My Heart is breaking

I don’t know how else to say it. I don’t think I have ever written anything like this, but it is on my heart and it needs to come out.
The youth of the nation are finally starting to see Jesus face to face. Seeking Him, following Him and leading others TO HIM!
A couple years ago, the Father called Darlene and I out of our comfortable church. The church where God put us when we both came back to the Lord after a long hiatus. There have been many storms since then. My battle with drinking, both of ours with pornography, struggling with secular music. Also, our storm with when God called us into the ministry; Mine was 20 years before, Darlene was called a few years ago…
We had the bookstore/ministry for a few years, our Bible studies and occasional speaking at our church…
So, here we are, at a small church in Minerva. God said GO! Go away from your comfortable surroundings… GO from where I called you to… GO!!
There’s been a lot of that.
So, we get to Minerva wondering WHY? Why, God have you called us here? These people think we have an agenda, some of them don’t trust us… WHY?
So we rest. We watch.
And then, the direction. God said, you’ll help with the youth.
What?! I specifically told Him NO!! Don’t make me work with kids again!!
I can’t do it!
God said “GO!! Let Go! Let ME!”

So, we start out with helping out.. showing up every Wednesday.. playing the games, then planning the games, then giving messages and then…

Our co-leader went home to the Father…

And here we are. We are up to our eyeballs now… fully committed to this group of teenagers…. “ALL IN” if you will.

No turning back. We listened, we learned… and then it begins… the youth, the older ones start showing the spirit working in their lives… we start a leader corps with the teenagers showing the most fruit.
They are on FIRE!! They are all in… we take them on a couple missions trips, we start gearing them up for the enemy, they start taking on more responsibility..

We keep our cell phones on for late night talks… we pray daily for their spiritual well being… we have long talks… leading, guiding… the younger ones aren’t getting it yet, but these guys are!! These FIVE teenage girls are GETTING IT!! Then we see OTHERS… GETTING IT!!!

And then….. CRASH!! The enemy got his foot in the door…
One falls… then the next, then the next..
Oh, they all still believe.. but now they are questioning.. they fall away from the word that gave them life..

They stop wanting to be at youth.. they still come, but something is wrong.. seriously wrong.  My heart breaks.  I am crying tears of fear, not tears of joy.. what happened?

WHAT HAPPENED???

Our hearts are breaking… what did we do wrong? What did we say? How do we get them back into what God had specifically called them to do???

They don’t answer back our texts.. we don’t hear from them…

Why? How? When?

We got all in… now we are drowning!! We are drowning and the ones showing fruit are now drying up…

We spent all that time.. all that energy and then they just give up????

Then God whispered…. “was it you? or was it me?”

Wow, I had never thought of it before… sure, I pray over the music, my messages.. but was it all us? Did we really rely on God?

In John 15:1-7, Jesus said,
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

Darlene and I had not given EVERYTHING fully to the Father! We made the plans.. noone shows up… We invite servants to serve, but without praying over the increase!!!

We had not fully surrendered “Rooted Students” to God, the Father of all creation… we felt we could do it alone.. after all, must has been in trusted to us.. we can’t fail now. We have so many lives in our hands.. we have to teach them the right way…

US??? OR HIM?

My heart still breaks. We love these kids with all our hearts and souls… even to the point of laying down our lives for them. We keep pressing on to the higher calling… but THIS YEAR… this minute, this SECOND….

We fully surrender to YOU, Father. Take care of our teenagers… enable us to be efficient tools, worked by YOUR HAND. And help us to trust in YOU!

So, we pray without ceasing, give all of our fruits to HIM.. trust HIM with all we have and with the hearts of these young ones… and pray that they keep the faith and not lose ground…
Proverbs 3:5-6
New International Version (NIV)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

trust

Can YOU see JESUS in the mirror??

As in a mirrorI was woke up with this verse one day about 2 weeks ago… and I wondered why.

Then during prayer time before youth group, I read it. “1 John 2”
It basically talks about living in the LIGHT… and having hatred we show that we DON’T live in the light..and not loving the world and the things that are in it..

So I think, how am I living MY life?? Am I worried about what we are doing next, but could care less if someone is dying to go to hell? Are you so wrapped up in our own desires and selfish deeds that we don’t even acknowledge God, let alone your neighbor??!!

Waitaminit Mike!! Do you realize that my neighbor drinks all the time and gets loud, you know my friend isn’t living the Christian life even though she says she’s a Christian? Don’t you realize that it’s hard living here and being a Christian? Mike! The place where I work, they treat me like crap! It’s not right!
Put your OWN excuse in the blank…..
Let’s look at what the Bible says in Philippians 2:14-15
“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe”
I find the hardest time living with that one… I mean, look at all the people out there, that are out to get me!! Work, driving down the street, family! UGH!!

Colossians 3:23-24
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

1 Peter 2:12 says, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”

WHOA…THAT ONE CUTS TO THE QUICK!!

The Bible doesn’t make it a coincidence that certain formula’s work in the life of a Christian.
If you smile and you’re not happy, you WILL be happy!
If you do something nice for someone it makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside!
If you pray fervently and with faith…your heart and soul feel PEACE..JOY! (Because that is what gives THE FATHER the warm and fuzzies about us!!)
If you never complain and just do things the way Jesus would do them, you don’t feel depressed, or sad.
If you show others the love of Jesus, the reciprocation is phenomenal!!

I can’t say that I am perfect. I suffer from depression, but I make the best out of every bad situation.
I can’t say I have complete control over my anger, but God who does a good work in me does!
I get frustrated, angry, annoyed, sad, depressed…..
But when I read God’s word..meditate on it, pray fervently, treat others with kindness and love others..the ANGER, FRUSTRATION, DEPRESSION AND SADNESS DIE!! Through the blood of Jesus and the faith that HIS STRIPES have healed me and in JESUS… these things can not survive!
Galatians 5:13-25 says:

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
US “Christians” go around, all pious and say, “Hey, I did this, did that!”, “Yoo-hoo, look at me!”
Yet, we beat our wives and kids Monday thru Saturday and in church we are, oh so HOLY! In our workplaces, they can’t tell whether we’re Christian or not because our mouths sound just like the others that work there! We have become a watered down, “I believe Jesus died for me” generation and think that’s all there is…. But we don’t live our LIVES for HIM… We still worry about our own stuff and what we’re doing, but slowly, ever so slowly, we become like the world!! And NOONE can even tell the difference between a Christian and a non-believer…
So very sad….

My 16 year old daughter wrote this, which sums up quite a bit:
“Have you heard the song, “Be Somebody” BY TFK (Thousand Foot Krutch)? Here are some lyrics: “….When I could only see the floor, you made my window a door. So when they say they don’t believe I hope that they see you in me.” This pretty much means to see Jesus inside of you.

Titus 2:7 says this, “you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind”

If you do good works, peoples will see Jesus inside of you. Most of us, including myself need more work on this.

Also, if you judge people, Jesus won’t be seen inside of you. People will think, “Oh, it’s just another ‘Christian’ judging people” and that’s not good.

When people see Jesus in you, they see a person always working hard and always nice to people; maybe even inviting people to church, or youth group.

1Peter 2:12 says this, “Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when He judges the world” I think that speaks for itself, pretty much.

Darlene at youth group, last night, was speaking about “what’s in a name?” well, what IS in a name? when people see you, or hear your name, something comes to mind, like, “it’s the girl with the nice hair, right?”; “that’s the dude who’s always talking to people! He seems nice”; or “”I remember you! You’re the one who always wore that red hat!”

What you want to be known for is how much you love God. Set an example, because people are watching.” Very poignant coming from a 16 year old!!!

Do YOU see Jesus in the mirror?  Or do you still see the shell of a person you once were and keep going back to??

If Jesus came back today and the trumpet sounds…. Are you going to be one of the ones raptured up with him in the air? Or will you be left behind?

Save

Why can’t I do anything right??

Isn’t that what many of us ask ourselves from time to time?  We try. We fail…miserably.  And then we beat ourselves up and then depression sets in…and then we just don’t want to do anything because, obviously anything we touch will turn to dirt!!

BUT, if we were to rely SOLELY on GOD, to pray before any decisions are made, to not put all of our faith in what WE can do, we CANNOT FAIL!!

In church today, our Pastor talked about Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20.  I love when he puts a different slant on something that we just look at for face value.  Here we read about the Moabites, Ammonites,  and Meunites waging war against Jehoshaphat and Judah.

Even though he had fear, he didn’t try to band his armies together, he didn’t try to do ANYTHING on his own.  Instead, he proclaimed a fast over the nation and PRAYED! I loved the first part of his prayer in verse 6, “Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.”

There was no doubt in Jehoshaphat’s mind who God was!!  He put no merit in his own power, but God’s power!

Why do we automatically default (another PD term) to the works of our hands when things go wrong?  With me, it’s automobiles.  A car breaks down, I go into panic mode and freak out.  I try to see if I can borrow money, see if anyone can help me fix it.. I freak!!

But the God of all creation has NEVER let me down, EVER!!   Anytime I ever prayed an intercessory prayer, He has put that person in my path to be able to minister to them!  Anytime I have had any financial woes, He has always made a way for us to climb out of the situation, and being blessed by it!!  So WHY, on earth could He not help me with the cars???

If I were to start out by praising Him for who He is… Praise God for the situation, and then ask for a solution for my dilemma IN FAITH… HE is sure to respond, in Love to my request…just like He has in EVERY OTHER SITUATION!!

James 5:13-16 actually is great in REMINDING US  of this!!  “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

So after Jehoshaphat prayed this awesome prayer to our LIVING GOD… the spirit spoke to him, “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s!!”  What?!  You mean, I am sitting here worrying myself into oblivion and the battle is the LORDS???

The Bible gives us a lot of reminders to standfast and let God, but here are two of my favorites:

Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Matthew 6:31-34 “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.But <b>SEEK FIRST HIS KINGDOM OF RIGHTEOUSNESS</b>, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Jesus came to give us life, and life abundantly.. He came to give us joy over our circumstances, He came to give us righteousness and free us from sin…..

Of course we will have trouble in the world, but HE HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD!! So we wait.  We live life to it’s fullest… smile in the not so good situations… love in the most unlovable situations… and PRAISE HIM THROUGH IT ALL!!

My Pastor said another thing that really made me think today… If you praise someone who is condemning you… like telling them to have a nice day when they are screaming at you… does that not calm the situation?  Usually, it does. 

God asks us to praise Him in the good…and the bad, the mountain AND the valley, the happy and in the sadness, because He said what?  “I will never leave, nor forsake you”  He said it in His work in Deuteronomy and again in Hebrews.  To rely solely on Him, to trust HIM… to LOVE HIM!!

Praise God and His Holy Name!  Ask Him, IN FAITH.. and He will supply your every need… and don’t worry about tomorrow because it’s got it’s own problems!!

~Peace,

MikeImage