My on campus organization called InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, was supposed to go to Vero Beach, Florida, this past weekend to attend this spring conference and learn about leadership and how to build an effective campus ministry through bible studies and evangelism. I went last year and I was extremely blessed by the praise and worship services, the seminars, and the fellowship and I’ve been anticipating on going back ever since we got in our cars to leave. I had my application and the money to pay for the conference ever since two weeks ago. But as the time got closer, I felt less and less enthused to go. Almost like a conviction not to go. I wanted to go, to reunite with some friends that I had met from other college chapters at last year’s conference, and to get some new leadership skills. But on the other hand, I felt convicted to stay home because I didn’t want to miss my first time at this service my church has called The RINGG (Relationships Inspired to Nurture & Grow Greatly), and also I didn’t want to miss church on Sunday because pastor said that we would be blessed by the word. And I’m always blessed by the word. But I didn’t know what decision to make, or what I should do. I was allowing myself to be distracted in my mind by my indecisiveness, instead of seeking after God for an answer.
About two months ago, a sermon was preached one evening service on Luke 10:38-42 about Mary and Martha, and how when Jesus came to their house to give them the good news, Mary sat at the feet of the Lord and listened to everything he had to say, while Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made for his arrival. But Jesus said that Mary, by giving her undivided attention, had chosen to do what is better.
Then last Thursday during Discipleship meeting, we were reading Daniel chapter 10 about how God had given him a vision about a war that was to come that was so disturbing and mind bottling, that it caused Daniel to pray, fast, mourn and consecrate himself for 21 days or 3 weeks. He needed to seek after the council of God so vitally that the bible said he even chose not to eat any pleasant bread, or in other words, he didn’t do anything to pleasure himself, or anything that could distract him from getting an answer from God. And after sitting at the feet of God, and being patient, God sent a messenger to give Daniel a response.
God was trying to teach me a lesson from these two scenarios, but it really didn’t stick to me, until I heard one of my fellow sisters’ share her testimony on a dream that she had. She was lying in her bed, and she had so many questions. And an angel was sitting at the end of her bed, trying to give her an answer, but she kept cutting the angel off, to ask more questions, instead of just waiting and receiving what he had to say. And perhaps he was going to give her the answer she needed to hear. But because of impatience, she left the place where the answer was, and began to go throughout her house to ask her questions to other persons there.
So, after service Thursday, the decision to either go to the conference this weekend or to just stay home bombarded my mind, and instead of going to the feet of Jesus, praying, and asking God what I should do, I did what my sister did in her dream and I went to outside sources and tried to get the approval of man, and not of God. I asked several brothers their opinion of what I should do. And they all led me back to God, to pray and ask him. But I was still trying to make my own decision.
So Friday noon, I received a text from the president of my club around 12pm while I was in my dorm, and she said the group was leaving at 3pm and she ask me what was my final decision, because she needed to know exactly who was going, and how we were going to split up in the two cars. And as I held my phone in my hand and was about to text her back with my response, my signal went from all 6 bars, to none, and then the No Service sign came on, with the red circle and dash going through it. So I was like, ok God, you evidently want me to seek your face first. So I finally humbled myself down and prepared myself to receive a confirmation from God. I consecrated myself for a moment and I didn’t do anything until I heard from God. And after I prayed, and closed my eyes, and began to meditate, I received a vision.
I was in this remote place, with my Metro PCS in my hand, looking for signal. There were only two directions that I could have gone in order to search for it. To the right, which represented my option to stay home, and to the left, which represented my option to go out of town. I was standing somewhat off to the right side, with about 4 bars, and the reason why I was positioned somewhat to the right, was because I had already felt a conviction in my heart that on this side is where I should be. But I began to walk towards the left, to get a better signal, or to look for a better confirmation for my decision, but the further and further I walked to the left side, my bars started to drop down to 0. So I turned around and began walking back to the right. I past the spot I was first standing in, and as I got further and further to the right, my bars picked up and I gained all 6 again, which was confirming that I was walking in the right direction. And after meditating on that for a while, the vision went away and I opened my eyes.
Then God began to tell me that the conviction that I had to stay home, was right, and I should have walked in faith and did what my conviction was trying to get me to do. But when I began to go against my conviction, and walk in the other direction, I began to lose signal with my service provider, which in the vision was Metro PCS, but was actually symbolic for GOD. I was losing bars and was being incapable of receiving a good reception because I began to walk outside of the coverage area, or in other words, I began to walk outside of the will of God.
Then as I opened my Word, God led me to Isaiah 48:17 “I am the Lord your God who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way to go. If only you would pay attention to my commands…” and to Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.”
Then I thought about something that another one of my sisters said. “Even if you think you’re doing what is best, if God has told you what to do, then obey him. Because if you don’t obey him, (though you’re not doing anything like lying, stealing, murdering, fornicating, or etc.), you would still be sinning because you are being disobedient. 1 Samuel 15:22-23 says obedience is better than sacrifice, for rebellion is like the sin of divination, or witchcraft. (Read Proverbs 1:20-33 to see what happens when you don’t listen to God.)
So it was about 2:30ish now, and after praising God for this revelation, I picked up my phone, and noticing that the bars had went back up on it, I text my president that I couldn’t come to the conference. And now that I know that I wasn’t going to the conference anymore, I decided that I wanted to walk to the cafeteria and get something to eat. And so I began to get dressed, and randomly threw on my EX-Slave t-shirt and headed out the door. And as I was walking towards the main building, I noticed three girls walking past me, and one of them noticed my shirt and thought out loud, “EX-Slave?” And I noticed what she said, but I was hungry and didn’t feel like explaining the shirt, so I kept walking. And when I finally got to the cafeteria, I noticed that it was closing at 3. And I didn’t know that it closed at 3 on Fridays because Monday thru Thursday it closes at 5. So as I began walking back to my room, I ran into those same 3 girls again, waiting on the shuttle bus to go to south campus FIU.
And as I passed by them, God told me to stop in my tracks because he wanted me to explain the shirt to them. So I stopped walking and just stood there for about a minute, and then the girl who questioned my shirt walked up to me and said, “You that boy with that ex-slave shirt on, huh. I know you saw me lookin at your shirt. Well what does that mean?” So I began to minister to her Romans 6:6 “For we know that our old selves were crucified with Christ on the cross, so that the body ruled by sin may be done away with, that we shall no longer be slaves to sin.” I am an EX-Slave to sin. And I shared with her my testimony on all the sins that I was a slave to, but how Jesus set me free. Then I let her know that Jesus could set her free from whatever she is a slave to as well.
Then that’s when the other 2 girls that were with her approached me as well to hear about what I was saying. So I began to preach the gospel about how Jesus died on the cross to free us from our sins, not that we may continue to live in sin. Then as I was preaching, the 20 or 25 other men and women who were also waiting on the shuttle bus, as well as some other people who were just randomly walking by, all turned to face me, and listen to what I had to say. So I raised my voice and began to speak loudly and boldly, so that they could all heard me. First, I recited the poem Generation EX by Canden from the Passion for Christ Movement. Then I told them to repent from their sins and turn to Jesus. And I ministered other things to them for about 15 or 20 minutes until the bus arrived. And after I finished, half of the girls were in tears. One girl approached me and said she was blessed by my testimony, another said that she really needed to hear everything that I said, some of the guys shook my hand, and the girl who asked me what did my shirt mean, came to me, and said that I had opened her eyes to some truth and she thanked me, gave me a hug, and they all got on the bus and it pulled off.
And as I was getting ready to head back to my room, I ran into 5 of the 6 of my friends who were going on the trip, and they were on their way to the car in the parking lot to leave. And I was like, I thought you all were leaving at 3, and the president said, we were waiting on the last person to arrive with the second car, but she bailed out at the last minute. So they all had to squeeze in the first car, which can only hold 5 people. So God was like, you see, I didn’t even make room for you to go on this trip anyways. And then he said, even if they did leave on time at 3 o clock, and you had went with them, then you would have went outside of my will, and would have missed the opportunity to plant a seed in about 30 people at that same exact time. God said, You wanted to go out of town to learn leadership, but I wanted you to stay home, and spread the good news, and I wanted you to go to church to learn some more discipleship. He said, there is a difference between you doing what you feel best, and you doing my perfect will for you.
Proverbs 16:9 says “In his heart a man plans his own course, but the LORD is actually the one who determines his steps.”
So in summary, I just want to encourage you all to stop looking for signs and wonders or a supernatural confirmation from God. Sometimes you have to just go on faith and on your personal conviction that the Holy Spirit gave you. Sometimes God doesn’t give you a confirmation or an explanation for the things that he tells you to do, until you just step out there in faith. Stepping out on faith is scary, but God didn’t give you a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and of a sound mind. And also, I just want to encourage you to just be still and continue to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to what he’s trying to tell or teach you, like Daniel and Mary and don’t be a busy body like Martha, or I was, because you just might lose the message.
Praise GOD for making me obedient to do his will and get his message across, and thank God for P4CM. If I hadnt wore the EX-Slave shirt, I would not have had that open door to minister to those lost souls