Archived Devotions | Pearls of Promise | Page 60

Expect a Miracle!

      I am currently reading Bruce Wilkinson’s book. You were Born for This.  In it Wilkinson, the author of The Prayer of Jabez, contends that we were born “to live a supernatural life doing God’s work by God’s power.  You were born to walk out your door each morning believing that God will use you to deliver a necessary miracle.”

     Wilkinson supports his claim with numerous stories of miraculous encounters, both in his life and others’ lives.  The stories are inspirational and support his theory that when we “purposely ask God to send us to do his work on earth, we take on a completely different role in our day.  We are now people sent from God, His delivery agents.”

     While I have not historically prayed this prayer every day, I do ask the Lord to do his work through me many mornings and generally Wilkinson’s theory proves true.  Unfortunately though, there are times when I miss the God nudge to make a phone call or to talk to someone in my path.  A little over a week ago, I clearly heard the Holy Spirit tell me to give one of my church friends a call to see how she was doing.  I had never received that message about her before and had every intention of calling her, but never did it.  A few days later, I found out from someone else at church that her family was indeed going through a hard time and did not want anyone to know so no one was allowed to call.  God was trying to tell me this prior to my receiving this information and if I had listened to the Holy Spirit, I would have innocently called to check on her.  Now I was blocked!  I think part of the prayer should also be “Lord send us to do your work here on earth and create an urgency to act when we are called.”

     God’s word says in 2 Corinthians 5:20, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”  We are God’s representatives on Earth!  In his book, Wilkinson warns us that our God assignment may not always be what we expect or the person we would like to help.  Wilkinson says “you prepare for the inevitable collision between your preferences and God’s by yielding your rights in advance.  That way He can deliver a miracle through you to anyone at any time.”

     I have a conservative friend who says she has learned not to judge anyone by their appearance anymore.  Her own son, in a rock band, now has died hair, body piercings and tattoos.  At one time, she might have looked down on someone else who looked like this but now sees the heart because she knows the heart of her son.  Recently, she says she received an opportunity to reach out to a young store clerk, complete with body piercings and tattoos, showing her the love of Christ.

     So, are we ready to be a part of a daily miracle from God?  Try praying daily for a week to be used in this way and see what happens!

Love Scare

     On Wednesday night, we had a scare that I’ve had a hard time shaking.  My husband Jeff came home from work a little under the weather but it was our tennis night with our friend Richard so he was trying to rally.  Jeff thought it was just food poisoning though and after purging, he felt a lot better and thought he could play.  I didn’t think it was wise but he said he insisted that he felt fine, so we proceeded to play.

     However, after a few games, Jeff began to feel bad again and had to sit down.  He told Richard and me to go ahead and hit without him, but as we walked onto the court, we heard this snoring sound coming from Jeff.  At first I thought he was joking, acting like he was bored with us but we immediately realized that he had passed out.  His eyes were rolled back and there were other things going on, that I will not share.  Needless to say, it was a scary scene!  We brought Jeff upright and then I hurriedly called 9-1-1.  I realized I do not react well under pressure because I was unable to tell EMS exactly where we!  Fortunately, Jeff came to within a couple of minutes and said he was fine.  He insisted that I hang up with EMS and decided this was a case of extreme dehydration.

     During those two minutes Jeff was unconscious, a flood of my love for him filled my soul.  Any disagreement or division in our marriage evaporated as it was my heart that he live through this.  I truly thought I might be losing him!  I realized how deep my love for him is and couldn’t imagine life without him.

     While Jeff rested that night, I was reading Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love and the chapter I was reading was all about God’s love for us.  He spoke about the love he feels for his daughter when she greets him after work every day.  He says it opened his eyes to how much God desires and loves us. “Through this experience, I came to understand that my desire for my children is only a faint echo of God’s great love for me and for every person He made.  I am just an earthly, sinful father, and I love my kids so much it hurts.  How could I not trust a heavenly, perfect Father who loves me infinitely more than I will ever love my kids?” 

     As I reflected on Francis Chan’s words, I realized that the outpouring of love I felt for my husband that night was also just a fraction of the love God feels for us and I began to cry.  Why is it that I cannot respond to this kind of love in the way I should?  Why is it that I don’t have that outpouring of love for God like I did for my husband that night?  He loves me despite my sinfulness and imperfections.  In Matthew 22:26-30, Jesus is asked to name the greatest commandment and he replies, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”  It is my prayer that the Lord shows us all how that looks and that we will be able to respond with an all out, heartfelt response to the love of God for us, his children.    

Is Your Light Shining?

     This week I had the privilege of speaking twice at my church on the subject of developing a personal quiet time.  While I love ministering to women through the written and spoken Word, my greatest joy comes when I see women in the audience who I have come into contact with outside the church.  This past Friday, the owner of the dry cleaners I patronize as well as my friend and decorator attended our women’s luncheon that I speak at.  Both are now getting more involved in the church.  One of them has joined our Sunday school class.  The other plans to do Bible study with us.  I thought, “If my faith walk had not been consistent when I was around them or if they had seen anything hypocritical in me over the past few years, they probably wouldn’t be here.”  I thanked God for the strength he gives me to walk faithfully and consistently in the path he sets before me.

     Consistency in our Christian walk is essential if we want to draw others to Christ.  In Matthew 5:14, God’s word says: 

“You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.” 

     While many may be resistant at first to the light that shines through us, eventually the love of Christ through us will draw them to faith in God.  Sometimes it takes years.  We must be that light in everything we do, whether it’s at our jobs, the work out facility, the grocery store or the dry cleaners.  We are Christ’s representatives here on Earth.  He uses us to draw others to his Kingdom.  It is a great an awesome responsibility that Christians need to embrace.

     Years ago, I attended a baby shower for a co-worker and I was seated next to the wife of a public figure in our city.  I ended up sharing my faith with her.  While she listened and gave me somewhat of a blank stare, a few months later she called me excitedly to tell me “I get it now Lisa!  I really get it and I wanted you to know that I’ve accepted Christ into my life.  Thanks so much for sharing.”  As far as I know, she and her husband are still growing in their faith and participating in ministry activities, all because I didn’t hide my lamp under the salad bowl!

     If sharing your faith is difficult for you to do, pray for boldness.  If walking the talk doesn’t come easy for you, pray each morning for the Lord to live and speak through you.  I like to pray for “God encounters,” asking my Father in Heaven to bring someone into my path that I can be his light to.  It is great to watch God work in this way! He is always faithful.

     Is God’s light shining through you on a daily basis?  If not, maybe it’s time to plug in your lamp to the power source, the Word of God, which gives us everything we need to brighten the light within us.

An Identity Crisis Resolved

     When I first moved to North Texas from my home town of San Antonio, I never dreamed I would have such a tough time making the transition.  At first, I was elated to have our family back together after my husband lived in Dallas four days per week for a number of years, but then reality set in.  After twelve years on local television in San Antonio followed by a very visible job as the spokeswoman for San Antonio International Airport during 9-11, I was a public figure in San Antonio.  I knew many people and would be stopped regularly by those who knew me (but I didn’t know them) in the grocery store, malls and in restaurants.  Then, I moved to Flower Mound and there was a deafening silence.

     In Flower Mound, I was no longer the public figure.  Instead, I was the mom and a seminary student.  When people asked me what I did, I told them I was a Master’s Student.  “What’s your Master’s Degree in?” they’d ask.  I’d reply, “theology” and then I wouldn’t hear from them again.  I would say this was the beginning of an identity crisis for me that lasted for a couple of years.

     What I realized was that God was reshaping my identity.  While the past careers will always be a part of my history, he was transforming me into who he wanted me to be and I believe he had to take me out of my very secure world in San Antonio to do it.

     The Holman New Testament Commentary on the book of Ephesians speaks to the confusion we often have in our identity in Christ.  “We have been born into and grown up in a fallen world, so we have learned the ways of the world.  We have become like it.  When we become a Christian, we are no longer who we once were (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Too often, however, we don’t see ourselves correctly.  We act like the thing we think we are, rather than what we really are.”  In San Antonio, I thought I was the former sportscaster doing ministry but during the silent years in Flower Mound, he reshaped me into the minister who is a former sportscaster.

After I began to get this concept, he brought me numerous friends who did not run from a friendship with me because I was in “ministry.”  He has given me the honor of leading Women’s Ministry at our church and speaking on a regular basis to the women of our congregation.  He saw me through graduate school where I graduated with a Masters of Theological Studies Degree in 2008 from Perkins School of Theology at SMU.

     This past week something interesting happened to open my eyes to my new identity.  I was at my son’s school parent orientation.  The parents were following our children’s class schedule to see what they did each day.  I was in my son’s art class.  The art teacher was explaining what she wanted to accomplish in the class when she looked at me and asked, “Weren’t you on television in San Antonio?”  “Yes, I replied.”  “Do you still do that?” she asked.  “No, I am in ministry now.”  I found that rolled off the tongue easier than it ever had before.  The next day I was at the mall shopping for a blouse when a saleswoman came up to me and asked, “Were you on television in San Antonio?”  I couldn’t believe this happened two days in a row.  She had lived in San Antonio for 14 years and used to watch our station.  I told her that I was in television but now I’m in ministry and proceeded to invite her to our church and to Bible Study.  I was the minister who was a former sportscaster in action.

     Who are we in Christ?  Many times we must allow the Lord to take us places that are out of our comfort zone to find out.  Sometimes, he will eliminate all the noise out of our lives so we can hear his voice more clearly.  The process may be painful for a while but at some point, God will allow us to look back and see his overall plan as he transforms us into his image. 

Letting Go

 

     My husband Jeff and I took our oldest son, Kyle, to college this past weekend.  Although he is a sophomore transfer student at Texas A & M, somehow this was different than when Kyle went to college as a freshman.  His first year was spent at a university only 25 minutes away and we saw him every weekend.  Now, we may only see him at major holidays and when we are able to go visit him in College Station.  I believe it is different this time and will perhaps be different forever.

     Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it.” – As I thought about the years of Kyle’s childhood, I wondered if I did train him in the ways of the Lord.  I was his third and fourth grade Sunday school teacher and led him in an evening Bible class when he was in 5th grade.  When he became a “youth” at church, I encouraged him to participate in youth activities and Bible studies and worked as a small group leader at one of the retreats he attended.  My husband and I also sponsored him on a Chrysalis retreat, the high school version of the “Walk to Emmaus” and my husband taught him how to handle his money the way the Bible teaches.  I hope that as parents, my husband and I have displayed Christian behavior through our words, actions and activities.  Did we train Kyle up in the way he should go?  I think we did, and now it’s time to let go.  Our job now is to pray for him, be there when he needs us and pay for his college education! 

     One of the things I am praying for is that our son will make some friends.  Today, I spoke with Kyle and he told me that an old high school friend from his first high school in San Antonio came into the store that he works at in College Station.  Kyle said he always liked this young man and that they will now communicate through Facebook.  Through this and many other things that have happened since Kyle was accepted at Texas A & M, I realized that Kyle is truly in God’s hands now and that God is taking care of him.

     I believe one of the most awesome responsibilities we have as Christians is to raise our children.  We are the first glimpse they have of Christ and many times, if we aren’t consistent in our own spiritual walk, our children will not embrace our faith.  It is heart-wrenching to watch a child reject Christ but it’s never too late for them to return to their faith roots.  Even if our child has already left the home, we can start today to model Christian behavior.  We can be honest with them about our past shortcomings but then share with them how the Lord has turned our lives around.  We can pray for our child’s heart to be softened and for them to have a real encounter with the risen Christ.  God’s light can reach across many miles, straight into the hearts of our children.  We may have missed the opportunity to truly “train our children in the way they should go” but there’s another verse we can claim in Joel 2:25,26 that states, “I will restore to you the years the Locusts have eaten…”  Pray for restoration in your life and your children’s lives and know that God is faithful! 

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