I love a good storm in the daytime when I can actually see it. Watching the skies turn from a beautiful bright day to darkening skies that makes it seem like night. Seeing tree branches bending and swaying in the wind and the rain that starts out lightly then comes down harder and harder until you can barely see out the window. And then its over and the bright sun comes out again and the day is beautiful once more. But a storm at night? Not so much. You can’t see a thing but you can hear it swirling around outside; hear the knocking of something against the door or side of the house making you wonder what is happening. You want to check it out but the noises leave you rooted in your spot. Its so dark out that you probably wouldn’t be able to see anything at all. You wonder if there may be damage to the house or a vehicle but until its light out you have no way to check for damage.Continue reading “Stormy Night”
what do you mean I have to share my space…
Ever have one of those “ah ha” moments and you find yourself shaking your head wondering how you could have missed it in the first place?
My recent “ah ha” moment happened on December 29, 2019 during church service. For several years our church has had a vision to open a full-time daycare and preschool program and recently we were approved by the county. Next we need approval by the state.
Now you may be thinking and why is this an ah ha moment? Bear with me just a minute here keeping in mind that I am used to working alone. My company being the deer that roam our church property. Would you like to see?
So our previous worship leader and her husband have traveled about five or six hours almost every weekend for the past two and half years to be a part of our ministry team. Pregnant with their second child and nearing her due date, her doctor restricted her traveling. So on December 29th our pastor announced they were stepping down from the ministry team. He then introduced our new worship leader who would also be the director of our daycare and preschool program and would be joining our staff after the holidays coming to work on January 2, 2020.
What? Wait a minute now…. I have to share space with someone else?
What? Wait a minute now…I have to share space with someone else? I’m used to working alone and when I come back to work from the holidays I won’t be alone anymore. Crazy right? I mean most churches have more than one person on staff at the church. And hello daycare? Staff? It has to start somewhere, right? So I start thinking I hope we get along not that I was too worried because I can get along with most people even difficult ones. But still, I wasn’t used to having someone else at the church on a regular basis.
She comes with a huge smile and you could just feel the excitement in the air that she was glad to be coming on board. I thought I was the only one who is a child at heart and doesn’t want to be an adult unless absolutely necessary. Turns out I’m not alone. This is going to be the beginning of a great friendship!😊 I even introduced her to my family of deer that come around. I can’t wait to see her interact with the children once we open the doors for our daycare and preschool program!
God has a way of bringing people together who can work well with one another. Then there are times when it feels like wow what just happened? Those are the times when we have that sneaky enemy around interfering with our lives trying to disrupt everything and everyone around. I also believe that sometimes God puts us in situations to help us grow, to be a light in the darkness that may just be that one light that someone needs to find Christ Jesus. I’m very thankful that He chose to bring someone on board that we both just hit it off right away!
Sharing space…I’ve experienced the bad side and I’ve experienced the good side. Today I am so thankful that He chose to bring a godly, loving the Lord person on board. I can learn much from her.
Next time you have to give up a little space look at it as an opportunity to see God at work. Maybe He’ll put you in a place to be a light in the darkness or even in a place so you can grow. And if perchance you come under attack from the enemy, rebuke him and press in toward God. Whatever takes that little space, look to Him and see what He is wanting to teach you. God bless!
Life is good. Things are going the way you planned or so it seems until you come to a fork in the path you’ve followed your whole life. You look at the path leading to what you think is life. Its well worn, wide, easy to maneuver and as you study it, you can see off in the distance people making their way with ease. You think to yourself, I’m doing good, so I must be headed in the right direction until you notice for the first time, an off beaten path. It’s narrow, not as easy to maneuver and when you look off into the distance, there are very few people in sight. It’s no wonder, as you look at the path, it’s overrun with weeds and rocks; it looks as if its rarely if ever traveled. You think to yourself, no way am I taking that path. Yet, it intrigues you and as you study the rarely traveled path, you find yourself swept up in the crowd of people leading you away from the narrow path and on up the wide well worn path you’ve always been on. Swept up in the crowd, you soon forget about the narrow rocky path until you come upon another crossroad. You begin to wonder if you’ve missed these off beaten paths in life and if so, how you missed them. You stop to study this intriguing path that like before, it’s narrow, rocky and very little evidence of anyone ever traveling it. Your interest is peaked to say the least and you feel a spirit of adventure bubbling up inside making you curious enough to want to check it out. Just as you start toward the path, you are once again swept up into the crowd of people dragging you away from the narrow path. This time, the narrow path stays on your mind and you determine that if you should come upon one again you won’t hesitate, you’ll head straight for it not stopping for anything.
Matthew 7:13, 14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
You see your opportunity ahead as the path begins to split once more; this time your prepared and you make sure you are on the side that will take you down that narrow, rocky, less traveled path that has peaked your curiosity. You can feel it inside, this sense of adventure, that something exciting is about to happen. You manage to take the path less traveled and as you begin down the path, you can’t help but to wonder if maybe you made a mistake. You feel uncertainty creeping in but you’ve already started on the path so you choose to move forward. Then it starts. Subtle little whispers of your past. Things long forgotten. The enemy begins working on you trying to break you. You wonder if its worth it to continue on this path. Worthless. No good. Nobody cares what happens to you. And then you hear get off this path and follow me if you want to live. Stay here and you will surely die. You begin to doubt and think maybe he’s right. But then you hear a new voice. An encouraging voice. Stay on this path if you want life. I am with you always.
Maybe you are feeling a tug in your spirit daring you to take an adventure, one that will change your life forever. You can’t help as a bubbling excitement begins to well up inside making you ready to get started. You look around and realize that not everyone feels the same as you and some of your friends no longer want to associate with you because you’re different. You find yourself taking the narrow, rocky path alone, but that’s okay because you just know you are supposed to be on this path that seems to be leading nowhere.
John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your rememberance all things that I said to you.”
You are not alone in this great adventure. The Father sent us a Helper, the Holy Spirit to teach us and guide us to maneuver this thing called life. As you continue on this path, you begin to feel guilty. Guilt over things that happened in the past. Shame kicks in rearing its head dumping even more guilt on your shoulders. You begin to think that you made a huge mistake taking this path and you seriously consider turning back. Instead something seems to pull you upward to continue following the path that’s bringing up everything you wanted to forget. Thought you had forgotten. Grudgingly you continue up this path that seems to have lost some of its appeal. But something begins to happen and you start to notice things that you hadn’t seen before. The air around you is different. It doesn’t seem as oppressive as before and you notice your burden seems to be getting lighter. You see a light that you hadn’t noticed before and you can feel the warmth of it even though its still too far away to see where it’s coming from. So you decide to follow the light to see where its source comes from. The next thing you notice is the guilt shedding its ugly head and in its place you find forgiveness. Shame soon follows and you feel a true sense of peace in your life. You find yourself alive and experiencing life with fresh, new eyes and you are see the world in a whole new light. You tell others about your new discovery and while some will come to see for themselves, others will turn away. You’ve planted the seed, the rest is up to them.
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
John 8:12 “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.'”
Where does it lead? The choice is yours, I’m praying for you!
Have you ever found yourself at the edge of a forest looking out into the light and wondering why you can’t take that first step? You’ve managed to make it this far fighting through the dense forest, now it’s time to step into the light and you hesitate. Finally, you take the first step and it feels as though a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. You think “this isn’t so bad” as you take another step. You turn your face up to the light and feel the warmth on your face, the peace that envelopes you making you want to stay there.
Unease creeps in chasing you back into the forest and you find yourself back at the edge looking out into the light again. What’s happening? You see the light and you want to go back to experience the warmth and peace that you had only moments ago, but you can’t seem to take that step that will take you back there. You’ve been blinded by the enemy. He doesn’t want you out in the light living in freedom. He wants you confused and afraid. Hidden in the darkness that he controls.
Accustomed to living in the dense forest your first taste of freedom overwhelms and frightens you driving you back into what you consider your comfort zone because truthfully right now, it is.
You’ve heard the lies of the enemy for so long that the true freedom you experienced only moments ago seems like a lie instead of truth. You can’t believe that what you experienced will last. It doesn’t help that the enemy is whispering in your ear that it isn’t real. That it will only go away and you’ll be left with nothing but the darkness once again.
I looked on the internet and according to one article I found, it stated that the National Institute of Mental Health estimated that 16.2 million U.S. adults had at least one major depressive episode in 2016. I’m not surprised. You need only to look at the commercials on television these days and you’ll find all types of medicine that helps with this or that form of depression. I imagine everyone has experienced some form of depression at some point in their life.
Maybe you are that person who suffers from depression or you know someone who suffers from it. You could be a caregiver, friend, or a family member that sees them suffering and you feel helpless not knowing how to help them. Don’t give up. Be a safe place for that person to come too. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is just be there. Interact with them especially at their low point drawing them into a conversation or simply hold their hand. There is no guarantee that it will work every time but at least they will know they aren’t alone.
In Luke 4:18 Jesus read from the book of the prophet Isaiah “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed,” in verse 21 it says “And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.'”
Jesus came to preach the gospel, to release the captives, give sight to the blind, and freedom to the oppressed. That’s great news! Freedom from captivity, from oppression, getting your sight back. Here’s the thing, people who are dealing with this disease are captives to the illness. They are blinded by the lies of the enemy and oppressed from their world of chaos. Jesus brings hope to their chaos, offers His hand to pull them out of the confusion, set them on solid ground and hold them steady as He opens their eyes to the truth and light.
Psalms 40:2 says “He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.”
I leave you with this scripture: Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
The Lord wants you to have peace in your life. He wants you to have a future and a hope. The enemy wants only chaos, no future, and definitely no hope. As long as he can keep you in the dense forest that’s one less person he has to worry about living the life Christ intended for you to live.
I pray you can embrace Jeremiah 29:11 and find a way to step out of the forest and into the light.