Saturday, March 28, 2009
My darling daughter came home last weekend to celebrate her 23rd birthday. Like all good moms, I still had some purchases to make about an hour before she got here. I hopped in the truck and headed to Old Navy and Target. Somewhere between the first stop and the last, I got behind the kind of driver that gives you road rage. There was no hope of passing them. No chance they would actually flow with the traffic. As I impatiently waited behind them, I noticed the fish emblem with the little cross inside on the trunk of the car. Well, they must be a Christian I thought. Then I looked to the right where a bumper sticker that was not as easily identifiable took its place on the other side of the trunk. Curious as to what it might say or stand for, I tried to get a little closer to see if there were any discernible words or symbols. Thankfully, the traffic broke at this point and I made my quick escape to pass them. I honestly hoped it was an elderly lady driving so that I would not justify my impatience. But instead, what I noticed was another sticker on the side of the car that was clearly not of the Christian persuasion. In fact, it would have been something on the opposite side of Christianity.
So, was the driver a Christian, a non-believer or just couldn't decide what message they wanted to convey that day? Perhaps they really didn't care about the message they were sending. I know some people like that - I've been one.
Revelation 3:16 makes it clear that God calls us to be either hot or cold. Make a decision and be bold about it. Because lukewarm Christianity is like vomit and Jesus says he will spit us out of his mouth if we are lukewarm.
Without being obnoxious or waving a bullhorn in your hand, would a stranger be able to notice anything different about you if they spent some time with you. Would they notice that your behavior in the long line at the store is different than most others? Would they over hear your conversation at McDonald's and find it pleasing to their ears? Would the tip you left for the waitress convey a spirit of generosity or stinginess? Or would the stranger be greatly surprised to find that you were a follower of Christ? Would they want to know your Jesus after knowing you?
What does my day-to-day life say about me? Do I have a Jesus t-shirt on with a different message coming out of my mouth and my attitude? I pray that people aren't confused by my message or shocked to to discover that I am passionate about following Jesus.
I don't want to be vomit. I want to be on fire for Christ, passionate in my pursuit of him and faithful to the call he placed on my life. May my life convey a clear message about whose I am and who I serve.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Lately I find myself more afraid of “what am I missing”? I want the fullness of a life radically sold out to following Christ. In the very depths of my soul – I just want to follow close behind him. I want to be consumed by my Savior and living out a life for Him. There is a longing deep within me for a Christ-filled life that will never be met by playing it safe.
I have missed out on a lot of things in life because of fear. Fear of heights kept me from enjoying family vacations. My husband and kids ventured out on the swinging bridge over Grandfather Mountain - I watched from where it was safe and missed out on the thrill of it. Fear of getting hurt emotionally. People bite. I don’t want people to say mean things or think bad thoughts about me. Oh my . . . what if they don’t like me?
Please – I sound pathetic. Give me a break. I am tired of living life on the sidelines. So what if I take a few risks for Christ and fall on my face. I will be fine. If a little of my pride gets chipped away – all the better. What if someone doesn’t like me because I followed hard after Jesus? Who cares! So, what am I afraid of? As I write this out, it sounds like I am afraid of my own shadow – just like the lion was afraid of his tail.The lion in the Wizard of Oz was always my least favorite character. Maybe because he was the one most like me. Time to get some courage. Time to move forward with boldness for Christ. Scripture says it repeatedly – Be courageous. If God says it so often, it is time I do it. After all, what is there to be afraid of?
Sunday, March 15, 2009
I praise God that I have accepted His promise of salvation. I am also thankful that some of the ones I have missed in the past, I still have the opportunity to receive for the future. But how much easier would my life have been if I had received and held onto the precious and powerful promises of God instead of trying to do things my own way?
God offers us His rest. I work my tail off all week and try to cram more in on the weekend. In Hebrews 4 God offers His children the promise of rest. God is more than capable of enabling us to get done everything we need to and rest one day a week. The Exodus generation died in the wilderness and forfeited their promise of rest because they didn't believe - I don't want to forfeit my promise land.
God offers us His peace. Philippians 4:4 - 9 lays the offer and requirements out clearly. I often choose to worry instead of pray. Not only do I forfeit the promise of peace, but I fail to invoke the powers of heaven to assist in the situation.
God offers us all that we need. He has said that He knows all our needs and will take care of them, we are simply required "to seek first His kingdom and his righteousness." Matt. 6:33 Yep, I have forfeited that one too as I pursued obtaining all the things I need (want) on my own and seeking His kingdom with what time and energy I had leftover.
The Word of God is full of His promises. All He asks me to do is love Him and follow His commands. He wants ALL of me and in return I get ALL he offers. Small price to pay for the return. Sounds like I get the better end of that deal.
"Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires." 1 Peter 1:4. How many promises have I forfeited for worldly trash?
Oh Lord, that I might pursue your very great and precious promises and lay all my selfishness and sin aside. I don't want to forfeit what you offer. I want to receive it in its fullness.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
As women from different churches, different denominations, different stages of life began to arrive, I could sense the peace of God filling the campground. Uptight is exactly how I normally would describe myself before something like this, but not this time. I knew God was handling every aspect. He had hand-picked each one of the women who were there. He knew what was to be said, prayed and presented. I was to be a vessel for him to use and nothing more.
On Friday night, Linda Millsaps-Jones and her Glory Bunch got us pointed straight in God's direction. Somewhere between her teaching and the worship and the prayer, God was opening something up in the heart of each woman there. He moved so mightily that worship and prayer lasted about 2 1/2 hours longer than we expected. But if God is moving and the women are following - you don't stop because of a clock!
By Saturday morning another 10 -12 women had arrived and God's presence was thick upon us. Jody Thomae and the Alabaster Worship Arts Ministry took us by the heart and hand and led us into the most amazing time of dance before the Lord. If you are thinking - I don't dance or that is not of God - guess again. Every woman who said "I don't dance" - danced, cried and enjoyed every last minute of it. So much so, that they asked for more. I stood on a chair to take pictures and thought I would bawl my eyes out with the beauty of worship that was taking place. I can only begin to imagine how God must have felt as he watched from the heavens.
As Saturday continued, women were laying stuff at the foot of the cross that they had held onto for years. Tears were shed, laughter was plentiful and lives were being healed.
By Sunday - God had done some powerful work in the lives of many of the women there. Myself included! A wonderful group of women had ministered to me in prayer on Saturday night and I cannot begin to tell you how overwhelming it was to feel God lift burdens off of me and begin some healing work in my own life. I have learned that if I am going to lead a retreat that God makes me go through it all before, during and after. I don't ever just get to talk about it - I have to live it.
So how was it? I could tell you how many women were there, but that isn't important. I could tell you some of the nice things that were said, but that isn't important either. How was it? God did some spiritual and emotional healing in many women. They testified to it themselves. God poured out His living water on some women who were dehydrated from a long season in the desert. God fed his daughters and they ate at His table. God reminded some of the hope that He is always with them and will never leave them. God opened the eyes of the hearts of some of the women to words in Psalm 61 that He wanted to tell them. God took them into a place of worship in song that they hadn't maybe ever gone before. God placed a desire for His word in another. God freed one woman from some struggles she was having as he taught her to dance before Him. God brought another back to the heart of worship. I have a feeling He did a lot more than we know.
God moved. We followed. And what a joy it was!
Thank you Father for allowing me to be a part of the journey - you never cease to amaze me.
I am a Daddy's girl - Kim
Sunday, March 8, 2009
More details of God's work to follow.
Spending some much needed time with my husband - the absolute love of my life - who sacrifices in many ways to allow me to do this.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
This blog isn't so much to inform or air my thoughts, as it is to ask for prayer. So if you are reading this - I am asking YOU - whether I know you or not. We have an amazing group of women going on this retreat for the next three days. I want them to know and feel the presence of Christ this weekend. I pray that their souls are fed, their families cared for and in some way their lives transformed forever. Not because of anything we will do or say, but because they are coming to meet with God and when they seek Him with all of their heart, they will find him. Women from all different backgrounds, denominations and each with needs similar, but different. I pray that Penny Swindall and I uphold the precious gift that God has given us in being a part of this retreat. We are simply there to open the doors for the women and welcome them in. I can say with absolute certainty that the retreat is all God.
I also ask for your prayers of protection over my family and myself. I have felt the enemy biting at my ankles all week - I keep kicking and holding onto the promise that if I stand firm and resist the devil, he MUST flee from me. I'm standing firm.
When all is said and done, may God be praised and the women testify to his greatness and faithfulness.
His Humble Servant,
Sunday, March 1, 2009
I remember in school being the last one picked for gym-class teams because I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn when I threw a ball if I tried. I wasn't the homecoming attendant. I wasn't the first one picked for much of anything. Second sometimes, but not usually first. I was usually the first chair in the flute section if you started at the end. You get my point.
But there in church was this chance that maybe Jesus would pick me. He has given me many opportunities to serve Him. I have tried to listen and follow carefully, but I know that sometimes I fail. There have been times when he picked me for an opportunity to show His love or mercy and I missed it. I missed it out of fear, flat-out disobedience, busyness, lack of courage - really doesn't matter why, I just missed it. I am overly and abundantly blessed in the areas that God has allowed me to serve Him and I know there are many more out there. I am not complaining.
However, there is still that little girl inside of me with her hand raised high saying "Pick me". Today's sermon at church was about following Jesus. They sang a song that said something to the effect of "who will go for us, to the lost, the hungry, the poor." I raised my hand in worship. People probably thought it was just in praise. Truth is, I was hoping God would see my hand and pick me. I will tell the lost, the hungry, the poor. I will go where you will send me Lord.
"Here am I. Send me!"