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I was hurt. Really hurt. I did not realize something so small could have crushed me in such a big way. We were returning from our retreat last year with the college group. We were being transferred in a school bus. Apparently the driver was not a Christian so I desperately wanted us to be a good example. He was cranky. He was a driver who did not like to stop. We had a group of 30 with us including two small children so it was inevitable that we must stop about every two hours. Oh but that was not acceptable for the bus nazi. Oh no he was driving hard. So hard in fact on the way back through Georgia we lose the air conditioning. (Any of you southerners out there can appreciate the importance of air conditioning in the middle of August. I mean this is a HUGE deal. August in Georgia and Tennessee is the worst of all months. There are days that it is so hot and humid that I find it difficult to breathe. We were in a serious situation.)
I am holding a child who has contracted hand, foot, and mouth disease who I believe is feverish. The other is sweating profusely. Students in the back are very hot, especially the ones sitting over the engine. We are about to blow. We were in a very tense situation ourselves.
In the back grumbling starts to rise up. This is no fun ride. God did such great things in each persons life on the retreat. Now this. It was definitely a blow from the enemy. Something within me stirred so strong. I believe it was the spirit in me. I jumped up to my feet and said, “NO! We are not going out like this! We are going to pray over this air conditioner and we are not going to complain. The enemy will not steal the ground that we gained while we were away. He will not have it!” I proceeded to tell them to lay hands on this air conditioner. I prayed a come back Jesus sort of prayer over this thing and I knew it would start right back up. This is not what happened.
I told the students to start singing praise songs to God. They started playing and singing. I took back my seat and wept. I think I wept for several hours. The air did not start working again. So now, what will they think of me? Most importantly, what will they think of God? Did I hear Him right? Did I let Him down? Did I pray wrong? I just know I freaked out the bus nazi. Will that turn him farther away? I also freaked out some of the students. Apparently my praying in authority is something that they had not seen before. Which is sad with people who have grown up in the church.
This story made a lasting impression. The story still circulates. You see, I have seen many powerful answers to prayer. I believe God for big things.
I could not understand why God left me hanging out there like that. It took me months to recover from this moment. I am not sure why it took so long but it devastated me. It hurt my relationship with the one who I trusted so much. I spoke to the bus man. I told him I just had faith that God would fix the air. He said it would be good if he did but I know he did not believe it. What kind of a witness was this?
God keeps telling me not to worry about it. He keeps reminding me that I have no idea what He did in that instance. I often see that bus and the driver. I continue to pray for his salvation and his heart to be softened. That after all is the most important thing. Because I do not know the end of this story-I do not like it. But I must believe in faith that something happened from this act of obedience.
A friend of mine said it was a good story and it encouraged her. So I am posting this in the hopes it will encourage others too. God hears all our prayers if we are right with Him. I believe He answers each one too. Maybe the answer was no that time. Maybe it was wait. I have no clue what God is doing in the lives of the others who experienced it but I can tell you this, I still love Him and I still trust Him. I realize that our ways are not His. And that is okay with me. I would rather be a fool for Christ than nothing for Him at all.
Live a Life of Love
“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God”
I was at Hallmark today and I found a bracelet that I really wanted to buy. It had a simple message. There was a silver piece that had love 24/7 engraved on it. God has been teaching me so much about love this past year. I know I do not love the way I need to. I need a reminder. I to well aware of my internal faults to judge, criticize, and even turn my noise away from others.
But the spirit of the living God is inside of me. He will not let me live a life that is characterized by unloving character. I have the best model to follow to get this right and that is in Christ Jesus Himself. He lived a perfect life of love. I too can live the same life as I follow Him.
God’s word says in the end people will become cold and unloving. I see this all over the place. But God has called us as Christians to live a life that is different. We are not called to be like the world. We are to live in it but not be of it.
Christ gave everything up for us because of His great love for us even to the point of His very life. We will never know fully how much that cost Him until we get to Heaven. His life, death, and resurrection are the perfect example of a life of love.
I am so selfish so much of the time, wanting my own way. I think about me way too much. Right here and now I am tired of that. I want to only live a life that glorifies God. A life that is a powerful example of Christ. When I come to my end of days I want others to remember me as someone who followed Christ without compromise. Someone who learned how to love not conveniently but sacrificially. Someone who loved well.
Father, forgive me for not loving the way I should. I give you my heart, my very life. Lord, move in me to bring glory to You in all things. Please make me less and make You more. I want people to see You as I disappear. Give me a passion for selfless living. Thank You for Your sacrifice which is everything to me. In Jesus Name. Amen.
“With your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9b).
I walked along the hot sea shore browsing through the islander’s tiny booths. They sold the most interesting jewelry and clothing. The country was very poor. So poor in fact I felt somewhat guilty being on that huge boat docked on the shore. As I browsed around my ears heard something familiar. Was that really…..no it couldn’t be.
I followed the sound and as it got louder I realized it was what I thought it was. It was praise and worship music by Michael W. Smith. Each little booth was assembled side by side touching one another in that place. Each one had its own variety of music playing. This booth decided to play praise music. It was a simple booth. It was there that I met Heather. She was a beautiful woman of God. I watched as she sang and worshiped our God right along with Michael W. Smith. She had not fear of what others thought. She was so refreshing.
As I approached her I told her I appreciated that music and told her I loved it. She told me she was a Christian and was not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We had some further uplifting conversation. I bought a piece of jewelry and told her I would be praying for her. I will never forget that wonderful moment. For a brief second I got to praise Jesus with a sister that I would have never met this side of Heaven if I had not been drawn by her music.
It was on this trip that I realized that God did indeed come for the entire world. Every tribe and language. Every people and nation will have some who are saved through His sacrifice. I will greatly rejoice when I get to see Heather again in Heaven. We do worship the Lord who belongs to the nations. I just love that. God is not an exclusive God set aside for certain people. He is God for anyone who would accept, believe, and follow Him.
Father, thank You for being God of all people. Lord, help us to be Your hands and feet to wherever you tell us to go and to whomever you tell us to talk to. We love You and praise You. In Jesus Name. Amen.