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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Drinking in the JOY during and after a Journey

Isaiah 12:3-5

New International Version (NIV)

3 With joy you will draw water
   from the wells of salvation.

 4 In that day you will say:
   “Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name;
   make known among the nations what he has done,
   and proclaim that his name is exalted.
5 Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things;
   let this be known to all the world

May I ask an obvious question? Who wants hard times? No one! Sometimes hard times are a result of others disobedience (called sin) spilling over onto our lives. Many times, hard times are a result of either our own disobedience or a push from the Lord to get us out our comfort zone

Do you ever wish that push was more of a nudge? As in a little scoot with a smile and off you would go? I think God knows a nudge would get us exactly three steps out of our comfort zone before we would turn around and run back to it! 

Let me be frank. What is glorious about pain? Where does hope fit in when a father of three looks at me and says he can't find work? What good is there for the mom who wants to stay home but must go back to work because of the finances? 

Sometimes when I pray for myself or others I can't help but realize God is waiting for me to ask as much as I am waiting for him to answer. This past Sunday Pastor Bil preached a great message. He said. "Many times God gives us our answer in bite size portions because, as Bil said, 'we can't handle the truth' (in his best Jack Nicholson Voice)" He meant that illusive big picture... that "best" for our lives could not be given to us in the state we are in now. It is the fire (aka hard times) that refines us. It is the one more time that takes us to that next level. I'm sure knowing that must make you feel better about the hard time you are in now. No? Me either. My life still needs answers, and my prayers for others are still waiting for those best answers. My human flesh is at war with the knowledge that I am a child of the Most High and that God loves me and has a plan.

What I do know is this... I have had hard times, God has never let me down, and His timing and BIG PICTURE MOMENTS are perfect and could have only come from those refining moments. 

We are in a drought. Wells are very important! A family member's home is on a well, and they ran out of well water this past week! Water is slowly trickling back to the well. Don't miss the above verse that says "with Joy you will draw from the wells of salvation." When my family member had no water, it was a harsh reality of the hard drought we are in. Later, when they turned the faucet and water came back, they rejoiced! The Israelite nation new this all to well. The above verse starts out telling us they drew from the wells of salvation. Their disobedience created hard times and as a result they walked through a long journey and realized the "YES", the water when they saw it.

I know God will answer. You will see your "Yes" and draw joy from your well and rejoice. Perhaps you are doing that now. Perhaps you need to start asking God for answers. God is there, and when it is hard to rejoice draw from The well spring of God's Word. Read the Bible and go to church. Satan has a hard time drying up your life when you are watering it with God's promises.

Jeremiah 33:3 "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." (NIV)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

God, Please Send the Rain

I sat by my window, and listened to the faint pitter patter of rain as it rolled into a thunderous symphony of water beating against the ground. The drops pounded like a tympani drum against the street and on my windows. I touched the windows and it instantly felt ten degrees cooler than it had been moments before. The darker clouds didn't seem scary, but comforting as they hovered above like a shield protecting me from the harsh sun.

The rain stopped. I opened the door to the steel gray sky. I breathed a deep breath. The world smelled like it had washed itself clean of the dirt and odor. I looked around at the wet ground soaking in every ounce it could of the sweet rain. Even though it had only been an hour, the plants and trees seemed more majestic as they stood outside bathed in dew. It seemed that the world had been reset somehow.

That rain was months ago. Yesterday, I was driving with my son Jeremy. He is four. From the back seat I heard him singing, "Rain- rain, go away come again some other day." Jeremy stopped singing and asked, "Momma, where is the rain?" I answered, "I don't know where that rain has been Jeremy, but we need to pray God brings some."

There are several places in the Bible where God stops the rain from falling. One that comes to mind is when Elijah told King Ahab that there would be no more rain until he and the people turn back to God. For three long years there was no rain! Elijah had to hide away, and by the time God told him to go back and confront the king, the king had issued an order to find and kill Elijah!

Elijah had a "showdown" at Mt Carmel! It is one of my favorite reads in the Bible. THE God verses their false god. It is quite the story! ( 1 Kings 18 ) Spoiler alert! The statue doesn't win! One very important note is that  Elijah prayed for God to send the rain. He didn't pray once, but seven times. The man with Elijah looked the seventh time out into the sea, and finally said, "I see a cloud about the size of a man's fist..." That little cloud rolled onto the land, and became a shower that ended a three year drought! It fed the earth and was yet another reminder to the Israelite people that God is in control.

July and August are always the hottest months in Texas. 100 plus days are more than common. However, no rain has made this the worst recorded drought in Texas history! PRAY! The Israelite Nation did not have three thousand plus years ago. Perhaps it was for the best, because it has not brought any added joy as I look at the extended 30 day forecast and see no end in sight to the hot, dry weather. My only comfort is that God does not follow, He creates it! In the blink of an eye, God can make the rain come and they would have to scramble to replace that hot dry picture of the sun with the precious icon of a cloud with, let's all say it together, RAIN!

I'm asking you to pray that God sends rain to the entire state of Texas, and to all who need rain. We need to ask God and believe he will answer. Many times I feel the Holy Spirit saying pray for someone or something. Today, God woke me up at 4:55 with prayers on my mind. I was so tired, but the need to pray was stronger than the need to sleep. Rain was on the list. It is a big item that needs your prayers too. As you pray today, add rain in that prayer. Our God is great and can do great things. Pray for refreshing rain!

Psalm 147:8 "He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills." (NIV)