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HEARING GOD BY VINCE C. DORAZIO
As some of you may know, for the past several months, I have been bothered by a pinched nerve in my neck that affected my neck, back, right shoulder and arm. I am reminded of the pain whenever I move or lay down. With constant medication and traction, I am relieved of the pain periodically. However, it is during this time, that God has been getting my immediate attention. At first, I asked repeatedly, When are You going to heal me?" As the pain increased, I yelled, "WHY GOD. WHY DON'T YOU HEAL ME?" It seemed that God wanted my attention, and this was the only way it could be done. I had been "too busy" doing so many other things that I didn't have enough time to stop and hear what God wanted to say to me. So now, as I sit in my traction daily, God and I get together to talk. And when God talks . . . I listen! I was led to read the book of Job, and how through all his problems, Job stood by God in praise. Then I was led to read the Epistles of Paul to Timothy. As I began reading, I heard God say, "Read these letters as if My servant Paul was writing them directly to you personally. The I want you to take that what you hear to other Timothy, like My servant Paul did."
At first I didn't know what to make of all this, but during the next few weeks God was making it clearer, as I continued reading and re-reading the Epistles. I was also during this time I viewed the video tape highlights of the Charismatic Conference in New Orleans, (1987) For those of us who were unable to attend, the videos gave us a front row seat with close-up interviews with people from around the country; something we never would have heard if we were there. Just about everyone said that this conference had excited them to go back to their home town and begin Bible Studies, renew old prayer groups, and start new ones; most referring to Fr Tom Forest and Fr John Bertolucci; . . . TO MOVE OUT AND EVANGELIZE!
In the December issue of New Covenant, Bill Beatty, Executive Director of Chariscenter, USA, says that "New Orleans will be remembered as the time when the broad Pentecostal/Charismatic Renewal began to change its focus from personal and church renewal to world evangelism and Christian unity." The prophecy given by Fr. Frances Martin at the conference , spoke a powerful word directed to leaders, to rely initially on the Lord; "If you rely on human resources and human emotions and human power, you will build in straw and hay and wood, and the fires of judgment will come and destroy your life's work . . . come to Me, I will teach you . . . If you come, if you will preach to the poor, if you will care for those who are abandoned, if you will turn away from relying on your own egos and your own minds and your own resources, I will place you as a glorious stone in My crown." Then directly to the people, "I know how many of your have been disappointed by your pastors and teachers and those who will guide you. But I tell you, look to Me, I will feed you . . . I will guide you . . I will teach you . . . Pray for those who lead you and I will raise up leaders!"
As I pondered over these words, I was reminded of the great Ecumenical Conference in Kansas City, 10 years earlier. The prophecy heard there ,"Turn from the sins of your fathers. Walk in the ways of My Son. Return to the plan of your Father, return to the purpose of your God. THE BODY OF MY SON IS BROKEN!" Have we gotten so used to hearing God speak and then ignore what He says? What have we done since 1977 to evangelize; to bring unity between denominations and prayer groups? I believe for the most part, we have ignore the prophecy given at Kansas City, just as we have ignored the prophets of old concerning Jesus. We heard the word and quickly forgot it; therefore going back to our isolated parishes and prayer groups. Now we hear a fresh new word! What will you do with it? And what will you do about the previous word?
The Scriptures says, "Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to His word, instead, put it into practice. Whoever listens to the word but doesn't put it into practice is like the man who looks in a mirror and sees himself as he is. He takes a good look at himself and then goes away and at once forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks closely into the perfect law that sets people free, who keeps on paying attention to it and doesn't simply listen and then forgets it, but puts it onto practice . . . that person will be blessed by God in what he does!" (James 1:22-25)
Brothers and sisters, it is time for us to put into practice what we hear from God. Some of us, for fear of being accused of "not hearing God rightly", have done nothing! Many in Charismatic Renewal have used the all to familiar saying "we are waiting on the Lord", and then begin to sit and wait for months and years; thus becoming "professional waiters!" God has spoken! He has always been speaking! Have you been listening? Year after year, God has spoken His words of prophecy at conferences, days of renewal, and prayer meetings. Have these words just gone in one ear and out the other? Have you put them into practice what God is saying to you? Or have you immediately forgotten as soon as you leave the assembly? Listen to what Jesus says as He quotes the prophecy of Isaiah, "this people will listen, but not understand; they will look, but not see; because their minds are dull and they have stopped up their ears and have closed their eyes. Otherwise their eyes would see, their ears would hear, their minds would understand, and they would turn to Me, says God, and I will heal them!" (Matthew 13:14-15)
In closing, I pray that you will respond to the call of action as you hear God's word. The worse thing you can do . . . IS NOTHING! What can you do? Where can you go from here? I believe we have an obligation as leaders and members of the Charismatic Renewal to be more unified, than ever before. It is up to all of us as we take the first steps toward unity, to break down the barriers that separate us. We must get into serious discussions of working together sharing our time, talents, and tithes. If we wait for someone else to get started, then we are just ignoring God's word to be put into practice. I encourage you all, especially prayer group leaders, to seek out the Lord's word for your involvement of a greater unity among Christians of all denominations. Then we can begin mending the Broken Body of Jesus and move toward greater EVANGELISM . . .TOGETHER!