What a night of fellowship.
God made a way for me to witness His goodness today. My commute to church was so clear and free as if He wanted me to be alone with Him to pray. As I spent time in the chapel praying there was a desperate sense in me that without Him, the growth of this group would fail. Name by name, all the observations, assumptions, fears and dissatisfaction I had were surrendered and prayed over. And then..I stopped. I can’t explain why I stopped but I just felt it was time to be silent and listen..
And then the idea came to mind.
It’s like I could imagine members of the prayer team sitting in the rows before worship, praying for each row. Praying for their hearts to be tender to the preaching of God’s Word. Praying that their hearts would respond in obedience. Praying for a revival, an awakening, for the Holy Spirit to fall fresh on the body of believers.
We began our dinner and things were awkward. I can pick up things from certain ladies and I just tried my best to brush it off and keep my eyes fixed on the goal: Teach the Truth. As we began our study, something came over me. The moment Fenny shared that she couldn’t understand the law, this boldness came over me and I just wanted to stop and park there in the law/sin for a while. We talked things over, read verses 6 times in different translations, listened intently and just didn’t give a chance for our minds and heart to simply “gloss over” the Scripture but really stop, park and listen. Holy Spirit moved. Although not everybody was participating, it was okay. Those that were chewing and regurgitating and chewing again were taking it in.
There was no fear in my heart. No “what ifs”.
Just a confident in where I knew this is what I had to do.. No Ifs ands or buts.
Other than the fasting verses the next theme of verses that nudging me as this evening approached were:
“You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by may reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.” – Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 2:2
“Timothy, guard what God has entrusted you. Avoid godless foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge. Some people have wandered from the faith by following such foolishness. My God’s grace be with you all.” – A. Paul in 1 Timothy 6:20-21
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.” -Titus 2:11-15
All these things that were spoken came alive tonight. It is by the power of God, the Holy Spirit. There was authority and I just thought,
“Wow what has gotten into me?!?!?”
The best thing that God could have done for my advantage. The Holy Spirit.
We picked small pieces of paper to choose prayer groups and man, God is FUNNY! I ended up with Carol and Grace. The new visitor and the one sister I was struggling to encourage. It a little awkward but I really appreciated the 2:1 ratio. As Grace began to share there was a reconnection growing in my heart towards her. Something I had feared was completely depleted after our last conversation. I could hear seeds of God working in her life. In mysterious ways. Something about our time of sharing there were convictions in my heart that I knew only the Holy Spirit could give. Wisdom and understanding on how to choose in life. Where the line draws.
Then Carol began to share and I felt like somebody transported me back to China. She is a new believer. Maybe not even a believer but new to the faith. She wants to know God more and grow in a relationship with God. The hunger in her eyes the desire in her tears as she shared, “I want to know how to pray. ” Was simply humbling and amazing. I had NO idea this is who Carol was. The how and why she was brought to this group was so evident. God wanted her there.
It hit me..Wow God. I foolishly ignored your opportunity but with patience and grace you allowed her to still come to this group. Only You would do such a thing God and still have the patience with me.
I won’t forget this evening. It has created in me a deeper hunger to read the Word and fast with prayer. Once this Gladiator Run is done, back at it. Fast and pray….
The ladies tonight.