There is something very interesting that occurred about twenty minutes after I submitted last Septemberīs article for my Monday morning deadline. Actually, itīs quite miraculous! I went to check my e-mail and came across one from a close friend that was marked, īA MUST READ!ī. Naturally, I opened it first. It contained a very lengthy article, written by a very well-known author who has published more than 20 books. Amazingly, his message was almost identical to the article that I had just written and sent off to the Gondolier and the similarities were so numerous that they were almost word for word, even down to such unique words and adjectives like īunimaginableī.
Whenever something like this happens it is such a tremendous confirmation to me because it shows me that I am truly hearing from God. It confirms that I am clearly hearing what He is saying to me because He is telling so many of His other messengers the same thing, at the same time. As 2 Peter 1:21 declares; "It is the Holy Spirit within us that enables us to speak the messages of God". A similar reference is made in Ephesians 3:5 which says that God clearly reveals His divine truths to us through the power of the Holy Spirit.
My first such experience happened about 10 years ago. After I composed a sermon which I was preparing for a church in South Carolina, I dictated it onto a cassette tape. I finished the message just as two friends arrived to take me to a meeting up in Sarasota where John Bevere, another well-known author and minister, was speaking. At the time though I had never even heard of John Bevere. Since the drive to Sarasota was going to take about forty minutes, the exact length of my message, my friends agreed to listen to it on the way there.
After the service, while perusing the book table, I felt the Lord strongly impressing me to get a book called, īThe Devilīs Doorī. Well, that posed a problem because I was in no financial position to spend $10 on a book. Secondly, I had brought absolutely no money with me, so why was the Lord insisting that I needed to read that book? Finally, in desperation, I said, "Lord, if you want me to read that book, then youīll just have to have it pop up at the next garage sale that I visit because I have no intention of borrowing the money from my friends. There are much more pressing issues to spend $10 on!"
Turning away from the book table I saw my friends, now standing with John Bevere, motioning for me to come and join them. As I approached, they were telling him that I was about to leave to minister in South Carolina. To my amazement, he spun around and very adamantly stated, "Go and get my book, The Devilīs Door. Read it and go preach it. If you cannot afford to buy it, just take it. Please, go spread the message."
I must have looked like a deer in headlights as the realization hit me that this was a divinely orchestrated encounter. I grabbed the book and could hardly wait to get home and find out what God so very adamantly wanted me to read and know. You cannot imagine the shear panic that gripped me when I discovered that John Bevereīs book was not only on the same Old Testament chapter and verse that my message was on, but he even used the same New Testament scriptures to back up his message. Additionally, he had a very similar personal experience happen to him as did to me, except his occurred at a baseball game while mine was an incident that happened on the front steps of a friendīs house, but the gist of both our situations was absolutely identical.
My immediate reaction was that people would think that I had first read his book and then plagiarized most of it. My mind raced because I didnīt know what to do. I almost picked up the phone to call my friends who could prove that I did not, since they had listened to my tape and knew that I had never even heard of this man until that night.
Suddenly, Godīs peace descended like manna from heaven and I received a very simple, yet astonishing revelation. It is a revelation that continues to be a source of encouragement each and every time I prepare a new message, allowing me to be totally confident that the things which I write and preach are not just my own words and ideas but they come form the very heart of God, revealed to me by the Spirit of God. It is straight from I Corinthians 2: 12-16 ; "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things also we speak, not in the words which manīs wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual ... we have the mind of Christ." (NKJV)