Monday, March 16, 2009

To those who say to you "Aha, aha!"

"I am afflicted and in not delay, O my God".

This morning I woke up a little melancholy. Mostly tired because I drank some coffee last night during bible study, even though I knew better, so I was wide awake from 1:30 am to about 4am, however I was a little blue also. These past few months, though in some ways have been awesome, have also been a tremendous testing ground for my faith and I need to be honest about how difficult it is sometimes to keep on keepin' on.

I think if we all were to be honest, we would admit that walking out our faith can be tiring. It doesn't mean we don't have faith in God, or that we are trying to do things in our own strength. Even the man after God's own heart grew tired at times, and in those times He drew close to His creator, the one who knew him best.

This morning after my walk I went onto the computer to check my e-mails. I get daily devotionals, one of them is from Steve Marr's Business Proverbs. Immediately my eye was drawn to the words of the first sentence of this post. As I usually do, I looked up the chapter that this verse came from and knew right away that God had given me this word (His word) for where I was at in that moment. (Thank you, God, I love you so much. Thank you for loving me so much more).

Anyway, it's from Psalm 40 and the chapter is titled "Faith Persevering in Trial", isn't that so appropriate?! It starts off with "I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, (I hear a song or two in there) and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth-praise to our God."

It goes on in verse 10 "I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great assembly. Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O Lord; let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me. For innumerable evils have surrounded me; my iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up...Be pleased, o Lord, to deliver me; O Lord, make haste to help me! Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion who seek to destroy my life; let them be driven backward and brought to dishonor who wish me evil. Let them be confounded because of their shame who say to me "Aha, aha!"

I can so relate to King David right here. I did not keep God's word in my heart. I lived it and spoke it and shared it. Though I am not without sin or fault, I presented all the evidence before the throne of grace and laid it at the feet of the Father and waited for Him to move me, expecting Him to use me for His purposes. It's not easy standing up when everyone else is sitting down. It's not easy being the one to speak up when everyone else wants to, but is too afraid. I cannot watch injustice. And I especially cannot be a party to it.

It goes on to finish with "let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You, Let such as love Your salvation say continually 'The Lord be magnified!' But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinks upon me. You are my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God."

I really needed this today. It comforts me to know that David felt this way, the same way I feel at times, and yet he was considered a man after God's own heart. It comforts me to know that I am not alone. I woke up with a heavy heart. God is lifting my burden.

Without going into too much, I ran into the gal who fired me yesterday. She came up to me and called me by a short nickname that she had given me when I worked for her and told me that she missed me. If my jaw hadn't been tightened in a purposed smile it would have dropped to the ground. We exchanged hugs and she asked how I was doing. I told her I was doing good and returned the question. Like I said, I am not going to go into anything but I am still confused by it all. How can someone be one way one minute, and another way the next?! Then God brought David and Saul to my mind. (isn't He cool?!) He reminded me that even though Saul sought to kill David, David still loved him, and that I need to do the same. He reminded me that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the principalities of darkness in the heavenly places.

I need to get to the point in my life where someone's spiritual stability is more important than my feelings, where the place they will spend eternity is a more pressing matter than what ill things they say about me.

Forgiveness isn't optional. It's obedience. Love isn't optional. It's a command.

Until next time...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Here I am Lord, send me

A little over 4 weeks ago Michelle came to me after church and declared that she felt that God wanted her to go to Trinidad with the youth missions team. I shared in an earlier blog my first reaction and how it had been based in fear and human knowledge. I have constantly put limits on God over the course of my life as a believer, even though He has consistently proven His love and faithfulness to us.

Today I need to share with you how He has demonstrated (yet again) how He supplies our needs, and also prepares those whom He calls.

The trip to Trinidad cost is $1200.00, plus the passport cost, and the luggage (they are all going to get the same bag so that they can minimize issues at baggage). My first thought regarding the money was that we didn't have $1200.00 to give. I totally didn't even give a conscious thought to the fact that GOD had $1200.00. I somehow always forget that verse in Philippians 4:19 that says "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus".

I do know though, that we need to actively walk out our faith, so as we prayed about supply, Michelle started making beanies to sell, sent out support letters and spoke to friends and family about what God had laid on her heart. The only thing that John and I paid for was the passport and $30 in rolled coin. In the first 2 weeks she had raised $230 from beanie sales!

One of the gals in my bible study class wanted to give a donation. She believed God had put on her heart a specific amount however she needed confirmation, so she asked me how much Michelle's next payment was and when it was due. When I told her that the next payment was $300 she smiled and said "I thought so, that's the amount God put on my heart to give." Another friend told me that she wanted to give some money. She can't go on a missions trip so this was her way of living vicariously through these youth to spread the love of Christ. She said that it wouldn't be much however since she hadn't worked in quite some time. In my opinion, when you give out of obedience to your love for God, any amount is a huge amount. I was so humbled by this and was seeing God's handiwork in it all.

Last Sunday I spoke with the leader who is keeping the books for the trip. I asked her how much Michelle had collected and wanted to know how much more we needed to raise. You're going to love this...she said that Michelle had surpassed the goal at $1202.00!!!! She said that she receives 2-3 checks a day for Michelle and that she gets more donations for Michelle than any other student!!!

Again, God was showing his desire for Michelle to go to Trinidad in the details of this.

This post was going to be about Michelle's trip but I am so in awe and wonder at the amazing ways He works out His plans for us. This is really helping me to see more and more that He prepares those whom He calls. I have spent so much of my life in a confused state wondering what His plans for my life were (are), and letting others define what my life should look like, or what my gifts are, or where I should be using them. I've let others tell me what success is. The problem is that success is not defined by the world, and it doesn't look the same on all people. It's not a one size fits all thing. I have been crippled by fear, immobilized by indecision and paralyzed by details. These last 4 weeks have been a tremendous faith building experience for all of us.

Being out of work has been scary, yet I know that this was in God's plan for me. And even though I am applying for jobs, I am also leaving my life open to God's handiwork. I'm not sure I want to return to the corporate world. I know I am not going to a foreign country on a missions trip like Michelle (yet), however I want my life to be available and have room for God's plans.

I am in a place of preparation and He has put dreams in my heart. I just need to trust that He will work them out. I have begun to write (again) and quite frankly would like to see it go somewhere. I have gone back to the earth as a gardener and I guess my enthusiasm has been contagious because several friends have been inspired to do the same thing. I have been able to do things in my kitchen that I didn't have time for before, like making preserves and trying out gluten free recipes and making soups from scratch, and when the cashiers at ACE and Publix see me with all of the canning stuff they remark that they always wanted to make preserves. I was one of them.

I have been able to visit with neighbors who are elderly and or widowed. They are alone and lonely. I am available.

I want my life to glorify Him. I want the world to see in my life the faithfulness of The Father.

Just as Michelle has said "Here I am Lord, send me", I, too, am saying "Here I am Lord, send me". Though I won't be travelling as far as Michelle, the blessings of a surrendered life are tremendous and I am looking forward to the rewards.

Pray for us, will you? We will be praying for you.

Until next time...

All the buzz...

About 3 months ago John bought a beekeeping book at a yard sale. It was a great deal at .25 cents. I guess I had mentioned something to him about wanting to learn about bees so when he saw this book he bought it. (I've mentioned that I like diamond rings but he hasn't bought me one of those, hhhmmmm...). Anyway, we really hadn't discussed keeping bees until recently, after I took Delilah to the vet. Dr. Gillespie mentioned something about bees, I went home and told John what I had learned, one thing led to another and the next thing ya know John and I ended up at the local beekeepers meeting last night. (there's a little more in between here, but it's just boring details)

Beekeepers are some of the neatest folks and we learned a lot. We learned that we have a lot to learn about bees (lol) We also learned that 5 people in our neighborhood are already keeping bees as a hobby. Frankly, I would like for it to turn into a business for us. I didn't anticipate John's interest in this, but he is all into it. Not sure when but I anticipate us getting a nuc hive (kind of a starter hive without all the fuss) in the next few months. Michelle's not so keen on it. Her reacton was "what if I get stung?" She had to ask it. That was the one thing I was trying not to think about. I would much rather concentrate on the honey!

Until next time....