Monday, April 10, 2017

Return

Several years ago when I was reading, again, Psalm 102 in The Message translation, I was captured surprisingly by the simplest of words. The word was, "Write."

Write this down for the next generation so people not yet born will praise God:
God looked out from his high holy place; from heaven he surveyed the earth.
He listened to the groans of the doomed, he opened the doors of their death cells.”
Write it so the story can be told in Zion, so God’s praise will be sung in Jerusalem’s streets
And wherever people gather together along with their rulers to worship him.
- Psalm 102: 18-22, The Message

I'd been journaling for years and blogging for not quite as long.  I wanted to share what I believed the Lord was telling me, showing me or what I was witnessing and then giving testimony.  This blog was conceived to do this. The single word got me back on track. 

My passion returned to write, share, declare what I believed God was saying and doing in and around us.  To be honest, the voice was often a whisper and the divine actions were subtle and small, but I returned to one of my God given purposes with passion, to record what God had done, and it will ultimately inspire worship all over the world (That was a bold statement!).

I link in this post that single word and related inspiration to another single word that came to me this weekend.

First of all, like I wrote in 2014, I didn't think I'd write again after not recording anything significant for months.  Something's been stirring in my belly for a couple weeks, but I couldn't put words to it.  This weekend gave me a set of ideas and experiences to string together that depicted for me what God wanted us to capture afresh.  I now find myself writing what I believe God has communicated to us.  Write, Jeff!

April and I watched Friday morning the webcast of The Voice of the Prophets, an annual conference of Global Awakening.  Larry Randolph preached on the importance of securing or recapturing your focus in ministry.  It is so often related to a location and always related to adaptability, to be able to change the hows and whens in ministry. 

After the message, April and I debriefed.  She asked me what I thought.  I said we'd forgotten Mary's first word to us.  Mary is a woman who approached us after worship at a church we were attending for the first time in February.  She said, "The Lord is not through with you.  Don't sit down."

The last several weeks, we've looked to sit down at this wonderful, gracious church and the husband and wife that pastor it.  We've nestled ourselves in this congregation because we've experienced the love and acceptance we've looked for these last couple years. 

We went on to agree together Larry's message was for us.  We've ignored the vision and calling to minister on Sand Mountain to stay intimately connected with this church and make strategies to secure our own housing in Anniston.  Such a plan is a short term abandonment of the bigger vision and calling.  Larry said for us to posture ourselves so we don't lose sight of our calling.  We've been on the verge of losing our vision.  God brought this message Friday through Larry for our sakes.

Christmas morning, April believed she heard the Lord give her a scripture verse for us for this year, Zechariah 9: 12:

Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.

I then told her as The Message translation of Psalm 102 expressed simply to me years ago, "Write," Zechariah 9: 12 says, "Return."  We're supposed to return, focused on  the return to Sand Mountain and our calling.

Saturday afternoon, we drove to Sand Mountain on US Hwy 431.  It had been a year since we visited the mountain, to listen for the Lord's voice to perhaps give us direction or inspiration for our return to establish a base for ministry first on a farm and then in a regional church (Last year, April encountered Jesus in worship where he asked her if she'd pastor a regional church on Sand Mountain, and she said yes).

As we approached, ascended and traversed Sand Mountain on 431, both of us felt the Lord's presence, prayed out loud to hear his voice, cried off and on and worshipped.  Of all the roads we travelled and places we entered and left that afternoon, it was Albertville and Boaz, to our surprise, that felt most like home.  It was driving through the middle of Albertville I heard April say out loud, "I love this town"  Of all the things we said to each other and to God that day, this surprised us most.

Evidently, it will be on this end of the mountain and this section of Alabama we'll find the farm, buy it and steward the portal of God's presence, the thin place, to see the deliverance, healing and salvation of so many in the years to come.  This trip secured this in our spirits and souls. 

We've been refreshed in our faith to believe we're suppose to return to Sand Mountain and engage in ministry.  Our calling is renewed within us to stay focused and postured for our return to where God has called us.

Have you lost your focus or vision for where you're suppose to go and who you really are in Christ to be?  It could be just a single word that'll come to you that will reorient your spirit to what God had originally called you to do or be.  A single word can get you back on track. 

I'll believe with you the Lord will posture you to pursue his will afresh.  Don't worry, nothing's been lost or forsaken.  Just look again and return to the path.

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