Monday, March 31, 2014

shake it up!

As we drove from Chinandega to Masaya, I asked The Lord to show me where in His word, he wanted me to read.  I needed to be refreshed and I needed to see more of the Lord.  I heard, “Haggai. ... two.”  Really?  I was sure I heard wrong, but I went there anyway.  

Haggai 2:4-9
Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the LORD. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the LORD. Work, for I am with you, declares the LORD of hosts, according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. For thus says the LORD of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the LORD of hosts. The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the LORD of hosts.’”

I was struck at how having the world shake, allowed movement from glory to glory and brought peace.  Life isn’t always easy or fun, but it has purpose.  The Lord allured Israel into the wilderness (Hosea 2:14-15) in order to restore her.  

When the Lord shakes us up, He does so for a reason. He allures us into the wilderness and our worlds get shaken. We have to give our gold and silver back over to the lord. We have to stand firm in the Lord. It's not always easy and it doesn't always feel good. But we see the greater glory of the Lord. But we are filled with peace.

Sometimes a shake up is just what we need... 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

When the earth quakes

I was in Nicaragua March 1-9.  A place that has part of my heart.  This trip was different, yet one of my favorites.  The first night we were there, we woke up to shaking.  Yep!  An earthquake!  A 6.4 on the scale in fact.  And while I was up the first thought that came to mind was when Paul was in prison.  

Acts 16:25-40
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.
But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying, “Let those men go.” And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Therefore come out now and go in peace.” But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city. So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.

And this became my hope and my prayer for the week: that the prisoners would be set free. Looking back, I am in awe of what the Lord did. He started our week with an earthquake. And he did set many free! People in our team were set free. Like the jailer, many people in Nicaragua met Jesus for the first time that week. While I'm not sure if we washed any wounds physically, we washed them with words of comfort and healing. We washed their hunger with food. We washed souls with the hope that only Christ can bring. And, as Paul knew he what he deserved as a Roman citizen, I believe people learned their true identity and thus can start living in the freedom of belonging to Christ, rather than being enslaved to sin.

What an honor to be a part of it! What a joy!