More from New Wine 2022
“Okay God,” asserted Janice*, “I’m going to give You one more chance. It’s a year since I walked out of St James’*. You remember it, I’m sure – the night the musicians told me my voice ‘didn’t fit in’. I felt like a lump of dirt. Are you bothered? Here’s Your chance to show me – I’m going to church tonight, to that one where they’ve a guest speaker. If You do care, then please find a way of letting me know – tonight. If You don’t, I’ll know I’m wasting my time.”
Later that evening the speaker, John Peters**, was finishing his talk. He asked God the Holy Spirit to come and accomplish whatever he wanted to do amongst the congregation. He became aware that several people had particular sicknesses and invited them forward for prayer. And then a lady in the crowd stood out to him. “Really, Lord?” he protested under his breath, “surely that’s a strange thing to say! Are you serious? Oh, alright then – I’ll obey your prompt…” Laying aside his misgivings, he spoke out:
“There’s a lady standing towards the back – yes, you in the blue blouse – the Father wants to tell you that you have a beautiful voice, and that He loves to hear you singing to Him.”
Janice almost collapsed in surprise, and then wept for joy.
Simon* was a church member with a guilty secret. He knew he needed to come clean – but how? One day he found himself in a meeting where James di Castiglione** was speaking. Nervously, along with many others, he came out for prayer. James, whom he’d never met before, seemed to be attracted in his direction.
As James looked at Simon, it was as if he saw ‘Adultery’ written on Simon’s forehead. “Lord, what on earth am I to say?” James gasped. And a reply shot straight back into his mind.
“Tell him he’s a man with a pure heart.”
Whatever Simon was expecting, this wasn’t it! God knew what he’d done, that was for sure. But rather than condemning him, God was calling him back to a life of loving faithfulness to his wife. It wasn’t long before Simon confessed his adultery, ended his wrong relationship and made a fresh commitment to his marriage.
John Peters** was at pains to explain how hearing a message from God, brought by someone who can listen to Him, isn’t a piece of showmanship. It can be life-saving. For example, victims of abuse, convinced there’s no way out of an emotional prison, often feel suicidal. When someone hears from God for them, they realise, God loves me; He knows me, He accepts me! So often, this is their first step on a journey towards freedom.
What about us, you may ask? Both Jane and I have received very relevant, accurate ‘words of knowledge’, as they are called, during a packed meeting. We can witness to how encouraged and affirmed this made us feel.
What about us having ‘words of knowledge’? We returned from New Wine ready to learn. Speaking about my own ‘journey’, I’m finding that, if I want to hear God,
- It’s important to fill my mind with good, edifying things, and create space for my mind to be open to inspired thoughts.
- I need to spend time in prayer and bible study, so I enjoy His company and am familiar with His patterns of working.
- I need to remember that His agenda is all about bringing love and light into the lives of others.
- Sometimes it’s about being in the right place at the right time, and going with the flow – for example, talking to the person standing next to me at the bar and seeing where it leads.
- I must be prepared to be follow up on ‘nudges’. We attended a funeral last week, and a complete stranger ‘stood out’ to Jane. We invited him to sit with us at the reception. It turned out we had a lot in common and were able to greatly encourage each other.
I’ve several other ‘irons in the fire’ at present, adventures that may provide future posts…
So, am I seriously suggesting that the God who created this Universe is personally interested in me?? Sounds utterly preposterous, doesn’t it. Unless, as I believe, this is one of the things He was most looking forward to, when He started the whole process…
* = not their real name
** = Speakers at New Wine 2022, from whom the stories originate.