Leon Fontaine - Experience God's Presence
Today, we're gonna talk about a word that doesn't sound pretty powerful until you start flushing it out. I wanna talk about awareness. What are you aware of? While we are here in this service somebody is aware of every sharp flat note. Everything the ushers did or didn't do. There's a suit jacket matched with the pants. They're aware of every problem in the house. And there's somebody else who came in that's just so aware of God's presence and the joy and the effort people put into their smiling faces. Neither is wrong, both are true. But you're aware of determines how you enjoy the service.
There are some people who are very aware of how rough it is and how tough it is and how bad it is and all the problems with Canada and what the economy is like and CNN constantly negative news what they're saying. And somebody else is very aware of the opportunities, how beautiful Canada is, what a great country it is to live in. What are the opportunities? Both you'd have to say speak truth. But your awareness is what you're getting fickle in.
I wanna talk today about being aware of God's presence. Now, I don't mean feeling God's presence. I got tired of that growing up in a charismatic church. I feel God. You just feel goosebumps. What do I mean by being aware. I don't mean that you feel a hot flush. I don't mean you get goosepimples. I don't mean you get a holy goosebumps. I don't mean that you shutter and shake and fall. No, I'm not talking about feeling. I'm talking about aware. For example, you married people are aware that you're married. You don't always feel married but you're aware that you're married.
So awareness is a very unique word and I love it because it's really some of the things that help me really, you know, people will often asked me, "Leon, how do you do what you do"? And I have no idea but I'm gonna show you what I think it is as we go to the second half of the message. Because awareness is so huge that you're gonna be unhappy or happy based on your awareness, your ability to focus in and become aware. You choose your awareness. All right, let's take a look at a couple of people from the Old Testament because they really help us understand. But anytime you hear somebody teach from an Old Testament story, they'd better take it through the cross or they'll teach you incorrect doctrine, because the Old Testament is under the old covenant. And so we learned from it but only if you understand Jesus and the cross.
The first I wanna talk about is a guy named David. Now, David had kind of an auspicious start. You see, Samuel the prophet was told by God, go to Jesse's house and anoint one of his sons to be the next king of the country. He went there and Jesse pulled out seven sons, went through them all and God said, "Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, nope. And the prophet Samuel goes, "Do you have any other sons"? He goes, "I got one more the eighth son. He's out looking after sheep". Now, wouldn't that give you a bit of a complex if your dad didn't even include you in the line to be maybe chosen to be king. They brought David in and it's an interesting story.
I want to read it to you in the 1 Samuel 16:13, "Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers, talking about David. And the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward". When you study the life of David. Everyone thinks David was this amazing man. He was a gifted warrior. He was-, Okay, no, actually that's not the point. All of David's successes in his life come back to this verse, and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David. When you study every person in the Old Testament that does something great for God. They're always aware of God's presence. What in the world is different about you? And it's not your skill. It's not how good you are. But it's the presence of God that you have become aware of.
When you study the Old Testament, you'll find in the Old Testament that if you are in right standing with God, God's favor and God's presence are with you. When God's presence is with you, you don't lost battles you become prosperous, you walk in health, you walk in healing, no enemy can get through you. The presence of God was the most coveted thing. But it only came to you, it was around you if you are walking right with God. Now, in the old Testament that meant your behavior. So here it says it came upon David. Now, it's interesting because David just a little while later his dad says, "David, I want you take some food to your brothers on the frontline". He walks through the frontline and just as he goes to give them the food and stuff during this war with the Philistines, a great big giant walks out, "Oh, sent somebody to fight me".
Now, everybody was afraid. All of the soldiers were so afraid their knees were knocking, their teeth were chattering. They were petrified. But I want you to notice, they were all aware of how big David was, ah, how big Goliath was. How big his armor was, how heavy the spear was. They were very aware of death and how quickly he'd got you, kill you, butcher you. David was much more aware of God. Neither were wrong or right. The truth was Goliath could kill you. Goliath was not this big old fat guy that anybody could have kill or the great soldiers would have done it. This guy was trained for war from his youth. He could kill easily, so everybody was afraid. But I want you to notice that who you hang with, what you looked at, what you are spending time with, creates around you an awareness.
I'm not talking about feelings, although they can be included. I'm not talking about faith, though it could be included. I'm not talking about fear, though it could be included. I'm not talking about emotionally depressed or sad or happy or joyful. All of those have a play in the word awareness. But awareness can be changed and awareness can be controlled. Most people who are negatively aware think that they're a realist. No, both the positive and the negative probably see true things. It's what you stay aware of. You married people, after about two years you're gonna become very aware of every one of your spouse's problems. Every one of your spouse's limitations. In the first year or two of marriage, you're very aware of all of their wonderful attributes, all of their senses of humor, and body language and body period. I mean, you're very aware of all the great things your spouse has. You've a choice to make from year two and on.
Now that you've learned all the negatives. What awareness will you live in? Will you live in the awareness of all the negatives? The things they don't do for, the things they won't do, the how unhappy they are or will you live aware of all the positives? Both are true. Both are true. The awareness that you live in determines your happiness. Now, take that word awareness and let's apply it to David. David's brothers were around people who were living in fear. They were very aware of how quickly Goliath could kill you, very aware he was a one-man wrecking ball. That man had won many battles for the Philistines and he was about to take them out. Saul, King Saul who was the then king had a problem. So he tried to, like buy some young men to rise up and go fight him, his best warriors. So he said, "Whoever goes and fights him, I'll give you a fortune and gold".
Nobody volunteered. He waited for a volunteer, nobody volunteered. Thousands of men were very aware of death and dying and how tough he was. Nobody moved. So he thought maybe I get the dads to help me out. Whoever goes and defeats that Goliath, I'll give you a fortune and gold and your family will be tax-free for generations. He thinks the father could give him a push, because in the army there would often be fathers and sons. You got a 40-year-old guy fighting and a 20-year-old son and, you know, very common. Nobody moved. He had to figure out a way to get someone to go fight Goliath. He says, "All right, for who he who goes and defeat this giant. I'm gonna give you a fortune and gold. I'm gonna give you a tax freedom for your generations of your family and, and I'm gonna give you my daughter to marry". Nobody moved. I don't think she was that good-looking. But anyway, there was a reason why nobody moved.
And so here comes David, he walks on to the battle scene just as this Goliath goes, "Send someone to fight me". Nobody moved. They were very aware. But now David have been spending time worshipping God. He loved to sing. He wrote most of the Psalms which are all singing chapters. Every one of the 150 Psalms were written to sing and he would sing to God. He would worship God as he looked after the sheep. So here are these men trained in warfare very aware of Goliath and defeat. Here's David not trained in warfare but very aware of the presence of God. And we know that when he was anointed to be king, the presence of God came upon him and it says in 1 Samuel 16, from that day and on. So when he walked on to the battlefield, he wasn't braver than all the rest. It was just his awareness, God is with me. God is with me. And then he said something that I'm gonna explain so for those who have, anyway. He looked at Goliath and he goes, "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine"?
Let's talk about circumcision. Circumcision was done to a baby boy in the Israelite camp after about a week and a half. They would circumcise him and it was a sign that the parents were committing him to serve God and that he had an agreement with God. That everything God had was his, everything he had was God. And so, when he said that uncircumcised Philistine, what he was saying to all the soldiers around him was, I have an agreement with God and you don't. We need to remember today that in business, in family, in home, that God has designed it for you to be better, go further, way beyond this world until they look at you and go, "What in the world is different about you"? And it's not your skill. It's not how good you are, but it's the presence of God that you have become aware of. When you become aware, I don't mean you feel it. I mean, you practice His presence. You can read it in His Word. Spend a little bit of time each day just talking to Him. You'll be aware. You'll walk into situation aware, God is with me. And when you are, your faith rises up.
In 1 John 5:4 says that this is victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. But if you become more aware of the problems, all the other soldiers freaking out. You see the size that guy's hand, his hands are bigger than my whole head. Look at his spear, look. I saw him kill somebody in a battle just a few weeks ago. He got to them and there was -, They would just talk that way. And you would become very aware of what they're aware of. People who do different things in life refuse to be aware of everybody else's aware of. I had to make a decision in my life. I wanna be aware of the problems so I can change them. But I will not be aware all the time of every negative, unhappy, life sucks thing. Nobody has a perfect life. I have things in my life that suck. But they don't have power over me because I refuse to let them into my awareness every day, every minute, every hour, every 24-hours, every one week, every one month.
When we get to heaven, the Bible says my life's gonna be perfect. Until then, I live in a fallen world with a tax and problems and issues. I live in a body that's imperfect, that's needs health and healing. I've got a mind. I've got to keep focus and walking right. Stuffs going on but awareness is everything. What are you aware of? And I have found that I cannot do what I do without spending time every day on the Word. I don't mean hours and hours, some days I do. I just mean five or ten minutes to start or a great Christian book, just to talk to God. Say, God, today Your presence is with me. David was phenomenal. He faced Goliath. All of his brothers were very aware of death, very aware of dying, very aware of how powerful he is. And David got up and he walked over to a brook and he pulled out five stones, put them on his pouch. And then he run and took him out. Boom, killed him.
Someone said, "Well, he wasn't that full of faith that he had, why did he have four more stones? Was he worried he was gonna missed"? Interesting. Later on, when David became king. Do you know that his men killed four more giants? They were all brothers of Goliath. So probably what was going on was he saw all of the family there. It was Goliath who was the big bully and David was ready to take him on. When you are aware that God is with me and God is for me. You will be able to do things that others are just, they're shaking their head. How did you do that? Financially wherever you go, they'll be something on your life. But this aware, this presence of God that is with you only works with you when you're aware of it and believing it. Whatever you don't believe won't work in your life.
So faith it comes from an awareness. Where does that awareness come from? Learn the Word and refuse to let it go. To tell you the truth, there are times I've gone through stuff and I'm just unhappy, grumpy, down, and sometimes days, sometimes embarrass to say weeks will go by. And one day I'll go, "What in the world are you doing Fontaine? Why are you so aware of the problems, the issues? Why are you so aware of things that aren't going as fast as I want? Why you let that awareness sit in your head, lived in your body, lived around you the way you treat others? Why"? And then I go back to faith and I go, "God is with me, nothing can stop me". God is with us, nothing can stop us. God would never create our lives to go nowhere from here and on. God would never create us to fail. God didn't take us this far to let us sink.
You are made in the likeness and the image of God. But the enemy of your soul wants you to be aware of every problem, every shortcoming, every sin, everything that's not working. And he wants you to look around to be aware of everyone around you, problems in your family, your home, your church. People will come to church all the time and leave. When they leave they've got a good reason, so they say. Because they're aware of the problems. Like, why are we so aware? Let's get aware of what God is doing and what is powerful in our lives. The second guy I want to introduce you to. I get to camp on David for hours, is a guy named Joseph. Now, there are people here right now that would look up and say, "But pastor, you don't know what I've gone through". I get it. "You don't know how messed up I've been or how much I've messed up or what's been done to me". I get it. Joseph had a good story. He was, he had a whole bunch of brothers and his dad was a bit of a stupid dad. His dad had a favorite. Any parent that has a favorite is not thinking. God doesn't have favorites.
And so he picked on Joseph as his favorite, gave him a special coat of many colors. And Joseph started to having dreams of his brothers bowing down to him as if he was special. So his brothers kidnapped him, threw him in a hole and sold him into slavery. Took his coat poured some goat blood on it and told their dad, he's dead. Now, Joseph is put into slave gang, chains around his neck, around his feet. He's brought to Egypt and sold on the slave auction. Listen to what it says about him in Genesis 39:1, "And Joseph was brought down to Egypt and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the hands of the Ishmeelites. And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man". What a ridiculous verse. If you're a slave, not wearing any clothes, covered in feces and grime. Put on the road for days where they won't even let you use a bathroom. You gotta just find it where you are, chained up with, and he's got nothing. He owns nothing. He's a slave. He just been bought. And the Bible says he's a prosperous man. Why would God say that? Because prosperity is not about the external. Prosperity is about the internal and whatever is on the inside will come out on the outside. People don't like it but your relationships, your life, how happy you are, where are you going.
Now that you're an adult those things are literally determined or lot of it by the awareness that you're in. That you can change or you can stay aware of how bad you've been treated, how bad you are treated, how bad you is treated, and how bad the future will probably treat you, too. Now, negative Canada is, and how all the-, or you can be aware God loves me. The enemy of our souls the devil. He'll try to get every day of your life to feel like nothing's happening. My life sucks. Don't know where I'm going. He'll always try to make you lose the awareness that God is upon me and everything I do is blessed. When you look at Moses same thing. You study every person in the Bible that does something great for God and they were always aware, God is with me. They believed God was with them. They would go into challenges knowing God is with me. And when you begin to believe that, that's what puts to work this beautiful presence of God.