- SHEILA RHODES
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Author Archives: Sheila Rhodes
And we are those human beings who can see beyond color, think beyond race and Love without boundaries.
“If we can learn to be led by the Holy Spirit in our everyday lives, in everything that we do…then everything we do is going to be full of life, it’s going to have an anointing on it. When God’s approval is on something, it’s so much better than when you’re trying to push something in the flesh, trying to make something happen because you had a plan in your mind.” -Joyce Meyer
I awoke this Monday morning knowing that it was my water aerobics class at the YMCA in only a few hours so I’d better get up, get dressed and get my attitude straight about driving clear across town to the “Y.” I NEEDED to be in attendance in that pool class and I knew it. It was what I thought would be the beginning of another typical day to a brand new week so the hours in my day needed to be carefully planned. Or, so I thought.
As I sped out of the driveway and out of our community with my gym bag thrown in the backseat of the car, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart in such a way that there was no denying it was Him. I kept clearly hearing His voice so specifically saying, “Go to Michael’s Craft Store in Conyers.” Of course, I tried talking myself out of what I was hearing. Sometimes, we try to talk ourselves out of what we are sensing and hearing from the Lord. I always want to make sure it’s the voice of God and not my own thoughts trying to lead me astray. I had other plans for my morning and going to Michael’s thirty minutes away from my house was definitely not on the agenda for today. However; the impression on my heart became so strong and so undeniable that there was nothing I could do but be obedient. So, I trusted whatever the reason I was to be in Michael’s in Conyers would be revealed once I arrived. I wanted to be obedient and trust the Lord. Perhaps, He wanted to teach me something once again in this Faith walk I’ve had for nearly forty years now. I knew that if God wanted to bless me or someone else through me the only way this would happen today was to be obedient to that still small voice that kept whispering in my heart and letting me know where I needed to be.
After driving thirty minutes to Michael’s Craft Store, I’m wondering what on earth am I doing in this place as I strolled up and down the aisles. There wasn’t one thing in this store that I needed. The place had only been open for about fifteen minutes with only a handful of customers visible. I was just about to leave when I saw some brightly colored jewelry from the corner of my eye. I ventured over to the back aisle in the corner of the store to admire all the beautiful bracelets and kept thinking, “There is absolutely nothing I need so why am I here? “Did I mistake your voice this morning to my heart Holy Spirit?” All of a sudden a beautiful soft spoken middle aged African American lady that I’ve never seen before looked up at me and started complimenting the way I was dressed and the color of my hair. There was something about her countenance, the way she spoke and her kind loving spirit that caught my attention and drew me towards her. I stopped and quickly thanked her to let her know the kind words had just made my day. She smiled and her eyes lightened up as she looked in my eyes and said, “We Are Not Divided.” At that instant I looked in her face overcome with compassion as my eyes flooded with tears and replied, “ Oh No, we are not divided.” The voice of the Holy Spirit once again spoke to me and said, “Ask her if you can hug her and I will bring the healing that is needed.” Wow, Did He Ever! Here we were strangers in a Craft store but yet we both knew we were family. And, we both knew what God’s love was all about. Here we were … two different races, backgrounds, and upbringings but we knew we were ONE. We both held each other tightly for what seemed like endless time as the tears streamed down our faces. I spoke the words of life, hope and love over her life and let her know that we are indeed family even though our skins are of a different color. I shared we are both part of God’s family and His intention has been and always will be one of unity among the races and HIS desire that we live our lives in love towards one another.
What an experience for me and for this lady whom I probably will never see again. As we held one another she began to pray a blessing over my life and for my well being. She spoke prophetically over me in her prayer and I knew it. I told her I would make sure this encounter would be shared with others and that’s what I’m doing in writing this posting.
I can always recognize a God Encounter and a Divine Appointment. This morning was a “Divine Set Up” by God Himself. It was all part of the plan to bring healing to a people where the enemy so desires to divide a nation.
The solution is Christ in us wherever we find ourselves. This is how we sit at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood. I am reminded of an exhortation given this past Sunday morning by Dr. David Cooper at Mt. Paran Church in Atlanta. He said, “We have to live above the chaos of life and model the higher way.” So, I choose both!
Encouraging and affirming words—Words of life, as I like to call them—have the power to give hope and to strengthen others to keep growing in righteousness. And if I, a grown woman, need them to keep me going through hard times, my own children and grandchildren need them even more. Positive words act as water and sunshine to our souls to help them grow strong. Yet I have found that very few people really take the time to say those words that all of us, and especially our children and grandchildren, long to hear.
“I love and appreciate you!”
“Your friendship means a lot to me!”
“I believe in you and in what God is doing in your life!”
“You are special to the Lord and to me, and I am praying for you.”
Thinking good thoughts about someone doesn’t really bless that person. We have to take the initiative actually to say the words—in person, through a card or e-mail, or even through a phone call or text message.
As I look to the life of Jesus, I see that he constantly blessed people with his words. He often spoke encouragement and affirmation directly to those around him or affirmed them before others.
To the woman who had been hemorrhaging for twelve years, he said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well” (Matthew 9:22). Even as his touch healed her body, his encouraging words must have healed her heart.
As Mary of Bethany sat at Jesus’ feet, he spoke words to her sister that were obviously intended for her ears as well: “Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke10:42). How good those words of support must have felt after she had just been scolded for her poor manners and faulty hospitality.
In God’s Word, we see Jesus pronouncing his favor and appreciation to women who anointed him. Jesus truly had a spirit of appreciation, affirmation, and encouragement.
Jesus was especially careful to uplift and motivate his disciples with his words. From the beginning he spoke of their potential and their future, saying he would make them “fishers of men,” that they would do great wonders, that he loved them just as the Father loved them. And he spoke individual words of blessing they never forgot: “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona,” he said to Peter, “Because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matthew 16:17-18).
Even on the last night before his crucifixion, Jesus built up his disciples with words of love, encouragement, and hope. All through that Upper Room Discourse, he poured out words of love, strength, and comfort that would carry them through the painful days to come and through their lives of service to him.
Words Matter! They have the power mysteriously to enter our hearts and minds and lift us beyond the present moment into the presence of God himself. How important it is, then, that we mothers (grandmothers too), shepherds of our children’s lives and hearts, choose our words to them carefully. We must deliberately aim our words at their hearts in such a way as to give our children hope, faith, strength, and also to point them toward the redeeming love of Christ. They are watching, listening and learning from us in our unguarded moments. We can become the affirming voice of God to our children, just as we become a picture of his redeeming reality in their everyday lives. In this way we extend the gift of grace.
**A Declaration and Prophetic Prayer by Sheila Rhodes
EZEKIEL 37: 1-5 ~ The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley: and it was full of bones. And He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley: and lo, they were very dry. And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, Thou Knowest.” Again He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’ “Thus says the Lord God to these bones, ‘ Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life.’
There’s the SOUND OF REVIVAL coming forth from among God’s people! It’s an undeniable sound. It’s a sound coming forth from the heart and spirit to be revived again where the dry bones of life have turned to dust and are lying dormant. Breathe O Breath of God! Breathe O Breath of God … Breathe! The sound is a call to our “dry bones” to come alive. We prophecy to our dry bones and to our dead heart to come alive with God’s purpose and calling in our life. Cries are coming forth from the heart of God’s people and to the throne room – cries asking if lifeless things can possibly live again. Can Lifeless bodies battling diseases live again? Can Lifeless careers and destines come alive with meaningful purpose? Can Lifeless relationships not only survive but breathe life to those who are closely watching. Can Lifeless ministries and lifeless emotions come alive? Oh God, You and You alone can save us from a “lifeless” destiny and make us whole and alive in YOU. ONLY YOU GOD! By Your Spirit God…Only by Your Spirit!
“Holy Spirit breathe upon us with a fresh new anointing. Awaken our faith. With God ALL THINGS are possible…ALL THINGS! Restore the joy of salvation to Your people. You are the God of “NEW BEGINNINGS” and as we hear the Word of God it brings life so we can confidently call out to our dry bones and declare victory. We can prophecy to our “dry heart” to come alive again. And, as we call out to dry bones to live again, they will come together, come to life and stand up on their feet and declare there is NO DEFEAT. Life will come out of the ashes and come alive and live again! I prophecy to these “dead bones” and “dead hearts” to come alive once again!!!!!”
Below is the heart touching testimony of a precious lady I met from Ohio. The first time we met was two years ago at a church advance where my husband and I were ministering. My heart and spirit was immediately drawn to her as I felt God’s compassion stirring within me. This is her powerful heart touching testimony of God’s love, mercy, grace, healing and deliverance in the midst of a very traumatic life changing experience.
She writes ~ “I’ve been incredibly meditative today. I did something today that I have not done in “11” years; I took decorations off my Christmas tree… As I reflect on the significance of the simple act of putting up a Christmas trees this year; I am astonished.
I once wrote in my journal the year that my love, my husband, died that my grief was like an ocean and I was tossed by the waves, and lost in an endless horizon. That my sorrow holds, surrounds, penetrates and engulfs me, keeping me, aimlessly floating, sinking and surfacing in a storm that seemed impossible to survive, and that I could only hold tight to Jesus like one clings to a life raft as she watches the ship called “her life”… sink below the tempest waves. This Christmas, I felt the last remains of the paralyzing grief that has so shrouded my life like a fog, ebbing away. Like when the tide recedes back into the ocean and a new shoreline is drawn on the beach. I am overwhelmed by the love of God, shown through others to me as I have struggled to find a new normal in the past 10 years. The tempest has slowly become calmer over the years and in 2015 no trace of the hurricane remained…
Although, the hurricane dissipated, it was not an easy year; I wrestled with God once again and was forced to face my fears. During the summer storm, God pulled up from the depths the ugly, mucky, dreadful ship wrecked emotions onto the beach. As I striped off the grief waterlogged mindsets and laid my naked soul before the Father, I found God ever faithful, always protective, continuously kind, eternally truthful, constantly loving, and perpetually forgiving. I lay on the beach soaking in the warmth of His light and love.
Today, I re-listened and re-read the prophecies that were spoken over my life in 2015; again I am overcome by the lavish love of God shown through others, Bonnie Hoover, Sheila Rhodes, Gary Hayes and a gentle man at the Graham Cooke conference. Four different people all gifted by God spoke over me and the common threads of all four were joy, serenity, restoration, contentment and God doing a new thing… in me, through me, and with me…
As I look back, I can see God was preparing me with a fresh gentle breeze that the Holy Spirit started for a direction changing wind in 2016. As I ready the bow lines, I have great anticipation for the new course that God has charted for me. I am readying my sails for a “new direction” in 2016 with fasting and prayer. As I begin the Daniel Fast tomorrow, I will deactivate my Facebook account. Feel free to contact me the old fashion way, with a phone call or ship to shore radio…
Praying that you will receive all the peace, joy, hope and love that the Father has waiting for you in 2016. You just need to adjust your sails to catch His Wind and realize you have always been surrounded by His lavish love!”
After 45 years in the workforce, it was time to change gears. I had always heard about the “Golden Years” of retirement, so why not enjoy them while I can. And that’s exactly what I did. I made a long list of projects that needed to be done around the house. I even created a “Bucket List” to start as soon as my retirement party was over. I finished every project on my list in the first six months! “Now whatcha’ gonna’ do?” I asked myself as I looked at my aging face and body in the mirror. A year later I came to a startling conclusion. I had put myself out to pasture and I was useless! Even my wife got bored and irritated with me. “You’re driving me crazy!” she scolded, “Why don’t you just go back to work again?!”
They never prepared me for this in seminary! I just boldly forged through life completely oblivious to the stark reality that ONE DAY my youth would be gone and I might be out of work! After 30 years of dedicated and faithful ministry as an associate pastor in a large local church, the unthinkable happened. The Senior Pastor fell into a horrific moral failure! Within a few weeks, it had become a public scandal that shook the church to its core. After a painfully long drawn-out publicized lawsuit, the people scattered and the church was on the verge of bankruptcy and total collapse. So there I was…62 years old…no church retirement funds… reputation stained by association…and looking for work! Who would hire me with that kind of resume?
The Bible never speaks of people being obsolete or useless. “Things” become obsolete, but not people (Luke 12:33; Heb. 1:11; 8:13). The idea of “retirement” (withdrawal from active working life) never existed until the late 1800s and Social Security wasn’t established until 1935. When God created humankind, He put them in the Garden to “WORK and care for it.” (Gen. 2:15). Obviously, the ravages of sin cause the body to deteriorate with age, but until we are physically or mentally unable to work, fulfilling endeavors are essential. But look what happens to the aging person who trusts in God: “They will still bear fruit in old age; they will stay fresh and green” (Ps. 92:12-15). “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you” (Is. 46:4). Now, read how an encounter with God can “Reinvent” you in the season of your later years.
Retirement sounded so good when I was strapping on carpenter tools and working 40-50 hours a week in construction. But now, retirement was just plain boring! I felt lifeless. Even going to church seemed mundane…until our pastor began a series on the Great Commission: “Go and Make Disciples of all Nations.” He said the Lord had awakened him in the night to reach the nations. He announced he would send ministry teams to preach the Gospel, bring medical assistance and build churches. Then he looked straight at me and said, “God is calling some of YOU to use your construction skills to build homes and churches for the work of the Lord.” My heart leaped and I felt chills go up my body. For the first time ever, I sensed God’s divine call. My life’s purpose had been “Reinvented” by Christ. I would spend the rest of my years working for His cause!
As my wife and I walked out the doors of the church for the last time, we glanced back at what “used to be.” It was over! Our hearts wept for the dear saints whose faith had been shaken by those tragic events. As we drove away, tears gathered in our eyes knowing our lives would never be the same. What would become of us and our ministry? Then in a flash, I sensed the energy of God stir within me. Yes, that local church was dead…but God’s Church in the world wasn’t! And neither were the calling and gifts He had placed on our lives. In the midst of defeat, I sensed a New Season of God dawning upon us. We weren’t finished…we had just begun! And now, in the “freedom” of this new season, God would cause us to become even more than we were before. And that, my dear friends, is how “Destiny Navigators” came into being. We had been given a new vision and a new life. That’s when we realized God had “Reinvented” us and our ministry!
Dan and I know that many of you have or are going through the heartbreak of caring for your aging parents as their health deteriorates. We were there for our parents, so we know how the Lord helped us walk through our grief. These are our stories.
Dad was always so strong, so wise and so present in my life. He was my hero, my role model and my stability as I grew up as boy. By watching his example, I learned how to think straight, treat my wife and be a father and a man. He was an Instructor Pilot during the WWII and Korean War eras training military pilots. Later he became an FAA inspector governing civilian pilots. When I was in High School, Dad taught me to fly and navigate a plane to reach its destination. That’s why it was so painful to see his aged body slowly deteriorating that he could no longer care for himself. Finally at nearly 91, cancer took away Dad’s dignity and his life. Near the end, I was forced to make decisions for him…as if I was his parent and he was my child!
Mother was truly the anchor, the heart and the stabilizing force for our family. She loved us more than life and made sure we were cared for in so many wonderful and heart-touching ways. All my domestic abilities, being sensitive to others, and maintaining a faithful heart towards my husband came from my mother’s example as I grew up as a little girl. Watching her health deteriorate as she aged and having to make decisions for her was so difficult. But my most heartbreaking decision was to move her to a facility near to her brothers and sisters where she could be properly cared for. She didn’t want to leave the little southern town where we lived. Every visit to North Carolina was heartrending. She looked like a little child left all alone!
The physical end of the aging process is devastating! We try to shove it out of our minds, but if we live long enough we’ll understand Solomon’s account in Eccles. 12…diminishing vision and hearing, unsteadiness, disorientation, fear and loss of mobility. Sadly, this is an ever-present reminder and reality of the tragic consequences of sin…even for the believer who is secure in Christ. So, what are adult children to do for faltering parents? Foremost, follow Jesus’ example to assure they’re properly cared for, either personally (John 19:26-27) or through skilled professionals. Make certain of their faith in the Savior. Always love and honor them showing patience regardless of their declining condition (Eph. 6:1-3). Ask them to rehearse lessons they’ve learned in life and to pray God’s blessings over your children (Ps. 37:25; Gen. 48:15-16). Finally, be always grateful that, though the Christian dies, eternal life and the glories of heaven await. Forever there will be no tears, sickness or death (Ps. 116:15; Rev. 21:4)
As I gazed out the window of the California bound airliner, I was lost in the precious memories of my Dad. I knew it was the last time I would see him in this life. Mother met me at the airport and we drove straight to the hospital. When we walked in his room, there he was…just a shell of the man that was my hero. He couldn’t speak because of the tracheotomy, but he could write on a clipboard during short times when his strength returned. When he awoke, he broke out in a big smile and reached for his clipboard. We “talked” for hours about flying, life and heaven! I will forever keep those treasured words he wrote. Though he and mother looked to me to make decisions, Dad was still my hero in life…and in death! When I spoke at his funeral, I knew he wasn’t “dead.” He was more alive than ever with his glorious Savior that he always honored.
She looked like a beautiful angel sitting quietly in a chair as we walked into her Assisted Living room. Mother knew my deep love for her and that my husband and I had regularly driven hundreds of miles to be by her side. Before we arrived that day, she had been told by her doctor she only had a short time to live because of her rapidly deteriorating health. Knowing the end was near, we shared with her about the Savior and His deep love for her. With child-like faith, she re-confirmed her trust in Him. As soft tears streamed down my face, my husband reached for her hand and lovingly asked, “Sarah, who do you want to see when you open your eyes in heaven?” With a gentle smile her eyes searched mine and she whispered, “GOD!” Three weeks later her desire was granted. She fell asleep and awoke in her eternal home, embraced by her loving Heavenly Father.
What an AMAZING time we all experienced this past weekend, October 2-4, 2015 at “Community of the Holy Spirit” in Willoughby, Ohio with Pastors Chris and Vicki Fisher, Bishop Kirby Clements, Pastor Dan Rhodes (my husband) and myself. The sanctuary was filled to overflow with church members, invited guests, visiting pastors and ministers from the surrounding community. There was such a BUZZ of expectation from the people that it was contagious when you came through the door. 🙂 Truly, “Community of the Holy Spirit” is a house of love, healing and restoration.
In Psalm 119 David cries out to God over and over again, “Revive me according to Your word, revive me according to Your ordinances and revive me according to Your loving kindness!” Revive, in this Psalm, means to bring to life, an awakening, and restored to life.
The atmosphere on Friday evening with the church leadership, the Saturday Advance and Sunday morning service was charged by the presence of the Holy Spirit. The people had an opportunity to encounter the supernatural with the Living God in spirit and in truth. They came with an open heart to hear the voice of God and were awakened and restored to live life to the fullest! They felt the presence of God manifesting all around them and lives were touched and changed because of His presence. The gift of spirit worship filled the sanctuary and our lives. There was a heavenly sound coming forth from among the people. It was the sound of revival ~ A Prophetic Awakening!
*The following photos capture the spirit of the weekend at “Community of the Holy Spirit” and the Sunday morning service. It was an electrifying weekend and one that will live on forever in our hearts.
A huge “THANK YOU” to Pastors Chris and Vicki Fisher as well as the wonderful people of CHS who made this EPIC weekend happen in the natural and for all the prayers that set the environment for God to move among us.
*Pastor Chris shares ~ “God truly wants to revive some things in our lives. Some of us have wilted. For some, the air in our tires has leaked out. For others, we’ve gotten a little bent out of shape. It is God’s kind intention and desire to straighten some things out in our lives and the stage is being set for that to happen.”
“COMMUNITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT“ ~ A PLACE WHERE ALL ARE WELCOME!!!
Was it Love at First Sight? True and lasting love doesn’t happen quickly. It must be nourished with trust; grow with proven character; and bear fruit with longevity. Was it instant attraction, chemistry and sweet harmony? Absolutely! It was like we had known one another forever. I was a newly commissioned officer in the United States Army and she was a first-year elementary school teacher. Dating her was exciting, peaceful and adventurous all at the same time. Even little “coke dates” at the nearest burger place led to hours of sharing and dreaming together. Our eyes would dance whenever we would meet and we’d both break out in big smiles. But our little world of seashells and bubbles was shattered when a letter came in the mail. It was my orders for Viet Nam. I was about to leave the love of my life, maybe never to return!
I had waited for what seemed like a life time to find my “Mr. Right.” And that’s exactly what took place on a warm autumn Sunday afternoon in 1970. My two roommates and I were first year teachers living in an apartment located near the military base of Fort Brag, N.C. That’s where I met my husband to be. My heart took a hundred flips when he asked me out on our first date. He was everything wonderful I had only dreamed of finding. There was something so unique about him…so absolutely different than anyone I had ever dated. His character, ambition for life, career, total interest in me, level headed thinking and good looks as a Lieutenant in the United States Army almost took my breath away. From the moment we met, I knew this had the possibility of a “forever” kind of relationship. My heart was captured and I never wanted him to leave.
Finding a “perfect” mate! That’s the quest of every person, young or old. It all began when God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper who is just right for him.” (Gen. 2:18 NLT). So, what does “Just Right” mean? Though it’s different for different people, God gave Adam and Eve the “perfect” ingredients: selfless love, trust, communication, freedom, belonging, loyalty, closeness with God, and divine purpose. What should a woman look for in a godly husband? Psalm 23 and Eph. 5:25-33 will open your heart to God’s intentions. What should a man search for in a woman? Prov. 12:4; 18:22; 19:14; 31:10-31 will direct your heart. How should you treat the one who is just right for you? Read 1 Cor. 13:4-7 and you’ll know.
She promised she’d wait for me until I returned from Viet Nam. And she did! Every day I received her loving letters reminding me of the wonderful life we would have together. Then came the day I returned home to marry the gentle Southern girl who captured my heart. But little did either of us know that it was the Lord working with us when we met and fell in love and who preserved our lives while I was at war. In His gracious love and providence, 5 years later the Lord called us both into the ministry to share His love and saving grace with hundreds of people. Now it’s been 45 years, two beautiful daughters and three amazing grandchildren since I first met Sheila. As I near 70 years of age, we never stopped loving each other, even during life’s greatest challenges. I am forever grateful to the Lord for sweet Sheila, the love of my life!
Yes, I promised to wait for Dan’s return from war and I held to that promise! I had found the love of my life and was not about to do anything to lose it. It seems like just yesterday that we first met and fell in love. The years have come and gone now and we have a beautiful love story that will live on into eternity. Our children, grandchildren and the lives we’ve touched through our ministry are a result of the love we have for the Lord and each other. I am eternally grateful that I really did find the love of my life when I found Dan. God did a good thing! By the way, this kind of love is not just reserved for us only, but for everyone who makes good choices about who they choose to date and marry. And even if you’ve had a failed marriage in the past, the Lord can give you wisdom, discernment and a new beginning. God can turn your heartbreak into a glorious love story!
It was late spring and my husband and I had made a deliberate decision weeks in advance that we wanted to attend the 2015 International Communion of Charismatic Churches Conference in May that was to be held at the beautiful and very classy Westin Hotel near the Atlanta Airport. We seldom go to conferences like this unless invited and when the Lord impresses our heart we need to do so. I must say that both of us were genuinely excited about attending this gathering and looking forward to all that would transpire over those 3 days and nights. We knew this “ICCC” Conference was the timing of the Lord and that Bishops, Pastors and Ministers from around the world would be in attendance. Honestly, we just wanted to receive and to partake of the inspiration of what God was doing in the church and the world. And yes, it was just wonderful being a part of something that was bigger than us!
The first night of the conference we arrived rather early so we could get our seat in this very large room where there was stadium seating. As we came into the room, I immediately began checking out the room as I quietly asked the Lord where we should sit. People were beginning to find their places and settle in. Yes, I ask God about something as simple as where we should sit. That’s important! Little did I know that inquiring of the Lord about where to sit would lead to a “DIVINE CONNECTION.” We sat next to a couple who were Senior Pastors of a church in Memphis, Tennessee. Actually, they pastor two churches and are about our same age with many decades of ministry experiences. As the evening progressed at the conference and the prophetic stirring of the Holy Spirit ignited in the room, we learned this couple had been seeking God for quite some time for Godly mentors – one for them personally as well as their ministry. One where they knew they would be safe in sharing their heart in complete vulnerability. Now, it has been three months since the conference ended and since we met and connected with Pastors LC and Terri. We have had weekly sharing times over the phone for at least an hour every Thursday for the past three months. This is a “DIVINE CONNECTION” that both my husband and I recognized very quickly…One that ONLY GOD could have established. It’s the kind of “Divine Connection” where trust has been established in an environment of love, vulnerability and safety over the past months. Now, we look forward to these weekly phone calls where they know and we know that it is “IRON SHARPENING IRON” kind of sharing and interaction with one another. We are looking forward to having Pastors LC and Terri in our home in the very near future.
Since this “Divine Connection” with Pastors LC and Terri, the Lord has led two more seasoned pastors of two different churches into our lives for a weekly time of sharing and opening our heart, home, and ministry to one another.
I’ve asked the question a few times lately, “What’s God Up To” with these Divine Connections happening where others are seeking us out? I am recognizing the desire they have for a safe place to share and interact with seasoned eldership in ministry about their own ministry (the good, the bad and the ugly), their family and the things of God and to be received with an open heart of love where there is oneness of spirit with no condemnation. Listening is a gift! I’ve discovered that most people rather talk about themselves than listen to the heart and needs of another. There are pastors and leaders all across this nation who often need a listening ear and someone willing to speak with Godly wisdom into situations where it has not been possible before. I’m realizing there are pastors and ministry leaders of all ages who genuinely need a “SAFE PLACE”- A Divine Connection – from the Lord where they can just be themselves without being judged or criticized. I love people with an open and receptive heart!
A “DIVINE CONNECTION” is foremost where trust can be established. It’s the kind of connection that only God can set up. It’s where someone can feel safe as they share some of their innermost joys and deepest sorrows and concerns if needed. It’s the type of connection where they are drawn to you and you to them. Not everyone will be drawn to you but when God does it….It’s A GOD SET UP – A “Divine Connection” where it’s a two way flow of ministry, sharing and counsel.
Once Again My Question …What’s God Up To? He’s joining kindred hearts and spirits together for purposes greater than we could accomplish by ourselves. This is how the Kingdom of God works. It’s the sharing of hearts in an environment of love, safety, peace and mutual appreciation for one another’s gifts.
My husband, Dan, is currently writing a series for his new book entitled, “SEASONS IN TIME” – Dramas of how people encounter God face to face in the seasons of their lives. Below is one of the postings that will be included in his book. If you know anyone who might be ministered to through Dan’s writing, please feel free to forward it to them.
Thirty-two years old and divorced…again! But it wasn’t my fault! Both husbands turned out to be first class jerks! I don’t know why, but I always end up falling for broken-wing birds. Maybe I don’t think I’m not good enough for levelheaded and emotionally mature men. Or maybe I have a “savior” complex trying to rescue floundering people. But now I’ve found a man that I know will treat me right. He’s loving and compassionate…just like me. He has dreams and hopes for the future…just like me. The only problem is that he’s in prison! I met him through a pen-pal program in my city. But that doesn’t matter. I love him and we’re getting married next month…even before he gets paroled! Once he’s out, he’ll live with me and I’ll help him get on his feet again. This will be it…my search for the perfect husband is finally over!
I’m thirty-five years old and I still don’t have a career…or a lasting relationship. Sure, I’m a college graduate, but that’s only because dad said that a young man has to have a degree to make it in the world. I despised interviewing with companies and the internship I signed up for was boring. All the young women I dated were either sold out to Corporate America or wanted to get married because their biological clocks were ticking. So, I decided to take a year off and just hike across the country to clear my head. That’s when I met a fascinating guy and his girl who were drifters like me. They had a great plan. Rob a few banks, catch a freighter to the Islands and become beachcombers. Now…that’s what I really call living!
“A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds.” – James 3:4 (Message Bible). Thomas Carlyle, Scottish philosopher and satirical writer, wrote, “The man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder.” Without an operative rudder, the fate of a great ship hopelessly drifts with the shifting currents and blowing winds. Many a mighty sailing vessel has run aground or ended up dashed to destruction on the rocks for the lack of a skilled helmsman with a true compass. If you ever find yourself rudderless and adrift, your only hope is for the “Captain” of your soul to take over the helm of your life (1 Peter 2:25). Read what happened to these two young adults when they personally met The True Compass and Helmsman.
“Rudderless and adrift…that’s what you are!” Those were my mother’s stinging words when she learned that my recently-paroled husband ran off with another woman. “If you think men with baggage are fascinating, romantic and exciting, you’re in deeper trouble than they are!” Her words cut deep in my heart. That’s when I decided to attend a counseling program sponsored by a local church. I’ll never forget the words of one of the pastors. “You may not understand this, but you have a gift of compassion and mercy from the Lord. But you lack three things: Discernment, Wisdom and the Savior!” I don’t know all that happened, but I sensed the presence of God immersing me in billows of love. For the first time ever, I felt that instead of trying to rescue others, I had been rescued. That was the day I found my Savior, my Rudder and myself!
“Son, you’ve got a faulty compass!” Those were dad’s words that kept haunting me as my new-found friends and I made our way to pull our first bank job. We spent the night in a campground just outside the town. As night began to fall, I heard music in the distance…an old familiar sound that I had dismissed years ago. It was coming from a tent just over the ridge. As I listened, I remembered the song…“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” My heart repeated the stanza, “Prone to wander—Lord, I feel it—prone to leave the God I love.” It was 10 years ago that I made my way to that old-fashioned tent revival. I’ll never forget the amazing grace of the Lord that cured my faulty compass that night. I returned home and entered seminary. From that day until now, I’m helping confused young people find True North…just as I did a decade ago.