Acts 2:42-47 (The Message)
41-42That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up. They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.
43-45Everyone around was in awe—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person's need was met.
46-47They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved.
I love this passage. I read it, and I yearn for it. I want to live like that every day. I feel called to that. I read this passage, and it centers me - helps me to see how God wants ME to be in the big picture of His church.
I am 15 minutes or so away from working out, then I'll begin studying for my Veterinary Technician course. I already have an old "study guide" for the certifications department of the State. And tomorrow, I begin my job at Petco! I'll be doing the boring first-time-employee stuff anyhow. Then finishing the day at the law firm, because I told them I'd help for another two weeks part time. They've been good employers! But I'm really, REALLY excited about Petco! YAHOO!
God has been answering a LOT of prayers lately, the more I actually pray. I have to be thankful! And I'm still praying about a couple of things, but we will see! We will see... I am trusting. God will open the doors He wants me to go through and He will close the doors He does not want me walking through. We may be able to buy our own place here. Big maybe, but God has opened doors and led us to professionals who are not profiting off us and say there is a way. If not, we are happy where we rent and if God opens up for a less expensive place to rent, we'll be happy there too!
Paul has to go re-do his fingerprints for UPS but at least they are still hiring him if they want him to do that again and he'll be in training soon. And I'm sure we'll here from UAA soon, once they get his transcripts from the Air Force.
God already provided for my Vet Tech Cert free!
I was praying for a specific asylum case and I got news that the government didn't oppose to giving the guy a second chance to present his case. Which is really good news, because if the government doesn't oppose, then it's more likely that they will allow him to re-do his whole case! And for someone applying for asylum, that is HUGE! So I'm thankful for that.
On my other things I read today, I also read:
Nehemiah 4:11-23 (The Message)
11-12 And all this time our enemies were saying, "They won't know what hit them. Before they know it we'll be at their throats, killing them right and left. That will put a stop to the work!" The Jews who were their neighbors kept reporting, "They have us surrounded; they're going to attack!" If we heard it once, we heard it ten times.
13-14 So I stationed armed guards at the most vulnerable places of the wall and assigned people by families with their swords, lances, and bows. After looking things over I stood up and spoke to the nobles, officials, and everyone else: "Don't be afraid of them. Put your minds on the Master, great and awesome, and then fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes."
15-18 Our enemies learned that we knew all about their plan and that God had frustrated it. And we went back to the wall and went to work. From then on half of my young men worked while the other half stood guard with lances, shields, bows, and mail armor. Military officers served as backup for everyone in Judah who was at work rebuilding the wall. The common laborers held a tool in one hand and a spear in the other. Each of the builders had a sword strapped to his side as he worked. I kept the trumpeter at my side to sound the alert.
19-20 Then I spoke to the nobles and officials and everyone else: "There's a lot of work going on and we are spread out all along the wall, separated from each other. When you hear the trumpet call, join us there; our God will fight for us."
21 And so we kept working, from first light until the stars came out, half of us holding lances.
22 I also instructed the people, "Each person and his helper is to stay inside Jerusalem—guards by night and workmen by day."
23 We all slept in our clothes—I, my brothers, my workmen, and the guards backing me up. And each one kept his spear in his hand, even when getting water.
And going back to Nehemiah, and reading how they faced the struggle of rebuilding, encouraged me. They were mocked, and threatened, NOT to rebuild. But they just said, "I'll do it or I'll go down fighting!" I want that attitude. About my service at church, my career/dream goals, my family, my fitness plans. "I'll get it done or I'll go down fighting!" And then trust God with the results. I will labor with one hand and hold a weapon on the other hand. I'm not stopping. I'm not backing down.
I love how Nehemiah said, "If we heard it once, we heard it ten times!" I've felt that voice of discouragement too. How many times I was told I was too optimistic?! I had set my hopes too high. Paul and I can't even begin how many times we heard, "No." or "It won't happen." Or how many times we were kicked out, yelled at, insulted, or out-casted. We've had people tell us, "You are not coming back here again." Sadly these were ol' church folks. Too bad - they don't realize what they are missing!
Lord, we are going to keep serving You, or we will go down fighting. We are going to keep rebuilding, or we will go down fighting. Rebuilding our ministries, our credit, our home... or go down fighting. Rebuilding the youth that fell astray, as much as we can, long distance... with bricks of sound advice and mortar of love, even from 6000 miles away. We will rebuild or go down fighting.
At the end of the day, I know first I have to let God rebuild my heart. Kinda like the Casting Crowns song, "Voice of Truth". I have to choose to listen to His voice and believe - above all the nasty and painful things recorded in my head. And I need to choose to forgive - EVERY day, because that ugly root of bitterness sneaks up on me oh so quickly.
I know that the Enemy had planned those things against us in hopes that we will hide in some corner of anonymity, unheard of ever again. But Paul and I were raised in the faith to be "History Makers" (I don't think you could sing that song for a thousand youth services and not have it embossed in your brain!).
Rest assured of this: MY fighting won't be with manipulation, whining, or scheming (like some I know), and I won't be back-stabbing, or bad-mouthing either. Don't be expecting me to find ways to make the opposition miserable at every opportunity I can. And I will not make them feel as un-welcomed as they have treated me.
Because I know my victory lies in living like I was dying, dancing like no one is looking, smiling like nothing is wrong, and loving like I've never been hurt before. Serving at my church as if I've never been kicked out of one before. Being generous as if I've never been broke before. Giving second chances as if it was always the first. Opening my heart as if I was not afraid.
I will rebuild! Or go down fighting!