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Under the Platform

I know God has a work for me but I am often reminded by the Lord that my work at this time is intercession, and serving and supporting other’s visions and dreams. Not that the Lord hasn’t given me my own dreams too but it is all related. As it says in Luke 16:12:

And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?

No matter what, when you know your assignment has proceeded straight from the Lord’s mouth, no matter the opposition, it is an assignment full of life and joy and a mighty expectation.

My wheels began turning this morning after I read Greg Mauro’s article in Ministry Today Magazine titled “Are You Called to Another’s Man’s Ministry?”

It reminded of a story Evangelist Rachel Hickson told once. When she was first called into the ministry, she worked as an intercessor with Christ for All Nations and Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke. For many of those early years, while Reinhard Bonnke would preach to tens of thousands and minister healing and deliverance to thousands, Rachel would intercede each night UNDER the platform where Bonnke was standing. It was her job and assignment. Rachel was faithful. It was during these times of intercession that she not only saw others healed and saved and called, but she herself was miraculously healed as she had been in an automobile accident that left her unable to walk. She saw deliverance herself- as she was so incredibly shy when she started that she could not talk to others normally (sound familiar-Rachel’s testimony and her selfless gift of her teachings are what gave me the hope that God would deliver me as He had her) Today, Rachel Hickson is an Evangelist and Author and yet, still and always an Intercessor. She travels the world leading others to salvation but also encouraging and teaching the saints- equipping them in areas of prayer and God’s supernatural gifts.

Many times over the years since I was saved, I have been called to the prayer room during a service. Honestly, sometimes I have not wanted to leave the atmosphere of what was happening. Sometimes I resented that no one would come alongside no matter how much we pleaded for help. Seemed no one cared. Still, I knew that prayer was my assignment and God had spoken to me of interceding during services…much like some serve in the nursery or on the praise team or wherever. Prayer was my assignment.

There were times I found it incredibly easy. There were times it was so difficult. During one of the difficult seasons I found myself telling God over and over that I felt like I was missing something special out in the service. I would say God please let YOUR GLORY flood this room TOO. Over and over God would tell me that He would never leave me out.

One day God said to me Words that I keep always with me and close to my heart. They were Words of correction but great LOVE. He took me to Psalm 63:2

“To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.”

Beautiful, hopeful thought….and then He said, “Missy, your real rebellion is feeling like I have put you on a shelf in the midst of the action. I haven’t put you on a shelf; I’ve put you UNDER the platform with JESUS!”

He never left me out of what He was doing, He was using me also to do His own will. I have thought so often of those words and that two year time of being back there with him during those services and I know this – what He was doing, was He was trying to make a minister of me. When He brought me back into the services I was different.

Now when I am in a service of another minister that I know God has specifically called and assigned me to pray and intercede for, I see myself and position my heart with Jesus….UNDER THE PLATFORM. What a very special place and indeed a treasured assignment!

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My Inheritance

He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom He loved. Selah.”  ~ Psalm 47:4

The Lord has been so gracious to allow me to be in His presence in places where He has chosen to show up through His signs, His wonders and His miracles. I know I am blessed and that He has used these times and situations to increase my faith. I have seen miracles of healing, miracles of food multiplied, I have experienced and seen deliverance from depression and anxiety and addiction. I long for the day that those that are God’s own children will not be as those from Jesus’ hometown, expecting so little and so receiving and seeing little of God’s power in their lives and communities.

I think so many think of God as sooooo familiar. Meaning they think they know all there is to know because they have sat in church and think they know all the stories. The Bible says though that the stories could fill volumes though so no way we could know them all. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. John 21:25. Yes, in many ways God is familiar but in many, many more ways or probably most ways, He is a God that we can not define or put into our little box or our little human minds. He is infinite and yet reachable. He can reach out to the most scholarly yet has made His gospel simple enough for a very small child. He is a mystery and yet tells us He wants to be known. He is magnificent but humble; the Lion and also the Lamb.

After a wonderful Sunday where God moved through our pastors to give the Word, I am pondering today His call on my life and how to apply His Word. I know in part what God can do and am confident in the Word and that He can do infinitely more….but there are times when I wonder how it will all come to pass since I wasted so much of my life and talents and resources on temporal things and the roadblocks seem endless. Will I go to my grave reminding myself not to look back with regret? Will these roadblocks turn out to actually be the steps to what has been prepared?  Though I am a person that is pretty focused and committed still I wonder sometimes. I was thinking along these lines this morning and I felt my Father pose a question to me. He told me upfront that it was hypothetical but He told me to take it seriously nonetheless. The question was this…Excluding praise and worship, reading my Bible and prayer and excluding all otherhuman opinion, if I could do only ONE thing of service for Him all the rest of the days of my earthly life, what would I do and why?

It was early so I had the time at 4:30am to ponder these things, but it wasn’t necessary. I immediately knew my answer. If I could only do one thing of service — I would feed the hungry.  I know you think now I am talking feeding the hungry physically and spiritually but I am actually mostly talking in the physical.  I would feed the hungry real solid food and pray that God, in His mercy, would give me also opportunity and ways to feed them spiritually as He saw their need and mine.

Why?

Because long before He told me to preach or pray, He told me “you give them something to eat” from Matthew 14:16, Mark 6:19, and Luke 9:13. When God spoke this to me, it was one of the first times I ever heard God speak directly to me through His written Word. It stuck with me. On looking over these last years, I have found that from my obedience to“you give them something to eat”  has come most of the miracles, signs and wonders that I have been allowed to see and from obedience to that command, I have been given opportunity to share the Word and pray with people and I have been able to see people saved. Real true lasting fruit. From obedience to that command I have met people that live in their cars and in the woods and I have also met hungry ministers. I have been allowed to minister to those that have given their lives for the Gospel but found themselves being fed through my hand but in that moment of divine appointment (and I believe that is what it was), I found them there feeding me in such beautiful ways. Truly I tell you, from obedience to that command “you give them something to eat” I, myself, have been fed and sustained by God and have felt the presence and LOVE of GOD HIMSELF through them toward me. It was never just me allowing the love of God through me. He gave me love through them. 

I find myself now in a season where I am removed and separated at least for a time from that kind of ministry and there are days I grieve. Not because I miss a ministry but because I miss the people and what they brought into my life. I miss the faith that desperation brings into a people. I miss the mutual need. God transformed my heart of prejudice and gave me love and acceptance and compassion. He gave me understanding. In return so many of the people also accepted me and loved me back. For so many once a month I was friend or mama figure or prayer partner. They were daily in my prayers and that prayer created a bond. I look for them always when I drive the streets of Gastonia. I am so hopeful when I don’t see them out there. I made it a point to know their names and their children’s names and their situations and their hearts. I miss their hearts. I miss their hugs. I miss their stories. I miss how they bonded to others and how they helped their neighbors. They grabbed the concept we know as “church” so much better  than most. They were rich in ways I think few know. 

A verse that struck me this morning during those early hours with the Lord was this: Psalm 47:4, “He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom He loved. Selah.”  I have always loved that promise. I have always asked the Lord for the nations but my inheritance is His choice. When someone leaves you an inheritance it is their choice as to what they leave each person. The poor and the poor in spirit are my inheritance…this I know though I can’t fully explain all of what that means yet or how my wonderful Father wants me to take care of this precious gift he leaves me.

Selah! [pause, and calmly think of that]
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Just a thought…

When Jesus told Peter, “If you love me, feed my sheep,” Peter had just denied Jesus. Can you imagine Peter’s feelings of guilt? I’m sure he considered ending all ministry.

How I hear that today: Jesus says to us, “If you love Me, FORGET the mistakes and failures of the past and focus on what I asked you to do!” (Of course, I’m not talking about short-circuiting repentance)

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Just Showed Up For My Own Life too

Three years ago I watched a documentary about the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Honestly at that time I had no interest in Africa, AIDS or the people affected in the world. It was not in the radar of what I knew as my life, but that day God sat me down and sat me still and He touched my heart. Although it wasn’t a religious video or even one of social justice, I couldn’t turn away from what I saw and heard from Him that day…the burden. I told my family afterward that I would be going to Africa on a mission trip one day.

Over these last years I have thought about that statement and that day often. Then several days ago I watched a music video by Sara Groves. It was a video set to her song I Saw What I Saw and it was a message about how her life was changed and how it really began by a visit to Rwanda. When I saw it I started crying. I was bawling like a baby. Couldn’t contain my feelings. I know what God has placed in my heart and seeing that video brought it all into the open, if just in my own room…it had become a burden and was this true desire I was feeling?

Today I watched another documentary from the Nomad Film Series. It was titled- Just Showed Up For My Own Life. This documentary, about Sara Groves as well, chronicled both that visit to Rwanda but in much more detail and Sara ministering in Louisiana during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I am completely undone.

I have over these last years asked God to give me a heart that felt love, real love. God has taken my heart filled to the brim with so many prejudices and judgments and apathy and I can feel Him replacing it with His heart of deep longing and love and “homesickness” for these nations of Africa but also for individuals; also for this nation…the poor and broken-hearted of this nation and this town. I have cried all day for the orphans and the widows; for the elderly; for the women and for the men. Those living in poverty and a kind of trauma that I can’t even understand. His people, His children. Then I find myself praying that He would give me a nation and to help me perceive the need in the one in front of me today.

What God has placed in my heart is beyond my understanding. I guess I write it here because I have to believe there is someone out there that knows something at all about what I am feeling. I admit I don’t get it exactly and I admit it might sound crazy. I don’t even know the simple things I need to know so yes it is so beyond me…but for whatever circumstance I find myself or whatever season of my life I am in, this is. This is a new reality that has always been there in God’s plan for me. It is now a part of my own life. It is risky and yet I know the risk of not showing up for this part of my life is so much greater. I see documentaries like this and read books and listen to missionaries speak and I just want to see and know a people with that kind of love, faith, healing, joy that these people seem to know. I want to walk with Jesus there- maybe so I can know more of how He wants me to walk with Him here. One of the consequences of great prejudice seems to be great responsibility. I have to own that. I want to quit crying and yet I don’t want to ever quit. It is now my burden, my desire and my prayer.

I have been meditating on this scripture today. It has blessed me:

Isaiah 41:9-10 (New International Version)

9 I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.

10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.