Never Give Up

I am loving hearing so many preachers share fresh messages of transformation, over inspiration these days: revealing the “how to,” not solely the precepts that help us along our path of righteousness.

I have long awaited. Maybe you have, too.

Surely, we are in a “suddenly” mode of breakthroughs for our lives, having experienced incremental advances for a long time. I see points of breakthrough converging in my life in five major areas, which I will share in later posts.

For now, I feel led to share a story about John

John was someone my husband, Glynn, worked with for a few years. During their first year, Glynn would occasionally share nuggets of concern with me about John and ask me to pray for his salvation.

I did.

John became even more personal to me the following year, when he transferred to a different job site and invited Glynn to join him.

Glynn did join him, and I followed to make a temporary home for us.

Newly positioned, I was able to finally meet John in person. A bar was the only place John was willing to semi-socialize. So, while he hid away in a few different dark bars in-between hospital visits, Glynn and I met him twice.

John had been diagnosed with cancer, and his prognosis wasn’t good.

Since no place is too dark for Jesus to shine His light, it’s what Jesus would have done.

I saw John in passing at the new job site occasionally.

From the first moment I met him, God showed me a lot for the purpose of knowing better what to pray. Each time thereafter, my heart felt more ignited to press in for John.

Because I KNEW IN MY SPIRIT I was on divine assignment, no matter how resistant John was outwardly toward God (or my outreach), I was determined to not give up praying for him.

Stay on the path of your divine assignment.

No. Matter. What.

God had set my heart on Him in this regard.

I soon met John’s wife Stacy, who was a believer and had a few serious health issues of her own.

I prayerfully and secretly met with Stacy. She didn’t have anyone else, locally, to help her. We were all new in town, and God had opened a door for me to reach out.

Over time, I saw incremental improvements in both John and Stacy. John even allowed Glynn to pray over him in the hospital a couple of times. We did the same for Stacy, who was greatly willing.

Sadly, within a couple of years, both John and Stacy passed into eternity. First Stacy, then John months later.

Just before John passed, I felt an urgency to press into God for him like never before. I would ask Glynn for updates on John’s health and his willingness toward salvation. But the reports were mostly negative. Still, I held onto hope that God would turn John’s heart, even if it was in his final moments on earth, alone with God.

Only God knows what people say to Him during their final breaths.

When we received word that John had passed, we wept. Glynn and I both loved John, as God had graciously put compassion in our hearts for him.

I felt a great desire for resolve rise up in my heart concerning John’s salvation. I had to hear from my Lord on the matter. I needed a confirmation directly from Him. I believed in my spirit all the prayer God had me pray would not return void, that God would never disappoint.

Still . . .

I NEEDED IT TO BE SETTLED IN MY SOUL ON A LEVEL THAT ONLY GOD HIMSELF COULD SATISFY, SPECIFICALLY REGARDING JOHN. I NEEDED CLOSURE.

So, for privacy sake, Glynn and I drove to a nearby park in an open field. We sat in our vehicle and prayed. I asked The Lord to show us a sign that John had been saved. I asked God to show me a rainbow RIGHT NOW as a sign that our beloved John made it to Heaven.

God’s revealed promise.

IMMEDIATELY AND SUDDENLY, through our windshield, we looked up to see the gray rainclouds above us break open. TWO RAINBOWS appeared!

Our hearts wept as we thanked God and rejoiced over John’s salvation!

It has been a couple of years since John’s passing. Every time I think of him now, I feel elated for him, for where he is, and for what God did for him. I know in my spirit and in my heart that John is rejoicing in Heaven, too.

I hope this story encourages you to willingly and eagerly agree with God when He puts someone on your heart to pray in their salvation. I hope you will willingly and eagerly set your heart on God and never give up, believing and pressing in for them until God’s time to release you.

We can trust God to bring to fruition the seeds of prayer He moves us to pray, even for the most impossible people.

His mercy triumphs over judgment to everlasting.

Be encouraged!

To God be the glory!

“Everyone who believes in Him will never be disappointed.”  -Romans 10:11 TPT

 

Beacon of Light

The Move

When I was a tween, my family and I moved one block over from our previous home into a late 1960s split foyer up on a hill. It was situated directly in the landing pattern of what was then Friendship International Airport (now BWI).

I loved this new house!

One of the things that intrigued me most was that, when I stood at the picture window in the living room, I could see the airport beacon across the treetops in the distance. Spinning green, then white, I would pause and look for it nightly. I felt a deep and unexplainable draw.

Eventually, I explored.

Sample Beacon: Morristown, TN Airport

About six years later, when I was nearing high school graduation, my two best friends and I discussed our career plans. Both of them mentioned working as a flight attendant. I had never thought about it, but I listened. (I had been on an airplane only once before.)

All of us applied to various airlines.

The Outcome

One friend was hired by American Airlines and was soon furloughed twice. (It was the beginning of the industry’s deregulation.) She resigned to work a steady job. My other friend interviewed at TWA but didn’t meet their strict height requirement. She moved on to work toward starting a very successful business.

I was interviewed by American Airlines and United Airlines. I passed onto the required physical at United, but I didn’t pass the physical. I had an inner ear infection and didn’t know it. Their company doctor instructed me to go home, get it cleared up and come back.

But I never went back.

When I returned home from that physical, an authority figure close to me expressed her disapproval of me flying. She felt it was unsafe, as hijackings were all too common back then. She suggested I get a nice desk job.

I pondered what she said. But I didn’t pray about it at all (because I didn’t know better at the time). Instead, I considered the circumstances before me: an unpredictable flight schedule that would prevent my attending college, and the emergency landing I had experienced on the DC-10 that flew me to my United interview.

So I took a desk job.

And I hated it, because God did not call or assign me to be there. (I didn’t understand this back then.)

About ten years later, I applied to Piedmont Airlines and was quickly hired. This airline soon became US Airways, then later American Airlines. I worked there for over fifteen years, when God clearly called me out.

Full-Circle Lesson

If I had begun to fly right out of high school, my life would have been better sooner and later in many ways. The advice I was initially given by the authority figure was not wise counsel. It was fear-based, not faith-based. I rationalized my circumstances, where I should have given it all to The Lord in prayer and received His gracious Word on the matter.

I missed the mark, and it costed me more than anyone knows.

God’s gracious plan is to prosper us (Jer 29:11, Jn 10:10). Our plan will always lead to disappointment (Ro 10:11).

God used that airport beacon all those years ago to draw me near to Him in what He called and assigned me to navigate from a young age.

Margaret (R) finally at BWI.

I learned:

  1. Always pray and ask God to reveal HIS callings and assignments to you at the outset.
  2. Be sensitive to Holy Spirit. Follow through with what HE reveals above what others suggest, including those closest to you, no matter what. Even if others mean well, they do not know or understand the fullness of God’s unique vision and plan for you.
  3. When a storm of confusion or opposition presents itself, keep your eyes fixed on the light and stay the course. Your path is lit by the One who is greater. (The enemy of your soul may try to close the door of opportunity, in more ways than one, to detour you off your destiny. Don’t fall for this hoax. Choose to believe God’s truth and grace for you in His plan, and press through His open door based on what He revealed to you at the outset.)
  4. If you miss God’s callings, they remain; but if you don’t step into them in His timing, it will cost you. You will experience limited operations until your visibility improves. It will take time to recover, sometimes years. So quickly confess areas of dis-alignment with God, forgive yourself, ask Him to help you and move forward. His grace will meet your faith to bring it to pass.

We are all tested in choosing God’s way for His glory and our own personal wellbeing.

Pass the test as soon as possible. You’ll save yourself a lot of stress and resources. God will enable you to reach out to others as you go forward.

Sample Beacon: Morristown, TN Airport

Beacon Scriptures

“O LORD, you are my lamp. The LORD lights up my darkness.”  -2 Samuel 22:29 NLT

“Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.”  -Daniel 12:3 NLT

“When his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness;”  -Job 29:3 KJB

Rebound: Center & Power Forward

Rebound is defined by Webster’s as “. . . an upward leap or movement; recovery . . . gaining possession . . . a reaction to setback, frustration, or crisis . . .“

Very recently, I heard Pastor Jentezen Franklin preach on the topic of rebounding.

Have you ever had one of those moments when God uses His spoken Word to instantly bring something to remembrance for the purpose of settling it once and for all?

This was one of those moments for me.

The Back Story

What some of my new friends don’t know about me is that I was once a NBA cheerleader. It was 1978, the year the Washington Bullets (now Wizards) won the NBA World Championship Series.

Margaret D. Mitchell, 1978 Washington Bullets Cheerleader

What an exciting time! I was thrilled to be on the floor, watching sweat fly week after week…especially toward final victory!

A teen at the time, I was the youngest cheerleader on the team, barely making the legal age limit.

And I was engaged to be married.

I had received Jesus as my Savior about five years earlier. This was especially good, because I was about to head into one of the worst mistakes of my life that would take over two decades to overcome emotionally.

That marriage was not divinely assigned.

The Rebound Sermon

As Pastor Jentezen spoke, The Lord showed me a vision of then Bullets power forward/center Wes Unseld.

Wes was a very famous and highly-valued REBOUNDER. He was named MVP for the NBA Finals in 1978.

God brought to remembrance that, nearly every time it was my turn to cheer, Wes was on the scene. God brought to remembrance that, even back then, I thought there was something mysterious about this; because it happened too often to be coincidental, and it was not planned by any person.

But I was too spiritually immature at the time to think to ask God what He desired I see. (I’ve since learned.)

I didn’t know Wes at all, but I remember him as being big, strong, humble, well-mannered, focused, a force of a gentle giant, someone who typically made eye contact and spoke as he passed by. He was just that decent of a person. I don’t recall a single time that he played nasty on the court. I only remember him as self-controlled, a true pro.

This made a valuable impression on younger me.

Fast Forward Five Years Post NBA Cheerleading

I’m divorced, in college, and working for an airline at BWI (Baltimore Washington International Airport). Wes is now a vice president for the Bullets.

Here comes Wes . . . again!

Over a two year period, Wes would walk down the concourse, as I worked gates. I would wave from a distance. He would nod. Each time, I would sense there was something more to this, a mystery to be revealed.

I was curious. But I still didn’t think to ask God.

Bottomline Revelation

As I heard the Word through Pastor Jentezen’s preaching, I received a revelation that God had spotlighted this highly-valued REBOUNDER (Wes) in front of me innumerable times BEFORE AND AFTER the worst mistake of my life to show me that, ALL ALONG, HE HAD A REBOUND PLAN FOR ME TO RECOVER ALL. He and His plan never went away! Over time, faithful, patient God brought me back to CENTER in His mercy of REDEMPTION, a POWER FORWARD MOVE to get me back on the right(eous) track and off the track of self-reliance.

God did not forget! He made it right!

He made me aware and settled His truth once and for all deep in my spirit, soul, and body. I could literally, physically feel God ESTABLISH His truth in me.

He had been waiting for me to trust Him enough to believe that He always had a mercy plan to REBOUND me to the place of wholeness and that nothing I had done was so condemned that I couldn’t receive it. God desired I understand that I never had to try to figure it all out on my own.

He took my burden and gave me His truth!

The Heavenly Father of prodigals does this for everyone who loves Him, comes to Him, and believes!

Because He loves us, and we all need His abundant mercy.

Praise God!

Biblical Justice vs. Self-Justification

Click here to download the free 15-page Biblical Justice chapter from Enduring Grace.

On July 5, 2018, I went into a local store to purchase a children’s book I had seen a week earlier. I walked up to the very shelf where it had been standing, cover forward. But the book was no longer there. In its place, however, was a thick Justice Bible:

Justice Bible

I felt arrested.

You see, late last year, Holy Spirit led me to finish the writing I had begun with Him years earlier on the topic of His true justice over our self-justification. This writing is the final chapter in our forthcoming book, Enduring Grace.

Studying holy scripture and receiving revelation for this topic over the years proved deeply transforming to me. I believe that when God desires to transform nations, He begins in the hearts of His people.

God re-created mine.

I knew God would instruct me to share this “justice” message in His appointed time. And I knew God was speaking to me through this Justice Bible, so undeniably in my face.

Later, at home, as I immediately prepared to get this message out, I received a second affirmation through a Justice clothing catalog for girls in the mail. Now, this is not a mailing list to which I have ever subscribed. I work diligently to keep junk mail from my mailbox. But this was no junk!

Justice Catalog

I knew in my spirit it was God’s time to share our writings on this topic; because when God offers affirmations twice, “the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon” (Gen 41:32).

Oh, the establishment of two witnesses (2 Cor 13:1)!

I hope this message on God’s true justice will prove powerfully transforming in your life, too.

By the way, The Lord led me to find the children’s book I initially went to the store to buy. It was one aisle over from the Justice Bible. Don’t you love how He orders our steps and fulfills the promises He deposits in our hearts?!

Click here to download the free 15-page Biblical Justice  chapter from Enduring Grace.