"A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." ~ Proverbs 16:9
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all of your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." ~ Proverbs 3:5-6
I have encouraged myself with these two scriptures more times than I can count. To be honest, so many times I don't know what God's direction for me is. I do know, however, that His plans for me are "good and not evil, to give me a hope and a future." ~ Jeremiah 29:11.
Our plans, as we arrived in Athens, Texas, were focused on Vic attending classes to become licensed in RV repair. We knew this would help keep us mobile so we could continue ministering God's Word and H.O.P.E. to others. We had no idea what plans the Lord actually had in store for us here.
As soon as we arrived in Texas, I began praying and asking God what my purpose was while we were here. The Holy Spirit placed on my heart to attend a church service at the Athens Church of God one Sunday. So we did. After the service, the pastor (Teresa) began sharing with us how discouraged she and her husband (Wayne) had been. We immediately prayed for them both. After going to lunch together, Teresa asked me if I would share my testimony the following Sunday night. It's interesting when reflecting back across my life, I realize that all of my life is a testimony to God's goodness and faithfulness, including being born between two miscarriages. "For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb." ~ Psalm 139:13. God always has a purpose for our lives. "In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will" ~ Ephesians 1:11
I began asking God what specific parts of my testimony He wanted me to share and to reveal the scriptures that He knew needed to be spoken. Revelation 12:11 states, "And they overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony..." For the sake of time, I will just highlight a few things that have been a result of our simple obedience to God and His faithfulness in bringing us to the Athens COG.
***The pastor and her husband were encouraged (as she would say, she got a "Spiritual boost and Holy Ghost refreshing") and were reminded of what God had called them to years ago. She began sharing with the congregation what the Lord has been speaking to them and she/they have started operating in it. We know that in James 2 it states, "faith without works is dead." If we want change, we have to step out in faith and do it. I have also been able to meet with the pastor several days a week (while Vic is in his classes) to pray with her. Vic and I are meeting with the pastor and her husband to pray in the evenings for our remaining weeks here. Prayer is vital to any believers walk with God. James 5:16 declares, "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." God is moving and change is happening!
***Johnny (one of the members) was so encouraged about my/our testimony of being obedient to God that he felt compelled to share his faith (for the first time) with a man from his work. Johnny then personally witnessed the favor of God that afternoon when he went to buy his lunch. He discovered that the person in front of him in the drive through line had already paid for it. Now Johnny is so excited to go forward in boldness, obeying God, knowing he can be used of God.
***Alan (member) shared with us how he had been asking God to send two people to them. He said he didn't care whether they would stay or just be visitors. He just wanted God to send two people to them. Two days later we walked in the church.
***Benny (member) who always stood with his hands in his pockets (unless he was playing his guitar), was given an encouraging word from the Lord last weekend. We were then able to share about our good friend, James, and how God had totally transformed his life from a man always standing with his hands in his pockets to a man with hands outstretched high, fully committed to God and preaching His Word.
I love how God doesn't waste a thing in our lives. In Genesis 50:20, God turns every evil that the enemy meant for us, for the good. God is Faithful! No one can convince me otherwise. Trust in the process of the journey God has you on. It may look like you are covered in dirt right now, but that is just the seed in fertile soil that will soon sprout up and produce the most magnificent fruit for the Kingdom. The harvest is truly ready.
"Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!" ~ John 4:35
"And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, "Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe." Revelation 14:15