(Gal. 1:15-16, Ps. 139:13-16, Eph. 2:10)
Each one of us has a destiny that God has purposed for us. Many biblical references come to mind as I consider this. I was reminded this morning of realizing that my mother prayed something specific about me when I was in her womb. She never shared such with me but I think it must be so. She was a godly woman, a person who believed and trusted in God and Jesus Christ. She had a miscarriage before I was born by way of a Cesarean operation. Mom was a very small framed woman. I think she prayed something like Hannah did before she conceived and gave birth to Samuel. You will have to search that story out in 1 Samuel.
Whatever she may have prayed exactly I don’t know. I eventually came to the awareness that the Living God had called me to a purpose which He knew beforehand. This is true of every believer. While He has a personal, individual, and very specific purpose for each of us, a common calling overrules those. That is the calling recorded in Romans 8:28-30. His calling and purpose are wrapped up in His Son, Jesus Christ. To enter the kingdom of God is to be found in Him, having died to our former way of life. This has a very practical outworking through true ministry and connections with His people. We may move in different circles but those should be leading and encouraging us to grow closer to the Lord Jesus Himself. And by Him to our Father, our Abba, in heaven.
For me, and for each of us, this begins in a deep, personal, encounter with Christ. That is the beginning and the rest is a growth to true maturity. As in natural lives, some do not grow, whether through fear or other hindrances. We all know of people who are immature, unable to cope with daily life. We must pass through seasons and our own wilderness type experience. In that place, everything of unbelief and mistrust must be lost. We lose our self-reliance and find the Lord to be our source for everything, spiritually and physically. Then, we must enter the land, the life experience, of our inheritance, driving out, by the life and strength of Christ within, every hindering spirit.
Early in my spiritual walk, I met and was drawn to many in what we might call Pentecostal and Charismatic circles. Yet my exposure also included those not typically seen as “Pentecostal”. An understanding registered that this Christian way was not about a superficial life but an ever deepening relationship and journey. Reading Watchman Nee, A. W. Tozer, T. Austin-Sparks, Keith Green’s Last Days Ministries’ newsletters, David Wilkerson, and others, I became hungry to see God’s purpose in my life fulfilled. Along the way, many times, the Spirit of the Lord kindly turned me away from trying to be one of them. I am so grateful that the life of Christ in them left a deposit in me. I was fed, watered, cultivated, and pruned by them. Now I will mention that women were involved much also. Elizabeth Elliot wrote of her husband, Jim. Gwen Shaw, Jeanne Guyon, Martha Wing Robinson, and Amy Carmichael to name some others had impact on me. More recently, Kathryn Kuhlman and Ruth Heflin added to my life.
These are in the cloud of witnesses. More immediately, are the many whom I have met and sat in meetings with. Wade Taylor, Devern Fromke are two significant ones. Others who have brought life are more well-known and their giftings are significant. Yet, they were not of the same stature as these two. I do not mean to be critical, simply a personal observation. One does not have to be in the presence of someone of maturity for a long time for true impartation to happen. With Jesus, healing was immediate, when someone came close to Him. Demonic deliverance typically took a moment or two. Now concerning the cloud of witnesses, I have in the last few years become increasingly aware of their presence. That is also true of angelic presence. We must at all times keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ. It is easy to become fascinated with spiritual realities and become distracted. Remember, Jesus Himself was visited by Moses and Elijah. And Peter, James, and John witnessed that meeting. Peter becomes an object lesson for us when he wants to memorialize it.
Such encounters are purposeful. The Lord sends such for encouragement, instruction, and counsel. I wonder whether the old creeds of the earlier church meant some contact with those among the cloud when they spoke of the “communion of the saints” they were including those in that cloud? That is a question, not a doctrinal statement. Whatever the case then, visits are happening more in the current days. On two occasions I was in a meeting where Bob Jones shared a few words. He was a wonderful brother with a heart of compassion and a laser sharp spirit of discernment. The words he spoke were amazingly on target. It had to be God. He has since passed into heaven. I have been aware of him prodding me on and encouraging me. When I shared specifics of those fleeting encounters with some who knew him, they said, “That’s Bob.” I will continue this theme in the next post.