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Manifest Presence of God

by Walter Beuttler

Often, during the night season, the Lord comes and instructs me about “spiritual sensitivity” and “responsiveness” to His presence.  During one of these times, the Lord strongly impressed me with this Scripture:

Do not I fill heaven and earth?”  Jeremiah 23:24

This has become such a reality to me that I have no problem in drawing nigh to the Lord, anywhere, at any time.  No matter what environment I may be in, I know that the Lord is there with me.

I received a very practical lesson concerning this while on a trans-Atlantic flight.  Suddenly, the plane turned and headed back.  I looked out the window and saw what appeared to be a cloud coming from a wing.  Then I saw the same thing happening in the other wing, so I thought the plane was on fire.  Instead, gas was being dumped.

Then came the announcement, “We are having a slight difficulty and are returning to the airport.  We will prepare you for an emergency landing on the water, should it be necessary.  Please take off your shoes, remove all objects from your pockets and tighten your belt as firmly as possible.  Be prepared to place a pillow over your face.”

They said we would gently land on the waves and wait for help to arrive.  They made it sound easy, but I knew it was very dangerous.  I then said goodbye to each of my family and committed myself to the Lord.  This was the fourth time I have done this.

I prayed, “Father, to the best of my knowledge, I am in Your will, and if this is the end, so be it, but Your Word says, Do not I fill heaven and earth?  Father, if You fill heaven and earth, then You fill this airplane, therefore You and I are in this together, so if we go down, You also are going down.”  As I said this, I felt an intense sense of His presence.

We did not need to land on the water, but made it safely to an airport.  In those situations it is important to know that He does fill heaven and earth, and to understand what that means to us.  His omnipresence has become very personal and real to me.  It is not merely a theological fact, but rather, an intense personal reality.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:6, “Your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly.”  The word “secret” tells us that although we may be totally unaware of His presence, He is there, watching and listening.  This knowledge of the omnipresence of the Lord is a tremendous help in prayer.  We may pray, feeling no response or presence – absolutely nothing, but in confidence we can say, “Father, I know that You are here, and I thank You for Your presence.”

Whatever we may be doing, or wherever we may be, we can abide and rest in His presence, knowing that He is with us.  And often, when we acknowledge His presence, though we may feel nothing, He will come and confirm the fact that He is present.  This manifestation of His omnipresence which I experienced, can be spoken of as the localized, personalized, “manifest presence” of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord often uses my experiences as His way to impart His truth and life into others, who are spiritually hungry and desire to know Him.  These experiences are not just interesting stories, but the embodiment of the truth.  They serve as illustrations, but they also are demonstrations of the truth so we may know how truth can be applied to our personal life experience.  Also, it is important to know that there is a price, which must be paid by those who would press onward into all that the Lord has to offer.

I had spent a weekend ministering in Altoona, Pennsylvania.  Monday morning, I was at the railroad station reading the morning newspaper.  I received a slight “check” in my spirit, and knew what it meant.  This was a quickening of the Holy Spirit to call my attention away from what I was doing, to the Lord.  I folded up the newspaper and said, “Father, what do You want?

At once I received a spirit of prayer and intercession, which lasted all the way to Philadelphia where each Monday night, I teach a class.  When I arrived, I thought I would get a Chinese dinner, but again the Lord checked me.  I knew that this meant that I was to continue praying.  I returned to my room at the YMCA, and prayed until the time of the meeting.

When the time to teach came, I said, “The Lord is present tonight” and the power fell.  At the end of that meeting, someone remarked, “When you came in, we could feel the presence of God walk in with you.”  I had spent all day in intercession, giving myself to the Lord.  We had a marvelous move of the Holy Spirit for five consecutive Monday nights.

A pastor who did not like what was taking place, complained to the denomination to which I belong (Assemblies of God).  Two officials came to my office at the Bible School.  They said I was not doing any teaching in the night school, but was stirring up the people and that this was to stop.  My response was that the Lord was pouring out His Spirit, and that needs were being met in profound ways.  I added that I thought this visitation was a wonderful thing.

Then they said, “We are receiving complaints and we want you to stop it.”  I said, “But what if the Holy Spirit continues?  I did not start this visitation, I merely cooperated with the Spirit, and put no hindrance in His way.”  They responded, “We believe that He is finished working.”

I asked, “But, how do you know, you were not there?”  Again, they said, “We want you to tell the students that the Spirit is finished working, and that you are going on with the classes.”  Then they left.

A short time later, I was the speaker at their camp meeting, and the Holy Spirit wonderfully moved.  Again, the Church authorities came and said, “We want you to stop whatever it is that gets you involved in these so-called movings of the Spirit.  We are being told that whenever there is one of these stirrings, you are in the middle of it.”  I had thought they would be glad that I had given myself to fasting and prayer, in obedience to the Holy Spirit.

That night I was unable to sleep, for I felt very discouraged.  My superiors were telling me to stop the moving of the Holy Spirit in the classes, and I was being criticized for having a move of the Holy Spirit in the camp meeting.  I thought, “I will quit.”

The next night, I quickly fell asleep.  At that time, we lived in a cottage, which had three wooden steps leading to the front door.  I was awakened out of a deep sleep by heavy footsteps walking up these three steps.  Somehow, I instinctively knew that this was the Lord.  I heard Him take hold of the knob of the door.  This knob usually rattled, and I heard it rattle.  I heard Him turn the knob and pull the door open, step through the door, take hold of the inside knob and close the door.

I heard Him walk through the dinette.  He stopped at the door to my bedroom and then He spoke in a rich, deep, masculine voice.  He had come to reassure me that He was with me and that He would protect me against all my enemies.  I clearly heard this audible voice with my physical ear.

After that, He turned and walked through the dinette, turned the knob and opened the front door and then closed it after He left.  I heard Him go down the three steps.  This was a personal visit from a personal Christ, in a time of deep distress, when I was about to turn my back on the movings of the Holy Spirit.  This visit gave me the strength and will to continue, and to pay the price for His presence.

Later, I met with the pastor who I felt had complained, and he acknowledged that he had done so.  I asked if he would be interested in hearing how this move of the Holy Spirit had come about, and he said he would.  After I shared with him, he bowed his head and tears literally flowed down his face and he asked if I would pray for him, that he might have such movings in his ministry.  The Lord had visited, and then vindicated me.

I then asked the Lord if there was a Scripture which would confirm that I had literally heard the Lord walking.  In response, the Lord drew my attention to Genesis 3:8.  “And they (Adam and Eve) heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.”

I asked the Lord if there was another Scripture, and I was directed to I Samuel 3:10.  “And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel.  Then Samuel answered, Speak; for Your servant hears.”

The fact of this personal visitation from the Lord is established in John 14:21:

“He that has My commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves Me: and he that loves Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him.”

The Lord loves everyone, but this love is for those who “meet the conditions” that He sets forth (overcomers).  The evidence, or reciprocation of this love is that He will manifest Himself to them.  In the original, this word, “manifest,” means that the Lord will make Himself “personally real.”  Thus, Jesus is saying, “I will plainly show Myself to him.”

The Pulpit Commentary, which refers to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, says that this word, “manifest,” is so strong that it can mean nothing less than a manifestation of the presence of God, perceivable by one or more of our human faculties.

Thus, it is possible for each one of us to “experience” the personal presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives.