NovelSisters

watching, reading, and writing stories

Revival

It’s hard seeing disaster after disaster come up on my news-feed and being reminded again and again that this world isn’t perfect and that so many people are hurting. I’ve been reading in the major prophets section of the Bible: Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. And it struck me how much devastation the nation of Israel had to endure. It reminded me of what has been going on in my world: natural disasters, killings, political unrest, fear and just a sadness that this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.

And inevitably people try to come up with solutions to these problems. Maybe we need more gun control, or a better education system, or we need to take care of our planet better. I don’t know what ideas will or won’t work. But I know the problem is really so much bigger than any of those things. I’m not saying we shouldn’t try them out, or attempt to make things better. But there’s only so much we as humans can do to change the world.

And this morning, I felt like what God was telling me was that what we really need is revival. We need to turn back to God. Over and over God told the Israelites that the reason He was letting them go through such hard circumstances was because they had stopped following Him and He was reminding them that He really is God. He is patient and loving but He wants us to turn to Him even if it will cause us some initial pain. Because living without Him is the worst possible thing. I’ve heard some people say that suffering is God’s megaphone. It’s His way to get our attention when nothing else will.

I feel like with all that’s going on in our world, that God is calling us back to Himself and a great revival will start. So that’s what I’m going to start fasting and praying for, because I know that what people really need is Jesus. He is the answer to all of these problems. He is our only hope. So if you follow Him as well, I hope you’ll join me in fasting and praying for revival. And if you don’t, I hope you take some time to think about life and where your hope comes from.

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#LifeMatters

Cemetery, Black, Death, Halloween, Mystery, Dark

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I’ve spent the last week on vacation, where I got to visit relatives and see a life size replica of Noah’s ark and visit a museum dedicated to validating the Bible as true and reliable. On my way home yesterday, I found out about the tragedy our nation has experienced with more deaths and murder and violence. It was heart breaking. I saw post after post on Facebook where people were trying to identify with those who were hurting by saying #BlackLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter and #AllLifeMatters.

Honestly, I didn’t know how to react to all the pain and suffering and fear that people were experiencing. What do you say? What can make a difference? I didn’t want to sit back and do nothing, but honestly, what is someone supposed to do when people keep dying and nothing seems to stop it?

I ended up praying, a lot. By myself, with family, for friends that were scared and for everyone affected. As I did this, I was reminded of these verses:

“Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:10-18

Our enemy isn’t each other, it is Satan. He has come to steal, kill and destroy and he is doing a good job of that right now. But we don’t fight him in our own strength. We speak truth to counter his lies, and we share the gospel of hope to counter his hopelessness, and we pray and place our security in Christ.

I don’t know where you find yourself in the middle of all this, but God has been teaching me this week that He is the Creator. He made every single living creature with a purpose. Each of our lives matter, no matter what our profession or skin color. We are all extremely valuable and loved by the One who made us. We are not here on accident and we are not made to hate and kill. We are made to be like Him: to love, serve, give, comfort, encourage, protect and be there for each other.

All this evil in the world is horrible, it is wrong and should be punished in the harshest way. Even if I’ve never shot anyone, I still have messed up, lived selfishly and rebelled against God’s design. I, like all of us, deserve to die, to pay the price for sin and rebellion.

But God’s Gospel is true and the good news does bring hope! Jesus died in my place, in your place. He paid the price for sin, for ALL sin. And He conquered it and rose from the dead.

I am alive in Him and with His powerful help, I can be a part of changing this world. There is no policy or program that will fix all the evil in this world. There is only the cross and He who died on it and rose from the dead. He is the only answer and my only hope.

So I cry out to Him today, for our country, for our people, for my friends and neighbors, my sisters and brothers. For He loves us more than I can imagine, so much so that He took our place on the cross and offers hope freely to any who come to Him.

That is my only answer to tragedy.

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The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_and_the_Terrible,_Horrible,_No_Good,_Very_Bad_Day_(film)

Have you ever had a bad day? I know I sure have. Most people do. There are some days where everything seems to go wrong.

Well, the other night I went to go see Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Although the title seems a little over the top, this movie was actually quite good. It struck at something that most people go through in life, at least eventually: a bad day. A day when everything that could go wrong does, and you just have to deal with it. I enjoyed the fact that a lot of the things that went wrong in the plot of this movie were ordinary things, but when piled on top of each other, they turn into something that’s really hard to deal with. (Just like in my own life). I know I’ve had my days where it seemed like I was being overwhelmed with all the little things going wrong.

But this movie included a positive message, and I didn’t find it cliche. The message was not “be positive and you’ll automatically get what you want, or everything will work out,” but more like, “stick together through the tough stuff.” Bad days are hard, and your attitude may be able to help, but one of the biggest things that helps is going through it with someone else.

Oddly enough, this is also what stuck with me from my church’s sermon on Sunday. Our pastor mentioned the fact that we should have joy in suffering with Jesus, or in joining in His sufferings. I never really understood that before. How is both of us suffering a good thing? Why should I want that? Hasn’t Jesus suffered enough for the both of us? I always took it to mean that Jesus was with me when I was suffering. But then my pastor said, when you suffer together you’re relationship deepens. And it just clicked. Like of course! You have friends that will have fun with you, and stick with you on your good days. But the people who stick with you in the hard stuff, that’s who you’re really close to. And that’s how close I want to be with Jesus.

Just like in the movie, the family drew closer together through all the hard stuff. This realization brought to mind another show I had recently rewatched: Band of Brothers. This TV show follows the story of a group of men who served together in WWII and details all that they went through together. Even though it was horrible stuff, it made their relationships supper deep, to where they really felt like brothers; like family.

So, maybe this week, you’ve had a bad day, or several bad days, but maybe if you step back and look at the relationships you have, and remember what you have to be thankful for, those bad days, as Alexander said, “can help you appreciate the good ones.”

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Hinds’ Feet on High Places

Image Source: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BZQ461C/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?ie=UTF8&btkr=1

I’ve been doing more reading recently, and one book that I finally got around to reading that I really enjoyed is Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. I’ve heard that it was a really good book, but reading it now has made it more significant to me.

The book is an allegory, it follows the tale of Much-Afraid as she journeys to the High Places and tells of all the sacrifices and suffering she must go through to finally get what she desires and become the person she longs to be. But it also reflects what many people go through in life, including the author. I read the autobiography at the end of this book about how Hannah had her own journey to the High Places. It really resonated with me.

In my own life, times have been hard recently. There have been deaths in the family, funerals, memorials, and a lot of emotions swirling around. But as I’ve seen in my own past, and also clearly in this book, God doesn’t leave us alone in the hard times. And He ends up using them to shape us and make us more like Himself. It is still hard to go through those valleys, those lonely places, the storms, deserts, and wastelands of life. But I have a hope and I know that God is still good, still in control and still at work, even in my own heart.

So I don’t know what’s going on in your life today, if everything is running smoothly, or if it’s just been one of those days. But I want to encourage you that whatever you face, put your hope in Jesus. And if you’ve never read Hinds’ Feet on High Places, check it out.

Well that’s it for now.

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