
Non-Scriptural examples = the Great Awakenings - 1730s and 1790s.  (1740 - 1742 church membership in New England doubled!!  in 2 years!!!

II)  Personal Visitations = reveals Himself to individuals.
example:  (nearly) al conversion experiences begin here - personal wooing, personal drawing

Question #1 - In what form do visitations come?  look like?
Scripture = visions, dreams, angelic visitations - examples:  Christmas story, Mary, Joseph, shepherds, magi
                  miracles; God manifests His presence in miracles - thru the Exodus, Elijah, Moses, etc.
But ... these are rare, unusual ... never the norm!!

The  most common = Presence and movement of the Holy Spirit working in a life.
John 14:15-18, 25-26, 16:12-14
example (again) - the Great Awakenings.  These were not a result of dreams, visions, angels, miracles!!!
Comparison:  Elijah's Visitation .. wind, earthquak3, fire - not in these.  But in a "still small voice" - 1 Kings 19

So.... Question #2... When will He visit?
:  when HE deems it wise, best... according to His wisdom, His timing, purpose, etc.  - We have NO control.  He is in TOTAL control!!
On one hand expect an initial Visitation (call to salvation) - Rev. 3:20, 22:17
However, beyond that??? expect Him to do what's BEST!!!

Question #3 - Should I seek a Visitation? (pursue, etc)
Answer:  Yes... BUT... He's Lord, you are not.  Must be willing to accept the absence of His presence.
On one hand, scripture says "seek Him  (develop personal relationship)
However, you should be willing to accept His Will in this!!! 
Examples:  Job, Jesus on the cross, the Laments - Psm. 13:1-2
He may want you to be in the darkness for a period of time.   (Christian maturing theory)

Question #4... What if He doesn't Visit Me?  (beyond initial call)
Answer:  "Keep Walking!"  - Isa. 50:10
Job 13:15 - "though He slay me.... yet will I trust Him"
words to Peter - John 2 - "you ...... Follow me!!!"

Caution!! Beware of  "Visitation Envy"
Don't Covet a Visitation.
Don't Fabricate a Visitation.
However, don't be too easily (readily) satisfied!!!

Question #5   Will I Know if He's Visited Me?
On one hand, He's capable of making Himself known!
However, He doesn't always choose to!!! - Heb. 13:2  "unawares"

I suspect... He visits more often than we realize... But ... He doesn't do it in the form we expect!!
Example:  Incarnation, Messiah!!

Summary Point:  Heb. 13:5 = about $$ only?  or broader principle
Example:  Paul's thorn - "my grace is sufficient unto thee"

Additional notes:

I)  A visitation is not always a pleasant thing!!! 
Could be confrontation, chastisement, discipline, challenge, correction

II)  ever received a Visitation through the ministry of another??
IF SO..... THEN ... you (likewise) may be the medium of God's Visitation - (to another) - 1 Pet. 4:10

So... concerning a Personal (or Corporate) Visitation?

(1)  pray - stay in touch (this = a relationship)
(2) seek - a Visitation!!  create an inviting environment!!
(3)  be open ... to receiving a Visitation ... OR ... NOT!!
(4)  be sure (confident) that He IS WITH you!!! - regardless
(5)  Be Available - to be a tool, instrument of Visitation
(6)  Above all - Keep Walking!!!

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