Friday, June 24, 2011

A Song In Our Heart

(update-we put the song on youtube because some browsers weren't allowing it to be shown-thanks for listening to it-it's at the end of the post)
If we are friends on FB then you can probably see that life has been a bit busy lately. It was such a blessing to go to Hungary and Portugal for some women's conferences. Lots of preparation and prayer, and the Lord truly blessed our times together. Praise Him for His faithfulness.

The topic was the same for both conferences 'Let us not grow weary in doing good for in due season we will reap if we faint not' Galatians 6:9. It was really a labor of prayer for the right verse. For quite some time I was struggling with different themes like "How Does Your Garden Grow" etc, but we knew it had to be a scripture and not just a title. The verse in Galatians was perfect. Once again, I am convinced that God only chooses to use me to do such things because it is the only way I will study what He wants to teach me. Inside I knew that I was at the point of fainting but kept trying on the outside to stand up straight. We used an image for the conference that was quite depictive of how many of us were feeling.

She has that look about her that is all too familiar. Faced with a field to plow and sometimes feeling like she has to plow it all by herself can easily make you exhausted.

God taught me a lot through these conferences. In Hungary, I taught on Preparing the Soil and then Reaping the Harvest. My friend Leona came from SB and taught on Planting the Seed. In Portugal, Maria taught on Preparing the Soil, Leona taught Planting the Seed and I taught Reaping the Harvest.
It was challenging to prepare for 2 studies but the things I learned from it were so good. I enjoyed all I learned about plowing and soil and how it applies to the work we are doing here in Padova. The Harvest teaching was challenging in some ways because at first I thought to talk only about the benefits of reaping-the joy of reaping and how all the hard work pays off. But, as the Lord often does, He takes us in a direction that is needed not only for those listening, but for those doing the studying. We did talk about the joys of harvest time, but we spent a good amount of time being encouraged that often times we do plow properly, we work hard planting, watering and tending and yet the harvest is not seen. How storms come and destroy the crop, how easily it is to want to faint-to give up because there is nothing to show for all the hard work. One interesting thing the Lord showed me is how we can go about hearing and saying things in our Christian life that simply isn't in the Bible. How many times I have heard in the past years that there is going to be a big revival before Jesus returns. Actually, in the Bible it says that people will turn away from the truth, they will turn away from the pure Word of God and head to places where their ears can be itched. As sad as this is, and it is very sad indeed, we are so shocked to find this turning away of the truth. We put pressure on ourselves to get more people into the church and yet we cannot say with one breath that we are in the last days and yet with another that we expect many to come to saving faith. Yes, with God all things are possible and yes, we desire that many more will be saved-but there is no guarantee. Peoples' hearts are growing colder and colder. Even those we once ministered with have chosen to go astray and enjoy their new found "liberties". So much compromise goes on nowadays and it is very grieving to watch. Let us remember that Jesus never watered down the truth-He never compromised the truth. I love the passage of Jesus talking to the rich young ruler-I use this example a lot. He told the man what he needed to do to be saved and the man walked away. The truth wasn't changed or compromised because Jesus felt sad for the man. We need to keep our sentiments in check.

What is due season? It is God's season-His timing. We must hold fast to knowing and trusting that He sees, He knows all that we do in His Name. I was reminded that a new fruit tree doesn't bear fruit in the first couple years. But that doesn't mean that something isn't being produced in the tree. The same is true in building the church. It takes time and it's not usually our timetable.

For the past six months or so we have been so frustrated, sad, and exasperated. We had our new building and just figured that the people who didn't like Saturday nights would be thrilled to come back and join us Sunday mornings. What a let down!! What an enormous let down! We had really placed our hope in that. I can't even explain in words what was going through our minds at the time. We felt like complete failures and that is not an exaggeration.

God has been the lifter of our heads. He has brought some sweet people into our lives and into the church. We are so thankful for the young couples who are now coming along side the work here and have gifts of worship, evangelism and other things. They were the answer to a fleece that Jim had put out before the Lord a year ago. God is faithful to answer us even when we sense the need to be like Gideon and put out the fleece.

We are not hip, we don't have any flair about us and we have nothing but Jesus to offer people. Preach the pure Word, be an example, hold fast to what you have learned, don't compromise for the sake of getting people in the door. Remember the church of Ephesus. It was a thriving church at one time....there is no church in Ephesus any more. The apostle Paul himself pastored there!!! Do I want to sound depressing? Absolutely not!!!! Do we just throw our hands up and say 'oh well'? Of course not!! We remain steadfast in prayer, praying always for the lost, for people to come to a saving knowledge of Christ, seeing how to best use the gifts and resources God has provided. But, there is a reality in all of this. There is a sad reality that hearts will grow colder and colder as we draw nearer and nearer to the last days. Let us not be shocked by this! Grieved yes, shocked no!! Sadly, this is the truth!!! Therefore, we must encourage one another to stay true to the course. Will we start to lose friends? I imagine so-but we will gain more and more of Christ and after all, isn't that what it is all about?

In the midst of trials and questions, God puts a song in our heart. Not too long ago I was singing a chorus of praise to the Lord and decided to share it with Jim. We put the words down on paper and he added to the words and put a sweet melody to it. The verse in Habakkuk is one of my favorites for ministry. For me it is about trusting God when nothing seems to be happening. The second verse is meaningful for Jim as it was the verses God gave him in his very early Christian days when all he loved at the time had walked out on him. The third verse is the hope we all have. We have the brokeness, the sacrifice and the eternal hope of glory. This my friends we must never lose sight of. If there is nothing else we can do, we must encourage one another in this truth.

This is just the real rough draft of the song so bear with us :) Jim is still working on some things and we want to have some of the gals we know join in with their beautiful voices. It's a bit long so hang on-he's still working on speeding it up a bit.

Hope you enjoy it!