As you set out this week on your journey with Jesus, I’d like to encourage you to make yourself available to the Spirit’s quiet nudges. It is one of the most amazing and astounding truths of all the earth that, as one who has surrendered their life to the Lordship of Jesus, He has come to dwell in you and live through you! Why He chooses to live in us and work out His will through us is almost too incredible to fathom, but none-the-less He does, and I encourage you to be ready and available to it, and looking for His divine appointments and leading.
Jesus said, basically, that He only did what He saw the Father doing, and He only said what the Father was saying—that required tremendous intimacy with the Father to be able to live like that. Likewise, Acts records when some, submitted to God’s call on their life, were led by the Spirit to His specific appointments when it says in Acts 16:6-8, “And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.”
I remember back to a time when a lady in our fellowship kept popping in to my mind. Her husband was away on a work trip, but I didn’t give it much thought. The next day, at our Sunday service, I asked her if everything was OK with her the previous morning. She said that it was, unless you counted the fact that her water heater had sprung a leak and water was pouring all over her kitchen floor. I could have been there in under 15 minutes and helped tremendously, but I missed the nudge.
On the other hand, recently I was doing a hospital visitation with a friend and as we were leaving we passed a man parking his car and locking it. His hazard lights were on and my friend told him. He thanked us and began opening his door to turn them off as we walked past. I made a friendly comment about him not wanting to come back and find his battery dead. We were past him as I made the comment and he said something in response to the effect of, “Yeah, I don’t need any more bad news today” (or it might have been “anything more bad today”).
It is amazing the thoughts that can go through our minds in seconds . . . I was running a little late, I had an hour and a half drive ahead . . . and I also realized that was a God-loaded comment he had just made, and a divine insight into his heart. I turned around and stepped back toward him and said some something like, “You are having a bad day? What’s up?” My friend took my next words out of my mouth and said, “Yeah, we can pray for you right here.” Neither of us expected what was next. He seemed so grateful and he told us his daughter had a fever and was in the emergency room and could we come pray for her. Again, the thoughts that crossed my mind in seconds . . . what if we can’t get in for an hour or two? . . . could we just pray with him right here and go on? . . . but then there is the realization that God gives us these moments and asks us to be His hands and feet in them.
We said "sure" and within probably five minutes of passing his car I was signed in and being led by a confused mom who had already been there back to a room in emergency where a precious little girl was lying down and feeling poorly. I knelt next to her, told her a little about myself and my daughters, and asked her if I could pray for her. She nodded yes, with big eyes, without saying a word, and while the nurse was talking to the mom I had the privilege of praying over this little girl I'd never met before, and being a vessel to bring His presence and power to her. It was an awesome privilege, and it felt almost “tingly” to have seen God so clearly setting something up, and bringing about something so very unexpected, but wonderful.
How many moments did the Holy Spirit direct us toward that encounter that we didn’t even realize He was doing it? The nudge to say it was time to go? The decision to walk back to our van on another route from the one we took to the hospital? The man leaving his hazard lights on, or my friend noticing them and saying something? My lighthearted comment about the battery? I have no idea how many times my friend, or I, or the man, were nudged unaware to set that moment up. All I know is that, in that moment, there came one when I knew God had “set me up” and that I had a choice I was responsible for. It came when he made the comment about the bad day and I could have kept walking, or stopped and gone back. It was such a casual comment . . . but what a moment lay in the balance around it!
I don’t share this to brag on myself in any way (that’s why I shared my “water heater failure” first), but because there is power in the testimony to increases other's faith, and I want to encourage you to look for these moments, and expect them and be available to them. Let’s:
1) Expect divine encounters, because He loves people, and all you have to do is read the Gospels to realize that the Jesus that lives in you was always having wild, "unexpected" encounters with unlikely people!
2) Be available to those encounters and looking for the tiny, quiet signs (a drooped head, a sad face when they think no one is looking, a co-worker whose not as cheerful as normal, a person who appears in your life (or thoughts) multiple times, etc.).
3) Realize who we are in Christ, and Who goes with us, in (hint: the Creator of the Universe!).
4) Walk in gentleness and love and service and humility toward the people we meet, and in authority and righteous anger toward the darkness that enslaves them. Let’s remember that every time we come in to a room or a situation the Creator of the Universe just entered with us, and the entire spiritual atmosphere and dynamic just changed! Let us never forget that we serve a mighty God, and that the hosts of hell tremble before Him, and that with Him all things are possible!
God loves the world and His Kingdom rule and power are waiting to come to bear in it. We are the vessels of His power and authority amidst the world. Let’s walk in a manner that honors that.
So, what divine encounters do you want to share? Send them to me, I'd love to hear them. Let me know if I can share them. You can send them as a comment. It won't be seen until I "publish" it. Just let me know if it is OK or not. Remember, your testimony instructs and encourages others!