Today was one of those days when I wouldn't have been surprised if a spotlight from Heaven suddenly had focused right on me, since it felt like perhaps the sermon was written for me alone! Actually, it felt to me as if the Spirit was moving pretty heavily among everyone, so I wonder how many other people sensed God speaking to them directly today?
Some themes from today (I couldn't take notes because I was trying to rock Tori to sleep much of the time, so these are the few and brief thoughts I can pull from my weak memory):
- Whatever happens...
We are called to stand firm without being frightened
We must choose joy
God loves us
God forgives us
God invites us to Himself
- Many of us deeply and sincerely long to know Jesus more, but we're limited because we are unwilling to suffer (I'm not sure he said that exactly, but that's where my thoughts took that point....)
- Fear of what might happen often creates a self-pitying, false sense of "suffering" in our lives
- Sharing in Jesus' suffering is a blessing because there's a fellowship with Him that comes only by suffering alongside Him
- We need great courage to join in Jesus' suffering
- God is with us in our suffering because, through Jesus, He knows every type of suffering we could experience
I went for prayer to ask for courage. I don't want to live hindered by fear, and I know that I often do. One of the prayer ministers shared the picture of taking many pieces of glass or metal and weaving them together to make a strong, beautiful fabric. You may not see the beauty in each individual piece, but the beauty is woven into the very core of the creation.
God continues to pour that theme of developing greater beauty into my soul. The images from today reminded me of the essay I wrote over 2 years ago about weaving wires and beads together to create a unique piece of jewelry (LHM), and it confirmed what God has been impressing on me this past year about pruning for greater beauty. Today I sense Him reminding me of the holy vessel that I am (Daniel study session 5).
The other prayer minister prayed for wisdom and discernment to recognize God's call for me individually--that Jer and Stacey's call to Haiti or what happens in my family, etc. wouldn't hinder me from seeing the plans that God has for me personally.
As he prayed for great courage to step into my own calling, I was reminded of the image I received back in November of Jesus riding up on a white horse and inviting me to jump on behind to ride into battle with Him. At the time, I could see myself jumping on bravely and willingly.
I want to ride into battle with courage every day. Whatever happens.