Tuesday, July 18, 2017

all the things, part 1- a land of milk and honey

At the beginning of the summer, I began listening to Beth Moore's 'Believing God' study on CD. I thought it would be a nice thing to listen to on my way back and forth from Meridian (because we know I couldn't survive the summer without seeing Casey as frequently as possible).

Now, let me rewind a bit before I get into all the good stuff. My mom and sister-in-law did the Believing God study at our church this past Spring, ultimately leading to my sister-in-law's salvation!! This was a huge miracle for our family. We have been praying for April since meeting her in May 2010. In fact, when I was in college, my best friend and I claimed Wednesdays as our prayer days and every morning as soon as we woke up, we prayed for the salvation of two of her family members and two of mine (one being April!) This became something we clung to and believed for so much that we lovingly call them "Miracle Wednesdays" because we know that God answers sincere, constant prayers, and we know that miracles have and will come out of this! Her sister, whom we had been praying for, accepted Christ a couple years ago- we cried over that. Then when April accepted Christ this past Easter, the first person I texted was Meg. All I could do was cry. Our many many many prayers had brought about not one but TWO miraculous salvations!

So naturally, when this study was part of what brought about a miracle for us, Mom wanted to share the goods! She passed the CD's along to my sister, who listened to them all, then passed them to me. At that time, Lauren had just begun the process of applying to become an overseas missionary, and that whole set of events has been nothing short of miraculous!

The short version is:
She had read a book that reawakened her desire for overseas missions. She was on a walk and ran into a sweet older couple who live near us. They started talking and realized they were all Christians, and Lauren shared with them her recently reawakened desire. The wife said, "Well, isn't that amazing, my husband literally wrote a book on that!" and they gave her the book. She read it and felt convicted to start researching ways to do overseas missions. Come to find out, that man was on the International Mission Board for 40 years and was the president of it for 17. She began her application to the IMB, has since finished the application, and is in the long waiting period until she finds out in October/November if she will be placed overseas and would leave in January if that happens. Somewhere during the application process, she found out she would be losing her job, as she is a teacher and they could not give her a contract for half a year. She struggled and cried and prayed, and a few weeks later, her headmaster came to her and offered her a job for just the Fall, with the option to stay with them for the Spring too if she doesn't receive an IMB placement!!

Then, before we could even bother to worry about "What if Lauren leaves in January and I can't pay the rent by myself and have to move out?", Ben's wonderful girlfriend Michaela made the decision to move to Clinton and asked if she could move in with us since we have a spare bedroom. The answer was a quick and obvious YES!

And at the same time all of this is happening, Casey graduated college and began hunting for grad school positions/a job. He didn't really know what direction to go, but he took the GRE and did well on it. However, as we prayed and walked through it, God kept closing all the doors on grad school. So, Casey decided to work on obtaining alternate route certification to teach middle/high school. He emailed and emailed and emailed, signed up for the Praxis, and prayed his little guts out. He finally got a reply from a school hunting a middle school Social Studies teacher and basketball coach- exactly what he wanted. AND the school is in the Jackson area (huge sigh of relief from us both) He had a couple interviews, took and passed the Social Studies Praxis, and was offered the job! Another miracle (that you'll hear more about later)!

So, in the midst of all this wonderful, exciting change, I find myself listening to this Believing God study. It seemed unrelated at the time, but I now see how perfectly and powerfully timed it was. And boy, did I underestimate it.
The study is based on five core truths:
1. God is who He says He is
2. He can do what He says He can do
3. I am who God says I am
4. I can do all things through Christ
5. God's Word is alive and active in me

It goes back to Old Testament truths that God means for us to claim metaphorically (you know, like when he promised the Israelites the Promised Land. Obviously he doesn't want us to go claim the Promised Land literally, but spiritually and emotionally and mentally, He has purposed for us to live free from spiritual slavery and in a place flowing with good things!).

As soon as I started listening to this study, I knew God meant for me to claim my little school as my Promised Land for this season.
I struggle, some days, to accept where God has me right now. Clinton, Mississippi seems so small and meaningless. My job/school/students wear me down so much. It seems like, "surely it shouldn't be like this." But even in listening to the first CD, I knew- this dingy old elementary school is my Promised Land right now. I can either be afraid of the "giants" and unlikeable things in it (Numbers 13:25-33), or I can embrace it and inhabit a land flowing with milk and honey.

Deuteronomy 6:3 says, "Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do [the things God commands]*, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey*wording mine

Guys, have you ever really processed that bit? A land flowing with milk and honey? I think it means more than just God providing for their physical needs and wants. I think it means more than Him just sustaining them and giving them something sweet on top of it.
Just think about some of the health benefits of milk and honey real quick:

  • strengthens bones
  • contains protein that promotes muscle growth and repair
  • contains phosphorus that helps strengthen bones/muscles and give energy
  • contains potassium, which reduces blood pressure
  • is used to nurse babies and nurse sick people back to health until one is ready for solid food
  • is packed with antioxidants and helps the immune system
  • promotes healthy sleep
  • heals wounds and ulcers
  • is a natural allergy relief
  • helps maintain healthy weight
  • has antibacterial properties
  • enzymatically produces hydrogen peroxide, which cleans out wounds (which is AMAZING to me and you can find more info in studies like this one.)
I hope you look at these facts from a spiritual perspective- if you haven't yet, go think about them. They blew my mind. God placed His children in a land flowing with two things that would give them everything they needed, not just as food, but as things to heal and grow and strengthen them. You know there had to be some Israelite who was just dreadfully allergic to some plant out there in the Canaanites' land. Can you imagine how psyched he was when he discovered honey helped his allergies?! 
I'm sure his cry was similar to what mine has been lately:
"God, how can you have the foreknowledge to see that this would happen and care enough to provide a solution to it?" But He does!

I have no doubt in my mind that God has a Promised Land for each of us- a place where we are free from slavery and sin, where we can live in His abundance and provision.
I know that all it takes to find it is a longing heart, prayer, and some separation from all the busyness that tries to distract.
I know that God used this study in Mom's, April's, Lauren's, and my heart(s?) to bring us to each of our Promised Lands and produce growth, faith in Him, and miracles! If you are interested or looking for something, I highly recommend listening to/participating in the Believing God study by Beth Moore (I am not being compensated in any way for saying that!). Don't get me wrong- I know the only answer to our hurts and troubles is Jesus, and no study or words from a human can rescue us or be our answer. I firmly believe that. I also firmly believe that this study is anointed by God and full of His Truth and is absolutely a tool He will use to draw you to His heart.

I don't know where you are spiritually today, but I hope you're His, and I hope you're finding your Promised Land. I hope you're hearing His promises and believing them and looking for miracles.
And if you aren't there yet, I hope God uses this to poke your heart and invite you to believe Him- not just for salvation or ongoing sanctification, but for big, scary miracles. For something that seems too good to be true. For a land of milk and honey.

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