Last week, Rick and I had the opportunity to have some great friends come and visit us.
We met Nathan and Bethany while attending college. Rick and Nathan were roomates and Bethany and I were dorm mates. I thought right away that the two of them should meet because I thought they would really hit it off. And guess what? They did. =) Just call me match maker. Now they are married and have 2 precious little boys.
Bethany and I were wonderful friends through college.
I remember her coming over to hang out with me at the house when Rick was working. We would have "friends" marathon and laugh for hours on end. There was never a dry moment between the two of us. We were destined to be frineds. We always had a blast together.
After college, Bethany and I still remained in contact but hadn't seen each other in years.
I'll never forget the day of Maddie's funeral, seeing Bethany and my other friend Lois walk into my Pastor's office. They came all the way from Michigan, in a huge snow storm, just to be there for me. I am blessed.
I will always be grateful for the friendships I have made through Crown College. It's really been a blessing to have met so many wonderful people.
So when they arrived, I was thrilled. My boys loved meeting their little boys and I enjoyed catching up. It was so good to see them.
Nathan serves as the Pastor of their Church in Michigan. So, when they were coming in on a Wednesday night, Rick asked Nathan if he would like to preach our teen service. He did great.
He preached on being a Servant of Christ and it really touched my heart.
The first thing he said was...
1. We need to serve God with fear.
Psalm 2:11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
I think so often we forget to fear God. I know that so often life gets busy and we go through our days filling our time with what has to and needs to be done. We forget to think about what the Father expects and wants us to do. We forget to serve God but fill our times with making only ourselves and the others around us happy.
I know sometimes I feel like we spend ALL our time at the Church, and for the most part, we do. But, where else would I put my time. The work we are doing for the Lord is affecting eternity's. There is no greater place to put my time but into the work of the Lord.
2. Serve the Lord with gladness.
Psalm 100:2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
God wants us to serve Him with gladness. So often, I think Christians get into a routine of what they do for the Lord that they forget to be happy in the work of the Lord. We don't HAVE to serve Him. We GET to serve Him. we should be full of happiness and joy.
Just as I talked about on Easter Sunday, I could've really let that day get me down as I was missing Madeline so very much. Instead, I let the Lord work and because of that, He allowed me to see 6 young ladies be saved. You couldn't have wiped that smile off my face for anything that day. I was happy and full of joy that God was working.
Even in the midst of pain and suffering, God used me. That makes me happy.
3. Serve God with the right spirit.
Romans 1:9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers.
Our spirit says so much about us. Living in the right spirit is so very important. If we have a bad spirit, it shows.
There are so many people who just go through this life with such a negative outlook on life. Nothing is good. Life is horrible. Nothing ever goes right.... Do you know anyone like that?
But, where is this attitude going to get us? Nowhere.
I know what it's like to have been dealt a bad hand. I know what it's like to suffer. I know what it's like to grieve to the point that you don't know if you will be okay. I know that, because I've lived it.
I also know, that if you fill your emptiness with the Word of God, He will fill you up and allow you to smile again. He will comfort you and allow you to live again.
I don't know what each of you are going through. I don't know where your struggles or heartaches are. But... God does.
He knows everything, and He knows what's best.
So, what did I learn during Nathan's message that night?
I learned to serve. God has so much for us in the days ahead. Everything I have been given in this life has been from God. I would be foolish not to love and serve the Lord with all my life.
So, as I go through each day searching God out for where I should be and what I should be doing, I'm learning; you can't go wrong when serving the Lord.
I remember shortly after Maddie Graced passed, so many people said "Why you guys?"
What they meant was, we are faithful to God in Church. We are faithful to serving in the ministry. We are faithful in reading the Bible and in praying. We have dedicated our lives to God and this hasn't changed.
I don't know why God "chose" us to go through this, but I do know that He has helped us through it. I know that because of it, we have learned to trust Him and serve Him more. I'm grateful for that.
God has been so good to us. Even in the midst of the worst thing we have ever been through, He is good. And we will continue to serve Him the rest of our lives.
I'm so glad that we had the opportunity to spend time with Nathan and Bethany and their family. I'm so thankful we met them almost 10 years ago. They have been such good friends to us and we are grateful for them.
Hope you all are having a good week! God Bless!