Week Two ~
As we enter into Passion week and Easter, our thoughts turn to Jesus...what He went through for us, so that we could have eternal life, and have an abundant life while living here on earth. It has become my annual custom to watch the movie, The Passion. It's a difficult movie to watch, but I do it to remind myself of the agony that He went through for me. That takes my breath away. Now, let's begin week two with a question:
~ What brought you to Jesus? Was it a preacher yelling fire and damnation? Was it a friend quoting Bible verses to you every time you went shopping? Probably not. I was drawn to Jesus when I was eight-years-old because my Sunday school teacher told me how much Jesus loved me. What could I do but accept Him as my Savior? Since then, I've heard just about everything that would turn off the average person who was seeking truth. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, but yelling and pounding is not the way to show it.
When Rob and I traveled through Siberia in '92, our team visited a home for the elderly. We spent the day loving and hugging on them. Although we didn't speak the same language, they couldn't resist God's love flowing through us. By the end of the day, over 90% received Jesus as their Savior. Through our interpreter, an eighty-year-old babushka told me, "I have been waiting sixty years to talk to someone about Jesus." Communism had taken its toll on this woman's body, but not her spirit. Through tears, I said, "God sent me all the way from America so you could talk to me about your Lord." At that moment I knew I had been sent to that sweet babushka by the Lord. She made all the sweaty days and mosquito infested Siberia nights worth it.
~ Become a Manager, not a Hoarder. God wants to establish us in our field to allow us to rise to places of recognition so that His power can become clearer to those who have only known an invisible God. When people hear our testimony and see our outward blessings--a beach home on the west coast and a lake house on the east coast--they ask us, what's your secret? Rob smiles and says, "It has to be God because I'm just not that smart!" Rob is being modest--he's very smart--but we never miss the opportunity to share what God has done in our lives because we have always dedicated everything to Him. We have been tested through the years, but even through hard times, we have continued to put God first in our finances through tithing.
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
Sometimes God moves slowly, testing our ability to see if we can handle more status. Part of the test is in discovering if we can love Him through the droughts, the emptiness, the unknown, and the non-support of others.
While you're waiting, know that Jesus is watching over you, and that He cares. In His timing, there will be provision. It doesn't matter where you are in life--a stay-at-home mom, a business woman, a single working mother, or a famous beauty queen like my Aunt Eunice--God wants to use your testimony right where you are, to draw those around you to Jesus.
No eyes have seen, no ears have heard...the things I have for you. I Corinthians 2:9.
~ Do you like to be in control? Most of us do. We think we're happy when we're in control, but I often hear God ask, How much control are you willing to give Me? Oh, my. That means I have to trust Him in every delicate situation that I find myself in. I've trusted Him in the past, but am I willing to do it now? I ask myself. I can give Him the big tasks to handle, but can I give Him the smaller ones too? He wants it all. He really does care about the small stuff. Why? Because even the small stuff matters to God.
~ God has a perfect plan for us. Each season is a new chapter. A new chapter of my life began in 1987 when God brought Rob into my life, via over the telephone wires! We were married a year later, then in 1991 God asked us to lay down a large singles ministry at a mega church, leave our family, and move to Sweden to attend Word of Life (LivetsOrd), a large international Bible school. Why would He do such a thing?
My daughter, Jacquie, who was pregnant with her first baby, asked, "How can you leave your grandchild for a year?" A close friend asked, "Do you have enough money to live in a foreign country for a year?" A pastor on staff inquired, "Why do you have to go all the way to Switzerland?" That did it! I replied, "Excuse me, we're going to Sweden."
We knew everyone was concerned, but as crazy at it seemed to them, we had to obey God. The church elders didn't understand, so they asked Rob to resign immediately as singles pastor. We were getting hammered on all sides, but we stayed faithful to the call of God. Four months later, by the time we left, God had supplied the money for two major expenses--our school tuition and airfare. For the duration of our stay in Switzerland--oops--I mean Sweden, donations and love offerings showed up in our Swedish post. And God smiled on us when Tom, Jacquie, and our six-month-old granddaughter, Destinee, flew over for Christmas!
When you obey God's plan, He will never let you down. That doesn't mean we won't have hard times. I wish He would have given us the money first, but He waited until we said yes to Him; then His provisions came, step by step.
Has God ever called you to do something that was totally against the norm of your life? If yes, then share your testimony with someone to encourage them. If not, it's not too late. Just wait, and listen.
~ Learning to listen and act is an art. The more we walk under His perfect plan, the more we will be amazed at the results. Doors of curiosity will open, and chances to give God the glory will be ours to share. By being able to access the mind of Christ through the Holy Spirit, God will guide us. I love it when the Holy Spirit and I work as a team.
But we always have questions. If God is leading me, should I plan to go to college? If God is leading me, should I finish the online business class? With His leading, God wants us to use our abilities and resources. When we use our mind to think ahead, the more ready we are to act when He shows us where to go. By working our thoughts through options and plans, we can be more ready to respond as God directs.
Before Rob and I went to Istanbul last year, we prayed as we prepared for our journey. We had no idea what we would be doing once we arrived, but at each church meeting and home group, we felt that the Christian leaders needed encouragement in the predominant Muslim country. The Holy Spirit knew what words to speak to them, through us. That is what I mean by listening, and then acting. God needs us to be His voice, His hands, His feet. Have you planned for a special event, and then worked together with the Holy Spirit? Now, that's teamwork!
We want to learn from this Bible study how to grow these skills. When we follow the master plan--in His perfect timing--the world around us notices. His plan is a perfect plan, with an awesome outcome. Sometimes we can't even explain it to those around us. Have you had one of those instances where you just couldn't explain?
~ God intended to make our faith in Him look appealing so that we can draw others to Him. When our worldly success draws attention, we can take the opportunity to share the greater Source of our power and abilities. God is glorified, and man is amazed. In what ways do you bring glory to God daily--in your work, your family, your home, your church, your community--so that those around you may see and be amazed?
But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself. John 12:32
Let's begin right now to celebrate Easter, the celebration of our risen Lord. Listen, and then share the good news to those around you. Until next week, oceans of blessings to all of you WINning ladies!