Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Miracle List

Today I was blessed with some wonderful quiet time with my Jesus while my precious little bundles of energy took a nice, long nap. As I spent time in prayer, reflection, and the Word, I felt compelled to go open up a journal in which I haven't written in quite some time, and pray over the names of people I have written in that journal. At the top of the page of people with prayer needs, I had written the scripture,

"Carry each other's burdens and in this way fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2

When I read that scripture, I was flooded with emotion as I remembered why God had at one time impressed that verse so deeply in my heart. You see, the law of Christ that verse talks about is the principle of love. And to love people is what ministry is all about. I had made it my prayer that I would truly love people, whether I felt loved by them in return or not. How do we love? According to Galatians 6:2 we carry each other's burdens. So as the Lord puts a name on my heart, or I am aware of a need, I write it in my journal, and pray over the names often.

Today when I opened the journal and began to read the names and the needs, I began to realize that several of them had been met! Not just one or two, but several! I was not asking God to meet a need, but praising Him for the miracles He had given!

One miracle was a baby born healthy through a pregnancy that doctors said would likely terminate early.

Another miracle was a teenager in our youth group who had been praying for boldness! I've seen her go after God with everything and reach out to others around her without fear!

A marriage that could have easily come to a screeching halt months ago is now thriving as the couple is more in love with each other than ever. Not only are they in love with each other, but with Jesus and the call of God on their lives! They are now pursuing full time ministry!

One precious grandmother that I love very much has believed and waited for years for her children and grandchildren to commit to God. One of her grandsons is now serving God and on a path to freedom, wholeness, and ministry!

A former student of ours had rebelled against God and turned his back on anything to do with God. Now he interns with us and is pursuing God's call to full time ministry on his life.

I had prayed in the altar several months ago with a student whose mom had been to the doctor for a routine check up only for them to find a mass that could be cancerous. The report? No cancer! Completely healed in Jesus' name!

This same girl was believing and trusting God for quite sometime for restoration in her relationship with her father. One day she came to the altar again, but not to pray about it again. She shared how God had put a peace in her heart that she is in her father's life for such a time as this and that God has given her the strength to love him... and her new stepmom! Not just love, but love well.

These are not just things I've seen God accomplish over the past months. These were things I've seen God accomplish that were ON MY LIST! I got so excited as I began drawing circles around the things that were accomplished through the mighty, loving, work of God!

Let me leave a challenge with you to create a list if you do not already have one. Carry the burden of someone else, and watch what God will do with that! Not only will their need be met, but the love of God will grow in you heart!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Kidney Stones, Couponing Craze, and a Special Birthday

It's a Saturday night and all is quiet in the Merchant home after a very different couple of weeks. Josh has suffered for about 2 1/2 weeks with kidney stones, thanks to eating way too many beans and way too much tuna while on a Daniel fast. We have missed a Sunday in church, drank LOTS of lemonade, and rushed to the ER at 1:00 am Tuesday night/Wednesday morning of this week with two sleepy little girls in tow! He finally passed the large kidney stone yesterday, relieving him of a great deal of pain! Praise the Lord!

Through many of the times Josh has been at home in pain, I've been there with him going through sale papers and coupons! It amazes me how God works in our lives and how He provides at times in such different ways. During our fast, I found out about a couponing class and decided to check it out. In all honesty, I was pretty skeptical. I thought there is no way these people save what they claim to save by using coupons. To my amazement, I learned some very practical tips in how to save grocery money through shopping methods and coupons. Since then, I have averaged savings of about 40 to 50 percent each time I go to the grocery store. Our freezer and pantry are fuller than they have ever been, and we are staying within our budget! We have seen God's provision as a direct result of fasting each time we have fasted. The fact that God gave me a way to help our family help ourselves reminds me of the old saying, "Give a man a fish, and feed him for a meal. Teach a man to fish, and feed him for a lifetime" comes to my mind. He put a tool in our hands to help that single income go a little further. What a God!

All our savings over the past few weeks came in handy for this really special weekend. We were blessed to celebrate little Aubrey's 2nd birthday! Yesterday just the four of us headed over to Chuck E Cheese to use a coupon from the paper PLUS a birthday coupon, mind you, to give our girls a good time! (I had to share the part about the coupons! Kylee calls them cou-cons.) Today we celebrated with friends and family at our house. It was a big day for Aubrey with no nap. That turned out to be a little bit of a treat for Mom and Dad. Having the kids tucked in around 7:45 and asleep by 8:00 is a rare and treasured treat!

We pray God's richest blessings on all of you! You are not just friends to us, but family! We treasure you and count you in on all the ways God has blessed us!
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