Do you ever have some days that are just better than others? I guess we all do! When Louis and I were in Austin for Verge 2010 we learned this song by the Aaron Ivey Band…Oh Happy Day! It’s not the Oh Happy Day that we have all heard before…but a new and different one.Oh Happy Day! Happy Day! You washed my sin away! Oh Happy Day! Happy Day! I’ll never be the same! Forever I am changed!
Celebrate! Jesus is alive!
The quality of the video isn’t the best…but take a listen….You will get the drift of it! While in Austin, we found ourselves jumpin’ up and down just like these kids were!
This is how I feel today! So, you are probably wondering why. I’m not quite sure, but I am going to process it here for a minute. I was just sittin’ here taking a break from work for a moment…looking out the window of my office and was filled with this sense of peace and joy.
Louis and I had scheduled our 2nd retreat for yesterday evening, which didn’t turn out quite like we thought it would, for we had planned to go back to Richmond Hill. But our friend, Marc came by for a visit, which turned out to be a wonderful gift from the Lord! As we sat and talked for hours, the Lord revealed much to us. Later, Louis and I decided to review our list of questions from our previous retreat (which can be found in Enjoy the Journey), and we had received answers or confirmations to many of our questions.
In a nutshell….our answers were centered around the verse…Matthew 6:33:But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
So…today, as I reflect on yesterday’s conversation, I look out the window and see how the birds are provided food and water. Sometimes the Lord uses nature to feed those birds…where the birds have to work and work hard for their keep. Other times…there are people like me who provide it through a feeder and a birdbath…making it really easy for them. Regardless, the birds…they get some food and water.
So, with Louis going half-time and my job coming to an end some time this year, questions come up like…how are we going to make money and pay the bills? Sometimes there is a slight panic (or not so slight panic!) that Louis needs to hurry up and find something to earn additional money. But, we have been sensing… “not yet”. Then, yesterday…the answer became clear! Seek ye first the kingdom! We need to do what the Lord has called us to do to seek the kingdom…not seek money or jobs…but the kingdom. Then Lord will provide when the time comes. We need to keep our priorities straight.
This thought then led me to when God provided manna from heaven for His people when they wandered in the desert. As Louis and I had our retreat in our own home, we listed the times just recently that our Lord provided for us in many ways….in surprising ways…to meet our needs….our “manna from heaven”.
Some folks like to say that the Bible isn’t relevant today…or that miracles don’t happen in modern times. But I am here to encourage you….THEY DO! We just have to be open to seeing them!
Marc, Louis and I were talking just yesterday….that our journey of faith holds many levels. First…we READ stories of faith and provision in the Bible…stories of those who have gone before us. Then, we HEAR the stories of our friends and families who tell of their faith journeys. Then…the sweet spot…the best…..is when you have your own stories to TELL!
If that isn’t worth shouting about…I don’t know what it! As Shirley Caesar and Marc taught me…”Hold my mule. I’m gonna shout right now!…That’s how I feel right now!…I feel like praisin’ Him!”
We are studying the book of Revelation for the Youth and Young Adult Retreat for Louis’ Church this weekend. In prepping for this study, I have learned much. This is a book of the Bible is most people stay away from….even Pastors don’t preach on it much….because it can be confusing and controversial. I look forward to diving into it some more.
The biggest thing I have learned during studying it so far is to “live like you were dying!” I know it is a morbid subject to think about…but what would you do if you thought you were dying? How would you live? What would you change? Would you be willing to face your maker and answer for your decisions and your life?
Recently, I thought about Frank….dying on the street outside my house. He didn’t know what was coming. But, God has given him another chance to live in a way that brings Him glory. Unfortunately, even after EVERYTHING that he and his family went through…the pull of the street was too strong. He went back to his old life and landed himself in prison for about 10-11 years. So far…it’s 1 year down…10 to go! I pray that he meets Jesus in a powerful way and is changed…for good! Jesus makes ALL things new!
But, we are not to judge! Every day…we go back to our lives as we knew them. It’s that constant struggle that Paul referred to. While we are on this earth…there will always be the struggle. But, there will come a day when we will struggle no more. Like Francis Chan’s wife said in the Surrender video…I want to hear him say “Well done, Marti!! Well done!” I WANT to hear…
Well done, Marti! You listened to me…you didn’t move to St Louis even though you don’t know what is next.
Well done, Marti! You obeyed Me. You moved into SBH and stayed even after some really crazy and scary things occurred…because I called you there.
Well done, Marti! You lived on mission with me in spite of what others thought and said.
Well done, Marti! You take my commandments seriously. To love God and love your neighbor. Your neighbors are everyone you meet…at work, at home, in the grocery store, at church, on the corner filled with drug dealers and prostitutes.
Well done, Marti!!! Come on in!
But, I must confess…there are many days that I do NOT rise to that challenge. There are days that I want to pack up and move. There are days that I fail miserably in my marriage and not love Louis like I should. There are days when I just don’t feel like stopping to fix Everett a sandwich because he is hungry. There are days when I’m “too busy” to hang with the kids and listen to them. There are days when I don’t spend time in the Word and in prayer like I should. There are days of being a “pastor’s wife” that are a little too much to ask! (Just to name a few of my many, many faults!!! Don’t see this as me “beating myself up”. This is just the plain reality of it…..life here on earth. I am sinful…)
I am so thankful God knows my HEART! That He doesn’t have a checklist of aaaallll the things we on earth call religion that are not Biblical. The long list of man-made “do’s and don’ts” that so many of us think we won’t and can’t live up to….so we stop trying.
I appreciate that I am Saved by Grace and NOT by works. I could NEVER do enough good works to earn his forgiveness and salvation!
I am grateful for a loving, merciful, holy God who loved me way before I loved Him and just wants a relationship with me…not that routine checklist surface relationship….but an intimate, deep, close relationship.
And, you know what?!?!?!? IT’S FREE!!!!!
Come…all who are thirsty….
Take a long deep drink of God’s Perfect Love….
What a blessed day!!! It was a BEAUTIFUL day at Richmond Hill. We really could not have asked for a better…a more wonderful day…following our moving foot washing Maundy Thursday service last night at Commonwealth Chapel. Now, we look forward and prepare for the 8pm Good Friday Service at Commonwealth Chapel. We are attending with some of Louis’ church members from the Petersburg area. So, here is just a quick sneak peek of our day at Richmond Hill. Enjoy! More to come!!! Thank you God for Richmond Hill! Thank you for my wonderful, loving and God-fearing hubby. Thank you for the CROSS!