Go WHERE the Lord says go. Go WHEN the Lord says go. These are both statements that as believers, we would like to be able to say we would do. Sometimes the WHEN and the WHERE are very clear, but the WHY may remain a mystery. Are we willing to go with no real explanation of WHY, but simply in obedience to the voice of God that says WHERE and WHEN? How do we deal with ambiguity concerning the call of God? Let me tell you how it all unfolded for me…
Late last year, the Lord impressed upon my heart that I was to go back to Northern Ireland in February 2012. It would be my seventh time visiting this lovely country, so I could easily conjure up a long list of WHYs on my own. But the truth was, God had told me WHERE and WHEN, but He’d left out many of the specifics as to WHY. The WHERE was a no-brainer for me… of course I would go back to visit a land and a people I love! The WHEN… well, February is not the ideal time of year, but hey, they have warmer winters than we have in Minnesota, so that didn’t take much convincing either. As to the WHY… I knew God had a reason, albeit one that I knew not of, and so I decided to fully and completely trust His timing and pack my bags and go.
God has a purpose for asking us to do the things He asks us to do. What can seem insignificant, or silly, or even crazy to us is all a part of God’s divine plan. His divine plan to reach others through us – both saved and unsaved, and also to reach us through other people. Just as the Word of God says, He is delighted in our decisions to obey Him. Especially when we don’t have all the information.
“So Samuel said: ‘Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.’” 1 Samuel 15:22 NJKV
During the three weeks I spent in Northern Ireland, God moved in such a variety of ways! It would take pages and pages for me to describe all the wonderful things He did in and through me! Here are just a few:
I saw Him touch the relative of a friend of mine, just by sitting down and having tea with her. We were just supposed to stop and pick something up and be on our way, but if you’ve ever been to Northern Ireland, you know it’s practically impossible to get out the door without having a “wee cup of tea”. I had never met her before, so we began to talk and she asked me what I was doing in Northern Ireland. I began to share with her my story as to how God connected me with Northern Ireland many years ago, and had called me back there seven times – six of the times being in the past three years. The words I spoke seemed so simple and conversational, and yet she was visibly moved by my testimony and it was clear God was touching her heart. What had seemed like a “delay” to our plans in the natural was really an open opportunity to minister to someone God desperately wanted to reach.
I had the humble honor and privilege of witnessing relationships being repaired and restored that had once been broken. God in His love and mercy had orchestrated this divine restoration, and quite frankly, the only real part I played in it all was just BEING THERE to bring these people in to the same room together. I had no idea what was going to happen before I was standing in the midst of it happening. But in that moment, the Lord said – that”s WHY you needed to be here NOW. It reminded me that we are oftentimes just “divine facilitators”, used by God to bring people into a position where He can minister to them. Whether that involves bringing someone to a PHYSICAL location, or bringing them to a place emotionally where they are open to receive from Him, offering our lives to Him to use as He wills is amazing and rewarding.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV
I had the opportunity to share and lead prayer at a house prayer meeting. We spent time in prayer for the nation of Ireland. The Lord also ministered specific words to people that touched their hearts deeply. God will prompt you to speak certain things to certain people, whether it’s during an “official” time of ministry or just in casual conversation with them. Be open to His promptings and quick to obey, even if it doesn’t make sense to you. It may be a word or phrase you don’t normally use, but it may have very significant meaning to the one hearing it. This can be categorized as a word of wisdom, word of knowledge or prophecy, but when it comes right down to it, no matter what you call it, it’s the Holy Spirit prompting you to reach someone on the Lord’s behalf.
I was also able to minister in a small church I had visited last year – to bring them the NOW Word from the Lord, a word of encouragement. I love going in to the small places that guest ministers may not often, if ever, visit. All of God’s people are important to Him, and this little congregation warms my heart.
In addition, I was able to bring a helping hand to a ministry that’s been launching out into new territory – to come alongside them and do whatever needed to be done to help them realize the vision God has placed in their hearts. I helped make fliers announcing upcoming events, set up ministry resource tables, served tea and biscuits, updated Facebook pages, and other computer-related items – anything practical that I could do to assist them. It’s just as much of a joy to be able to use natural skills and abilities for His Kingdom. I was not only involved on a practical level with this ministry, but on a spiritual level as well, through prayer and sharing the Word.
Now, God did not ask me to go there to give out without the intention of putting something back in! He used many people to speak very specific words to me regarding certain facets of my future, and plans and purposes He has prepared for my life. He gave me many wonderful times of fun and fellowship with dear friends, and added some new ones to the mix! He opened a door for me in the near future to go to an area in the Republic of Ireland that has been on my heart for nearly a year and a half. All I had to do was SHOW UP at the right time in the right place and He brought the right person across my path to make that happen!
One evening, we went to hear a minister from England speak who had experienced revival in his church many years ago. He and his wife literally lived in the manifest Presence of God for six months. From the start of the service, the atmosphere was different from any service I’ve ever been in. He shared out of 2 Kings 6:1-7 NKJV:
“And the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, ‘See now, the place where we dwell with you is too small for us. Please, let us go to the Jordan, and let every man take a beam from there, and let us make there a place where we may dwell.’ So he answered, ‘Go.’ Then one said, ‘Please consent to go with your servants.’ And he answered, ‘I will go.’ So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. But as one was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, ‘Alas, master! For it was borrowed.’ So the man of God said, ‘Where did it fall?’ And he showed him the place. So he cut off a stick, and threw it in there; and he made the iron float. Therefore he said, ‘Pick it up for yourself.‘ So he reached out his hand and took it.”
Many truths were shared from this passage, but one thing in particular that I want to share with you. Regarding the ax head – it is like a dream that the Lord has given us that has, for one reason or another, sunk to the bottom of the river. God wants to raise those dreams and plans back to the surface… but when He does, we have to reach out and take them. Otherwise, they will float by and someone else down the river will pick them up.
This very thing he was saying was mirroring something a pastor-friend of mine had said the day before when we met for lunch. She said God has a plan He wants to accomplish in the earth, especially in these ends times, and if we aren’t obedient to the call, He will just skip over us and find someone else.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be skipped over or let my dreams go floating by for someone else to grab. Our quick obedience to the Lord in every area will not only prove to Him that He can trust us and use us in any way He desires, but it will bring to pass the most fulfilled life we could ever imagine living!
God knows the WHY even when we don’t. Sometimes He will let us in on it in advance, but sometimes He needs us to trust Him so He can orchestrate things exactly how He has planned… we just need to be willing to show up and be a part of it! It is in that place of obedience that we will be the biggest blessing possible to others, and also receive a blessing in return.
A leap year poem to remember it by-
Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November;
All the rest have thirty-one
Save February, she alone
Hath eight days and a score
Til leap year gives her one day more.
We thank you for your support as we celebrate the fourth anniversary of CelebrateYourFaith.com. Looking back, it is amazing all that the Lord has done through this business. We are looking forward to celebrating all that is coming in the future!
This has been the dream of our hearts; four years of learning, growing, and celebrating making a difference. Doing what we love with amazing customers and fans, beautiful artisans and their creations, and our special team of believers who work together for a great cause.
When we started CelebrateYourFaith.com, we deliberately chose July 7, 2007 (7.7.07) for our grand opening, as a powerful symbolic scriptural reminder of the Great Commission (see the post about “God’s perfection: Number 7“).
All of us at CelebrateYourFaith.com are dedicated to reaching the world with the Good News of the Gospel. It is our heart to support mission work and missionaries with proceeds from every purchase. This has been one of the biggest blessings to us, to see our support for missions directly affect the lives of people in countries all over the globe.
For more about our company story, see this article (PDF) from the Christian Booksellers Association’s November 2008 issue.
Celebrate. Give. Share.
With your purchases, you are helping us continue to touch hearts and change many lives. It is an honor to do what we love. Thank you for your continued support!
Father’s Day is a time set aside to show special honor to our fathers, or men who are father-figures in our lives. A father is someone who is there to offer love and support to his children – be they biological children, step-children, or “spiritual” children that God has placed in his life for him to nurture.
Being a good father begins with having a solid relationship with Jesus Christ. He must be the center of every communication, affection and discipline that a man gives to his children. A good father must first and foremost be a Man of God.
“But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:11-12 NKJV
A good father demonstrates to his children what it means to have faith in God and trust Him for everything we need. He is a reflection of God to his children. It’s an awesome responsibility, but one that can be carried out with dignity and love and respect when he looks to God for direction and guidance.
All this is not to say that fathers need to be perfect. But a father who is humble and teachable is the best father a child could ask for.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV
If your father needs some encouragement to strengthen his relationship with God, this is a wonderful time to give him some tools to help him do so. Give him the web address for Bible Gateway’s 100 most-read Bible verses.
Give your father a fresh look at the Word of God with this NLT In His Image Devotional Bible.
This Father’s Day, above all, be sure to tell your father how much you love him and appreciate him. Remember those godly men who have influenced you and thank them for everything they have done for you.
Celebrate Your Faith has many wonderful gifts for fathers. Pick out a special treasure to honor him today!
The Virtuous Woman ~ Proverbs 31:25-31 NLT
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.
26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
and she gives instructions with kindness.
27 She carefully watches everything in her household
and suffers nothing from laziness.
28 Her children stand and bless her.
Her husband praises her:
29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
but you surpass them all!”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
On this Mother’s Day, let us first reflect on the characteristics which God deems as important in a woman, and a mother. We can then reflect on some of the mothers of the Bible and see what a significant role they played in the lives of their children. These were women of God who imparted their faith to their children and who were instrumental in their children becoming who God destined them to be.
Naomi (Mother-in-law of Ruth)
Ruth 1:16-18 NLT
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. 17 Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” 18 When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more.
Through Naomi, Ruth married Boaz, her kinsman-redeemer, a wealthy and influential man. As a result of this marriage, she was even included in the genealogy of Jesus as accounted in the book of Matthew. She honored her mother-in-law, and God heaped blessings upon her. Naomi also became a grandmother in the process!
Mary (Mother of Jesus)
Luke 2:19 AMP
19But Mary was keeping within herself all these things (sayings), weighing and pondering them in her heart.
Luke 2:51b AMP
51…and his mother kept and closely and persistently guarded all these things in her heart.
John 2:1-5; 11a NLT
1 The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. 3 The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.” 4 “Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” 5 But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” …11 This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory.
Mary knew Jesus was the Son of God, but she watched Him grow up as her child. Prior to the wedding at Cana, Jesus had not performed any miracles, but she had watched and listened and pondered things regarding Him since His birth. So, when his mother was at the wedding and the wine had run out, she knew exactly who to call upon. And that very moment was the appointed time for Jesus to begin to reveal His glory on the earth through miracles, signs and wonders.
John 19:25-27 NLT
25 Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” 27 And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.
Jesus, like any good son, wanted to make sure His mother was cared for after He was physically absent from this earth. He entrusted her to one of His closest companions.
Eunice (Mother of Timothy)
2 Timothy 1:5 NLT
5 I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you.
Not much is said about Timothy’s mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois. But Paul found their faith to be so strong that it was worth mentioning in his letter to Timothy, which became a part of the New Testament. What Paul wrote as an encouraging letter to Timothy has been encouraging and instructional for Christians for almost 2000 years. Timothy was strong in his faith in part because of the impartation he received from his mother and grandmother.
Take time today to thank God for your mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, stepmother, aunt or any other virtuous woman who has contributed to YOUR life of faith.
Happy Mother’s Day from all of us at Celebrate Your Faith!
“I am the resurrection and the life…” As I was preparing this week to write this blog for Easter Sunday, I received word that my Grandma was going into hospice care for her last days here on the earth. Even though we had been preparing for this day for a long time, no one is ever fully prepared to get that news. In the midst of a whirlwind of emotions and rearranging my schedule to be able to go see her, this portion of Scripture kept coming to me.
Jesus conquered the last enemy of Death when He died on the cross and rose again three days later. Because of His ultimate sacrifice, we not only get to spend eternity with Him in heaven, but with all our friends and relatives who are saved. This assurance is what allowed me to say goodbye to my Grandma with only a bit of sadness in my heart. The rest of me was filled with joy and gladness at the thought of her going to heaven to be with Jesus, to not be in pain anymore, and to see her husband who had gone on 30 years before her.
This Easter, as I contemplate the Father’s love for me, I see the arms of Jesus, His Son, stretched out wide before Him. Those arms were stretched and nailed to the cross. Not only did Jesus see all of us when He was hanging there going through sheer agony, but our Father saw each of our faces as He turned His back on His Son for the first and only time in history. It’s as though each person ever created were standing shoulder to shoulder and he looked into each face one by one as He turned away. It was a painful turning, but a necessary turning, if He would ever have the family He desired from the moment He created Adam.
That is why this Scripture is true for us: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:17 NKJV)
The Amplified Bible says it this way: “Every good gift and every perfect (free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives] light, in [the shining of] Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse]. And it was of His own [free] will that He gave us birth [as sons] by [His] Word of Truth…” (James 1:17-18a AMP)
God the Father will never cast a shadow on us by turning His back on us because He did that with His Son, Jesus, Who was the redemptive sacrifice for all our sins. We are privileged to look on God’s face, to see the bright shining of His glory, because of what Jesus did.
Jesus died so that we might be part of the New Creation, created in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:10). When we were born again into the family of God, the Holy Spirit made His home in us. He is called the “Spirit of truth” (John 15:26; 16:13). The Spirit of truth testifies to the Word of Truth, that is, the Person of Jesus. Jesus was the Word made flesh (John 1:14).
Each of these realities are brought together in the following Scripture: “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” Ephesians 1:13 NJKV
Each person of the Godhead – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – was involved in overall plan for mankind in a distinct, yet integrated, way. This plan that had been birthed even before the foundations of the world was culminated in the crucifixion and subsequent resurrection of Jesus.
This Easter, think of the LIFE that Jesus opened to us by His death, burial and resurrection. He made us sons and daughters of God. He saved us from eternal damnation. He delivered us from sickness and disease. He gave us peace for our minds and our hearts. He made a way for the Holy Spirit to come and dwell in us – to guide us in all truth, to teach us all things, to empower us to preach the gospel to every creature. He redeemed us from poverty and lack. He restored fellowship with our Father God. And this is just a sampling of what He did! The heights and depths of His love for us we will never fully comprehend.
Because of His resurrection, we will be raised with Him in that last day.
“And when this perishable puts on the imperishable and this that was capable of dying puts on freedom from death, then shall be fulfilled the Scripture that says, Death is swallowed up (utterly vanquished forever) in and unto victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? …But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory [making us conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:54-56; 58 AMP
Praise the Lord! He is Risen… He is Risen Indeed!
Passover begins on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Nissan. Passover, or Pesach (in Hebrew), commemorates the Israelites Exodus from Egypt. Its name refers to the passage in the Book of Exodus (12:11) when God “passed over” the houses of the Israelites during the tenth plague. Passover is one of three pilgrimage festivals, along with Sukkot and Shavuot.
The verb “pasàch” is first mentioned in the Torah account of the Exodus from Egypt (Exodus 12:23), and there is some debate about its exact meaning: the commonly held assumption that it means “He passed over”, in reference to God “passing over” the houses of the Hebrews during the final of the Ten Plagues of Egypt, stems from the translation provided in the Septuagint. Judging from other instances of the verb, and instances of parallelism, a more faithful translation may be “he hovered over, guarding.” Indeed, this is the image used by Isaiah by his use of this verb in Isaiah. 31:5: “As birds hovering, so will the lord of hosts protect Jerusalem; He will deliver it as He protecteth it, He will rescue it as He passeth over”.
Passover is also referred to as Chag he-Aviv (the Spring Festival), Chag ha-Matzoth (the Festival of Matzahs), and Zeman Herutenu (the Time of Our Freedom).
One of the most significant observances related to Passover involves the removal of chametz (leaven) from the home. This commemorates the fact that the Jews leaving Egypt were in a hurry, and did not have time to let their bread rise. It is also a symbolic way of removing the “puffiness” (arrogance, pride) from our souls.
The Passover Seder is a very special and sacred meal celebrated with family and friends. Jews who would not otherwise consider themselves “religious” oftentimes still celebrate this important meal. Many families in Israel will arrange to have the Passover Seder at a hotel or other large banquet facility to accommodate the large number of people in their extended families.
As Christians, we believe that Jesus is our Passover Lamb, and passages throughout the New Testament point to Him as such.
“Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” 1 Corinthians 5:7 NIV
“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” 1 Peter 1:19 KJV
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29 NIV
The Communion Meal becomes the believers’ celebration of Jesus Christ as our Passover Lamb. We do not wait for a special time of year to celebrate His sacrifice, but rather we can celebrate it any time we partake of the bread and the cup in remembrance of Him (1 Corinthians 11:23-30). His sacrifice was not only for the forgiveness of our sins, but also for the healing of our physical bodies.
“The two parts: sin and disease, were removed from the Children of Israel by the blood and body of the Passover lamb respectively. Since Jesus Christ is our Passover Lamb once and for all the sin and disease are removed by the blood of Christ and the flesh of Christ.” (http://www.picturesofsilver.com/Teachings/our_passover_lamb.htm)
For additional information on the Jewish Passover, consider visiting these websites: