“Do you know your nephew’s goldfish can grow to be much bigger?”
“No Lord, I did not know that”.
The Lord was about to impart an important lesson. Did I care to hear? No. I was not in the mood to listen. There I was waiting for the 11 am Contemporary Service to start. I was at a United Methodist Church. The people were great. I enjoyed their company but there was one problem. I was sent there by God without any idea of His plans.
Why did He reroute me from another state to here? Only a few months before I participated in some Revival services. God delayed me from leaving. A message had to be delivered to the church. Then I made plans to go back to Florida. I was hurrying to return. I thought it was the will of God that I complete the final stages of the process before being ordained as a process looking forward to being ordained as a Prophet. Now here I am. Far removed from that.
The faint sound of the worship team’s vocal warm-up floated in the air. It dragged me back to the present conversation with God.
“What did God want? Why would He shift me from an apostolic ministry. Then plant me where there was no visible movement of the Holy Spirit?
The people were caring. They didn’t know me but I was warmly received. But the service was different. I never was allowed to tell them about my background. The Lord gave strict instructions that I was not to speak word about my involvement in ministry. They must wondered what was up with me. My winter coat looked like Elijah’s camel hair. It was funky! That seem to matter to them. I felt the love of God. The atmosphere of the contemporary service was welcoming. Round tables and chairs were beautifully arranged to give the feel of a restaurant.
The youths were attracted to the service. Me not so much. I felt vulnerable. How was I to survive? I felt vulnerable, completely out of my elements. I worried that I would not be able to control myself during worship. I was used to the visible displays of the Presence of the Holy Spirit. Once worship started I would shake, buck, make loud sounds. When the Presence came I would fall on my face and cry, ‘holy! Holy! Holy!’
I was not enjoying this shift. Nope. Not one bit.
“What was God doing? Why? Why?”
I thank the Lord that no one else had arrived. I was having an internal conversation with the Lord but my face was speaking very loud. I could feel the facial muscles tense. I know you may be the poker face type but not me. Naw! I am not that type. Extra, extra effort has to be put into masking what I am thinking. My face always spoke volumes.
For the first two or three months of our marriage my wife sometimes reacted sharply while we conversed. I couldn’t understand it. I would try to make light of a situation but her reaction would be different. Things got so heated that sometimes we had to take a time out. I was puzzled by what was happening. I was convinced we were being attacked by Satan. Well until she recorded my face while I washed dishes. My face was far from pleasant. You would think I was in a major battle with the dishes. My face contorted this way and that, as I conversed internally. I didn’t know I was doing it! My facial muscles felt relaxed. I thought I wore the biggest smile.
So here I was talking with God. Listening to that firm soft inner voice. Providing guidance when I did not feel like it. When I did not want it.
I know you are not like me. When God speaks you listen and quickly response. My conversation with God was happening in January 2015. Back then I was a prideful and stubborn mule. It took God three years to break me. There is still stuff to be broken off. He’s not done but I have learnt to listen and respond. To quickly come into agreement. I have come to cherish the wisdom given. Every drop from His mouth are precious pearls. They must be sought with the whole heart and soul. One day I will detail my breaking process. Let’s keep the focus. Where was I?
The Lord continued to educate me.
“If the fish is placed in a large tank it will grow to be very big.”
As He spoke I saw an image of several large goldfish in a hotel pond. Instantly I was transported to the small fish pond outside the conference terrace at Hilton Hotel, Kingston, Jamaica. I was watching the fish swim. Something I loved. Every time I went to the Hotel time was made for the fish. I would steal away from conferences, karaoke concerts, the club or whatever activity to gaze at my friends.
“Oh! Really! I did not think about that, Lord”
“How comes I never taught of that before?” It made sense. The size of some species of fish is proportionate to their environment. Place the fish in a small tank it will remain small. Place that same fish in a big tank and it will become very large. I could see my nephew’s fish growing to the size of the hotel fish.
“Yes! This is the same with people.”
“This is the same with you. I had to take you from one environment and place you in a larger one to grow you.”
“In this season. Allow yourself to grow. Let me stretch you. There is so much more in you.”
“OK Lord! I will accept the stretching.”
When the process begun it was not as expected. I thought He would give me the desires of my heart. There were business projects I wanted to pursue. Some territories I wanted to conquer. I just felt God would be happy to bless my plans. Yeah right! He was not having it. He was about to kill my little flesh. I was placed on a 40 days fast. No food was allowed. I could only drink very limited water once per day. Without mention sleep was drastically reduced. Most days I was blessed to get four hours sleep. Most night was only two or three hours of sleep. The phone would ring at the oddest hours. It would ring at one or two am. I would turn over to turn the phone off and the Holy Spirit would very sternly say, “answer it! I sent the person to you.” I had to get up and handle the situation. Then spend the next hours in prayer. Most days I woke feeling like I had gotten a severe beating. My body was weak. It was impossible to move without prayer. I would pray cry out for strength, then get up and walk. By the third week I noticed a difference. I felt strengthened in my body. The desire for food left. Going with little sleep felt natural.
God started varying the hours He spoke to me. He would wake me at odd hours. Sometimes He woke me after only an hour of sleep. He would then talk to me for the rest of the night. What was He doing? Breaking me free from the limitations of the flesh. Strength came only from reliance on the Holy Spirit. The visions were more intense. My senses were heightened. I could see more spiritually. The visions of God were intensified. I would begin praying in the spirit and see Him and enter into trances.
Other things were happening also in prayer. Heaven begun to release business ideas. Entire books would be downloaded in me. I was like Neo in The Matrix. Once I plugged into prayer, everything came was downloaded. The book title, layout, design, etc. It rocked my little religious mind. I was expecting a super-spiritual experience. Not practical things to fulfill the will of God. Worse I was did not expect Him to challenge me to do something I was not interested in. Surely He knew I always ran from writing.
Give me mathematics. Give me a computer program to decode or write. Give me something to sing. A poem to recite. An impromptu speech before an angry or deadpan audience. Perhaps a role in a play. Ask me to serve at church or the homeless shelter. Send me to a bring a prophetic word to someone several miles away. I will walk to carry the message. No big deal I have done that and will gladly do it again. Just do not ask me to write!
God was messing with my emotions. The spiritual experiences were exhilarating but asking me to write was freaking me out. Why would He do that. What was He telling me about the number of books that would be written in a certain number of years? My faith was not there. My mind could not grasp that. “Surely He cannot be talking about me”.
For many years I was not aware of my weaknesses. I identified my strengths and focused my energies on getting better. Every day I pushed to be better. I loved learning something new. Any weakness that stood in the way was hammered until it was gone. Without much thought I wrote manuals, codes of conduct and various handbooks for work. Once the need arose I instantly moved to satisfy it without thinking or being asked by my boss. Yet the Devil blinded me from seeing the parallel with writing other books. I was just doing my job. I always transferred knowledge to accomplish any work task. Why was this different? :Little did I realize how the enemy had filled my heart with fear.
When God challenged me to begin this blog I was scared. I wanted to run. The Holy Spirit gave me an article and told me to create the blog. Little did I know what He was doing. I was nervous but I did it anyway. Articles came easy. I would be reading or doing something and the Holy Spirit would begin giving me an articles. With every article He was tearing down Jericho’s wall. The ‘I can’t’ wall was coming down!
How could I have listened? I always was complemented on my writing. My High School Teacher of English always encouraged me to write. I actually got the highest grade in school. I wrote a few poems but my thinking was limited. Anything that moved me beyond this safe zone paralyzed me. So was moving from Jamaica. I always told myself that I would live in no other country. I would visit but never stay.
Now that God had uprooted me I was not liking it. I was like a fish out of water; fighting against my rescuer.
Enlarging Your Tent
I now look back at that time with tremendous fondness. God showed me that there was far more in me. I was stretched but I never broke. My capacity only expanded. I stepped into new territories emotionally, mentally, spiritually and professionally.
For years I was contented to settle for mediocrity. Terror held a ceiling over my life. I never confronted the fear. Logic and reason allowed me to make peace with my fears. Only when God begun to challenge me was I forced to face my fears.
I can truly smile now. Not only did I face them. I overcame them. Risks were taken without a contingency plan. There was no solid plan A. I could only step forward in faith.
So many times we hold back waiting for the right time. The right moment to conquer life. We must be willing to step out on a limb. Faith demands nothing else.
As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us,who can be against us?
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us,who can be against us?
Let’s work Krystal Lee of Girl+God T-shirt brand action statement, ‘Wake. Pray. Slay‘ Put it on repeat! ‘Wake. Pray. Slay.’.
Our Father delights when His children grow. You are fulfilling His first law ‘be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth (Genesis 1:28,29). Several reknown Prophets have said Prophet Bob Jones always said it is a sin to live below God best for your life. That includes your calling. ‘‘Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. ‘ (3 John 2)
It is time to enlarge the place of your tent. Enlarge your mental capacity. Enlarge your emotional capacity. Enlarge your skillset. There is so much more in you. God is calling you higher. He is saying it is time for you to become mature. It is time for His children to become ‘sons of God’. It is time to receive your full inheritance. God is challenging you to grow in your faith. The more your faith grows is the more He rejoices in you. How do you grow in faith? Trust God. Focus your attention on God and never move it. Trust Him with the faith of a child.
1 After these things, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram, I am your [a]Shield, your abundant compensation, and your reward shall be exceedingly great.
2 And Abram said, Lord God, what can You give me, since I am going on [from this world] childless and he who shall be the owner and heir of my house is this [steward] Eliezer of Damascus?
3 And Abram continued, Look, You have given me no child; and [a servant] born in my house is my heir.
4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, This man shall not be your heir, but he who shall come from your own body shall be your heir.
5 And He brought him outside [his tent into the starlight] and said, Look now toward the heavens and count the stars—if you are able to number them. Then He said to him, So shall your descendants be.
6 And he [Abram] believed in (trusted in, relied on, remained steadfast to) the Lord, and He counted it to him as righteousness (right standing with God).
Genesis 15:1-5, Amplified Bible, Classic Edition
I am challenging you today. Step outside. Look up!