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Archive for Saturday, June 23, 2007

Faith Forum: When have you felt God’s presence most in your life?

June 23, 2007

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Universal symphony conducted by God

Zalman Tiechtel, rabbi, Chabad Jewish Community Center, 1203 W. 19th St.:

Many times one may wonder: It would be nice to think that I could have a personal relationship with God, that I could feel he's pleased with me, or that I matter in some way to him. But I'm a rational person. I can relate to a God who invented physics and the time-space continuum; who brought electromagnetism, gravity and the nuclear forces into being; who set electrons in their orbits and photons in their paths - the whole thing is totally awesome. But how can you talk about a personal relationship with such a God?

Do you ever look at the sun and smile at the sight of a bright day? Did you ever return home and have your child waiting to greet you with a big hug? Are you ever having a tough day and then all your worries melt away? Surely you must have experienced one of the above.

The universe is a symphony; God is its conductor. Every atom, every breath of wind, every grain of sand is tracked and guided by the ultimate supercomputer: God. This is divine providence - the concept that God didn't create the universe and then step back to let it run by itself, but that he remains actively involved, pulling levers, pushing buttons and flipping switches behind the scenes.

The saying goes: "If you're looking for God, go home." God is not to be found on some other planet, or in some spiritual hideout. Rather, he is within us. It's not where we search in life; rather, it's the way we look at life.

God could have said, "Here am I and, bang, here's a world. It works. That's good enough."

But he wanted a world where its creatures could reach up to him and he would reach down to them, until an affinity between creation and creator would develop and he could be found within his masterpiece.

So he made a bridge by providing us the opportunity to find him within our daily lives. By reaching to God in a personal way, involving all our mind and all our heart, reaching to him in our prayer and through our daily experience, we are touching the divine and making it real in our world.

- Send e-mail to Zalman Tiechtel at rabbi@ku.edu.

God is 'with us, for us, among us'

The Rev. Ji Seok Ju, pastor, Centenary United Methodist Church, 245 N. Fourth St.:

I know there have been times when I felt God's presence in my life.

It is obvious that God's presence is felt in my ministry setting, especially in the church where I am serving. I feel God's presence in our worship, when I listen to Scripture reading and hear God's word, when the choir sings, when hymns are sung, when I pray, and when I have fellowship with other brothers and sisters in Christ.

However, God's presence is encountered not only in the church but also outside the church where I am in my ordinary daily life.

I recall one time when I most strongly felt the presence of God, which was when I was driving on the highway one day to visit my friend in Chicago. I brought with me some CDs to listen to while driving, and one of them was a Korean contemporary Christian song. I believe it was about 11 p.m., I was still on the highway, and all of a sudden one song from the CD just hit my heart. The song was based on Psalm 62, written by King David: "For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress, I shall never be shaken."

It was such an overwhelming moment that I found myself crying, singing along and asking God to be my rock, my salvation and my fortress so that I will never be shaken. That night in the car - that's where I most strongly felt God's presence and heard God's voice speaking to me in my heart. That experience has been a source of strength for me in times of difficulty.

Throughout history, God has desired to manifest his glorious presence among his people. God's people in the Old and New testaments encountered God's presence in one way or another. The same God continues to dwell with and in his people, and that's where we meet with God. That's where we hear God's voice. God is everywhere with us, for us and among us, because God is Immanuel - "God with us."

- Send e-mail to Ji Seok Ju at jiseokju@hotmail.com.

Comments

John Kyle 7 years, 2 months ago

God's presence? Maybe the 200,000 killed by a sunami Katrina destruction Chopping a 13 year old girls feet off at an amusement park What a wonderful guy.

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Speakout 7 years, 2 months ago

"The song was based on Psalm 62, written by King David: "For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress, I shall never be shaken."" Last week I asked Christians why it is that we have forsaken God to pray to Jesus, a man. I received absolutely no reply to that nor did I expect one. But in the phrase above, written by a Christian, I see he is seeking salvation from God and God alone. God's creation is what we have not one designed or made by Jesus. Although I love Jesus as a great prophet of God, I still pray to God and worhip only Him as He has asked. "I am the Lord, Thy God, take no other gods before me!" "Say, He is one God, the eternal, the absolute. He begetteth not, nor was He begotten. There is none like unto Him." Qur'an, Chapter 112.

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paladin 7 years, 2 months ago

When She screams at me ta put the dang turlet seat down.

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jonas 7 years, 2 months ago

Usually, Thursdays at seven. That's when I have my weekly appointment.

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Flap Doodle 7 years, 2 months ago

When the Chiefs won the Super Bowl.

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erod0723 7 years, 2 months ago

I have felt the closest to God whilst in the throws of passion. "Oh God! Oh God!"
Many ancient religions believed that sexual union was a way to reach into Heaven. The mind clears completely and pure happiness is felt. So, I thank God everytime during sex.

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erod0723 7 years, 2 months ago

Oh I forgot to add when KU won the championship in 88. That was the greatest night of my life.

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erod0723 7 years, 2 months ago

75x55, as for me, I love my sinful ways, and wouldn't have it any other way. I gotta go now, need to make a b double e double r u n beer run.

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paladin 7 years, 2 months ago

Its so dangblasted sad that God invented folks what cast judgment on other folks cause they don't b'lieve in they own brand a pure foolishness. God might maybe try ta haul water with'n a cracked up jug, but She's a gonna lose allot ofin it in the process. Ifin She's a God an all a that, She outta being a tad smarter'n that there.

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paladin 7 years, 2 months ago

God an me ain't been real close over the years. Fact is we're purtinear strangers an have gone on about our seperate ways. Might maybe have somthin ta do with my daddy a convincin me that I was damned by God an they weren't much hope fer the likes a me. Oh well, I been gettin along OK, nevermind God an all a the religion that seems ta go along with her. The story goes that my great granpappy was right close ta God an they rode tagether. Pardnered up an went out west ta clear out the indians sos decent Christian folks could gone on out there an take over the newly vacant land ta build it on up with towns and churches an all a that. Guess they was a fiercum couple a varmints that struck so much fear inta them indians that they mostly jest give up with out no fight atall. Must be a true story cause they's a passel a churches n dang near ever thin else ya kin think of all out in there now. Americans sure are blessed cause American grew inta this huge thing that musta been thunk up by God cause its so big an grand. I dunno. As fer me, I'm a thinkin ifin God brought alla that there about, she ain't got much time fer me anaway, sos I'll jest try not ta bother her too much an mind my own bidness.

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white_mountain 7 years, 2 months ago

There's a God??

Who's ever show convincing proof of THAT claim?

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Kodiac 7 years, 2 months ago

Well I am sure am glad someone asked me this question because that dang dog of mine sure makes his presence known all over the place in my life. I mean its really bad early in the morning when I'm in that wonderful dreaming stage and got such a pretty picture in my mind and that dang dog has to go in just mess it all up when he starts breathing his stinky foul-smelling air in my face and starts licking me with fat fetid tongue of his 'cause he's gots to go to the dang bathroom and wants to eat and all. Holy cow, you wouldn't believe how much I feel his presence in my life then and to.......(clatter, scuffle slap..whisper... hey dyslexic guy it says god not dog)

Oh.

Never mind.

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DaveR 7 years, 2 months ago

Rabbi Tiechtel comments were wonderful & uplifting.

Regrettably, The Rev. Ji Seok Ju's comments were not. His God comes wrapped in a Bible.

Back in the early 1990's there was a novel entitled - if memory serves - Marianne in Ecstasy. Marianne lived her dreary life in a convent. Praying, hoping, wishing with all her heart that God might favor her, might pay her a visit, grant her a vision.

One day her hopes were answered. God himself appeared. She fell prostrate. She waited for the command to arise, she waited eagerly to hear God's wish. But she heard nothing.

After a long, long time, she dared to arise. God was still there. He was beckoning her to approach. With great timidity, she did.

She could hear him saying something, but so very softly that she could not make out the words. Gradually she got closer and closer.

When she finally dared to press her ear directly to his lips, she finally heard God say,

"Surprise me."

I don't know what the rest of the book was like, but if there was ever a Heavenly Visitation, that was surely it.

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George_Braziller 7 years, 2 months ago

Zalman and Ji Seok - What ever rocks your boat. Not my cup of tea. You are alive and then you are dead. There ain't nothin' after that.

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paladin 7 years, 2 months ago

Fp- Put the pipe down, man. Maybe call the hotline. You're way outta whack.

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person184 7 years, 2 months ago

Paladin says.... Might maybe have somthin ta do with my daddy a convincin me that I was damned by God an they weren't much hope fer the likes a me.


Hey Pal, those peoples are mortals, ya know. They don't be represented the true God. She dudn't act like them people you talked about. Giver anuther shot, willya?

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idarastar 7 years, 2 months ago

I feel the presence of the spirit within me. I feel it when I'm outside in the garden admiring the flowers, riding my bike through the streets, walking the trails at the wetlands... God is always present in everything I do and everything I don't do. I can't pinpoint a specific time I feel God because the presence is always there. I guess I could say I feel more spiritual when I'm at peace or when speaking with someone with a good spirit in them or surrounded by others whose hearts unite to be a larger mass of the holy spirit.

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