Daily Devotions: The Turning Devotional, Lesson 9

From the Devotional Fiction book The Turning.

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life.” 1 John 1:1 turning-cover

Many believers approach the discipline of listening with some ambivalence. They desire a more direct and effective experience, yet they also dread it. In the coming days we will look at such fears over hearing from God, and how this fear might be transformed.

Today, let us look at what this experience actually means. Moses, Ezekiel, Paul, and many other biblical figures saw the splendor of God and were affected in ways that completely transformed their lives.

Throughout the twenty centuries since our Lord walked this earth, countless believers have been changed in the very same manner. Since the dawn of the Protestant movement, these experiences have been referred to as an epiphany.

The word signifies a vision from God with the power to last a lifetime. From such a communication arises a transformative desire to serve God and his people in a new way.

Here are a few accounts of such experiences, to light our own way forward:

• The Emperor Constantine saw the cross imprinted upon the sun, and went on to win a battle against an army ten times the size of his own—and as a result brought Christianity to the Roman Empire.

• Augustine (fifth-century church leader) had a vision of light so profound it burned away a lifetime of bitterness and regret, and drew him into a ministry that still has an impact on church thinking sixteen hundred years later.

• John Bunyan had a vision of Jesus Christ seated at the right hand of God, leading him to dedicate his remaining life and his writings to “Christ! Christ! There is nothing but Christ before my eyes!”

• John Wesley had a vision of heaven and spent the rest of his life trying to help an entire world gain entry.

• Mother Teresa saw Christ in the midst of a huge crowd of anguished poor, and he asked her to share with them his love. Which she did, for the rest of her days.

• Martin Luther King Jr. had a vision that for the rest of his life he called “My Dream of a Beloved Community,” where all people lived in peace and filled with God’s love. It powered his work in the Civil Rights movement and inspired one of the most profound speeches of all time: I Have a Dream.

• Moving forward, it is important that a desire for such experiences not frame your expectations. Remember the first day’s lesson: Set no goals. Yet we should accept that through the ages, God has revealed himself, and done so in ways that have altered the course of history. In their writings, all the above leaders credited the vital role the discipline of listening has played in their faith.

(c) 2014 by David Bun

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