Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tell Him

When I first moved to TCM, I was bracing myself for anything. You see, I realized that working with teenagers can be tough...and that working with teens who have been seriously hurt and abused would be even tougher. On a personal level, I came with expectations of probably some personal slams occuring against yours truly, merely due to someone having a bad day and feeling the need to lash out at whomever happened to be targetable at the moment. I'm not a pessimist, just realistic. I know that hurt people hurt people and I was mentally & emotionally preparing myself for this. I expected it, was prepared for it, and was prepared to implement the correct disciplinary action (aka: send them to the principal :o)), if necessary, but on a personal level, just try to let it roll off my back...

But now, looking back, I have realized just the opposite has happened. Sure, I've heard more than my fair share of rude negative comments, but hardly any personal attacks...in fact, I think I have received more compliments from these kids in the past 5 months than I've probably received in the last 5 years. I've been truly amazed.

One of my favorite love songs is "Tell Him", a song sung by Barbra Streisand & Celine Dion. The song is a conversation between a mother & a daughter. The daughter is in love with a man but is scared to tell him, for fear of rejection. The mom in turn encourages the daughter to tell the man how she feels about him. The daughter then basically says "you're right", that she better tell him now or she won't be able to live with herself.

I know at this point you're probably thinking "Where in the world is she going with this?!"

You see, God likes compliments too. No, God LOVES compliments. Psalm 22:3 says, "But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel."...God DWELLS in the praises of His people! God loves praise.

So, TELL HIM. Tell Him how awesome you think He is. How in awe you are of Him. How lovely He is. How breathtaking His creation is. Don't put it off. Tell Him TODAY..and tomorrow...and every day for the rest of your life. He likes to hear it. It makes Him happy. It's music to His ears.

Don't be shy...Tell Him.

Tell Him

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Great Expectations

Today, while doing after school care, I saw one of the cutest & funniest things I have seen in a long time. I was watching the kids outside while they were playing on the playground. There were a few squirt bottles filled with ice water for the kids to use, with the understanding that no one's mouth could touch the bottles and therefore the water had to be squirted into their mouths. Eventually 4 or 5 of the kids got thirsty all at once and came over to the cooler to get their drinks, some waiting patiently and other's impatiently for their turn. The older kids insisted that the younger were too young to do it, and so they were helping them...or at least attempting to. Somehow, however, one of the youngest, whose only 4, not only used a bottle on his own, but he actually did it correctly.

Fast forward to a few minutes later..the older kids have the bottles and are standing no where near this child, yet I look up, and there he is...eyes closed, head tilted back, mouth as wide open as he can open it....Obviously this child is expecting some water to be poured into his mouth at any minute. The best part is he stayed in this position for a very long time...and I just stood there watching him...smiling.

I'm honestly not sure if this boy ever did get the water he was expecting...or even know why he struck that pose in the first place. Had someone told him they were going to give him water? Did he just think if he did that, that someone would automatically get the hint and give him some? I have no idea...but I do know that seeing that struck a chord in my heart.

It made me think about God and how I want to have that kind of expectancy with him...that kind of faith. The kind that when I pray about something, I might as well just consider it done.

The look of expectancy I saw on that little boy is the look I want God to see when he looks at me. I assure you, if I had had a water bottle in my hand, that boy would have gotten the water he was waiting on right that minute. How much more does God care about his own children? And how flattering would it be to him to see us with that level of expectancy...that level of faith.

According to God, in the book of Malachi, if we are in right relationship with Him...living like we should & giving like we should, we are given some awesome promises. Why not live expecting them?

...Test me in this and see if I don't open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams. (Malachi 3:10 - The Message)

Friday, May 7, 2010

They Which Do Hunger & Thirst

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. ~Matthew 5:6

Lately I have been thinking a lot about men & women of God such as J.T. Pugh, Nona Freeman, T.F.Tenney, Joy Haney, etc. Pretty much since the time I started keeping this blog I have been reading anything and everything I can get my hand on that's written by people of this caliber. I have developed an unquenchable thirst to understand how their walks with God became such as they were/are.

Often I have heard people refer back to certain bygone days as "back in the tent revival days", as if the miracles & revivals seen then are exclusive to that time. And I have heard references to the revivals in Africa, as if they're exclusive to that continent and not to be expected to occur elsewhere...

This is wrong. This is shallow. And I refuse to believe it or to accept it.

These amazing stories are not selective to a certain time or place. They are merely a result of God's children being willing to sacrifice, caring more about seeing God move than about anything else on this earth.

One day this week, in the Bible class I've been teaching to Jr. High students, I taught on miracles. Having read a great article from the UPCI World Network of Prayer Website by Sis. Lisa Marshall, I felt inspired to share it with them. She had written about how the saints of God used to gather for a "season of prayer", an indefinite amount of time in which they would pray until something happened, then they started meeting for a "time of prayer",a set amount of time, such as 5-8 pm, and "if God was going to move, it best happen during that time."..we started giving God time limits. Now we have reached a time where sometimes in services we simply pause for "a moment of prayer". This is very sad and I am convinced this has been reflected in the gradual lessening of miracles and healings that we have been seeing through the years. This must change and it must change now.

I then went on to read to the students random miracles Sis. Nona Freeman had written about in her book "Everything's Gonna to Be Alright!" By the time I was done, many of them were in awe & a few actually wanted me to keep reading.

The next day I taught on prayer, referring to & expounding on another article Sis. Marshall had written on hinderances to prayer. (VERY good article) And then talked to them about if we want to see miracles like "that lady" did,then we have to pray like "that lady" did. (Many of these kids hadn't heard of her until I told them these stories since many of them haven't been raised in an Apostolic church...or oftentimes any church at all.)

You see, through reading these books I have realized (well I already figured, but just needed to be reassured :-)that these people weren't born "super spiritual" with their own personal, way quicker & clearer than everyone else's, ultra-special, direct line to God....at least not more so than anyone else who's ever been born. They too had to grown in their walks with God & in their faith. They too had moments of frustration & moments of weakness in faith. However, each time things seemed hopeless and they saw God work, their faith grew and their faith strengthened.

I've came to the conclusion that each & every one of us can be used by God as much and to whatever extent that we desire to be. The only questions are: how bad do we want it & what are we willing to do about it?

I don't know about you, but I hunger. I hunger to dig deeper into God's word. I thirst. I thirst to glean from the numerous men & women of God who know much more than I do & have experienced much more than I have. I hunger. I hunger for longer conversations with God filled more with Him speaking & me listening, versus me speaking & Him listening. I thirst. I thirst to go wherever He wants me to go and do whatever He wants me to do.

I may be hungry & I may be thirsty...but there's a world that's starving. It's starving spiritually. They're eating whatever they can get their hands on, yet every morning they still wake up with the same sick, empty filling, deciding "Tomorrow I'm going to try something else." And often, they do...and yet still wake up to that same feeling. Why not offer Christ and let Him be the next thing they try?

I hunger & I thirst to assist God in feeding this starving world.

So what about you?...What are YOU hungry & thirsty for?

And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. ~Deuteronomy 8:3

And gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them that they should go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them. ~Nehemiah 9:15

Luke 6:21
Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.