You Have A Purpose – Acts 9:10-19

It’s interesting that the Lord used a man named Ananias to be the instrument of Saul’s recovery and that Ananias was to go to the house of Judas. Ananias and Judas are two names that are infamous in the New Testament. Judas was the betrayer of Jesus. Ananias was the liar of the early church (Acts 5). And certainly the name Saul doesn’t exactly conjure up images of spiritual perfection! The Lord is doing something neat here, I think: He’s redeeming names even as He continues His redemptive work in people.

God told Ananias that Paul’s ministry was to be to the Gentiles first and foremost, secondly to kings, and lastly to the people of Israel. Initially, however, Paul would keep trying to minister to the Jews and find himself frustrated in the process. So, too, sometimes the reason we get upset in serving the Lord is because we don’t understand or aren’t obedient to His plan for our individual ministry. All of us are to be used by God. Seek Him and allow Him to direct your path for your ministry within the church and beyond!

PRAYER – Lord, You alone can direct my path. Every time I seek to do things my way, I always mess things up. Help me to see all You are asking of me is obedience. Help me to completely surrender to You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Share the Good News – Acts 8:1-8

There are those who read the Gospels and the Book of Acts and say, “It’s interesting that Jesus cast out demons and that the early church was involved in deliverance ministry. But we’re beyond that today.” Are we really? Or have we allowed psychology to simply shift the attention away from demonic activity with terms like “psychosis” and “syndrome,” “dysfunction” and “disorder”? Running from Saul and his posse, the early church fled, preaching the Word as they went. So even as Paul tried in vain to stomp out the flames of faith in Jerusalem, sparks were flying and igniting fires everywhere. Philip was another one of those dynamic deacons we read about in Acts 6. Like Stephen, he is a powerful reminder that if we are faithful in the little things, God will open up more and more for us to do. We usually think of miracles in terms of sight, but miracles can be heard as well—through a word of wisdom, a word of knowledge, a word of prophecy, and the teaching of the Word. The word “gospel” means “good news.” Wherever the gospel is preached and received, great joy replaces pseudo-spiritual heaviness. The people around us do not need our opinions or our psychological analyzations but they need Christ, share the good news and share great joy!

PRAYER – Jesus, even when I am scared and discouraged, even when it feels like the devil is knocking at the door, You do not change. Help me to continually rely on You and share the Good News of You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

What Season Are You In? The Heart of A Pastor’s Wife – By Patty Byne

What “season” are you in? Mid 40’s, married, two adult children, three teenagers, one pre-teen, a Nana, a Granddaddy, a dog and a fish. Although this definitely describes the chaos I navigate through in my day to day life, it in no way describes “the season I am referring to”. What season are you in? I am referring to the season of your heart.

Proverbs 4:23 says above ALL else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. 

There are many reasons we go through  “seasons” in life; age, jobs, family, sickness, loss, etc… just to name a popular few. I’m in no way discounting the effects that life changes have on our day to day life and in turn our heart.  Please don’t hear that and miss what God has for you in this transparent witness to God’s goodness and HIS glory. I challenge you to know that in all those times of change I listed, and the ones I didn’t, that God and His word remain the same.  I am asking that as you continue reading you hear a heart tuned daily to HIM, resting in HIM, surrendered to HIM, sometimes multiple times a day because I keep letting things in that aren’t good for it. I would best describe the season of my heart over the past 6 months as broken. The loss of my Mother-In-Law threw me into some unchartered waters that I had not experienced in my 45 years of life.  Which was surprising having experienced a similar pattern that resulted in the loss of my step- father (aka Dad) less than 10 years ago.

He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. Psalm 147:3

Before I go further, let me say what a blessing my Family and church Family have been. Loving on us and interceding on our behalf. God’s people taking care of God’s people is heaven here on earth! That being said, helpful and well meaning friends and family have come along side me with the purest of intentions and said things like;”I understand”, “it’s hard”, “she’s better off”, “you’ve gotta move on” and my personal favorite “how can someone so blessed be sad?” Some with not the purest of intentions, have said; “You are being dramatic”, you knew it was coming” or “this too shall pass”.

The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. Proverbs 18:21

Each of those comments helpful or not, kept leading me to the same questions, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I move past this?” EVERY time I questioned, MY God, who is faithful, would say, “surrender”, “wait”, “rest”, “I am working on your behalf”.

“The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” Exodus 14:14

With great confidence and assurance I have done just that “wait”. This looked a little strange to many from the outside and some on the inside because if you know me, even a little, you know I don’t really “wait well” because I’m more of a “doer”.  It became necessary for me to share with a close circle that God was calling me to “wait”, “pause” and “reflect”.  Saying it out loud to people made some frustrated, but made most supportive, understanding and even intrigued to see what God is doing.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Phil 1:6

Don’t hear me to say “waiting” to mean sitting around doing nothing, watching for a BIG sign or revelation.  Do hear me say “waiting” as an active action word.  Seeking The Lord through prayer, scripture and wise counsel. Doing what HE puts in front of me each day. Putting aside things that aren’t needed that might distract me. Tuning my heart, several times throughout the day, and intentionally putting myself in a position to be still allows me to receive what He has.

“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” Psalm 46:10

Yes, this has meant saying no to some things and some people. Pulling away from some opportunities that were not where God was leading. Putting down some things that I felt God wanted someone else to pick up.  Someone said to me “you can’t just quit”. God quickly gave me the words to respond “you don’t quit God’s work until He takes you home. Therefore, if He asked me to lay it down, he has something else in store for me.  It may look like quitting, but it’s a new beginning to God!” Thank you Lord for that quick reply. People, even well meaning, can sometimes weigh us down and make us feel guilt that isn’t ours to feel. Don’t assume all counsel is wise! Surround yourself with the right counsel.  Do your due diligence through prayer and scripture. Ask God to reveal “your circle”.

There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

Today, I would describe the season of my heart to be repurposed. I don’t think after significant life events our hearts are ever the same because it is through those life events that God is preparing us for our next assignment.  The pain takes on a purpose and the test becomes our testimony.  So as I write this, my heart is repurposed and I share this with you because God has convicted me to do so. I pray that it’s an encouragement to you.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:22-23

Being A Witness – Acts 1:1-11

The steam in a locomotive does not exist to toot the whistle. Its purpose is to power the engine and move the train. So, too, the empowering of the Spirit is not given for people to feel “Holy Ghost goose bumps,” emotional highs, or warm fuzzy feelings. The Spirit lives within believers to equip them in order that the message of the gospel might be taken throughout the world. Jesus didn’t say, “You will witness.” He said, “You’ll be witnesses. Things will happen in a naturally supernatural way in and through you that will witness My reality.” You are a part of the plan, to be a witness. Billy Sunday used to say, “The Lord has anointed me to preach to the guttermost parts of the earth.” What made Billy Sunday tick? What drove D. L. Moody, R. A. Torrey, Charles Spurgeon or Charles Finney? Read their biographies, and you will see that, without exception, each of these men had an undeniable encounter with the Spirit and call on their lives. You may not be the next greater orator of the Word, but that does not negate the calling God has on your life. Be the witness He has created you to be through the power of the Spirit!

PRAYER – Jesus, in this situation I have nothing to offer of my own ingenuity or strength; I need your wisdom and power as badly as I need the air that I breathe.  As I move forward may I do so in desperate dependence on You every second.  I joyfully and unreservedly confess that I am inadequate to answer Your call, in fact, I can do absolutely nothing without You.  I’m not able to handle this situation on my own and any good that results must come solely through You.  I simply ask You right now to flow through me, Lord Jesus, and cause me to stay out of Your way. In Your name, Amen

Prayer – John 17:6-19

Prayer is not the way to get God to do our will in heaven. Prayer is the way to get man to do God’s will on earth. Once this is understood, you will find yourself praying in an entirely different manner. And that’s what Jesus is doing here. “Glorify Me,” He prays, “so that You might be glorified—even if that means that I will be pinned to the Cross of Calvary.” “That sounds sadistic,” you say. But it isn’t because on the other side of the Cross is a crown—joy unspeakable, full of great glory. We only thing we see five months or ten years down the road. But God sees the entirety of future years and eternity. You see, Jesus’ allowing the Father to be glorified through Him ultimately bought a bride for Him for all eternity.

It’s so radical when a believer finally gets the big picture and stops saying, “God do it my way.” God is not Burger King – you can’t always have it your way. We can’t give orders about how things should be done, and then complain when we don’t get the lettuce and onions we asked for. God is not Burger King—He’s the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. He sees what is going to be absolutely best in the long run.

PRAYER – I hereby surrender everything that I am, and have, and ever will be. I take my hands off of my life and release every relationship to You: every habit, every goal, my health, my wealth, and everything that means anything. I surrender it ALL to You. By faith I take my place at the Cross, believing that when the Lord Jesus was crucified, according to Your Word, I was crucified with Him; when He was buried, I was buried; when He was raised from the dead, I was raised with Him. I deny myself the right to rule and reign in my own life and I take up the Cross believing that You are in my and I in You. I thank You for saving me from my sins and myself. From this moment on I am trusting You to live Your life in me and through me, instead of me, to do what I can’t do, quit what I can’t quit, start what I can’t start, and–most of all–to be what I can’t be. I am trusting you to renew my mind and heal damaged emotions in Your time. I thank You now by faith for accepting me in the Lord Jesus, for giving me Your grace, Your freedom, Your joy, Your victory and Your righteousness as my inheritance. Even if I don’t feel anything, I know that Your Word is true; I am counting on Your Spirit to do what Your Word says– to set me free from myself, that Your resurrection life may be lived out through me, and that You may receive all the glory. I thank You and praise You for victory right now in Jesus’ name, Amen.