Trust in the Lord with all your heart!

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I am an avid journaler. Is there such a word? I haven’t always been, but it’s been my experience that if I don’t write it down, I will forget and then it will be gone with the wind. I journal what I believe the Lord is showing me, revealing to me, or telling me. I can’t tell you the number of times where I thought for sure I was making it up in my head, and then when I go back later, I know it was Him. So this morning, I thought I would be smart. I asked Him the following question: “Lord, if you could answer any question that I could ask, what would your answer be?” I was of course basing this on the realization that I don’t even know what questions to ask Him, He is so far above my understanding. His response was gracious, He always is. He told me it was a good question, since I am finite and He is eternal. But then He pointed something out. He told me that my question was actually based in fear. Yes, the Lord does know my heart! The fear was that I was somehow missing the mark. I was afraid of getting it wrong because I didn’t know the right question to ask. He told me that He is not a formula. If He were, then if I could just get the right combination, the right method if you will, I would then get my answer, or my prayer answered. Think of it as a slot machine. If you do it just right, you hit the jackpot. But our Father is not sitting up in heaven, tapping His foot, waiting for us to get it just right. He knows our finite minds, He knows our limitations. And, our relationship with Him should be based on love and trust, not a formula. This is how He described it to me. Think of it as a child/parent relationship. Children do not understand their world. We, as adults, do not understand ours right now. Paul tells us that now we “know in part” (1 Cor 13:9) and “now we see in a mirror dimly” (1 Cor 13:12). A child trusts the parent to protect them, because they know, or should know, that the parent is safe. They do not understand everything, but they know they can trust their parent. We do not understand everything, and we don’t need to, in order to trust Him. I love to understand. I think we all do. It somehow makes me feel safe, if I can just understand. But my sense of safety should not rest in my understanding, it should rest in Him. Proverbs 3:5 tells us “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding”. There is good reason for this admonition. If we lean on our own understanding of things it will be very easy to become deceived. The enemy loves to deceive us based on our need to understand. Satan will give us “a form of understanding” so that we can trust in it, but that understanding, will not protect us. All it will do is create a false teaching, another form of deception. The Lord took it further for me and showed me why there is so much fear, panic, confusion and hopelessness in the world right now, even among Christians. People do not understand what is happening. They thought they were trusting Him, but their trust was actually in their own understanding of who they thought He was, or what they thought He was. A mental graven image, if you will. I know that sounds harsh. But I think, if we are honest with ourselves, we will realize that we are all tempted by this problem. We want to understand Him who declares to us “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts”. (Isaiah 55:8-9) We all come to times and events in our lives, where we thought we understood Him, but then we didn’t! So what do we do now? Nothing makes sense. It would enrage people if I stated that God allowed this to happen in the world. Yet, He tells us in Proverbs 17:3 “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace for gold, and the Lord tests the hearts”. Do we choose to believe He is good and He is trustworthy or do we become like Job’s wife and curse God? Will we trust Him, when He tests our hearts, will I trust Him as He is testing my heart? I have learned through the trials and tests of my life, that He knows things I don’t. I have learned that if I trust Him, no matter what happens to me or those I love, He will work it out for good. And even better, He will work it out in such a way that I will stand amazed, in awe of His goodness and I will bring glory to His name. He is good. He is trustworthy, even when nothing makes sense.

The rapture of the church

Have you ever had a kairos moment in your life? I’m sure you have, we all have. Kairos is a Greek word that means a critical moment in time, an opportune and decisive moment that has to be acted upon. When I look back at my life, I can point to certain moments, moments where I had to make a decision, and that decision changed my life or perhaps the life of another. 

The Bible is full of kairos moments. Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus would be considered a kairos moment. But not all kairos moments start off being that dramatic, and often times they initially appear to be just an ordinary event. It’s only later, sometimes much later, that we look back and realize, that moment, that decision, changed the course of our lives. I ran across such a moment in my Scripture reading the other day. I was reading the book of Genesis, chapters 18 and 19 and I realized as I read this very well known story of Abraham and Lot and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, that this story started off with a kairos moment. Let me explain. This story begins with Abraham taking what would appear to be a nap in the heat of the day: 

And the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. (Genesis 18:1-3)

Whether he was taking a nap or just dozing I don’t know, but I did notice that Abraham did not see the men approaching. He looked up and saw them. When you first read this story, it appears as though Abraham knew who was standing in front of him. And he did! My first question is how did he know? It says they were three men, or mortals, not angels. But, if you look at Hebrews 13:2 the writer tells us the following:

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 

The cross reference of this verse is interestingly enough, Genesis 18:3 and also 19:2. What that tells me is that Abraham discerned who was standing before him, but not with his natural eyes. Somehow, Abraham knew the Lord! We know this because he called Him Adonai, which is the proper name of God in Hebrew, spoken in place of Yahweh. Our English translates it simply as Lord, and so it is only in the Hebrew that we understand the significance of what Abraham said. So why do I call this a kairos moment? 

Imagine if Abraham had not recognized Who stood before him? Imagine, if he had thought this was just a group of strangers and had ignored them.? Would I know if the Lord came to my front door and knocked, especially if He had two friends with Him? Would I open the door, invite Him in, make Him a meal and spend the day with Him? Would I have the discernment to realize what was happening in my life that day? I won’t pretend to know the answer but I certainly hope so. That day changed the course of history. It was during that luncheon that God told Sarah and Abraham that in about one year, they would have a son. (Genesis 18:10) That son of course would be Isaac, who became the father of Jacob, who was given the name Israel. That moment, when Abraham realized Who was standing in front of his door, became a kairos moment not only for Abraham and Sarah, but for the whole world. 

Before I move on in the story I want to point out one more thing. I couldn’t help but notice Abraham’s reaction once he realized it was God standing in front of him. In verse 2 it tells us that Abraham ran to meet them. In verse 6, Abraham went quickly to Sarah and told her to quickly make 3 loaves of bread. And finally, in verse 7, we are told that he ran to the herd and took a young calf, and gave it to the young man who prepared it quickly. Abraham wasted no time in getting lunch together for his divine visitors. Let me point out what had not been obvious to me before, Abraham recognized his kairos moment and moved fast! His reaction to the situation however, is the complete opposite of Lot’s reaction just a few hours later, when the angels show up in town to assess the situation in Sodom. Lot is also hospitable and invites them home and feeds them. But, if you look at the scene, it becomes obvious that Lot does not recognize his visitors as divine, he is merely concerned for their safety because he knows Sodom is an evil town and these two “men” want to spend the night in the town square. (Genesis 19:2-3) In the English it says “he pressed them strongly”, but the Hebrew is not so kind. The word used here is quite negative, implying a stubborn, arrogant pressure or pecking at. If you read just a few verses on, this same Hebrew word is used to describe what the men of Sodom do to Lot, when he refuses to let them rape these two visitors. “They pressed hard against the man Lot and drew near to break the door down.” (Genesis 19:9) I guess Lot had learned some of the ways of the world around him. 

This same word is translated as presumption in 1 Samuel 15:23, when Samuel says: 

For rebellion is as the sin of divination,

and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.

Lot was pushing them and I would venture to suggest he was rude and presumptuous in his demands that they come home with him. I’m sure he was afraid for them, but it’s not clear to me why he acted the way he did. However, I do not believe he knew who these men were. Just in case it’s unclear to us, the Bible switches between calling them angels and calling them men. When they first enter Sodom, it calls them angels. After that they are called men, by both Lot and the men of Sodom, and only when it is time to flee Sodom early in the morning, before dawn, are they once again called angels. The point I am trying to make here is that Lot clearly did not recognize his kairos moment! It is only when the angels tell him that God has sent them to destroy the city and ask him if he has anyone else in the city that he wants to save, that it begins to dawn on Lot just who these visitors might be. But, even then, in total contrast to Abraham, he lingers. (Genesis 19:16) 

May I also point out that if it had not been for the intercession of Abraham for his nephew Lot and his family, Lot would have perished. If it had not been for the angels taking them physically by the hands and almost dragging them out of the city and telling them to flee for their lives because they could not destroy the area until they were safe, Lot and his family would have died. And his wife did die, because she did not recognize her kairos moment. She did not take what they said seriously, and when they said “Do not look back” she disobeyed their word and looked back. (Genesis 19:17)

When I look at this story with fresh eyes, I have to remember Jesus’ words to all of us in Matthew 25:13:  

“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour”.

Over and over the scriptures admonish us to keep watch. Luke tells us in 12:35 “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning”.

We are living in perilous times. I believe that we are living in the end of days and that we are the final generation. Jesus tells us in Matthew 25 that these days will grow more and more perilous. Luke tells us in chapter 17:28-30: 

Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed.”

We must stay awake and be aware. We must keep watch and intercede for our friends, neighbors and family for we do not know the day or the hour when our Lord will come. I have this sense of urgency these days and I want to encourage you to stay awake and keep watch. As much as we each have our own kairos moments in life, there is a kairos moment coming that we don’t want to miss. It is called the rapture and it is what Paul talks about in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18:

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

I am encouraging you with these words, stay awake my friends and keep watch.

The rocks will cry out and praise Him!

I realized something a few weeks ago, that made me change the way I read the Bible. I used to read several chapters a day, simply because I love the Word. But one day I realized that I needed to slow down, and instead of just reading a chapter, I decided to actually meditate on it. What is the author trying to convey, what is being said between the lines, or perhaps even by the lines, what is the obvious and often what is the not so obvious? I decided that as I read each chapter of a book, I would ask the Holy Spirit to give me understanding, to give me wisdom, to show me the mysteries, the hidden things that are not obvious to my western eyes. Truthfully, I was amazed at what I began to see. I want to show you what I mean, so follow along with me as I unpack some of the things the Holy Spirit began to show me this morning as I read Psalm 136. 

The very first thing I noticed is what could perhaps be the most obvious, but I had never considered before. There are 26 verses in this Psalm and every single one of them ends the same way, “for His steadfast love endures forever”. It was like I saw the significance of this phrase for the first time and suddenly realized that the author was making a series of statements which to my western eyes should not have included that phrase! He was talking about calamity, death and devastation, and yet, he was telling us that these things happened because God’s love endures forever. As I pondered on that thought, I couldn’t help but think about the verse in Deuteronomy 32:4, “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice”. If all His ways are justice then I am also reminded of the verse in Isaiah 55:8-9: 

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 

If all His ways are justice and His ways are not my ways, then perhaps I have to rethink my ways? Perhaps, instead of believing in the thoughts that I have, I have to sit at the Lord’s feet and ask Him what His thoughts are. I’m not asking a question here. I’m making a suggestion to myself, and maybe to you as well.

Another thing that I noticed was also astonishing to me. Verses 7,8 and 9 say the following:

to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever; the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever; the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever;

You might have noticed this, but I hadn’t. The sun rules, or has dominion over the day, and the moon and stars rule or have dominion over the night. Ok, I’ve known this, but I’ve never actually thought about what that means. How can a bunch of chemicals, gases and rocks have dominion? And then it hit me. When you obey God, and do exactly what He tells you to do,  what He created you to do, even a rock can cry out and praise Him! Even a rock can have dominion! Hello. 

And that took me to even another rabbit trail, if you will. I began to think of the scripture in Ezekiel 36:26,  

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

As I pondered on this particular scripture, I couldn’t help but think that we have a choice while we are on this earth. We can choose to allow Him to take our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh, or we can choose to continue in our own ways, thinking our own thoughts. I couldn’t help but think about the thing that Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 7:21-23:

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Could it be that the reason He never knew them, is because they had a heart of stone? Could it be that He never knew them, because they “honored Him with their lips, but their hearts were far from Him”? (Matthew 15:7-9)

What started out as a simple Psalm, repeating a simple phrase, “for His steadfast love endures forever”, turned into a much deeper understanding of who He is and what obedience can bring about. Yes, even the rocks will praise him. If I have a heart of stone, then my heart will still praise Him, but it will be standing before the judgement seat of Christ. If I allow Him to take my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh, a heart that can love Him and obey Him, then I will praise Him both in Heaven and on the earth. What an amazing promise, a God who knows who we are, understands our sin, yet, sent His Son Jesus, to die on a cross for our sin, and if we are willing, will give us all that we need to love and honor and obey Him. Truly, His steadfast love endures forever!

Does Familiarity breed contempt?

Have you ever been so familiar with someone, that you crossed a line, and you didn’t even realize you had done it, until you saw the look on their face and knew, you had gone too far? 

Perhaps you’re not sure what I’m talking about, so I’ll give you an example in my own life. Many years ago, when I was just a young woman I became pregnant with my second child. Twenty six weeks into the pregnancy my son died and was stillborn. Understandably, I was angry and grief stricken. I remember a friend telling me that God was big enough to handle my anger and that I should talk to Him about it. I listened to her advice and I did. But then I crossed a line. In my familiarity, I told the Lord that He owed me. And I went on to tell Him how He could make it all up to me. I told Him my demands. I cringe even now as I tell this story, because I realize how incredibly impertinent I was back then. I demanded two things from the Lord, two very big things, that only He could provide. I demanded another child that same year, and I demanded that He move us to this country, America. Oh the mercy and graciousness of our loving Father. He answered my demands. In the Fall of that year, we moved to America and on New Year’s Eve, another son was born to us. In the midst of my childish insolence, He answered my prayers. He remembered my flesh, my frame, that I am but dust. It humbles me to remember this story because it shows me once again, what an incredibly kind and loving Father He is. But it also teaches me to never, ever treat Him with that much familiarity again. 

There is a story in the Bible that speaks to this issue as well. In 2 Samuel we read about King David who finally, after many years of running from King Saul, and fearing for his life, becomes King of Judah after Saul is killed in battle. David, who is so familiar with the Lord, that he is called a man after God’s own heart, surely knows the fear and reverence of God. Surely this man, who could slay giants, knew the Holiness of God. But in chapter 6 we are told a story that would say otherwise. In this chapter, we are shown that sometimes when we become so familiar with God that we feel we know and understand Him, we can cross a line. We can become too familiar. When you look at the definition of familiarity, you notice a pattern, a slippery slope if you will that goes downhill.  

Familiarity:

close acquaintance with or knowledge of something.

-the quality of being well known; recognizability based on long or close association.

-relaxed friendliness or intimacy between people.

-inappropriate and often offensive informality of behavior or language.

Do you see how familiarity can breed contempt? 

When I read this story in chapter 6, I realize that David was about the same age I was when I also found myself too familiar with the Lord. After David became King of Judah, he decided to bring the ark of the covenant back from the house of a man called Abinadab, and take it to the City of David. The story is as follows:  

So they set the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill; and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drove the new cart. And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill, accompanying the ark of God; and Ahio went before the ark. Then David and all the house of Israel played music before the LORD on all kinds of instruments of fir wood, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on sistrums, and on cymbals. And when they came to Nachon’s threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. Then the anger of the LORD was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his error; and he died there by the ark of God.” (2 Samuel 6: 3-7)

When you first read the story, it might seem strange that God strikes down Uzzah, for what appears to be no reason at all. From all appearances, Uzzah’s intentions were good and genuine. So why did he lose his life? Apparently David had a similar question, because it tells us that  “David became angry because of the LORD’S outbreak against Uzzah; and he called the name of the place Perez Uzzah to this day”. (2 Samuel 6:8) We are not told what went on in David’s mind that day, but the passage continues by telling us that David’s attitude changed the same day from anger, to fear. David was afraid of the LORD that day; and he said, “How can the ark of the LORD come to me? (2 Samuel 6:9) 

Obviously something made him realize that he had become so familiar with God, that he no longer feared him. I’m going to venture that perhaps David went back to the Scriptures that day and looked at protocol. Did God have any requirements about the Ark of the Covenant? Actually, He did and He told them to Moses in Leviticus 16: 2 The LORD said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron that he may not come whenever he wants into the holy place behind the veil in front of the mercy seat on the ark or else he will die, because I appear in the cloud above the mercy seat.  God then goes on to tell Moses the requirements: Aaron is to enter the most holy place in this way: with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. (Leviticus 16:3)

The Bible does not tell us David’s thoughts, at least not in so many words, but it does tell us what David did differently the next time he brought the ark of the covenant to the City of David. After Uzzah died, David left the ark in the house of Obed-Edom and it stayed there for three months, all the while blessing that house. When David found out that God was blessing Obed-Edom he decided to bring the ark out with gladness. But this time he did things a little different. 

So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with gladness. And so it was, when those bearing the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, that he sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep. Then David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet. (2 Samuel 6:12-15)

There is still worship and dancing going on but this time, David sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep every 6 paces. Why? Because he recognized the holiness of God and the sinfulness of himself and those around him. He learned to fear the Lord. 

Proverbs tells us over and over again to fear the Lord. Solomon tells us the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, the beginning of wisdom, that it prolongs life and that to fear the Lord is to hate evil. (Proverbs 1:7, 9:10, 10:27, 8:13)

How do we learn to fear the Lord? By recognizing His holiness. I think sometimes we have the idea that Holy Spirit is a first and last name. You know, Holy is His first name and Spirit is His last. But that’s not what it means. God’s spirit is Holy! And we also are told to walk in holiness. The writer of Hebrews tells us in chapter 12 verse 14 to “strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord”. Let me repeat that, “Without holiness, no one will see the Lord”. He goes on to tell us in verses 28 and 29, “therefore, let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. 

So I would suggest that although we can now approach God’s throne with boldness, for again the writer of Hebrews tells us so in chapter 4:16: 

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need”, we must also approach His throne with godly fear. That means that we can approach His throne with confidence through the righteous blood of Jesus, but we must never take that blood for granted and approach Him casually. We live in a very casual society. It seems that nothing is sacred and everything is familiar. Even God. We must learn to once again approach Him with humility and fear. He is God, and we are not. How do I know this? Because the Bible makes it very, very plain. And don’t let anyone, not anyone, tell you different. 

Will you stand in the gap?

Do you ever wonder if your prayers accomplish anything? This morning I was thanking the Lord for the way He has always protected me my whole life and for the way He has taken such good care of me. What a wonderful God He is! But even as I thanked Him, I heard Him tell me that what He has done for me He desires to do for all. What He is doing for me is not special. It is what He does. In Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34 the Lord approaches Jerusalem and tells the city “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” His desire is to love and protect. But we have to be willing, as He told Jerusalem. So what does His desire to love and protect have to do with our prayers? Everything. If you look at Ezekiel 22:30, He tells Ezekiel the following: “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall (of protection) and stand in the gap before me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found no one”. The Lord went on to tell me that I should never underestimate the value of my prayers. The enemy might scoff at me, and He might try to discourage me from continuing to stand in the gap. But the real reason the enemy scoffs at my prayers is because he fears my prayers of protection, for he knows that they touch the Father’s heart and are therefore filled with power. When we pray for the lost, whoever they might be, we stand in the gap and allow Him the privilege of gathering and protecting His children, His chicks if you will. It gives them time to repent and return to Him. This image of a hen is the heart of a mother. A mother protects her children. Psalm 91:4 tells us that “He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge. The very heart of God is protection. Your prayers and mine, when we intercede for those unwilling chicks who have scattered themselves and chosen their own ways, are powerful and they touch His heart. He is listening. He is working. He will restore. Will you stand in the gap? Will you make a wall of protection for the lost ones in your life?

Does the Lord feel loved by you?

I have a confession to make. I hate surprises. Maybe it’s because whenever I’ve gotten one, (I’m thinking of gifts, LOL) it’s never what I’d hoped for and expected. But in all honesty, I like to live my life that way as well. Which is why, on occasion, I ask the Lord some hard questions. For example, this morning I decided to put my big girl panties on and ask the Lord, “Do You feel loved by me?”. “Do I love you?” Just because I believe I love Him, doesn’t mean He feels loved by me. I mean, what makes Him feel loved? Once again, His answers never cease to amaze me. He responded with a question, “What makes you feel loved, Sibylle?”. Then He brought up a book I read many years ago, The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman. Again, He surprised me and told me that people usually do for Him, what makes them feel loved. If you’re not familiar with the book, the 5 love languages are as follows: quality time, gift giving, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch. Babies and children need all of them, but as we grow older, usually one or two will become dominant in our lives. Those main ones will affect how we treat others and how we love to be treated. If you know me at all, you’ll know that I love quality time. If you take time to spend time with me, good conversation is the bomb for me. So how do these love languages relate to our relationship with the Lord? The Bible tells us that we are created in His image. We are like Him. Look at Jesus and you will know the Father. That means that He feels loved and He loves us the same way that we feel love and love others. He then broke it down for me in terms I could understand. He loves to spend quality time with us. The Bible calls it prayer, but He likes to hear your voice and know that you care enough to take time to have a conversation with Him. He gives us many gifts. Look at this beautiful world. The heavens declare the glory of God. If you look outside and see nature, you are seeing one of His amazing gifts to us. Words of affirmation. If we take the time to read His word, and listen to His voice, He will speak wonderful things to us. Sometimes He corrects, sometimes He rebukes, sometimes He encourages, sometimes He speaks pillow talk to us. But we have to listen. Do you have enough to eat? A nice house? Clothes on your back? Then you have received from Him. Those are acts of service from Him. He knows what we need and He promises that He will give us those things if we put Him first. Physical touch. This one is a little harder if you’re not a Pentecostal (lol) but God loves to let us feel His presence. I have felt His physical love and it felt like liquid waves of love. I have felt Him so powerfully at church, I felt like I was walking on clouds. When I raise my hands in worship, I am touching His heart. Writing is my act of service to Him. It is hard for me to share my heart with others. It is hard for me to be vulnerable with the world. But I am serving Him, by sharing with others what He shares with me. Do you have the courage to ask Him if He feels loved by you? Ask Him. I can guarantee you that His answer will surprise you.