In today's society there are many things that demand our time and distract us from developing and maintaining our most important relationship, relationship with God.
This book is rich with practical biblical principles and devotions for enhancing intimacy with the lover of your soul, Jesus Christ. You will experience the Spirit of God as you turn the pages of this Spirit-filled book.
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About the Author
Sharon is a Christian radio host; video on demand teacher at www.streamingfaith.com and former television host. She has over twenty-five years of experience working in various capacities of ministry, including ecumenical settings. Prophetess Mancha is the President of Women's Ministries at her local church. She has served as a former Jurisdictional Elect Lady of the Department of Evangelism, Jurisdictional Regional Area Assistant, and in various leadership positions at the local and district level.
After graduating from Fuller Theological Seminary with her Masters in Theology, Sharon works as a leadership development trainer and spiritual formation educator. She continues her Doctoral education.
She is a co-founder of a faith-based non profit organization facilitating crisis prevention and intervention family services, and early childhood education programs. She is also a grant writer, consultant to public and non-profit organizations. Sharon is a dedicated humanitarian. She is currently aiding impoverished families in Sierra Leone, Africa. You can visit her online at www.sharonmancha.com
Sharon hosts an annual conference "An Intimate Time with God" for women and men seeking tools for intimate relationship with Christ. She models bridging the gap for interdenominational fellowship and encourages resource networking for family, church and community building.
Read an Excerpt
The Power of Intimacy with ChristOvercoming the Obstacles that Hinder Intimacy
By Sharon Mancha
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2009 Sharon Mancha
All right reserved.
Chapter OneMeeting Christ
Meeting Christ for the first time is a life-altering experience. It impacts our minds and hearts for the rest of our lives. Prior to this life intersection with the sovereign God, we are alienated from ultimate truth, and lack the ability to see ourselves in the light of His truth. When we come face to face with Christ, our innermost beings are revealed to us through the power of His presence. In His presence is the power of revelation to see things as God sees them. We are empowered to embrace the truth of our prolonged distance from God. Thank God that He offers us the opportunity to bridge this gap. If we embrace the revelation of God's love, he will draw us into an intimate fellowship. We will begin the journey of spiritual transformation.
The light of God is Jesus Christ, who opens the eyes of the blind. Sin blinds our minds and cheats us out of the redeeming power of the love of God that is revealed when we seek the face and heart of God. Sin works against developing intimate relationship with Christ. Maturing a relationship with Christ requires soul work and spirit submission. It demands of us a commitment to deny all that opposes God's Word and kingdom. Meeting Christ means accepting the reality thatrepentance from sin is essential to the path to intimacy with Jesus Christ. When an individual loves darkness over truth, that person's response to encountering Christ may be to run for cover. This response can only end with a headlong fall into the matrix of deception. Thank God that our need for wholeness creates a longing for another encounter with the life-changing God, who heals our hearts.
I remember my first encounter with Christ as an adult. I had known God as a child, but had not established a deep intimacy with Him. At age fourteen, I fell away from prayer and stopped repenting of any wrongdoing. After this transition, I lost my concern for pleasing God, and fell deep into sin. I knew that God had chosen me, but I lacked the spiritual tools for developing intimacy with Him. My intimacy with Christ really began when I met Him again at the age of twenty-four. I was seven months pregnant with my first son. My husband and I were struggling to make ends meet and desperate for change. During this time my husband was a door-to-door salesman, and was invited to church by one of his clients. He accepted the invitation, and the Lord saved and sanctified him at a little storefront church in Oakland, California. What I saw of my husband's changed life made me curious about what was happening to him. The habits he had long wanted to break were suddenly being broken.
One day shortly after my husband's conversion, he was sitting at the dinner table, reading his Bible, and I asked in my heart, "What is going on with him?" Immediately I heard an audible voice answer my question, saying, "I am the Lord God; it is I who is changing him." I ran out of the room and into the bedroom. I knew I had encountered God. From that moment on, God begin to reveal Himself to me. He told me that He had changed my husband, and that I could not run from Him any longer. Thank God for the grace that protected me in my ignorance. After a few weeks of attending church alone, my husband began to request my attendance. He said to me one Sunday morning, "as for me and my house we shall serve the Lord." I responded to his request and went with him to church on that Sunday morning.
While listening to the preacher, I felt a powerful conviction come over me. I could not hide, I could not run, I could not ignore the Lord any longer. It was time to answer the call of God. I felt a burning in my seat and a tugging at my soul. I yielded to that wonderful feeling of love and power that transforms lives. I leaped past fear and ran into the loving arms of the Lord. I fell on my knees before God, weeping. I was tired of myself and everyone else's self, too. I knew God was calling me to Him. His provocative spirit drew me into submission, and I began my journey of self-discovery and spiritual conversion. On that day the Lord washed me of my sins and claimed me as His very own. I was born again! God's supernatural love was imprinted on my innermost being. His power began to lead me into intimacy with Christ. This made me want all the more of Him. I had truly encountered Christ.
Shortly after my son was born I had an epiphany with God, the baptism of the Holy Ghost. My pastor had been teaching on the baptism experience (Acts 2). I began to fast and seek God through a deep consecration and prayer in preparation to receive the Holy Ghost as I had read in the book of Acts. I taught my mind and spirit to meditate on the Word and the presence of God. While doing this, I experienced an intense illumination and the presence of God as never before. My spirit and understanding of God were elevated. I had visions and dreams that revealed to me truths that were found in the Scripture. The awesome thing was that I had not yet read them, but the Holy Spirit was telling me where to read. I found that the same words that were spoken to me were written on the pages of the Bible where the Spirit was leading me. I was awestruck by the personal relationship being developed in me with Christ. Wow! It was so awesome and wonderful. Joy filled my soul and power warmed my entire being. An overwhelming passion for those who did not know God was birthed inside me. I found a power I never knew, and a depth of passion toward Christ that has kept me close to Him these twenty-five years. It was a once-in-a-lifetime, spiritually and mentally enlightening experience. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is life-transforming. To actually feel the presence of God fill your soul, mind, and spirit is beyond what words can explain. The closest I can come to describing it is that it is like being filled with love and joy in your innermost being, and to have that love heal and free you from everything that is unholy, ungodly in your mind and spirit. It is as though your soul was finally discovering its need for restoration, and that restoration equips it to experience life through the eyes of eternity. Love becomes the motive for existence, and everything else is the result of the lack and loss of the love of God in us and to us. Boy! My heart leaped with the prospect of evangelism and hungered to introduce this awesome experience to others for the saving of their souls and for the healing of them, their families, and their communities. Truly, relationship with God is what society needs to be made whole.
God has an abundant supply to heal every nation, beginning with you and me. It was so good! I was on fire and felt as though I could conquer the world for Jesus. I am convinced of the power of intimacy that is available when we seek Him with our whole hearts. The book of Acts speaks of this experience. The power that is connected to the baptism is essential to experience life beyond the toils of life. It is a promise: God meant it for all men, women, and children who would dare to surrender their hearts to Him.
Acts 1:5, 8 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.... But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
I thank God for His love and grace in my life. Meeting Him changed my life. I am so glad that I gave up to Him in spite of my fears. Nothing in life can compare to the benefits of surrendering to God. However, if your response is not "yes" when He calls for fellowship, it can result in a tension in your soul. Your soul remembers its Creator and longs for Him. It will remember the encounter with God and hunger for the fullness of life possible in intimacy with Christ. If you reject the presence of God, you reap the consequences of that rejection. Once you have come face to face with Christ, there is no way to be happy absent, a relationship with Him. Why? Because the seed of intimacy is planted in your heart, drawing you nigh to Him. This drawing is an appetite teaser that whets the soul with the desire for abundant life, and it ever longs for union with the only one who is able to make it whole, the Christ.
God reveals Himself in small increments to overcome our inability to know Him. Humankind looks for temporary fixes and momentary pleasures in an attempt to satisfy the vacuum of the soul. Every pleasure outside of Christ is just for a season, lacking longevity, and empty of ultimate happiness. Nothing created was designed to replace fellowship with Christ. This is why men and women spend their lives pursuing things and people, only to discover them void of ability to fulfill their needs. True happiness is found only in relationship with Christ. God's plan is to satisfy our souls with the indwelling presence of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus alone can empower our entire existence. Until we meet and willingly embrace the transforming power of intimacy with Christ, we wander through life like a junkie seeking a quick fix just to get through each day. Thank God there is hope in Christ! Christ is the fountain of life and the delight of the soul.
Relationship with Christ is available for the yielding soul. He desires more than just to fill your heart with joy. You are the delight of the Lord. He wants intimacy with you.
Luke 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Christ imprints our hearts with a deep hunger for intimacy with Him. We must answer His call to fellowship. After you have been introduced to Christ, you can no longer deny His existence. You are faced with the reality that the Creator of the universe desires intimacy with you. It is impossible to deny the reality that you have come into contact with the true and living God. The next step is to surrender your heart to Him and receive the healing available in His touch. He is a personal savior to all who come to him with genuine passion for relationship. The mystery of God is Christ present in the believer, revealing himself in truth as we unite with His spirit in holy fellowship. This fellowship develops a hunger in people for more knowledge of the one who is intimately pursuing them. Faith in God's Word is the foundation for intimacy with Christ.
I Timothy 1:15-16 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners: of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
To meet Christ for the first time is to be introduced to the Master Molder of character. Answering God's call to transformation finds its success in relationship with Christ. When we accept the Lord, we receive the pearl of life. He is truly the pearl of great price. Knowing the Lord is wealth for living in healthy relationship with others, and leads to development of the whole self. This wealth enriches our hearts, minds, and spirits with power to enjoy His love. Knowing Christ is worth turning from all that separates us from Him. Becoming one with Christ is worth giving up everything.
Philippians 3:8-9 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, Which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.
When I met the Lord I walked away from all that I knew was unprofitable for developing relationship with Him. I practiced yielding everything in my life that was contradictory to the Word of God. I am still learning how to do this. I am practicing every day how to surrender to God. Only through intimacy with Christ can we truly learn to live a life that is totally surrendered to God. Faith in God is the foundation for strength to do this. Developing a lifestyle of prayer and intimate Bible reading produces the discipline to make this type of sacrifice. It is a love thing. Become radical for His love and fellowship. Choosing to walk with Christ is the most important decision a person can ever make. The decision for accepting God's gift of eternal life is destiny-shaping and mind-transforming. It is a born-again experience that ignites a fresh start and changes your destiny, from emptiness and disappointment to God-centered wholeness. Hallelujah! Paul the apostle is an example of how meeting Christ can be a life-changing experience, the way to find new paths for living in answer to God's call to salvation and life with a purpose.
Acts 9:1-9 And Saul, yet breathing out threatening and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
Christ interrupted Paul's plans and changed the direction and purpose of his life. Paul was driven by zeal for what he thought was genuinely in defense of God, only to discover error and a need for true relationship with our Savior. Paul discovered his ambitions were not God's, nor were they going to lead to true relationship with Christ. He responded to Christ's call by surrendering to Him and obeying His instructions. Responding to God's call to intimacy is more than an act of repentance; it is a yielding of all of you to God, total submission. It is truly a heart-transforming event. It is revelation and it is change. God uses this encounter to graft us into the true vine and to save us from ourselves-creatures bent on sin and habits that lead to eternal damnation. A branch separated from the vine will soon wither and die because it lacks nourishment to flourish in its season, the same way that we are without intimate relationship with Christ.
John 15:1, 5 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. I am the vine, ye are the branches; He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Excerpted from The Power of Intimacy with Christ by Sharon Mancha Copyright © 2009 by Sharon Mancha. Excerpted by permission.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Meeting Christ....................1
Chapter 2. Yielding To His Presence....................9
Chapter 3. Learning God's Voice....................17
Chapter 4. Embracing Transformation....................25
Chapter 5. Trusting Beyond Fear....................33
Chapter 6. Faith in His Presence....................39
Chapter 7. Resting In His Presence....................47
Chapter 8. Abiding In His Presence....................55
Chapter 9. The Power of His Presence....................67
Chapter 10. Knowing God's Voice....................73
Chapter 11. Fighting To Maintain Your Intimacy....................81
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I really enjoyed this book. It provided practical tools and processes for building my spiritual life. It was an easy, but powerfully anointed read. I will read this book throughout my life and refer it to others.