Sunday, May 07, 2006

A Cup of Instant Answered Prayer

I am not what I ought to be.
I am not what I wish to be.
I am not even what I hope to be.
But by the Cross of Christ,
I am not what I was.
~John Newton

I attend Revival Tabernacle in West Milton. About six weeks ago, Brother Tim Johnson spoke about how we need to take a few steps towards God if we expect Him to bless us with gifts of healing, anointing and intercession. At that moment, I repented to God that I had let my devotional time fall by the wayside. I told God right then and there that I would get back into setting Devotional time in order that I might grow and continue to be more each day than I was the day before.

I was rehearsing with actors at Susquehanna University weeks later on April 11th. When I left rehearsal, I had to drive to West Milton to pick up my children at my grandmother's house. I got into the van, decided to take back roads from Selinsgrove to West Milton, and just as I put my hand up to put the CD player into action, that still small voice said, "Pray."

And so, I prayed a nice, heartfelt, 35 minute-long prayer until I pulled into my grandmother's driveway.

While I was praying, I was again reminded that I had not been faithful -- again. I promised God I would set devotional time and I had not. I repented again. I prayed that God would keep Zoe in bed just a little longer the next morning so I could turn to the Word.

There I was the morning of April 12th - after having fallen asleep with lap-top in lap. I fell asleep working on a flyer that was well overdue. So what did I do first thing when I woke up the next morning while Zoe was asleep? I finished the flyer, of course. And then -- God stepped in.

Suddenly, God reminded me that there I was, downstairs in the quiet of my home. My baby and hubby were sleeping, just as I had asked God (Cup of Instant Answered Prayer Number 1,) and I should be doing Devotions. I stood up, grabbed my Bible from the mantle, and thought to myself, "What will I study? I don't have any Devotional texts. My Purpose Driven Life book is in the van, and I don't feel like getting it as my van is down the street since the roofing contractors are here today."

For some reason I walked out to the kitchen. (I have no idea why I walked out to the kitchen.) There on the kitchen counter was a new devotional that some members of Christ Wesleyan Church had distributed. (Cup of Instant Answered Prayer Number 2.) And thus began my new devotional journey.

Matthew 21:1-3
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them and He will send them right away."

Max Lucado writes:
"When we get to Heaven, I want to meet with the guy with the donkey. I have several questions for him:
- How did you know it was Jesus who needed a donkey?
- How did it feel to look out and see Jesus on the back of your donkey? Were you proud?
Were you annoyed? Were you aware that all four Gospels would tell you story?
- Was it difficult to give something to Jesus for Him to use?"

What is my donkey? When God wants something, do I act like I don't know he needs it? Do I then feel bad when I miss my chance? The too few times I hear Him and obey Him, I feel honored that a gift of mine would be used to carry Jesus into another place.

We all have things in our lives which when given back to God, could, like the donkey, move Jesus and his story further down the road. Max Lucado writes, "It could be that God wants to mount your donkey and enter the walls of another city, another nation, another heart. Do you let him?"

My "donkeys" are my gifts of dance, music and theatre; my writing and preaching abilities. One donkey that I had not untied, however, was my ability to comfort others - to reach out to those in need. But God, being faithful, steps in and unties my donkeys for me.

On March 11th, my husband's two co-workers and friends - a husband and wife - were killed in a horrific motorcycle accident. Russ and Dawn Gill were dear to me as well, as they worked out at the Training Center daily with Derek and I. Dawn was my pacesetter on the treadmill, while Russ' stories and laughter made working out a joy.

After their death, I felt an incredible loss. I cried for days. I could find peace knowing that at least they had died together, as they had been inseparable since the age of 13! But I kept feeling called to reach out to the family. But I refused to untie my donkey.

One Tuesday night, I again was driving from a rehearsal in Selinsgrove to West Milton to pick up Ellen. Zoe, this night, was to sleep over at my grandmother's house, so until I got to West Milton and got Zoe to sleep, it was 11:30pm before Ellen and I left for home. We turned onto JPM road and stranded in the middle of the road was this car and its driver. For a moment, I hesitated, was it safe? I heard God say, "Step out in faith and reach out," so I stopped. I could see it was a woman and I asked her if she needed help. She said, "Well, I have a cell phone and I'm trying to call someone." As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I began to see the facial features of the woman.

"Are you Martha?" I asked.
"Yes," she responded.

It was Martha Gill, Russ' stepmother, stranded on the road at 11:30 at night. She had just left the hospital where her husband, Russ' father, was being checked for heart pain most likely due to depression and anxiety from the loss of his son and daughter in-law.

I pushed her car to the side of the road. I convinced her to let her car there, I could take her home. She could call AAA from home. She needed to rest.

I told her how deeply Russ and Dawn's death had touched me. I promised her we would get her copies of Derek's poem that he read at their memorial service. I told her that I felt a deep need to help somehow.

She said, "Well, I really want to start a Scholarship Fund, but I don't know the first thing about fundraising."

Did I tell you I was a Professional Fundraiser for 7+ years? There's her Cup of Instant Answered Prayer, and one great big Donkey of mine loosed!

God wants us to share our donkeys. When we share our gifts, we share Jesus.

Thank you for allowing me to share my gifts with you.