Thursday, April 9, 2009

How funny

When I tried signing in through the regular way, it insisted that cookies had been lost or blocked. But, when I came to my site via Bob's----it is like I am already signed in. Weird.

Yesterday, Wednesday, I bought some goodies at Whole Foods, and searched in vain for wines from Israel. I know they had some last year. I found more matza, but even after workers called the "wine person" all she could scrounge up was one bottle of the super sweet Passover wine, so I purchased that. That is like drinking straight sugar. Sweeter than grape juice! And I cooked chicken for supper with sweet potatoes and washed, fresh strawberries for dessert. Bob gets home at 6:10pm, and by the time we eat super, I barely have time to slip the dishes in the dishwasher and set it going before we bolt for Wednesday night Bible Study at church where Pastor Mark is working through Luke. Small group, but worth it. Bob and I went by Braums after church to stock up on milk, juice and coffeemate liquid for the weekend as James has a four day weekend. And we go through more gallons of milk and juice when he is home. And I like to keep orange juice at the ready in case Ben drops in.

I listened to more of the Mars Hill Church messages on spiritual gifts. I did not realize we can have not just one, but maybe two or three. And I needed reminding that the gifts point to Jesus. Beware the person who says, "I have the spiritual gift of ______ and God told me to tell you ________. Run. Look for someone with the gift of discernment. And I liked what he said about how if you have the gift of _______, you will be drawn to doing it in a quiet, humble way. Pursue Jesus, and not the gift. Use your gift or gifts in a loving, Biblical way, not to divide or call attention to yourself. Of course, Jesus had ALL the gifts, and demonstrated them perfectly: healing, healing the sick or hurt or demon oppressed, prophecy, faith, administration, encouragement, miracles, wisdom, truth, discernment, ability to read people. And all of these, Jesus did in the power of the Holy Spirit. Evangelism, Pastor---some can only be done by men, but there are so many others, like teacher, encourager, wisdom, faith, discernment, prophecy---these can be done by women if God the Holy Spirit so empowers them. His illustrations made me cry. To be able to supernaturally help strangers---and see through the evil when Christians try to hide their sexual sins, or abuse, just highlights the fact that God sees everything, and brings to light things the enemy tries to hide.

It brought to mind a time in my life when things looked so bleak. Our church we were attending with numerous family members on both sides was undergoing a vicious split. And I remember sitting alone in church crying about the brokenness and wondering what God would have me do, when this stranger, a kind lady, came over to me and just simply hugged me and said she was given a word that everything was going to work out. And it did. I still have regrets about that time, and wish I had done things differently, but God used that split to scatter us to local churches where we all serve, and teach, and some of Bob's brothers even pastor! The split motivated one brother to go to seminary.

And I remember another dry time spiritually, when I visited a friend in St. Louis, and she shared a near death experience she had had after a dangerous bladder infection where she had been hospitalized. She shared, and it was encouraging to me. I was amazed at the timing.

Miracles still happen. And they point to Jesus. And they glorify the Son of God.

Have you experienced the gift of a miracle or two?? Have you been amazed when God used someone to comfort or encourage you? Have you prayed for God to restore or help you love someone who is difficult to love, and seen God answer that prayer in a mighty way?

Next Sunday is Easter Sunday. Resurrection Sunday. Let's pray for our pastors and church workers, as this is their busiest day.

Dear Heavenly Father, We are so grateful that you sent Your Son to die for us, and Rise from the dead three days later, just as He promised. We are so glad we serve a Risen Lord. Thank You that Jesus appeared to His disciples, and the men on the road to Emanus, and to thousands before He ascended into heaven forty days later. Witnesses watched Him ascend, and angels promised that this same Jesus is coming back. And He will set all things right. Until then, please bless our pastors and their families and our church workers and volunteers with Your Supernatural energy, wisdom, faith, so that they can speak Your Words to the folks who only come once a year to humor their relatives. Please help our Pastors present the gospel. And make it clear. It is such Good News that Jesus came, and died, and rose again the third day just as He promised. Now help us live lives that honor and glorify Your Son. I pray that the spiritual gifts you have given each of us reflect Jesus, and make this Sunday and every Sunday a day to worship You. We don't know how to worship. We need You to show us how. We marvel at the story, and I pray that you make it fresh and new to the pastors so that they don't lose heart. Hedge them in and fill them up so that on Resurrection Sunday they have something to give, something they are fired up about. And make it so obviously from YOU. Please correct our attitudes, give us patience, awe, and most of all, Your Perfect Love for one another. May we not grow weary. Help us persevere until Jesus comes back. In Jesus Name. Amen.

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