Normally, I like to keep blog posts strictly to the grace of Jesus. It’s the most central thing in my life and what I most like to talk about. Typically I avoid things like Calvinism/Arminianism, Eschatology, and things that tend to be secondary, and often inflammatory (although, strangely a lot of people even get mad about grace). But I had such a great experience this week and I had to share it. [Special note – make sure you read to the end]
I teach a bible Study at a prison every week. Last night I was teaching James chapter 4, and somehow got to discussing how do we live by faith and how do we show the love of Jesus to others. Long story short, I mentioned how I had been listening to a teaching on getting words of knowledge [look it up in 1 Corinthians 12], specifically how it relates to encouraging people in the love of Christ. Now, I know this can be an area of abuse, like when a lady says God told her to marry you, and God didn’t let you in on the secret. In fact, all the gifts get abused. But let’s not throw them out, let’s use them like we are supposed to.
So, I thought I would show the men in prison an example. I turned to one of the guys and said “does February 18th mean something to you?”. Honestly, the date just came out – I wasn’t trying to make something up. He said it was His discharge date for his sentence. That’s when he would be completely done with prison. That was very important to him, and I got to encourage him that God cares for him, and that God remembers him, and the date shows that. It was very impactful to him. I think God likes to encourage us and let us know that we are not forgotten. This is one of the reasons we are given spiritual gifts–to encourage and build up one another,
This was great, because it was the first time I had ever tried this, and God gave me a date, and it was important. I think we often shrink back from walking in the gifts, because we worry about “what if I’m wrong?” — “What if I don’t do it right?” These are great questions. The answer is, take a little risk to share love with someone. If your “word” is incorrect, just say thanks for letting me talk, and try again some other time.
We often hold gifts like words of knowledge to a strangely higher standard than other gifts, like pastor/teacher. Do we expect our pastors to roll out of seminary (or wherever they come from) and speak a perfect sermon each time, every time? I have yet to meet a pastor who didn’t wish he could erase the tapes of some of his early sermons. I have heard pastors say some really dumb things, and then speak sermons to correct earlier sermons.
Now, I am not calling for people to be sloppy of careless, but rather to realize that starting out in your giftings is a little risky. But, do you know what is way worse than making some mistakes? To never try. To never walk in the great things that God wants to have you be a part of.
OK, here come the total out of the comfort zone part of this. As I was out mowing my lawn and pondering these things, I felt God give me a date: January 17, 1972 (usually I would not worry about the year, but it seemed to be part of the impression. It also helps make it more unique.) Now, is this a guess, or is it from God? I’m not sure, but if it means something to you, let me know in the comments, or by email. If not, no worries. Some who are reading and might find this date will say: “Hey, tens and tens of people read this blog, so it’s bound to match for someone”
Now here comes the double extra discomfort part: I will tell you why I think the date is for the person to whom it is significant. I think it has to do with your father. And the message God wants to give, is that He (God) is your Father in heaven who does not change like shifting shadows. He is watching over you, and loves you dearly. He will never leave you or forsake you.
Now, I may have imagined all this in the hot sun while mowing, or perhaps someone needs to here this. Let’s find out! Please let me know if this is for you.
p.s. I am not claiming to be a prophet, I just feel like God may have a little something to bless someone. Keep in touch, and know that God loves you!