I ended last week talking about I John 2:27 which says the anointing we have of Him abides in us. That means I don't first look for His manifest presence and revealed will in a meeting called 'church', but I look inside myself to Him throughout my day, that I may follow where He leads.
Carrabba's or Abuelo's?
In Tulsa there is a street, 71st, that has more than 3 miles (5 km) of stores and restaurants along it. Along that street our favorite Mexican restaurant is Abuelo's, and our favorite Italian restaurant is Carrabba's. They are right next to each other along 71st, and are our 'go to' restaurants on our 'date days'. One 'date day' Barb asked me where I wanted to have dinner.
Now understand that we've been married close to 35 years, and we dated 4 years before that, AND we had the same friends and went to the same birthday parties and since about age 8. When we were 12 she was at my Confirmation Service in the Episcopal church. So I know when Barb asks 'Where do you want to have dinner?', she is really saying "I already know where I want to have dinner and this question is a test to see if you and I are thinking the same thing."
The trouble is, I am in tune with her thinking, which I knew that night to be Abuelo's. But I was asking myself if I should tell her I was really hungry for Carrabba's Filet Marsala, one of the best steaks in town? Or do I tell her I ate Mexican yesterday when I had lunch with one of the men from our church? I knew she would give up what she wanted for me if I told her, but as much as I wanted Filet Marsala, I wanted to please her more.
Good thing I love Mexican food because that's what we ate that night.
Reading this will be the only way she'll discover I wanted Italian that night because love doesn't push its own way. Often that means changing direction to meet a need or desire while remaining silent about what you would prefer. God is love, so if I do that for my wife, how much more does He change direction for us?
Prophecy or of her own spirit?
She played an instrument in our worship team, and was often used by the Lord to prophesy to the congregation. But just as often what she said wasn't a prophecy for the congregation, but was born of her soul, out of something the Lord had taught her that week that was still stirring in her, and she felt 'led' to put a 'Thus saith the Lord' on it and prophesy to everyone. Often she would jump in with her 'word' just before the legitimate prophecy or tongues/interpretation was about to be spoken by someone else.
I was the pastor, and our worship leader would also know what was God and what wasn't, and quite often when she gave one of her prophecy's he and I would look at each other, and patiently wait until she was done before allowing that someone to speak with what the Lord REALLY wanted to say.
You know I never said a word to her about it, because even though what she said wasn't intended by the Lord for that moment, it still blessed people and wasn't unscriptural in content - it just wasn't what He had planned for that time. But He always seemed able to go with the flow in a service, so I learned to as well.
I was in a service as guest speaker and the worship team couldn't settle on true worship, but would have a song that was all about Him - Holy, Holy, Holy - and then switch back to lyrics exclaiming what a pitifully needy people we are, and then back again to focus on Him. I felt teased and it was hard to stay focused.
The Lord appeared to me that night during one of their songs focused on Him, and I expressed my frustration with the worship and the fact 2/3 of the congregation seemed uninterested. He replied, "It's OK, I'll do what I can tonight, and the next time you come back it will be different, and I'll do more then." He then walked around and spoke to a few people, and then disappeared. I remained amazed at His graciousness.
Interruptions to His schedule - go with the flow
Acts 10:38 says the Father "anointed Jesus of Nazareth who went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed of the devil."
Jesus was anointed to do good. And now we are His body on the earth, the only Jesus most people will ever see. We are anointed to do good.
We have to take off the religious glasses, take the anointing out of Sunday morning, and realize the anointing may ask us to change directions for something as simple and 'non-spiritual' as taking a plate of cookies to a neighbor, or checking in on a neighbor who has been sick, or calling someone who has been on your heart recently. Went about doing good...anointed to do good...
Went about doing good
He turned water into wine and did it anonymously in a way that gave honor to the host and hostess.
He fed 5,000 and 4,000 men respectively, not counting women and children, after they had taken the time and effort to come into the wilderness to listen to Him all the way until dinner time.
He blessed children when they came to Him, even though His disciples tried to send them away.
He paid rent for the use of a fishing boat by giving Peter, James, and John enough fish to nearly sink their boats and break their net. (Luke 5:1-10)
In general, He served people wherever their were needs - as pointed out last week - going with people to heal them, their children, their servants, when they interrupted His journeys. He went about doing good, ate meals with the unloved, hated, or unclean, and was anointed by the Father to do that. And He did that because He said, He did what He saw the Father doing - willing to change directions with grace.
Concerned for the heart, not doctrine
I had spoken at a traditional church and the pastor was now taking me and others out to eat at a Mexican restaurant. There were 8 of us total. As the waitress moved back and forth bringing drinks and chips and salsa and such, I noticed her accent was Spanish, but not Mexican Spanish, so I asked her where she was from. She replied with heavy accent, Argentina, that she was going to school nearby to become a nurse.
As she headed to the kitchen for yet more chips and salsa, I casually asked; "Do you have anything for her Father?"
Immediately, as if He was waiting for me to ask, I saw a large rectangular 'window' for lack of a better term, or like a large TV, in the air. I saw a 5 or 6 year old girl who I knew intuitively was our now 20 something year old waitress, riding a small horse. I only saw the horse from the head up, and the little girl from the mid-section up, but could see she was bouncing up and down as she rode. Behind her stood a man who was beaming with joy, who I guessed was her father, thrilled just watching her ride.
Having a good time
The Father spoke to me as I watched: "Tell her that her father is with me, and that he is having a wonderful time, like when she used to ride her horse and he would watch her ride and they would play together." Then the scene vanished.
On her next trip to our table I asked her about her family, and she became somber. She explained she missed her family, and her father had died about 6 months earlier, as she wiped away her tears. But, she explained, she knew he was in heaven and now she can pray to him everyday and he is watching over her, so in some ways she felt closer to him now. I could tell of course being from Argentina and making that statement, she was raised Roman Catholic.
Because the Father gave me instructions, and He chose not to address her obvious theological error, neither did I, but I did ask her if her father had been a praying man. She was most emphatic that yes he was, and that he went to Mass all the time and lit candles for people he prayed for.
When I told her what I saw and heard she started crying, and explained through her tears it was a toy horse on springs, and when she was little she and her dad would play together and make believe as she rode her horse on various adventures. That he was in heaven having a wonderful time put her heart at ease, as well as ease the guilt she felt at not being home with her mother and family after his death.
Went about doing good....anointed to do good...
A story like that may assault some spiritual sensibilities that He would be so gracious to someone in such serious error as praying to her dead father, but love and therefore the Father's anointing, meets needs and overlooks things unnecessary for that moment. He can correct her later in another way. When Jesus told the woman caught in adultery that He didn't condemn her, but to not sin again in that way, He didn't chide her for opening the door on the adulterous relationship. He just met the need, said what was needed, and moved on.
When Jesus said He is 'meek and lowly in heart, come learn of me', He meant it. We are to become meek and lowly of heart like Him, and learn of Him. Walk in love, follow the anointing, and don't add to it.
What He said to Chris
I speak of our handicapped son, Chris, fairly often in this space. He is 33, but mentally about 4 due to the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck in a slip knot during labor, which cut off oxygen which resulted in brain damage at birth, and lacking normal growth of his legs as well.
One of the things Chris has been robbed of is the concept of time. While he is learning gradually, most often when I tell him I have to go tell people about Jesus and will see him in about 10 days, he says, "OK, see you in the morning" or "See you next week!"
So getting him to understand "By His stripes you WERE healed", has proved fruitless. He doesn't understand next week, let alone the concept of his healing being paid for 2,000 years ago. But what he does know is this: "When I get to heaven, no more wheelchair" and "When I get to heaven I'm going to run."
One day he came crawling down the hallway, which he does 'Army man' style, as he can't get up on all fours, so he pulls himself along with his arms. "Dad! Dad! Know what Jesus told me?!" I said, "No Chris, what did the Lord tell you?"
"Jesus told me He's going to walk through the mountains with me! Yep, that's what He said. He's going to walk through the mountains with me! Yahoo! (laughing in joy) That will be fun, yep, He's going to walk through the mountains with me."
Who was anointed...went about doing good....
He did good to my son by giving him that promise of a future walk with him.
The anointing is within us, and that presence is that of our humble, meek, down to earth, Father and Lord. Don't let time at church be the only time you look for that sense of 'the anointing', but when we awaken each day, say 'Good morning Father', and look down inside you to see where that ever present anointing would have you pray or have you do that day...it may be as simple as a cup of water to a child, some clothes to the needy, a visit to a sick person or prisoner - we are anointed to do good because Jesus is STILL anointed to go about doing good, and continues to do so, through us.
A new subject next week, blessings,