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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

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Connections: Bruce Wilkinson

Living in the Miraculous

Bruce Wilkinson is best known as the author of the New York Times #1 best-seller The Prayer of Jabez. He is also the author of numerous other best-sellers, including A Life God Rewards, Secrets of the Vine and The Dream Giver. Over the past three decades, Wilkinson has founded several global initiatives, including organizations that recruited and trained thousands of Americans to address hunger, AIDS and poverty in Africa. Wilkinson recently spoke with General Superintendent George O. Wood.

WOOD: Your writings have been widely used throughout our Assemblies of God Fellowship. You continue to be a great blessing. Your new book, You Were Born for This, has a very remarkable subtitle, Seven Keys to a Life of Predictable Miracles. Talk about this book.

WILKINSON: Whenever you see Christ doing a miracle for somebody it's because they needed the miracle. I believe you have numerous needs in your life from the past and the present, and I do too, and everybody does. So what needs to happen is you need to recognize someone's need and then be sure that's the need God wants you to meet and then partner with Him in that process in such a way that He shows up.

I'm talking to a good friend and he says, "Well, that's just helping people," and I said, "Helping people isn't a miracle. A miracle is when you're helping someone and God shows up." So that's very different. In giving and delivering miracles to other people, you have to learn how to partner so God shows up, because He wants to show up. It's only when God shows up that He gets credit or glory from somebody.

WOOD: Unlock a little of what you put in the book.

WILKINSON: I found numerous places in the Old Testament where God said, "I want to do this, I need to find someone to do this, and I can't find someone to do this. Therefore I can't do what I want to do."

We have this crazy thought in our head, If I don't do this, God will get somebody else. One of the classic passages about this topic is Ezekiel 22:30: "I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none" (NIV).

God Almighty tried to get one person, not out of a thousand, but perhaps out of a couple million to say, "Yes, I will stand in the gap with You like Moses did to talk You out of destroying a nation, like Abraham did with Sodom and Gomorrah." God couldn't find one, and I reflected a long time about that. God needs a person or people to partner with Him to go do this, and people say no, no, no, no, no. The implication is pretty dramatic.

On the flip side, imagine how many miracles God's going to send to that person who says yes. I have a friend who wanted to try this, and he asked God for a miracle every day for 60 days in a row. And God honored that request 60 days in a row. These are miracles where God shows up for the needs of somebody else, and it is one of the most exciting lifestyles you can imagine.

WOOD: You mentioned the experiences of one man at one of your conferences.

WILKINSON: His name is Jimmy. His whole life has changed since this happened to him. Jimmy's a builder, and he put these principles into action when he went to bid on replacing windows in a house.

The first principle is you have to identify the person you think God wants to deliver a miracle to; the second stage is to identify which need in the person's life God wants to deliver a miracle to. So you have to isolate the need.

Jimmy said he knew this customer was the person, but he had no idea what the need was. I teach people to watch the cues the person gives. And Jimmy said the man gave a cue by talking about his bad day, but Jimmy still didn't know what the need was. I teach people to use what I call "a clarifying bump." A bump is when you ask a question gently that causes the person to tell you what their real need is.

So Jimmy said to the man, "It looks like you're not having a particularly good day. What's the matter?" And the guy said, "I'm having a terrible time in my marriage. I think it's going to fall apart. We're going to get divorced. I still love my wife, but it's not going to work."

Jimmy says to this guy, "Would you like the answer to your divorce, to restore your marriage?" And the man says, "Yeah, I would love to know the answer."

So Jimmy tells me that he was waiting for the answer. He's not a marriage counselor, and nothing came to mind. He started to panic. He said his heart was pounding until he remembered another principle I teach: In step four, God is supposed to come through. If God doesn't, give God a little bit of time. It may be that God's working on the other person.

So now, Jimmy goes to step four, partnering with God to deliver the miracle. Now, obviously, I can't do a miracle. Neither can you. God's the only One who does miracles. And I teach that God wants to do the miracle more than you do. You don't have to convince God to do a miracle. He wants to do them, but He'll never use the same method twice and He'll force you to be dependent on Him.

So Jimmy had a very creative idea. He said to the guy, "Do you want the answer?" And the guy said, "Yeah, I want the answer." And Jimmy said, "Well, get a pad of paper, and I'll tell you." When the guy left to get the paper, Jimmy was praying so hard, "Lord, this is Your turn. You're supposed to take the baton now. It's up to You to tell him the answer."

When the man came back with the pad, Jimmy said he can't explain what happened next, but he blurted out the words, "You need to make your bed." As soon as he heard himself say that, he felt like a fool. Why would he tell another man to make the bed? But the man practically shouted, "How on earth could you have known that?" Then he told Jimmy how his wife would get out of bed first because she had to go to work before he did, and when he got out of bed he would never make the bed. "I hate making the bed," the man said, "and my wife has said to me if I loved her I would make the bed. I was not willing to make the bed all this time, and she said it proved that I didn't love her. If I go home and I make the bed, it will start to restore our marriage."

Jimmy said, "I couldn't know that, but you know who doesn't want your marriage to fall apart?" "It's God isn't it?" the guy said to him. "God sent you here today."

That was a miracle for that family, and that was a miracle for Jimmy because Jimmy tasted something that he should have tasted many, many years before. He should have tasted that this is the life that God sent Christ to give to us.


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