Wednesday, May 29, 2013

And Sometimes the Answer is You

"Joseph had to help several other people's dreams become realities in order to experience his own." ~Rev. Wayne Huntley 

The below is a blog I started a while back that I was reminded of by the above statement. It is a topic I am very passionate about, that I think is so important for this "me" generation to fully grasp:

Over the last few weeks I have had the privilege of having some great, deep, God focused conversations with some close friends. When God gives me a thought or talks to me about something, I love very much to hear what others have to say about it and if/ how He has talked with them about the same thing. This is what He has been talking to me about as of late: 

We, as human beings, are naturally selfish. When there are many needs in our own life, it may take special effort to choose to pray for others as much or more than ourselves. However, if we are totally submitted to God, we will remember how important it is to consider other's needs. We seek answers, but are we willing to be the answer to someone else's prayer? 

My family moved to Arkansas, from Missouri, when I was quite young. Overtime we have developed friendships with members of the church in Rogers as close as that often found between real family members. One day one of my mom's best friends told her that she knew why God had sent us to Arkansas. My mom asked her why. Her simple reply, "Because...I prayed for a friend."

At one time I would have described the time I worked at Tupelo Children's Mansion as feeling like a year of being "in limbo". While God had indeed led me there, at first I felt very out of my element. I also knew it was only supposed to be temporary, due to God having already dealt with me to an extent about what was to come next... returning to global missions. While I was very much aware of all these things, there was one thing I was not aware of until later. Before my coming there had been an urgent need and many prayers had  gone up for God to send help.  And so He did, in the form of someone with very little experience, but with a big heart and a sincerity and commitment to do whatever needed to be done.

God's next appointment for me was indeed an answer to others' prayers as well...Amazing missionaries who had far too many responsibilities for any one couple to be able to carry out on their own. I wasn't the only one who was an answer to prayer for this huge task...Nope. for this big task God sent a whole team and is continuing to do so.

I write regarding my own self only because it's through these personal life experiences that God has taught me over and over again this one thing: Just as God answers our prayers, sometimes He uses us to answer other's prayers.

There are many people in large churches, where lots of people share their same special ability, that complain that they never get to be used.  Meanwhile, there are probably hundreds of both home and foreign  missionaries praying for God to answer their prayers by sending just one person with that ability....

They may be praying for you.

Everyday many people out there are realizing that that peace that they seek is not found in alcohol, in prestige, in drugs, in riches, or in relationships...and they are questioning "Where IS it found?"  Everyday, many people out there are crying out to God, that, if there is a God, He will answer them....

Sometimes that answer is you.

We are blessed to be a blessing.

But what about when we aren't feeling especially blessed?
....Are we still willing to be someone else's blessing?

Years ago Missionary Rodenbush when asked about why he had been willing to leave a well established church in Texas he had been pastoring to become a missionary to Africa, stated, "Many people were willing to pastor my church, but not many were willing to go to Africa.”

Everyone is willing, yeah, even waiting in line, to have their prayers answered, but how many people are willing to be an answer? ....Are you?

Joseph helped make other people's dreams realities when he was still in prison and while he was still estranged from his family. He did this simply because He was a child of God, God had given Him special abilities, and it was the right thing to do; not because He knew making their dreams realities would lead to making His own dream a reality. Though it did.

So, next time you pray, I encourage you to ask God, "Lord, who can I bless?  How can I be a blessing?" You may be surprised to whom or where your path may lead.

Like a light in the darkness a song in the night,
Just the right words at just the right time,
Tomorrow today you may be someone’s answer to prayer.

The very moment we are willing to say who “I am”,
We step out of our happenstance will into his perfect plan,
Where nothing’s left to chance or to whim,
 People to People is where it begins,
To be His voice of hope,
or the touch of His hand.
~Alex Edmonds "Answer to Prayer" Lyrics

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Living Proof

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:19

I've heard it quoted many times, usually jokingly, but oh, how much truth is found within these few words: "Everybody wants to see a miracle, but nobody wants to be one."

According to Webster's Dictionary a miracle is: an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs; an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment.

From life and observation I have learned the following:
Everybody wants to see God move. Everybody wants to see God do awesome things that prove His glory, but nobody wants to actually have to endure any kind of hard situation, be it emotional, spiritual, physical, or financial, in order for that glory to be shown. Yes, everybody wants to see a miracle, but nobody wants to be one.

On the flipside, through personal and second hand experience I have also learned that:
Every missionary that chooses to embrace their calling and obey God is also, simultaneously, making an unspoken, yet understood, commitment to "being a miracle".  

Now, being a missionary myself, I would like to claim that we all make that second commitment with a skip in our step and an excitement and anticipation of the possibilities of all the amazing things God is going to do, because, well...He's just gotta!  He made the plan, so He's gonna back it up right?  YES!!!  Now we know it's time to watch Him show off. Sit back, grab the popcorn and's SHOWTIME!!!! (Oh wait a minute..."faith without works is dead"...But that's a different blog for a different time....)

Yes, I would like to claim that's how it is and maybe it is that way for some. I know I personally have came a long way. However, when the next mountain looks higher than the last, by human nature it is easier to focus on that fact, rather than the fact that the mountain before that last one was smaller, and the mountain before that one was smaller, and yet God has always taken me over or through each them. And each time, my faith has grown. But, I will admit, I have never literally spoken the words, "God, I want to be a miracle!", that is, not until the stage was already set for me to need one, then it has been spoken more in the form of the words, "God, I NEED a miracle."

In the story of the feeding of the 5,000, the following conversation occurred between Jesus and His disciples:
When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. ~John 6:5-6
When God asks you to do something that seems impossible, He is proving you.  When you find yourself or a close relative with an incurable disease, He is proving you. When He asks you to give and you have no idea where it will come from, He is proving you. This list could go on for a while, but the point is: There IS a reason for your dilemma...and that reason is for His glory to be shown...through your proving. God wants to work; He has a plan in place. The provision is activated by your proving...when you prove He provides the proof!!!

According to Webster's to "prove" means: "to test the truth, validity, or genuineness of."

Want a financial miracle?
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. ~Matthew 3:8-10
Want healing?
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. ~James 5:14-15
Want  deliverance?
Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. ~James 5:13
No, I've never asked to be a miracle, yet, thankfully, I have been blessed to be one, many times.  Having made a commitment to God to minister in what is considered the most expensive city in world has not been an easy thing. My flesh wants to know the hows, yet my spirit has had to learn to trust Him, on a whole new level, to provide every need necessary. And miracle, after miracle, after miracle I have seen Him do so, in ways I never could have imagined. Before I began this journey my pastor encouraged me saying, "God's finger will never point where His hand won't provide."  That has been my motto for the last year and that is now becoming my testimony.

A week and a half ago, it appeared that within a few more minutes my Dad might no longer be with us. Yet, as I laid hands on him to pray and began interceding for him in tongues, my father, who couldn't even speak at the moment, and who could barely breath, also began speaking in tongues. At that moment I felt that peace that passes all understanding sweep over the room. (Phillippians 4:7) After receiving oxygen, all vitals showed normal, and later all tests came back normal.

The world jokes: Everybody wants to see a miracle, but nobody wants to be one. 

But God says: "Prove me."