The book "Treasuring Grace" was inspired by a dream in which co -author Tracy Roberts feels that God spoke to her and directed her hand in the writing of the story. Many people feel God's special influence in their lives in direct or indirect ways. This column seeks to bring you some of their inspirational stories.
During my research for this column I came across a Christian forum on the topic of God speaking to everyday people. On the forum people shared some of their true life stories, with the hopes of inspiring others. It is my hope that by sharing some of their stories here as well, that we can spread the word and bring hope and faith to more people through their inspirational experiences. It is my sincere hope that these kind believers do not mind.
Ask and You Shall Receive...
Back in the early 70's when I was a very new believer in my early twenties, I had decided to see if what the bible says is true about hearing His voice, seeking and finding, and asking and it being given. I did not want to believe in a God who was not real, and who could not talk to me. His word said that He would talk to me. So this was what I focused on. I had learned from other believers and from the Word, that He answers prayers that are in line or according to His will. So I choose to ask Him which denomination or church I should join. I knew that it was His will for me to hear and know the answer to this, and I was VERY determined. I prayed for over four months solid. One day, I was loading the dishes into the dishwasher and I stopped right in the middle of putting a dish in and said, impatiently..."Lord ..You said that you would answer and I have not heard" and my thoughts were interrupted and I heard in my head these two words...."Peoria and Philadelphia"...those words meant nothing to me. I was just a kid and I knew nothing about those places as I was born, raised, and still live on the west coast. I knew that I knew these words do not come from my own mind...it just didn't make sense...yet!! I was and always have been a researcher, so I got out my National Geographic’s and tried to find out what I could about them. We didn't have computers back then, and I didn't own a set of encyclopedias either. I searched through these magazines until I became weary.
I asked the Lord "what do I do with these places, what do they mean"?
He said very clearly again in my head, "call Bethlehem". I thought for a few minutes and decided that I would look up churches in the yellow pages that had the name Bethlehem. The first page I turned to in the book showed a church that was just blocks from where I lived and it was called Bethlehem. I decided to be brave and call the pastor...I wanted to see if this was the right church and to prove (even though I already knew) that this was all from God. I called him and simply asked him (without telling him my story) if Peoria and Philadelphia meant anything to him, and he said, "why yes, I was ordained in Peoria and my first church was in Philadelphia, why do you ask"? I told him my story.
He was amazed, and frankly, in my naive ignorance, I thought it was odd that a pastor would be so amazed. I did not yet know that there were some Christians, pastors, and churches that held the belief that God does not speak to us anymore. God used a naive young person like me to tell the pastor that He does indeed still talk to His children.
Much later I found out that after the pastor spoke to me on the phone, he went to his next standing appointment he had with a young couple that had an interest and questions regarding the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
He explained to them our phone conversation, as he was still amazed. I later became friends with that same young woman. It wasn't long after that this couple moved to Arizona to start a Charismatic church. God can do amazing things through anybody that is willing. I just wanted a church home and to believe in a God that was really real...and He took care of my needs, taught the pastor something very valuable, and also confirmed what a young couple was wanting confirmation in....all at the same time. God is alive and well, and He speaks to you if you ask and then listen.... and keep on listening no matter how long it takes.