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Adventures in Flowing in God, Part 3

In Part 2, I learned to allow myself to relax, to get quiet and let go of stress. I was learning to sail. I invited God to reveal Himself to me and open my heart to His presence. I was becoming more focused and aware of Him.  

God continues to surprise

God is always filled with surprises. For those of you who are skeptical, remember, we did not beforehand know which exit to take. Without either a global positioning system (GPS) or roadmap, we had to tune into God’s Positioning Spirit to get where we were going.

While I was the one who wanted to get to Sedona to see the various vacation spots, and Peggy more along for the “ride”, God had treats in store for her. After sundown, on our return trip back to our accommodations in Scottsdale, we pulled off for gas at exit 289. Remember? This was the other exit that God dropped in my ear.

Exit 289 conveniently had a Sonic Drive-Thru, Peggy’s favorite place for a peach iced tea with lime wedges. There happened to be a casino at this exit as well. Continuing our adventure of flowing in God, Peggy asked, “Wanna have a little fun with a couple of bucks?”  We are not gamblers; in fact, I can’t remember the last time I’d been to a casino. And this was totally out of character for my chaplain wife.

Peggy, a bit unsettled and nervous about entering the gambling hall and feeling a little like Dorothy entering the chamber of the Wizard of Oz, dug her hand into my arm. “Slots, poker, and gambling, Oh My!”  “Slots, poker and gambling, Oh My!” 

The room was dimly lit and smelled of cigarette smoke. There was a sound of jangly music and the whir of spinning reels accompanied by loud beeps, bells and chimes from the gaming machines as people played their nickels and quarters. It was a cacophony of noises and smells that invaded and offended our senses. As we observed those playing the machines, with cigarettes between their fingers and lips, they seemed to stare mindlessly, without emotion, mesmerized by the brightly lit and colorful gaming monitors. In contrast, we were a breath of fresh air – figuratively, literally and spiritually.

On occasion, there was a happy and celebratory combination of flashing lights and sounds when a machine announced a winning combination. But more often than not, slot machines just took people’s money. Looking at the player’s facial expressions, depression seemed most pervasive amongst those hypnotized by the sounds, entrenched in their addiction to gambling.

Peggy and I were carefree about losing $5 and had resolved to walk away, win or lose. However, we agreed that if we did win, any winnings would go to our church offering.

I didn’t immediately enter into the flow or spontaneously hear from God when Peggy asked me which slot machine we should play.  So, in my delay, she randomly picked one and played 4 quarters and lost them all. 

This time we re-grouped, huddled, prayed and asked God to pick a machine. The slot machines were all numbered. What number machine do you hear?” Peggy asked.  “I don’t know,” and then blurted out “395!”  We located machine 395 and agreed to “play another dollar.”

I stood for the first spin, not having fun yet. The machine remained in a quiet state of rest without flashing lights or music as none of the three reels lined up. To win, all three reels must match. “Oh, well.”  This time I eased myself into the chair facing the slot machine. “A quarter down and three to go,” I said to Peggy, who was peering over my shoulder.  I spun for a second time, and gloriously three reels matched. It was a double payout win!  I perked up, having a little fun now. On the third spin, again, “clang, clang, clang, clang!” the machine happily announced. We just won another double payout!  The happy clanging noise and flashing lights again lifted my spirits. Peggy was doing the “Happy Dance.”  We now had one more spin remaining. On our last spin, the machine went quiet again, but I was on a winning streak. All in all, the machine returned $5.00 for our one dollar. “That was fun!” I boyishly exclaimed. Peggy got the distinct impression from my jubilation that I was connecting with God. This was now just me and Papa time. Clearly, God the Father was wanting to show me personally a fun time, something which had been cut short in my life having lost my dad at age 11. He was restoring to me, even in this unlikely place, that which was lost, a part of my broken heart.

The joy and smile on my face spoke volumes. I was alert and ready this time when she asked, “What machine is God telling you now?” My first spontaneous thought was 350. There were six slot machines numbered 350-1, -2, -3, -4. etc. I faintly heard Papa say “350-3.” I wasn’t sure, but I would go with it. Peggy also heard the number 3.  So, we agreed to play another dollar. This time slot machine 350-3 returned a DOUBLE payout, for our 4 spins.  The total earnings between the two machines were $9.75. I know you’re probably thinking whoop-de-doo, woo-hoo; but it really was a big deal. Typically, odds are stacked against gamblers in favor of the house winning, but in God’s house, the odds were stacked doubly in our Favor!

Now, don’t misunderstand, I am not condoning gambling. This was an exercise in spontaneous flow, stretching, listening, trusting, pressing in and practicing hearing Papa God, not just on big things, but also the small, even unorthodox things. He was teaching us to listen, to trust, to obey and to have fun.

Our adventures were more than we hoped or imagined, more than a thrill-seeking ride at an amusement park, and to think we can live this adventure daily!  He cares for us. So, drop everything and listen to his voice! (Psalm 95:7, TPT). Are you ready to let go and let God?  I AM.

PREVIOUS LINKS:
Adventures in Flowing in God, Part 1
Adventures in Flowing in God, Part 2

Copyright 2020 by Bill Hutzel & Peggy Castorri-Hutzel

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Adventures in Flowing in God, Part 1

What if you believed hearing from God could actually be fun? This beckons the question – do you believe God can speak to you? No, I don’t mean just through his Word through interpretation of Scripture, but instead, like Moses, Abraham, and Paul, who heard His voice. If He does still speak to us today, then how? When? Where? Maybe you are like me. I needed to put these questions to the test.

Pressing in and listening to God

I wanted to see Sedona Red Rocks, however, the day started out with clouds and light rain, not a perfect day for sight-seeing. Wavering on where to go or what to do, Peggy, my wife, got this brilliant notion that it would be fun to tune into spontaneous flow and ask God where to go. By flow, I mean she wanted God to speak directly through his spirit to our spirits, to lead us where he wanted us to go without a predefined plan or a GPS. Proverbs 3:5-6 says “With all your heart rely on him to guide you and …. become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you go.”  This may not make any human sense at first because to most of us, natural things are more real than the supernatural. But as you will see, if you shut out all distractions and put your spirit first, it becomes easier to be led by the Spirit of God.

At first, I resisted. “Are you kidding!?”, I thought, not taking Peggy seriously. Turn off the GPS?  Who knows where we might end up?  For miles, you could see nothing but prairie, grasslands, desert and giant 5-ton saguaro cacti standing 40-feet tall like sentinels.

Contrary to her whims, I just wanted to see Sedona.

“Let’s ask God where he wants us to go,” Peggy said. “Uh-huh,” I replied unenthusiastically, not taking the exercise too seriously, and then returned to looking out the window as she steered the car up interstate highway 17 at 75 miles per hour with the windows and roof open in our luxury rental car, a 2019 Jaguar.

When we booked the rental, we asked for an economy car, but apparently, God had already gone ahead and arranged for an upgrade.  “Expect Upgrades” Peggy heard in a revelation during a business trip to Brazil in October of 2018. And so, we got upgraded from a no-frills low budget vehicle to a luxury Jaguar at no additional cost!!

As the car sped along with windows down and the sunroof open, and miles and miles of desert and giant saguaro cacti, I started to fall into a transitional state between wakefulness and sleep. As I began to nod, I began to form a mental image of hundreds to thousands of cacti with their arms raised towards heaven worshiping their creator. Psalm 148:5 says “Let all of creation erupt with praise to God.” 

A desert is a place of solitude, silence and stillness. Perhaps, this is why Jesus regularly withdrew into the desert, to hear God. I knew, too, that I had to get alone in my mind, free of unrelenting chatter and noise, and become still if I was to hear God and come into unity with Peggy and God’s Spirit.

Suddenly I was startled from my half-awake, half-asleep state.  “Bill, I’m serious, let’s ask God where He wants us to go. Ask Him for an exit number and let’s see if we get the same one as an exercise in hearing in Unity.” “What!?” I said half dazed.  “What exit number did you hear God speak?” This wasn’t resonating with me. Besides, how could God or why would God bother to tell us which exit to take?  How would we get to where we wanted to go without a road map or GPS, I reasoned? 

 “Bill, don’t you believe it?” “C’mon,” she said pleadingly.  I tried to avoid the question, although I admit, I do believe God can do anything. Reminded of the immeasurable greatness of God’s power made available to me through faith (Ephesians 1:19), I knew this was true, but this seemed a might bit trivial. Didn’t God have more important things to do?

Trying to brush off the question I humored Peggy and mumbled “Um, okay, exit 101,” and went back to looking out the window. As I set my reclining seat further back, I folded my arms and closed my eyes.

 “You don’t believe it, do you?” she asked as if it were a statement of fact. But I reasoned, what person in their right mind would turn off their GPS to listen to God for driving directions?  This was totally out of my comfort zone.  Admittedly, I also had some bedfellows tag along for the ride – doubt, fear, and unbelief. 

“Where is your faith to believe?”  “Stop doubting!” Peggy said. “We’re already in the 200’s going North. C’mon. Listen again.” 

We were one of just a couple of vehicles on a long stretch of highway when a car passed us in the passing lane. “Wow, did you see that license plate!?” Peggy asked excitedly.  “It said SKPTIC!!!”  “No, I didn’t see it, I’m not paying attention.” Peggy gunned the car, switching lanes in order to show me the license plate. Now traveling at more than 75 miles an hour, I was startled out of my comfort zone. “Whoa! Slow down” I said. “Don’t ride this guy’s tail!”. “It’s okay,” she said, not concerned in the least. “Do you see it now?” Irritated, I said, “no, my vision is blurry.”  I just didn’t want to admit to having seen it. How uncanny, that the God of the entire Universe (with more important things to do, I reasoned) would send precisely at that moment, a passing car with the license plate that screamed “DOUBTER!”  God’s gavel came down at that very moment. I was convicted of my unbelief. But in retrospect, Peggy’s challenge to me to hear God for the improbable, caused me to stretch and confront my doubt and unbelief, even though it seemed irrational.

“Bill, He loves you so much that He sent this exact car at this precise moment, with that exact license plate to personally stretch you and communicate to you of His greatness and love for you.  Bill, even in the smallest things He wants us to be amazed by Him and his devotion towards us. He loves you so much.”  This was a whole new experience of trusting and listening to God.

“Wanna play, now?” Peggy asked.
I agreed to play and spontaneously blurted out “298!” 
“What was that?”
I hesitated, second-guessing my reply. Did I really hear God, or was it all in my head? Challenged that I might be wrong, I recanted 298 and said “289.” 

Peggy was really taking flowing in God seriously. “So, which is it? 298 or 289?”  I wavered, and reverted back to my initial answer, “298.”

She remained silent momentarily, then responded, “It’s not the same number I got, but I heard God say to trust your exit number.”  Incredulously, I thought, trust me?  God must have a sense of humor. 

It was decided, then, we would take exit 298. And, so began our adventure in flowing in God in unity and trust.

Find out what exit 298 has in store. Continue reading “Adventures in Flowing in God, Part 2

Copyright 2020
by Bill Hutzel & Peggy Castorri-Hutzel

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