Words have power. Written words provide proof. You can read them, and reread them whenever you want. They can speak life to someone who needs encouragement. They can speak death to someone who is being deceived. The choice lies within you. How is it that you want people to remember you? Encourager...that is the gift that God has laid on my heart. To use my written, spoken, and/or sung words to lift people up. To be one link in their road to healing, restoration, joy. I have been without those things, and I claim them to be mine again. If you want me to seek God on a prayer for a specific situation...that is why I am here. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to pray God's Word of Life over you.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Moment with Max (Day FIFTEEN-30 Day Challenge)

Have you ever found a person who loves you enough to passionately and fervently pray for abundant blessings for you? To pray fervently...what does that look like? What does it even mean? Don't worry...I looked it up for you. (Thanks goodness for dictionary apps! Lol!) To pray fervently is to pray with zeal. And to pray with zeal is to pray with "enthusiastic devotion to a cause or goal and to be tirelessly diligent in its advancing." Do you have a friend like that? Or a group of friends? A family? A spouse? Or maybe the better question...

Are YOU a person with a prayer life like that? Do you give God your requests? Do you tell Him about your day? Do you praise Him with enthusiasm because of what you've been through? Do you pray for blessings...like for real blessings...on those who are in your life? You can't live solely off the prayers of those around you...but combine your fervent prayers with one another's. Pray in unity. Pray with passion. Pray with compassion. Pray blessings on those easy to love AND on those who seem to be going out of their way to make it impossible. 

"Love must.be.sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another ABOVE yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving The Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, FAITHFUL in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse." Romans 12:9-14 (emphasis added by yours truly)

Those verses above have so many key words that I see as vital to living a life that looks like Christ is actively IN it. I would love for you to get out your favorite Bible right now and underline or circle anything I have italicized. But just as I wrote about the other day...knowing, is not enough. It never has been. I imagine it is almost frustrating to God. He finely gets through to us. He gives us divine revelation...and we ignore. He inspires words that have the ability to set us free...and we stay devastated in our self-constructed prison of comfort. Wait a minute. Hold.the.phone. When was prison ever designed to be about comfort?! Prison is punishment. And we are freed from the things that once held us captive, in Jesus Name! So WHY STAY THERE?

How many times have you read this passage of the Bible? How many times have you let it go in and not committed and not commanded that it change you?! How many times will it take? I pray that THIS is the time when you refuse to stay in the prison of comfort that leaves you less than God desires for you to be. Every time you've read it before was planting that seed that got ripped out by the enemy in a fleeting thought. Or it got choked out by the weeds that he immediately planted. I do not believe in coincidence. I believe that all things are done with intent. Intentionally commit, this day, to reading these verses until you see yourself actively LIVING THEM!

Let's go back now, to finding out what a 'for real' blessing is. What constitutes a blessing? They can come in so many sizes and forms, that I couldn't possibly give you a list. What I can tell you...and what I absolutely LOVE...is that blessings from God are incredibly specific. There have been times when Go-Gurt and a bag of apples brought me to tears because it was a timely blessing from God. Or socks, underwear and shoes. You see those things as a necessity maybe. You may say that God simply took care of my children's 'needs'. That is your perspective. That is your choice. But I will tell you that my kids already had many pairs of socks, shoes and underwear. But they didn't have new. I did not say they needed new...but I wanted them to have new. So I simply told God. I did not beg. I did not pray for God to provide...but He did. Blessed.

I just spent two days being blessed by God in many forms. Whether it was a simple cup of hot coffee or a slice of cheesecake...I knew that these were the blessings that had been prayed for and prophesied. You see I received a text a few weeks ago that proclaimed that God had abundant blessings coming my way. I waited with anticipation. Not anxious...but instead excited to see what God had in store. What would He choose this time?

God kept blessing. Through words of encouragement. Through songs of worship that spoke straight to my circumstance. Through snacks and meals. Each one leaving me more grateful than the one before. And then. Then, He chose a blessing that still leaves me in tears when I think of it. It was evident that God had a plan yesterday morning. It was an incredibly specific blessing that left me almost speechless....but definitely in AWE OF MY GOD!

Yesterday when I woke to write; I was so sleepy. I had laid my head down less than five hours before my alarm dared wake me up. My iPad screen was sooo SOOOOOO bright in the absolute darkness of my hotel room. (It was like trying to open my eyes up really wide while going through a brightly lit tunnel late at night. If you are picturing that in your head right now...you should be laughing. It really is one of the funniest things to me!) That is what I looked like when I began yesterday's post. I couldn't even write for several minutes because I had to adjust. I made coffee...and now I was already starting behind. Gahhh! 

I wrote until it was my turn for the shower. After I was all fancied up and beautified for the day...it was time to pack up and leave for breakfast. We decided to go to the hotel's restaurant so that I could finish my writing while I still had access to wifi. Then we saw the line for breakfast. Ugh. 

Change in plans. 

We went back to the room so I could quickly finish...and hit publish. Ahhh done! We loaded up and headed down the street to the parking garage to drop off our luggage. There was a small dispute as to which way we should go from the garage. Go back the way we came and are more familiar with in this city we don't KNOW, or go a different way that appeared like it could be right. 

We chose the more familiar path.

That path would lead us right by a Tim Horton's so we could hopefully get some breakfast and coffee! But we later found out we weren't the only ones with that idea. As we are walking towards this line of women that was reaching out past the sidewalk and to the edge of the street...I noticed someone walking towards the us. He was alone and there was something familiar about Him. The three ladies that were walking with me across this bridge all had their own idea about this man. One of the girls thought that possibly this was a state senator walking towards us because he was dressed in a blazer on a Saturday morning. Another also noticed his blazer and his shoes...he had nice shoes she thought to herself. The third was saying in her head...'Vanesa why are you walking up to that man. Stop. What are you thinking?!'

But I knew exactly who this man was who was approaching us. This man will never know that his desire for a 'cup of Timmy's'...was God's fulfillment of abundant blessings to me. I walked over to him like a crazy stalker and said, "You are Max Lucado." He responded, "Yes I am."

Do you see how many things had to go just as they did for that moment to happen? The timing had to be just as it was.
Had we eaten in the hotel...I would not have met him.
Had we taken the other route to the convention center...I would not have met him.
Had he not wanted a cup of Tim Horton's coffee...I would not have met him.
Had there not been a massive line of women that prevented him from that coffee...I would not have met him. (Thank you...every single caffeine obsessed woman who prevented him from his cup of Timmy's. SERIOUSLY...thank YOU!!)
I am in puddles (of tears) at how far God went out of His way to show me that He loves me. So much that He blessed me in a way sooo specific...I can't help but sit in awe.

Max was born into this world just as we were. His choice to follow Christ boldly and confidently, to where ever God leads, is what has gotten him where he is. God has blessed Max abundantly in his ability to connect with people with his style of writing. God requires much of him because of all that He has entrusted within the heart of Max. 

I don't see Max as an unreal icon. I don't place him on a pedestal or shrine. I don't make him out to be an idol that I worship. I was not star struck because of his accomplishments. 

I WAS in awe of my God. I WAS thankful because...

I was there in January of 2001, when I sat alone on a plane, terrified of what God was going to require of me. I wanted God's will for my life. I knew I had to cling to His will. But I had no idea what it was going to look like. I had to fight to want to know and follow that will. I had to be willing to pray...'God I'm ready to know. I'm scared...but I'm ready. I will follow you where ever you lead and flee from whatever you steer me away from.' 

I was there when I first opened the cover of devotional about God's love...written by Max Lucado.

I was there when my tears fell at the revelations God was placing over lies I'd believed for years.

I was there when my fear of God's will, transitioned to faith, in the living room of my aunt's house in Colorado Springs.

I was there when I had the conversation that I had once been terrified of. The conversation that, for the first time proved to me, that I really would do anything required...to be right smack in the middle of God's will.

I was there when God gave me back the desires of my heart because of my obedience during that time of tremendous growth, in doing the devotional written by this man of God Max. 

I was there in December of 2001, when I held my lifeless 11 week old son in my my hand.

I was there when I faced disappointment after disappointment and needed to know that I KNEW God loved me even when I couldn't feel it.

This devotional, Embraced by God, was a life changer. Not only for me...but for my husband. He gave up a girlfriend in fear for that month back in 2001...and got back a wife with a heart seeking God's character. This devotional was the transition in my passion to write. I finally had purpose to write. Eternal purpose. I don't think I fully understand the will and the path that God has set before me. But I welcome it. I walk in it by faith. I know that God sees where I am and where I end up...and I trust His heart to guide mine. 

I pray this post somehow reaches the desk of Pastor Max Lucado. And when it does...
- I want you to know, Pastor Lucado, that your time with me was God ordained...and such an abundant blessing to me. I was speechless then...but I am clearly not at all now. If there was ever any one person I would want to thank in this world, and wouldn't know how to...it would be you Max Lucado. I was just one of the hearts that you were fighting for when you tried countless times to enter into this world an author. And once you did...the true Author of your words was intensely evident! Thank you for your continued obedience to write what the heart of God speaks. I am forever changed because God chose you to follow Him and you accepted. I will say just as you said to me on that bridge in Rochester, NY...'Keep writing!' This world craves audacious faith!

1 comment:

  1. My Dear Vanesa...this post was such a blessing. I admit it took me several days to finish it...only because I kept getting hung up on Romans 12:9-14...Still meditating on that and thinking about what it looks like in my life right now. Then there's Max. Wow, it brings me to tears God's ability to speak to our souls. Summer of 2012 we got to meet John Piper..he would be like our "Max." :) We tried to thank him..but mostly just cried because we couldn't even speak how thankful we were and how life changing his work was to us. I am so thankful for people like this who are obedient and passionate about doing what God has called them to do. I think you are of these "important" people too..even if you don't think it. Like we've talked about before.."words have life-giving power.'' Thank you for using yours for life, and not death.