Adventures in Flowing in God, Part 4

I began writing this as a continuation of a series of posts entitled Adventures in Flowing in God, but perhaps this should have been renamed “ADVENTURES IN FLOWING IN GOD … NOT SO MUCH THIS TIME.”

Do you ever wish to hear God, but you can’t? This is not an uncommon problem for the average Christian. Not hearing God’s voice, however, was never intended by God. Learning to discern and hear His voice is invaluable. I found this out on vacation in Arizona last September 2019.

Lovers of God have been given eyes to see
with spiritual discernment
and ears to hear from God.
(Proverbs 20:12)

So, why am I sharing this with you? What lesson did I learn?

TV and radio transmissions are broadcast 24/7 daily, but we can only hear a broadcast if we turn it on. Similarly, we can only hear God’s voice if we turn Him on and tune Him in. God is always transmitting. How’s your reception?

NOT HEARING FROM GOD

Although traffic was heavy, I left with plenty of time to arrive at International House of Prayer Eastern Gate by 6 o’clock for the Thursday evening service, and so I wasn’t particularly anxious; YET!  I was looking forward to playing in worship and was earnestly seeking Him and connecting with Him on my drive there.

UNTIL ….

I had never traveled this particular route before and so I depended on my GPS device to get me to my destination. Normally, the GPS is very reliable unless it loses its signal or goes awry, which is very infrequent.

The road was heavily traveled with lots of stops and starts due to lights and a large number of cars and trucks on the road. It was “rush hour. Frequently cars would cut in front of me to get in my lane. “Okay, Bill, take a deep breath and count to 3.”  I eased back on the accelerator and put a couple of car lengths in front of me, although what I really wanted to do was ride this guy’s tail and lay on the horn. I didn’t, however, remembering to BE FILLED with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18) rather than be filled with the flesh.

The female voice on my GPS alerted me to a turn coming up. Unlike my demeanor right now, there was no alarm in her voice as she matter-of-factly said, “Take next right turn in 500 feet.” I’ve gotten used to her voice. She is my friend. I don’t have a name for her, so I’ll just call her SHE. And so, I listened and followed her instructions.

But SHE’s instruction had to be wrong. Too late, I had already committed to making the turn. Why did SHE put me on a jug handle to go in the opposite direction from which I was traveling?  My frustration showed as I told her so in so many words. Have you ever had your GPS take you in circles as if it were confused? I have, and so I thought this was one of those times. Ignoring her, I instinctively got back on our original route. SHE did not correct me and allowed me to continue. I discounted the mistake to be a malfunction.

Sometime later, SHE instructed me to get in the leftmost lane. I did and then saw that I was in the left two lanes for the Holland Tunnel to New York City. “What!??? I’m not going to New York City.” What’s going on with SHE?”  Alarmed, I immediately put my right blinker on and edged my car into the middle lane. Still, with my blinker on I attempted to get into the rightmost lane to get on to the Pulaski Skyway to New Jersey. My car was rolling forward slowly with the traffic until I abruptly stopped. All cars came to a halt in front of me. When we started moving again, someone sped up and wouldn’t let me merge. “C’mon!,” my frustration showing again. Typical New Jersey driver! Ugh.

“Okay, enough of the horns already!” No one was allowing me to merge into their lane, and so I momentarily held up traffic in the middle lane until someone was kind enough to let me get in front of them, or perhaps it was I who got a little aggressive and cut the nose of my car in front of theirs until they had to yield. By this time, I had lost any feeling of the presence of God. I would have leaned on the horn but reconsidered. In New Jersey, if you annoy the driver in front of you, they will personally see to it that it takes you twice as long to get to where you are going. Can any of you new jerseyans relate?

The Pulaski Skyway is a 4-lane highway that runs for 3 ½ miles over two rivers and the New Jersey Meadowlands where rumor has it, Jimmy Hoffa’s body is buried underneath. It soars 135-feet into the air bypassing railroads, interstates, factories, oil refineries, and canals. Trucks, pedestrians, and bicycles are prohibited on the skyway because the four-lane highway, two in each direction, barely fits onto the structure, leaving no room for a shoulder or sidewalk. At one time, there were over 400 crashes a year on the highway and thus the reason for prohibiting commercial vehicles and pedestrians today.

Talk about not hearing from God. You assume the worst. What if I don’t get there at all? Yup, my frustration had gotten the better of me. We’ve all been there, done that. I needed to get back in the Spirit.

Over an hour into my route, SHE alerted me to  – “Route Memory Full,” and then my GPS stopped working. The maximum available memory had been exceeded. Why is this happening to me? If SHE were a real person I might have wondered, was SHE angry at me for something? Or was she just having a bad day and malfunctioned? We humans sometimes malfunction too. I was having one of those malfunctions right now and could not hear God as He had designed me to hear Him.

What do I do now?” I thought. I was completely lost without my GPS. But then I was quietly reminded in my spirit of my vacation in Arizona when my wife Peggy and I heard God’s voice for guidance. So, why not now? I thought. I needed to rely NOT on my GPS device but God’s Positioning Satellite instead.

It wasn’t so easy, though, under duress and the incessant chatter in my head. Instead of hearing God’s voice, I kept hearing – “You are going to be late; really late!” “Are you delusional?” “You can’t hear God for directions.” “How foolish of you to think that God would supernaturally guide your way there.” “Stop at a gas station and ask for directions.” Oops, I just passed one a 1/2 mile back.

“Take the next right,” I thought I heard in my spirit. But too late to respond I passed it and kept going. Did God really tell me to take that right-hand turn or was it all in my head?  The next right-hand turn was a dead-end. I kept going until I finally committed to the next right-hand turn. It seemed most logical and was at least in the right direction.

Hearing God was difficult. It felt too much like rowing an 8-man 60-foot long sculling boat against the tide and wind by myself. Where was my coxswain to encourage and guide me? If you don’t know what a Coxswain is, it is the person in charge of the boat, particularly its navigation and steering. During a race, a coxswain is responsible for steering and calling the moves. “LET IT RUN; LET IT GLIDE.”

Well, I certainly wasn’t a smooth-running vessel, and the finish line wasn’t in sight. Was God even listening to my cry of HELP? Had my coxswain fallen overboard? No, clearly the problem was not with God, but with me.

It would have been so much easier if my scull was equipped with sails to catch the wind, analogous to catching the Holy Spirit’s wind. Coming into alignment with the Holy Spirit then would be just like sailing, not by my own strength, but effortlessly with His breath. Things could then happen in our life that would otherwise not be possible, things like asking for small, even unorthodox things like this, not just the big things.  “Give ear and come to me” (Isaiah 55:3) – in everything!

Circumstances were different now than our vacation in Arizona where there was no deadline to be anywhere. Yet I won’t say that hearing God’s voice was not without some resistance, then, either. It was just different. Given our unfinished spiritual condition, we often resist God and withdraw from what He wants to show us. And so, this is where I had mentally retreated in my moment of panic.

Listening, like most disciplines is a skill we develop that comes from a deeper relationship with God that is developed by actually engaging with Him, by finding intimacy with Him.

My GPS device, by the way, did come back online, although it only worked intermittently. So, there were a couple of wrong turns, yet God still got me to IHOP with 7-minutes to spare. I was relieved that God came through despite my victim mentality to succumb to negativity.

HERE’S WHAT I LEARNED

In retrospect, I am now able to look back. I am convinced that God was always in control even though I wasn’t. When it seemed like I was facing problems at every turn (Haha, forgive the pun), I needed to be reminded of how God saw my problem. I needed a new perspective, a different thought process, a language nothing the world had ever heard before. Here’s what Graham Cooke said in his video The Language of Heaven.  “No problem can come to us without a provision and a promise attached to it.  A problem is meant to move us into God’s provision. What if a problem is so big? Then the promise is bigger than the problem. Imagine! It’s a new way of thinking. Every problem comes with a promise and a provision. Convert your negatives into something brilliant because Christ doesn’t want us to be victims of negative situations. We need a new mindset. We need a new language that describes who God is for me.”

I am learning how to step into God’s fullness when I have problems. I am learning how to step into my inheritance. Everything I face in life, whether small or large, is meant for me to become more like Jesus.

Have you set your sails, or are you still rowing under your own power? Who is your coxswain?

If you haven’t already read:  “Adventures in Flowing in God,” Parts 1, 2, and 3. Click on links below.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Copyright 2020 by Bill Hutzel

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A Curious Encounter

That’s me on my porch

(By: Cheryl Newland) I had a God-incidence that left quite an impression on me. I was making dinner for my husband. At the time we lived in a second-floor apartment of a nice older home with a large front porch. It was a lovely summer evening, and I decided to sit on the porch awhile waiting for him to arrive from work and left my dinner baking in the oven.

A little elderly lady was walking by, and we spoke. I invited her to sit with me on the porch as she looked rather tired. She did and as we talked she commented several times on how wonderful my dinner smelled. Her name was Mary, and I began to think that Mary must be awfully hungry, so I asked her to stay for dinner, all the while wondering what my husband would think about a stranger being in our home.
Thankfully, he didn’t seem to mind!

After dinner, Mary helped me clear the dishes and kept commenting on all my nice left overs. I got the hint so I asked her if she would like to take some home. She said yes so I packed them into a large plastic container and Mary left.

I was curious about Mary since all she had said was she lived nearby. I asked many people in the neighborhood, and no one had ever seen her. I continued to search for Mary but had no luck.

One day several weeks later, I came home to find my container washed and on my front porch. Again, no one had seen Mary.

In Hebrews 13:2 the Lord says, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.” I believe I was able to entertain an angel that night!

Copyright 2017

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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 still and know that I am God

Be-still-and-know-that-I-am-God-inspirationandhope

If you are observant, you would probably find that when there were significant life changing events in your life, God-incidences may likely have accompanied them. It was God’s perfect timing and means of communicating with you, and of reassuring you that everything would be okay; perhaps in just a whisper, a subtle wink from God that witnessed to your spirit.  So then, when you opened your Bible, and a verse just jumped off the page at you that spoke directly to your situation, that was not just a coincidence.

Excerpt from My Journal, July 6, 2016

Today, I randomly opened to a page in my daily devotional that spoke pointedly to me in my despair.  God had reserved it for me when I most needed to hear it — “Be still and know that I am God”.

Sometimes I have difficulty sharing my personal feelings, concerns and fears, although I know that I am human and life has a way of getting us down. This is one of those times. But I share this with the hope that you will be encouraged by it when you are challenged.

A recent life event, and without getting too detailed, had brought me to a low point in my life.  Oh, sure, I am supposed to be strong and courageous, but right now, I am tempted to despair and succumb to my deepest worries and afflictions.

“O God, it still hurts”.  Some days I am fine, other days I am sad.  This was one of those sad days when I just didn’t want to get out of bed.  Life just doesn’t prepare you for ……

It was now 7:45 a.m., and I had been lying awake since 6:15 a.m. I had no energy to start the day.  “Oh well, I better get up and make some coffee.  Maybe that will help”.

After making my coffee, I sat down to read and pray. Today’s daily devotion from Streams in the Desert, May 10th, was timely and deeply personal. After reading it, I thought to myself, God should have personalized this one to me by prefacing it with “Dear Bill”.

“Oh, how great the temptation is to despair at times! Our soul becomes depressed and disheartened, and our faith staggers under the severe trials and testing that come into our lives, especially during times of bereavement and suffering. We may come to the place where we say, ‘I cannot bear this any longer. I am close to despair under these circumstances God has allowed.  He tells me not to despair, but what am I supposed to do when I am at this point?’

What have you done in the past when you felt weak physically? You could not do anything. You ceased from doing. In your weakness, you leaned on the shoulder of a strong loved one …

Once you have come close to the point of despair, God’s message is not, ‘Be strong and courageous’ (Joshua 1:6), for he knows that your strength and courage have run away. Instead, he says sweetly, ‘Be still, and know that I am God’ (Psalm 46:10) …..

That is all God asks of you as his dear child.  When you become weak through the fierce fires of afflictions, do not try to be strong. Just be still, and know that [he is] God. And know that he will sustain you and bring you through the fire.

God reserves his best medicine for our times of deepest despair.”[1]

Be still and know that [He is] God” is sometimes all that I (we) can do to trust Him when we are suffering and weak. Then I rest in His arms and I am reminded that weeping is only for a short time, that rejoicing will come again.

FOOTNOTE

[1] Reimann, Jim; Cowman, L.B.E., Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings, May 10
[2] Photograph, “Dory” by Charles Steinhacker

Copyright 2016 by Bill Hutzel

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In no uncertain terms

How many of us can say that God has spoken to us in no uncertain terms? Yet, He probably has and you just didn’t know it. I refer to them as God-incidences, messages of reassurance that come when we most need them.

The events in the following story came during a time of great anxiety. It tells of a battle between faith and fear. It tells of the discomfort often felt during life changing events, and the uncertainty that always accompanies them. And it is especially a time when we are most apt to hear God’s message of reassurance to us – “Everything will be okay. I have everything under control”.

Mark Thompson Profile“I have been employed for many years as a library manager at New Jersey state colleges,” says Mark Thompson. With higher education funding in serious decline, it was difficult to maintain services with lower budgets. As the leader, the most pressure was on me. To the detriment of my health, I had to take on larger and larger burdens due to having to take up the slack for staff reductions. There was reason to worry that my job could also be eliminated. It became too much.

Then in August 2015, I was without a job. I applied for unemployment benefits, grateful that it would help me over the six months of job searching. Other than unemployment, my wife and I only had $1,000 per month of income. We prayed for God’s mercy, but instead the world crashed upon us. I fell down some concrete steps and was brought to the hospital. I had no insurance. Next, my stress-induced ulcer led to a life-threatening stomach infection – more medical bills. Plus, it interfered with the job search. I needed to surrender to God, and muster up the courage and faith to let go and let God take the steering wheel from me. No easy task. I like to take control.

Then after almost three months receiving benefits, my former employer fought to repeal them. After an ugly set of four hearings, they won. I would not receive any more benefits and I would have to immediately pay back what I had received. Was this really happening to me? I did not have enough money as it was to pay bills and then pay them back. Not only was this a great financial hardship, but also emotionally devastating, plunging me deep into despair. So, I asked friends to pray hard to help me to keep trusting in Him. Although I knew that the Bible said that God was in control, I couldn’t shake that “no way out” gut wrenching feeling of panic that I now succumbed to.

As a believer, I am often conflicted by the fear that I feel when confronted with circumstances that threaten my well-being, shamed, knowing that God has always provided for me in the past, and also knowing that He promised to continually meet my needs “according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19). So when I am facing fears, I (we) must remember that we are human and it is normal for us to worry, but not unsurmountable when we exercise our faith in God through fervent prayer and praise. Do you want to know if prayer works? Then put prayer to the test. God wants us to ask Him for the impossible, for God is a God of miracles and He wants to answer our prayers.

A week after losing my final appeal on unemployment, I received news from the attorney that had settled my Uncle Morton’s estate that additional monies had been found in the State’s unclaimed property fund and that I would be the recipient of it. I was elated. The timing couldn’t have been orchestrated better, and the amount found was nearly the amount I owed. God knew my need and answered me with a check in the amount of $16,796.00.  That would nearly cover my total bill of $16,987.96 that I owed the State. “Unbelievable! Thank you, Lord – you are faithful.  You are merciful.”

Well, God did leave a balance owed of $211.96. I guess I am not totally off the hook yet for trusting in God. But the God-incident served to raise my God awareness of Him in my situation. As we mature in Christ, and with each new circumstance that comes our way, our faith is tested, and it grows with each answered prayer, especially when the odds are slim to none that there will be a positive outcome.

Copyright 2015 by Mark Thompson and Bill Hutzel

Related Link: Don’t Worry About It

 

Be Watchful for “God Incidences”

“Some people mistakenly refer to inexplicable, uncanny, timely, and/or especially appropriate happenings as coincidences. But Christians need to recognize them as God incidences”, says Christianity Today.[1]

EH2b

It was not a particularly warm evening in May that my wife Bev called me to tell me that a guest at her Bed and Breakfast inn just let an air conditioner fall out of the 3rd floor “Mansard Room” window (see arrow in picture). The Mansard Room, aptly named because of the mansard roof over it, is a roof that has four sloping sides, each of which becomes steeper halfway down.

Was it incredulous of me to think that anyone would open a window with a window air conditioner in it?

As she shared this account of the incident over the phone with me that night, I reacted loudly.  “Are you kidding me?” I cried. Was this some kind of joke, but I knew it wasn’t because I could tell from the concern in her voice that she was telling me the truth.  And so the account is as follows.

She said that she heard a loud crash.  Thinking it was just another automobile accident outside, she rushed outside with her hand readied on her phone to call 911. It was not uncommon for accidents to occur at the corner of the inn’s busy intersection.  However, when she came running out of the house, she was confronted with something completely different. There were parts scattered all over the lawn.

It was 8:30 at night. A young 30-year old European guest came running from the inn, visibly terrified, mortified and upset, apologetic and offering to pay for damages, but my wife would hear nothing of it. She would decline the offer for remuneration, and rather than saying to the inn guest “whatever possessed you to open a window with an air conditioner in it?” she consoled her instead. The guest explained that she was just trying to get some fresh air into the room.  Now mind you, there are two windows in the room, one with an air conditioner in it, and the other without. Instead of opening the window without, the guest opened the window with the air conditioner in it.

As I read from Sarah Young’s devotional “Jesus Calling” the next morning (May 29th), God impressed upon me the “God Significance” of this event.  Sarah Young wrote – “I am with you, watching over you constantly. I am Emmanuel (God with you).” Sarah Young continues writing in the first-person (I, Me, My) from God’s point of view —  “Accept every event as My hand-tailored provision for your needs …. find Me in every situation”.

View from Mansard Room window of the ground belowView from the Mansard Room looking out the window at the garden below

The significance of where Bev was and what she was doing at the time of the incident is relevant to finding God in this situation. Different from almost every other night, Bev was ironing and doing laundry, perhaps rushing to get a room ready for a late check-in.  Normally, however, she would have gone out to water the garden around this time. It was dark by then, so she also would not have seen anything falling towards her. The garden area where Bev would have stood was also in the direct path of the falling air conditioner. The air conditioner came crashing to the ground with the sound of a car crash, sending shrapnel everywhere.  If it were not for God’s protection, she would most likely have been struck by the falling air conditioner.   Fortunately, none of the guests were entering or exiting the inn at that time either.

Remains of the Mansard Room air conditioner

I have to believe that God sometimes uses God incidences like this as a tool for fulfilling His plans, to shake us up a bit and make us more mindful of Him, and also as a reminder that He is our protector, and that He is watching over us constantly.

“Whoever remains under the protection of the Almighty, can say to him,   “You are my defender and protector.   You are my God; in you I trust.”[2]

 

Copyright 2015 by Bill Hutzel

FOOTNOTES

[1] Christianity Today, “Be on the Lookout for GodIncidences”, April 10, 2012

[2] Psalm 91:1-2, Good News Translation

 

 

Camp Happyland

During college, I had been appointed a music therapist internship at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Washington DC, a government run psychiatric hospital for treating the mentally deficient, the mentally disturbed, the deaf and blind, and those addicted to drugs and alcohol. During my stay, the hospital moved the patienCampHappyland_Logots to a vacation camp in Prince William Forest, called “Camp Happyland”. No joke. Camp Happyland was run by the Salvation Army.

It was there that I befriended someone on staff who attended a small spirit filled church in Fairmont, Maryland. His name was Chuck. He asked me if I would like to attend one evening. I agreed to go.

“Lean On Me” by Bill Withers was the number one song on the pop charts. Not necessarily written as a religious song, it went on to become a popular Christian song depicting a God on whom we can lean and who would be our friend to help us carry on. Only God knew that I would need to lean on Him this particular evening.

At first, I felt uncomfortable attending the church service being it was so different from what I was accustomed to. I must have also stuck out like a sore thumb, as I envisioned myself a splotch of white paint on a canvas of black and brown, for I was the only white person in attendance. People were dancing in the aisles, speaking in a foreign tongue, and literally rolling on the floor (hence the name holy roller). I remember most clearly that someone was rolling from side to side on the floor while being purged of something hideous. Two women in long white dress, with hands raised, stood over him and were praising God. Foam appeared from the person’s mouth and washed over his body like I’d seen when the tide washes over a beach. See Mark 9:20.

Pentecostals_Praising

My friend Stan, who also accompanied me that evening, didn’t last 5-minutes. We both most probably scanned the walls of the church looking to see if anyone had handled snakes, afraid to find a list of the unfortunate deceased. Fortunately, we wouldn’t find any. Phew! But that didn’t stop Stan from looking for a way out. There was only one exit at the rear of the church, some infinite number of rows back it seemed. He took the keys to my car and made a beeline for the exit. He would remain outside until the service concluded.

The next week that I attended, “Lean on Me” was the number 2 song on the pop charts. I began to relax in God’s presence. No longer did I feel so uncomfortable. Perhaps the lyrics to “Lean on Me” echoed in my head – “when you’re not strong, I’ll help you carry on”. Pastor Williams — wearing dark sunglasses and singing his message to a jazz organist — stopped smack in the middle of his message and pointed his finger at me and Patty, my guest that evening. In his deep voice he said “You are going to have a good sleep tonight; one of the best”.

I had no idea what he meant, and neither did Patty. He then spoke Isaiah 56:7 at us – “These I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer”.  He then went on with his message, preaching and prophesying; not missing another beat.

After the service we drove for over an hour back to our camp in Virginia. With the two windows rolled all the way down in my 1968 Volkswagen Beetle, the wind tousled our hair and drummed our ears, nonetheless a relief from the oppressive heat of the night.

It was not until we arrived back at Camp Happyland that the realization of what the pastor had prophesied became evidence of the power from above. Every night was hot and humid with no air conditioning. On this particular day, the heat index reached 103.4.

I walked Patty back to her cabin and was just about ready to say “Good night”.  When she opened the door to her cabin, she found a  fan blowing. “Where did that come from?” she exclaimed. The cool breeze from the fan moved her curtains, and as she lay down, she would have the best sleep.

The next morning I learned that the fan was missing from the dining hall. No one seemed to know how it got to Patty’s room. Word spread, and there was soon an inquisition. I would be their number one suspect in the “Case of the Missing Dining Hall Fan”, despite knowing nothing about it. The fan was promptly returned to the dining hall where it belonged.

At the time, I didn’t know anything about God winks or Godincidences or God touches. We never did find out how the missing dining hall fan ended up in Patty’s room. To this day it is one of life’s “Unsolved Mysteries”.

Isaiah 56:7 was God’s way of affirming His holy presence to us. “Lean on Me”, God seemed to be saying, and “Be joyful, for you are in My house of prayer”. “For My house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples”, for all races and colors, and that included Patty and me, the only two white people in the congregation.

For many of us, God’s small miracles are a revelation that He exists, and that He cares for us. But it is also evidence of His power and His majesty. For Patty, who out of curiosity and with skepticism attended the service, it was evidence that God did exist.  Every so often you too may be reminded with a God wink, a God touch, a Godincidence.

The definition of Godincidence according to the Urban Dictionary is defined as “the obvious presence of God, in what classically has been termed coincidence, in which there is no plausible explanation.”

Copyright 2015 by Bill Hutzel

An Angel on the Highway

AngelontheHighway
I am always lifted up and encouraged when God speaks to my innermost spirit through some event. Some would say that it is just coincidence, an accident that was merely by chance, fate, or luck that we are in the right place at the right time. But I beg to differ. Most Christians, I believe, would consider those incidents to have been orchestrated by God. These orchestrations, you may have also heard referred to as divine appointment, a God thing, a God wink, a touch from heaven, or a Godincidence. It can be life changing. Now read the story below (author anonymous), and tell me then if you don’t believe in Godincidences.

(Source: Faithhub) Every now and then God puts us in the position where we have the opportunity to be someone else’s guardian angel.  His hand guides us so that we’ll be in the right place at the right time.  It’s up to us to recognize His intention and do His will.  It’s not a coincidence that you happen to be there right when a complete stranger needs a hand.  God put you there.  The following is a terrific story from an anonymous author who found himself in that position and was able to be someone’s guardian angel.

I just had one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and wanted to share it with my family and dearest friends. Here it is:

I was driving home from a meeting this evening about 5, stuck in traffic on Colorado Blvd., and my car started to choke and sputter and died.

I barely managed to coast, cruising, into a gas station, glad only that I would not be blocking traffic and would have a somewhat warm spot to wait for the tow truck. It wouldn’t even turn over. Before I could make the call, I saw a woman walking out of the “quickie mart” building, and it looked like she slipped on some ice and fell into a gas pump! So I got out to see if she was okay. When I got there, it looked more like she had been overcome by sobs than that she had fallen. She was a young woman who looked really haggard with dark circles under her eyes. She dropped something as I helped her up, and I picked it up to give it to her. It was a nickel.

At that moment, everything came into focus for me: the crying woman, the ancient Suburban crammed full of stuff with 3 kids in the back (1 in a car seat), and the gas pump reading $4.95. I asked her if she was okay and if she needed help, and she just kept saying “I don’t want my kids to see me crying,” so we stood on the other side of the pump from her car. She said she was driving to California and that things were very hard for her right now.

So, I asked, “And you were praying?” That made her back away from me a little, but I assured her I was not a crazy person and said, “He heard you, and He sent me.”

I took out my card and swiped it through the card reader on the pump so she could fill up her car completely, and while it was fueling walked to the next door McDonald’s and bought 2 big bags of food, some gift certificates for more, and a big cup of coffee. She gave the food to the kids in the car who attacked it like wolves, and we stood by the pump eating fries and talking a little.

She told me her name, and that she lived in Kansas City. Her boyfriend left 2 months ago and she had not been able to make ends meet. She knew she wouldn’t have money to pay the rent January 1st, and finally, in desperation, had called her parents, with whom she had not spoken in about 5 years. They lived in California and said she could come live with them and try to get on her feet there.

So, she packed up everything she owned in the car. She told the kids they were going to California for Christmas, but not that they were going to live there.

I gave her my gloves, a little hug and said a quick prayer with her for safety on the road. As I was walking over to my car, she said, “So, are you like an angel or something?”

This definitely made me cry. I said, “Sweetie, at this time of year angels are really busy, so sometimes God uses regular people.”

It was so incredible to be a part of someone else’s miracle. And of course, you guessed it, when I got in my car it started right away and got me home with no problem. I’ll put it in the shop tomorrow for a check, but I suspect the mechanic won’t find anything wrong.

Sometimes the angels fly close enough to you that you can hear the flutter of their wings.  

– anonymous

If you have a Godincidence to share, won’t you please email me at bhutzel@inspirationandhope.org so that I can share your story?

Have a blessed and Merry Christmas!

Bill Hutzel

 

 

Coincidence or Godincidence?

MidAtlantic

Picture of me at the Mid-Atlantic Flute Fair

Do you believe that God can speak to you? Did you ever wonder why you opened to a particular passage in the Bible that was relevant, and wonder if it was because of divine intervention? Perhaps you are being divinely guided.

Looking back on the first day of the National Flute Association convention that I was exhibiting at in Chicago this August, I asked God to speak a special blessing to me. I was anxious, as is normal for a big show, and concerned that I might not recoup the cost of exhibiting, or of not making enough sales in a traditionally slow month to pay my bills at the end of the month. I own The Flute Loft, a musical instrument business.

So on day one, just before going down to the convention hall, I asked God to speak to me through His Word. I randomly opened my Bible and began reading. I opened to Psalm 150, a psalm of praise. Psalm 150:4 said “praise him with strings and flutes”. Was it purely by accident or coincidence that I opened to this passage? I don’t believe so.

For those of you that believe that I randomly opened to this verse was just coincidence, I will not convince you otherwise, but I believe God was trying to get my attention. The reference to the musical instrument flute,  was I believe, divine timing, and really got my attention being that I was exhibiting flutes at a flute convention. However, whether it was a flute or some other instrument really doesn’t matter. What God wanted me to know from His Word was to always remember to praise Him in all things, and to trust in Him for my success. And with praise comes trust in God and God’s abundant grace.

How do we praise God? We praise God with strong faith, with love for Him for which He is delighted, and with the confidence that He is in control. So then, what God was trying to get through to me was, “Don’t be anxious. Don’t worry about what tomorrow will bring, but live for the moment. Relax in My presence and trust me for your fortune and destiny, for I will always be by your side. Now just trust me and let go. And remember to praise Me always for I delight in it”.

Copyright 2014 by Bill Hutzel