Last Tuesday was a super exciting day for me. It was my first day to minister to the ladies in the Carroll County jail. I had planned all day for it. I had just met the ladies the previous Tuesday and told them a little bit about myself and explained that I would be coming on Tuesday’s at 5:00pm to minister to them. They were thrilled and couldn’t wait for the day to arrive.
Three ladies told me they were sad that they would only get to be in the service one time because they were getting out next Wednesday. Knowing this made me even more excited to get there and share Jesus with them before they were released. Celebrate Recovery—which is also an amazing ministry—comes in on Tuesday nights at 6:30pm. But for some odd reason, I got it all mixed up and started thinking my time was 6:00pm. I knew it would take almost an hour to get there, so I left at 5:00pm thinking I had plenty of time.
I was halfway to the jail when I looked at my clock and saw that it was 5:35pm. All of a sudden it hit me! I was supposed to be at the jail at 5:00pm! I could not believe I had messed this up. What would the ladies think? They were sure to think I just decided I didn’t want to come. And, what about those ladies who were getting out this Wednesday? I wouldn’t get even one chance to share Jesus with them now!
I literally felt sick! How could I have made such a mistake? I was in tears at this point. I was so disappointed. I had been looking forward to this for a whole week, and I had blown it! I thought, “I might as well turn around and go home. I’ll call the jail and tell them to apologize to the ladies and tell them I will be there next Tuesday.”
As I was looking for a place to turn around, I heard the sweet voice of the Holy Spirit. He simply whispered to me, “Do not turn the car around. Keep going! Celebrate Recovery is going to cancel.” I admit, I was taken by surprise. I also found it very unlikely that Celebrate Recovery would cancel. They are very structured, and very faithful. Still, I could not make myself turn my car around and go home.
As I continued driving, I reasoned the very least I could do was show up and personally tell the ladies I was sorry for mixing up the time. I walked into the jail at 6:00pm, apologized to the man at the desk for being late, only to find out that just minutes ago, Celebrate Recovery cancelled! I asked if I could have their spot just this once, and they agreed. I was totally amazed that God would amend my mistake and keep the door of opportunity open, until…
About forty ladies were saved in our service. All three ladies that were getting out on Wednesday were saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues! The service lasted 2 and a half hours, and no one wanted to leave! I realized then, that God had this day planned from the beginning of time. Each of those ladies were and are precious to Him.
I am so thankful that when we make goofy mistakes, God’s will still prevails. He knew long before I did, that I would get the time wrong. He knew those three ladies needed a special touch from Him, and He made a way where there seemed to be no way. That’s the God we serve. Even when it looks impossible, we must keep going!
My family and I just enjoyed a quick vacation in the Smoky Mountains. It’s always great to spend time together as a family and take a break from everyday life. I’m still sore from hiking up the mountains, but I’ll eventually recover—-hopefully.
I love the Smoky Mountains. It’s one of my favorite places in the world. The beauty always inspires me to write something. This time, however, my inspiration didn’t come from the beautiful mountain setting, but from a touristy museum on the Gatlinburg strip.
Though we have visited it many times before, the museum had been completely remodeled. So we decided to check it out and see what was new.
Amongst all the shrunken heads and other oddities, we soon came upon a display of several different gods. There were ancient African gods, Buddha, and several others that I had no interest in. Later, one of my daughters and I were talking about the museum, and she sarcastically said, “I guess they couldn’t put anything about Our God in there, because He’s too offensive.”
I said, “You are right, many people are offended by Jesus--the One True God--but the biggest reason He’s not in there is because the museum is full of dead things. We serve the Living God, and you can’t place a Living God in a museum full of dead gods and other oddities. Only dead things belong there.”
I wonder how many times we tend to forget that we serve a Living God? We don’t have to rub a statue's belly for false promises of good luck or fortune, because the Living God cannot be carved out of wood or stone. He is ALIVE. He listens and speaks to us. He is with us and lives within us as Christians.
We don’t go to a museum to learn about Him, we have His Living Word—The Holy Bible—to teach us about Him. Even the Bible is alive and active! [Hebrews 4:12] His Word is unchanging, yet it still speaks into our modern everyday situations. Even the very absence of Our God in that museum attests to the fact that Our God is different. He is ALIVE. He is REAL.
I once heard the story of a man who told a preacher, “I don’t believe in your God, because I can’t go to his grave and find his body buried there. But, I can find Buddha’s grave and many other gods’ burial sites with their remains in them.”
The preacher looked at the man and said, “You will never find Jesus in a grave or a tomb because He AROSE. He is no longer dead, but RISEN and sits at the right hand of the Father!”
Some of you today might just need the reminder that we don’t serve a dead God. He is ALIVE. No matter what you are facing today He is listening. And He is fully able to do whatever we ask of Him. Nothing is impossible for Our Living God!
"But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and eternal King. The earth quakes at His wrath, and the nations cannot endure His indignation.” Jeremiah 10:10
I’m not going to lie. The swing in the picture above scares me to death. I could never see myself doing that in a million years. I am not a fan of heights. I see no purpose in doing that sort of thing because I’m just not that kind of thrill seeker. My fear of heights keeps my feet planted firmly on the ground for the most part. (But I love to fly, imagine that?)
I have other fears as well. Fear isn’t always bad. Fear keeps us grounded. It prevents us from doing a lot of crazy things that might not turn out too well. Our job is to understand when fear is a good thing, and when it has been sent to keep us in our place when we should be doing the thing.
For instance, there are a lot of roller coasters that I will never take a ride on. I think there's a very good possibility of me having a heart attack if I did. I see no benefit in putting myself through that kind of stress. It would be much better for me to keep my feet on the ground.
But sometimes God asks us to do things that are scary. And, often when He asks something of us fear comes in like a flood. Why? One word—Satan. When God begins to ask us to step out of our comfort zone, the enemy is quick to point out all the reasons why we shouldn’t. He knows that whatever we do for God will mess up his pathetic plans.
God often asks us to do things that we would never dream of doing. We are usually quick to point out why we are a bad choice for the task. We are afraid we will fail, or—oddly enough—maybe we’re afraid we will succeed. Either way, when we are walking closely to God we can count on Him to ask bigger things of us than we could imagine for ourselves.
Just recently I have felt like God has been dealing with me about going into another type of ministry. It literally scares me silly. I would be so far outside of my comfort zone I might be prone to have a panic attack. But, where is the fear coming from? Is it fear of others opinions? Is it fear of failure? Is it fear for my own personal well-being?
Sometimes if we can identify the actual source of the fear, we are better situated to deal with it. We can answer many of our fear related questions by referring to God’s Word.
“Obviously I am not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” Galatians 1:10 NLT
“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NLT
“The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Psalm 118:6 ESV
So, today I ask you—what scares you? And, what are you going to do about it?
Donna Sparks is an International Speaker and Evangelist. She is the Author of Beauty From Ashes: My Story of Grace, and, No Limits: Embracing the Miraculous.