The Prophecy Fulfilled At Last!

Waaaaaaaaay back in 1976, I received a prophecy at a prayer meeting.  Someone was kind enough to write it all down for me, which means that it must have been recorded.  In those days that means that it was probably recorded on a cassette recorder, possibly even a big reel-to-reel tape recorder, and typed on a manual typewriter.  Young people, what this means is that a lot of time and effort went into writing the prophecy for me.  I don’t remember who spoke the prophecy, but it really doesn’t matter, that person was just the instrument God used that evening, and also the person who wrote it out for me.

The prophecy is on 3 yellowed and stained pieces of paper.  There are typographical errors and ellipses to indicate where the person writing could not hear parts of the prophecy.  The paper has been folded in half and has moved with me every time that I have moved since 1976, which is 10 times.  Most of those moves are long distance (more than 500 miles), and include 3 international moves.  It is astonishing that the paper was never lost or destroyed, especially considering that I didn’t take any special care of it.

Most astonishing of all is that for most of the 1980’s I was very far from God, even considering myself an atheist for 8 years.  The prophecy hadn’t made sense to me at the time I received it, so I probably would have thrown it out  if I had come across those papers during that time.  [How God reclaimed me is a very cool story, but too long for right here.  Stay tuned, I’ll try to get to it in a day or so.]

Over the years I have come across the prophecy, sometimes I’ve searched for it.  I have read and re-read it many times, but I never, never understood it until just recently.

Part of the difficulty in understanding the prophecy was the language.  The prophet spoke in King-James-ish English.  I don’t personally have trouble with King James English.  Having grown up Episcopalian, my early church experience was all King James.  My first reading of the Bible was the King James Version.  But for some reason, the prophecy was too difficult to understand.  During my believing years I had kept it, always feeling that it was somehow important, though I didn’t understand it.  The last time I read it was about 2 years ago.  I had brought it to Milan with me.  But I still didn’t understand it.  It makes me think of Habakkuk 2:2, which says: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.  For the revelation awaits an appointed time.”  I think that I didn’t understand the prophecy before the appointed time.

What it says (in part) is:

There is a truth, says the Lord, that I am leading you in; that you should be one of My true mercy, that you should be one of greater mercy, which is My love in action.  My mercy, My kindness, My tenderness upon the lives of others.  For I will send you in as a great Christian spring in a time when many are dry.  For now there shall be those of your own kindred that you should be witnessing to, that you should be speaking to and shall refresh them so that they shall receive greater, greater than that which even I promised. . . (emphasis mine).

Now I understand that this was speaking of this ministry of encouraging missionaries—decades before it started!  On Thursday night I returned home to Milan from a prayer trip to Sofia and Skopje (see my posts of the previous couple of weeks).  Yesterday the pastor from Skopje sent me a message saying (in part): “What a blessings you where in Skopje, Macedonia.  Thank you sooo much for being like fresh water in the desert,” (emphasis mine).  Wow!  This is when the encourager gets encouraged!

I had always taken “those of your own kindred” to be literal relatives, but now I realize that the prophecy speaks of brothers and sisters in Christ.  I’ve always felt called to help Christians understand and begin to really live in their calling.  That is the “truth” spoken of in the first line of the prophecy.

Another part of the prophecy says:

You will find Me in praise, as many of My people find Me in praise, for I will direct praises even now, even henceforth, that they may be praises from your hearts.  My praises, that have seemingly been by sacrifice in the past, but now shall be very real; for now I shall be pleased with you in obedience in My Word that you praise and enact truth in affixing your eyes upon Christ Jesus. . .

The “sacrificial” praise was something that wasn’t in the past when this was written, but in the future.  Now it’s in the past—how I praised God with all my heart even while I was going through the worst depression of my life in the summer of my divorce [more about that another time].

There is also a part that I believe speaks of the future.  I will not include it here.  As Daniel wrote: “The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future,” (Daniel 8:26).

I have spent some time today looking for the actual papers, and I can’t find them.  But I know that I will find them when the future part becomes important.  What I did find was €230!  Provision and grace are always working in my favor because I don’t limit God.  God is good!

Flying Cars? Not Exactly!

Greetings from Warsaw!  I have a nice, long layover between flights—six hours, to be exact!  So I bought some cards, grabbed a table, and wrote a few letters, including birthday greetings for my son.  As I sat there, a couple of airport police whizzed by on Segways.  They went to a door, opened it, and ducking their heads, went through.  I wondered if they had any idea how silly they look.  A few minutes later a couple of maintenance men also whizzed by on Segways and ducked through another door.

When I was a kid, we were sure that there would be flying cars by the year 2000.  Maybe we got that idea from watching The Jetsons on TV, but sitting there with Segways buzzing around me, suddenly I felt cheated.  The future was supposed to be so cool!  What happened?  I think that if we had known how lame the future would actually turn out to be, someone somewhere would have stubbed out his doobie and gotten to work inventing flying cars.  Am I saying that some pothead could have invented flying cars?  No way!  I think that the person who could have invented the flying car let his brain go up in smoke instead, so now we are living in that lame alternate future where the coolest transport we can manage is a Segway.  Bummer!

Moving In and Moving On

Change is an exhilarating, often uncomfortable thing, but with change comes growth.  Growth is what I see in the future:  Growth for the ministry and growth for my faith.  Change and the resulting growth are part of the law of the Kingdom.  God is doing a new thing!

Changes:

  • The organization has had a change of personnel.  Debbie has left to follow God’s call on her life.  Thanks, Debbie, for all your help, and all the best for the future.
  • Laurie has volunteered to take over as the interim (hopefully permanent!) Secretary/Treasurer on our Board of Directors.  Laurie and I have been friends for almost 35 years.  She is a woman of big faith and a fierce prayer warrior wrapped in a cute little package.  Welcome, Laurie!  I look forward to a fruitful collaboration.
  • With the change in personnel, also comes a change of name.  Barnabas European Ministries will change its name to European Faith Missions.  Our 501(c)3 tax exempt status with the IRS remains intact, so all donations are still tax-deductible.
  • I have just acquired the apartment in Milan that God indicated to me back in the beginning of April.  This means the end of living out of a suitcase—after 13 months, I was ready!—a very welcome change, indeed!  But it also means the beginning of several other challenges:
  • The apartment is empty and needs everything, including the kitchen sink (really!).
  • When the apartment is furnished, I will open it up as a missionary guesthouse—the first ever in Milan.
  • The apartment will also serve as a House of Prayer for Europe—the first anywhere specifically to pray for Europe.
  • In pursuit of the apartment, I’ve had to cease my travels.  But now I have a pretty busy travel schedule coming up.
  • With such a busy travel schedule, I will need a caretaker for the apartment once it is opened for guests.

The Kingdom is always advancing!  God is good!