Whatsoever Things Are True
by Dan Coburn
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
Several years ago, I was hunting elk near Santiam/Sourdough lookout. I had been set up for awhile with arrow knocked, and blowing an aggressive cow-call, when I felt something behind me. I ignored it initially, but the feeling grew in intensity, till I could not.  I turned my head slowly and focused on the only movement I saw. At first I couldn’t make out what it was, but then in a burst of consciousness, it became deathly clear.  It was a big cat. P U M A or Poor Unsuspecting Man About to get it. His head was huge, and the movement, was the last four or five inches of his tail, postured between his ears, and jerking; first left, then right.  I swung around as quickly as I could, but he was gone. Not a trace, not a sound.  They are impressive creatures.  The point is, that I knew there were lions in the woods, but since none had (to my knowledge) manifested themselves to me before, they were a vague concept at best.     Let’s turn the Spiritual Switch.  For 29 years of my life, I knew there was a God, but having (to my knowledge) never manifested Himself to me before, He was a vague concept at best. 
So how does one go from mental assent of the existence of God, to a vibrant, can’t separate Him from the rest of my life type of Relationship? Well, there are more similarities to the lion encounter than you might think.  Consider the shepherds of Luke 2. You know, the Christmas story your kids will be doing soon.  These guys were not thought highly of in their day.  Folks might think them not able to get a “real job”.  The only appealing thing about them to me is that they were mens’ men.  Problem solving, and fearless.  Probably dirty, certainly un-educated, not on any ones party list.  And if that’s not bad enough, this was the night shift.  They were vigilant for the sheep in their care, but not for what was about to manifest itself.  There is nothing in Scripture to indicate that they were seeking an encounter with God, but suddenly there was an angel.  Their reaction? These burly mountain men?  “They fell prostrate.”   As dead. Have you ever been that scared?  The angel had to reassure them before they were even able to receive his message.
Nugget:   They were different afterward.  No one who has an encounter with God is the same afterward.   For the rest of their lives, everything would be viewed through the lens of their relationship with God.  
In my life; in the lives of every Christian I’ve ever talked to, and with all the Biblical characters, from the original 12 to the apostle Paul, none sought God, He “comes to seek and to save that which is lost”.  “You have not chosen me, but I chose you” - John 15:16.
You see, the issue is not whether or not you find God, but rather if you receive or reject Him when He comes to you. Have you already? Are you still waiting for Thunder and Lightning when like my lion, God comes to us more often in a “still small voice” - 1st Kings 19:12.   Merry Christmas. 

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522


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