God understands the convenience-oriented lifestyles we have these days. So he sometimes arranges “divine appointments” in which we can serve him as we go about our daily business.
Divine appointments are similar in nature to Godincidences, God winks, and checks in your spirit. These Christianese terms all refer to ways that Christians feel like God is trying to steer us into a specific encounter or experience so that we can serve God or maybe play a part in the lives of other people.
I know we often wish we had a hotline to God’s throne so we could find out what he wants us to do in a given situation. Moses had a convenient burning bush to tell him what God wanted him to do next. Samuel heard an audible voice when he was trying to fall asleep. Even Jesus’s disciples heard a booming voice from the sky on at least two occasions (remember Jesus’ baptism and the transfiguration?).
But for us today, it seems like God’s messages are typically more subtle. It’s bumping into someone and then having a chance to pray for them. It’s having a little extra money and then meeting someone who needs that exact extra amount. It’s praying to God that something specific would happen, and then that specific thing occurring the next day. Divine appointments are situations when it feels like God brought you and someone else together so that you could comfort them, give them a key piece of information, or serve them in a practical way.
A divine appointment is commonly defined as an incident or meeting that might initially seem to be random but is soon recognized as having been caused by God. So if you have an encounter that seems too good to be true, then perhaps it was a divine appointment!
From a linguistics standpoint, the quotations I have found start in the early 1980s and run all the way up to the present day. But I suspect that the term goes back as far as the 1960s, and I’m hoping that additional research will turn up a multitude of quotations from the 1960s and 1970s. By the time this entry is published in the actual Dictionary, I predict that 1982 will no longer be the earliest printed evidence of this term in use. If you were a Christian back in the 1960s and 1970s, you might remember people using this term. If you can find me the term being used in a printed book or magazine from that time, let me know!
If you’re interested in reading about the various ways that people have used the term divine appointment, have a look at the quotations below. These quotations range from people giving brief definitions of what a divine appointment is to actually telling short anecdotes about a divine appointment they have personally experienced.
Do you know any Christianese terms that are similar to divine appointment, Godincidence, God wink, God thing, or check in your spirit? Share them in the comments!
divine appointment n. An apparently coincidental encounter or event that has actually been caused by God for some specific purpose. This purpose may be obvious during the encounter, or the purpose may become apparent only some time later.
See also *Godincidence; *God thing; *God wink; *kairos moment; *touch from heaven.
• 1982 Maisel Struggles of a Man: A Daily Walk with God 132 : I met a man from Poland today on the train to Zurich. What a divine appointment! He was really open to the claims of Christ even though he had never heard about God as he grew up. Thank you, Father, for the privilege to share Christ with this man. I never cease to be amazed at how you develop these divine appointments to meet the needs of those you intend to bring to yourself. 1983 MacArthur The Ultimate Priority 88 : Jesus was in Samaria for a specific purpose. His journey there was not incidental: it was planned, ordained by God…. He had a divine appointment with a special woman. God was seeking her to be a true worshiper, and He sent Jesus to bring her into that special relationship. 1983 White Arming for Armageddon 58 : I once heard a true story of a divine appointment that occurred precisely at the “six down, one to go” stage. A young Christian named Mark had made it a weekly practice to hand out gospel tracts door to door. One day he stopped at a house and rang the bell. No answer. Mark could hear muffled sounds coming from inside, indicating that someone was indeed home. So he kept ringing. After several rings, a man finally threw open the door, took the tract Mark offered, and slammed the door before Mark even had a chance to wish him a nice day. Mark prayed God would open his heart to the gospel message and moved along to the next house. A week later, Mark made a follow-up visit to the same neighborhood. He hesitated at the house where he had been so rudely received the week before but finally took a deep breath and rang the doorbell. This time the man answered almost immediately and, to Mark’s surprise, welcomed him enthusiastically. The man practically dragged Mark inside and up the steps to the attic. What Mark saw there took his breath away. There, dangling from an overhead rafter, was a length of stout rope with a noose tied at the end of it and a wooden box on the floor beneath it. “Friend,” the man said excitedly, “when you rang my doorbell last week, my head was in that noose. I was ready to jump! But you were so persistent that I decided to go down and see who it was. After receiving your tract, I read it because its title interested me. And through it God spoke to me. Instead of jumping off that box, I knelt beside it and gave my heart to the Lord.” 1984 Wiersbe Be Encouraged 15 : For the believer, everything is a divine appointment. There are only three possible outlooks a person can take when it comes to the trials of life. If our trials are the products of “fate” or “chance,” then our only recourse is to give up. Nobody can control fate or chance. If we have to control everything ourselves, then the situation is equally as hopeless. But if God is in control, and we trust Him, then we can overcome circumstances with His help. 1985 Martin New Covenant vols. 15–16 23,25 : God had set up a “divine appointment.” Does God work in a similar way among Christians today? Does he give us “divine appointments?” Yes. I believe he does, but sometimes it is not easy to understand and carry out what God asks of us. 1985 Wimber, Springer Power Evangelism 61 : God told Kerry to stop at a familiar restaurant, look for a certain waitress, and tell her that “God had something for her.” Further, God said that what he had for the waitress would be revealed when Kerry talked with her. Though apprehensive, Kerry responded to the inkling, steering his car towards the restaurant. He did so because he sensed that God had arranged a divine appointment, an appointed time in which God reveals himself to an individual or group through spiritual gifts or other supernatural phenomena. 1987 Lehmann Bringin’ ’Em Back Alive 91 : Petrus went back to Micronesia a changed man — all because of a divine appointment. Early in 1986, a young couple from Gospel Outreach church in Springfield, Oregon, were having a mediocre day of door-to-door evangelism. Shortly before they decided to stop for the day, they were invited into the house of a young lady who seemed open to the gospel. On a subsequent visit, they were able to lead her to the Lord. She later explained that at the very moment they knocked on her door on their first visit she had a pistol to her head and was trying to muster the courage to pull the trigger. By divine appointment, two willing workers were able to help her find eternal life instead of a bullet in the head! 1989 Rainey Pulling Weeds Planting Seeds: Growing Character in Your Life and Family 118 : A divine appointment is a meeting with another person that has been specifically and unmistakably ordered by God. Have you ever had a divine appointment? I have. I sometimes wonder how many of these supernaturally-scheduled meetings I’ve missed because I didn’t have my spiritual radar turned on. 1995 Robinson People Sharing Jesus: A Natural, Sensitive Approach to Helping Others Know Christ 000: A divine appointment is when the path of an obedient witness crosses the path of a person seeking God. Obedient witnesses are available to the Holy Spirit and sensitive to the people they meet. 1997 Tan, Gregg Disciplines of the Holy Spirit: How to Connect to the Spirit’s Power and Presence 212 : God had arranged a “divine appointment” for Philip in which he interpreted the Scripture to the Ethiopian, told him of the good news about Jesus, and baptized him into life in Jesus. 2000 Peretti The Wounded Spirit : In a coincidence so remarkable that it had to be a “divine appointment,” two kids from different backgrounds and different schoolyards, the wounder and the wounded, had found each other and were making things right. 2000 Covell, Covell, Rogers How to Talk About Jesus Without Freaking Out: An Easy to Use Practical Guide to Relationship Witnessing 74 : Dave thought that he was there to be with Grandpa. But God had arranged a divine appointment for him to be there for someone else. 2002 Jacks, Jacks, Mellskog Divine Appointments 144 : Sometimes God won’t give you a second chance to keep a divine appointment. 2002 McKenzie Journey to the Well 65 : Was it a coincidence or a Divine appointment set eons ago by God? 2003 Llamas Storm Warnings 138 : She felt that this was a divine appointment, and that they all were supposed to meet for God’s purpose. 2003 Allenbaugh Chocolate for a Woman’s Courage: 77 Stories That Honor Your Strength and Wisdom 38 : All of us realized that we were encountering a divine appointment. There was something sacred about this moment. 2003 Blair Courage to Change 162 : I was on the phone the other day speaking to a painter. I had originally called him to see if he had any “overflow” work that I might take on to bring in some needed income. The way I came in contact with this person was what I believe to be a divine appointment. I state this because, though I was looking for some temporary work, I had intended to call building contractors instead of painting contractors. However, within the same day, I was made aware of this person through completely different avenues than I was pursuing. 2004 Kruse The Gospel According to John: An Introduction and Commentary 139 : Jesus had a divine appointment to keep with a needy woman and the Samaritan townspeople. They would accept the good news, which would bring them salvation. 2004 Getz The Measure of a Man: Twenty Attributes of A Godly Man 105 : There I was, seated in a little bar reading my Bible and drinking a cup of coffee…. Seated behind me were two couples who very obviously glanced my way…. They thought that my Bible and the bar didn’t mix. I could sense that the very presence of the Word of God made them feel somewhat uncomfortable. However, the fact that I was at ease opened the door to be a Christian witness. Though I normally wouldn’t choose a bar as a place to study my Bible, in this instance I considered it a divine appointment. 2004 Copeland The Prayer Watchman 147 : I once went on a prayerwalk by myself to a park in Pasadena, California. Before setting out, I asked the Lord for a divine appointment. Arriving at the park, I found a baseball diamond and began pacing back and forth…. Within a few minutes, a man in his mid-thirties named Greg Ryan came walking across the playing field, and we struck up a conversation. It turned out that he was driving home from work and decided to just go out for a ride and a walk…. He was my divine appointment! 2004 Conatser Running to Win 98 : Pay attention to the many possible ways God will use you to touch lives. Purpose within yourself to stop missing divine appointments. 2004 Jeremiah Searching for Heaven on Earth Journal 154 : I don’t believe these moments are random and coincidental, but that in some important way they are divine appointments, potential crossroad moments. 2005 Lawrence Divine Appointments 37 : Shirley soon realized that this wasn’t just another casual “invitation-to-church” visitation. In fact, as we look back on what happened that day and that week, we’ve come to realize that it was the beginning of a divine appointment. 2005 Muleya The Seven Chapters of Your Life 32 : This was not a chance meeting, but a divine appointment, which was used to reveal the glory of God. 2005 Haight Radical Vessels 60 : God is looking to change us and to get us ready for a divine appointment in this earth. He is seeking vessels willing to be used by Him to reach the lost with the gospel. 2005 Barrs The Heart of Evangelism 86 : Once Philip was near that road, the Holy Spirit told him to approach a particular chariot traveling back to Ethiopia from Jerusalem. This was indeed a divine appointment! 2006 Pollice Choices Change Your Destiny! 40 : God can bring you two together by what some people refer to as a “coincidence, or a divine appointment.” 2007 Knoettner Is Jesus Your Pearl? 134 : When we get together, we sometimes sit and talk about all of the “God things” in each of our lives, just the ways that He works situations out and gives us “divine appointments” to help other people and things like that. 2007 Pilavachi, Hoeksma When Necessary Use Words: Changing Lives Through Worship, Justice and Evangelism 86 : People often talk about “divine appointments” (and it’s not just a term my personal assistant uses when I turn up at the right place on the right day at the right time). We use this term to mean an encounter that God has planned in advance for us. 2008 Ahn Spirit-Led Evangelism: Reaching the Lost through Love and Power 155 : A “divine appointment” is simply a supernatural meeting set up by God for His purposes. 2008 Workman The Outward-Focused Life: Becoming a Servant in a Serve-Me World 55 : That’s a divine appointment. That’s the supernatural element of God using us when we decide to simply be available and connect with people by serving them in some simple way. Coincidence? Maybe, but as one person has said, a coincidence is when God does a miracle but chooses to remain anonymous. 2009 Kline Take Your Place 193 : My friend and I had just stepped onto the elevator when a young man said, “I can tell you are Christians.” When people open up like that, I believe that’s a divine appointment in the making. So without thinking, the next thing that came out of my mouth was, “Yeah, do you need to get healed?” He said he needed healing in his knee. 2009 Hathaway A Love-Driven Life: Cody, Me, and God 92 : I’ve had a few, albeit too few, experiences where God tapped me on the shoulder unexpectedly. Times I’ve had to turn the car around to pick up someone walking and it ended up being a Divine appointment. I’ve gotten the “nudge” to change my schedule so that I could get to the house of one dying, pray with them, and tell them what a wonderful thing it is to believe in Jesus. 2009 Power Testimonies 53 : It was a divine appointment when our group met a blonde American lady at the dump’s edge. This woman, Heidi, told us all about Jesus 2009 Miller Misery Loves Company, But God Loves Us More 21 : Then the spirit showed me how He had arranged several divine appointments where I had many opportunities to minister salvation to some of my long lost friends. 2010 Morley A Man’s Guide to Work: 12 Ways to Honor God on the Job 18 : If you are a waiter, every couple sitting at your station is a divine appointment. They provide an opportunity for you to serve them in the name of Jesus Christ.