"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
~ Romans 12:1-2
Renewed = a renewal, renovation, a complete change for the better
September 18, 2022, marked our one year anniversary when God sent us out for Montana in the River of H.O.P.E. Ministries. When reflecting back on this past year and the many years leading up to this faith walk, we remain astounded at what God has done in and through us. We had no idea what we were getting into when we said, “Yes!” to Him and His plan for our lives. His way is always perfect and we’re thankful He chose us to partner with for such a time as this.
To some it may appear that we are being foolish in what we are doing. It may even seem like we have no plan at all. To us, however, we are trusting the guidance of God to lead us where He wants/needs us to go. It seldom makes sense when we start out, but He never fails to reveal His plan as we faithfully obey His direction. He always gives us a peace that helps us know when and where to go and when it’s time to leave. Every place God has instructed us to go, He has done something uniquely different from the previous one. Because we never know what to expect, we diligently seek His heart so we can obey what He reveals to us…whether it be traveling to certain areas of a particular state, a specific church, campground, or even restaurant. We have always tried to trust God in every known and unknown of this journey. And because of this, we have learned more about God and His unconventional ways.
Wisconsin was an unexpected work. While seeking God’s heart for what He wanted, He started giving us dreams and visions. These particular dreams and visions were different, although God reminded us of dreams He had given us ten years ago and how they were connected. He revealed to us that He was doing a new thing in us to prepare us for our next season. We had been praying for not only the growth that was coming our way, but also for God to reveal things (even the hidden things) in our hearts that could hinder what He wants to do in and through us. He revealed some strongholds we still had in our lives that needed to be dealt with. So often, the affairs of this world can make its way into our hearts in one form or another. It’s so subtle and many times it goes undetected. We were created to grow and advance for the Kingdom of God. We’re so grateful God is faithful to complete His work in us when we surrender to His better way.
During our time in Wisconsin, we went to the laundromat. We decided to wash our bathroom rugs, which are a lighter teal color and show dirt very easily. We were debating whether to wash the front door rug because it didn’t look like it needed to be cleaned. This particular rug has brown, tan and a little teal throughout. We decided to wash it anyway with the other two. After washing all three rugs, the most unexpected, drastic change was in the front door rug. The front door rug collects everything that we’ve picked up from the world outside. Because of its color, we didn’t notice how much filth had accumulated in it. We were always shaking out the rug, but we didn’t realize much of the dirt became embedded and couldn’t just be shaken out. That rug needed a good washing…a thorough cleansing to remove what had been picked up from the world along our way. The same goes with our hearts and minds. Over time, even in ministry, we pick things up along the way of our journey that God never intended for us. Some may be hidden or disguised as normal, but if it isn’t from God, then you shouldn’t be holding onto it. We need to be consistently renewed…spirit, soul, mind and body.
God is doing a new thing on the earth. It's more than just a shaking…it’s a cleansing, a renewing, a purifying of His Bride. It’s something that should completely change the way we look. Grapes turning into wine, much like olives turning into oil, look totally different after going through a process of crushing. Their very form is all together different. If we partner with God in the crushing process, we will discover He has so much more for us than we thought possible. We won’t say it’s easy. On the contrary, it will be most difficult. We have fought more battles than we care to mention since this journey began. However, we have also experienced more vi