This morning we continue our series entitled, “The Year of Supernatural Manifestation”, with our mini-series on “The Miracles of Jesus.” Yesterday we looked at Luke 4:1-36 and we focused in on the story of Jesus delivering a demon possessed man in a synagogue in Capernaum. In the message I talked about God’s desire for us to be open to Him in every way, so He can freely operate in, with and through our lives. I made the point that we should not be afraid of failing. Like anything else, hearing from God and being used of Him in the earth, requires practice. Today I will share a few personal stories to help drive home this point.
Many years ago, as a young preacher, I remember being in a Walmart in Evans, GA. While I was walking around the store my attention was drawn to a particular woman. The Holy Spirit told me — and I don’t mean an audible voice; but more like an “inner knowing” — to go up to the lady and simply say, “God loves you.” I refused to do it. I did not know the lady, I did not feel comfortable doing it, and quite honestly, I was afraid of how she would take it. But the Lord was persistent. I heard Him say, over and over again, to go and simply pass the message. After I repeatedly refused, a man walked up to the lady, right in front of me, and said, “Excuse me Ma’am. I don’t normally do things like this. But the Lord wants you to know that He loves you.” The lady began to weep, right there in Walmart, in the woman’s clothes section, and she gave God praise. I felt very small. The Lord then told me that the blessing associated with sending that message, a blessing stored up for me, went to that man. Someone else got my blessing, because I was disobedient and afraid.
A couple of weeks later I was in church, preaching a message. Towards the end of the message the Lord drew my attention to a lady who was sitting about three rows back, in the center aisle. I did not know her, but my attention kept getting drawn to her. And then it happened again. I heard the Holy Spirit (once again, not audibly), say, “Tell her that I have heard her prayers and the issue she is having with her daughter is taken care of.” I was up on stage, preaching my message, and I heard the Holy Spirit clearly. However, what was going through my mind was thoughts like: “What if this lady does not have a daughter? What if she looks at me like I’m crazy? I am going to look stupid, up here on stage, in front of hundreds of people.” The Holy Spirit was persistent again, repeatedly telling me to say it, and I was persistent again, in my disobedience. I refused to say it, because I did not want to look bad. I was more concerned about me, and my reputation, than I was about God and His desire to minister to His daughter. So, when my message was over, I gave the mic to my Pastor at the time, Bishop Richard Peoples, and Bishop Peoples immediately turned around, looked at the lady, and said, “Daughter, the Lord wants you to know that He has heard your prayers concerning your daughter. He has heard you and He has already taken care of your situation.” The lady began to weep and give God praise. She received the answer she was waiting for. But once again, I felt terrible. And once again, the Lord told me that He had to find someone else to do what I was assigned to do.
The last story I will tell you is something I heard from a prominent Pastor. I will not mention his name, because I have never asked him if I could share his story. But back in 2001, I was at a Pastors and Leaders conference in Dallas, TX. The Pastor I am referring to leads a congregation of about 20,000 members. He was teaching a session in an intimate setting and after learning many things from this man of God, somehow the conversation led to hearing from God and be honest when you “miss it”. He told us a story of how his daughter’s Godmother had cancer. She had been out of church for months, because of her illness, and she was at the brink of death. One Sunday she made it to church and people were glad to see her. After the Pastor finished his message, the spirit in the church was high and the power of God was present. The Pastor looked down at his daughter’s Godmother, he thought he was hearing from God, and he said, “Thus saith the Lord… You shall LIVE and NOT DIE and declare the works of the Lord!” He said this from the pulpit, in front of thousands of people, and the church went crazy! The woman started weeping, people started dancing and praising, and his little daughter was elated! Two days later, the woman died. His daughter came up to him and said, “Daddy, who lied? Was it you or God?” To which he responded, “Sweetie, God did not lie and Daddy did not lie. The truth is, Daddy missed it. Daddy made a mistake. I thought I heard God, but I did not.” He then had to maintain the courage to say what he believed God was saying, the next time God spoke, even though he had missed it.
So what does this mean to you today? A few things:
- Over the years I have prayed for hundreds or thousands of people at the altar. I can’t count the number of times the Lord has given me a “Word” to share with them at that moment. I have had to learn to say whatever I believe God is saying, without any regard for me. At that moment, it’s not about me. It’s about God and what He wants to do. When I am right, God gets the glory. If I am ever wrong, I take the blame. But I refuse to hold back something I believe God wants to share with someone, just because I am concerned about being wrong and what it would it could do to my reputation.
- God uses humans to minister to other humans. This process is not perfect, because humans are not perfect. As you learn to hear from God and properly discern His voice, you will make mistakes, but that is part of the process of learning. God is not going to hold your mistakes against you. He would rather you swing and miss, than for you to NOT swing at all.
- You will never fail at something you fail to attempt. But failing to attempt means you failed before you ever started.
- God has called you to a supernatural life. He wants you to see the invisible and attempt the impossible. If you have the faith to attempt the supernatural, then chances are that you are going to “miss it” from time to time. You may make mistakes. But that’s okay. It’s all part of the process of becoming the man/woman you are called to be.
- Mastering anything in this world requires practice. Hearing from God and operating in the supernatural is no different. Practice doing whatever you believe God is leading you to do. Practice saying whatever you believe God is telling you to say. The more you practice, the better you will get at it, and the closer you will be to living the life you were born to live!
Closing Confession: Father, this is a year of Great Victory for me. This year I learn to discern Your voice with clarity. I am Your sheep. I hear Your voice and the voice of a stranger I will not follow. I say whatever I believe You are leading me to say. I do whatever I believe You are leading me to do. I walk and live by faith. I attempt to see, by Your Spirit, the invisible. I attempt to do, by Your Spirit, the impossible. When I am right, You get all the glory. When I am wrong, I take the blame and learn from it. But I refuse to miss out on the supernatural because of a fear of failure. I practice living a supernatural life and the more I do, the better I get at it, and the closer I get to become the man/woman You called me to be! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.