Thursday, April 17, 2014

Stories of God's Preservation...Continued
As I was reading at Cultivating Home this week, I immediately thought, I must contribute to this and maybe others will too.
We live in a day in age where if you mention the fact that you are a Christian, you may be viewed as a bigot, a hypocrite, a fool, and the list goes on. To believe in a supernatural being greater than ourselves, more intelligent than our most intelligent modern scientists is downright, just plain, crazy. To have an absolute standard above man's law is absurd (man's law in constantly changing whereas God's law is constant). 
I could jump into a bunch of apologetics here, but I won't.  This post is simply to share how He has revealed Himself to me beyond the coincidental. I must state that the God I am claiming to believe in is a God who created our earth (see Genesis and John 1). He has a Son, Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:18-2:12; Mark 1:1-8; Luke 1:26-26-38; and prophesied in Isaiah 7:14; 40:3; Micah5:2; Malachi 3:1; Psalm 22:16; Psalm 16:10) , who saw that this sinful world needed a Savior (John 3:16; prophesied in Isaiah 53 hundreds of years before He even came, roughly 681 B.C.) so that we may have a hope, an eternity with Him in heaven when our earthly bodies are put in the ground. He also has the Holy Spirit (read the exciting book of Acts in the Bible!) who lives in us and in other believers, who reveals Himself in many ways as we go about our earthly days. If we can quiet ourselves enough to listen and look, He reveals Himself in the neatest of ways in which I want to share with you today.
1.) I remember being six years old and it was Christmas Day. My uncle had brought over a puppy he had just purchased and wanted to let my sisters (then 3 and 2) and I pet him.  My sisters and I were petting him that morning before we opened presents and the dog grabbed my face and wouldn't let go. His jaw was locked. He was thrashing me around and I remember being dizzy and seeing a lot of light. Everyone was screaming. I remember going limp. I had lost a lot of blood and it took men to pry his jaw off of me. When he let go, I remember faintly being rushed around the kitchen as family started pressing towels onto my face. My other uncle and my father rushed me to the hospital where I was able to get treatment and I was okay. Months later, as my mother was talking about the incident with a friend, my sister chimed in and said, "Mommy, I remember seeing an angel above Kelli when that doggie bit her."
2.) I was about 8 at the time and was driving with my Uncle Stan on the highway. I don't quite remember where we were going, but he was talking with me about the Lord. He said that he felt like we should pray over our car while we were driving and asked me to do it, but specifically to pray that "the blood of Jesus would protect us". I prayed and within 2 seconds, there was a massive car accident involving the car behind us and many others. Ours was spared.
3.) I was in college and struggling with my faith tremendously. I told the Lord that I needed physical proof of His existence. Pretty bold for a college kid to ask of God Almighty huh? The next week in our chapel service, a speaker came in and showed a video on the big screen in our chapel of a worship service in another state. People were bowing down and there was true, genuine worship going on. The video began to focus more on a figure in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. It was a figure of a man and he was beaming with light. After the chapel service, I went upstairs where some friends of mine ran the video and sound. They said, "Come here. Watch this!" When they pressed rewind and fast forward through the part where the image was, it was missing. When they pressed play, it was clear as day.
4.) Rob and I took the kids on a trip once and funds were low. We tried to budge out gas for the trip, but we seemed to be traveling a lot more than anticipated. As we drove for what seemed like miles and miles, my husband kept checking the gas meter and it never moved.
5.) Titus was a baby who was very colicky and we had never had a colicky baby before. Rob and I would take turns passing him off at night. The crying usually started at 7:00 and would go for hours. We felt so helpless for our little guy. One night, Rob took him into the nursery and began rocking him, praying over him that the Lord would quiet him. Mind you, when he would begin to "wind down", it was always very subtle and would take some time. This one, particular night, he prayed that God would preform a miracle. He began praying, listing the miracles that Jesus had done here on earth (see the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament) and the Holy Spirit began to take over, listing miracle, after miracle, after miracle, and then....STOP. Our baby was quiet. Not a whimper. Was completely sound asleep and at peace.
6.) I struggled with our fifth child's name. I was reading in Titus one day at the beginning of my pregnancy thinking it was a neat name and oh, how we need more Titus 2 women (and men) today. I struggled because I had this feeling as though the Lord wanted me to name him Titus. Read the rest of the story HERE
7.) I've heard some neat missionary stories, but one that stands out in particular was one a god-fearing friend shared with me recently. It was about a tribe of people living on a remote island (now I can't remember the exact geographical position...bleh) and the head chief of the tribe had said that he had dreams that one day, someone would come with a black book and the tribe was to listen to him when he came. There was apparently a lot of worship of other gods on this island...sun gods, fertility gods, etc. Well, the chief passed away, but shortly after, a missionary came to the village and of coarse he had a black book and wanted to teach the village about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
8.) Years ago when Rob and I were first getting into agriculture, we were learning so much. We were experimenting with things and wanting to grow our little, city farm. We loved our calling, but were starting to feel a bit, you know, "different". We do many things that aren't "the norm" according to city dwellers and it can ware on a person after awhile. Your sense of community can seem quite slim. Let's face it, it's hard to share your whole heart with others who don't have the same heart-convictions as you. Your common denominator is Jesus, yes, but unless you're talking about just Him, it can make conversation scarce. I've got some ideas swirling and have been studying heart convictions, but that's for another post. Ah-hem. {grin}
I remember being sick one Sunday morning and Rob said he'd go to church with the kids while I rested at home. I sat down on the couch and was trying to read through Scripture. I got down on my knees and while feeling blessed that the Lord had opened our eyes to a life of agriculture, I was so lonely. I 1.) prayed that God would make things clear, that whatever He wanted us to do, we would do, and 2.) that He would send us a family somehow in which we could share our love of agriculture here in the city. Two days later, we were at our discipleship group at church (we have a very small group), there was a new couple. They had just moved down from Georgia and were new. Each evening in our group, our pastor begins class with a fun question and this particular evening, he asked us to go around and share our favorite pet. The new couple went second and said "a cow". My jaw dropped. (I've been wanting a cow, but who shares that kind of stuff in a group the city!) When it got to be our turn, I said cow also. We found out that they lived off the beach and were housing their Jersey cow at our friend's farm about an hour away. We chatted for what seemed like forever that night after class, talking about farming. Finally, I could let it out. Finally, I could ask questions and have someone know what the heck I was talking about. I was humbled. About a week later, I found out that they also home educated. When they shared this, I immediately said to the Lord, "of coarse they do". Big smile on my face. Now they run THIS BEAUTIFUL FARM in which the Lord granted them the desire of their hearts. (That's a whole other "God-gets-the-glory-story" in itself.)
9.) One biggie is how when the Lord saw our hearts and desire for a bigger piece of land to work. The details are a big personal, but financially, we could have never made this work ourselves. God completely laid the money in our lap and said, "Here, go build your farm and don't forget to give me the glory for it. Manage it well. Multiply it. Nourish others with your bounty. Share it." Completely humbled, we are. You can follow our "Going Country" posts on the sidebar. 
10.) I remember driving once across a large, nearby bridge on the way to search for properties to build our home and farm. The kids were all quiet (which is rare) and there was no radio as we drove and I remember looking out onto the water, watching the small waves glisten like diamonds. It was so still. So peaceful. I heard a voice in my head and it said "You're not going to get your paradise here, but in the next life." It was so clear. The Holy Spirit as speaking and I had to turn around to make sure that someone in the car wasn't speaking to me it was so clear. Almost one of those, "Hey, did you hear that?" moments.
11.) My father had a pretty amazing experience when he accepted the Lord. He was walking along a sidewalk and felt his feet get really hot and tingly and then it continued going up his body to his head. It all of the sudden got really windy and he knew that the Holy Spirit had entered him.
I could go on for awhile with stories from friends who have had amazing experiences. Lots of stories from missionaries because missionaries have the best stories! {smile}
I want to share a verse with you today and it's a verse that I clung to when I was struggling with my faith in college. It's Matthew 16:1-4...
"The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’  and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah (meaning Jesus' death and resurrection...insert mine).'  Jesus then left them and went away."
Miracles never convince the skeptical. Jesus had been healing, raising people from the dead, feeding thousands and still people wanted him to prove himself.
John 20:29 reminds us that..."Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
If this post has touched you in any way and you'd like to continue on the topic of God's Preservation, PLEASE share your stories.
To God Be the Glory!

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