Sunday, April 18, 2010

Blessed Beyond Belief

When God calls us, He equips us. It is not of our own doing, so that we do not swell with pride. It is for His glory and our growth. If we are ready to surrender to Him, He can do amazing things with ordinary people. God walks lovingly ahead of us as He calls us to each next step in His great plan.

Sometimes these priorities seem far from what we would choose for ourselves, so it becomes clear that it is God's hand at work. Public speaker, me??? Yet, when His Spirit tapped me last year, I felt an unmistakable energy to do what He was asking me to do. (And I know I would do it again in an instant!)

Saturday, I had the privilege and pleasure of sharing my passion for journaling at the Women's Breakaway with two classrooms of thoughtful listeners. I was one woman being vulnerable -- because God asked me to -- and I have already been blessed beyond belief for sharing my gifts.

In 2 Timothy 1, we learn that gifts are not given fully developed, but that they need to be "fanned into flame." If we use what He's given us, He'll give us more. God wants us to generously and lavishly use our gifts in the service of others. For He did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (2 Tim. 1:6-7 NIV)
  • The Greek word for power is "dunamis," from which we get the word "dynamite." It's the dynamite of the Holy Spirit. Look up the word and you'll find "abundance, mighty, wonderful work, miraculous." He personally empowers us to do His work!
  • Love is stressed all throughout Paul's letters to Timothy as the goal -- the real reason -- for any and all of the work they are doing.
  • And self-discipline (otherwise referred to as self control or having a "sound mind") is to be committed to making it happen.
When God has given us this kind of spirit, why do we listen to any other voice that tries to tell us we can't -- for whatever reason?!

What gifts do you have that need to be shared? What do you feel God is nudging you to do?

Don't be timid. Be encouraged! Take a step in faith and share your gifts. Fan them into flame. I know you will be blessed beyond belief.

Heavenly Father, I am amazed that you would use my gifts. I am so blessed to have the full backing of Your Holy Spirit in the path You have called me to. I am Yours. Show me the way.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

We Don't Mourn those who have no hope. (1 Thes. 4:13)

This was a key line in an incredible book I've just read. It cracked open the door of my soul a bit wider than ever before, and stretched me in a new way.

In 2002, I was fascinated by a story on a radio program as I drove a short distance to a meeting. It was the voice of a missionary sharing her extraordinary experiences in a prison camp. Though her Bible had been taken away, she recalled scripture learned as a young girl and sang hymns to keep her sanity. In her heart she knew God was saying, "My grace is sufficient." Her faith was incredibly strong under horrible circumstances. God answered her prayers with such abundance.

The fragment of her story that I heard has truly inspired me these past eight years. To my delight, a few weeks ago I was finally able to identify the author and the book: Darlene Deibler Rose and Evidence Not Seen.

The rest of her story was equally gripping and I devoured it in less than a week. The book chronicles about eight years, from a young married woman excited about starting their mission work (the first white woman to enter the interior of New Guinea), to a young widow returning to the states in borrowed clothes, weathered by the experiences of the last four years in captivity in a WWII Japanese prison camp. Death was all around her, yet she didn't lose hope. She lost basically everything, yet she gained so much more. Her faith and courage shone more brightly than ever before -- a model and an inspiration for so many. What grace and love she showered into the lives around her.

I wept as I eagerly turned the pages. I thanked God for this dear young woman and all she endured. If she never would have written this book, her miraculous story would have died with her. For me, it is a glimpse of truly abiding in the goodness and grace of our Lord through any circumstance. No one would ever wish for that suffering, yet what a sweet walk with her Savior she found!

"Would you go anywhere with me, no matter what the cost?" was the call on her life she had answered as a young girl.

"I have no regrets," Darlene said. "It was a way to know God in a deeper way. He was always there."

See the Darlene Deibler Rose Web site (watch the short video), or see the 77-minute video on You Tube, recorded in her later years.

Loving Father, let us remember that You walk with us through every trial, giving us the strength we need, if we keep our eyes on You. We don't mourn or suffer like those who have no hope. You are our Hope in every situation.