Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Broken Pieces

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people." ~Genesis 50:20 (NLT)

This verse has been on my mind so strongly lately.  Recently, I have heard stories, over and over again, that reiterate the lesson found within this verse...

A minister falsely accused of a crime, didn't put all his energy into fighting the accusation, but rather accepted that God's will would be done.  Now, having been in prison for years, a church has been started behind those bars due to his not despairing and seeing God's hand, even in such a tragic situation.

A child away from God, wandered much too far, and, while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, accidentally killed someone. Now, both him and his nephew, also in prison, have come back to God and many others are coming to know God through them as well.  

These are both real stories that have been shared with me within the last couple of months. 

Granted, every story doesn't climax with someone in prison. (Thank God!) These just happen to be the two examples I felt to share. And every story doesn't  involve literal flesh and blood people causing the harm. Scripture says that, "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." ~Ephesians 6:12 

The scripture at the beginning of this blog is from the story of Joseph, and Joseph's story is just that...Joseph's story.  In Joseph's story his brothers are the ones who did him wrong.  God took that and used it.  He used it to the extent that he was able to use Joseph to save the lives of a multiplied number of people, his brother's included. 

Each one of us has our own story.  The negative part of the story is not what matters. What matters is what you are willing to let God make of it.  God can take anything and make something beautiful.  He can take a royal disaster and make it into a royal masterpiece. But you have to be willing to hand it over to him...broken piece by broken piece.

You see, the picture of your future you had formed in your mind?  It's nothing compared to what the master artist can design. As a matter of fact, you will probably not even recognize what he creates as you begin to hand over those pieces, one by one.  

Frustration..hand it over.
Hatred...give it to Him.
Jealousy...let go of it.'s the Lord's.
Discouragement...lay it down.

Piece by piece by piece, watch God make something beautiful. Something others can look at and learn from. Something that can transform other's lives as well. 

Piece by piece by piece.

While at LA Camp meeting recently I heard the song "Healing is Here" for the first time.  Two particular lines stood out to me above all the rest:
You are the God of all power,
And it is your will that my life is healed. 
Yes, it is God's will to allow us to go through tests and trials.  If we continue to persevere,  these will transform us into vessels more fit for his kingdom.  However, it is also His will for our lives to be healed.  It is especially His will that our lives are healed.  The entire point of the sickness, trial, or test  is for Him to receive glory through the healing. 

Whatever your circumstance, it IS God's will that your life is healed. It IS God's will that others benefit through your testimony. God is not blind to where you are or the circumstances that you face. He took Joseph from the pit to the palace, but He didn't do it overnight.... 

He did it piece by piece by piece. One act of obedience followed by another act of obedience.  Back stabbed? No problem, shake it off. Forgotten? It's ok, it's not God's timing yet anyway.

Piece by piece by piece. Trust God. Obey God. And Watch God do what only HE can do. 

Jesus, At the Center

"...And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man..."~Revelation 1:13

During service at my home church Sunday night, while singing the lyrics to this well known Christian song, the Spirit of God began to move in such a beautiful way.... 

Jesus at the center of it all
Jesus at the center of it all
From beginning to the end
It will always be
It's always been You
Jesus, Jesus

Nothing else matters
Nothing in this world will do
Jesus You're the center
Everything revolves around You
Jesus You
At the center of it all

No doubt, those going through difficult circumstances were reminded that Jesus has everything under control.  Those who had begun giving up their allegiances to things that are only temporal were instantly brought face to face with the reality that there is only one that deserves that allegiance. I personally was reminded of what I am reminded of every time I hear this song, a message  preached by Rev. Marrell Cornwell that I heard many years ago.  I didn't hear it in a camp or conference setting or even during a church service. I'm not even sure how I ended up with a copy of the sermon in the first place,  but it has greatly impacted my life.  No, I listened to it via headphones while sitting on my back porch on a blistering hot summer day...just me, myself, and I, with an open sincere heart, desiring to let God direct and impact me as much as possible. Though so many years have past since that day, not one has past that I haven't taken time to step back, reexamine, and do what I call "The Candlestick" test.
And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death...The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. ~Revelation 1:12-18,20
Jesus be the center of my life
Jesus be the center of my life
From beginning to the end
It will always be
It's always been You
Jesus, Jesus....

From my heart to the heavens
Jesus be the center
It's all about You
Yes it's all about You
Close your eyes and envision those seven candlesticks in your, who or what do you see in the middle of them?  This isn't a "the right answer is..." type question.  This is a "be honest with yourself, there's a lot riding on this" type question.  So who is there?  Is it Jesus?  Is it Jesus and...? This is not a place He is willing to share. Has He been shoved out all together? Who or what is at the center of your life?  Who or what is at the center of your family's or your church's life?  Yes, I said it. Even church's are susceptible to becoming social clubs and thus becoming their own center.  
Jesus be the center of 
Your church
Jesus be the center of Your church
And every knee will bow
And every tongue shall confess You
Jesus, Jesus
So I ask you, Is your universe in the correct working order?   Thus as in our physical universe, if things were not perfectly aligned as God created them, chaos would ensue, so it is in the spiritual realm.  God will only take the reins to our lives when we hand them over to Him, and only by doing that can He align our lives so that they are working in perfect sync with His will, according to His ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).
From my heart to the heavens
Jesus be the center
It's all about You
Yes it's all about You.