I share the following stories happenings with you as a reminder, and perhaps a challenge, for all of us to be sensitive to what God may want to use us for when we least expect it. I trust the following may not only be delightful, but also inspire you to be bold with your faith.
I Never Know!
“I never know what she is going to do, ha, ha!” That’s what I yelled over to the lady in the drive-thru that was adjacent to the one I was in—referring to Ruthie. It used to scare me, but I’ve learned that when Ruthie gets the nudge from the Holy Spirit, as risky as it may seem, I can just sit back and relax—but I’m NOT saying it doesn’t make me a bit uneasy.
Ruthie had just finished her third out of four meetings that day with women she knew—not uncommon for her. She gets abundant life pouring abundant life into others. When she got home she gave me my hug and immediately said, “Can we go sit on the swing and talk.”
I replied, “Hey, I’ve gotta go to the bank. Ride with me and we can talk on the way.” We got to the bank and…well...
So, I pull up to the empty drive-in window. On my right side in the other lane a young lady in a car was doing a transaction. But before I could replace the canister and hit send, Ruthie said, “I have a word from God for that girl over there.” I looked, and across Route 322 in Ephrata—a heavily trafficked road where fast tractor-trailer trucks and Amish buggies buzz by at high rates of speed, was a teenage girl shooting basketball in a driveway. Ruthie immediately jumped out of the car and navigated across the traffic to give the young girl the word from God.”
As she got out of the car I glanced over and noticed that the young lady alone in her car in the next lane was watching this whole episode with Ruthie with a tiny grin on her face, likely wondering what in the world is this woman doing? Her window was down, waiting for the return of her banking cartridge.
For three seconds I battled social fear, then I mustered the courage to roll down the passenger window and yell out to her, “I never know what my wife is going to do! She said she had a word from God for that girl.” Of course, I had no clue whether the girl in the other car had any idea what a “word” from God is.
She screamed back, “I guess you have to do what God says!” Then she continued, “If she has a word for me I’d sure take it! The other guy has been talking to me lately.”
I then said something like, “Ask her. She might get something for you!”
By now, Ruthie is giving her word to the young girl: “You don’t know me and I don’t know you, but while my husband was doing his banking I saw you shooting baskets and immediately God spoke something to me to say to you. When you were in your mother’s womb and God was forming you he also was making a plan for your life, and I don’t know how old you are, but you are in that plan. It says in the Bible that His plans are good for us. I don’t know where you are with God, but as you allow yourself to walk with Him, He will show you His good plan for you, and He will show you that it is good for you. And I just felt I was supposed to come over here and tell you what God told me about you—and I don’t know why, and I don’t know your story. But God wants you to know that he has your future.”
The girl then responded to Ruthie with a soft and hearty, Thank you! Ruthie grabbed her arms gently and said, “Then you understand what I am saying?”
“Oh, yes!” she replied.
“I want you to know I’m not here religiously, but that God spoke this specifically for you, and I felt compelled to come and tell you!”
Then the girl reached forward and hugged Ruthie and thanked her again. Then said something like, “Yes, I understand and needed this.”
It was so strong to Ruthie that she knew that if we had driven away from the bank without telling the girl the word, that she would had ignored what God told her to do, and she would have missed a wonderful opportunity. She had a sense that the girl may have been a foster child.
But Meanwhile, Back in the Car
The lady in car lane next to me must have been depositing over a million bucks because she was still there when Ruthie came back—thankfully arriving alive after crossing the traffic with trucks and buggies. I screamed out the window to Ruthie, “Hey this lady wants a word from God, too!”
The two immediately began to chat while I sat in my lane watching them dialogue. After a couple of minutes another car pulled in behind me, so I had to pull off to the side. I was imagining the tellers inside listening to this whole episode on their speakers. Surprisingly, nobody drove up behind the girl, so she didn’t have to move her car. Minutes elapsed. Finally, Ruthie came back to our car and told me what had just happened:
Lisa (not her real name) attended a large church in the Lancaster area. She wanted to be baptized, but she didn’t want to be baptized in front of a lot of people. She felt this is what God was leading her to do because so much of her life was performing for people. But the leadership of the church would not allow that to happen—it had to be a public baptism, after a training course in baptism.
Just the day before our encounter, a leader in her church informed Lisa that they would not baptize her without their agenda. She was very disappointed because she knew she was supposed to get baptized. Ruthie was well aware of the Ethiopian eunuch whom Phillip baptized in front of nobody in the Book of Acts, chapter eight: “Hey, Lisa, we have a pool. We would be happy to baptize you! My husband is a pastor and he would love to baptize you. But, Lisa, it doesn’t have to be a pastor.” Lisa smiled and agreed. Ruthie gave her her phone number and Lisa said she would call.
About a week went by—no call. But then she called, and we scheduled her baptism. She showed up and Lisa told Ruthie and me how she became bitter toward God because of getting a sickness that lasted years. Someone, though, helped Lisa come back to Him. She now was passionately hungry for truth.
After about an hour of dialoguing, I stepped into the pool with Lisa and baptized her. I noticed as she came out of the water that she was particularly affected, so I asked her how she felt. We got out of the pool and she described what she saw and felt and saw during the baptism. She said she saw angels surrounding the part of the pool where she was baptized, and she had a deep encounter with the presence of Jesus. She said she felt something distinct come into her, which was obviously what we prayed beforehand—that she would be filled up full with the power of the Spirit of God. Lisa said goodbye, but she left with something new in her heart.
Lisa was blessed by the baptism, but Ruthie and I are every bit as blessed to have had the privilege of being part of an amazing encounter with God that showed His loving-kindness for the heart of our new friend, Lisa. May God help us to never miss opportunities that He has waiting for us on our journey through life!
Another Word From God—Maybe for You!
Freedom Fellowship Church near Orlando, FL, is hosting a Kingdom Culture Conference called Steppin’ Up Higher! with Ruthie and me on September 21st and 22nd. I’m not saying I have a word from God that you are supposed to come, but who knows, maybe you are!
Learning to nurture a Kingdom Culture must be behind all of our living, and all of our leading. Sadly, so many unnecessary problems and divisions arise in friendships, marriages, ministries, and businesses simply out of neglect of the principles of the Kingdom of God.
Jesus taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” But how does Heaven on earth affect our relationships—our marriages, our leadership, our fruitfulness and productivity, our daily dealings with others? A massive need exists for people, ministries, businesses, marriages, families, to establish a kingdom culture based on honor, excellence, respect for diversity, for disagreement, for healthy boundaries. God’s principles teach us to how to value others, call out other’s God-designed destiny, and how to go to the heart of matters and people.
Stepping Up Higher is about how to step up into greater influence. It is about replacing accepted powerless concepts with powerful principles that make each of us effective in our living and leading.—in our jobs and positions—in everything we do.
It is about how to walk in the true nature of love for others while maintaining a healthy self-respect.
Why Waste Your Energy?
I predict that for every hour you invest learning the deeper keys to Kingdom living and leading that you will save countless hours and days putting out crisis fires in your relationships, re-fixing what you thought you had fixed, and time grieving unnecessary division. These values and insights will significantly prevent heartbreak and confusion in your relationships, and in those places you lead.
The conference is Friday, September 21, 7-9 pm through Saturday, September 22, 9 am - 2 pm, with four 45-minute sessions and a time for prayer, impartation and Q&A. The registration cost, including a continental breakfast and scrumptious lunch, is only $20. You believe that? What a great deal to learn principles designed to change the way you live, to change the way you lead!
To register, please email Linda Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org. The registration deadline is Friday, September 14th.