Friday, August 29, 2008

4 days and counting!

Four days from now I will be heading to the Pleasant Hill Outdoor Center for our first night of our fall bible study. YIPPEEEE~! We are doing Beth Moore's "Daniel" video series. I cannot wait to get a fresh word from God and to learn and to be stretched. I need the daily discipline these studies provide.

As much as I love learning about God's Word and digging into it, I am truly looking forward to seeing all the wonderful ladies who are a part of this study. Several have been with us since we began in August 2007 - others will be coming for the first time. It has been a month since we last met and I have not seen several of them all summer. It's killin' me. I absolutely love these women. They make me smile inside and out. They are the most wonderful group of women you could ever meet. Not a mean bone in the group. Just sincere, humble hearts. They genuinely care about each other - no judging, no gossiping - just love and acceptance.

For those who have been in the group in the past: get in 'turtle' formation because we need to keep lifting one another up in prayer and we need to watch out for one another. There is strength in numbers and the prayer of many is so powerful. So hold your 'shields' up, keep the Sword held high and let's march forward together into victory.

Love you all and can't wait to see you on Tuesday!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

This Present Darkness & Prayer

I just finished reading "This Present Darkness" by Frank Peretti. Wow. What an amazing book. I had heard wonderful things about it, but it was truly better than I expected.

I realize that the book is fiction - period. However, it absolutely gave me new inspiration in my personal prayer life. I firmly believe everything the bible says about prayer and spiritual battles/warfare. But sometimes, I confess, I am not as diligent in praying for others as I should be. Sometimes my prayer life is just plain pathetic. It's not that I don't pray, but sometimes I don't pray with the faith and fervency that I should. James 5:16 tells us that the "the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." I love the KJV version "The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." We are called to intercede and pray for one another.

This book was a clear reminder to me that prayer does matter. We may not see the spiritual battles raging on for us and our loved ones, but that doesn't mean that there aren't battles. The bible tells us there are. Ephesians 6:12 "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

Prayer matters. Jesus himself prayed often - I am sure far more than we will ever know. All throughout the bible we see powerful examples of the importance and impact of prayer. "This Present Darkness" might be fiction, but it certainly reminded me - yet again - to get on my knees and intercede for those I love and for others that need our prayers.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

End of the Wilderness

When God laid it upon my heart that my time working at New Hope was finished - that I had completed my assignment for Him there - I was sure it would just be a short while until he showed me where I was to serve Him.

About that same time God began laying on my heart and my husband's that we were to sell our home. This home was what we had worked our whole lives for. We were sure we would retire there. We put it on the market and it sold so quickly that we didn't know where we would go. We were busy packing up all we owned to move into my grandmother's home believing that we would only live here a few weeks until God showed us where He wanted us. It's been over a year now.

At first I cried and cried. How could God ask us to give up things we loved and enjoyed and not give us any direction of what we were to do next. My husband and I LOVE being in ministry - discipling new believers and reaching out to the lost. It seemed God had brought us out into the wilderness and then He stopped talking and stopped giving us directions.

So we slowly began to do what we knew. I started a bible study for women at a local campground. My husband leads a bible study for men out of our home. I joined together with Penny Swindall to do a ladies retreat. My husband joined together with a friend to do some men's retreats. As God blessed those ministries, the Swindalls and my husband and I felt that maybe God was calling us to something more. So we prayed and sought his direction. In that process, "Called to Belong: A Worship Event" was born.

We have been praying and planning for six months for this event. We have watched the most wonderful group of volunteers give their all for this. Our lives have been changed in this process and I believe their's have too! We would practice every Monday night - but it wasn't practice. It was worship, TRUE WORSHIP. The people who are a part of this aren't singers - they are worshipers in every sense. It has been an absolute thrill to watch this all unfold.

Tonight is the night that Called to Belong takes place. With the exception of some significant family moments, this is without a doubt, the most exciting night of my life. It is my prayer, our prayer, that God radically changes lives tonight; that restoration and healing takes place in marriages, in families, in individuals. It is my prayer that God is glorified in every aspect of this and that He is pleased with what we offer Him.

May tonight be the night we take our first steps out of the wilderness and into the Promised Land.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

By Faith

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1

Have you ever had a loved one that you have been praying and praying and praying for and yet they don't seem to be getting any closer to having a real relationship with Jesus Christ? I have and I do. In fact, sometimes it seems like the more I pray the farther they seem to run from all that Christ has to offer. It absolutely breaks my heart.

I firmly believe with all of my heart that God's Word is true and powerful and mighty for the casting down of strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5) I don't doubt God's Word or His promises. I also don't doubt His timing and His will for us. And so I continue to pray in faith.

I understand the concept of free-will and that we can't force someone to come to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. I also know what it is to pray in faith for a loved one and have them come into a full and abundant relationship with the Savior. And so I continue to go to the Throne Room and petition on behalf of those I love. Jesus Christ lives to intercede for us and is sitting at the right hand of God doing so on our behalf - and on behalf of those I love.

If you have a loved one that you sometimes wonder if they will ever come to know Christ as their Savior - please continue to pray. Don't give up. Continue to intercede for them and believe. Because after all - faith is being sure of what we HOPE for and certain of what we do not see!

Many are the plans

As the Word says, "many are the plans of man". My plans and God's plans for posting to my blog this week haven't exactly lined up. So, the plan is to try again tonight. God is good and faithful and I won't complain that His plans and thoughts are always greater than mine.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Work in Progress

New posts coming tomorrow.