The car was sliding backward down the icy hill and we turned to look out the back window, frozen in fear and we could do nothing to stop it. We thought this may just be the end of our lives.
Then, the car stopped.
Just like that.
There was nothing we could SEE that made it stop. The momentum and the angle of the hill and the fact that the car stopped made no logical sense.
My friend and I stepped out and looked over the side. We were on a back road and we realized it was probably a 30 foot drop and no guard rails to slow a fall. Whether we would have been dead or not we probably would have been badly injured.
Only four other people even knew where we were and there were no cell phones to call someone to help us. It could have been quite a while before anyone ever found us.
But God knew right where we were and loved us anyway.
I was about 22 years old and heading to a party to do stuff I didn’t need to be doing with friends I met in college.
God knew where I was heading and my plans for the night were not to glorify Him AT ALL yet He saved me anyway.
I believe God stopped the car because He had work for me to do in the future; work He had prepared in advance for me to do (although I wasn’t even close to understanding that at the time.)
He’s opened my eyes and “I once was blind and now I see” and “The dead shall rise” is real stuff. People all around me are walking through life like dead zombies, just hoping to make it to the weekend but God made Mondays, too. Who told you not to like Mondays? The world did. THIS is the day the Lord has made ~ EVERY day ~ I will rejoice and be glad in it ~ and stop cursing Mondays.
Jesus tells the dead man to get up and walk.
Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.” John 11:43-44
What kind of grave clothes are we wearing? My sweet, fellow, zombie friends, take off the grave clothes. God has plans for you. It’s time to get up and walk.
~~~> I wasn’t even asking Him for what HE wanted from my life and most
days years I wasn’t even praying much at all.
And THAT’S the problem. <~~~
He says: “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
God means this stuff. They’re not just empty words on a page. This is LIVING WORD and The Holy Spirit is real and working in our lives every day.
Some say, “No. That’s not about us. That’s just a story in the Bible.”
This IS for us. Now, in 2015, His Word is just as much alive as it was then.
The Bible has stories about things that happened a long time ago but God is not limited to only what is written in the Bible. For example: I don’t find my actual name literally written in the Bible but I’m here and I exist. This is the point: Just because there is a story in the Bible that shows God healed the land for Solomon, doesn’t mean He can’t or won’t do it again now in 2015. There is no limit on miracles or God’s Power.
God was recorded as saying: if My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My Face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
Do it again, Lord!
But OUR PART in this is to humble ourselves, pray, seek Him, and turn from our wicked ways and that’s the part that doesn’t sound so fun.
But the crazy cool part is: it IS fun. And it’s awful. And it’s real adventure every day as I watch and listen. And lonely. AND SO very worth it. It’s …everything.
Well-meaning people who say they are Christians tell me that God doesn’t really lead us today like He used to. And I’m glad people have said this because it made me search for Him that much more.
If it’s in the Bible and the Bible is The Living Word, then it’s “living” which means God STILL means it and it’s not just a history book with ancient stories. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. God clearly led before the Bible was written or else the Bible wouldn’t be God-led, and we know He led during Bible times, and so He STILL leads us today. Because He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever.
How can someone say that He’s the same, and also say He doesn’t still lead us now? That contradicts itself and they cancel out each other.
So which is it?
What if we REALLY do take God at His Word?
Before listening to the world news every morning… or gossip or checking voicemail, the weather, the bank account, stock market, sports, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, ask God what HE wants you to know and do. Open the Bible and read whatever verse your eyes see first. (Make the devil be very afraid. Read it OUT LOUD!) There is more power in one verse in the Bible than a year of world news. (And what if the news actually reported The News?)
There is more power in ONE prayer with God than there is in talking to anyone else about our situations.
When we stop looking around and waiting around for some church leader or group or anybody to notice what we are capable of and take it directly to the ONE who made us this way in the beginning; take it to the One who gave us the talents we have and ask Him what plans He has for our lives (because He absolutely DOES have a plan) AMAZING miraculous things begin to happen. He’s the one who can show you what your life’s purpose is. He is the One who does the “calling.”
And then KEEP praying all day long ~~> without ceasing. <~~ This is where I wasn’t understanding. When I pray and then take MY to-do list and what I think is important for the day and don’t leave room for Him to interrupt MY schedule, then I’m taking control back.
If we really “live” for HIM then we are not “living” for what WE want every day or for what the world has brainwashed into thinking we HAVE to do. Life will probably look different than it looks right now and change can be scary but God has something better in mind for us.
Be ready, though, because it’s NOT easy. It’s simple to do but not easy because the enemy is real and real MAD, too. That old devil takes it as an invitation for target practice and spiritual warfare is REALLY tough. But it’s also VERY worth it and the Holy Spirit does walk with us and God gives us some kinda supernatural crazy amazing peace that is truly beyond my comprehension, but it’s there all the same even during storms. God will test your faith. Will you stay with Him even when things seem impossible? He’s The God of the Impossible. He makes things possible that we can’t even make happen.
Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your OWN understanding;
~~~> in ALL your ways submit to Him, <~~~
and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
Keep asking for confirmation. And when someone tells you he feels God is calling him to something, instead of telling him how wrong you think he is and all the problems you see with however outrageous the dream is, PRAY with and for him and ask for more and more confirmation. God does this. I’ve witnessed it.
The problem is that most people I know have been living the same way we were. We were listening to the world tell us how school has to look, how work has to look, that 40 is over the hill (WHAT hill? There is NO HILL!) We listened to people talk about “retirement” but God will always have work for us to be doing. We believe lies like, “It doesn’t matter what we watch or do.”
But it does matter.
…whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
How can we live how He says is best for us to live if we’re filling our heads with so much trash from everywhere and not communication with Him constantly? Just because there’s a movie or song or book or whatever does not mean every one is good for us.
We’ve listened to everyone’s voice but God’s Voice for so very long that we fell for lies and we’ve been wandering around in the desert for years, doing the same things and feeling unsatisfied. God uses our experiences; good and bad and everything in between, choices made by us and also the ones that have been made for us, and when we seek Him with all our hearts, we will find Him.
Why do we think someone is successful if they have money? Why do we think school has to look a certain way? Why do we keep telling each other how to live life when we’re walking around in the wilderness, ourselves, and wasting our lives chasing things that don’t even matter in eternity?
Why do we rate other humans on a silly scale of status, education, fame, money, or career?
It’s NOT a competition. Our race is our own race and we’re the only ones running. We’re not running against each other. We’re to live well and live for Him.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
Lift each other up with your words.
Words are not given to us to cut others down as if using a sword.
S WORD and WORD S. Our words and The Word are neither one to be used to cut someone down but to build someone up.
When we see someone who is having an affair and then see a friend and the conversation goes like, “Did you hear what she did? She’s having an affair on her husband.” That’s called gossip and it’s a sin, too. Sins are sins. Pray. Stop what you can stop and pray over the rest. We can help each other out of traps that satan sets for us and we have GOT to start doing this with loving words and NOT, “Well, serves you right, little tramp.”
Please stop. That’s not helping anyone want to live better; it just makes people feel more hopeless.
When we pray with each other and ask God to lead and show us what to do with the talents He’s gifted us with He will lead and our lives will make more sense, all the experiences we’ve been through make more sense, and what He planned for each of our lives from the moment He created us makes sense.
But He’s not going to MAKE us follow Him. (The invitation is always there though, no matter how far away we are.)
Think about this example.
A child has parents who provide and he’s in contact with them asking for direction because he’s a child and can’t even get places by himself yet and he needs food and things to live. So he talks with his parents, then when he gets older, he starts to do more stuff on his own without talking to his parents for days or weeks.
God is OUR Father. We are HIS children. He says pray without stopping. Keep in contact with Him every day all day. When we ask one thing, then do our own for a while, we’re not still following His lead every day all the time. And when we realize we’re off track, call out to Him and He’ll redirect.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I didn’t do this very well most of the time. (But now I will.)
Sometimes we say a prayer, then see an answer, then take control back and don’t ask Him what HE wants us to do with this life that is not our own. Sometimes we say a prayer and don’t even really expect that He’ll do what we ask. And then we go even further, while we hope for positive but tend to speak death over people every day (including ourselves,) “I’ll never get a good job,” “She’s going to fail in school,” “He’ll never stop cheating,” but our words matter! I know a Guy who SPOKE and created the whole world! Speak LIFE! Please speak life.
And we are to let our “Yes” be “Yes” and our “No” be “No” but sarcasm actually does the very opposite and makes our “Yes” be “No.” So we are speaking the opposite (even if we call it “joking around” in our culture.) If words matter so very much and they DO (What if God had used sarcasm when speaking the world into existence?) then we need to rethink this sarcasm thing that so many people accept as okay.
When we submit ALL of our lives and ways to Him we can trust that He will provide.
When we don’t lean on our understanding of how we think life “should” look because some government, Bible scholar, parents, friends, pastor, preacher, neighbor, school, or family member TOLD us it should look, and just trust God’s Word, life is much better. He gives peace that we can’t explain – even when difficult situations happen.
Somehow we lost our way and it only takes a tiny bit to get off track and in a matter of a day, we’re heading on a trajectory that isn’t aligned with His plan for us at all.
Instead of chasing stuff, sex, fame, money, school, a person, and instead of trying to climb a corporate ladder, what if we chased after God and prayed over every job and every day asking Him to lead us?
Working is important but HOW we have a job and what we do with it and even WHY we have a job is maybe a bit messed up. God actually does care about where we work, what we do, who we talk to every day, and this includes everyone and every moment and every interaction.
Practical ideas: Ask Him who needs a kind word. Ask Him who to go to lunch with or if He’d rather you sit and talk with Him, just the two of you. Let Him lead you. Pray over the customers and if your job doesn’t require you to see or talk with customers then pray over the product or service and that it is honorable to Him.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24
We are to RE present Christ. And we are to represent Him. (Even at work.)
When did we get so lost?
What if we really just decide to take God at His Word and live it out?
What would everyday life look like now?
We are to work as if working for Him. But are we? Or are we chasing the money? Do you realize co-workers, employees, employers, customers, the mail deliverer, and even people who walk past you on the sidewalk are all people who are not crossing your path by some random act? God leads us all the time and we miss many moments that we could be “living” for Him because we’re too focused on us and our schedule that many times we overwhelm by our own doing without even considering He wants to interrupt us.
We get upset when traffic is slow but maybe He wants that time with us to sit quietly instead of being upset that we may be late for work. And when our plans are interrupted maybe – just maybe- He is showing us someone who needs care or to be noticed. A visit to the dentist can lead us to someone God wants to connect with us.
Open your eyes and ears. (Ask God to. He will.)
“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for – in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.” ~Ellen Goodman
He wants to show us a better life. He cares about the desires of our hearts.
~~~> Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 <~~~
I was not taking delight in HIM. I was taking delight in stuff the world offers.
This stuff is real, guys. We’re finally “living” it.
Of course it’s just almost taken the life out of me… and my marriage… and many friends and family don’t believe this dream about the Alaska homeless teen center He’s leading us to… but I know without a doubt that He will keep providing if we keep obeying what He’s showing us to do.
God gave me this dream. This is WHY I can be so certain of it. He’s been leading and opening doors. When we saw the movie God’s Not Dead, there is a scene where two men have suitcases packed. The act of faith was putting the suitcases in the car to show God they were being obedient and trusting that the car would start that time.
That’s the moment I knew it was time to sell stuff we’ve collected for years, pack the rest in boxes and wait for His timing. We’ve lived with boxes packed for a year now. Some say, “Why don’t you unpack?” I just can’t. He has shown me that this is why I exist and unpacking would show lack of faith in what He has shown me.
(When you “live” for Jesus, life looks silly to others. Let people laugh and don’t be discouraged because God will show up and show His Power. Keep trusting Him.)
I felt I was supposed to take the art stuff, photography equipment, hair cutting supplies, make up, and the first thing I packed was a box of mismatched tea party pieces. I didn’t know WHY yet but obeyed anyway. My college roommate was helping me pack and she looked right at me and said, “I can’t WAIT to see how God manifests this tea set!”
God put Lisa in my life and she was there for this most important moment speaking something to me that was Spirit-led. Thank You, God and thank you, Lisa.
We are going to go love on people who haven’t felt very loved. We are going to have tea parties and spend time with people who are hurting. We are going to lead them to a closer relationship with Jesus. And there’s actually nothing silly about it.
If there’s just ONE person God is moving us to help, the four of us are still willing to follow Him.
Some people think that if they study the Bible and know “enough” then that’s what God’s told us to do. I can know facts about someone but not actually have a relationship with him at all. Knowing facts ABOUT Jesus because we studied the Bible and KNOWING Jesus are two different things.
When God calls you, follow Him.
And if He’s not calling you, seek Him and you will find Him.
Ask Him what He wants you to do every day and go do it and trust that He’ll take care of the rest. He didn’t ask us to figure it out. He asks us to follow Him. How can we follow Him (and following Him isn’t a set of rules used to beat people into behaving well) if we are not asking Him what He wants us to do every day and instead choose to do stuff WE want to do (or think we have to do?)
WHO SAID we must get this or that done in a day? God did not intend for us to live stressed and empty like we do so much of the time. We do stuff all day long and then lie in bed frustrated that we didn’t get “enough” done.
As long as we submit all our ways to Him (and yes, attitude and motives absolutely do matter) God will keep providing just as He promises He will. ~~> And THIS is the beauty of it all. <~~ If your motives and attitude are not what they need to be, TALK WITH HIM about it. He NEVER asked us to do it on our own. He said when we’re weak, He’s strong. It doesn’t get any better than this.
Follow Him. There is nothing like it in this whole Earth. Be prepared though because He will rock your world in ways that you never experienced before ~ and it may be lonely because He wants our whole heart and life but it’s so worth it. He’s a jealous God and wants us to give Him our love, devotion, attention, and obedience instead of giving all our lives to other things and people in this world.
We are not perfect. We can’t be perfect. Jesus is Perfect. When we act like we’re perfect we are not giving credit where it’s due. It’s not about following all the rules to be perfect. If it was then there would have never been a need for Jesus to die to redeem us. It’s about being available to Him and to be His Hands and Feet. Why do we keep using our hands and feet for our own agenda when there is something so much better?
What if we get out of our own way and ask what His To-Do List looks like and actually trust Him when He tells us His ways are higher than our ways?
He will lead you ~ even in the little things. ~~> Keep praying. All day long. Without ceasing. <~~ No prayer is too small or too big for Him. Keep asking Him to lead.
He has even been known to stop a car on a slick, icy road with no physical explanation. God had more for me to do in this life. It just took quite a while for me to understand it.
He says to believe.
So let’s just believe.
Now to HIM who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to HIS Power that is at work within us, to HIM be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21