From the desk of Steve Shultz:
Cindy McGill is a dear friend and is the real deal, meaning she "walks the talk" in her own life. Cindy shares a great word of "going through the process..." so that we can be the great influencers God is preparing us to be. How many know it's not a "cake walk" going through the process? But there are great results in it...read on!
A Survival Guide for These Trying Times
I think it's safe to say that we are in some of the most trying times we have seen in a long time. Whether it's financial, emotional, spiritual, physical or more, these times are defiantly stretching us. We are in process. Grabbing on to the Rock, Christ Jesus, we are finding our strength, wisdom, understanding, increased faith and ability to get through the storm. The design from Heaven is serving to cause us to be redefined for the days ahead. God has started the work and He has promised to finish it.
Understanding the Process
If we can understand "why we are going through what we are going through," we can get through it. Every prophecy or promise God has made to us about our lives will endure a measure of testing. Nothing gets stronger or proven unless the fire is put to it, driving out the impurities. Increased responsibility demands increased preparation.
All throughout Scripture we see God's preparation process for those He purposed to use in places of great influence. The work has been started by God and He has promised to complete it. Sometimes we actually get what I call a "Holy Ghost anesthetic" for times when things are being rooted out of our lives to give us greater effectiveness in the days to come. This "anesthetic" is a comforting presence from God in the process of change and refinement.
God is getting us ready for places He has prepared for us and this refining process will serve to strengthen our character and produce an unshakeable resolve to remain faithful to the Lord in the days ahead. We are truly learning to do things God's way. Forgiveness, overcoming evil with good, continued seeking, asking and knocking, which produces greater persistence in faith, are just a part of our preparation process for the future.
Re-Examine Our Citizenship
Our citizenship is in Heaven and our value system is there. When we can secure ourselves in pursuing the Kingdom of God, then the trials of this world won't take us down. We can then look to the mountain where our help comes from and keep our emotions (our soul) from entering into hopelessness, despair and depression. Where our affections are is where our heart is.
Philippians 4:8 says to think on things that are lovely, pure, honorable, noble and of good report. We are learning to bring our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. In this Kingdom there is privilege: miracles, healings, the ability to see things clearly, protection from evil, strength that comes from joy and so much more. We can visualize ourselves seated in heavenly places, seeing things from that perspective. From that position, we get an accurate assessment of what is really going on.
Sacrifices Bring Blessings
Here are a few ways we can participate sacrificially:
• Sacrifices of Praise. When things seem the darkest, the very last thing we feel like doing is praising, yet praise is a powerful weapon of warfare that displaces strongholds and principalities in high places. The devil won't enter into praise times with you. Sacrificial praise is faith-based, praising God for answers to things we haven't seen yet. It's for His undying love and protection for us, for His mercy, for His kindness, for the truth that sets us free, for His power and strength whether we feel it or not.
Praise ushers in the presence of God into our situation. Praise changes the atmosphere and realigns our spirits with His, the Spirit of Truth. Praise lifts our souls up out of hopelessness and reinforces our confidence in God's plan. Praise is a major focus adjuster. When we concentrate on praising God, other distractions can't take our attention.
• Sacrificial Giving. Giving is a Kingdom principle. Consider the widow's mite in Luke 21. As the rich gave out of their wealth, the widow gave out of her need. Jesus considered what she gave to be the greatest gift. We cannot out-give God. If we don't give in lean times, we won't give in prosperous times. That's a fact. Sacrificial giving is a test. I believe God is looking for those who won't hoard and will give when the times are hard. These are the ones true wealth can be entrusted to in the days to come.
The widow at Zarephath in 1 Kings 17 was faced with this challenge. As she perceived that she and her son would certainly face their last meal, Elijah asked for the first offering of food. I'm sure this must have taken this widow by surprise, but in obedience to Elijah's direction, she made him a cake, and that act of obedience to Elijah's word secured her provision. The jar of flour and oil did not run dry again. In this time of testing during lean financial times, God is looking for those who will give above and beyond, and He will bless above and beyond.
• Sacrificial Acts of Kindness. Spontaneous acts of kindness bring great delight to the heart of God. It is His very nature. When we can take our eyes off of ourselves and look to assist others in a time of need, we will find depression far behind us.
I read a story years ago about a nun who was dying in the hospital with a fatal blood disease. But her life had been one of giving to others and it didn't stop, even as she was confined to her bed in pain, which was described to be excruciating. Doctors, nurses, hospital staff and even other patients were drawn to her room as she would pray for them for healing of their sicknesses, their families and their needs. The atmosphere in her hospital room was thick with the presence and glory of God. Sometimes people would just sit in her room while she slept because of God's presence that was with her. As a result of her sacrificial love and kindness, many, many people received Jesus and discovered Love that knows no limits or boundaries.
Pressing on to Greatness
A great spiritual awakening is beginning to take place. Our directions are simple. Micah 6:8 says that three things are required of us by the Lord: to do the right thing, to love mercy and to walk in humility. The battle belongs to the Lord. He will fight for us when we put Him ahead of us. Encourage each other at the beginning of each conversation. Stir each other up to love and good works. Love always thinks the best first. Rest and stay in peace. Focus on God and not on the news and current events. God REALLY is in control. When we can learn to have power under control, then we will inherit the earth. There are great things and greater things ahead for us.
Go through the process, maintain your focus and God will bring us out into a broad place where His glory will be seen all over the earth.
Hope for the Harvest