Life in the Kingdom is really about learning to live life, continually aware of God’s presence. Every believer should practice awareness and practice noticing the unnoticeable, then respond. I’m glad God has graciously been training me, given me the eyes to see, and a heart that seeks to understand.
I’m working on responding and acting on what I see or sense.
This past summer, Pattie and I headed out to the Fraze, an open-air amphitheater near our home, for Blues Fest. Some great bands were playing, and we were enjoying the time together. When we arrived, we decided to buy some BBQ. We checked every vendor to see what they were serving and finally came to the last booth. As I walked up, I noticed the lady serving. I suddenly had an impression I should encourage her. Specifically, I should tell her, “Your future is going to be greater than your past.” As I was pondering just how to navigate and communicate the impression, I noticed she had a few tattoos. Then I noticed she was wearing an arrest monitor on her ankle. The impression now made sense.
I paid for my food and then said, “You might think this strange, but sometimes Jesus gives me encouraging words for people. I have an encouraging word for you. Your future is going to be greater than your past.” I gently held her arm as I continued to speak to her about her life. I spoke into her destiny. I told her how Jesus could change her life, wash away her past, and propel her into her future. I then invited the Holy Spirit to come and touch her life. She looked up at me and said, “You are making me cry.” I replied, “Jesus is here.” I then briefly told her how I was a heavy drug user 35 years ago, and Jesus had changed my life. She paused and stated, “You have no idea how much I needed this today. Thank you.”
We grabbed our BBQ, moved past the growing line behind us, and walked to a patio to eat. Pattie asked me to explain how I knew what to say and the process of it all. It’s not rocket science, but it does take practice and a willingness to respond and to experiment.
Here is what I told her:
I practice noticing and attempt to live life from a being aware perspective.
I seek to notice what’s going on around me, and I seek to be aware of what’s happening from a heaven-to-earth perspective. I am the earth where His will wants to be done. Often, when speaking to groups of believers, I ask them to place a hand on their hearts and to pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done as in heaven, in this earth.” At the end of declaring the prayer, I then ask them to pat their chest and say, “This earth.” We are the earth where the Kingdom comes from heaven to us…earth.
I attempt to listen to God’s prompts.
I attempt to listen to God’s prompts, those small impressions or thoughts which may seem to be like my own but are not.
Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice.” (John 10:27 NAS)
Sometimes, what I hear is His voice. I experiment and practice listening. I’m learning which is His voice and which is my voice. I learn by responding to what I think I hear.
Many times, I discover it is indeed His prompting, His voice.
“Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at my doorposts. For he who finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD.” (Proverbs 8:34, NAS)
I seek to take risks.
Faith is spelled RISK. Really, faith is spelled obedience. Taking the risk is the hardest step. I remind myself I need to be in a place in my life where helping someone has to override my sense of being uncomfortable. It’s all about their need for God’s love versus my need to stay in my comfort zone. More often than not, when I respond to His whisper, a person is encouraged, healed, and nudged closer to Jesus. Sometimes, they are ushered into the Kingdom.
I ask God to direct my steps.
Psalm 139 is an amazing psalm. He knows everything about me. He knows my thoughts, my words, when I rise up, when I go to work, when I come home. In spite of what He knows about me, He chooses to lay His hand on my head and to bless me. It’s a humble knowledge. I experience beyond the beyond. Where I go, I’ve discovered, He goes.
“In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28 NIV)
Often, I arrive at the right place at the right time for the right person. I was driving home one night and had an impression to go to Hancock’s Fabrics to pick up some outdoor material for my 96 VW Cabrio convertible top. I popped in and purchased the material. As I was leaving, I thought about going next door to buy some Sushi. The next impression didn’t make sense, but I sensed I was not to go buy Sushi but go directly to my car. So, I walked out the door and headed directly to my car. Then, I saw my ex-personal assistant get out of her car and begin walking toward me. I said, “Hi, it’s great to see you.”
The conversation was a God setup.
I found out she was having her second child, and she had almost died having the first. I prayed for her and her new child to be. We had a great talk, and she left. My next impression was, “You can go buy sushi now.”
Right time, the right place for the right person. I later found out she had a healthy baby, and she went through the delivery with no problems.
I like what Bill Hybels says in his book, The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God, Having the Guts to Respond. Each new day, he tells Jesus he is open for business. If he hears God’s whisper, he then has the guts to respond. When he responds to what he hears, people are often touched by God’s love and grace.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36, NIV)
Jesus was the most friendly, open-hearted person on the planet. He lived His life noticing people and situations and then acting on what He heard from His Father. Our adventure begins when we see as He sees, hear as He hears, and respond as He responds.