Category Archives: Be Inspired

Someone else’s faith and a mustard seed

It was the early 70s. The Beatles, public demonstrations and disorder (sound familiar?), gas shortage lines1, and the Vietnam war were in full swing. It was the “sign of the times.” 

In 1971, the Jesus Revolution was Time magazine’s featured front cover.  It was a period in history of soul searching, of looking inward. We were trying to figure out who and what we were, and where we were going as a human race. For me, I wanted the assurance of going to heaven when I died and not to be left behind.

In January of ‘72, I became a believer in Jesus Christ during the Jesus Movement. The ‘turn on, tune in, drop out’ counterculture was discovering a new way to live as many “long beautiful hair, shining, gleaming, steaming, flaxen, waxen, give me down to there hair, shoulder length or longer2 haired hippies began to embrace the gospel. I was now “getting high on Jesus,” “Peace and Love.”  Hey, what about “God is groovy” and “Smile God loves you.” 

On my college campus I made friends with a charismatic group of Jesus People who believed in miracles, signs and wonders, faith, healing, and powerful works of the Holy Spirit. Many testified to having supernatural experiences similar to those recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, especially speaking in tongues. I wanted what they had. And so, I began attending an Assembly of God church which operated in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

At first, my faith to believe in miracles was … well, let’s just say, challenged. In my previous church, I was taught miracles, signs, and wonders ended with the apostles. Many denominational churches and pastors are trained in skeptical unbelief and rejection of the supernatural. They do not believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as healing and words of knowledge, that they are for today. In Christianity, the word of knowledge is a spiritual gift listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8. It is simply the Holy Spirit transmitting His specific knowledge to you about someone or something that you would have no ability or means to be able to know otherwise with your limited intelligence and knowledge levels. It is supernatural knowledge and insight being given directly to you by the Holy Spirit Himself, not by your mind or your intelligence. These words of knowledge, that you can receive directly from the Holy Spirit, can literally cover an infinite number of things in your daily life from simple things such as where you misplaced your car keys to having a supernatural revelation about someone or yourself. Have any of you had a prophetic word of knowledge shared with you that was spot on?  Ever wonder how they knew? 

My faith is challenged

Back to the story. Eddie Smith, an evangelist faith healer, was coming to Kearny, New Jersey to lead a weekend healing revival service. I had heard of faith healers before, but mostly by hearing and reading accounts of famous people such as Smith Wigglesworth and Oral Roberts. There were numerous claims of divine healing during their ministries.  Now I would get to see one.

Was freedom from disease God’s will on earth? Was the kingdom of God now and not yet in its fullness? Meaning that healing and the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for today and not just when we are resurrected with new bodies. Perhaps these questions would be put to bed after this weekend. No more questioning. PROOF that miracles, signs, and wonders were for today!

I asked my younger brother, who was also a new Christian if he wanted to go with me. He replied that he would.  So, the two of us on a Friday evening hopped in my Forest Green 1968 Volkswagen Beetle and drove to the church where the revival was happening. If you weren’t looking for it, it was easy to pass by. The small suburban white clapboard Assembly of God church on Elm Street had no parking and sat nestled between houses no more than 20 to 25 feet apart on a tree-lined street resulting in it blending in with the other houses. The church, as you can see from the picture below was neither attractive nor spacious, although, it comfortably accommodated a small congregation of people just under a hundred. There were no ornate stain-glassed windows, church bells, or an inviting entranceway or vestibule as many might be accustomed to. It was plain to look at on the outside, but on the inside, there was something extraordinary about to happen.

My brother and I waited momentarily under the aluminum awning behind other attendees ahead of us. As we approached the door, a man warmly greeted us. “Welcome. Glad to see you.”  We acknowledged his greeting and then went in.

Inside, the room was already packed to overflowing. We were fortunate to find a couple of seats on the end of a pew about 8 rows back from the front where I could stretch out my long legs into the aisle. We then sat back and waited for the service to start.

There was a buzz in the air with people talking loudly while others sat quietly, anxiously waiting for the service to begin. Not long afterward, the senior pastor of the Assembly then quieted the room and opened with prayer and singing before introducing Eddie Smith.  Like most churches, there was no clapping to welcome the guest evangelist and faith healer, as would have been customary if this were a theatrical production. But this was not theater; this was a REVIVAL!   

Eddie Smith opened with a couple of jokes in typical British humor. “Who here has a crick in their neck?” A guy in the audience stood up. “I am suffering from a pain in the neck,” he said. “Well,” Eddie Smith replied with a sly smile, “will you please ask your wife to approach the altar?”  Sounds like Smith was trying to get to the real source of this guy’s “pain in the neck.”   LOL.

Eddie Smith was a heavyset man with an authoritative presence. I looked curiously on as he had words of knowledge of healing for those in attendance. “Who in this room is suffering from one leg being shorter than the other?” Unequal leg length is a rare condition where the legs are either different lengths or appear to be different lengths because of misalignment.  “The Lord wants to heal you,” he said.  A person stood up and made his way to the front of the room. There was an abnormal gate to his stride. Smith asked him to sit down in a chair and stretch out both legs so that he could assess his condition. There was an expectancy in the room that something miraculous was about to happen. I looked on in wonderment, hoping.  Would one of his legs actually grow out?  “In the Name of Jesus,” Eddie Smith commanded the one short leg to grow out, and it did! The room erupted in loud shouts of praise and raising of hands. Many more healings also happened that night. This made me want to come back the next evening. What miracles would God do again on Saturday?  I looked forward with expectancy.

The second evening of meetings was also packed to overflowing. You could just feel the excitement and expectation.  Much the same as the previous night, Eddie Smith had words of knowledge for those who needed healing, and again many were healed. Then I heard, “Who in this room has plantar warts?”  I was stunned, shocked into disbelief. How could he know that I suffered from plantar warts?  Plantar warts are small growths that usually appear on the heels or other weight-bearing areas of your feet that can cause extreme pain.  It was true that I suffered from plantar warts, but I thought Eddie Smith couldn’t mean “Little, Ol’ Me.”   I reasoned it must be someone else. And so, I did not respond, nor did anyone else answer the invitation to go forward for plantar warts. When I didn’t respond, Eddie Smith continued inviting others to be healed for other ailments.  Why didn’t I go out on a limb? Was it because I might risk failing, or look foolish? I didn’t like being the center of attention. But mostly, I believe it was to deflect disappointment if I were not healed of my plantar warts.

Final Invitation

Again, Eddie Smith made the same invitation as earlier – “There is someone here with plantar warts.  Won’t you please come forward?” Nothing. Crickets. No one moved. Deep inside I knew the invitation was for me, but I still didn’t respond.  “Nope! Can’t do it. No way!”

It was not until the third and final invitation of the evening when my brother nudged me.  That’s you, bro. You have to go up.”  I was stubborn and refused to budge.  “This is the 3rd and last time I will make this invitation for someone with plantar warts to come forward. I want you to come up here right now!”  Finally, my brother then got this brilliant idea to push me out of my pew. Next thing I knew, I stood frozen like a deer in headlights for everybody to notice. It was too late for me to retreat, so, I tepidly approached Eddie Smith. He was expectantly waiting.  

As I stood there, Eddie Smith laid hands on me and called on all of heaven and the Name of Jesus to heal me from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. It was not some feeble prayer lacking strength or boldness. “O God. You invite all who are burdened to come to You. We therefore implore thee Almighty Father to heal, should it be your gracious and sovereign will.” It was instead with authority that Eddie Smith commanded.  “In Jesus’ Name, plantar warts leave right now! GO! In the Name of Jesus.” There was no reservation or doubt in his voice, only a complete and unwavering faith that I would be healed by the blood of Jesus.

Reaching out His hand, He touched him, saying, “I am willing; be made clean,” and immediately the disease left him. (Luke 5:13)

What was I feeling? To be honest, I felt nothing short of nothing. Crazy, huh? I didn’t fall to the floor and start to shake and roll. I didn’t feel a surge of electricity go through me or tingling in my extremities. My eyes didn’t flutter, nor did I hear God’s speak audibly or even in a small still voice to my spirit. I felt nothing. I heard nothing. Absolutely, NOTHING!  I was more self-conscious of being the focus of everyone’s attention and looking foolish, that I moved rather quickly back to my seat after Eddie Smith finished praying for me. Phew! That was embarrassing.

When I got home that night, I went straight to my room to get ready for bed. As I sat on the edge of my bed, I began taking my sock off when my hand rubbed against the bottom of my foot. I was completely taken by surprise as I wasn’t expecting to be healed.  Miraculously, the bottom of my foot felt smooth and without blemish. God had completely healed me of plantar warts!  To this day, they have never returned!

Multiple faiths at work

God works in miraculous ways, despite our inadequacies and little faith. Did I believe in healing for myself?  I wasn’t sure.  However, there had to have been a mustard seed of faith to bring me and my brother to the revival meeting.  

Matthew 17:20 “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

It took my brother’s little faith to push me and encourage me to move from my seat so that I might experience more of God.

It took Eddie Smith’s great faith to command, with the authority he had in Jesus’ Name, “Be healed!”  As the disciples were empowered to do the things that Christ did, so are we today. John 14:12-14 is a wonderful verse that we must believe is for TODAY.

Sometimes it is also through God’s prophetic word and other’s testimonies of personal healing that move us to greater faith to believe.

Ultimately, however, it was because Jesus heard the Father’s heart for me. It was because of the Father’s tender kindness, His grace, His compassion, and His constant love for me that He chose to heal me. (Psalm 69:16).

Has this whet your appetite to hear more?  I want to create hunger in you to desire more Holy Spirit as it did for me following that evening in 1973.

Take a moment to sit quietly with the Lord and invite the Holy Spirit to speak to you. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you about God’s heart for you. God desires to not only save us but to empower us and commission us to do the things Jesus did.  It is God’s will for you to grow in faith. God desires to heal your body and soul. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you His truths in scripture.

“I tell you this timeless truth: The person who follows me in faith, believing in me, will do the same mighty miracles that I do—even greater miracles than these because I go to be with my Father! For I will do whatever you ask me to do when you ask me in my name. And that is how the Son will show what the Father is really like and bring glory to him.  Ask me anything in my name, and I will do it for you!” – John 14:12-14

Have you personally received healing in your life or administered healing in the Name of Jesus? What was your experience? Would you share it?

Copyright 2020 by Bill Hutzel

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FOOTNOTE
1 America Out of Gas – A Lesson in Patience by Bill Hutzel, 2016
2 “Hair” by the Cowsills, 1969

Is God your vision, or are you looking through broken spectacles?

Is God the focus of your every thought? Do you consider God’s will when you are making decisions? Do you trust in God to establish your every step? Does God delight in your ways? Is He your total abandon?

Trust in God for all things.
He is the light that redeems.
He is the light that restores.
He is the light that heals.
He is the light that protects.
He is the light that saves.
Almighty God, we thank you.


Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth
(Colossians 3:2)

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best thought, by day or by night;
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Copyright 2019 by Bill Hutzel

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Have you gotten infected?

We often think of infection as a bad thing, as a disease that invades a body’s organism resulting in illness, and which is often communicable. It can cause fear and widespread panic if not contained. However, there is another kind of infection – God’s love.  It too is infectious. It too is communicable. It too is transmissible. God’s love is 1 Corinthians 13. 

Here’s how Infectious Love affects your body:

Head – Your thoughts become more loving, kind, compassionate, gentle, generous.

Eyes – When you see the whole good in someone from God’s perspective, you will tend to linger, gaze longer and more intently than you used to.

Ears – You will be more prone to hearing good and loving conversation. Your hearing will shut down when gossip and malicious lies are spoken. You will begin to hear what was once faint, God’s voice more clearly – loving and guiding you.

Mouth – You will speak words of love, kindness, compassion, and understanding. Your voice will become more gentle and tender. You will call out, and talk to the least in the room, the one who looks like they are hurting; your love to and for them easily communicated.

Heart – Your heart will bleed for the lost and hurting and will only stop bleeding when you pray for the person and hand them over to Father God. Your heart is soft and pliable like a gummy bear, not like rock candy.

Hands – You reach out to help steady someone who is about to fall and pick up the one who has fallen.  You stroke the face of the elderly, or a child, or one’s whose face is tear-filled or dirty.

Arms – You hug without abandon and continue to hug until the person begins to squirm;  then give one more tight squeeze and say, “You are now infected by Love. Go and do likewise.”

“Go and do likewise,” Jesus said.  Do not allow infectious love to stay localized but go out and spread it. Note, however, once infected, there is NO CURE; there is no inoculation against it once contracted.

God’s Infectious Love is of the most contagious kind. I hope you get it!

Copyright 2020 by Peggy Castorri

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Boy with Hearing and Vision Loss Healed


Global Awakening Brazil Mission Trip, March 2019 …..

I prayed for a young boy and his mother. The boy, who was around 10-years old, complained of rapidly diminishing eyesight. I covered the boy’s eyes with my hands and prayed, but there was no change. I prayed again, and again there was no progress, and so, I called my wife, Peggy, over to discern why the boy was not responding to prayer.  We work well together as a team.

When interviewing the mother, she asked if anyone else in the family had issues with their eyes, and the answer was yes.  It was generational, and so, we led them in prayer to fall out of agreement with any generational curses. Further questioning revealed that the mother had a tumor behind her ear 3-years prior that affected her eyesight and hormones for which she received treatment and was healed. This led to her concluding that perhaps her son’s eye issue and complaining of hearing loss may also be connected.

The boy was at least 50% deaf in his left ear. So, I placed my hands on both ears and began praying for restored hearing.  After a brief time, I stopped and softly spoke to his left ear and snapped my fingers. Still, he did not respond. I continued to pray and commanded his hearing to return. This time there was some improvement, so I continued to pray. Then, he smiled. He said that he could hear clearly, that both ears were the same. His hearing was 100% in both ears!   

When I snapped my fingers by John’s left ear and asked him something, there was no response.

There was still the issue with John’s eyesight. While I was praying for the boy’s hearing, Peggy pulled the mother aside to talk to her and discovered that her pastor had told her a year ago that she had healing abilities. Sensing that the Holy Spirit wanted to build her faith with the prophetic word given, we agreed and immediately told her to lay hands on her son’s eyes. She started shaking, crying, saying “I don’t know how or what to do”. We said, “just let God speak through your heart”.

We then watched God through this mom, pour out His love and healing power to her son.

Although we were ushered from the hall to catch our bus short of a final interview, when we looked back, we saw the boy leaving with his family. John was no longer wearing his glasses.

Hallelujah, Gloria Deus!

Copyright 2019 by Bill Hutzel

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2 Healing Stories

There is substantial biblical evidence to show that healing ministry and miraculous spiritual gifts are for today. So, the more we understand the Bible, the more we will see the manifestation of the promises of God available to us. God wants us to realize that the potential for releasing the supernatural is in and through The Cross. The cross is the fountainhead from which all blessings flow, including miracles, healings, and the power of the kingdom.

Everything that belongs to the Father belongs to me” (John 16:14, TPT). “Jesus said that the Father had given him everything as an inheritance, and it is the Holy Spirit who transfers everything to us through His declarations. “It is said that when a kernel of corn is planted, every kernel that grows on the resulting ear of corn has the exact same DNA as the original kernel in the ground. Jesus became the ultimate seed that was planted in death, and we were born again of the same Spirit that raised Him from the dead. Every born-again believer has the DNA of Christ!” (Bill Johnson and Randy Clark, The Essential Guide to Healing, Equipping All Christians to Pray for the Sick, p. 147).

I tell you this timeless truth: The person who follows me in faith, believing in me, will do the same mighty miracles that I do—even greater miracles than these because I go to be with my Father! 13 For I will do whatever you ask me to do when you ask me in my name. And that is how the Son will show what the Father is really like and bring glory to him. 14 Ask me anything in my name, and I will do it for you!” (John 14:12-14, TPT)

Simple trust in God, plus obedience, opens the door to His miraculous provisions for you.

Here are a couple of accounts where I personally witnessed God’s healing miracles during my Brazil 2019 mission trip.

GLORY FOR GLORY

Glory came forward for prayer with severe pain in her left shoulder. The pain traveled her entire arm to her hand. The level of pain on a scale of 1 to 10 was a 10. Interestingly, God brought me someone who was experiencing exactly the same pain that I was healed for at Voice of the Apostles in October 2017. And so, I began praying over her repeatedly, “pain go now” and “thank you Jesus”. After a short while I asked her if she was feeling anything. No, she replied, the pain was still a 10.

I knew from experience that if the pain had not decreased, there was very likely a deeper reason for her not being healed immediately. So, I asked her if there were any known curses on her, and/or unforgiveness. To both she said yes.

The Bible is very clear that harboring unforgiveness in our hearts is sin. And, if we are not actively seeking to forgive those who have hurt us, it will break our fellowship with God. We won’t experience everything God has to offer us, and that includes God’s healing in our own bodies. I prayed the curse off her first and then asked her to forgive those who had hurt her.  I prayed again and asked her after a short while if the pain had left. Her eyes were wet with tears. The pain was completely gone!  Glory received both emotional and physical healing. 

BACK HEALED

Renato was experiencing pain in his lower back and legs and was unable to bend at the waist without much pain. His level of pain was pretty bad. I began praying for him, and after a short while, I asked him again what he was feeling. His pain had slightly diminished. I continued praying until it was almost gone, and then gone! I asked Renato if he could do anything now that he couldn’t do before. He then proceeded to bend at the waist and touch his toes. He could also turn side to side at the waist. The pain was completely GONE! Thank you, Jesus! Glory to God!

Copyright 2019 by Bill Hutzel

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Biblical reasons for being healthy

What does the Bible say about a healthy mind and body? Here are just a few.   

  1. We are God’s holy temple. God wants us to take care of it.
  2. Having a healthy body honors God.
  3. It’s being a good example to other people.
  4. Being healthy in mind and body means having more energy, experiencing clearer thinking, and a more abundant life.
  5. You can change! What we believe determines our actions.

We are God’s holy temple

Do you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? This is one area that I neglected in my life.  Unhealthy eating habits, including missed meals because I got too busy, or eating convenient foods that were fast but not nutritious, I neglected God’s temple in me.

”Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NLT)

 

Having a healthy body honors God

Whether you eat or drink, live your life in a way that glorifies and honors God, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Honoring God also does not mean that we need to be legalistic about what we eat. However, fueling our bodies with proper nutrients and nutritionally cleansing (intermittent fasting) of toxins is essential.  Many of the foods that we buy at the grocery store are being treated with pesticides, fungicides, and hormones. Food is just one source of toxicity entering our bodies.

So, “whether you eat or drink, live your life in a way that honors God” (1 Corinthians 10:31, The Passion Translation).

Having a healthy mind and body is being a good example to others

Be a good example to others. “Look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4)

When we are healthy, people want what we have. No one looks at someone who is overweight, weak and tired, or scatterbrained and says, “Hey, I want to be just like them!” On the contrary, when I want to be like those who look healthy, and mentally and spiritually alive. Are you being an example of someone who is healthy in mind and body?

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (Philippians 4:8, NIV). This scripture is meant to inspire and give hope, not condemn. When you haven’t fueled your brain with proper nutrients it’s difficult to think about what is admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. It’s like desiring to drive the full distance, but your tank is only half full. 

Being healthy in mind and body means having more energy, experiencing clearer thinking and a more abundant life

What you think is what you become. “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7, NKJV).

Similarly, what we eat is what we become. If you eat “healthy food”, you nourish your body and soul. Healthy food provides the right kinds of energy, clearer thinking, strengthens your body against diseases, and prolongs life. Eating “Junk food” and other unhealthy choices have the opposite effect. Unhealthy choices break down the body’s complex systems resulting in malnutrition, lack of energy, the inability to think clearly, and the inability for the body to resist disease.  Unhealthy choices are also toxic to the body, and ultimately steal the abundance of life and longevity that God intended for us.

In the last 2 months, I have made several healthy life changes, and I am already experiencing less stress, more energy, more clarity, better focus, and a better mindset. I am happier and healthier, and people are taking notice.  I was inspired to change “my normal” to a new normal after seeing a change in my wife, although one of her reasons for the change was to lose weight, it was not mine. Mine was for healthy aging and wealth. Yes, I said wealth. A better healthy mind and body has realized an amazing financial opportunity as well.   My future is looking better each day and I am empowered to make it so.

Jesus said, “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” (John 10:10, AMP)  

What we believe determines our actions

Often times our picture of health is influenced by the world around us. Currently, more than 69% of adults in North America are considered overweight or obese. You may be believing that 2 out of 3 people overweight is okay. Is that the new normal?

I challenge you. Close your eyes and try to envision a picture of Jesus.  I am seeing him as muscular, energized, and highly focused. I am not seeing Him as overweight, sickly, non-energetic or foggy brained. Jesus is the opposite, he is physically, mentally, and emotionally strong even under pressure and temptation. We, however, often make choices that counter God’s pre-programmed design for our body types. Getting our appetites under control and fueling our bodies with proper nutrients is not only necessary, but biblical.

I believe the future will be better than the present and my choices will make it so. I suspect that if you also believe the same and want a deeper relationship with God, you can choose to start a journey towards a healthier mind and body.

Ask yourself the following:

  1. How important is it to you to improve your health and well-being? Write your answer.
  2. How important, then, is what you just wrote vital to you?
  3. Then, what are some areas that need improvement? (e.g. stress, energy, belly fat, vitality, longevity, mental clarity, hunger cravings, appetite control, depression, weight wellness, regularity, endurance and overall performance, immune system, sugar addiction, etc.)
  4. Now, what’s your next step?

Start by consistently declaring truths over yourself as you present yourselves a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, not being conformed to this world, but being “transformed by the renewing of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2)

  • I am not who my past says I am; I am who God says I am. (Steve Backlund)
  • I’ve decided to honor God by making my body healthy, and my actions will radically restore my body as it was designed by God.
  • I am determined to achieve a healthy mind and body
  • I will be victorious.
  • As I am transformed in my body, mind and soul, others will see a difference and will be encouraged to improve their well-being.
  • I am committed to making my body healthy, and I will follow through with what I say I will do.

 “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” (3 John 1:2 ESV)

For the next step in your healthy mind and body journey as you co-labor with God, I would be glad to share with you some simple systems to help your specific needs.  Please feel free to message me at 908-500-6690 or email me at bhutzel@inspirationandhope.org.

Copyright 2018 by Bill Hutzel and Peggy Castorri-Hutzel

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Desires of the Heart

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4)

The following thought-provoking questions are shared from a page on Facebook called Shareable Truth (August 25, 2017).  I gained a new perspective on this frequently cited and often misunderstood passage in the Bible.

 

 

 

  • Delight yourself in the Lord, SO that he will give you the desires of  your heart?  NO
  • Delight yourself in the Lord, IF he gives you the desires of your heart?  NO
  • Delight yourself in the Lord, IF he gives you the objects of your desire?  NO
  • Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will put HIS desires in your heart”? YES, and he will fulfill each one of them in His perfect time.

Many seem to think that Psalm 37:4 means that God will give us everything that we ask for; a job prayed for, a bigger house, a new car, or perhaps a husband or a wife. Sometimes he does give us our desires, but that is not always true. Sometimes we are sorely disappointed when God seemingly turns a silent ear. You might ponder then, if God is supposed to give me the desires of my heart, then why was I passed by for promotion, or why am I still single?  We often then become very introspective and frequently find blame when things don’t turn out as expected (desired).  “Have I not delighted in you Lord?”  “Did I do something wrong?” The answer, however, may be simply, your longings were never His will nor His desire to start with. But that is also not to say that your longings are not His desire, or that He will not give you the desires of your heart. Your longings may just not have been fulfilled yet according to His perfect timing and perfect will. Lord, help me to accept your will.

Let’s take a closer look at this verse. First, it says that we are to delight ourselves in the Lord. Taking delight in the Lord means that we find peace and fulfillment in the Lord, and we take pleasure in Him.  But it doesn’t mean that if we go to church every Sunday that God will give us that big house you’ve always dreamed of having, or that beautiful red Lamborgini.

Secondly, it says He will give you the desires of your heart. Many delight in temporal things, wealth, status, and material things of this world, but outside of God’s will, it is futile to think that we will ever achieve complete satisfaction and joy from those things. This is the bane of our worldly existence. However, when we commit our future to the Lord and trust in Him, He replaces our desires with His desires, his majesty, glory, and love so that we want nothing else. Have you first asked God what his desires are for you?

So here are some steps for satisfying every desire of your heart in Himself (not in myself).

  • Confess your sins
  • Turn from yourself to trusting in Him to change your heart. Your relationship is not just your knowledge of Him, but rather one of trust and intimacy.
  • Pray earnestly. Colossians 4:2 says “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving” (NAS).
  • Meditate on God’s Word so that He might be revealed through it. In other words, HEAR God. Don’t just read God’s word as a cerebral exercise to gain more head knowledge. Meditate to know Him more intimately and hear His voice. Close your mind to the incessant noise of “I want; I want; I want” reverberating through your head. Take several quiet minutes and just listen. Push all thoughts of “I want” from your mind and ask God to show you His will. In this, you will succeed in delighting in God, and you will be satisfied and filled with joy.
  • Wait on the Lord. Wait patiently for God’s promises because he will not disappoint those who seek him with all their heart.  “It won’t be a lie. If it’s delayed, wait for it. It will certainly happen. It won’t be late.” (Habakkuk 2:3, GOD’S WORD Translation).
  • Take God at His word. In Jeremiah 29:11-14 it says that God knows the plans he has for you, plans for well-being and not calamity, plans to give you a future filled with hope.  And when you call upon Him, it says that he will listen to you. And if you seek Him with all your heart, you will find him because HE HAS ALWAYS BEEN FAITHFUL (https://youtu.be/kmGB8568VwU).

And so, when you delight yourself in the Lord, and you own His desires as your desires, “He will give you the longings of your heart,” and you will be so satisfied in the Lord, that you will delight in nothing else, for His desires are our desires. That’s what I want. Having that translates as inexpressible and glorious joy and a life of contentment.

 

Copyright 2017 by Bill Hutzel

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Ready, Lights, Camera, Curtains!

(Image: Katie Hutzel Smith, theater production of Godspell, Gateway Dallas)

“Examine yourselves whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Or do you not recognize yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you, unless you are unapproved?” (2 Cor. 13:5, Berean Literal Bible)

Not all of you are musicians, actors or professional speakers, but as a Christian, you are always on stage. You don’t have to step out from behind the curtain to be in front of an audience. Whether you like it or not, you are already there, and people are always judging you and evaluating Jesus Christ as they see him in you.  Therefore, examine yourselves to see if your faith which you profess is genuine.

Do you ask yourself if you are careless with the truth?

Do you teach one thing and live another?

Are you prone to breaking promises?

Are you more eager to talk about Christ than to live for Him?

Are you following Christ’s example?

Your performance may not always be warmly accepted or received with applause from your peers, but “if you are living what you profess to believe, if Jesus Christ is filling your life with His presence and power, you will not only honor your blessed Lord but also gain the kind of respect that is eminently worth having.”[1]

A performance worthy of applause requires that day in and day out, Jesus Christ is lived with you and within you.

Copyright 2017 by Bill Hutzel

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[1] Walk With the King, eDevotion, August 18

 

Stage Fright

As I looked out from behind the stage curtain, I could see that the performance hall which accommodated nearly 2,000 people was packed, and on stage were seated many keynote speakers. I had been asked to speak on behalf of Chi Alpha and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship campus ministries while a student in college.

As a musician, I have experienced normal anxiety before going out on stage.  Typical thoughts go through your head such as “Can they see how nervous I am? I think my face is getting red.”  “What if I blow it? I think I’ll die if I make a mistake.”  “What if I lose my place in my music?  Will I have to start over again? That would be embarrassing.”  “What if I get dry mouth?”  “What if I cannot stay focused? …. I AM JUST SO NERVOUS!”

Over the years, however, I have learned a lot about overcoming nerves as I gained confidence as a player, but in this instance, my stage fright was directly proportional to my lack of speaking skills, lack of faith, and I was just plain old SCARED.  I guess I felt as Moses had when he pleaded with the Lord to excuse him from his calling.  “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled” (Exodus 4:10, NLT).

Yep, I was really having a bad time of it.  “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!”  “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.”  “Beam me up!!! …  will you?”

As I anxiously waited behind the stage curtain, I was approached by someone backstage.  “Would you pray for me?” he asked. I didn’t have to ask him what he wanted me to pray for, for one of his eyes was immensely swollen and closed shut. He explained that he had been stung by a bee.

GOD WORKS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS

All things are possible through prayer.

“And the prayer of faith shall save the sick …” (James 5:15).  Most people think that you must have lots of faith to heal the sick, yet, it was not my faith, but heaven interceding on my behalf to create faith in me for which I was lacking.

As I put my hand on his shoulder, I began to pray.  I did not close my eyes or bow my head in prayer but instead watched as all swelling over his eye disappeared.

PEACE I LEAVE WITH YOU; MY PEACE I GIVE TO YOU[1]

I was now pumped, and couldn’t wait to step out on the stage.  You see, I was a new Christian, and had never witnessed God’s healing power in this way before, and so I was, as you would expect, awed by God’s healing miracle; and all of a sudden, all fear of presenting in front of a large audience left me.

As I stepped out through the curtain on to the stage, I felt a surge of energy go through me, and an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I was jumping within and at the same time completely at peace. And as I began to speak, I detoured from my planned presentation to start by telling the audience about God’s miraculous healing of the person backstage.

My excitement was contagious, for the audience rose to their feet with arms outstretched and with cheers and clapping. I almost forgot why I was there to speak in the first place.  And as I went on and on about how this individual came to me and was healed, one of the keynote speakers looked at me, tapping his wrist as if to say, “it’s time to get on with your presentation now.”

I don’t believe that this incident was coincidental, rather it was orchestrated. Such orchestration you may have heard referred to as a God thing, a God wink, a touch from heaven, or God-incidence. It was orchestrated to strengthen my faith.

It is interesting also that I didn’t see this person again afterward.  Where did he come from?  What was he doing backstage?  Why was he not out in the audience?

There are many examples in the Bible where God sent an angel to give a specific message, to protect, or to serve a person. I believe that on this occasion, God sent an angel to minister to me in my distress and to strengthen my faith in Him to do what Jesus did.

If you have a God-incidence to share, won’t you please share it?

Copyright 2017 by Bill Hutzel

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[1] John 14:27, New American Standard Bible

Be Thou My Vision


Is God your vision, or are you looking through broken spectacles?

The 8th-century song “Be Thou My Vision” translated from Irish to English has inspired many a Christian today. Just listen to the words that reflect total abandonment from self to reliance on God for all things.

Be thou my meditation by day and night.
May it be thou that I behold even in my sleep.
Be thou my speech, be thou my understanding.
Be thou with me, be I with thee
Be thou my father, be I thy son.
Mayst thou be mine, may I be thine. 

Is God the focus of your every thought?
Do you consider God’s will when you are making decisions?
Do you trust in God to establish your every step? Does God delight in your ways?
Is He your total abandon?

If so, then God finds this commendable and He is pleased with you.

Make “Be Thou My Vision” your prayer for hope and strength.

Trust in God for all things.

He is the light that redeems.

He is the light that restores.

He is the light that heals.

He is the light that protects.

He is the light that saves.

Almighty God, we thank you.

Copyright 2017 by Bill Hutzel

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