Sunday, January 14, 2007
Sometimes He does what it takes to get our attention. . .
This is a long one. . .so make sure you have a cup of coffee nearby :-)
Last week our team had the opportunity to go to a retreat with the Agape team from Vilnius. We had been hoping for opportunities to get to know them better, so this proved to be a wonderful chance to do so. But what I want to tell you about in this post is my (Sharon) bus ride to the retreat. It turned out to be one of the most powerful times with the Lord that I have had here in LT.
Wednesday, Jan 3rd I woke up excited to go the retreat. But as I began getting ready for the day I became overwhelmed with feelings of anxiousness and fear. At the time all my reasons for those feelings felt quite justified. Looking back on them now I can see that they were way out of proportion and really it was Satan doing his best to distract and discourage.
So I climbed on the bus just feeling like I needed a bit of alone time and wondering where all my morning people teammates get all their energy anyway. I went and sat in a seat by myself and plugged in my ipod. And even though I wanted to just sit and stew I knew I needed to hear truth. So I began listening to a sermon on podcast by James Allison. Have you ever had one of those moments when you KNEW the Lord was trying to tell you something? I soon realized that I needed to be paying attention to this message!
Let me back up a little.
Tuesday - The day before I had read II Chronicles and was struck by the story of King Jehosephat in chapter 20. He and his little army stood before a vast and mighty army - and though he was scared, he stood there and declared the power of God and begged for God to help Israel.
Wednesday - As I began listening to the podcast I realized the Lord was trying to get my attention. James was preaching on II Chron 20 - the story of King Jehosephat. He talked about how we should respond when life seems out of control and we become overwhelmed with fear and anxiousness. Rather than tell you the whole sermon suffice it to say that I knew that my response to this message needed to be worship. (You really need to check out this podcast!! I'll give details below.) So, my act of obedience was to worship despite the feelings of anxiousness and fear that remained. I immediately began to feel his peace. A few minutes later, Matt began waving at me trying to get my attention. He pointed outside where a man was driving a horse-drawn cart. The cart looked ancient - like it came right out of Lord of the Rings. In a split second I heard the Lord reminding me of everything from Lesson One in Gracestoration (discipleship material). This whole lesson revolves around the illustration of a horse-drawn cart and the main point of the lesson is - will we give our burdens to the Lord or will we stubbornly keep holding on. I sensed the Lord asking me if I was still carrying my burden since He ws already carrying the weight of it anyhow. How ironic that the only time in my life that I've ever seen a cart like this was on this bus ride! I am so grateful that the Lord sometimes shouts instead of whispers so that we will hear Him over all the other "noise" in our lives.
I could write more to this story. . .but blogs are supposed to be short. :-) If you are needing to be encouraged with some grace-filled truth please check out this podcast by James Allison, pastor of Grace Chapel in Wilsonville, OR. The date is Dec 5, 2006 and it is entitled The Valley of Blessing. He doesn't go into details on this podcast but you should also know that over the past several years he and his family have been through a LOT, including having his little girl diagnosed with leukemia. I could tell you more about how he has been such an example of living out God's truth - but I'm not writing all this to build him up - just to point you in the direction of encouragement and truth.