“To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3 NASB)
During the time I was writing DARE To Be Christlike, God engineered a number of circumstances and events that were unmistakable confirmations to me that writing this book was not simply some creation of my own. Although I never asked the Lord for any sign that it was His will for me to write this book, He graciously confirmed it, as attested to by the following four convincing proofs:
In chapter 6, A More Excellent Way, there is a section with a subhead called Cockles in Corinth. While writing this chapter, I found myself pondering the immature and selfish nature of the church in Corinth (see 1 Corinthians 11:17-22), and I had come to see these flaws as wrinkles in the fabric of the church. As I lay in bed early one morning—in that nebulous state between asleep and awake—the phrase “Cockles in Corinth” popped into my mind. Still half asleep, I tried to figure out what in the world this could mean. I had no idea what a cockle was, and I certainly had no idea what that had to do with the church in Corinth.
I finally dragged myself out of bed and went straight to my office and looked up the word cockle on Dictionary.com. I was blown away when I read definition number four:
4. a wrinkle; pucker: a cockle in fabric.
I immediately recognized that none other than the Holy Spirit had put the words “Cockles in Corinth” in my mind. There simply is no other explanation. Not only did it fit perfectly with what I was currently writing, it was a clever alliteration that made for a perfect subheading. Double the pleasure and double the fun!
Chapter 8 covers the attribute of love known as kindness. While working on this chapter, I felt impressed by the Lord to document some specific times in my life when I had been the recipient of an act of kindness. One of these anecdotes pertains to some kind words of encouragement I received from the CEO/President of an advertising agency where I worked in the early 1980s. I had not seen this man for twenty-five years, and never expected to see him again.
Within just a few days of writing this story about Robert S. Allison and his encouraging words to me, Mindy and I decided to go shopping at a new outlet mall in Simpsonville, Kentucky. Who do we run into? . . . Bob and Anne Allison! Coincidence? Not on your life. By arranging this “divine appointment,” God had just confirmed to me again that His hand was on me to write this book.
I cannot give you specifics for this particular proof; but there were at least three times when I went to church on a Sunday morning and during my pastor’s preaching, I heard him speak almost verbatim something I had just written in my manuscript. I could only shake my head in wonderment at God’s goodness in confirming again that He was at work in my writing.
The first thing a publisher does when you submit your manuscript to them is to perform a diagnostic review of your work. This review identifies strengths and weaknesses in your writing, and may include suggestions for improving your work.
In my diagnostic review, the Xulon Press editor made the following recommendation:
As part of “A Final Word” chapter, the author may want to briefly state what was learned within each chapter, so to familiarize readers again with attributes of being in Christ. Reminders are always appreciated by readers and show the author’s genuine hope for their pursuit of these characteristics.
I took this recommendation to heart and did exactly as the editor suggested. After reminding the readers of what was covered in each chapter, I penned a sentence that begins like this:
“Such is the consummation of all that has been presented in these pages. . . .”
Within a few days of applying these final changes to my manuscript, I was searching through my inbox for a particular email, and to my astonishment I came across a completely unrelated email that I had sent myself about 14 months prior (see image to the left): I had completely forgotten that I had sent myself this note as a reminder to consider using the word consummate in my final chapter. But God had not forgotten. I consider it no coincidence that the Xulon editor recommended I summarize what was learned in each chapter, which ultimately led me to use the word consummation in the final chapter of my manuscript. God used this as one last exclamation point to assure me that His hand is on this book.
As previously mentioned, I sought no such signs from the Lord, but it pleased Him to provide them anyway. And as you would expect . . . it pleased me too.