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Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Life of the Carnival

Things at the carnival had just gotten started.  The concession stand was just beginning to make their first sales of cotton candy and Sno-cones.  The Ferris Wheel had only loaded a handful of passengers.  My family and I were still in line for our first thrill ride of the night.  All was off to a lovely start.
And then suddenly, something weird happened.  Everything came to a sudden halt.  The ride in front of us stopped.  The food vendors stopped prepping food.  The lights on the Fun House went dark.  I looked over and could see the ride attendants scrambling to converse with each other.  It was apparent what had happened.  Everything had lost electrical power. 
So, here we all were.  Everything was set up.  Everyone was ready.  Everything had the potential to be amazing.  But we all had a harsh reminder that if this was going to go anywhere, the power to make it happen needed to be present and flowing.
Some of us are good at setting up 'carnivals'.  We know how to set the scene.  We know how to put the right people in place.  We have the vision of what things should look like, smell like, sound like, and feel like to make for an amazing time.  But there is one thing we must remember.  A carnival is only a carnival when the invisible Power is present and flowing.  If it's not, all you have is the potential for something great.
The Holy Spirit is that Power.  He is the One that takes what our little hands have set up and brings them to Life.  He is the One that lights up the 'fun house'.  He is the One that gets the 'thrill rides' moving.  He is the One that generates the heat under the Food so that the people can eat it.
Are there 'carnivals' in your life that are all set up but have lost Power?  Or, are you setting up a 'carnival' right now that you hope will attract people to come and enjoy themselves?  If so, remember this:  We are co-workers with the Master Carnival Maker.  We may plant.  We may water.  But it is God that makes it all grow.  It is God that brings all 'carnivals' to Life.  No 'carnival' is alive without Him present and flowing. 
Fortunately, the carnival we were at that night didn't lose power forever.  When they realized the problem, they got reconnected and things were up and moving again pretty quickly.  And, God is available and happy to get our 'carnivals' up and moving, too!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dead End Ahead

It was a road we had never been down before but we could see through the trees that the place we wanted to be was right in front of us.  Surely, this road would lead us to it.  It seemed sensible, then, to keep driving down it.  But then I looked to my left and saw a sign.


The other two girls in the car looked at me. 

"Dead end?  How could that be?  We can actually see our destination literally in front of us.  This road can't be a dead end." the one girl said to me.

All three of us would not accept it as if somehow the sign was lying to us.  We could have trusted the road marker and turned around, but our denial and curiosity kept us going.  We went a good half mile more when sure enough the road widened into a cul-de-sac.

We sat there dumbfounded.  We had to see it to believe it.  We had to travel to the very end of the road to accept that it really would come to an end.

Sometimes in life we are on a course that God, Himself, will put us on.  For a season, He may let us journey awhile down a road to help us learn things and get to know Him better.  But then maybe, without much warning, He lets us know that this road He has us on is not a long term one.  He didn't make a mistake.  We didn't miss His leading.  The Season has just come to an end and the path is going to be taking a turn in a new direction and even on an entirely new road.  He begins putting up the signs.  "No Outlet"  "Dead End Ahead"  But we may want to disregard these signs.  In our denial, we might say, "Surely, this can't be a dead end.  I can see our destination in front of us!  Don't believe the lies of the Enemy.  In faith we will move forward!"  And God may just let us.  If need be, He will let us travel to the very end so that we can see for ourselves that He posted the sign, not the enemy, and He was not lying to us.
How discouraging this can be for someone so sure of the road he is traveling on!  But there is one thing we can be assured of:  God is a Good Shepherd.  He will not make a mistake in leading you.  What He is after more than anything, though, is your heart.  In our Journey, He may allow us to go down a side street or two simply to capture your heart, retune your focus, infuse you with Wisdom, heal your heart and mind, reveal Himself in a way you have not seen yet, etc.
Be encouraged, friend.  If God is posting "Dead End Signs" in your life it doesn't necessarily mean all is dead.  It may just mean He is moving onto a new road and is asking you to follow Him.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Unexplainable

True story.

My husband lost his wedding ring a couple summers ago while playing a game of ball in a baseball field.  He and I absolutely knew he was wearing it that day because we both recall him tapping it and playing around with it on a chair that morning. 

We scoured the baseball field looking everywhere.  Our friends looked everywhere.  No ring. 
Soon, it was getting dark and our kids were getting tired.  There was nothing else we could do but go home.  Surprisingly, my husband and I had an unusual peace about the whole thing.  We should have been freaking out, but we weren't.  Instead, we just lifted a prayer to God about it. 

So we left with no ring and figured we'd probably need to go out the next day to start window shopping for a new one.  Unfortunate and sad, but a certain reality.

The next day, we talked some more about our options and after dinner decided to at least go and browse a couple jewelry stores.  Before leaving, my husband ran upstairs to change from his work pants into shorts.  They were shorts that were recently washed and put in his drawer and not the ones he was wearing during the baseball game.  To smooth out his pockets, he pushed his hand into them and made a shocking discovery!  HIS RING!  He stood there confused and speechless as he stared at the ring in his hand. 

Moments later he came downstairs with a dumbfounded look on his face.  With all our reasoning, we tried to figure out how in the world his ring ended up in this pocket?  These weren't the shorts he had on the day he lost the ring.  We knew we didn't come home with the ring.  We knew he definitely had it on the morning he lost it and that he definitely lost it in the field.  How did it end up in his room, in his drawer, and in a different short's pocket??

Unexplainable.  Miraculous.  God is a God of the impossible.