James 1:2-27 “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
The wisdom of these verses brought new meaning to my Christian walk…
It’s been a few months since I’ve had “time” to sit down and put my heart into words. Life as I knew it started to change. My heart was being led in a different direction and the only person that knew and understood was the Lord. He gave me the above verses for confirmation, comfort and peace. He knew I was not prepared for what was to come but He knew I would seek Him for comfort.
As Christians we are so set in our journey of life. We have our own expectations of what is to come and how our path should “go”. We tend to be self-centered never asking what God has for us but letting others know we are “following” Him. I was guilty of this. I remember when we moved to Maryland in 2003. We were “burned” out from ministry (because we did it in our flesh) and we just wanted a new start. So we picked up our life as we knew it and headed to Maryland. Tim worked for his parents. I found a job and we made “ends” meet…5 years later through a series of events…my husband answered his call to preach. We were dead set against going back to college but once again…the Lord moved in our hearts and put a precious saint (Dr. Thomas Berg) in our lives at the perfect time, and before we knew it, in November of 2008 we packed up our stuff and headed to Michigan. For three years we watched as God continued to meet our needs, change our path and move in our hearts. We were working for the church, supervisors at the college and very active in the Church Ministry. A few months before graduation, I recall a preacher friend of ours sitting down with Tim and I and talk about how Tim should take a church. Though the idea of it was “exciting” we knew the hard work and I knew my husband was not ready to leave where he was. We talked about it, prayed about it and though I felt something in my heart I did not have peace for a while. From April of 2011 until October of 2011 my life flew by. In May, Tim graduated from college, was ordained into the ministry and we headed to Florida for a two week vacation to unwind from the last 3 years. While in Florida, I shared a burden I had on my heart with Tim about how I had no peace about staying where we were but that I had no idea what God wanted from us. Tim did not have that feeling but he told me “God made it very evident for us to come to Michigan and when it is time to leave he will make it very evident as well”. I took that and knew that I needed to wait and see what this “feeling” in my heart really was. When we returned from our vacation we hit the ground running knowing that we needed to prepare for the upcoming events. Things started happening and our hearts became heavy with burden. We turned to the Lord for comfort and guidance. God was really doing a number on my heart and as I started to grow more and more in Him, and search the scripture for truth, wisdom and comfort I started to see my heart. I knew there were a lot of things I needed to change. I started to make things right, cleaning out some of the things in life that hindered me and becoming more faithful in my devotions and prayer life to Christ. It was during these moments that I felt as if I was under attack and alone. I wasn’t, but if I hadn’t been faithful I would have lost that fight. With the reality of our financial situation becoming very evident and the burden that Tim and I both had now shared we started praying about what He would have for us next. Tim called and spoke with some of his friends that are Pastors, preachers, evangelist and family. They gave him the same advice. Tim put his name out to most of his preacher friends and we asked the Lord to give us complete peace about what was to happen next. After communication with good friends of ours we were introduced to Pastor Marty Shott. Tim spoke with him over a few weeks and eventually the Pastor Shott invited us out to Connecticut to visit and had asked Tim to preach. We didn’t have complete peace about this would be the “place” but we went and by the end of the week we were almost positive. We didn’t want to make any decisions without first going home and praying about it, speaking with our pastor and seeking council from other godly men. When we returned it was evident that this was the answer. Doors opened wide and the present one was shutting. Some did not understand why we were leaving; others cheered us on and shared in our excitement. Our every need was met, even down to the very last dollar that we would need to complete our next journey.
The road that led us to where we are today had some mountain tops and valleys, some hurt, some pain, but most of all it had Christ leading the way. Today, I sit at a desk, at Harvest Baptist Church and can’t help but be thankful for this new chapter in our lives. We are happy, we are thankful and we are loved. We know the road ahead will have its valleys but with every valley there is a mountain top. I am so thankful to be used by God, so thankful for all those who have helped us to get where we are today and I look forward to what the future holds.
Psalms 32:11 “Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.”