ENCOUNTERING GOD

What are some different ways that you encounter God’s presence on a daily basis?
Is it sometimes in the beauty of nature?
Is it sometimes in the people you interact with daily….like your family, coworkers, people from church?
Is it sometimes in the people you don’t know personally….like a cashier at the supermarket, waitress at the restaurant?

Is it in inspiring music or books?

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So often, I encounter God’s presence in some form of nature while soaking up the beauty of this world that God has created.  One of the most powerful ways I encounter God is in beholding the glorious sunsets or sunrises. Seeing the many changes in the sun illuminating the sky bring me such peace and awe.
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Sunrise at Virginia Beach, VA
It could be the big, puffy clouds making cool formations against the bright blue sky or the beauty of a hike leading to some waterfalls and amazing rock formations.  Gazing at the mountains are a way to encounter God as well in the fall, walking down a trail where the leaves are all different shades of yellow, red or orange.
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Chenango Valley State Park
When I was a child I remember the place I always encountered God’s presence was when I was at the ocean.  Looking out at the vastness of the ocean waters, listening to the rhythm of the waves crashing back and forth, and seeing miles and miles of the seashore would just be so soothing to my soul.  I remember praying to God seeking a oneness with Him at the ocean. It was always heart breaking when it was time to leave and return home.
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Marco Island, FL
A few weeks ago I was very blessed to encounter God in nature and do something I’ve never done before.  The encounter with God unfolded this way:
A friend and I were spending one night at Virginia Beach while it was off season (thanks to Third Day for having a concert near there!) It was the first time either of us experienced the beauty of Virginia Beach.
Our hotel was right on the beach. Directly to the right of our hotel on the beach was a horse corral where you could ride a horse right along the beach. Now, I have never ridden a horse before, and was definitely scared to attempt it, but I thought since I sky dived before and survived to tell about it, then certainly I could ride a horse!  Thankfully, my friend volunteered to go too because she knew I would want to!
It was also interesting to learn that this corral had actually just moved recently to this location!  It was just too “coincidental” to find that out….kind of like God working it all out for us!  And, they were only providing this entertainment for another few weeks.
Thankfully, the people gave us the two oldest horses….mine was 28 years old and I noticed his gray hair mixed in with his mane. I thought we were a perfect match!  Thankfully, we didn’t really have to do much and we had a lead horse go with us….just in case!
I encountered God in nature on the return trip ride on my horse.  My horse was going so slow on the way back that the others were a ways up ahead, but it was really the part where I encountered God in nature the most.
VA Beach horse
Horseback riding at Virginia Beach
There my horse and I were just trodding along, next to the ocean water. Though a little cool, the sun was high in the sky, beating down with its rays piercing my arm. Listening to the waves of the ocean beat back and forth were soothing, and seeing the seagulls fly around, some with their snack in tow, just made me encounter God.
I always have felt God’s presence whenever I’m at the ocean.  My mind was thinking about what it must have been like in Jesus’ day, where they spent most of their time fishing for their food. I envisioned Jesus in a boat, calling His disciples to leave everything right there and follow Him.
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Sunset at Marco Island, FL
It was a wonderful encounter with God reflecting on the beauty of nature and the power of Him in our lives. I was so thankful for the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and trust that I could ride a horse on the beach! I ended up encountering God!
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In what ways do you encounter God in your family, friends, coworkers, church friends?
For me, one way I encounter God in the people I know is when they ask me how they can pray for me. Truly praying for others and their needs is a blessing.
I remember encountering God in others when I had surgery or after having my children. People would bring food to our family since it was difficult to do those things at first.
Does a coworker ever offer to help you do a task that you don’t quite have time to finish?
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What about people that you observe in your daily life that maybe you don’t know personally who lead you to encounter God?
Recently a sister-in-law of mine posted a few examples of how she encountered God while running some errands….
…That cashier at Walmart that took time to mourn with a family who was on their way to their young nephew’s funeral.
…Some Target employees who noticed and helped a woman who was not coherent inside her running car.
…How about that car ahead of you who come to find out paid for your cup of coffee?
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Is there certain music you listen to or books that you read that lead you to encounter God?
 thirddday 3
 Some members of Third Day whose music helps me encounter God
I know the last few years in my life that Christian music definitely leads me to encounter God. It is just so peaceful listening to certain songs especially while driving around or getting some exercise.  For me, it can be great times of worship and singing to the Lord.
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It is always a blessing in my life to encounter God….even in the simple, little things! He is a great God and truly dwells in each of us and in all of nature. Seek Him and you will find Him!
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.  –Psalm 139:7-10  (NIV)
My editor friend shared this song with me that relates exactly to these thoughts and this exact Bible verse!  Check it out.

2 Comments

  1. I had an amazing “God in nature” experience coming home with my Mom from Ithaca on Mother’s Day. We were coming off the lake and in front of us was a beautiful rainbow. But the most incredible thing was we followed that rainbow all the way home to Vestal! Each time we went around a hill we’d see it – first the right end and then the left. This went on for 1.5 hours!! It was a NEVER ENDING RAINBOW!! God gives us these special moments every once in a while, doesn’t He?

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