So looking forward to being back in France this coming weekend, at the lovely church, ‘Le Source’, Pastored by friends Francis and Diane Dognon. Di has already promised to get the baguettes ready, and I’m sure I could manage to wash it down with some of France’s national grape juice and accompanied by some gorgeous milk products (cheese, of course!)…. I’ll miss Dennis and Cathy, with whom I went last year, but Dennis is recovering from a hip replacement: the church have asked me to do a weekend on healing, which I’m so excited about, especially as, more recently on other trips, God has caused the impartation of the gifts of healings, miracles, and faith, to others I’ve had the privilege of speaking to/praying for. It’s my greatest desire to see others equipped to do what Jesus did – which is something I still aspire to! – and willing to take the ‘risk’ of laying hands on others and declaring – no, commanding – healing, in the name of Jesus. Thank you so much, Francis & Diane, for the invitation back….
I had a lovely message on Facebook this morning: you might remember that, on 9 September, I posted a blog incorporating a testimony from a lovely, but physically and emotionally damaged, young lady, Emelia. This morning, one of her friends sent me this:
- “Just wanted to thank you again for coming down Paul. It’s so encouraging! And hearing the change in Emelia is so awesome!! What a miracle, God is good
A month on, and God’s still doing the stuff! A god number of people, who want to try and dismiss miracles and healings, come up with stuff like ‘they were never really unwell/sick/whatever’…. or ‘yes, there’s a change, but it’s all to do with the ’emotion of the moment’…. try telling that to Emelia and her friends!
So, France…. ferry tomorrow, driving my car over, which is always fun, on the ‘wrong’ side of the road! – and so looking forward to being with the Dognons and their lovely church….thank God – truly – for SatNavs/GPS gadgets! Removes much of what can become stress in foreign countries!! I promise to blog, unless the grape juice turns out to be something stronger, and before I realise it…. 😉
Actually, there’s a funny story about that. Back in 1990, I’d organised a convoy of trucks to go to Romania a number of times. Staying with a lovely Pastor, Cornel, who was strictly tee-total like most Romanian Christians were then. They were, however, BIG into making their own delicious fruit juices, which they often put into plain wine bottles…. On one trip, we’d taken some gifts for the local city leaders, from our town leaders (where I lived then). One day, I’d been out with Cornel praying for some sick folk, and was due back to preach in a church in the evening. When back at his house, it was lovely to learn that the local civic leaders had brought US a gift: a crate of fruit juices, which had been refrigerated (it was scorching hot weather, so cold drinks were essential!). The guys I’d taken with me were in the house: on the table were some glasses, and some fruit juice….we’d got 30 minutes before I was due to preach, so I filled one the (very large, I’d have to add!) glasses to the brim with this beautiful ice-cold juice… and started to gulp it back like there was no tomorrow….
It was as the glass was still emptying itself into my mouth, now at least half empty, that I looked over the rim at the faces of my English friends – astonishment, eyebrows raised, eyes wide – as I realised it WASN’T fruit juice, but, what turned out to be, extremely high percentage alcohol wine…. by now I’d drained the glass. In moments, I felt the inebriation start – at my feet, strangely – and move up my body…. until I could hardly stand up! God was very kind that day – my head didn’t succumb like the rest of my body, and I was preaching in a church with a pulpit…. I had to be helped up the steps, and preached the whole message gripping the edge of the pulpit for fear of collapsing in a heap on the floor….
Who’d have thought a Romanian Pastor – then – would have put wine on the table???? To this day, I think I ‘got away with it’ – preaching half-cut – but who knows….??? It might have been a more spirit-filled sermon than ever…..