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Thursday, September 29, 2016

If At First You Don't Succeed...

Many, many years ago, I stepped out to do something that God had called me to do. The result was not perfect and it was criticized. I went away believing I had failed - failed God, failed myself, let everybody down, etc.

Years later I heard someone say, "Well, it doesn't have to be perfect the first time you do something. You learn and you get better." And I had this moment of clarity and realized that the critical words that I had heard years before had bound me up. I had believed them. And they were not necessarily the heart of God.

When our children learn to walk, or learn to do anything new, we never expect that they will do it perfectly the first time. And neither does our God.

We learn by trying. We learn by obeying. And God knows we will not always get it right. But as we humble ourselves and try again, we get closer to the goal.

It takes courage to step out and try something new. It takes faith and courage. And God sees that and cheers us on! And we may stumble. But it takes faith and courage to get up and try again.

And I think sometimes God appreciates that we tried more than we can imagine.

Think of Moses when God told him to go and talk to Pharaoh. Moses was afraid and asked for Aaron to go with him and speak for him. And Moses didn't succeed the first time he told Pharaoh to "let my people go." What if Moses had walked away thinking that he hadn't done it right? Where would we be now? ;)

Moses was not 'the expert' in freeing the Children of Israel from bondage. He just obeyed. And don't you know he learned a lot along the way. And now he's our hero.

Wait on God. Make sure you don't get out ahead of Him. Be patient. Let Him prepare you. But when He gives you the go ahead - try! Just try! If you mess it up, come home and give it all to Him. Let Him refresh and direct you. If you get wounded, let Him heal you. Forgive.

And then try again.

And realize that we're all doing exactly what you're doing. We're learning how to walk with God - how to do the things He's called us to do. Because none of us have ever done them before. We all have to start somewhere. And as soon as we get comfortable with what God has called us to do, He moves us forward and asks us to do something new.

That's life.

Don't worry that you've fallen behind. Just do the first thing you know to do to catch up. I don't know if God has a Plan B (or C or D?) but I know He knows us better than we know ourselves and so nothing surprises him. Not even our hesitancy.

Start today. It won't be perfect. Maybe it never will be. But start today.

love and blessings~
PS - I wrote this to myself.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Being Content

I've had the wonderful blessing in the last couple of months of meeting with a group of believers for fellowship and worship in their homes. We've spent time worshiping and sharing our hearts and faith with each other and I have been so blessed and encouraged. The other night, one of the sweet women that are part of this group said something that has changed my life.

She said, "I'm just happy with my life. I'm happy being "C's" wife, I'm happy living in Big Rapids. I'm happy with whatever God is doing."

And I realized something.

I had been discontent. And that was not OK.

Twenty years ago, we lived in Auburn, Alabama. We attended an Assembly of God church and the Lord had led me to start a worship dance ministry and to sing in the choir. While we were attending there, the Lord brought 'revival.'

The Holy Spirit fell on our church. We began to have church 6 nights a week and we would stay until midnight, praising God, dancing at the altar, laying on our faces before God and moving in the Spirit. It lasted for five months and over 700 people were saved. The students from Auburn University were preaching Jesus from the street corners. It was amazing.

I saw God do things during those 5 months that I had never seen before and have never seen since. The Lord would show me a couple of years later that my obedience to start the worship dance ministry and to dance on the altar while in the choir were one of the keys that brought the revival. He would also remind me that He had told me to say the words to a song in a medley that we were going to dance to before we danced and this released the revival.

The words were, "Cast out your nets all you fishers of men,
                           In the power of the Spirit, revival begins!"

I was able to go back and watch video of myself introducing this dance medley and then watch as the Holy Spirit fell on our church!

I have never been the same. God wrecked me in those 5 months and I still have not recovered. I have pressed in, pushed forward, interceded, sought God and contended for break-through since that time.

But when my friend spoke those words - "I'm just happy where I'm at"- I realized that I had also been very discontent.  The Lord had asked me a couple of months ago - "What are you looking for in a church?" and I had answered without hesitation, "I want that revival again! I want to see You move and see people healed and saved and delivered! I don't want a meeting! I want YOU!"

And I have realized in the last couple of weeks, as I have given my heart and life over to God once again and repented of my discontent, that it's good to pray and intercede for break-through. I am a warrior and it will always be who I am. But at the same time, I have to trust God and rest in His Sovereignty and wisdom. I have to trust Him that even though I may feel that all I do is move forward into the wilderness and dig up the dry ground, that God sees me and knows my heart.

And I have to submit my life and make peace with the fact that I may never again experience a move of God like I did, but my prayers have made the way for others to experience this wonderful blessing.

I've found a new peace in the last couple of weeks and a fresh joy. I hadn't realize that I had taken on a false burden and now I've laid it at the feet of the only One Who is able to carry it.

Philippians 4:11 ...I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.

love and blessings~