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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Change the Tide in the Name of Jesus

https://youtu.be/lAWPKdsabfw (Duration: 1 min 55 sec)

Recorded live at the International House of Prayer Eastern Gate. It’s more important than ever NOW that we pray that there be a Holy Spirit increase, that there would be an increased spirit of prayer and song, that Jesus Christ would be lifted up in these days, and that the Word of the Lord would break out and turn the tide in our region and nation. God calls us to worship and rise!

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Related: Post Worship and Rise

Change the Tide in the Name of Jesus (FULL LENGTH VERSION)

Recorded live at the International House of Prayer Eastern Gate. It’s more important than ever NOW that we pray that there be a Holy Spirit increase, that there would be an increased spirit of prayer and song, that Jesus Christ would be lifted up in these days, and that the Word of the Lord would break out and turn the tide in our region and nation. God calls us to worship and rise!

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When I Think About the Lord

By James Huey
Recorded live at International House of Prayer Eastern Gate
September 26, 2019

When I think about the Lord
How He saved me, how He raised me
How He filled me with the Holy Ghost
How He healed me to the uttermost
When I think about the Lord
How he picked me up
Turned me around
How He set my feet
On solid ground

It makes me wanna shout…
Hallelujah, thank You, Jesus
Lord, You’re worthy
Of all the glory, and all the honor
And all the praise

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WORSHIP AND RISE

On a Sunday morning in 2019, my friend Martin saw musical notes rising from the top of my head. He would pen his vision on a 3-hole punch lined paper, and later present it to me at the end of the service.

Spelled in large letters in the drawing was the word WAR, an acronym for Worship and Rise. The very act of worshiping and arising, a spiritual war that releases God’s power to have sway over our circumstances, allowing Him to change our circumstances.

This is a time to Worship And Rise, to prevail. It is a time for faith to rise up and for fear to fall down.  

We are called to WORSHIP

We are facing a very dark and evil time in our world today. COVID-19 Coronavirus is an evil that is ravaging the entire world, bringing disease and death and financial adversity. Yet, we are reminded that “in times of disaster we will not wither, and in days of famine we will enjoy plenty” (Psalm 37:19).  In such a time as this, we are also reminded to Worship and Rise, to prevail. “I would have despaired otherwise had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. I wait on You Lord. Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep on waiting—for he will never disappoint you! (Psalm 27:13-14)

King Jehoshaphat provides a great example of how praise and WORSHIP lead to victory.

When a great multitude from Syria came against Israel, Jehoshaphat, the King of Judah, fasted and prayed. It says in 2 Chronicles 20:9 “When the worst happens—whether war or flood or disease or famine—and we take our place before this Temple (we know you are personally present in this place!) and pray out our pain and trouble, we know that you will listen and give victory.”  Stand firm, hold your position and see the Lord deliver you. This is a time to Worship and Rise, to prevail. “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast invasion force (substitute Coronavirus), because the battle doesn’t belong to you, but to God” (2 Chronicles 20:15, ISV)

Praise and worship elevate us into God’s presence and power. In Psalms 22:3 it says God inhabits the praise of His people. “You are God-Enthroned, surrounded with songs, living among the shouts of praise of your princely people.” Yes, we are princely, not pathetic “o, woah is me,” sad, weak and helpless people.

Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD” (2 Chronicles 20:17–18).  And when they arose to give thanks and praise to the Lord with a very loud shout, the Lord answered them and delivered them from their enemy!  Let’s declare that God will deliver us also from Coronavirus during this Passover season and that there be a shift in the spiritual atmosphere that brings healing to our nation. May the blood of Jesus be our covering, and a hedge of protection around us.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.” (2 Chronicles 20:21)

This is not the first, nor do I believe the last that we will see plagues and pestilence. God promises to protect his true believers “when we live our lives within the shadow of God Most High,our secret hiding place, we will always be shielded from harm.How then could evil prevail against us or disease infect us?” (Ps. 91:9-10, The Passion Translation).   

God is calling us to ARISE

Arise, the verb is defined as to get up, to jump up, to make a stand, to ascend. It is a positive action that conveys something coming into existence. It can be our prayer, our praise, our thanksgiving. It can also be courage rising up in the face of fear.

In Joshua 1:9 it says “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous. Do not fear; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

What!? Be strong and courageous? Do not fear? At a time like this?  That may be easy for you to say, especially when the world is in a panic. I tried to wrap my head around the verse “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear,” yet anxiety does not always stand down.  I feared just like Jehoshaphat in time of trouble, and so I cried out to God for more faith.

Doesn’t fear have to fall down to get courage?  Profoundly, NO, it is not the absence of fear that makes you courageous, but it is “when faith and fear collide that courage can be ours … They always go together, so courage isn’t the absence of fear, but the ability to do what you need to do EVEN when you are afraid (Franklin D. Roosevelt). It’s “to act in Christ’s power even when your knees are knocking or your stomach is doing cartwheels. Or as John Wayne defined it: Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway! That is true faith in God to act with courage.  And when we do decide to act with faith and courage, God will answer. “Courage is the very best part of me that is going to show up in a situation that is trying to chase the very best part of me away.”  (Danny Silk, The Courageous Spirit). 

The world is a scary place right now and so we must fully abide in Christ. When we do, He will show up, but we must completely empty ourselves and depend on Him to save us from ourselves and the pandemic. God will always make a way.

Have you asked Jesus where He is in your uncertainty and trouble? I bet if you do, He will answer you. Go ahead, ask Him. He will show up and greet you with outstretched loving arms. His arms of faithfulness will be a shield keeping you from harm. And You can be assured that you will walk unharmed because God is your refuge.

Jehoshaphat was a man of courage who lived by faith in God. By living faith in God, courageously, he would arise and be delivered from his enemies.

Yet, when Jehoshaphat heard that the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites were coming to wage war against him, “Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord.”  He then arose and called upon God to deliver Judah from his enemies. “O Jehovah, the God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and art not thou ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? and in thy hand is power and might, so that none can withstand thee. Didst not thou, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and give it to the seed of Abraham thy friend forever? … If evil come upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house, and before thee, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, and thou wilt hear and save.”  And God did hear and deliver Jehoshaphat and all of Judah. I believe this can be applied today.

I keep Martin’s drawing on my desk as a reminder. In the drawing he also drew a flute and musical notes on a staff. He said he saw the notes rising off the top of my head as I worshiped. That matched what I was imagining in my head, of me playing the flute to the worship music.  I was amazed at his prophetic word and vision. The musical notes rose up from me and wafted through the air over those in the room. I believe those notes, as they arose into the atmosphere, were beckoning the Holy Spirit to come. As I imagined playing with the anointing of Almighty God in the office of a psalmist, a fiery wall of protection went up around the room. Demons would flee at the sound of the flute playing and no enemy could penetrate God’s protection. People worshiped with hands raised and shouts of praise, bowing down, some prostrate fell, some dancing, and occasionally the sound of someone blowing the shofar summoned all present to greater awakening and awareness of the Holy Spirit’s presence.

Recorded live at the International House of Prayer Eastern Gate
Duration: 1 min, 55 sec

Every day I am reminded that it is a time for us to WAR – Worship And Rise. It’s important NOW, more than ever, that we pray that there be a Holy Spirit increase, that there would be an increased spirit of prayer and song, that Jesus Christ would be lifted up in these days, and that the Word of the Lord would break out and turn the tide in our region and nation. God calls us to worship and rise!

“And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” – John 16:33, TPT.

Copyright 2020 by Bill Hutzel

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