Dearest Friends in Jesus,
This is an older article, but as I prepared it for my website, I felt such a quickening of the Lord as I considered these memories, that I felt I wanted to share it with you. It is the account of one of my last visits with my grandmother, when we really had time to pray and fellowship together. I did see her again in the nursing home in Ontario, CA before she died, but this was our one last "special time" the Lord allowed me to have with her before He took her home in 1996.
I want to tell you about my weekend trip to Dallas to spend some time with my 87 year old grandmother, a prayer warrior who was a missionary for 17 years in Tunisia, North Africa, and then for 23 years in Israel.
I arrived in Dallas around 2 p.m., checked into a motel, and then went to visit at the home of the dear little old lady my grandmother was staying with. Typical "old lady" decor...I loved it. All the surfaces were cluttered with knick knacks, the walls were covered with pictures, mirrors, clocks. Candy dishes were full, and there were lots of potted plants, and silk flowers. Lace curtains. A homemade afghan graced the back of the couch; and crisp white doilies which were beautifully embroidered were placed on the backs of some chairs, and on the end-tables all reminding me of days in my own childhood when learning to sew and embroider was an absolute must in my own home.
A fluffy, homemade quilt topped the bed, and the dresser had all sorts of "pretties" on it, and lots of perfume and I dreamily smelled them all one by one...some I am sure had sat there for years. After about an hour of pleasant chatter, and drinking a root beer, I took my grandmother to Luby's for dinner. Our fellowship was so precious as she shared stories with me of things she had seen God do down through her years on the mission field in Tunisia, N. Africa, and in Bethlehem, and Jerusalem, Israel.
My grandmother believes, at times, that God directs her to "bless" people, so upon completion of our meal she hobbled around the restaurant with her cane, and walked up to different tables to say, GOD BLESS YOU to people.
It is always interesting to see people's reactions to such a thing. Some look totally warmed by it, and some look as if they had been slapped. But she has been doing this for years. I have seen her go through a bus station and say "God bless you" to everyone in the station because she believes the Lord told her to "bless the people". So when she was done blessing people, we went back to the car.
In the car, we began to fellowship around the things of the Spirit, and we shared our hearts and then the Lord moved on us to have a little season of prayer. God was so real in that car. We prayed, and His presence was very real. After we felt a release in our spirits we went back to Vergie's place.
After a little passage of time, I went into the tiny, but spotlessly clean kitchen to boil some water for tea in the adorable little enamel tea pot. And we popped some popcorn. Then we sat at the dining room table and Vergie showed me pictures of her and my grandmother in Israel, and some pretty cards she had received from friends, and some Christmas cards that she had bought from some handicapped people who have learned to paint by using a paintbrush in the mouth, or between the toes. They were beautiful.
And then my grandmother began very softly singing, and worshipping the Lord right there at the table. Vergie and I joined in, and God's Presence drew near to us. We got out an old songbook, and sang some of the precious hymns of the Church...
The harmony was heavenly as we sang songs like THERE'S NOT A FRIEND LIKE THE LOWLY JESUS, NO NOT ONE, NO NOT ONE; and MASTER, THE TEMPEST IS RAGING; and I'VE BELIEVED THE TRUE REPORT and so many others. The gentleness of God permeated the atmosphere, and it was like a balm for my soul. We were caught up into a little cloud of His glory as we sat around the dining room table and worshipped the Lord.
God's Spirit fell upon us and the spirit of prophecy flowed, as well as a very militant spirit of prayer to resist sickness and disease which had been robbing my grandmother of the strength she needs to carry out her ministry. What a wonderfully fruitful time in the Presence of God! Something had been accomplished in the Spirit. God was in our midst revealing many aspects of His character ---the gentleness of the Lamb as the sweetest harmony in worship filled that room, and the severity of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah as we felt the Christ break forth to scatter our enemies of sickness and disease!
Around 11 p.m. we again began to fellowship around things of common interest, and Vergie brought her jewels to show me. She gave me an antique cedar jewelry box, and some rings, a bracelet, gold chains, a necklace, and an embroidered handkerchief as well as a watch. I was thrilled with these treasures. But then, she gave me the word of the Lord. And I knew it was from God because it was a word I had been waiting for, and that was truly the most precious gift of all from this dear saint who had served God with her whole heart since she was 18 years old.
After that I said my goodbyes and went to to the motel to spend the night. Sunday morning, my grandmother and I determined to stay home and visit while Vergie went off to church since we knew it might be a long time before we would see one another again. I was very tired, so after a cup of hot chocolate and some toast, I fell asleep on Vergie's bed til she got home from church. My grandmother and I took a quick spin downtown, and then went to a motel together to spend Sunday night. We got some snacks, and checked into a motel that we had been steered to, and told it was "nice".
It was horrible!! It was a sleazy, dirty, dive and I was extremely upset that I had my grandmother in such a place, but there was not one word of complaint from her mouth. I would not dare get under the covers of the bed to sleep, but used a blanket from my car, and laid on top of the spread. I washed and set my grandmother's hair, and then she proceeded to share with me about her beginnings of the life of prayer that consumed her.
The tears streamed down my face as she talked to me. God became so real in that room that it was as if a slum was transformed into a palace because of His Presence. She told me about the woman, Mary Crandall, whom God had used to usher her into the life of prayer, and she said: "I love talking about that woman because every time I do, my soul is filled with nothing but goodness." What a testimony!!
She talked about the miraculous healing of a paraplegic when the Lord led her for a short time to Tucson, AZ. She told me about how God had led her down through the years step by step. She encouraged me in the work of the ministry.
From about 3 p.m. til midnight, we were again, in the very holy Presence of God. We very naturally flowed from sharing with one another what God was doing into a very deep spirit of prayer, and intercession. God was doing a work within our souls, and His holiness filled the place. For hours, I lay across the bed and sobbed and cried and prayed with great agony over some personal struggles. My grandmother never questioned me, but her prayers and her worship under girded me with a strength I cannot describe.
After I had the release in my own spirit that I needed, I got on her bed, and she told me that she loves life, and wanted to continue to be used of the Lord. I prayed over her eyes and ears, and for her physical well-being generally. She told me how much she grieved when she did not obey the leading of God's Spirit. She asked me to pray that God would help her to be a better Christian. This was all coming out of the mouth of a woman who had forsaken all to walk the walk of faith. And this walk took her many times into the midst of war-torn countries where hostilities were evident upon every side.
As I sat on the edge of my grandmother's bed, and touched her eyes and ears and held her hand, I came to the realization as never before that the most precious blessing in this life is to have a Godly heritage, and to serve the Lord with our whole hearts. If you have not been so blessed to be born into a family where they love and serve the Lord, then you can be the one who passes a Godly heritage on down to your children, and your grandchildren.
Every time you come together with your loved ones, it can be a precious time in Jesus where His presence fills the atmosphere!! The first step is to recognize that the Spirit of God is as gentle as a dove, and very easily offended by any lack of sensitivity to how He may dealing with us, either through direct conviction, or through our consciences. He is so loving, and kind and patient and longsuffering, but the quicker we come to terms with what pleases Him, the more aware of His presence we will be!! Jesus is a "people-person", and He absolutely LOVES to fellowship with us, and it can be a way of life!
Saints, the Bible says that where two or three are gathered in His Name, He would be in the midst. We were only 2 gathered in His Name, and truly He was in our midst. I cannot begin to evoke in you the feelings I felt as I was so aware of the reality of IMMANUEL: God with us.
Jesus was the focus, and He was in our midst. Beloved, you can cultivate a spiritual atmosphere in your home. You can have His Holy Presence with you. If you will give Him FIRST place, He will come to you, and walk with you, and manifest Himself to you as He did to us. Focus upon Him, and cast aside the clamorous things of this life. Turn the TV off. Worship Him. Speak often of the things He has done for you. Sing praises to His Name. Learn how to get God's Presence in your home. Let that be the heritage that you pass down to your children.
Whenever the saints come together, there should be an obvious manifestation of God as He promised to be in the midst. But how often do we ignore Him!! Several years ago, the Lord told me to have home meetings. And He came faithfully. Because of some difficult circumstances, I quit having the meetings. But then every Wednesday night I would be so aware of an overshadowing of His presence. The Lord told me that even though I quit having the meetings, He did not quit showing up because those meetings were in His will, and He would continue to do His will, whether I did or not. I resumed the meetings, and He blessed us!!
Jesus wants to move His people out of a "church building mentality" into a "fellowship reality" such as we have never known. Every time the saints come together---even if only by twos and threes---there should be such an awareness of God in the midst that the powers of hell tremble because of the advancement of the kingdom of God.
Beloved, be sensitive to the Lord. Jesus is real, and He wishes for us to know Him in the fullness of His person as never before.
Always in the Love of Jesus,
Clo DiPilato firstname.lastname@example.org