His Garden of Grace
December Daily- December 13
I received a wonderful gift in the mail from a ministry we support called Macedonian Call Ministries. http://acts169.org/ Its founder is a dear pastor friend of ours, Murrill Boitnott. He was our pastor for most of the first nine years of our marriage. He taught us to love God, love each other, and follow hard after God. He has been a leader in our lives our entire married life. When we made the difficult decision to move to Michigan in 1990, he was there to encourage us to follow where God was leading. And, amazingly, one year later, he followed us to Life Action Ministries, where he faithfully served until God moved him to start his own ministry. We have been supporters of Macedonian Call Ministries since its inception. We have watched his family grow up, and two of his girls marry wonderful men of God.
One of his daughters, Holly, is married to Stephen Furtick, the pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC.http://elevationchurch.org/ He has written several books, which I highly recommend. The first was Sun Stand Still.http://www.sunstandstill.org/ If you are having trouble believing God is active and real, read this book. It will blow your socks off. It is a quick read, and I have a copy if you would like to borrow it. It really helped me see God more clearly and give me a vision for the future.
Now, back to the start of the story. You know, the part that I said I had received a wonderful gift. It is the latest devotional version of Stephen's latest book called: >GREATER. And on the back cover it says, "dream bigger. start smaller. Ignite God's vision for your life."
I have been discouraged of late, and this book is putting the courage back in my heart.
My discouragement comes from having a direct command from God- knowing what I am to do, but feeling totally inadequate to do it. Whats more, I feel it is a task that I do not know how to get into the hands of the people who need it, and I also sometimes feel that it won't be what it should be, and that I have to be careful to not step on toes, to not hurt feelings, and not fully express all that is in my heart because someone might be offended, or might perceive me as unloving or unkind.
If you think I am referring to the writing of the book I have been called to write, you are correct. I get so discouraged, and wonder sometimes why in the world God called me to this, and why in the world I ever said yes, and how in the world am I ever going to finish? I am completely and totally over my head in this. My mind doesn't think as well as it used to, either, so I get so disorganized in my thinking and say the same thing several times. So I have to edit a lot. Yet, I hear from other writiers this that is not uncommon. That editing is the backbone of a writer. I think it is just plain ole hard work all around.
But I KNOW this is what I am supposed to be doing. It is the only thing that makes sense. And God is using this little book to create a new fire in my heart to "git er done"!
In the book he talks about Elijah; how at the end of his life he is passing the torch to Elisha, a farmer. When Elisha receives the call from God, he immediately, without hesitation burns his farming equipment, and sacrifices his ox. Then, he asks God for a double portion. WOW! A double portion of the blessing Elijah had. But along with the double portion of blessing also comes a double portion of the sorrow.
I know something about that kind of sorrow. But I also know something about that kind of blessing. And I would ask for it again if I had the chance.
I love what Stephen said in the portion I read yesterday. It was day 6, and he was talking about God's will for our lives, and how we all want to be in God's perfect will, but often we fail to do it for various reasons.
Sometimes we miss His perfect will, because we are looking for something that looks perfect to us. But often, what is perfect FOR US will not look perfect TO US.
And this spoke volumes to me. I did not choose for my daughter- let alone daughter-S, yep, two of them- to be gay. I did not expect this to be the very thing God is using to perfect me. To draw me to Him. See, perfect doesn't mean the same thing in our economy. To us in means 'without flaw'. To God, it means 'to make useful'. Sorta puts a new spin on things, right?
I love how Stephen puts it:"God's will doesn't have to seem perfect to you to be perfect for you."
I would never imagined in my wildest imagination that I would have two gay daughters. And I don't believe it is God's will that they be gay. I still hold firm that this is sin. BUT, God is in the redemption business. He redeemed their sin in my life and I really believe that "God works ALL THINGS together for my good, so He can receive the glory He deserves. And He knew what would draw me the quickest, most direct route straight to His heart. What would make me most desperate for Him. So many things the enemy has planned for me, but He only let this one through. Don't get me wrong; God did NOT cause this. But He has transformed it into something He can use to make me into who I need to be. He has purchased it with His blood, so He can use it however He wants.
Reminds me of someone else, a long, long time ago who said, "Who knows? Maybe I was put her for such a time as this?" And yet another God-truster, who said, "what others meant for evil, God has used for good.
And He is still making the bad of life into something He can use. Something that brings Him the glory He deserves. And I want to be used, and be exactly where He wants me to be.
How about you? What is God using right now to "perfect" you? What is He using for good to conform you to the image of Christ? I would love to read about it. Sometimes it helps just knowing someone else is going through stuff, but God has been faithful to them.