This past Thursday I stopped to get gas on my way home from work. I thoughtlessly forget to watch the pump closely and for some reason the pump shut off when my tank was full. What is so crazy about that? In the five or so years I have owned my car this is the second time it has not overflowed gas onto the ground. I thought to myself, how odd. I then glanced up to see how much gas my car took to fill up. I just smiled as I saw so many 3’s and 7’s on the pump readout. 7.39 gallons at a price of $17.73. If you have read many of my blogs you will know that I have mentioned many times how God has spoken to me through these numbers in the past. These include among many others: my wife and I marrying 7 weeks short of 7 months from the day my first wife died, my grief from my wife’s death that lasted 3 months, and the writing of my book Winning Through a Loss 7 years after her death. I grabbed the receipt from the pump and looked at it again. 7.39 gallons…deep within my heart I heard John 7:39. I tucked the receipt into my pocket and drove home.
Friday I opened my Bible and randomly read a verse that answered this question. “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.” Saturday morning I ‘randomly’ opened my Bible and God took me to the same verse to validate and confirm this truth. Not by coincidence, the verse number was 17:4. We bring glory to God by doing His will. We bring glory to God by obeying Him. Without surrendering our will we will not receive God’s Spirit. We will never receive His power to overcome sin and we will live a powerless life. We will never see signs and wonders from God and we will never experience His peace and hope.
I was shown yet another verse that I randomly opened to during these same two days. And again, the number 17 was present. John 10:17-18 “The reason the Father loves Me is that I lay down My life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord.” To please God we must give up our lives. If we love God we will die to ourselves for Him. If we die, we receive God’s Spirit. If we die, we will live. If we try to hang onto this life, we will never know God.
If that were not enough, God showed me a 3rd verse to validate what I believed about John 7:39 and I ‘randomly’ opened my Bible and turned right to it. And something only a perfect, amazing, omnipotent God could do, verse number 17 spoke to me yet again. John 6:16-21 16 “When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17 where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. 18 A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” 21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.” Verse 17 says the disciples were in the dark without Jesus. When the storms of testing came they became frightened. They cried out to Jesus in fear and despair. In their time of trouble Jesus spoke to them and they willingly invited Him into their boat. The boat represents their life and their journey. The boat immediately reached shore because when we receive Jesus, when we willingly invite Him into our life, we receive the Holy Spirit and we are instantly changed and healed. It is a no doubt, life changing experience.
I plead with anyone that would ever read this blog, fall to your knees and beg God to have mercy on you. You are not here by coincidence. Ask God to have His way in your life. Ask God to crucify your old nature. If you fully surrender, you are a new creation. You have the Holy Spirit. You are a child of God.
I looked up Psalm 73 and it also spoke to my heart. I have often strayed from God but He is always with me. I can’t help but tell of all His good deeds!
1Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
2But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
3For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.73:4 With a different word division of the Hebrew; Masoretic Text struggles at their death; / their bodies are healthy
5They are free from common human burdens;
they are not plagued by human ills.
6Therefore pride is their necklace;
they clothe themselves with violence.
7From their callous hearts comes iniquity73:7 Syriac (see also Septuagint); Hebrew Their eyes bulge with fat;
their evil imaginations have no limits.
8They scoff, and speak with malice;
with arrogance they threaten oppression.
9Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10Therefore their people turn to them
and drink up waters in abundance.73:10 The meaning of the Hebrew for this verse is uncertain.
11They say, “How would God know?
Does the Most High know anything?”
12This is what the wicked are like--
always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.
13Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and have washed my hands in innocence.
14All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings new punishments.
15If I had spoken out like that,
I would have betrayed your children.
16When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply
17till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.
18Surely you place them on slippery ground;
you cast them down to ruin.
19How suddenly are they destroyed,
completely swept away by terrors!
20They are like a dream when one awakes;
when you arise, Lord,
you will despise them as fantasies.
21When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
22I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.
23Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
24You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
25Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
27Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.