Today as I searched for various things, a new word, a new teaching or perhaps a new perspective on an old teaching, I came across a friend's testimony. Benji Clark Mallory.
It was many years ago, that I had already started a new journey, one that obviously took a different turn and led me astray, but thank God I am back! During this time I was very "religious" and thought I was doing all the right things. I was involved in Church, the one I grew up in and my family had started back and everything seemed like it was on the right track. Little did I know at the time it was just another distraction because you see, I had all the workings of what appeared to be a relationship with Christ, but I was only participating in the "business" of Church. It felt good, it kept me busy and I was meeting the expectation of the "people" but it was all empty. I still had a huge empty space in my life, my heart, my spirit that I wasn't even aware of.
One night we were invited to go to the local Salvation Army to hear Benji speak. I never had met this lady but heard great things and several us went to hear her speak. I can't even begin to recall what the message was that night, but the one thing I will always remember is the joy that I saw so many others experiencing. I grew up in a traditional Southern Free Will Baptist Church - which for the most part was somewhat reserved but had seen some changes over the past few years. The people that were there singing, praising, dancing, playing instruments - were different and I had never seen or experienced that... it was something new to me.
So when I got home that night as I lay in bed, I pondered what I had witnessed not recalling one word of the message that Benji had given. And as I pondered to myself these thoughts came to my mind: "If God is the God everyone says He is, and He loves us as much as people say He does, then doesn't He want to have a true relationship with me, doesn't He want to speak to me?" Then I pondered even more and thought to myself: "We read all about Him, we sing about Him, we talk to others about Him, we even ask Him for all the things we need, especially in crisis, in heartache, in trials and tribulations - doesn't He really want us to speak to Him directly, sing TO HIM directly...." then the ah ha moment hit me like a ton of bricks, it was like the heavens opened up and revelation just poured over me. AH HA.... YOU DO want us to speak to you directly, you DO want something more than just to hear about our woes, our aches, our pains, our heartache... My GOD!!! Surely, surely you can speak to me just as I speak to you.
You see most often, we have no problem asking this God, the one who we have heard about, talked about, profess to believe in - we have no problem asking Him for all the things we think we need, we have no problem asking Him for deliverance when we realize we are caught in something be it disease, fear, whatever the case... we have no problem asking for what He can give us. The problem we have is seeking Him when we don't need these things and speaking to Him directly and having two way communication. I pondered this a little more and I said: 'God if you are the God you say you are and you hear our cries, and you love us the way your Word says you do, then don't you want us to hear what you have to say?"
So I decided, Okay... I am going to see, believing that what I had just pondered and concluded was true... I am going to ask a question - the events of the evening hearing Benji speak and seeing so many people filled with joy... the question I had the one thing I wanted to know most at that moment was what I was about to ask Him: "God, what was it about those people, they had so much joy and excitement, they were dancing and praising You...what is that, why don't I have that?" Immediately without any pause, without any delay I heard His voice so clear, so soft.... He said: Tim, you were focused on their method, rather than their Source".
Hallelujah!!! WOW... WOW, I thought to myself. I was overwhelmed by the pure and absolute Truth of His answer, but equally overwhelmed that God had just spoken to me, the first time I was consciously aware of His voice. I was overwhelmed with Joy and it was that moment, that act of faith in prayer in seeking in wanting to know something directly from Him, directly from His voice that changed my life.
From that moment on I was distinctly of aware of the difference between singing about Him and singing to Him, the difference between making my own petitions known to hearing what He had to say.
He has so much to tell us to share with us, to reveal to us if we would just use that faith the size of a mustard seed to reach out to Him, directly to Him and wait on Him. Use that same faith to be patient, to be persistent and pursue Him with your whole heart and I promise you, just as He does, that He will hear and He will reveal Himself to you.
Revelations 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with Me.
I am sharing Benji's testimony with you and know that you will be blessed.