Stories of a good God

Posts tagged ‘Graham Cook’

Stop, listen, obey, bless … God is Good!

We are currently running a connect group called “Sitting at the Feet of the Father”.  The purpose of this group is to encourage others (and ourselves) to fully step into our identity in Christ, and in doing so, not only will we lead a love filled, victorious life in Christ, but we will be blessed to be a blessing.  Being filled with God’s love cannot but overflow to those around us as we go!

Graham Cooke’s many teachings (both free resources and bought) at Brilliant Perspectives has been, well … brilliant!

Last night we wrote double-blind prophetic words for people we did not know (they were mature Christian who knew what we were doing so they were a safe place to land).  It was time to step out of the boat.  Giving lovely words to one another within the safety of the group is one thing, but to turn our gaze outwards, to others we don’t know, well that spells “R.I.S.K” which when its God directed is actually called FAITH.  We look forward to hearing about the impact of the words soon.

I have no doubt that God is good, and that He wants to speak to us more than we want to hear Him.  I also have no doubt that God is good and that He wants to speak to us about others, more than we want to hear Him.

Last Sunday, our pastor was preaching on the kindness, on the love of God.  My daughter had a friend at church, who subsequently sobbed and gave her heart to Christ.  My daughter had said that this friend was her “one” that God had highlighted to her as the one she would lead to Christ un this season (our church has a program currently called “everyone lead one”).

One of the members of our connect group, who I will call John, said he was also touched deeply by the message.  That same day, while leaving a local shopping centre, having grown in listening and obeying, he saw a busker who, in his view, wasn’t that good at busking – but God wanted John to bless the busker with everything John had in his wallet.  John argued, he resisted, he said to God “$2 is enough”.  However, God was adamant and John knew that he was to give the busker everything he had in his wallet.  John argued some more, and said “I’ll give him $2” and even went to get the change from his car, but God would not let up, so John obeyed, and gave the busker everything he had in his wallet.  John said the busker was quite overwhelmed.

I call that a “win”!

John heard from God.  He obeyed God.  He blessed a man busking, and even though he did not pray, preach, teach or even mention Jesus, I believe that John left a fragrance of Heaven, that changed the atmosphere, and that the fragrance left will stay with the busker to recognise again, it was an encounter with the generosity and love of God, for the busker, and for John.  For we do not battle “against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph 6:12 NIV).  Fruit of the Spirit practised and grown is warfare in the Spirit … it shifts atmospheres and changes realities.

What is God asking you to do?

Could you pay for the next person’s coffee in the line at the coffee shop?  Just whisper the instructions to the person at the til, and feel the atmosphere shift around you.

Could you buy a homeless person some groceries?  A single mum in our group did that recently, she didn’t know if it was in direct obedience to a God prompting, she just felt to do it.  I suggested that she was listening and moving as the Spirit directed, without her even knowing it. She left the fragrance of God.

Could you leave a gift on the step of someone you know that is struggling with an emotional challenge, or that may be lonely?

What about asking God for a simple word of encouragement?  Write it down on a card, and pop it into the person’s letter box.  If that is too hard, or takes up too much time, text it, and let the person know you (and God) are thinking about them.  And if someone does come to mind – don’t forget to pray for them too!

Or could you even offer to pray for the one you walk by on the street, the one that God highlights to you as needing prayer?  Can you feel His nudge? Can you hear His gentle prompting?  He loves you with a furious love; and He loves those you walk past every day with a similarly furious love too.

I trust that as you stop and ask God who He would like to encourge, He will show you someone, and I encourage you to listen and obey, and as you do I know both you and the person will be blessed because …

God is Good!

 

 

A friend in need is a friend indeed … an invitation to friendship from a loving God – Praise report

A few days ago I posted a story about a man I had stopped for on the streets, a man who was lonely, depressed, and alone … an intelligent, artistic man in need …

I had stopped and prayed for him in the middle of a hectic Saturday morning.  I had prayed for hope, joy, peace, for a community to come around him, for friendships … and I had realised that we (my husband and I and others if they wanted to come on the journey with us) needed to be community to him …

Well I posted my story, and although I had much work to do, and although I usually spent time with God during my son’s kindy hours, I felt to pop up the street and buy a take away coffee.  Then and not later, although “later” was more “logical” …

I looked at my watch and it was 11.10 … I had about 10 minutes for a coffee pick up and I would be back with 2 hours left to get some work completed … I could even fit in a soak.

God had other plans!

I jumped into the car and drove around the corner and as I drove I saw a familiar outline.  I had been set up by a loving God … it was the man I had stopped for on Saturday and I knew there and then I was buying him a coffee … I would be “eating in”.

I ditched my plans and drove into a park right in front of the coffee shop, walked down the street smiling, and said “hello I had just been thinking about you” …

He smiled, and said he had been planning to call to return the CDs I had lent him … which, he said, he had found very interesting.

I invited him to come and have a coffee.  He said he didn’t have any money.  I said “it’s my shout”  … and agreeing, he walked somewhat shyly down the street with me into the store.

We sat and talked for well over an hour.  I was aware of timing, but I was also aware of the fact that God was clearly up to something in his life … 

He was extending an invitation of friendship … “a friend in need is a friend indeed” … God is always our friend in need … and so He is always a friend indeed and … in deed!

I could see clearly that God was pursuing Him, and said so a few times throughout our conversation.  I started to tell him how I had seen him the other day … full of hope, his face shining, with joy, as I had prayed for him … that who he had been was no longer relevant, not God’s design for him, but for far more than what he could see as the future … I repeated that if God could do for Graham Cooke and for David Wagner what He had done then He could do it again for him … God is no respecter of persons!

He told me how he had started to feel hope and as he did he started to sit upright and he stared straight into my face.  He told me how he had made a friend two days prior and I pointed out that this was answered prayer, that the prayer, which had been in line with God’s heart for him was for community to surround him … and he agreed, recognising the “coincidence” of the new friendship he had forged within 24 hours of me releasing God’s will in heaven for him onto earth through my prayer on Saturday …

I left him on an “up” note … for we had discussed some pretty heavy stuff during our chat … and as we stood on the pavement saying goodbye he asked if I lived in the area.  I responded that yes we did, just around the corner, but that he did not have to track us down, we were not going to shake him off … and that he did not have to wait on the street to “bump” into us, but that we would meet again and that he would meet my husband … for I knew beyond a doubt that we too were called to be community to him, and to others, and I “saw” him again, beyond my own fears, and knew that he could and he would be transformed by God’s love, just as myself, Graham Cooke and David Wagner had been … if he chose to accept the invitation of friendship that God was so clearly giving him … and I knew that if he did accept God’s invitation of friendship he would see again and again that …

God is Good!

Saturday morning rush … stopping for the one …

I sensed there would be a park to the left … but for some unfathomable reason I drove straight … I looked … there was a park there and I had missed it and the car in front of me took the one I had my eye on …

“Blow!”

I drove up well past where I needed to go for bread and the much-needed coffee.  I had a frantic morning of drop offs, collecting clothes, getting food for children, and pick ups from ballet before I headed back to the conference at church, a 30 plus minute drive away …

As I pulled into the park in front of the post office I wondered if there would be a God assignment … and I recalled the treasure hunt God encounter from a couple of years before … there was no-one there … I shrugged, figuring God knew I was way too busy to stop anyway …

I quickly headed up to the stores I needed to visit, got my “stuff” and walked briskly back … forgetting the thoughts of before, focused on getting my coffee home so I could relish a little bit of chocolate that was sitting on my kitchen bench before I started the whole crazy pace of life again …

As I approached the post office I noticed a man sitting in the sunshine, he looked homeless, so I started praying for him as I strode firmly towards my car … warm coffee in hand, relishing the thought of maybe 10 minutes on my own with a little piece of chocolate and coffee … but as I prayed for this stranger I knew that God wanted me to stop, go back to him and offer to pray … it was time to stop for the one …

I turned, walked up to him smiling and excused my interruption.  I explained I was a Christian and had felt that I should offer to pray, and told him that rather than walk past him and pray for him privately, I was to stop for him at that moment …

He looked and said “yes”, so I asked for his hand and as he looked up at me he gently said would I please sit by his side …

I did a quick mummy calculation … time to sit? … I had two children to collect, 10 minute drive there, clothes to collect from home, food to get ready, children had to be changed …

I sat.

I knew the children would be safe, the chocolate would be nearly as good without the coffee, and giving my time here was of eternal benefit, as compared with my own strong desire to steal 10 minutes on my own.

It was God’s heart.

He started to tell his story …

He was Polish, had fought in a war, seen people die, was lonely, was divorced, and had sat here friendless day after day watching people … happy people … walk past him and never stopping … no-one loved him he said …

I looked into his eyes and said,

“Well God does!  He asked me to stop for you.  I was praying for you as I walked past, but He said to stop for you because He loves you …”

And I prayed, in the sunshine, holding the hand of a dishevelled and broken stranger, drinking coffee as I sat on a bench outside our local post office …

I prayed and searched God for the words, for the insight … and all I could think of was to pray for Peace, for a sense of God’s love to flow into him, for Hope and for Joy … I prayed for friends and companionship, and that he would know and sense the Holy Spirit, that he would feel God and know he was never alone …

He told me more of his story …

He no longer saw friends, suffered with depression, he had been raised a Catholic, but he had given it the … flick … (and he gestured violently with his arms) … and in rebellion against his father he had joined the army and flung himself out of planes … he had been married and had a child who he never saw … he would sit on this bench and no-one would stop … “but you did” he said …

I felt God prompt me to give him my husband’s mobile number … I did … and we chatted briefly about the testimonies I had heard from David Wagner at the conference and how David had been suicidal but he couldn’t successfully kill himself … he said he had tried to kill himself too … I then told him some of Graham Cooke’s story (click here for testimony) and he relished the testimonies of two men one so damaged and broken as a young boy who had tried to kill himself so many times the other also broken as a young boy and running from the law … and how both had become full of a loving God, working miracles and signs and wonders and how they were fully whole … his eyes lit up at the possibilities …

I mentioned church, and gave the details but I knew that was too much of a step for him … I knew I had to invite him into my world … our world, instead … I didn’t want to I had befriended mentally ill people before, and I knew it could be an intense experience … and anyway … he was a man … not my job …

I then felt God prompt me to give him the CD pack I had in my bag for a friend.  It was a Bill Johnson CD pack called Enduring Faith.  The first CD had been recorded a week or two prior to Bill Johnson’s father dying and the second CD had been recorded the week after … it was a powerful and strong message of faith when it appears the victory is gone …

I argued with God. 

These CD’s were for my friend.  I had promised to lend them to her.  They had our surname written on them, and our home phone number.  I had given him my husbands first name.  He could work out where we lived.  He was a stranger, a man, I have young children … the thoughts flooded my mind … the fears, the “what ifs” …

I listened again … and I gave him the CDs …

As I left him smiling on the bench in the sunshine he told me he had planted tomatoes and they were growing on his balcony (he wasn’t homeless after all) … and he was looking forward to the crop … I could see he had caught some hope … and he said he would sit there again and wait to see if I would walk past again some time soon …

I jumped into my car, with the thoughts rushing through my head of what I needed to accomplish next, and as I drove past I waved to him, and he waved back, still smiling … and as I did I knew we were to be the community he so earnestly desired, wanted, needed.  I could see him whole …

I could see him full of Jesus, I could see him as God saw him …

We were to invite him into our world … we were to be the hands and feet of Jesus to him and so we were to invite him into our world, into a world with Jesus … and in doing so we would be inviting him into the family of Christ … and in doing so I trust that he will know that …

God is Good!

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