Adoption was “Dead.”

The “word” I received in the stadium that day said that God had brought me through two years of difficult times so that the comfort He showed me, I would then be able to bring to others. In hind sight I see that the “word” was given to me half way through those two years. The year before had been one of praying and believing for a desire that had become an obsession, but with no evidence of an answer. The year ahead proved to be one of the most confusing years I have ever lived through.

Soon after receiving the “word” I became more and more drawn to a little girl who was in foster care living with a family from our church. I became aware that she was hoping to be adopted. I began to connect the dots. Mark and I were praying about adopting a little girl, she was hoping to be adopted into a family…

It seemed so clear…

Mark and I continued to pray…

Then we stepped out in faith…

We attended foster care classes so that our home would be available to her.

We had some construction done in our home to make a bedroom for her.

We believed this was the answer to our prayers.

June, 2002, my heart was overwhelmed with joy as this little girl came into our home!

My desire for adoption was finally becoming a reality!

With intense desire comes great expectations.

But, what do you do when the images and expectations you had while praying and anticipating are very different from the reality that you are facing?

I found that my desire came from a heart that was about fulfilling and satisfying me.

Adoption had become all about “my little girl.”

But, that’s not how God intends us to treat the desires He puts within us.

I needed heart surgery! 

After seven months in our home it became evident that it wasn’t a good fit. She was very attached to her foster family and was returned to them.

I knew it wasn’t a fit. I knew she wasn’t happy, and I knew it was difficult for us as well.

“But, Oh God! Why?” 

My heart was devastated!!

“God, it seemed so clear. Everything seemed to fall into place. I saw You work in so many ways to make this happen. Why would all these these come together just to fall apart? Why set me up for such a great let down, my heart can’t take it!”

It shook my faith.

It caused me to question my ability to hear from God. 

But it was at this place, this place of brokenness, that God was able to do heart surgery.

This place of hurt and disappointment tested my faith.

Peter’s faith was tested…

Peter was filled with passion and desire to follow Jesus wherever He went; he said was even willing to die with Him. Desire and passion come from a heart of faith, but often our hearts need to be refined to rid them of self. Jesus gave Peter, and us, an explanation of what it looks like to have our faith tested…

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” 

Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.”

But Jesus said, “Peter, let me tell you something. Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” Luke 22:31-34

What the enemy meant for Peter’s harm, Jesus intended for his good. Jesus prayed for Peter, that his faith wouldn’t fail. Jesus encouraged Peter to repent of his sin and to turn back to Him, and then to encourage his brothers.

What Jesus said came true. Peter was humbled and broken when he looked into Jesus’ eyes as the rooster crowed. Peter had indeed denied Jesus three times that night.

But, Jesus had prayed for Peter…that his faith would not fail. Even though Peter was disappointed in himself, and realized how weak he really was, it was a defining night for Peter. A night he would never forget!

While it is true that God gives the desires of the heart; what I have found is that desire can become all about me. I can allow the desire to become something that I look to to satisfy me. I can become so obsessed that I begin to connect the wrong dots, assume things, and run ahead of God. While God is sovereign and I believe He works all things together for my good, there were things God wanted me to learn from this heartbreaking experience.

I needed heart surgery to remove the “me” out of His desire for the little girl He wanted to bring into our family. 

It wasn’t about “my little girl.”

It was about “God’s little girl” that He wanted to bring into our family.

There is a big difference between the two and God wanted me to learn this lesson.

It began when I nailed my desire to the cross.

Yes, I literally nailed adoption to the cross. I drew a cross in my journal and wrote the word, “ADOPTION” across it. I drew a big spike that nailed it to the cross and wrote a prayer that basically said,

“Lord, I have nailed my desire to adopt to the cross. I am tired of my obsession that keeps me striving for a little girl. I am sorry for connecting the wrong dots, and for assuming Your will. I am confused, hurt, and disappointed by the death of my dream. I realize that if this desire is of You it won’t come by my obsession or my striving, and so I lay it down and refuse to take it up again. The only way it will rise again is if You bring it back to life.”

That is where I left my desire of adoption, nailed to the cross.

That is where I left my heart, no longer obsessing, striving, or expecting.

Adoption was dead!

Why Pray?

Why do you pray?

Really, why do you pray? Sometimes its good to consider why you do something that may have become a ritual, a habit, something that has lost its true intention.

When I finished reading the “word” that day in the stadium I folded it up and tucked it in my Bible. Even as I tucked it there between the pages of my Bible I heard the Lord say, “Take note where you put that paper.” Later, back at the hotel I looked to see where I had tucked the paper. I found it  in Daniel 10.

“Just then a hand touched me and lifted me, still trembling, to my hands and knees.” Daniel 10:10

This verse jumped out at me because of the hand that was placed on my shoulder as I was weeping…the hand that belonged to the woman who received a “word” from God, wrote it down, and got up out of her seat to find the person God intended it for…

But then I read on…

“And the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up, still trembling. Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia. Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come.” Daniel 10:11-14

Daniel was a man of prayer.

Daniel’s prayer life was what set him apart.

The book of Daniel is filled with reasons to pray…

God gave wisdom to Daniel that gained him high position, setting him apart from those around him.

God enabled Daniel to interpret dreams, revealing things that Daniel didn’t know.

God provided supernatural protection from the lions for Daniel’s courage to fear Him alone.

Daniel knew prayer was important.

Daniel knew there was power in prayer.

Daniel knew and feared the One to whom he prayed.

In chapter 10, Daniel once again prayed, but this time he heard nothing from God for three weeks. As he was mourning an angel came to speak to him. Daniel was overwhelmed by the angel’s presence and the vision that came upon him caused him to fall, his face to the ground.

The angel said, from the first day Daniel prayed for understanding and humbled himself, his request was heard in heaven.

When we pray our request is heard in heaven.

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

“The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers.” 1 Peter 3:12

The words we pray may seem to fall to the ground or get stuck in the ceiling, but there is power in our words and those spoken in prayer to God, the Almighty, Sovereign, Ruler of the universe don’t go unnoticed. God promises in His word that He hears our prayers. He invites us to talk to Him; to praise Him, thank Him, petition Him.

The day we say our prayer God sends His answer.

“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3

“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13

God created us for His glory. When we live in relationship with Him, we have purposes to fulfill here on earth. As Daniel had purpose in his day to serve the king and to tell of the dreams and visions that were for then and for the future, God wants us to pray as Daniel did so that we will hear things from Him that we do not know, so that we have wisdom and understanding beyond our own, so that we will fulfill His purposes here on earth in our generation.

Prayer impacts the spirit realm we cannot see.

“Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.”  2 Kings 6:17

Sometimes I wish I had eyes to see in the spirit realm. What happens when I pray? What is going on between the angels of God and the demons of Satan? These verses give me a glimpse of angels fighting for God’s will to be done in answer to my prayer. I’m reminded that God’s will will be done on earth as it is in heaven even though I may not see the big picture. They remind me that there are many more angels fighting for me than against me.

When I received this “word” Mark and I had prayed together for two years concerning adoption. It seemed as though God hadn’t heard our prayer or perhaps His answer was, “No.” But these words to Daniel encouraged me because God said that the very first day Daniel began to pray, He heard his prayer. I remembered the very first day Mark and I prayed together about adoption, there in the basement while we were getting food from the refrigerator for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Prayer impacts the spirit realm.

What if Daniel hadn’t prayed for revelation?

What if Mark and I hadn’t prayed about adoption?

Battles rage between what is meant for harm, and what is intended for good. 

How do our prayers affect these battles?

Do we really understand the power of prayer…the power of our words?

What we believe about prayer will be evidenced by our prayer life.

It will be seen in the time we spend in prayer, by the words we speak in prayer, and by our response to the ways God answers our prayers.

How often do you pray?

What kind of prayers do you pray?

How do you respond to God’s answers?

Because prayer is so powerful and impacts the spirit realm so that God’s will is done here on earth as it is in heaven, it is one thing the enemy works so hard to keep us from.

Consider how many books are written about prayer.

I don’t mean to make light of prayer, but it seems as though anything that receives so much teaching and instruction has become something that people struggle with, something they want some answers to. Yet, look at Daniel…“He got down on his knees and he prayed.” 

Perhaps the ultimate battle is the one that keeps us from getting down on our knees!

 

At the time I received this “word” from God I was greatly encouraged. I was overwhelmed by His love and amazed by the way He “spoke” to me. Though I didn’t fully understand what it meant, I treasured His “word” and I knew He had heard our prayers. It was meant for a time yet to come, but I am so thankful that we prayed together and for the amazing ways God revealed His will for us as we continued the journey of adoption!

 

 

Live the “Life”

The three desires I answered my sister’s question with, I would like to homeschool the boys, adopt a little girl, and be in ministry, each became a reality in God’s way, in His timing, and accomplished what He intended. I didn’t leave that conversation with Sheryl and write up a plan of how these would become reality. I didn’t come up with an agenda as to how to make these work out in my life. I wrote them down, prayed a prayer, tucked them away in my Bible, and lived life.

“Life” did lead us to homeschool.

“Life” was leading us to youth ministry.

But there was one more desire I spoke out that day…

We were several years into homeschooling and several months after our hearts were broken for teens, when God began to remind me of the third desire…”adopt a little girl.”

I remember it like it was yesterday…it began when I was sitting beside a bon fire Thanksgiving Eve, 1999. Families of our church were gathered together giving thanks to God for His goodness and faithfulness. One family was thanking Him for the precious gift of their new born daughter that year. Listening to their joy and gratitude to God for His gift to them my heart began to yearn for a little girl of my own. The following day as I was preparing the Thanksgiving meal I found myself overwhelmed with that desire. Mark could see I was very preoccupied and asked what was going on. Other than telling him about my answer five years before, we had never talked about adoption, and except for my initial prayer to God, I had never prayed about adoption. But that night at the fire, God fanned a flame of desire within me that began to burn. So, when Mark asked me what was wrong, I knew I needed to tell him what was happening in my heart. Thankfully, he listened and gave a wise, husbandly answer…”Let’s pray together about it.”

And so we prayed for God’s direction into very unknown territory. I knew of only one other friend who had adopted children and they were from Korea. Was Asian adoption what we were to pursue? We attended a local meeting about foreign adoption, but were overwhelmed with the rules, regulations, and the expense. Even so, it was the only type of adoption I really knew about so I was very aware of all the families I saw with adopted Asian children. I began dreaming of my own little “China Doll.” Over time the desire within me was becoming stronger and stronger.

Desire can become consuming.

Desire can become an obsession. 

It came to where I would just see a family with children who were adopted and emotion would rise up within me.

I would just here the word “adoption,” and emotion would take over my thoughts.

“God, where is my little girl?”

“Why aren’t You answering my prayer?”

I was jealous of those who adopted.

I was angry that God wasn’t making a way for us to adopt.

Time kept going with no possibilities for adoption.

Why wasn’t “Life” leading to fulfill this desire?

But I have learned…

“Life” refines desire.

“Life” takes the “me” out of desire.

We all have our own “Life” journeys. We all have lessons God wants to teach us. We all need personal heart surgery done through the mistakes and trials we go through.

Our home was full and busy with homeschooling our three sons, and our nephew who spent several years with us. I was enjoying getting to know some of the girls from youth group and appreciated the opportunities to speak into their lives. Yet, there was this desire that I couldn’t let go of. It was a fire in my soul that was burning intensely! I was very fragile whenever the topic of adoption came up. I didn’t like the ways I responded, but I didn’t know how to change, and really, I didn’t want to change because I really wanted a little girl!

In October of 2001, some friends and I attended a Joyce Meyer conference. This was almost two years from the Thanksgiving that Mark and I began to pray about adoption. As my friends and I were finding our seats I noticed another woman also looking for seats near ours. She decided there weren’t enough for her group so she moved on. As we began the day worshipping through song the lyrics of a song touched on that desire that made me Oh so fragile! There I was having an emotional meltdown! I was literally crying, but thankfully the worship at the stadium was so loud I’m sure only my closest friends were aware. While I was undone with emotion I felt a hand touch my shoulder. I turned and there was the woman who was about to sit near us. She said she had a word from God for me and that she walked across the stadium to give it to me. She proceeded to tell me the “word.” As she spoke it into my ear I became even more undone! My mind couldn’t contain all that was happening…

I had all these thoughts crowding into my mind at once!

“God, this woman heard this from You and got up and came all the way over to tell me!”

“You care that much for me to do this?!”

“Wait, what is she saying? I am too overwhelmed by Your love right now I can’t even hear what she is saying.”

As she finished the “Word from God,” she gave me a hug and handed me a written copy. I was speechless, but I did thank her and shakily took the paper. As I sat down and read those words a peace came over me; I was in awe  of God, and yet, it left me with many questions.

Here is what “Life” brought to me that day…a “word from God” from a complete stranger…

“10/27/01        Joyce Meyer

2 Corinthians 1:3-7

God is saying I have taken you through these trials in the past 2 years so that I can use you to minister to others through the things that I taught you through these very trying times. I am returning my joy to you because of your faithfulness to me.

Amen”

This word amazed me! It let me know God saw me and He understood what I was going through. It validated my desire. It gave me hope when I had no hope. Even though it meant a lot to me then, I had no idea of how much I would need to hold on to this promise in the journey ahead.

I’m reminded that we are created by God to carry out His will here on earth. I may think that my life just happens, or that it doesn’t really have much consequence in the big scheme of things…but when I consider that my seemingly random answer to a question one day put into motion so much of what became reality in my life I see the truth found in these verses…

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10

As a child of God there is nothing random about you, or about your life! The very fact that you belong to Him sets you apart for His purposes, for His glory! You are here by His design, to live in the identity He has created you to be, and to live out the destiny He has designed for you!

I’m here to tell you that God knows what you are going through. He knows the deep, burning desires of your heart that have left you emotionally fragile…jealous of others, even angry at Him.

I’m here to tell you that God sees you and loves you wherever you are, even if you are crying in a random seat in a stadium filled with people.

I’m here to tell you that I have been there. I’ve gone through those fiery trials, those trying times, and have found that God is able to bring comfort and peace in the midst of them.

I’m here to tell you that as Jesus endured the cross for the Joy set before Him, God has Joy for you as well on the other side! He promises to return your Joy when you choose to trust Him and delight yourself in Him and to live the “Life” that He has designed for you.

 

 

Power of Opposition

God sent Moses on a journey to set the Israelites free from their bondage in Egypt. From the very beginning he was faced with opposition; difficulties and impossibilities overwhelmed him, but it didn’t mean he wasn’t doing God’s will.

Moses was able to convince the Israelite leaders, but when he went to Pharaoh and asked him to let the Israelites go into the wilderness to worship their God this was his response…

“And who is the Lord? Why should I listen to him and let Israel go? I don’t know the Lord, and I will not let Israel go.” Exodus 5:2

Not only would he not let them go, he made their work even harder.

“Then Moses went back to the Lord and protested, “Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!” Exodus 22-23

How often do I determine what God’s will is based on how things appear to me?

“God, if I’m doing Your will why is it so hard?”

God reminded Moses who He was, Yahweh-‘the Lord,’ El-shaddai-‘God Almighty.’ And He reminded Moses of the covenant He made, to give the land of Canaan to the Israelites.

“So Moses told the people of Israel what the Lord had said, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go back to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and tell him to let the people of Israel leave his country.” “But Lord!” Moses objected. “My own people won’t listen to me anymore. How can I expect Pharaoh to listen? I’m such a clumsy speaker!” Exodus 6:9-12

I often see opposition as bad.

It gives me reason to fear. It gives me excuses to stop.  

It discourages me from doing what I’m called to do.

But the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron and gave them orders for the Israelites and for Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. The Lord commanded Moses and Aaron to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt.” Exodus 6:13

But the call of God for Moses was clear.

Could there be purpose in opposition?

Could it be that what the enemy means for harm, to bring fear that causes the plan of God to be thwarted, is actually intended for good?

Moses and Aaron pushed through the rejection of their own people, and through the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart and continued to listen to the voice of God.

God sent them to Pharaoh, over and over, only to be rejected.

With each plague, as yet another of the Egyptian gods was over powered by the One true God, Pharaoh’s heart became hardened even more.

But with each plague, with each miraculous evidence of God, with the protection over the Israelites from the fifth plague on…what was happening to Moses’ heart?

How was this opposition; the rejection, and the hardening of the enemy’s heart affecting Moses?

I believe it was strengthening Moses’ heart.

I believe it was showing Moses just how powerful God is over the enemy. It was showing him how loving God is towards His people.

I believe it was training Moses how to listen to God’s voice and teaching him to obey no matter what the circumstances looked like from his perspective.

God continued to instruct Moses and filled his mouth with words to speak.

Moses obeyed and never gave up. 

I had reasons I couldn’t minister to teens…

I had excuses as to why I wanted to quit…

But I have learned that each of those reasons, each of my excuses, strengthened me and showed me God’s power. I learned to take these difficulties to God. I complained to Him when I couldn’t sing. I told Him I couldn’t relate to teens, that I would rather go to Africa! And I certainly begged Him to keep me from speaking in front of people! But, when I complained to Him about these things He didn’t remove them, instead He began to give me a different perspective, He changed my prayers.

God showed me that behind my inability to sing, my frustration of not knowing how to relate to teens, and my incredibly shaky voice, was fear. I’ve written much about the fears I have had and how God has set me free. Youth ministry was one of those places I saw how fear hindered me. Like Moses, I needed to “Do it afraid.”

Facing our fears takes away the insecurities of self and replaces them with confidence in God.

I did it afraid, and I kept showing up.

I didn’t allow fear to keep me from singing. I asked God to give me a better singing voice and over time, as my fear eased, my singing sounds better. I’m still somewhat off key, but there is a confidence within me that has freed me and I enjoy singing.

Just showing up has given me the opportunity to realize what teens need most is…

Someone who shows up!

I’ve learned I don’t need to have all the answers. I don’t need to have been where they are. I don’t need to have experienced what they experienced. I just need to care, to listen, and point them to Jesus.

And, the shaking voice thing…

Well, that was certainly embarrassing, but I suppose it was the most important thing that caused me to realize the power of opposition…

I had a choice of how I would handle the opposition I faced.

I am so glad God gave me the strength to push through and find the good He intended!

If I didn’t have the experience of knowing what it was like to, “Do it afraid,” to be so insecure and full of fear, to know how my fear kept me thinking about myself instead of what God put on my heart to say, and realized that I was more concerned with what others thought of me than what God wanted to say to them through me, I wouldn’t have seen the kindness and love of God as He changed me from the inside out. I wouldn’t have cried out to Him for understanding. I wouldn’t have asked Him for forgiveness of the lies I believed that led to my fear and pride.

Opposition has great power…

It can discourage to the point of quitting the call of God…

or

It can empower to fulfill the call of God.

God had a call on our lives, a call to set God’s people free through ministry to youth. It began as words spoken into the atmosphere as an answer to a question, it broke our hearts for the issues facing teens today, it grew stronger through the opposition of fear and insecurity, and it has become an incredible blessing as we see how God has worked through us for His glory and for His praise!

 

 

 

Take off Your Shoes

Our boys were just about the age to attend youth group when the youth pastor of our church was called away to another ministry opportunity. It was spring of 1998, and Mark and I were thinking of taking our boys to Creation Fest, a huge Christian music festival, near Harrisburg, PA. (Yes, this is the story I began to tell back in the May, 17 post – “Without a Battle, there is no Victory” If you haven’t read it, or need a reminder, take the time to read of my first experience in ministry.)

That first year at Creation Fest I faced many fears, experienced many stretching situations, and enjoyed great speakers and amazing worship as 80,000 voices joined together in praise of our awesome God!

The following year Mark and I were no longer in the situation with the group of teens we brought before, so instead, several families decided to go to Creation Fest. It was the summer following the shooting at Columbine. On a hill near our camp site were thirteen white crosses. It was a solemn  reminder of the battle between good and evil that rages for our teens.

One afternoon Mark and I went to listen to a speaker on the fringe stage. I don’t remember her name, but as she shared some statistics and the ways God had broken her heart for teens, Mark and I found tears running down our cheeks. It was on that hill, in the hot summer sun, that God began to give us “singleness of heart and action” as He began to awaken us to the desire I spoke out several years before.

We left Creation Fest that year convinced that if we ever went back we would take a group of teens. If we were to go to all that work, we wanted to give teens the chance to enjoy the great Christian music and to hear the life changing messages from the speakers.

That fall Mark was driving our boys to youth group and because of the distance it made sense to just stay. He found himself helping out, and before you know it we were asked to come alongside the youth leaders. By spring the couple that was leading passed the baton to Mark and I and another couple to co-lead the youth group.

Youth Ministry?

It was such unknown territory for me.

It brought out so many insecurities.

The desires God puts within us take us beyond our own abilities.

While homeschooling was like walking on water…

Youth Ministry was like Moses before the burning bush.

Some people don’t want to let God send them for fear they will be sent to Africa.

Well, I said, “Send me to Africa, just don’t send me to teens!”

Moses found himself standing in front of a bush that was on fire, but not burning up. God called to him from the burning bush and told him to take off his sandals, for the ground he was standing on was holy ground.

I don’t know why Moses was told to take off his shoes, but to me it represents taking off my own plans and laying aside my agenda in order to come into God’s presence and hear His voice, listen to His call, and to embrace His will for my life; willing to walk where He leads.

 

“Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt… Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey.” Exodus 3:7-8

Moses listened as God told him that He had seen the oppression and had heard the cries of his people. God told Moses that He had come down to rescue them from their suffering and would lead them to a good land!

In some ways my desire to be in ministry had this element to it. Something about the word ministry lead me to believe God would do the work…He would rescue the teens from their bondage and He would lead them into the truth.

“Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.” Exodus 3:10

But there, standing barefoot, on holy ground, with God asking me to go and speak to teens, to sing with teens, to care for teens, I responded just as Moses.

“But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:11

“Wait a minute, God, You said You were going to set Your people free… how am I to set teens free? My teenage years were so different than the teens of today. Besides, I grew up Mennonite, remember, I have nothing in common with the teens here in this church! Who am I to do this?”

“But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” Exodus 4:10

“God, You see me in that small room filled with teens, and how badly I want to be a good example of how people who love You sing and praise You. But, God, there is one problem…I can’t sing! I really can’t, I’m always off key, I sound awful!”

“And, Lord, You know how much I want to encourage the teens, but I have no idea of what to say to them, how to connect with them, we have nothing common.”

“And if those aren’t embarrassing enough, You heard me the other night when I stood up in front of them and gave the talk. I know You heard me, my voice totally shook and quivered. I sounded as if I was about to cry…and that’s exactly what I wanted to do!”

Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” But Moses again pleaded, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.” Exodus 4:11-13

I can totally relate to Moses!

What I find interesting about this conversation between God and Moses is that…

When Moses speaks his focus is on himself and on his inabilities.

When God speaks His focus is on Himself and His abilities.

God doesn’t get caught up in discussing whether or not Moses is capable or not, based on his abilities. God keeps reminding Moses that He will be with him, that He will tell him what to say, and He gave Moses supernatural power to prove He sent him.

The call of Moses, and the call Mark and I received really are no different.

It’s a call to, “To set God’s people free!”

The Israelites were in bondage from their enemies, the Egyptians. Pharaoh was afraid they would become strong and overthrow his reign, so he subjected them to hard labor and abused them; stealing, killing, and destroying them.

Today, Satan, also hates those who God has created in His image and will do all he can to steal, kill, and destroy them. He recognizes that those who belong to God have great power to overthrow his strategies. The same evil that hardened Pharaoh’s heart is alive and well today as he lies, deceives, and blinds many.

But, as God saw the oppression and bondage of the Israelites, He sees the oppression and bondage of those He created today. His heart is still the same; He comes to rescue, to save, and to bring them into a good land.

And He does it through those who He calls into His presence, who take off their shoes, who listen to God’s voice, and who go where He calls them.