Thursday, July 28, 2011

the Grace of God

I was flipping through my journal and came across an entry on the 9th and I felt I should share it here. I'm learning to listen to God as I pray, asking Him questions and waiting quietly for the answer. I was asking Him about all of the children affected by armed forces that I'm working with, regarding next steps and just generally not sure how I can best disciple them all. Anyway, His response was as follows, I hope it can encourage you as it encouraged me. "Grace and peace to you. You have My life in you, you have My words, you know I am always with you, you know I go before you and behind you. Surely I am gracious to you and my people. I am the one who will captivate the people, I am the captivator of hearts. I'm the one who draws them to myself. I'm capable, I'm sovereign, nothing is out of my grasp. Do three things, short bible study, worship me, intercede for one another and intercede for the children who have been and still are being abducted. I will give you the story to share each month. Don't mind. Leaders will emerge. I am drawing My people to Myself, My will, will be done. The light will pierce the darkness and the darkness must flee. Cling to the light. Cling to my Son Jesus, cling to Me, to my Spirit and you can not be led astray. Surely I know the plans I have for you, to prosper you and not to harm you. You will fail, but I will not. So don't worry, don't give any room for doubt or fear, they have NO PLACE with my children, for I am bigger and stronger than any evil. I am drawing my people to myself. Don't mind. I can be trusted. I am working all things out for the good of my church and my glory. Trust me beloved. Trust my heart for you, for my people. I'm in love with you, with my people. My heart is good toward you. Delight yourself in me, as I delight myself in you. Surely goodness will follow you. I long to give you the desires of my heart. I long to give you everything you want, but I know what is best for you." and my response could only be, Lord I am not worthy, you make me worthy, you make me able to receive from you, apart from you I have nothing. nothing. nothing. I bless your holy, holy, holy Name.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Precious Betty

Maybe you've heard me mention a girl called Betty before. She's 12, her mother lives in the village with a new "husband" and her father tells her that she is not his daughter. She stays with her grandmother and two brothers and her sister in town here. Her grandma has no income except by begging, and she drinks, she lies, and she used to beat them (but she's getting too lold now) All this to say, Betty's had a pretty rough 12 years of life already. She's in the equivalent of maybe 3rd grade, but she should be in maybe 5th or 6th. But she can't read, well, she's trying to learn. And I must say she's getting better. We think she has some learning disabilities, maybe dyslexia or something of that nature. She often comes to our house after school, I used to get annoyed at her always being around asking for food and things, but then God reminded me about myself at that age. When I would come home from school my mom would always be there giving me a snack and listening to my day. I realized she had no one to do that for her. I realized I needed to listen to Betty like I was her mother. She needs that figure in her life right now and she just doesn't have anyone else to fill the role currently. Anyway, today I was listening to her talk about her day at school. She said today she's bothered by the kids at school. One boy today called her stupid and said she was good for nothing. She said it made her cry. It almost made me cry hearing it from her. She said she just kept quiet and then told the boy that what he said hurt her feelings and then the boy kept quiet. She said after that she kept thinking about what he said, and how she was stupid and good for nothing, but then something occurred to her, she remembered that God has a purpose and plan for her life. She remembered that He created her the way He did for a purpose. She then began feeling ok again. Praise God! Shortly later we spent time praying together thanking God for speaking to her like that and asking Him to continue to encourage her heart and draw her closer. I was so proud of her. When I first met her I know she would have just beat the boy up or shouted something else mean back at him. God is softening her heart, and I feel so honored to be a part of sharing His heart for her with her.

If only...

Today I went out to an area to mobilize some youth because it's their turn to go for the Father-Heart weekend. We reached the pastor who was going to do the mobilizing of the youth. He began looking over the list of youth that we wanted to send. I was glad to hear that many of them are in school, but as he reached the bottom of the list, he said, oh this one, he can't go, he's in prison. He went on to share that the boy killed his mother's husband. Apparently the husband had beat the wife bad enough to send her to the hospital, the boy became angry and went and killed the husband. What a shock! As we pulled away I just kept thinking, if only we had taken this boy to the Father-Heart weekend earlier, would this have happened then? Now this young man could spend the rest of his life in prison... If only he would have learned that his heavenly Father loves him so much. If only he could have learned the power of forgiveness and love. If only, if only, if I picture him sitting locked up, a dark, hot room, dirty, over-crowded, if only, if only...
It reminded me of the importance of what we're doing with these youth, God is literally saving their lives as they learn about His love for them and about forgiveness and grace. And as for this young man, I know the Lord is able to redeem any restore any person. So...instead of saying 'if only, if only' I am praying for him, that the Lord would meet him there in prison, he would learn about that love and forgiveness and he would be free-er than ever even, while he's locked up.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bless the Lord!

This morning I was surprised by the blessing that came to me through the reading of 1 Chronicles 29:10-20. It's one of those books I've only read thoroughly a couple of times and so when Kay Arthur said to read those verses (I'm doing a bible study that is by her), to be honest I wasn't expecting much...and then I was hit by... "Yours, O LORD, is the GREATNESS and the POWER and the GLORY and the VICTORY and the MAJESTY, for ALL that is in the HEAVENS and in the EARTH is yours." Wow. We serve a big, big God. Then David goes on, "Both RICHES and HONOR come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are POWER and MIGHT, and in your hand it is to MAKE GREAT and GIVE STRENGTH to all." David had just finished giving tons of gold and silver and bronze and copper and timber and other stuff for the building for the house of God, also upon asking the other Israelites to also give what they could for the building of the house of God, the Israelites also gave willingly. Instead of complaining and saying, oh man, why do i have to give this stuff for the God's house David and the Israelites bless the LORD and praise Him for the opportunity. what?? "But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from You, and of Your own we have given You." and again he says, "O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided to build You a house for Your holy Name, it is from Your hand, and all is Yours." There it is...There's the key. David recognizes that all of the stuff they gave to God, came from Him in the first place...why do I always forget that??? I feel happy with myself when I just give 10% back to Him, like I'm doing Him some kind of favor...Lord help me to give willingly and thankfully...
The other thing that I felt challenged by this morning as I read, was that I AM A TEMPLE FOR THE LIVING GOD. How well have I prepared, and kept myself as a house for my God? David says, "I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you." Do I offer my God an upright heart? Do I offer Him myself freely and joyously? David goes on to pray for himself and his people, "keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people, and direct their hearts toward you." I prayed with David this morning that God would help me to have a heart continually surrendered, freely and joyfully, for the habitation of my GREAT, POWERFUL, GLORIOUS, VICTORIOUS, MAJESTIC, RICH, HONORABLE, and MIGHTY KING. Bless the Lord with me today! This GREAT, POWERFUL, GLORIOUS, VICTORIOUS, MAJESTIC, RICH, HONORABLE, and MIGHTY KING chooses to reside in the hearts of His people, in you and me. wow.