Friday, September 14, 2012

Rescuing Dreams

As I boarded the plane to leave Alaska; I was so renewed in my heart and spirit.  Besides being with my best friends from college, I would never forget my encounter with God.  Without my family being present on this trip, I was on a mission to hear from God.  Through the encouragement of my husband, I had a complete week without having to chase three toddlers, my job, and household responsibilities.  I admit, I was concerned if my husband could handle all of this without me.  Yet, he knew I desperately need to hear from God. 

Before my best friends called, I was deeply hurt from a pastor who offered me a position.  Without confronting me or advising of his decision to look for another youth pastor, he announced to the church, “We are taking resumes.” It hurt very deep.  Questions, anger, and doubt overwhelmed me about the whole situation.  Did God call me into ministry?  Why did I move to Florida?  Did I hear God at all?  Or did I fail God?  It was a pivotal moment; I was questioning God’s call.  Besides questioning the call, I was wrestling with a broken heart.  Nothing would quench my soul except the presence of God; I need to be with Him.  As I wept in His presence, I couldn’t speak.  If I spoke, the words were few, far, and between.  Although my heart was at peace; my questions were not answered. 
Shortly after praying the phone rang, it was my best friend who was used to bring God’s truth to my life.  Besides being delighted to hear from my best friend, our conversation was about life, ministry, and my calling.  As he spoke into my life, God was confirming the truth of what I asked.  Yet as the hurt emerged within, I wouldn’t accept it.  After the phone call I wasn’t sure how to feel, so I talked to my husband.  My husband wasn’t only thrilled with idea; he was ready to pack his bags.  Still I wasn’t convinced about this opportunity.  A few weeks later, our best friends called to advise me I was flying to Alaska to discuss it.  So, I went to discuss future plans but I was very desperate to hear from God.  When we are desperate, willing to listen, and available to God, He will speak.  Not only did God speak to my broken heart, He healed my soul. 
 As I walked unto the plane, my countenance was completely changed.  I couldn’t wait to fly home to share what God did.  Nevertheless, God wasn’t done with me.  As I started to journal about my trip, God interrupted me with a vision.  Overjoyed with all of the plans, I wrote with eagerness and excitement.  If it wasn’t for the captain’s announcement, “We are now arriving in Tampa,” I wouldn’t believe I spent thirteen hours writing.  When I arrived home I was renewed, empowered, and focused for our future.
 After sharing this vision with my husband, we accepted God’s direction for our future.  However, I was starting to feel overwhelmed with this vision.  How could I do this?  Where do I begin?  Who was I?  After accepting the call; we instantly got thrown into the fire.  Satan decided to test our hearts severely with physical and financial issues.  It was the darkest period of my life but the vision kept my heart alive. 
As the embers of the vision burned, I was waiting for God’s timing.  Upon a Wednesday night service, the vision would capture my life again.  A wonderful missionary couple came to share their vision with us.  Besides sharing their vision, it awakened mine.  While the couple shared their heart for Alaska, I was taken back to the plane ride.  As he preached his message “Rescuing Dreams,” with us I couldn’t stop crying.  If God wanted to paint a bull’s eye upon my forehead, He did.  As the missionary shared his message, God brought unquestionable confirmation upon my heart. 
Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
So, if you are wondering if God’s vision is real?  His message brought some wonderful truth; I want to share with you.
1.        Every dream of God is bigger than you.
2.       You can let it go but it will not let go of you.
3.       Willing to sacrifice for it.
4.       Last forever (It involves people)
5.       It meets a need that nobody else is doing
When we receive God’s call; it’s not only a wonderful blessing it’s a daily sacrifice of our wills.  For God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. (Romans 11:29)  If we feel uncertain about it; God will confirm it.  Like Samuel, God may have to repeat our name or the call until we recognize His voice.  Or we could feel as Moses, completely incapable of the task.  God’s call is a precious gift, it’s our personal assignment.  So, cherish it deeply but don’t be afraid to walk towards it.  Although we may feel unsure, God will direct our steps.  We just have to be ready, willing, and able to follow His voice. 
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” Psalm 32:8


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Master of Your Soul

Although my grandmother was a magnificent cook, I never took lessons from her.  She was completely famous in my hometown for her meals; she worked several restaurants throughout her life.  Besides cooking for the town, she was married for nearly fifty years with eight children to feed.  So, it wasn’t only mouth-watering meals she served; it was with a speed of light.  How could she make a meal so fast?  Her secret is deep within the grave; I will never have the opportunity to learn from the master.  All I have left is precious memories, two of her famous recipes, and regret.  What I could have learned! When my husband proposed to me, I could only cook spaghetti.  We couldn’t live on love and only spaghetti, so I shared our dilemma.  My husband responded, “Honey, can you read a book?”  “Of course, I can.”  I replied.  “So, I guess you will learn how to cook.” He said.  As I grabbed a Betty Crocker cookbook, my precious husband would taste some “magnificent” meals.  God was very gracious to him; he survived my early dishes.  Now he teases me, “You can make me any meal from scratch but not a box of mac and cheese.”  If I only learned from the master; instead I had to teach myself.  Cooking or baking has truly become one of my favorite hobbies but it’s also a vital necessity to survive.  Beside my daily survival; my family depends upon me to feed them. 
Yet, how important is it to feed our soul?  Besides feeding our soul; we are to invest in the lives of others.  So, why does the church seem to miss this?  Is it the lack of nourishment?  Or is it the lack of hunger?  Our source of nourishment can only be found in Christ; He is the only one WHO holds eternal life.  Outside of Christ, we have no salvation.  As Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” John 6:68 (KJV) God’s Word is sufficient to guide, guard, and satisfy our souls.  It’s not lacking in the ability to sustain us.  We have to open our mouth, so we can receive.  If we are truly hungry, God will supply the substance.  “I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt.  OPEN WIDE your mouth and I will fill it.” (Psalm 81:10) As this passage states, God provided for Israel’s deliverance but He also wanted to sustain them completely.  It’s not about God’s ability to nourish us; He is completely ready, willing, and able to supply. 

What’s very troublesome to me is the lack of personal study or growth for Christians.  Sadly, so many rely on getting nourishment from the pulpits on Sunday’s and Wednesdays.   Yet, the Word of God isn’t study on a daily basis.  Not only is this depleting one’s spiritual growth; we are opening ourselves to be deceived.  If we don’t know the Word, we can’t stand upon it.  Besides standing upon it; we can’t stand firm when the enemy attacks.  Understandable, it’s vital to get the preaching and teaching of the Word but it doesn’t mean we don’t personal study ourselves.  Our relationship with Christ is a PERSONAL relationship, so it has to be developed through our involvement.  Yet, if you are a new Christian, I would strongly encourage you to have the support a discipleship class or through accountability with a strong believer.  As questions arise new Christian needs someone to nurture their soul and guide them.  We are to “make disciples” so they can follow Christ.   Elijah invested in Elisha, Moses invested in Joshua, Christ invested in the disciples, so it’s a scriptural principle to be followed. When our Savior called the disciples to follow Him, He was investing in their lives.  Christ didn’t just dine with the disciples for one meal, teach one lesson, and leave them.  It was a daily opportunity to teach, develop, allow questions, and personally being involved in the ministry of Christ.  So, if Christ took such a personal involvement, we must do the same; it’s the commission we have been given. (Mark 16:15-18) 
On this earth, we have to daily nourish our bodies to make it productive.  Likewise, we need to daily nourish our souls, so we are productive.  Christ said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)   At this moment, how is your personal time with God?  Is it out of duty or a delight?  If it’s out of duty, we miss the opportunity of the relationship.  It’s a loving relationship draw with desire, transformed with intimacy, and sustained with love.  It’s what He wants.  We can’t rely upon our feelings; so we must be faithful.  We will not always “feel” like praying.  Sometimes, we will feel as if our prayers don’t pass the ceiling.  During those moments, I encourage you not to give up!  If you desire God; He desires you more. 

When the Word of God is our DELIGHT
we will be fruitful.  (Psalm 1:2-3)  Our hunger for God will be satisfied but it should also be longing to go deeper; we should desire growth.  We can’t live off yesterday’s meals; we need to prepare to receive our daily bread.  God provided manna in the desert, so the Israelites could finish the journey.  Christ is the bread of life; He longs to feed our souls.  If He truly is the master of our souls; we will long to be taught by Him.  We can either be Mary or Martha; whatever is mastering our devotion will be mastering our lives.  It's time to learn from our Master; He has so many wonderful truths to teach us.  If you are hunger; He will fill us.