Friday, April 20, 2007

Under the Circumstances?

Here is my favorite quote of all time:

Dr. Howard Hendricks of Dallas Seminary once greeted a student with a cheerful, "How are you?" He was answered drearily, "Oh, okay I guess, under the circumstances." Hendricks looked at him quizzically, "Well, what are you doing under there?"

When I was looking for the exact quote, I found it on the Disciple Makers International website, a ministry within Campus Crusade for Christ. They follow the above quote with:

It's time to stop dwelling under the circumstances that Satan has introduced into your life! It's time to fight back, regain the ground that the enemy has taken from you, and perform the ministry God has given to you! Satan is the greatest loser of all time, and we are the winners--let's start living like winners!
It seems an awful lot of us are doing "fine" under the circumstances. Substitute the word circumstances with the phrase, "Satan's thumb." That changes things considerably, doesn't it?

"Oh, okay I guess, under Satan's thumb." Yikes!

Here is how to get out from under the circumstances:

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. ~1 Thes 5:16-18
Heavenly Father, the world is hurting today because of their circumstances. But you have given us clear directions on how to get out and rise above them. We can't do this with our own power. Many times within the past six months, I could not be joyful or give thanks without Your strength, but I sure did pray a lot! I realize now that I never lost my joy, because it runs deep like an underwater spring that continuously bubbles. And I can now give thanks for my circumstances over the past half year, because You've given me a glimpse of what Your plan was all along. This is what I pray that for all those in pain right now, no matter what their circumstances. Help them draw on their inner joy, that which the enemy can never take away; help them to continually turn to You, to talk it out and to listen to your patient voice; and finally, to give thanks, because whatever trials we are going through, they only serve to draw You nearer. I pray all this in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen!

How are YOU doing today?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Love Reigns/Rains

I had sent an email to the ACFW loop in response to "How does God talk to you?" I thought I'd share part of it here. I've edited out some sensitive things that I didn't feel comfortable putting in a public forum. But the message is what's important. Remember as you read the following, that not only does Love Reign in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, but it also Rains.

On the evening of Oct 11, 2006, I was working on my computer. Totally into my own little world. Suddenly, a sentence popped into my head, and it had nothing to do with what I was working on. It said, "I'm about to break you." Yikes! I knew it had to be from the Lord because it came out of the blue. So, I asked Him what He meant, totally freaked out because. . .well, let's face it. . .nobody wants to be broken by the Lord!

Silence—which I interpreted as, "You'll see."

The next day, a family crisis hit with the force of a semi-truck. This spun me into a five-month anxiety fest as I dealt with the consequences.

Throughout the ordeal, I read my devotions faithfully, clinging to every word that would bring comfort. There was a lot of reference to "cleansing rain" and "showers of blessing", etc. So I wondered if it would all end with a physical deluge. I asked God if I should pray for rain? He didn't answer physically, but I could almost feel Him smile, as if He were saying, "Just wait."

Since this is Colorado in the winter time, and we'd just had a horrendous bout of snow storms, I didn't think rain would come anytime soon. . .like, say, June! I couldn't wait that long. However, in March, we had a whopper of a rain storm. I don't remember it ever raining that hard here this time of year. Could it be this was the cleansing rain I'd been asking for? The physical sign that God heard my prayers and that things would return to normal?

Not long after the storm, a Godly, spiritually insightful had a word from the Lord for me. She pointed at me while praying for other people standing around, and said, "I'm not led to pray for you personally tonight, but God says there's growth. . .and He's proud of you." WOW! After more prayer for other people, she pointed at me again and said one word. "Restoration." At least, I think she was pointing at me. We were clustered together, so that word may have been for someone else, but I snatched it out of the air and clung to it!So, God has spoken to me in four ways these past five months:
1. Plunking a full sentence into my head.2. Through comforting devotions that sounded as if they were written just for me.3. Sending a physical sign in the form of rain.4. Through a woman whom I trust and know has a special gift.

Yes, Love Reigns, but in God's Love, it also Rains.

I pray for you to receive "showers of blessing" this Easter season. And remember, where there is rain, there is growth.