It’s the season when all things start becoming new again. Don’t you just love it! The bareness of winter is about to break forth into the beauty of spring. Only God could have come up with such a great plan. Last week my friend Theresa and I saw this pillar of cloud in the sky at sunset that was simply breathtaking. How does He do that! His designs never get old.
As I looked back over the last two newsletters, somehow a miracle slipped through the cracks that I didn’t get to tell you about. Some of our ministry family in Kentucky have been going into the Northpoint Correctional Facility once a month and doing a special evening service. This is a prison in Kentucky that dad got involved with many years ago, going in every August and being part of a 3-day crusade. Patty and I were blessed to not only go with him several times but also to be able to continue going since his passing. This past January, as they were doing the monthly service, one of the ladies felt in her spirit to tell an inmate, who she noticed had an injured hand, to go dip his hand in the baptismal 7 times and the Lord would heal it. She immediately thought that was her own thought and said to herself she would never say that out loud. A short time later a male and female volunteer were at the baptismal actually doing baptisms and she got on the microphone to give a word and she said before she could stop it, the words flew out her mouth for that man to go dunk his hand in the water 7 times. He ran to the baptismal and began dunking, a countdown began, and on the 7th time, this man whose hand had been covered with blisters from a chemical burn, came up smooth and healed! She said the room of about 80 inmates erupted in shouts of praise, exclamations and requests for prayer! Erupted!!! How awesome is our God! Every time I think of it, my heart starts doing summersaults. When Patty and I were coming back from Florida a few weeks ago, we stopped at Lexington, Ky and had brunch with the two ladies who were there that night. They were so excited about going in for their February service and seeing what God would do next, that we could not help but be caught up in the excitement and wonder of the power of God. Can you imagine how that affected those men! My heart is so excited about prison ministry this year that I have a severe case of happy feet!
In the midst of what we experienced in Alabama and hearing about that miracle, we still have our every day ministries here at home. While we were gone, a 38-year-old woman that I just met in the fall when I was asked to pick her up for our Monday night Faith Based Mentoring meeting, (for people coming out of addiction, on house arrest, etc) texted me on January 30th that her mom had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. A few days after we got back from our trip her mom had deteriorated so much that the woman had not been able to go to work. So I went and sat with her mom for two days while she went to work. Four days later she texted me that she thought her mom was dying. I went to the house and sure enough, she looked just like mom in the last hours. A few hours later while I was praying over her, just like with mom, she slipped away. Yesterday we were at the funeral home making the arrangements. Last night as I was walking into my room, my legs turned to rubber and I caught myself with the bed. I was so emotionally drained, I almost passed out. It seems too soon to be ministering with someone about something so personal and painful when there hasn’t been enough time for my own healing yet. I cried with her at the house, in the van while taking her places, and again at the funeral home. Tears can be very obstinate sometimes and just come whenever they feel like it. It’s led to some sleepless nights and getting up in the wee hours to read the Word until enough comfort comes to lay back down. This morning as I got up, I thought, I’m never going to get up feeling strong again. It was a struggle.
I can’t encourage you enough to have a daily set time to read the Word and pray. Do it out of obedience. No matter what your head tells you, no matter what your heart feels like. My reading was in I Kings 20:27 “…Now the children of Israel encamped before them like two little flocks of goats, while the Syrians filled the countryside.” Vs 28 “Then a man of God came and spoke to the king of Israel and said, “Thus says the Lord: “….I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand and you shall know that I am the Lord.” This is what I love about the Old Testament, over and over God shows His faithfulness.
No matter what the situation looks like, as His children we can rest assured, the battle belongs to Him. At this point my heart started to lift a little. As I knelt down to have my prayer time, over and over I kept thinking about trees. I know I’ve shared about trees with you before but it’s not my fault, the Lord keeps showing me more about them. It dawned on me that with absolutely no help from us, all the Lord has to work with is dirt and water. Yet look at how strong they are. Look at how long they stand. Look how long the things last that are built out of them. Dirt and water. We are constantly getting into situations that are messy and immediately we just want to get through it and get cleaned back up. This family that I’ve been going through this with are all smokers. I come home, tie my clothes in a trash bag to keep my whole room from smelling like smoke and wash them as soon as possible. As I write this, my coat is tied up in a bag on the floor until the next time I go there. But as much as we don’t like dirt on us, there are nutrients in it. As much as we don’t like situations that seem to taint our spirit, there’s something in them that will spur us to grow, if we let them. Only God can filter out the nutrients that need to flow into our spirit and wash away what shouldn’t remain, but maybe that’s why He’s offered us living water. I double-dog dare anyone to pick a tree that’s between 80 and 100 years old, take a good running start and tackle it. They’re strong! Dirt and water. This amazes me!
As I kept praying and praising God for how amazing all this, my back got straighter and strength just seemed to fill my being. Joy came into my belly and started spritzing out to my limbs. It’s true! When we praise Him, He responds! As I was driving to church, looking at the trees, my spirit continued to exalt the Lord. I kept thinking “dirt and water”. Yet look at how much God has done with that! Without neither of those elements, this world as we know it, would not exist. With all the modern technology no one has ever come up with a better plan to grow trees or to produce water.
When we’re having a bad moment, when the situation seems to keep returning to overwhelming distress, we have to choose to praise. We think that because we did that before and now we’re back in the same state, what’s the point? Yet when we get hungry we never think, “I ate 4 hours ago and now I’m hungry again! Food must not be working for me!” Of course not. Yet for some reason we expect our spiritual fullness to last without returning to the well.
Last month I heard Dutch Sheets tell the story of the Chinese bamboo tree. He said the gardener plants a seed and then waters it every day for four years. During that time there is no growth. Yet the gardener tends the ground and waters the seed. During the fifth year, the seed sprouts and in six weeks it grows 90 feet. Now did the tree grow 90 feet in six weeks or in five years? In five years. It took that long for the root system to get big enough and strong enough to support a 90-foot tree. So often, we don’t see anything happening and wonder why God isn’t moving. Keep reading, keep having your daily prayer time, let your roots dig in deep and grow in strength.
After all these centuries of mankind trying to improve upon God’s design, I would like to publicly declare that yes, His plan is perfect, His ways are just and He is a glorious God who is worthy of all our praise.
With all that said, Lets go fishing!
Your sister in Jesus,