Lord, Did You Hear Me?

Do you ever pause, ponder, pray, and obey God, then wait and wait and … wait? Do you ever feel discouraged when He doesn't seem to be doing anything? Lately, I’ve been reminded just how impatient I can be. I say I trust God, but when He doesn’t move immediately I began to doubt He spoke to me, doubt I heard Him, and fear I obeyed out of foolishness. Maybe it’s just me, but I must admit I tend to expect the Almighty to move the moment I feel I’ve done my part. Wow! What am I thinking?

This morning I’m reminded once again that God’s idea of obedience is to simply keep doing the last thing He asked me to do and stay in that place until He somehow sends another directive. I love to spend time with the Lord, and I love to hear His voice. I am sometimes quick to obey. Yet, I’m realizing afresh that often I get impatient with him and fear that wells up in me when He doesn’t move as soon as I think He should. I begin doubting He hears me, feels for me, and cares about what is going on in my life. I am also realizing that’s really selfishness and a lack of belief.

Last night my wise husband said, “He hears you, sees you, and has heard the cry of your heart. Just keep doing what He told you to do and believe He will respond at the perfect time.” Why do I think that as soon as I do my part I can scoot to the edge of my seat and begin waiting, watching, and expecting Him to immediately do His part? He is God, and I’m not. There are times I am shocked by my lack of faith. But the good news is, I am still hearing and seeking His will for me and those I love, and I am convinced He is listening intently. He gave me a wonderful friend in my husband who reminds me what is true and how to respond to it. (This man of mine didn’t always fill that role. So if yours isn’t, don’t give up!) Press in, obey the last directive the Lord gave you, and persist. That’s what I am focused on today. Let’s do this together!

Prayers Have No Expiration Dates

Maybe to some of you beloved, this is a huge “duh” moment, but I recently felt the Lord share a profound TRUTH that I have been chewing on for a while. Then just last week, I believe God confirmed it again and brought more clarity.

We had been praying for two hours for an extended family member who had been taken back for surgery to have a malignant tumor removed. We prayed long and hard for him, the doctors, the staff, and all who were tending to him. Suddenly, our prayer time was interrupted when the family was asked to meet with the doctor behind closed doors. We continued to pray, having no idea what news was being shared. Sad and disappointed, the family returned to say they had not taken him into surgery due to a complication in pre-op. Many of us were discouraged and felt foolish because of what we had just prayed. But as I sat on the floor in the prayer circle, I heard a whisper deep in my heart that said, “Remember your prayers have no expiration date. I heard them and hold each one safely in my heart, and I won’t forget a word. They will be as fresh tomorrow as they are today.” 

Prayers that line up with God’s will have no expiration dates. There’s not a shelf life, so to speak. Your prayers are heard by the Father, safely delivered by the Holy Spirit and prayed by Jesus as He intercedes for us. Every prayer is tucked into God’s holy heart with great delight and pleasure. He loves to hear from His kids, and He loves to respond in ways we can experience His love and glory.

Consider this: Every prayer you have ever prayed for your husband, child, friend, neighbor, family, or yourself has been heard and is of great value to the Father. How often do we repeat ourselves to God in prayer? How often do we repeat our prayers out of a sense of obligation or a belief we need to bring it to His attention once again?

It’s encouraging to remember that once we’ve prayed, He’s got it. He has it, and He doesn’t forget! He will bring the best solution at the perfect time for everyone involved. Don’t get me wrong, there are times we need to pray again and again just to remind ourselves of our dependence on the Lord, but it’s so encouraging to know that every prayer I have prayed for my children, family, friends, husband, and myself are still in the Father’s heart and fresh on His mind.

When we prayed the next day during his actual surgery, we continued to ask many of the same things with some additions. But this time, it was so much sweeter as we reminded ourselves who was in control and how much He loves us and those we care so much about.

Always Grateful

As I get older, I am realizing how important it is to be grateful in every season of my life. Only God can orchestrate all the pieces of every season, and He does it with grace, love, and purpose. As I look back over the years, I am more sure than ever that God is good and He’s always working for us, even in times of pain and regret. Even when He has to remove someone or something from our lives, He is focused on making room for someone or something else and has something remarkably valuable to give. Whether your heart is happy or sad, full or empty, remember God is working, and there are things in the wings and behind the scenes that He just can’t show you yet. We get to choose to believe that He’s aware and involved in every detail and is anxious to reveal His plan as soon as it is time. My hope is that you embrace the moments ahead with great expectation.

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It Takes a Team!

Wow! After over four (long) years, the book is finally a reality. Throughout this process, I’ve learned so much about God, myself, and others. For a few years leading up to the this process, I had asked the Lord “more” of Him and for Him to mature me by pruning and purifying areas of my life—but had no idea the equipment He would use to do it. If I had known how many areas needed pruning, I might have not asked with so much conviction!

Like anything of value, the process of birthing a book was long, sometimes frustrating, and very hard. I almost quit on more than one occasion as I became more and more aware that I couldn’t do what He had called me to do by myself. Yet, each time God’s voice and presence reminded me that He knew I couldn’t do it alone, but if I would lean in and surrender to Him, He would help me achieve the goal He set before me. If I would just do my part and be obedient, He would do the rest.

There have been many gifts along the way, but one of the greatest things I’ve gained in this journey is relationships with people I would never have known. This book would not have happened without the amazing team of people in this picture. I am forever thankful for the journey, the process, the lessons, and the friendships. I am honored and thankful for their giftings that brought this book first to Gateway Church and then to the Body of Christ globally.

I have to ask, “What in the world would we do without one another?” We are all made uniquely different for many reasons, but one reason is so we can come together and passionately do our part. When we do, beautiful things with eternal power happen! Praise God for His wisdom, presence, and practical provision!

 Jonathan Penn, Travis and Stacy Burnett, Don and Cristie Penn, Jules Kieschnick  
  
 
  
    
  
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  , Erin Sullivan, and Deanie and Katie Willis

Jonathan Penn, Travis and Stacy Burnett, Don and Cristie Penn, Jules Kieschnick, Erin Sullivan, and Deanie and Katie Willis

The Baby (BOOK) Was Delivered Yesterday

Well, after four years, Don and I got to see the baby (book) and hold it in our hands yesterday afternoon. In many ways it seems like a dream! Honestly, it doesn't seem possible that God really did press, press, and press, and make/let me write a book with Him. My emotions are mixed with excitement (about being obedient all the way through the process), gratitude (for what God did "to me" during the process so He could pour this information through me), and fear (that my baby might not grow, walk, and come to it's full maturity).  But I am constantly reminded by God's spirit that lives inside me—"This is MY book, Cristie, and it's My reputation, not yours." So, I lean back in my desk chair and breathe a sigh of relief knowing the ultimate TRUTH is that this book and ministry is God's and not mine, and I will rest in that! 

We Need A Fresh Fillin' Daily

I am reading The Daily Message: Through the Bible in One Year. This morning, I find myself in Jeremiah. It's staggering how far from God His people strayed. God's beloved broke His heart and the pain brought on by their selfishness eventually made him furious.  

It's good to be reminded that the Creator of the Universe created mankind because He wanted a family, someone to love and love Him back. All are invited to be part of that love, provision, and protection. When we continue to ignore Him and live our own way, we are in great danger. I realized again today, that one of the reasons God wants us to read His Word daily is so our hearts and minds can be re-calibrated in TRUTH, by Him.  We may not realize it but, walking around in the world—watching TV, commercials, movies, and whatever else is before us—we are subconsciously affected by the world and its self absorbed system. I realized again how desensitized I can become in just one day. The "me first" entitled attitudes of the world fly in the face of the one who created us for a good and wonderful purpose. Truly, the only way I am made aware of the contrast is by being in God's Word and hearing his heart for me every day. I need to be reminded that God hasn't and will not change, no matter what we think or expect.  He IS the ABSOLUTE TRUTH, and He won't change. Sin is sin, and it breaks God's heart, because He knows that eventually this self-centered, entitled lifestyle will hurt us, the apples of His eye, the ones He adores.  

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Family Memories

We're never too old for balloons! Don and I love spending time with our adult kids and there are added blessings when we get to spend time with them and their in-laws. Marvelous blessings can potentially multiply with time! We were up before the sun, weighed in, signed in and ready for a new experience. The morning was a priceless gift from our daughter's in-laws who live in California. We were awestruck by the beauty below us as the pilot gently gave us the ride of our lives over California wine country. I can't imagine the first hot air balloon pilots and the courage it must have taken for them to discover the power in fire and air. Amazingly, when the huge basket (holding 16 people) touched the ground there were strong young men there to help the pilot move the basket full of people to a location that allowed us to disembark and  for them to load the basket onto a flat-bed truck. I found it interesting that there were no females there to do a job that takes muscle and great strength. We were blessed by the Piorkowski family and their gracious hospitality. We love this season of life and the surprising blessings that continue to multiply.  

 Laura and Jonathan Penn; Don and Cristie Penn; Holly and Jon  Piorkowski

Laura and Jonathan Penn; Don and Cristie Penn; Holly and Jon Piorkowski