Friday, September 12, 2008

A life lived for the love of God

When we realize how much God truly loves us and how much he cares, we are drawn to Him in an inexpressable way. Our heart leaps at the thought of spending time with Him, the awesome Creator of the universe and the keeper of our souls.

God can only use a pure heart--one surrendered to Him completely--to reach His children who are lost. When we begin to love the Father with a passion that draws us toward Him, we are given a heart full of love for those souls that we once despised, desiring to see them also draw near to the Father. It's the kind of love that Jesus has--the love that caused Him to get up early to spend time with the Father, and spend all day ministering to the crowds. It's the love that caused Him to bear the sins of the world.

When we sacrifice, and truly live lives for Him, He opens doors in the lives of those around us. He will give us a burden for their souls. When we pray, God will work. When we love others, they will be drawn to the Father. As a result, the Kingdom of God will be established in our cirlce of influence.

Monday, September 8, 2008

God's Chosen Journey (to Maine) -- Part I

God took us on quite a trip this summer! We never would have even thought of going to Maine, but that is where He took us. When the idea first surfaced, God might as well have said, "You should think about taking a trip halfway across the globe."

It all started in November. I had the date marked on the calendar that campsites would open up at our favorite campground in Michigan at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park, where we have gone the past three summers. But as the date approached, I had a sense that I shouldn't make the reservation. It's a feeling that I've had before--subtle but sure--so I figured it was God. I thought, "okay, I'll wait a week." Still, it seemed like I shouldn't make the reservation. So, I decided that God must have something else in store. As is often the case when we follow God, I had no idea what. He seems to love surprises. I would personally like to see the whole plan, but we're working on that.

Chuck and I have attended several prayer conferences called "Waiting Schools" in the past couple of years with Rev. Elaine Pettit Ministries ( As winter ended, and spring was beginning, we knew about another Waiting School coming up in May in Columbus, OH. We really didn't have much interest in going this time. Rev. Pettit's assistant contacted us a few days before the conference, and wanted to know if we were coming. I called back and apologetically said we would be unable to attend. She called again, as apparently she had not received the first message. Then, Rev. Pettit began emailing us. Finally, she asked, "Could you come if I paid your way?" It became clear that God wanted us there, and was leaving no room for excuses. So we went. Of course it was glorious, and we desperately needed that time of refreshing, awakening, and revival, although we didn't realize our need in the state of busyness and apathy that had begun to infiltrate our lives.

At the Columbus Waiting School in May, there were approx. 30 people in attendance from Maine. The Maine District Superintent of the Church of the Nazarene was there--a man with a true heart for revival, Rev. Cecil Jones. Talk began circulating about having the next waiting school in New England. It was then that I began to realize that God wanted us there. It was an exciting prospect, yet part of me thought, "God, you have to be kidding! All the way to Maine? With 4 kids in the van?!?"

I decided that if we went, I wanted us to help in any way we could. I knew that some of those who would normally help with a Waiting School would not be able to so all the way to Maine. I talked with Rev. Pettit, who was willing to use us where there was a need. But then, the Devil started to put doubts in my mind. "It's silly for you to go all that way. This is something geared more for the Maine churches. You're too far removed from that region; it won't matter whether you're there or not." Confusion was starting to cloud my judgement, so I prayed. Then I emailed Rev. Pettit. She has such a full, busy schedule, yet she emailed me right back. Everything she said made perfect sense. The enemy had begun to narrow my vision; she reminded me that there is a bigger picture. Relief overwhelmed me. Praise God that He is so faithful to us when we submit to Him. He always leads us in the right path.