I was reminded this morning (by the Lord, I believe) about something that happened in Oklahoma years ago when I lived and worked at a Cherokee Children’s Mission there. I loved the Cherokees and they accepted me so freely that it was a joy to interact with them.
One of them invited me to attend their little church in the woods. I went. It was one of the most touching and powerful experiences of my life. They preached and prayed , and sang in Cherokee. I didn’t understand a word of it, but the presence of God and His love for them was easily translated! It really made God even more real to me, because it united two groups of people, who couldn’t fully understand each other in a common knowledge of the greatness of OUR God! And here is the amazing part… they were so poor they had built this one small room out of cardboard! (There were other things used I am sure, but it was mostly cardboard.) I cried through the whole service. Such a display of love and humility by these people and it still touches my heart so much.
There were so many other beautiful experiences there that I will never forget. Some of the greatest gifts God has given me have come out of the places He has taken me in my walk with Him.
Tomorrow night I will celebrate the most important anniversary/birthday of my life. Forty years ago, all by myself, at the foot of my bed, I met God. I told Him I didn’t even know if He was real or not, but if He was, I wanted Him in my life. Within a matter of seconds the room literally lit up with the power and presence of God! I saw Him in a vision sitting on the throne and He reached His hands out to me. I felt as though I leaped and touched His hands. When I did, I was wonderfully and overwhelmingly filled with His Spirit! I felt a fire so great that I thought I was going to be consumed by it. I don’t know how long it all lasted, but it seemed like hours.
When it was over… all I could do was walk back and forth saying, “He’s real! God is real! AND HE LOVES ME! Somebody really loves me! There really is something better than this stinking life I’ve been living!” I laughed, I cried, and I praised Him as enthusiastically and naturally as if I had been doing it all my life!
It has been an amazing and glorious journey! I am not saying it has always been easy… it hasn’t! But as the old song says… “Through it all… I have learned to trust in Jesus… I have learned to trust in God.” I can’t even speak of His faithfulness to me without tearing up. I would not trade one moment of my walk with Him for all the treasures anyone could ever offer me. I even learned to see the trails and troubles just as another opportunity to call on Him and experience the love and concern He feels for me. He has been my faithful Father, my devoted and gentle Husband, my healer, my comforter, my counselor, my provider, my protector, my guide, my teacher, and my amazingly faithful friend.
Words cannot even express the depth of my love for Him! So very glad that He can look deep into my heart and see the depth of it for Himself!
If you don’t know my God… go ask Him to introduce Himself to you. He will! If you do know Him…. tighten your grip on Him, and go deeper! He is so faithful! Study the Word… not so you can preach… not so you can teach… those things will definitely come out of it, but study first to KNOW HIM, because once you do, no one will be able to stop you from sharing those things in whatever setting you find yourself in!
I love Him with all my heart and, believe me, there is not hardly a conversation that comes out of my mouth that does not, at some point, come around to my telling others about Him. You can say I am preaching it, or teaching it, if you want to, but I know it is so much more than that. I am living it; experiencing every bit of Him that He makes available to me and it is like fire shut up in my bones… I have to share it! There is so much more of Him to know… And as long as there is breath in my body I will seek Him…and love Him…with all my heart, and all my soul, and all my strength.