***Website Update: Amethyst's Testimony has been added to the "Testimony" tab.
A few weeks ago, Andrew and I were visiting New York City. The visit was multi-faceted. Andrew was able to meet family members; we picked up a gift for someone; we picked up a car; we visited people who have supported us over the years. We thought we'd have more opportunity to developed our financial support team. Instead, God thought about the people we visited more than anything else during this trip.
We found ourselves staying up late with family members who wanted to talk. We found ourselves encouraging old friends and even making new ones. We found ourselves giving more than receiving, even though we expected the opposite. We were extending the love of Christ in exchange for nothing.
James 5:14 explains Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city and spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; where as you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say "If the Lord wills we shall live and do this or that."
When a driven individual sets their mind on a certain thing, they'll plow through everything to get there. Observe the people in an airport how they're so driven. Athletes--driven. Businessmen--driven. Speaking as a couple, drive is a character trait we both share. Drive isn't a bad thing,but when it becomes selfish, drive is counter productive to the kingdom of God. We can make plans but maturity is being able let go of them if that's what the Holy Spirit wants.
I've seen Christians add 'if it's your will' as a tag along to their prayers. Almost like a safe net phrase JUST IN CASE what they pray for does not happen: pray for a healing, 'if it's your will'; pray for a someone to be filled with the Holy Spirit, 'if it's your will'. . . It's created a bad taste in my mouth because obviously His will is to heal the sick and fill people with His Spirit. It's okay to speak with authority what's already been given according to the Word!
On the flip side, sometimes we try to use authority we should be using to heal the sick and cast out demons to speak our own plans into existence. We get arrogant about what we're going to do with OUR OWN LIVES. The truth is, that's the appropriate time to say 'if it's your will.'
We make our plans and add 'if it's his will' because tomorrow isn't guaranteed, however TODAY is the day of salvation and restoration. So pray with authority over your present situations, but above all commit tomorrow and the next day to God. Put your heart and soul into His work each day, and tomorrow will come as He pleases.
Going where others can’t or won’t go, revolutionizing missions through modern technology, and being a refuge: that’s our vision in a nutshell. God has been zeroing in on being a refuge though. The lowly are so close God and the heart of God burns for souls. As a result, Christians in their deepest times of darkness are able to reach out farther than they have ever before. I’ve seen it in my own life and even more frequently in the lives of others.
Only a few weeks ago, Andrew and I were doing street ministry. That’s when we met Godfrey and Harold. Godfrey was hanging outside the local bar, cigarette in hand, looked like he was ready to take on anyone coming his way. I remember staring at his black shadow in the night—pondering at one point if he needed to hear. It’s funny how reason can sometimes destroy opportunity. Based on his demeanor I thought- I’m not the one who can talk to him. Thankfully reason doesn’t prevail over faith. Godfrey was a broken man with a wonderful calling. He had heard the voice of God and new it well, but the cares of the world had choked out Godfrey’s faith. That day he found himself disowned by his family, jobless and homeless. We spoke the word over his life for at least two hours. Confirming for the second time that week the Lord was with him, and wanted him back. Godfrey is attending our church and we believe with him that within three months he’ll be back on his feet with a job, a home and mending a his relationship with his family.
Toward the end of our conversation with Godfrey we stumbled upon Harold. Addicted to alcohol and drugs, Harold was happy to tell us today was the first day he made a trip to get clean. We encouraged and prayed for him, believing also that Harold will get into the program he is applying for… And be free from his addictions.
Several times people who haven’t slept well in months have stayed at our apartment and claimed they’ve had the best sleep they’ve had in a LONG time. A single mom, a former drug trafficker newly saved, a rocket scientist, God has been using us to bless them. Praying and worshipping edifying each other. A week ago, seventeen young men from a youth group had a retreat and stood at our home. We fed them, accommodated them, worshipped with them, prayed over them, and blessed them in the name of Jesus. Those young men pressed in and the Holy Spirit fell heavy that Friday evening.
I recall the book of Samuel when the prophet spoke to Saul “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become head over the tribes of Israel?” The passage reminds me of a God’s thematic way of using fools to astound the wise.
Andrew and I have sobbed on each other’s shoulders repeatedly, “Are we missionaries or are we just bums?” I found myself saying once. We have been taken for a ride through a deep tunnel of vulnerability in almost every area of our lives lately. Still, we have to believe upon the word of God and not wisdom of man. My mentors once told me “Are you comfortable being so comfortable?” I’ve learned in life that when your heart, emotions and senses cause you to do or not do something the Word doesn’t confirm. Do the opposite. When your blood boils at a particular individual, bless them; when you are afraid because you don’t have enough, give; when you can’t open your mouth, start shouting from the roof tops…
I’ve revisited earlier areas of my life and walk lately for the sake of the people the Lord is bringing to us … Needing the grace to SEE where they are at, and meet them there. Subjects that are crucial to new believers- courtship, discipline, accountability. Sometimes I forget that I needed someone to disciple me; it would be an injustice to expect someone to figure it all out on their own. Besides, new believers have the ability to teach us more than we could want to learn... It just takes the act of swallowing our pride, our talk, our wisdom and just listening. . .