Unexpected Witness {2.19.18}

Recently my husband and I attended a dinner/show which featured an Elvis impersonator. It sounded like fun and something out of the ordinary. The dinner was wonderful, and we proceeded to the show. A band opened with songs from the 60’s and 70’s which we enjoyed. Then the music began. You know the music I’m talking about. ElvisThe music that announces to everyone that Elvis is coming. It gets louder and more powerful. You know something great is about to happen. He is in the building and will soon be on the stage. The anticipation mounted as we all awaited his presence. Then finally, there he was! But, wait! That’s not the Elvis I envisioned! The Elvis I was looking for had coal black hair and lots of it. He had big hairy sideburns. This guy was missing some hair (quite a bit in fact). He had some sideburns but nothing like I was expecting. Elvis eatingAnd, it appeared that he had been eating more than his share of peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Is this really Elvis?! I was expecting someone different. I knew the real Elvis wasn’t going to show up but I thought he would look like Elvis a bit more.  

Funny how we all have expectations and then when they are not realized, we are a bit disappointed. Well, his voice did not disappoint. He sounded really good. He sang several songs and then the band would do a song and that routine continued through the evening. He sang many of the Elvis favorites we all know and love. He also sang a hymn (one of my favorites I might add), which Elvis often did. About 2/3 of the way through the show though, he introduced his Dad to the audience and began sharing about his family and his faith. It was so touching and as he shared his testimony I gained a new respect and admiration for this Elvis who was so unexpected. He had shared a bit about his career and it was evident that he had opened for several stars we all recognized. He had been on TV many times as well. But, he was simply still singing Elvis songs, which he loved and, in the process, walking out his faith, unashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This unconventional Elvis was doing what we are all called to do. God tells us in 1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,”

God wants to use all of us to share the good news and further His kingdom. He wants none to perish. If Elvis can do it on stage in front of a group of people, surely I can do it in the neighborhood, supermarket or restaurant with a few. We don’t have to worry about what we will say. God will give us the words. He promises in John 14:26 “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”  

Elvis 2I didn’t get the impression that this Elvis had planned to share his testimony but rather that it just came out as a natural result of his faith and obedience. 2 John 1:6 “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” No one seemed offended by his testimony. In fact, everyone seemed pleased to hear it.

We may never know the blessings of our obedience to God’s call on our lives. Maybe we will simply plant a seed of faith that another will water. We may lead someone to faith in Christ. If it causes someone to be curious about God, they will seek to know more. We know that anyone who seeks Him, finds Him.

This unexpected Elvis and his witness reminded me that no matter where I go or who I meet, God has a plan and a purpose for my life. I better be about the Father’s business every day and open my mouth and hands so that He can use me. How about you? Have you experienced an unexpected and unconventional witness for Christ? Have you been one?

A Girl Can Dream {2.7.18}

Several years ago (about six I think), my daughter called and asked me to pray about something. She had a dream on her heart. It was a dream with a goal, that she would be home more with her family. This dream involved a shared passion/hobby both of us have. I was certainly all onboard with her idea because I could see myself in the middle of it with her. But, more than that, she was seeking God FIRST – I had to honor that! I knew that what seemed impossible from our perspectives for many reasons, was entirely possible with God if it was within His will for her life. So, we began praying and God began working. dare to dream

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

As the years progressed though, it became apparent that the details of the dream she originally had in mind was not going to materialize. Then upon further reflection, knew that the original idea would not produce the goal she sought. So, we kept praying and watching.

Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”

God gave her creative ideas, wisdom, contacts, etc. He closed one door but opened so many more that we knew He was intimately involved. She kept on going where He led, learning as she went along. She has had many successes through her obedience to God’s call and direction rather than doggedly going down the original path she had envisioned. Yesterday was another one of those successes. It made me think of God’s Word and specifically, how He gives us skills when we need them, words when we need to speak them, and direction when we feel lost. I was remembering the words in Exodus where God was directing the Israelites to build the tabernacle. It says that He gave them the skills they needed to create what He designed. He has done the same for my daughter and we are so thankful.

Exodus 35:35 He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them master craftsmen and designers.”

A dear friend recently shared how God had answered her prayer. She had been praying for a financial need. She knew God was able and trusted Him to provide. She didn’t know how but knew that He could send money in the mail to her if He so chose.

1 Timothy 5:5 “The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help.”

However, like she shared, God didn’t give her money, he gave her a job. But, it wasn’t just any job. It was a job doing things she enjoys! How like God to orchestrate things in our lives that we have no idea of and then putting them before us as a gift of love. Did God answer her financial need? He sure did. And, in the process she is meeting new people and sharing the good news. She was blessed and is now blessing others. Sometimes God gives us our hearts desire even when we haven’t thought to ask him for it. psalm 37.4

Why do I share these two stories? Because they both began and continued being bathed in prayer. If we are going to delight ourselves in the Lord, we must know Him, speak with Him, listen to His Word. Prayer is our part of the conversation; God’s Word is his part (along with wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit). Both of these women sought God’s will, not their own. They shared their desires of course, along with their needs but they ultimately trusted God with the outcome. God always delivers – just what we NEED, and just WHEN we need it.

Mark 11:24 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

So, my friends. Don’t be afraid to dream big. Our God is able!

Matthew 19:26 “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”