Mar 16, 2015

Stepping away...

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This past weekend I had the absolute pleasure of visiting The Cove in Asheville, North Carolina. If you are not familiar, it is a spiritual training and retreat center that Billy Graham developed years ago.

Words cannot describe the Presence of God that was wafting through the cool mountain air. The second we pulled into the gate, His Presence overwhelmed me.

I had been looking forward to this trip my mom and my sister since my sister told me about it back in January. It was her birthday gift to me. Her love language is gifts...can you tell? She is amazing.

We had the pleasure of watching the band Selah perform. If you have never heard of this group, google them now for heaven's sakes. You are missing out in a big way. No, you are missing out in a HUGE way.

However, it wasn't the band that moved my soul. It wasn't the incredible food, the wonderful staff, or even the perfect company.

It was the Presence of God that moved my soul. God was Present in every conceivable aspect of this trip.

He is always Present. There are moments, though, when your eyes are opened to Him more. The distractions of daily life pull us away most days and we miss out on seeing Him, feeling Him, and hearing Him.

Not this trip.

My eyes were wide open to Him. My spirit was in a drought and in need of refreshment.

The day after the concert, we went shopping in Asheville. Yes, we had to find a mall. It's just not a proper girl's trip without a shopping trip. At least that's our motto.

My sister and I decided we wanted to play at the makeup counter at Belk. We both received make-overs and met two precious people.

God allowed us to talk to them about Jesus and share the Hope of Christ. Their hearts were open and receiving and it was a beautiful moment. Right there at the Bobbi Brown make-up counter we experienced the Grace of God.

I have always loved makeup, and now I love it even more because of this moment. [I knew God loved makeup too!!]

He showed me that He is bigger. Bigger than my fears. Bigger than my lack of ability. Bigger than my flesh that wants to remind me that I have a big mouth that needs to stay shut because I talk too much about Jesus.

He showed me that even in the things that I would have never looked for Him in, like make-up, He is there.

An opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus is always available when our eyes are opened.

Something changed me that day. I am not quite sure yet what it is, but I am praying for God to peel my eyes open every single day for opportunities.

One of the friends we were able to talk to about Jesus loved music. He told me that he loves to sing and that he feels God through music.

I just about burst into tears.

In my purse, I had purchased a Selah CD from the night before. It was even signed by the band.

There was no hesitation, I knew what God was asking.

I gave it to my new friend, Mario.

In turn, my sister gave her signed CD to Courtney, our other new friend.

I don't know if we will ever see Mario again here on Earth, but I do believe we will meet again.

Meeting Mario that day taught me about grace. The Grace of Jesus that covers all sins and all wrongs. The Grace that is hard to wrap our minds around because we just don't understand it. We cannot rationalize His Grace. It doesn't make sense to our "law craving" minds.

We want to shut ourselves off from those that we don't understand, or don't agree with at times.

Then, we get a glimpse of His Grace. Oh my, it will knock your socks off.


His greatest act of grace is the gift of salvation that is available for all people through faith. Ephesians 2:8-9

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. Romans 6:14

There are so many things that I want to talk to God about regarding this past weekend. My mind needs answers to some questions. I need clarity on some things.

However, trusting Him with the details is all I need to do.

Trusting Him with the rest of the story.

I really want the chance to soak in what He is teaching me. The things He has opened my eyes to these past few weeks.

Will you pray with me as I take a break from writing for a bit?

My soul is stirred for a world that is beyond lost. My stomach churns and turns for those in our midst that have no idea the Hope of Jesus.

Many around us are walking around DEAD. Dead in their sin. Dead in their souls.

Jesus didn't come to make bad people good, He came to bring the dead back to life.

We are a part of His plan! Yes, us. You and me.

He is in the very midst of our moments.

Can we shake off the dust that has settled on our hearts and our spirits? Can we wake up and see world that needs a Savior? A dying world needs a LIVING God.

It is just not enough that we live a comfortable little life. We must RISE up and and free ourselves from the chains of complacency, lack of compassion, lack of love, and lack of grace for our fellow brothers and sisters.

Jesus came to heal the sick, not the well.

We must look for the sick around us. The broken. The lost. The destitute. The rich, the poor, the average. We are ALL in need of a Savior. Every last one of us.

One day, "the Lord will bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God." Isaiah 52:10

What if we introduced those in our midst to the salvation of God before this time comes? What if we chose to open our eyes and seek out the lost before it is too late for them?

Let me just get one thing really straight. I am not an expert at leading the lost. In fact, I get shaky just thinking about it. I feel insecure, unequipped scared at times.

But! I remember this scripture when I want to back away, forget, and turn my eyes away from a soul in need of Jesus.

Isaiah 52:7-10

How beautiful on the mountains
    are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
    who bring good tidings,
    who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
    “Your God reigns!”
Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices;
    together they shout for joy.
When the Lord returns to Zion,
    they will see it with their own eyes.
 Burst into songs of joy together,
    you ruins of Jerusalem,
for the Lord has comforted his people,
    he has redeemed Jerusalem.
The Lord will lay bare his holy arm
    in the sight of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth will see

    the salvation of our God.


Let's be the ones bringing the good news of Christ, shall we?

Let's point the way to Jesus for all that we encounter. 

It is not easy. No one ever said it would be. 

However, the good news is that God will do the rest. 

We just have to choose to obey, step out, and speak. He will take care of the rest of the story. 

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" Philippians 4:13

Shew. That's good to know. 

So, where do we start?

Let's pray. And pray some more. 

We must be equipped with prayer before we take another step. 

Then, we run. 

Run to wherever He sends us. 



stepping away to pray,


jill

Angela, Mario, and me.