When I was called to give the devotional, I immediately asked God to present a topic that would help me reveal how He has been at work in my life. What could I tell our church family about myself that you don’t already know? Let’s be honest. Most of you have known me since the day I was born and you already know more about my struggles and triumphs than I might want to imagine. You have witnessed my highs and lows and there isn’t a ton to reveal that would shock you. Many of you were probably here the day my parents got married and the day I was baptized. Right after that prayer for guidance a very dear friend of mine sent this video by Neale Walsch and I was completely touched with a tug in my heart and I knew I wanted to talk about YOU and the divine miracle that you are.
Deuteronomy 7:6-8 says, "For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt."
I have loved God my whole life but my journey was truly transformed when I began to put Him first, above all else. When I began to let go of so many of the selfish behaviors that crowded my heart there was room for Jesus to go to work….. To transform, change and mold me. I needed the Lord to bring me out with a mighty mighty hand. I have a cousin who attends this church and he has been my friend for a very long time; He may be shocked to know that he has had a huge impact on my spiritual life. I remember a time many years ago that I looked at him with judging ‘He’s a Bible beater’ eyes and could not comprehend his deep connection with Christ. I couldn’t fathom having that sort of relationship with Jesus. Sure I loved him but this guy had completely turned his life over to him and wasn’t that a little bit much? I wanted to stay in my surface comfort zone and believe that loving God was enough. I didn’t really want to do the work. I didn’t really believe I was his treasured possession. After years of struggling and making poor decisions and continuing to put myself first over and over and over, it finally clicked. I finally got beat with the Bible. I finally quit resisting and let the Holy Spirit flood into my life unabated. After much persistence, my life began to change. Nothing has been the same since. I began to feel like a chosen one. I began to believe I am his daughter. I began to know there is a higher purpose for me. I began to really understand those words in Esther 4:14 that say, “And who knows that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.” I began to believe I was put here to help fulfill His royal plan. When you give more and more to God, when you really really start to buy in, your eyes begin to see things in a new light. When you know Him more, your heart becomes more. New chambers open and there is a capacity within you that is more than you can imagine. I finally understood why my old friend had changed so much and why his life was and is such a blessing to God. Your spiritual depth and realm of influence strengthens and expands because you are living out His destiny for you. Let that soak in: He has a destiny designed just for you.
Ephesians 1:4-7 says “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
BUT it is not always perfect, peachy and rosey…..Even in this new improved Jesus loving skin, I still have times where my faith feels weak, when I feel my anointing has run dry. When I question the ways of this world and exactly what my purpose is. Empty and perhaps a bit alone. Over the past couple of months, I have experienced this drought. I have cried where are you God? I cannot hear you. I cannot feel you. It has been as if my faith has felt tossed into a very dark hole. There hasn’t been one specific event to cause this mindset but several things that have honestly made me believe our world is broken beyond repair. Where is the divinity? I believe most of you can relate to the issues of this world being very overwhelming and heavy at times. Children dying from cancer, mass shootings, suicide in our young people, mental illness, addiction, homelessness, divorce, sad, sad, hard things. It hurts my heart. I am a tender person when it comes to other people’s pain and I can get saturated in the sadness of it all. I can get down and out with what can feel like such brokenness in this world. Sometimes, it is enough to begin to lose sight of the glory, not only in this life, but in ourselves. With each difficult event we question; Who are we God? What is our purpose God? Where are you God? My 10 year old was telling me every friend at school that is sick right now. Chance had a fever during trick or treat. So and so has a bad cough. The list was long and at the end of it she shook her head and said, “So many people sick. Jesus take the wheel.” I can, at times, lose sight of who is behind the wheel. I can forget the miracle of this life that is going on around us every day and I begin to lose sight of the miracle I am intended to be. The joy of a little life kicking inside of me or a warm fire on a cold October evening or a beautiful Panhandle sunset or the hysterical things my kids say. Those tiny miracles and amazing blessings that swirl around us all the time can be so taken for granted. I am certainly guilty of it. The message by Neale Donald Walsche says, “There’s a purpose behind it. There’s a mechanism in place. There’s a process that’s being undertaken in life by life itself. That process is the process by which we as deliverers of this life, as those who are living into the experience, create the experience we are living into has a means of experiencing and expressing who we really are.” Each and every one of you sitting in this room is part of this process, part of this mechanism that God has in place. All of us are deliverers of life. Timothy 4:2 says: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season, whether the time is favorable or not; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” Timothy 4:2 teaches us to persist no matter what. Whether it is convenient or not, whether you feel like it or not, whether you can hear God or not, you must persist. Because you are the axis for this miracle of God’s plan. You are intended to be a miracle and you were put here for a purpose so specific, so ordained, so anointed that the rest of God’s idea for this earth revolves around you. You are such an enormous part of this process that this miracle of life cannot go on in the same way without you. You are crucial to His plan. You are divine.
I have found a deeper layer in my heart for Christ but I am still working on the persistence part among other things (many things). I believe we will continue to grow in persistence every day for all of our days, because that’s what life is: an ebb and flow of triumphs and trials. Pushing your faith in the hard times can be so challenging and I am learning that you must do exactly that: PUSH. FIGHT. Never give up. Stay in the word, serve, pray, hit your knees with gratitude whether the time is favorable or not. Lean on your brothers and sisters in Christ when your faith needs pushing. My cousin Ryan, my husband and family, this church, the altar where I have received communion for over thirty years, the bell my son now rings on Sundays at noon, the faces of each and every one of you are a critical part of my persistence. Our church family is so important, those who have witnessed the good, the bad and the beautiful contribute to our lasting faith. We fuel one another with faith and fellowship and familiarity (fu mill yarity). We are all integral to God’s plan and purpose and when this world is chaotic and crazy is when we need to persist alongside one another the most. We must remind each other:
When the anointing has run completely dry. Persist.
When it seems you have been walking in the wrong direction towards your purpose. Persist.
When you feel uninspired and God feels far away. Persist.
When your faith shows no results. Persist.
When your obedience has not paid off. Persist.
When your prayers seem like they echo out into the abyss. Persist.
When your bones feel dead-and so does the word. Persist.
When your heart feels empty and your soul feels lost. Persist.
Let Jesus take the wheel, He is on his way. Your anointing has not run dry. You are walking in the right direction no matter how curvy the path might seem. Your inspiration will find you again. The results of your faith will soon sprout from the fallow ground. Just a little more rain. Just a little more sunshine. Your obedience will pay off. You have not wasted a single breath to prayer. There is still life in your bones, and child of God, there is still life in His Word. Persist. Be Divine. Live the purpose that was set out for you. First Peter 2:9-10 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Your heart will be filled. Your soul will be found because you are God’s greatest and most divine miracle.