"The gatekeeper opens the gate for him,
and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him.
He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
After he has gathered his own flock,
he walks ahead of them
and they follow him because they know his voice."
John 10:3-4 NLT
In 2005, I was a part of a ministry school in our area. One of the activities they had us do - was on listening to God and on giving.
We were about ready to go on holiday break and one of the speakers gave us a prayer activity to do. He told us to ask God how much money we were to set aside and to ask God when and where we were to give it.
Mike, the boys and I were getting ready to head to Hawaii on vacation. As I prayed ... and did my prayer assignment .... I felt the Lord tell me to set aside 3 - $100 bills and that he would tell me who to give them to and when.
We were about 3/4 of the way into the trip and those bills were in my wallet. I kept waiting to know who would be blessed by God. My boys were all excited too. Our trip became more of an adventure because we were on the lookout for who God wanted to bless.
I will never forget the night we sat down to dinner and it happened. As soon as the waiter walked up ... my heart started beating out of my chest. Sweat began to pour down and I began to struggle with intense fear. I knew something weird was happening.
I knew in that moment, that I knew God wanted to bless this young kid. And because of the look on my face ... the boy's knew this man - was the man!
I sat there during the whole dinner freaking out. This was my first time really listening to the Holy Spirit like this ... and doing something he was asking me to do.
I argued with God during the whole dinner ... all while my boy's lectured me on why I needed to obey God. I kept thinking - 'who taught them this stuff on obedience anyways'? Geez. Don't you love it when you kids start mentoring you and holding you accountable?!
After going back and forth with the Lord, I simply just could not speak out what was on God's heart for this young kid. So, I asked the Lord if I could write it on the back of the paper receipt/check.
So, I gave him the normal tip and then added the additional $100 bills. I also added a note on the back of the check.
A few minutes later, I see the young man off in the corner reading the note - sobbing. God had intervened and touched his heart.
He came over and shared with me about how he had been praying for this money to come in ... in order to pay for his next semester of classes at school.
He was struggling to know if God was going to be faithful to help him. Like the deep struggling that brings you to tears.
This experience was one of many - that made me want to be a different kind of Christian.
One that lives from these sorts of experiences in every day. Truly just being a pencil in his hand -and letting people know God exists in small and tangible ways.
I don't always obey like this. Around the same time frame, I was at the state fair with my boy's and we walked by a new age tarot card booth. As we walked by the Lord strongly prompted me and said that he wanted me to go over and to pray with the women that was giving spiritual readings.
He wanted me to lead her into a personal relationship with Christ. He wanted me to boldly tell her she was serving the wrong kingdom. Geez. Who wants to say that to someone?
He wanted me to tell her how amazing Jesus Christ was and how awesome it was serving God and walking in an intimate relationship with Him!
He wanted me to talk to her about the Kingdom of God.
My boy's at the time were 4 and 6 years old. I had every reason in the book why I couldn't obey God. Namely, my kids were just too little ... and they were very active boys who in a moment could be gone climbing some wall ... and being that we were at the state fair and I was alone there with them .... I walked away ... disobeying God.
I repented of course, and asked God to forgive me and His grace washed over me - but I often wonder how her life would be different if instead of serving the kingdom of darkness she was serving God. I wonder what amazing things she would be doing for him now?
The lesson here - is to not say - hey, look what I did - but to say - this sort of experience is available to all of us.
We all have the opportunity to hear God's voice and to be led by His Spirit in blessing others.
We simply have to listen and then step out into obedience to do it!
And to receive His grace when we fail to listen.
An encounter that reveals the Truth ... God is real and God does care.