The Egyptians in Exodus 1 were intent on enslaving the Israelites, wearing them down so that God’s chosen people would become disillusioned and not live up to their destiny. Of the original two million Israelites who received God’s invitation to enter the Promised Land, only two actually entered it!
Similarly, modern day Christians often hear and understand the promises of God each Sunday morning at church but then rarely choose to experience them in everyday life. In One in a Million, Bible teacher Priscilla Shirer invites us to change that pattern for good, living beyond our circumstances and expecting to see God move in miraculous ways day after day. Without a doubt, we can find and follow God’s purpose for our journey. We can make it to the Promised Land!
|Publisher:||B&H Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Priscilla Shirer is a Bible teacher and conference speaker with a Master’s degree in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. She is also the author of popular books including A Jewel in His Crown, He Speaks to Me, and Discerning the Voice of God. The daughter of well-known author Dr. Tony Evans, Priscilla is married to Jerry with whom she founded Going Beyond Ministries. They live with their three sons in Dallas, Texas.
Read an Excerpt
I WAS TEN YEARS OLD. I can still hear the roar of praise that resounded through our little church building that day. I remember it all — the woman standing there before us during testimony service, her Sunday suit complete with matching heels and handbag, her feathered hat bold yet tastefully exquisite, much like the others scattered across our small, traditional, African-American church.
I can still see the choir, clad in their maroon and white-trimmed robes, standing in response to her words, swaying to a soulful hymn. I can see the looks on people's faces as they clapped, others waving their hands and bursting forth in worship. The only things time has faded from my memory are the specific details of the story she was telling — some dire circumstance she had grown weary of battling in her own strength, choosing instead to obey the voice of God, then watching Him respond with a miracle beyond imagination.
But perhaps it's just as well that I can't remember all the intricate details of this church lady's story because that's not really what mattered. It was the faith she had exercised — and the God who had acted on her behalf — that even now applies to any situation, any person, any place, any time.
Any age. Even ten years old.
Oh, sure, my childhood issues were nothing compared to those this woman had faced, nor of the other adults in attendance that day with all their heavy burdens and grown-up concerns. But my issues were mine just the same. And I suddenly knew, as this woman spoke and as the congregation erupted with such joy, that my God cared about me and mine too. He wanted me to experience Him as tangibly as she had.
Almost without realizing it, I had hopped to my feet from that old familiar pew, joining the others who were clapping and rejoicing, totally in awe of the greatness of God, wishing that I could have a testimony like this woman had.
But how could I? She talked about praying for God's activity, then fully anticipating that He had heard her request and would respond to her need. I wasn't sure I trusted God with that kind of certainty.
She told of a God she'd not only read and heard about but One she'd experienced, a God she knew by sight and by firsthand evidence. I wanted that too! I wanted to see Him in the regular rhythms of my life, just the way she had described it. But I didn't really know Him like that, did I?
She said she'd clearly heard the voice of God. I never had. Not yet anyway. But as sure as I stood there, confused on the inside while praising Him on the outside, my God reached down from the heavens, dipped His finger into the depths of my being, and began to rouse in me a desire for real relationship with Him — not just for eternity but right now in time and history. I knew it in my heart. It was God, taking me by the hand and offering me an invitation to experience Him in all His abundance. He was asking me to have faith — faith like this woman had. Faith that Christianity could mean more than I'd imagined. Faith that I could actually hear His voice, partake of His power, live by His Spirit, and relate to Him the way I'd heard so many talk about Him before as I sat on that pew. That old familiar pew. That place where for ten young years I had been told who God was and what He was like.
It wasn't just talk. It was true!
And for the first time in my life, I knew it.
But over time I lost it. The ups and downs of the next twenty years took a toll on the passion I had once felt for following Christ, the craving I'd had for being a bold, bright testimony of His power and glory. Because of decisions I made and circumstances that arose, the experiential relationship with God I longed to have was too often just a dull ache in my unsteady soul. The fire in me flickered and burned dangerously dim. But the Hound of Heaven loved me too much to let it burn all the way out — just as He loves you and longs to draw you back to the place where perhaps you left Him. And in my late twenties, many years after that holy encounter on the pew, God reminded me again what He had said to me back then.
A Better Way Forward
It was December 2004. Somehow He had entrusted me as a young woman with a ministry that was growing. And happening. And seeming to make an impact — though just how effectively I wasn't really sure. My beloved Aunt Elizabeth had given me a book to read. And, boy, did I ever read it — twice through! — all inside of the one week between Christmas and New Year's. Through the wise, skillful words of this author, God was telling me that effective ministry could never be measured by the size of an audience, by the number of books I'd written, by the acclaim of the crowds, but only by the lives being changed as the Spirit of God rested upon me. He was telling me again, "Yes, Priscilla, you can be an instrument through which others encounter Me, but only to the measure that you encounter Me."
With each turn of the page, God's voice grew a little louder, a little clearer, a little more inviting. He had waited so patiently through my seasons of rebellion, through periods of doubt, over mountain peaks and into deep valleys, across grassy knolls, and onto barren desert sands, continuing to draw me back to the theme He had introduced to me on that day, on that pew.
Conviction brought me to my knees. I begged Him to reveal whether or not His power and presence were truly with me as I traveled and spoke and wrote books and Bible studies. Because now it couldn't just be talk. It had to be true. Others' lives depended on it. My life depended on it.
It was time. I knew it.
And He was about to prove it.
That January we headed to California for our first ministry event of 2005. Still consumed with the topic of my recent conversations with God, I spoke three times over the course of the weekend to a group of around six hundred. At the end of the final session, a line began forming in front of me as many conference goers filed past to say good-bye before traveling home.
Out of my peripheral vision I noticed a woman standing there, patiently waiting for the line to clear. When it did, she walked over to me, leaned in close, and said in a low voice, "I've been delivered." Dropping her head for a second, then nervously wiping away a tear, she looked back up at me. "Priscilla, I've been in a lesbian relationship for two years. I came to this retreat with a bunch of women from my church, but they don't know about my struggle. Last night after your message, I went back to my room and cried out to the Lord. He met me in a way I can barely describe, and the desire for that relationship just left me. It's gone! I don't know what to say other than ... the thought of it today makes my stomach turn. God is real. I know it for sure now." She gave me a firm hug and walked away.
I was stunned and still staring behind her across the hotel ballroom when four young women walked up to me — all of them trendy twenty-somethings, bubbly and full of life — asking if they could take me to lunch before I left town. Since I did have several hours to kill, and I hadn't left the hotel grounds even once since we'd arrived, I agreed.
We took a beautiful drive through the hills of Monterey and ended up at a café overlooking a shimmering body of water. We enjoyed good food and godly conversation for a couple of hours. Then the beautiful brunette across from me at the rounded table grabbed her white linen napkin and began wiping underneath her eyes. The more she wiped, the more her tears began to fall. Another friend looked at her knowingly, then reached over to give her a reassuring pat on the shoulder. "Go ahead and tell her," she whispered.
The young woman stared down at her empty plate for a moment more, then she began to speak. "I've had an eating disorder for a long time. In fact, this is the first plate of food I've actually finished and enjoyed in twelve years. I can't believe it! Last night during the meeting, the Lord did something incredible in me, and this is the proof! I haven't had a good night's sleep in years because I always spend the first two hours of every night going over every fat gram and calorie that passed my lips through the day. But last night I slept like a baby. I can't wait to go home and tell my husband — I'm free!"
A chill raced down my spine. This is what I'd always wanted for my life and ministry. It's what I'd wanted as a little ten-year-old Christian girl, sitting on that pew in my childhood church house. While these encounters with God had blessed these women, they were also a direct answer to my prayer.
I'd asked Him as a child to let me hear Him and experience Him. I'd asked Him as a young woman to let me know that I was more than just a speaker and writer, that He was actually moving and working and penetrating the lives of other people through me. And now in the quietness of my heart at a West Coast café, He was telling me that if I'd stick with Him, I'd not only see His power at work in others but in my own life as well.
It wasn't just talk. It was true!
And here it was, sitting right in front of me.
So I've taken Him up on that offer to journey from one-size-fits-all Christian living to abundant life. And I've never looked back — except to the place where a ten-year-old girl sat in a standard church pew, wondering if God could turn a little someone like me into someone who lives like they really mean it.
He has. He does. And every time another one of His children asks Him the same thing, He does it, and does it, and does it again.
Promised Land Living
Milk. And honey.
Jude, my little baby boy, loves his momma's milk — and he lets us know about it whenever I'm the least bit slow in getting it to him. My older boys, Jackson and Jerry Jr., enjoy a glass of warm milk at bedtime too, just to settle them down and make sleep a little less threatening to give in to.
But while milk is fine and good over breakfast cereal and is refreshingly satisfying when poured ice cold from the refrigerator, most of us don't crawl out of bed thinking about how great that first serving of milk is going to be today.
Now stand between me and my morning cup of hot tea, however, when it's been soothingly sweetened with a rich spoonful of honey ... and somebody's liable to get hurt. Milk may be what I need, but honey is what I love.
That's why I'm glad God didn't promise the Israelites a land flowing with nothing but milk — just as I'm glad Jesus didn't stop short in John 10:10 by merely saying, "I came that they may have life." Life is good, just like milk is good. But the life Jesus came to give is a whole lot more than good. It's not just the good life; it's the great life, the kind of life He intends for us to experience "abundantly."
Our God is indeed a God of abundance. Wherever you happen to travel in the Bible, you're never far away from some mention of His fondness for going above and beyond.
He supplies everything we need out of His "glorious riches" (Phil. 4:19 niv).
He's able to brighten our hearts with "joy inexpressible and full of glory" (1 Pet. 1:8).
The woman in Song of Solomon envisioned Him as being "altogether lovely" (Song 5:16 niv).
He promised to make His people "abound in prosperity" as they obeyed Him (Deut. 28:11).
He presented even the prodigal with the "best robe" and a "fattened calf" (Luke 15:22–23).
He has blessed us with "every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" (Eph. 1:3).
He has "lavished on us" the "riches of His grace" (Eph. 1:7–8).
David could hardly come up with the words to describe His "unfailing love" (Ps. 36:7 niv).
His new Jerusalem is said to have gates of "pearl" and streets of "pure gold" (Rev. 21:21).
So we're not talking about a God who's thrifty in His tastes or stingy in His gifts. On the contrary, He is sitting on the edge of His seat to give us more than we can "ask or think" (Eph. 3:20). Bread and wine. Milk and honey. Life and (just when you thought you'd gotten all He had to offer) ... abundant life.
Confidence — the sweet assurance that you've been anchored in right standing with God. Can you imagine it? No longer hounded by guilt and condemnation but fully alive in the afterglow of forgiven sin.
Joy — not because your trials and difficulties have necessarily let up but just because you've been graciously relieved of needing to wallow in worry or to fret incessantly over the details.
Discernment — being so saturated in the truth of His Word and with spiritual senses increasingly tuned to recognize His voice, you can be clear on His direction, even if it's not the easiest path to take.
Anticipation — an excitement that no circumstance can dull, no setback can silence, no doubt can quench. You just know that God is actively working and is up to something miraculously special, right where you live.
Power — a life filled to the overflow with supernatural evidence of God's Spirit alive and at work in you, around you, and through you.
Oh, sure, there's lots of milk in what God has to offer. Lots of depth and substance and faith-based fiber. But it's not just a life of Bible knowledge and Sunday school coffee. It's a life filled with colors and textures and unexpected opportunities. It's honey — a life enhanced with all the juicy flavors of the Promised Land — deeply satisfying but, oh, so sweet.
It reminds me a little of the Christmas brunch I enjoy each year with my mom, my sister, and all the other women in our nearby extended family. We go to the same place every Christmas season — the Zodiac — a local restaurant that's as quaint as it is classy, perfect for a festive get-together like ours. The holiday decorations are up, the china is out, the places are set with impeccable charm. But as soon as we arrive and take our seats, even as the succulent aromas from the kitchen are wafting around us, we're each served a small cup of broth. They tell us to enjoy it; it's designed to cleanse our palate. And though it does taste really good, it is not what I came for. If the broth is all we get, I'm leaving disappointed. Appetizers just aren't enough to keep you going, not when the main course is clearly within reach.
Too bad that so many believers have become satisfied with broth, especially when nominal Christian living and church attending are only designed to cleanse your palate for the real deal. I suspect you're as hungry as I am to get to the full banquet feast He has planned — an indulgent, delicious, abundant experience of milk-and-honey living.
If that's the "more" that's been missing from your Christian diet, I'd love to have you along on this journey. Because I'm seeking the same thing you are — an experience with the God I've spent years learning about. It's the same thing the children of Israel spent forty years waiting on because of appetites that never quite left Egypt, tastes that never could seem to get any bigger than those small cups of starter broth, eyes that kept looking back instead of looking up and looking ahead.
But not everyone kept a foot stuck in the past while trying to stretch toward a bold, new future with God. There were two — out of two million — who knew that Canaan was abounding in both property and prosperity. When everyone else was harking back to yesterday or harping on the problems of today, there were two — just two — who weren't settling for anything less than what they'd been promised.
This book is our chance to go with them. The chance to be the "one-in-a-million" who dares to believe what God has already bestowed. A chance to be among the few who dare to be dissatisfied with status quo Christianity. The chance to walk into an experience He intends for all His people to enjoy. The chance to be His, on His terms, but also on His pay scale.
If God has something for me that I'm in any way resisting or missing out on, I'm stopping what I'm doing, and I'm going with Him. And unless I've got my signals crossed, I think that's what you're wanting too. Let's find out together what Promised Land living is supposed to look and feel like, and together we'll discover the path it takes to get there.
Hungry? Me too.
You and Me, Us and Him
I've got one simple goal for you and for this book: I want the pew to reach the pavement. I want the things you hear and see and believe on Sunday to be the things you hear and see and experience all week long. It can happen. It's supposed to happen. Whatever distance has built up between you and what the Bible says is true, between you and what the Spirit testifies is possible — it can be gone. It can all line up. You can live so much larger than real life routinely allows.
Excerpted from "One in a Million"
Copyright © 2010 Priscilla Shirer.
Excerpted by permission of B&H Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
A Note from Priscilla vii
Part 1 Deliverance
Chapter 1 Craving Canaan 3
Chapter 2 Fleeing Egypt 13
Chapter 3 Change of Taste 25
Chapter 4 Church Challenged 37
Part 2 Development
Chapter 5 The Long Way Home 57
Chapter 6 Why Me? 69
Chapter 7 Expect a Miracle 81
Chapter 8 From Why to How 95
Chapter 9 In Between 109
Chapter 10 Far and Near 121
Chapter 11 Wholly His 133
Part 3 Destiny
Chapter 12 Winds of Change 149
Chapter 13 Oasis of Complacency 163
Chapter 14 Out with the Old 177
Chapter 15 A New and Living Way 185
Epilogue: A Final Thought 203
Appendix: Promised Land Living 207
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Great! Provides a lot of hope to people 'in the wilderness' of life
This was wonderful, Biblical I insight on becoming the person God wants us to be while accomplishing those tasks he has for us.
This was the first book I read by Priscilla and even though God Is Able and The Resolution for Woman are very good too, I think One in a Million, is the best of all these three. I plan to read all books by Priscilla. Her books are easy to read but you will find a profound meaning in her words. One in a Million is a book about our lives and how much they actually reflect the journey that Israelites took from Egypt to Promised Land. I loved the similarities that the author pointed out, because it only shows me how close the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is to me. I highly recommend this book to anyone to wants to have a deeper relationship with The Lord. This book took place on "the top shelf" of my personal library.