Is the ‘Hand of God’ a Sign for these Times?

One of this morning’s emails brought this new photo from NASA. It’s so right for what I was about to write.

Click on the photo for details and here for a commentary on history.  Early photos of this pulsar nebular showed ‘fingers’ only but this latest  shows a ‘fist’ as well, maybe hinting at the contrast between God’s open and closed, or holy, aspects. Or this  could suggest what He’s previously retained as a ‘mystery’ is now being revealed?

You may think I’m stretching serendipity, or happy coincidence, to absurd lengths in my stating this image fits well into what’s happened after I wrote about prophecy, especially on the need for discernment and risk-talking to catch God’s timing for any situation. (See remark at + in Prophecies for 2014 and subsequent post on Talking to Time…).

All that together with an amazing revelation in connection with helping a new friend and an ancient hymn clearly indicates He’s trying to get my/our attention – as though waving a hand in the sky!  And it even involves the ‘invisible bridge over the Pond’!!

Even if ‘over the top’, it brings an interesting insight into the validity of the prophetical gifting with an excellent example of several individuals moving as the Spirit directs towards one purpose (see John 3:8).

But let me start with this morning’s other thought-provoking instance of serendipity:

The Hymn

God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform – the opening lines and tune to William Cowper’s famous hymn have been humming in the back of my mind as a result of a recent communication.  The full lyrics with brief background may be read here, but my memory of what I’d heard in school assemblies many decades ago couldn’t recall its last line. Was it something like ‘the Lord will make the action fine’, or was it ‘plain’?  And does it hint at ‘time’, or could this be to draw my attention to divine intent?

Although then antagonistic of Anglicanism as well as other churches, as the account of my schooldays makes plain, those assemblies were the only way I was introduced to the  great English hymns. Their sentiments were most uplifting but antiquated wording would puzzle me and that ‘action’ reference was one – and it had resurfaced, popping up from the depths of my personal past; which again is to do with time! 

Therefore, let me share the ‘God-incident’ that blessed me in this research. The hymn’s last 4-line verse reads as below but those words about action/time didn’t stop rattling around in the brainbox. So I searched using ‘original’ for any variant of wording – guess what?  The hymn was originally entitled Light Shining Out of Darkness, from which two more lines have been added by contemporary musician Jeremy Riddle to his version of the last verse:

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

In His own time,
In His own way.

I was astounded at what a persistent inner nudge had kept me digging for and found! Thank you Lord. [The other phrase, ‘action fine’ closes a verse in poet George Herbert’s ‘alchemical’ Teach Me, My God and King, which I’d often muse upon as a child.]

An Anglican Apostasy?

Over this New Year’s first weekend I read about a trial to ‘dumb-down’ the liturgy for Christenings, as reported in the Telegraph and lambasted by ‘His Grace Archbishop Cranmer’ in Is the Church of England ashamed to preach Christ crucified?  This is all because it’s supposed that today people don’t understand what ‘sin’ means or that Satan exists. So namby-pamby clerics wish to pander to the unsaved instead of teaching them or telling them what the Gospel actually means. They need to follow the example of the Baptist Churches wherein the minister teaches briefly about the Gospel and our obedience to Jesus’ instruction to be baptised.

Baptism is to make a personal statement of belief in, and our public identification with, Jesus Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. Also, as at mine and every adult baptism I’ve witnessed, it’s believers opportunity to attest personally to His grace by  testifying to how they came into salvation. (See Romans 6 for incisive scripture.)

Rankled as I was about that news of silly Anglicans tinkering with the heart of Christian belief, I tried not to be distracted away from what I intended to write upon my return to blogging after the holiday season. Upon waking up that Tuesday the thought dropped into mind that many Anglicans are heeding and anointed in the Holy Spirit and trying to move that church forward. Thus admonished, my irritation ceased immediately and the first email of a multitude I later opened was…

A Plea for Help, and a Revelation

NB: to maintain confidentiality the characters are given pseudonyms: ‘Bernard’ (after the founder of a renowned monastic order); ‘Mark’ (after an associate of the Apostles); ‘Paul’ (after the apostle who taught about the gift of prophecy and foretold the future as led by Holy Spirit, as did others).

Bernard’s email asked if I could advise about how to handle a weighty vision about the Church that he’d received as he didn’t know anyone familiar with the prophetic or having more experience than his own. I recalled my feelings after an awesome open vision when it was then hard to find any leader who could help me with it. So I gave a link to my account and, as I felt led, to one from 1993 about a future sifting of the Church.

Later that Tuesday I got an email from Tony in Tucson (over ‘the Pond’) asking if I’d heard about the nonsense over Anglican baptism. I sensed it may be a tangential   connection with Bernard’s material which, I was to learn later, is similar to some of Tony’s dreams of Church. Thus this email was timely and confirmatory!

The next day Bernard provided details of the vision and said he’s recently moved to an Anglican church. It was good to hear its leadership are open to the Holy Spirit and that he’s in training for ordination in ministry. So, I’m pleased he’s in a sound place.

As my Anglican contacts are very few I wondered who Bernard could contact for advice and mentoring and Paul’s name popped into mind right away. I realised I should sound out my Anglican friend Mark in view of his extensive circle of friends in leadership. But I wasn’t able to contact him.

Hassle with an electronic payment on Saturday morning delayed my getting a paper. So I briskly strode into the local supermarket but took an unplanned diversion to get ham. A few people by the deli counter were dispersing as I inserted myself between them – then I heard Mark’s voice as he and his wife walked away!

Neither of us had noticed one another, AND their presence was unusual because they live in another town!!  So we chatted as he enthused about a book he’s reading. It’s on developments in the Church and, in view of his connection with Justin Welby and other leaders, he’ll be recommending God Is Back. No doubt he’d picked it up on his latest sojourn over ‘the pond’.  But I was keen to ask about my new friend’s need.

“Do Anglicans have a recognised office of prophet or someone who can properly handle prophetic material and advise on it?” I asked. Mark replied, “Oh yes – Paul…. He looks at all correspondence personally and considers words and visions carefully.”

Upon my writing about this to Bernard his immediate response was of astonishment,

“My spirit leapt somewhat upon reading that as I have a history with Paul – when I was…he came to me as a stranger rather remarkably and prophesied over me , inviting me into ordination and speaking significantly to me about my future. This seems right to me that he is the contact you had in mind.”

I was stunned to read this – amazed and in praise once again at how wonderfully God moves in the lives of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. As William Cowper unerringly testified towards the close of his life:

1. God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.

2. Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

3. Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

4. Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

5. His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

6. Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

Selah – Amen

Further Reading:

  1. Prophesy TO 2014
  2. Talking to Time seems to work
  3. Is the ‘Hand of God’ a Sign for these times? (above)
  4. I am Gabriel, who stands in the Presence of God
  5. Thoughts on ‘Rethinking Genesis’ (with discussion).
  6. Surprise! New things! The invisible world is the pattern for the visible

[Image credits: NASA and Endless Bridge by Evgeni Denev, Freedigitalphotos.net]

 

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