Trigger God’s Presence – What triggers your aggravations, anger, frustrations? What if there was a way to use them to instead of triggering the negative to use them to trigger the presence of God? I asked how in the world could I do this? I began an experiment…
THE PRESENCE OF GOD
By Pastor Delbert Young
Trigger God’s Presence
Presence of God Triggers
Scriptures: Luke 1:28-30, 38, Romans 13:1-2, Matthew 5:43-45, Hebrews 12:1
Often in our society, seeking God’s presence becomes an intellectual pursuit. Without realizing it, we base our lack of relationship with God on how much Bible we DON’T know. If we don’t know much about the Bible, we THINK we can’t have a very deep personal presence of God. However, I’ve met so many people who have knowledge about God, but no true relationship with God. They seem to believe they can “think” their way into heaven. Allow me to help us there. There was no Bible or scriptures in Noah’s day, Abraham’s day, Isaac, Jacob, or Joseph’s day. The most scriptures any had prior to Jesus were the Old Testament writings. While there is no substitute for the Holy Scriptures, and you know I preach reading them daily, experiencing the presence of God in your life is not dependent upon your Biblical knowledge.
I definitely believe we should always align anything we believe we hear from God with the scriptures. God’s not going to tell you to jump off a cliff, or murder someone. However, don’t limit God’s presence to times of gaining knowledge such as Church services, sermons, Bible studies, teaching, audio/video recordings, books, etc. God has something specific to talk to you about and it most likely won’t be in the King James language.
For example, in the days before and of Jesus (and in some places today), women, for the most part, were illiterate. As you know, they were looked upon as possessions, objects of pleasure, for child birth, and child care. Women had no rights. I say this to make us think about something. Most likely Mary could not read. I’m not saying she couldn’t read, but most likely she could not with her peasant background and therefore had not read the scriptures when Gabriel (Luke 1:26) visited her, the Holy Spirit came upon her, and she experienced the presence of God in a way no other human ever had or has. Certainly, she knew about God as Jewish children would, but Mary’s relationship with God’s presence was not from intellectual pursuit.
Luke 1:28-30 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly FAVORED! THE LORD IS WITH YOU.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found FAVOR with God.
Luke 1:38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
The reason God chose Mary was not because she knew much scripture. The word favor (charis) means divine influence upon the heart. Mary’s relationship with God was because of her heart for God. She had obviously spent time in the presence of the Lord. How about you? What determines the presence of God in your life? Is it by gaining knowledge or a heart for God?
I want to talk about a few “triggers” causing us to experience a continuous presence of God in our lives. I want to begin with a question(s). What is something capable of aggravating you more than anything? You know a few of my personal aggravations. Inconsiderate drivers get to me. Smacking on anything aggravates me. Unscheduled morning interruptions bother me. When I think about certain people, it aggravates me. How about you? What is it capable of aggravating your trigger(s) and firing you off? What ticks you off?
Let me tell you one I’ve just begun working on. I have trouble with our president. He’s become an aggravation to me. Judy’s and my health insurance went up over $200 a month. I had to raise my deductible to help bring down, not equal, the premium raise. I’ve not agreed with the bailouts, wild spending, and tremendous debt our nation is now in. It bothers me when he demeans America to other countries. I didn’t like him taking Air Force 1 on his anniversary. I’m having trouble with his position and statements about the Muslim mosque at ground zero in New York. His far left positioning about everything aggravates my center right conservative position. Actually, there’s nothing I’ve agreed with so far concerning his presidency and I know of nothing I agree with him about. My aggravation got so bad I began mocking a habit he has when giving speeches. For someone who tries desperately to not be critical of anyone, I found myself looking for things to criticize concerning our president. Simply hearing his voice, or seeing his image triggered something, not good, inside me. It was getting into my heart and you can’t watch the news, O’Reilly, or Hannity and not hear his name, voice, or see him. I once told my wife, “The more I know about him the less I like him.” I knew my feelings were not godly, righteous, or biblical.
Romans 13:1-2 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, FOR THERE IS NO AUTHORITY EXCEPT THAT WHICH GOD HAS ESTABLISHED. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
Being the holy man of God I am (kidding), I realized I needed to work on my heart. I definitely did not want to bring judgment on myself. I was allowing the presence of my flesh and the devil to cause ungodly feelings in my heart.
So, what to do? I was preparing for this series and realized I was not practicing what I was preaching. If I did, “pray for what’s in front of me,” then wouldn’t this fit? Instead of allowing his voice and image to trigger something negative, what if I allowed them to trigger the presence of God? How in the world could I do this? I began an experiment I initially had to work on. When I hear his voice or see him, my knee jerk reaction is aggravation, but instead of going there, I would use it to trigger a prayer for our president, which I should do anyway. Now, when I see or hear his voice, it “triggers” a prayer and brings the presence of God instead of the devil. I don’t mean I fall to my knees and cry out to God. No. If alone, I will speak it out loud. If around others I do a “whisper prayer.” What I mean is “under my breath,” I whisper a prayer. It goes something like this: “Lord, this man is our nation’s leader. I don’t understand, but you placed him there. He is a world leader. I pray you give him wisdom. I ask you to place wise and righteous people of influence around him. Help him make righteous decisions. Bless him. Bless his wife and children. Amen.” God immediately shows up with peace. So, instead of grinding my teeth, shaking my head, saying something negative bringing judgment on me, and allowing the president to cause my blood pressure to go up, I allow him to help me experience the presence of God. How novel!
Matthew 5:43-45 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and HATE your enemy.’ But I TELL YOU: Love your enemies and PRAY FOR THOSE who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven…
Objects, thoughts, and people frequently become triggers of hate and aggravation. Jesus said change it. Instead of bringing hate and bitter feelings which is of the enemy, allow it to bring love and the presence of God. Our president is not my enemy, but this principle is just as true with people who frustrate and aggravate us. I want to be a son of my Father in heaven and the truth of the matter is this works. It’s impossible to pray FOR people who aggravate and frustrate you and continue to hate.
These objects, thoughts, and people don’t have to be huge issues to affect us. Judy and I were following a nurse at Memorial hospital. I was scheduled to have a colonoscopy at 7 a.m., but somehow got the date confused and showed up a day early at the hospital. I had done all the “cleansing” yucky colonoscopy prep work and the hospital took mercy on me so I wouldn’t have to do all this again. With some effort they worked things out so I could come back later the same evening at 5 p.m. We went home, a 45 minute drive, but no sooner got in when they called telling us something came available and to return immediately for the procedure, but I needed to be there fast. We took off again. I’m anxious from the mornings confusion and rush and now following the nurse who is about to record my weight and blood pressure. The weight went ok. As I stepped off the scale, my cell phone rang. It was a preacher who had gotten my cell number from another preacher in Trinidad asking for money. I had researched the man and he was not someone I wanted to support. I had asked him to stop calling me several times. I went off on the guy right there in the hospital telling him to never call me again, and hung up (I get a lot of calls wanting money). I didn’t think frustration(s) bothered me. I thought I was “Mr. Peace” until the nurse pumped up the blood pressure band around my arm and read out the numbers. My blood pressure readings were too high to do the colonoscopy procedure. Judy explained to the nurse the frustrations of the day capped off with the phone call. The nurse said, “We will wait a few minutes and try again.” Laying there on the gurney needing to calm down, my high blood pressure reading triggered me to invite the presence of God. I did a “whisper prayer” inviting the presence of God, peace, and a decent blood pressure reading. I calmed down and was amazed how my blood pressure dropped with the next check allowing me to have the procedure (and by the way, I came out with my best colonoscopy results ever).
I’ve pondered the experience several times. I honestly believe we will live healthier, more peaceful, maybe longer lives if we will learn to walk in the presence of God. The smallest of objects, thoughts, and people trigger love or hate, immediately triggering either the presence of God or the presence of the enemy into our lives. What triggers you and which presence do you bring, God or the devil?
We are ending our series, but I truly want to amplify the principle I learned from Jan Johnson in her book, Enjoying the Presence of God. I talked about it last time – praying for what’s in front of you and allowing it to bring God’s presence. When we go into our “closet” to pray (Mat 6:6 KJV), it seems we’re done in a few minutes. We’ve prayed for the family, finances, problems, aggravations, etc finding our minds ready to get on with what we want to do next. How can I have a continuous presence of God in my life when praying 15 minutes is a struggle? THE ANSWER IS RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU – objects, thoughts, and people. Everything is a trigger.
I drove to Atlanta to attend our grandson’s birthday party. Again, I asked the Lord what he would like to talk about while I drove and we were talking when I got to Villanow. Someone had stopped in the road allowing about fifty motorcycles (I’m not exaggerating.) to come out and ride together in a cluster. I went from God’s presence to the devil’s presence in a matter of moments. “WHAT IS THIS?! THIS ISN’T RIGHT! WHAT IDIOT IS DOING THIS?!” I have nothing against bikers, but FIFTY OF THEM?! God was checking me out. My trigger was being pulled, but I realized it. Delbert, pray for what’s in front of you. I said, “How do I pray for this – 50 motorcycles?” Shortly, all the cars turned between me and the “far as I could see” motorcycle parade leaving me directly behind the thundering bikes. I began to pray for each bike rider(s). I went one by one praying for their safety, their hearing (kidding), their families, children, occupations, whatever I felt all the way up the line all the way to the interstate. I couldn’t get around 50 motorcycles, so I turned the aggravation into the presence of God. Objects, thoughts, and people can bring frustration, anger, and the enemy, or it can bring peace and the presence of God.
I usually go to Wal-Mart early which was the case a few mornings back. I collected what I wanted and went to the checkout line. There was one person ahead of me who had finished checking out but was having a discussion with the cashier. This went on for a few minutes as I stood there working on my patience. The conversation kept going on, more from the person than the cashier. She was simply nodding waiting for the man to leave, but he wouldn’t stop talking even knowing I was standing five feet away wanting to check out. I felt my frustration/anger trigger squeezing. Instead, I allowed it to bring the presence of God. With a whisper prayer, I prayed for the man who obviously needed to vent. He was venting about his job and boss and life. I prayed, “Lord, please bring peace to this person. I feel he is a very lonely man. I pray he appreciate he has a job and his attitude be appreciative. I pray he become a great employee and positioned for advancement. I pray his life be blessed. Bless him Lord.” As I said “amen,” he moved on. I knew he was there at Wal-Mart in the early morning in front of me for me to pray for, not get upset toward. I wonder how many of those times when we become frustrated and angry are really meant by God for us to pray. Once the man was out of hearing range, the cashier apologized. I said, “It’s ok. It gave me a chance to pray for him. It seems he needs God’s peace and a thankful attitude. I prayed this for him.” She said, “Amen brother!” We laughed.
You’ve been in a check out line when someone triggered frustration. When you sense the trigger squeezing, and we do sense it, allow it to trigger the presence of God and a whisper prayer instead. Perhaps it’s a person checking out with food stamps. Would God want you to pray bringing his presence, or become judgmental and condemning?
I’ve got to close, but I want to mention this. We all have a sin that so easily trips us up.
Hebrews 12:1 …let us throw off everything that hinders and THE SIN THAT SO EASILY ENTANGLES, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Everyone has something that will trip them. Men will relate to this one. Men notice women especially pretty women. Sometimes a lustful thought is triggered in the man’s mind. I relate this principle to many men. It works every time. When you catch yourself looking and the lustful thought triggers the lust of the flesh, turn it around to trigger the Lord’s presence. Pray for the woman. Pray, “Lord, this woman is someone’s wife, someone’s daughter, maybe someone’s mother. I pray for her. I pray for her family. I know she has some problems as we all do. Though I don’t know what they are, you do. I ask you to bless her life. While I’m at it, I pray for my wife and my daughter. Protect them from lustful men. In Jesus’ name…” Your mind will clear and you will turn lust into the love of God. What sin trips you up? Instead of allowing it to trip you and cause you to sin, allow it to be a trigger for the presence of God.
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