Monday, January 28, 2008

Thank You, Holy Spirit!

You know how sometimes sitting in a sermon you wonder if the pastor knew that he was talking directly to you? That happened yesterday, and it was so great. We tried a church a little closer to home (the church we've been attending is 35 minutes away, and the service is right smack in the middle of Tate's nap, so we've been struggling to get there and be successful). We really enjoy our small group, and are continuing to attend there.

Anyway, the sermon was on how prayer can change your life, and focused on moving to general praying to specific prayer. The focus verse was Romans 10:17, which says that "faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of Christ." The pastor, Scott Montagne, went on to say that there are two "words" in the bible, logos and rhema. Logos is the universal word, the word of God directed to everyone. Rhema is the personal word, and that is from God to each one of us. God speaks to us personally through the Holy Spirit (John 14:26 and John 16:13) who guides and teaches us more about the Father.

Pastor Montagne also addressed how we differentiate a personal word from just a feeling. I really took this to heart because I was wondering if our desire to adopt was a "personal word" from God like I originally thought it was, or if I just took something and got a little ahead of God. In order to "test" and see if your impression or desire is really from God...

1. Make sure it agrees with the Bible.
2. All of the sudden, scripture becomes alive.

And here are the steps he gave us to pray through a difficult decision...
1. Confess any known sin in your life (John 1:9)
2. Commit the decision to Christ (Proverbs 3:5&6)
3. Ask God to fulfill his will by giving you a desire (Psalm 37:4)
4. Compare your desire with scripture (James 3:17).
5. Listen and wait for God to give you a personal word, a rhema (Colossians 3:15&16).
6. Receive the promise with confidence.
7. Move into action when you sense God saying "go".

As I am hearing this preached and taking notes, I can't help but plainly see how this adoption is our rhema from the Lord. First of all, God plainly addresses the plight of the orphan in several places (Exodus 22:22, John 14:18, and one of my personal favorites, James 1:27). As far as scripture coming alive, all I have to say is that when I was in Guatemala and my friend Carolynne read Isaiah 58, which doesn't specifically address orphans but more people bound by oppression, and I just couldn't help but fall in love with that passage. I have adopted it to be part of my life verse and I am struggling now with how to implement it my life every day. Also, while I was in Guatemala, I read through the New Testament and about half of the Old Testament, and all of the orphan passage kept jumping out at me. So when the pastor gave us those guidelines I could, and did definitely relate.

As far as the second part, I really felt like those steps are the ones Mark and I are trying to follow as we walk through the doors that God is opening for us. I kept trying to push open the international adoption door for us, but God kept closing it, and now we're here because he not only opened the door, but he put his arms around us and is walking through the door with us. Now he's asking us to wait in the living room while he goes in to make the final preparations on what glorious plan he has for us. I definitely did not see us going this way, but God has given us unmistakable direction, and we must follow! How can I doubt when all signs point to "go"?

So, yesterday was incredibly encouraging to both of us. We really needed it. Mark commented as we left that the sermon was one that just captivates, and you can't help but pay attention.

As far as today, we're snowed in! Mark tried to make it into work this morning, but he only made it about 5 feet out of our driveway. Our neighbors said we probably won't get out until Wednesday at the earliest...Tuesdays are usually our grocery days, so we'll have to see what interesting concoctions we can come up with until then! I'll let you know what sorts of things we end up making, I guess this is a good excuse to dig out the cookbook and try whatever it is in my freezer that I've been saving for a special occasion! I guess I could always make something up...Stearns' surprise, maybe? As long as I don't let Tate help we'll be fine...he's big into scratching his brain lately (picking his nose) and it's pretty gross. At least he's learning new things, right?

Ok, enough rambling for today. Have a great one!