Sunday, January 15, 2012

Called to Bless

On my way to church today, I sent up a quick prayer remining God that I am searching for my area to serve in this year. God seems to have a pattern for my life, I serve in some capacity for a time, that door closes and I enter a time of preparation or waiting. In retrospect, I have come to realize that what I saw as a time of inactivity or waiting around, God has used it as a time of preparation and learning for the next asignment. Sometimes it is my faith that needed to grow and other times it is skills that I've needed to learn, probably most times it has been a combination of both.Then, suddenly I'll feel the compulsion to pray. In the past number of years it has been the Jabez prayer that I've turned to, and when the time is right God has opened the door to the next opportunity.

At this point, I want to inteject that I do feel that all these little jobs are leading up to a bigger one further on the horizon. I believe that at some point in my life God is going to move me into a more missions oriented calling and I believe it will be outside of Canada. At one point in my Christian walk this would have been my worst nightmare of a thought, but as time has gone on I've come to realize that God has been working on my heart with that one, to the point that I find myself yearning to step out of my current comfort zone and really be feeding the hungry or reaching out to the needy. I see opportunities with different aid organizations and long to go, but know in my heart that the time is not now for that. I believe that that day is coming closer into view and the following items need to fall into place:
  1. I need to be financially strong enough - Derek and I have spent the past week reviewing our finances. We have a plan that, God willing, can eliminate our consumer debt within the next 3 years. That will leave our mortgage. Once the consumer debt it gone, then our focus will be to pay down the mortgage as quickly as possible.
  2. I need to be free to go - depending on how we progress with item 1, in 9 years I will be eligible for full pension with no major penalties in 15 years both Derek & I should be eligible for our pensions. My thinking is that most likely once my pension kicks in, we would be called to do short term missional assignments.
  3. My health needs to be better - God has been calling me for some time now to work on both my health and our finances.
Okay, so much for long term, let's get back to today....

So I say my prayer as I head off to church, not really thinking much about it, my mind is quickly off in other directions. When I get to church I see that we have a guest speaker and I remember vaguely that there was some sort of a conference this weekend. It strikes me that it had peaked my interest somewhat and wonder briefly if I should have gone, but again this is a fleeting thought. We have a great time of worship and then the guest speaker gets up to give the message. He's talking about praying for your street. Apparently he visited our church in October, but it must have been a Sunday that I missed because I don't remember him. But my interest is caught because I have always felt that we let God lead us to our current home and that we had a mission to fulfill on this street. That said, I'm really not confortable with preaching to my nieghbours, but I'm interested in what he has to say. He talks about how years ago God gave him an illustrationl He saw a bathtub being filled with water and God asked him what happened to the air that was in the bathtub. He says he'd never thought of that before, as the water enters the air is dispersed. They'd been called to minister to a very resistant neighbourhood, where Satan had a strong hold over the people. God showed him that the water was his peace, or spirit and the air was Satan. From that they developed a prayer misistry based on the book of Luke.

Luke 10 1-9 (NIV)
1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two[a] others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.
8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’

He laid out a 4 step program:
  1. When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house'
  2. Felowship with them - Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you -
  3. Listen to them and you will learn where their pain is, then you can pray for their pain so they may be healed
  4. Tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ - this is your answer when asked
The principles are as follows: the peace of God surpasses all understanding. We are sent out as lambs among the sheep but when we offer the blessing of God's peace the wolves are sent into confusion. Instead of devouring the lamb, they invite us in. Once we are an invited guest, if we fellowship and listen, we will learn their needs and can pray for them. Through this, God's peace will fill our streets, neighbourhoods, communities, cities, states/provinces and countries. He showed an illustration of how one domino can knock over another domino 1.5 times it size. God uses this principle. We are the 'others' that the bible refers to as the 72 'others' Jesus sent out. They weren't the disciples, they were the 'others'.

This resonated with me on many levels. Lately I have felt God urging me thst I need to be going into my son's room and praying for him when he is out. His room is dragging him down. It is always messy so you can't see the floor in there. He has one of the smallest rooms, but he is completely disorganized. He has temper issues that are exasperated by the state of his room - things constantly getting lost or broken due to the mess. The walls are a dark red which I regret now. When we moved to the new house we let the kids choose the color for their rooms, black was not allowed so Robert chose a dark red and Jess chose a barbie hot pink. It was a nice thought but I regret it. I feel in my heart that Satan is using his room to drag him down and I need to be praying in there. Shame on me because I've known this for several weeks at least and have not acted. I will do so this week.

Also, at New Year's God showed me a lesson on blessing. it was a devotional based on Abraham's blessing for his sons Jacob aned Ishmael. I don't claim to understand blessings in the bible, but God has impressed on me lately that if I understand it or not, they are valid and have immense power. I was led to bless both my children. I sent them each an email telling them what I loved about them, what I admired about them, what I wished for them in the coming year and ended by empasizing how much I loved them. Each came back to me immediately to say how much they appreciated my email. I have vowed to make it a new years tradition going forward. Our children need our blessing. My parents were not Christian growing up and God has called me to break that old cycle and start a new one for a new generation to take forward.

As the speaker ended his sermon, he invited anyone who felt they were being called to lift up their hands as he prayed a blessing over us. Now Derek and I are not ones to lift our hand or be that demonstative in church, for our own individual reasons. After a message like that though, there was no way I was turning down a blessing. Interesting enough, we both lifted our hands at the same time., I asked him on the way home what he thought of the message, and he talked about how he had heard about the work one woman was doing. (She gave her testimony about how her young sons went into a new school and were praying God's blessing on their classrom and their school and the consequences it had.) When we got home, as we got to the front door, Derek stopped, took my hand and prayed God's peace for our home as we entered. Thank you Lord.

And now he has called me to take his blessing to my neighbours, my workplace, my community. I have been challenged that everytime I walk through a door, any door, to bless that space with God's peace. If invited in, I am called to eat, drink and listen. As God shows me needs, I am to pray for them. And when asked for an answer, I am to tell them that 'The Kingdom of God has come near to you.' This is what God has called me to do.

My paradigm has shifted, I need to watch for doors and be responsive. God will do the rest. I invite you to come back as I report what God does over the coming year as I walk upon this new path that he has set before me.

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