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

JOIN INSPIRATION AND HOPE ON FACEBOOK BY CLICKING HERE

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

 

 

Am I crazy or did God just wink at me?

Can you hear Me01

AM I CRAZY, OR DID GOD JUST WINK AT ME?
Sometimes God speaks to us in a small, still voice, or perhaps it is just a wink. It is not necessarily the same type of experience that Moses witnessed with the burning bush where God called out to him in an audible voice from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”. It is often times more subtle than that, and if you listen, you just might hear God speak to your inner spirit. In fact, I believe that many of us have been winked at by God, but have just not made the connection.

When God winks at us, it is His way of saying “everything is going to be okay”.
In the book “When God Winks at You” by Squire Rushnell it reads –
“You’ve had another one of those days. Everything seems uncertain. You think: Wouldn’t it be great to wake up one morning and have everything certain? Certain about your job? Certain about your future? Who could you talk to about this? Bigger question, who’d listen?
Tentatively your eyes drift skyward.
Hello?
Are You there, God?
Then your mind quickly assesses the immensity of your request. You want God to listen to you, right now. How ridiculous. There are six billion people on this planet. What if they’re all calling God at the same time?
You slump. Deeper into the dumps.
Then — something happens.”

Something small happens, like you open your Bible and a verse jumps off the page at you. It speaks directly to you. You ask yourself, could God be speaking to me? Is this one of those Godincidences, a wink from God?

“And why shouldn’t God speak to me?”, I thought.
The Bible is filled with examples of God speaking to man. Yet, my human nature tries to explain it away as coincidence as I try to make logical sense of it.

On one occasion, I started questioning whether or not my inner spirit had really heard from God. I needed reassurance.  Was God listening?
When I opened my email Inbox, my eyes scanned the page and found an email sent by my brother Jamie.  The email subject line was  “The Voice in My Head”.  “Uh oh”, I thought, without first reading the email,I really am hearing voices in my head, aren’t I?

My brother is the CEO of EDC Communications. It is not a religious article, but it starts out “I hear a voice in my head. No, I am not crazy … Sometimes it’s so subtle that we” (and I will finish the sentence in my own words), fail to identify the source of it or just ignore it out of fear of what other people might think.  Perhaps that is what I was doing now, failing to identify the source of my messages as being from God.

That very same evening I felt led to turn on Daystar, a Christian broadcast station. At the very moment that I turned to the station, the Reverend Jesse Duplantis was speaking of hearing from God.
What!?“, I thought.  “A message about hearing from God?
The message couldn’t have been  more spot on.

Jesse was returning home from a ministry trip, and while just prior to boarding the airplane, God spoke to him and said “Jesse, do not board the plane as there will be trouble with it“.
Hoping that this was just self-talking, Jesse questioned God, and God repeated Himself.

If I were to surmise what was going on in Jesse’s head at that very moment after being on a speaking engagement road trip for 3 weeks, it most likely would have gone like this …
Ahh, come on God, I am tired and worn out and just want to go home” 
“Reeeeeea-lly?

“Please tell me it is not true”.
Then, if Jesse were not frustrated enough already, God spoke again.
“Go and tell the person in charge of boarding the airplane that I told you that there would be trouble with the plane and that it was advisable not to board; that you would not be boarding, and that you wanted to take the next flight”.  
I am sure that the person in charge of taking the boarding passes thought that Jesse was certifiably crazy.
Jesse did not board the plane as God had instructed him.
When the plane was taxiing on the runway, one of the engines exploded and everyone had to evacuate.

Every small miracle, every “Godincidence” or “God wink” that we try to explain away as coincidence may be God’s way of communicating with us, an answer to prayer, a word of encouragement or assurance. It is God’s way of reassuring us that He has everything under control, no matter how difficult the situation.

So when should you act on that voice, thought or feeling? Sometimes that decision will be easy, for it will be based on experience. Other times it might be when we are feeling the Spirit of God during worship or when we are rightly related to God and conversant with Him through prayer and praise.

Prayer: Lord, should You decide to wink at me, help me to discern when it is from You; and then once I am assured that it is from You, may I have the faith and courage to act upon it.

 

Copyright 2014 by 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