Monday, July 29, 2013

God Hears, God Cares, and God Provides

I need to brag on Jesus! If you're praying about something and waiting on God is wearing you out, read this! 

As some of you know, we had to deal with mold issues in our upstairs bathroom just as our wonderful summer got started. Long story short, after having the mold removed, the bathroom gutted, and then restored, we were down for a little over $3,000. That might not seem like much to some folks, but to us it might as well  have been $30,000.

Needless to say, the summer has been "less than exciting". Most teachers lust after the blessed "summer break". Honestly, you look forward to it all year! I am no different. I had big plans and was REALLY looking forward to enjoying some adventures with my family. Of course, adventures take money and that little plan of mine changed with the mold. So how have we spent the summer? Well we have pretty much sat in our home, prayed, sat some more, and prayed some more...all summer long. Have I whined? Yes! Have I complained? Yes! Has God been teaching me incredible things? Without a doubt!

Yesterday, my heart was really broken and I was praying ever so fervently (that means hard…I think) about life, and just stuff. I have been really down about being so financially "twisted" with no clue how to "untwist", but yesterday was more about the reality of where I am currently with Jesus. I wasn't really praying about finances so much, just my heart in relation to His. It was during this time of prayer that the Lord reminded me of a scripture found in Joel 2. Here's what I read (it's kind of long…but you need to read it all):

Joel Chapter 2

A Call to Repentance
12 That is why the Lord says,
"Turn to me now, while there is time.
Give me your hearts.
Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
13 Don't tear your clothing in your grief,
but tear your hearts instead."
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is merciful and compassionate,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
He is eager to relent and not punish.
14 Who knows? Perhaps he will give you a reprieve,
sending you a blessing instead of this curse.
Perhaps you will be able to offer grain and wine
to the Lord your God as before.

15 Blow the ram's horn in Jerusalem!
Announce a time of fasting;
call the people together
for a solemn meeting.
16 Gather all the people—
the elders, the children, and even the babies.
Call the bridegroom from his quarters
and the bride from her private room.
17 Let the priests, who minister in the Lord's presence,
stand and weep between the entry room to the Temple and the altar.
Let them pray, "Spare your people, Lord!
Don't let your special possession become an object of mockery.
Don't let them become a joke for unbelieving foreigners who say,
'Has the God of Israel left them?'"

The Lord's Promise of Restoration

18 Then the Lord will pity his people
and jealously guard the honor of his land.
19 The Lord will reply,
"Look! I am sending you grain and new wine and olive oil,
enough to satisfy your needs.
You will no longer be an object of mockery
among the surrounding nations.
20 I will drive away these armies from the north.
I will send them into the parched wastelands.
Those in the front will be driven into the Dead Sea,
and those at the rear into the Mediterranean.[c]
The stench of their rotting bodies will rise over the land."

Surely the Lord has done great things!
21 Don't be afraid, my people.
Be glad now and rejoice,
for the Lord has done great things.
22 Don't be afraid, you animals of the field,
for the wilderness pastures will soon be green.
The trees will again be filled with fruit;
fig trees and grapevines will be loaded down once more.
23 Rejoice, you people of Jerusalem!
Rejoice in the Lord your God!
For the rain he sends demonstrates his faithfulness.
Once more the autumn rains will come,
as well as the rains of spring.
24 The threshing floors will again be piled high with grain,
and the presses will overflow with new wine and olive oil.

25 The Lord says, "I will give you back what you lost
to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts,
the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts.[d]
It was I who sent this great destroying army against you.
26 Once again you will have all the food you want,
and you will praise the Lord your God,
who does these miracles for you.
Never again will my people be disgraced.
27 Then you will know that I am among my people Israel,
that I am the Lord your God, and there is no other.
Never again will my people be disgraced.

The words in these verses were so encouraging. Even when we think it is too late for us, the Lord continues to offer hope and restoration. We are NEVER too far gone or beyond redemption. Our Father is a God of restoration, mercy, and kindness.

Now for some big time bragging!

I woke up this morning and noticed I had a text from a friend with whom I work. It said, "Check your email. What a blessing!"

Now normally this particular person is brimming with sarcasm. So, I was figuring I would experience something "unpleasant"! What I read almost knocked me off my feet!

I opened my email, and found that I had received message from Whitfield County Schools…my employer. I'll spare you all that was shared, but somehow, someway, my employer made the decision to go ahead and pay us an "extra" check that would normally be issued after we retire. This was apparently done to benefit new employees. When I started my job, I was told I would have to go without a check for a couple of months due to this provision. Now out of nowhere, they reverse it. Regardless of the "why", this was HUGE news for my family, especially considering that my wife is also an employee of the county. Essentially, we will have double our normal income in the month of August which is almost exactly double what this whole mold mess costs us! Not only did God restore that lost income, He doubled it! Can you say, HUGE blessing? Yes sir I can!

This is so incredible to me! Yes, the money will be amazing and will certainly get us back on track, but honestly that's not the main reason I'm rejoicing. I'm rejoicing because somehow, someway, the Lord of the entire universe moved on the hearts and minds of the folks that employee me to change a policy that's been in place for years…just to bless and care for my family! The God who I continually doubt, whine to, get angry at, sin against, and in general fail miserably, still adores me so much He was willing to step into an impossible situation, despite all my garbage, and help!

Now you may say, "Ken you're crazy!" "That's just a coincidence! God didn't do that just for little old you!"

Maybe, maybe not. In the end, all I know or care about is He is there… and He cares about me. That's worth more than every penny in every bank!

So, why in the world would God move Heaven and Earth for just one family? I'll answer that with a another question: Why would God ever think to send His only son to die for a planet full of rebellious, sin-rotten people who didn't give a rip about Him?

Love. It's all about love! The overwhelming love of a Father who cares desperately for His own creation and will do anything to show Himself strong on their behalf.

It was love that caused Him to send His child to live, die, and rise again to redeem us, and it is that same immeasurable love that ushers each and every blessing into our lives. God is first and foremost a Father, and like any good father, there are no limits to what He will do to take care of His own!

So there you have it!

I once heard a guy say, "Hard situations create the perfect conditions for miracles. Impossible situations create the perfect conditions for mighty miracles".

Friends, I put this one together quick, but I hope it has encouraged you. I do not know what you are praying, hoping, and waiting on God for, but know this; He knows…and He cares!

Peace and blessings to you my friends!