It began with a trip to the gym with my dear friend, Michelle. We are probably out of our minds to get up at 5:00 A.M. on a Sunday, but we have found it to be both physically and spiritually refreshing. After a vigorous workout and many laughs with a dear friend, my mind is fresh and awake enough to have some time in the Word before a busy, long day unfolds before me. I treasure the unrushed hour of reading, meditating, and prayer. Yesterday morning, I read the story of Joseph. As a church, we have just journeyed through this story in detail, in our children's ministry as well, so it was especially fun to get to it in my YouVersion chronological one year plan. I never get tired of the ending! What a testimony of God's sovereignty! How can we not trust a God who takes evil and makes it good?
Then, there was Sunday school. I don't always get to go to my Sunday school class, 'tis the nature of the job of a Children's Director, but yesterday I got to go! I love the way Pastor and Tom Smith begin our time with prayer for each other-real, focused, purposeful prayer time. It is a joy to bear one another's burdens and to rejoice in each other's blessings! And then, we study God's Word together. Yesterday's lesson was an introduction to the book of Jeremiah. For some reason, Jeremiah seemed less "prophet-y" (read in a booming, echoey voice) to me yesterday and more real and human. Look at these verses from Jeremiah 1:4-8 (ESV):
Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.”Are you seeing the theme of my day yet? If not, keep reading...well, keep reading anyway, because it's so cool!
Thanks to an amazing Lighthouse Church team, I was able to remain in the morning service with my visiting aunt and uncle. In addition to the incredible music that prepared our hearts for the message ("then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee..."), our hearts were turned to focus on the sanctity of life. I couldn't help but see God's hand in the mere location of Choices Pregnancy Center at a former abortion clinic. Evil turned good. God in control...wow!
But then, Ken Rudolph spoke transparently about how God taught him to trust Him! I sure needed to be reminded from Psalm 126 that God is always at work, He makes dreams come true, He delivers, He answers prayers like streams in a desert, He saves, and it is DOUBTLESS that we will rejoice in full harvest! God is sovereign and turns sorrow into rejoicing...amazing!
Sunday afternoon was a joyful time with family reminiscing, catching up, sharing our lives with each other. There is just something about being with family. It was the whipped cream on top of an already perfect Sunday.
But let's not leave off the bright, red cherry...it was added Sunday night. While I'm biased and think that my aunt and uncle are the best ever, I still believe that their presentation was one of the best I've ever heard. Years of ministry have produced and reproduced with much fruit, and it's still going! But then, Uncle Steve tied up the whole day in one thought (not exact words): Our response to our circumstances (good or bad) comes from our core, and our core is the gospel! Woo Hoo!
Well, we might as well add some sprinkles while we're at it. We closed our day with the Lord's Table, a celebration of what the gospel means in our lives. I was so spiritually full at the moment we took the bread and the wine (a.k.a. grape juice) that I was afraid I might spill on my white sweater. I truly felt like dancing, but my muscles were beginning to remind me about my morning workout, and I probably would have scared a few people. I just couldn't help but to be excited about what we were doing. Remembering the Lord at His table means that we can trust a sovereign God. It means that He has a purpose for our lives and that He will help us to fulfill it. It means that we can call out to Him to turn our deserts into streams, because He will. It means that we can tell everyone about what He's done, because the death of His Son brought salvation to all. And it means that no matter what comes our way, He can be trusted, even praised, always.