God speaks. That in essence is what I sought to communicate yesterday. It is funny but I did not always think that God spoke. After becoming a Christian, which in itself was no mean achievement, not for me, I was the resister; I still had difficulty with the idea of God talking to just anyone. It seemed somewhat fanciful. Surely He would have more on His hands than engage in conversation with me, or some of my friends, or any of the sundry characters i encountered in the course of my meanderings through Christendom.
I guess like many cultural Christians i had a strong understanding of the transcendence of God but not of His immanence. He was high, divine, remote, powerful, even loving, but distant. I believed that He did intervene sometimes in human affairs, deist I was not, He answered prayer, but as to Him talking, and, to just anyone, it took some getting used to.
One of my friends Margaret regularly bore the brunt of our humour. She would say God spoke to her and we would all crack up laughing, or make snide comments when someone came up with an idea, oh did God tell you that, Margaret is the one God speaks to. For shame! I was to discover that God was interactive, that listening to hear Him is anything but pulling teeth. It is not a matter of compelling Him to do what He is most unused to or reluctant to do.
Quite the contrary, the whole testimony of the Scriptures is of a God who expresses Himself to His people : His plans, His heart, His desires, even His displeasure , ouch! It is in His very nature to converse : He did with Adam, with the patriarchs, with Noah, with Moses, the prophets, with the apostles, with ordinary people like Philip. He literally dictated complex building and worship plans to Moses, every time i read that, I feel a twinge of holy jealousy.
Some will object that this was exceptional, but isn’t the pattern that what was exceptional and restricted to a handful of individuals in the old testament has now been made universal and available to all who believe? Should everybody expect to hear God? Yes. Should we believe everything people say God has said to them? Most certainly not. Indeed one of my earlier gripes was that some of the things people told me God said to them were patently odd and positively puerile.
But despite the foolishness, let’s keep the baby the bathwater can go. And when you get used to hearing God, you find Him amazingly inclined to converse at times. And it is truly characteristic of God that He would turn everything on its head for me and call me to the prophetic ministry, and so i find myself now eating my own words regularly as i speak over people a word from God. Most humbling. James Bond said it best, never say never. It is truly beautiful that among the operations of the Spirit are these ones which enable us to hear God for others and speak to them a message from Him.
People are so desperate to know God cares and telling them something He is saying to them will often be the key they have been looking for. They suddenly realise that all is well, God has not forgotten where i live or lost my telephone number, because truth be told there are those times when like Boney M you want to sing albeit with a slight adaptation, ‘Sometimes I feel like a fatherless child’. And when Father suddenly quietly or sometimes rather dramatically steps in and calls your name, you walk easy, you laugh easy, you sleep easy. All is well again.
We concluded the message by showing a clip that I had unearthed as I searched for an illustration for the utterance gifts. It’s a prophetic word delivered at our Parakletos conference last year by one of our speakers Matt Sorger, in the presence of Phil Whitehead and Roselyne Boerner Faccio. As it is in video with interpretation into French, it was just perfect to illustrate what I had been teaching on God’s desire to communicate with His people, to encourage, build up and comfort.
For those not used to such goings on, suffice to say that when the presence of God fills a place, the physical being reacts and is wont to lose all strength. It was an extremely moving experience watching it again in church. We have such a kind hearted Father. Enjoy!