That Stranger

You know who you are. And I appreciate you sharing this message that was on your heart today. As I told you after the service, I wondered out loud, to God in prayer, if I should interact with it, publicly, or privately. Right or wrong I chose to not interact publicly, and when I talked to you about it later, the tears, that are always a sign for me personally, the tears flowed, and my heart and mind was exploding with ideas. God’s spirit is speaking to me. So far so good, as far as I’m concerned.

What about you? I was glad when Thomas Spiridigliozzi confirmed to you that it was a prophetic word, out loud, for all of us to hear. It was good for the rest of the congregation for him to honour the Holy Spirit, and to honour you for your obedience in speaking it out loud, in humility. You gave it freshly, and uncluttered with what you SHOULD be thinking, instead you told us all what you were REALLY THINKING, as you pondered this. I would encourage you to not rush the process, LIVE the question.

Go to this page, and see where I originally wrote in another post (earlier today) about Parker Palmer’s book, it fits here as well.

as I tried to express how I need others, and they need me, but that there’s a very big difference to what most of us know that interaction to be. Parker Palmer’s book, A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward and Undivided Life, talks about the rules in what’s known as a circle of trust.

No fixing, no saving, no advising, and no setting each other straight

We listen to each other’s stories, then we think about what the other person shared. We resist the cultural norm of venturing to fix, save, advise, or set that person straight. What we do instead is reflect on ourselves. I will not therefore try to re-write Palmer’s book. I’ve included it as a link there.

I am interacting with you according to this NEW RULE, by sharing my thoughts with you. I am trying to stay away from the fixing, saving, advising and setting each other straight that is all too common in the church, as well as in the world. It’s human behaviour, it’s what everybody does, but I’m not sure if many of us truly appreciate being preached at. I really noticed your humility about this word you gave. You explored it out loud, with questions, rather than preaching answers, allowing us to ask those same questions, and to hear our own questions.

I grew up in the Pentecostal Assembly of Canada Church, Calvary Temple, Winnipeg. I went to Bible College for a year back in 1982-83. I have a long history with this topic of God speaking to his church through prophetic words. My Blog space which I just newly began yesterday, January 5, 2019, is a space to explore that journey.

Your message is particularly of interest because of where I’m at in my life. I read a book by John White as a youth of 16 years. “Daring to Draw Near” (click HERE to go to Good Reads and see about that book and it’s author) The book is an exposition of various  prayers in the Bible. And one thing he points out about all prayer is that it’s something that God initiates. Here, it appears that the stranger is the initiator of the struggle, I looked it up,

That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. 28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” 29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” 31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip.

Genesis 32:22-31

Spiridigliozzi seems to have been saying this as well. He mentioned about pain, and how God uses it to get our attention, didn’t he? It’s certainly how God’s gotten my attention.

Some other scriptures came to my mind as I meditated on this:

It’s amazing to me to see how at first I figured it was ME that was going to the Lord, but as I grow through the various trials in my life I see that it’s him at work, from beginning to end. He initiates the struggle with us.

Jesus is speaking to his disciples:

16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other. John 15:16-17.

And The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans,

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. Romans 8:18-21

My son, Ashton, is 18 now. And as you most likely know, he was diagnosed Autistic Spectrum Disorder. The main challenge for people like Ashton is in communication. Understanding what’s being said to him, and people understanding what he’s saying. For the most part Ashton isn’t aware that he’s doing something wrong, or let me put it another way, that there’s a better way to do it. He uses words that he doesn’t know have other connotations. Words and phrases he’s picked up listening to gamers doing a walk through on a YouTube video that he’s watched. I’ve been making an effort to wait until we are alone to bring up the phrase and enlarge his understanding of it. It’s discipline, really. But it’s not discipline in the way we usually understand it. When I tell him what those words actually mean, he’s horrified, being a little sweetheart like he is. And I know he’ll never use them again. It’s hard for me to do, because he’s so innocent in his usage of it, but it’s easy for me to do, because I want to help him interact with others.

So, one scripture I usually remember to go and read when a prophetic word is given is in Hebrews 12:

God Disciplines His Children

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. Hebrews 12:4-13

Here’s another verse in this regard:

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans‬ ‭5:1-5‬ ‭NIV‬‬ 2011