Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Empty Principle


Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
John 4:13-14 NIV

 Empty.  The word pretty much sums it up doesn’t it?  When your doctor says your daughter has leukemia, when you lose your job unexpectedly, when you find out the joy of having a child has now been tainted with “special needs”, when your spouse for decades suddenly decides the marriage is over, when financial losses have shattered far too many dreams and driven you into deep despair, when your spouse is living life out of control through addictions, or when death strikes and there are no answers.  In these times there seems to be no words, but “empty” is as close as you’ll ever get to describing how you feel.

Yet it doesn’t even begin to explain the condition of the depths of our soul when we’re “empty.”  But if we are walking by faith, believing His promises and trusting Him fully then He is going to REQUIRE that we’re empty, so He can fill us up to overflow.  The emptier we are the more we can be filled.  But that still doesn’t make much sense.  We think this through and can’t help but reason that if we’re “empty” we have nothing left…right? Wrong.

Let’s look at 2 Kings 4 to look at the EMPTY PRINCIPLE. A widow with two children had creditors calling her threatening to take her children for payment. Can you imagine? So Elisha, the prophet, told her to gather every empty jar she can find in her neighborhood and fill them with the little bit of oil she had.  She was instructed to keep pouring until all containers  were full then sell the jars of oil to pay her debt and live on the left overs.  She did what the prophet told her.  The jars were empty but the potential was there to be filled with precious oil of hope.

The widow began to pour the small amount of oil she owned into one of the pots she gathered. She kept pouring and the pot became full.  As a matter of fact, every jar she collected was filled to the brim with oil that she sold and paid off debt.  Afterward, there was more than enough product to sell to support her family.  The widow was desperate, hopeless and needed a miracle. God showed up with his miracle working power.

I was completely devoid when I endured destitute times in my life.  Empty.  Nothing left. Just like those dry clay pots the widow gathered.  Little did I realize that I needed to be emptied.  I was filled with a mixture of God and myself.  When self was poured out completely God began to fill me up with His Spirit, that precious anointing oil that gives hope in the midst of turmoil. 

The Empty Principle is when you feel there is nothing left inside then God can work His miracle and fill you to overflowing with eternal life.

Fill me up, God, to overflow!
 
 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Good Side of Doubt


Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1 NLT

Does doubt ever sneak up behind you and slap you in the back of the head like it does me?  I find myself doubting the very words the Lord Himself gave me or even questioning the written Word of God.  Its times like this that the Rebel against the kingdom of darkness rises up within and I have to scream, “Doubt BE GONE!!” 

But why does doubt come into our lives?  Because circumstances in our natural realm are manifesting itself different than what the Bible says? Maybe we have waited long enough and the thing we were praying for never happened…yet…the way we expected it?  There could be a number of reasons why doubt creeps in or sneaks up from behind or comes blatantly in your face.

I “know that in all things God works for the good for those who love him,” (Rom 8:28) so even doubt must have a purpose for the good in my life. We can’t control the way doubt comes but we have a choice whether or not to dwell on and believe in it.  Our faith grows when we tackle and overcome the doubt that comes knocking.  The greater the doubt, the greater our faith grows.  I have learned that when I have great waves of overwhelming doubt, that is when my faith grows by leaps and bounds.  It’s like a seed planted in the ground then fertilized with manure.  It stinks but helps the seed to germinate.  We have a seed of faith that the Lord planted in our hearts, the doubt fertilizes it and causes it to sprout and grow strong.  Great Doubt=Great Faith!

Don’t fear doubt, because it will inevitably come.  It is something God allows in our path to increase our faith.  Keep on the steady road walking by faith not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7)!

Help me, Lord, to turn the doubt that comes in my life into a catalyst that feeds great faith!

Monday, June 24, 2013

My Story Expanded

This is the testimony of what the Lord has done in my life through a gut-wrenching season.  Part of it was published in 2010.  Here is the expanded version:

In 2003 my husband, myself and 2 of our children moved to Alaska to carry on a small church who's Pastors died in a head-on car crash on Christmas Eve 2002. We arrived and ministered to a small grieving congregation. Our church began Community Cafe, a free dinner open to the public a couple nights a week. Faithful volunteers would prepare the meals. Our sole purpose was to eat dinner with our neighbors, building a trusting friendship across the table and help them in their journey to Jesus. We would accept and love people in a non-judgmental way. As the friendships grew we had the opportunity to lead many to the Lord and baptize them. The discipleship began with Bible Studies, Home groups and INSTE (Institute of Theology by Extension).

We developed a website that caught the attention of many around the nation and on the continent of Africa and Australia. Over the years several churches sent short term mission groups up to our church. We expanded the kitchen, restrooms/showers and property through generous gifts and the short term missionaries.

We added a food bank that quickly expanded to over 400 families per month (representing about 2,000 people that were touched through the ministry). For a small community of 2800 (2010 census) that was about 70% of the community. The church then added a clothing give-away every week.

The enemy did not like what we were doing and began the attacks on our church, ministry and our family personally. I stood in the gap, praying, speaking forth the Word, combating spiritual warfare, fasting and believing Jesus would prevail and the enemy would be defeated.

Our marriage suffered. We went to marriage counseling for several months. My husband finally announced that he needed to resign the church to work on his marriage and be a father to his children. However, everyone was duped. He left the church and a week later he left me and my son permanently. He moved in with another single woman from the church.  He served me divorce papers on my birthday. There are no words to explain the agony and deep pain I suffered through all this. Dear friends were praying for me and I had friends close by that took days off work to be with me for hours. My mother flew up within 4 days after he left. I am so thankful for my family and friends.

That year following was heart-wrenching.  All I could do on some days was try to breathe for one hour at a time.  Later I seem to make it through half a day.  I pressed into the Lord because I had nothing left emotionally. Completely empty. My son was in his senior year of High School.  He has epilepsy and ended up having several convulsing seizures that year so we were in and out of the hospital.  He missed over 35 days of school and was failing classes. His dipolma was in jeapordy.   My son and I felt like the Apostle Paul, "we were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.  In fact, we expected to die." (2 Corinthians 1:8) Through the grace of God, allowances were made and he was able to pull his grades together and passed High School.  "We stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God" (2 Cor. 1:9).

Next up: The Trial  I tried to get a mediator to work through the divorce proceedings without going to court but my (former) husband would not agree and we ended up having a grueling three hour trial.  All in all things were split fairly and he did not get all he demanded.  The Lord was on my side. For months I claimed the verse in 2 Chronicles 20:17, "You will not have to fight this battle.  Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you."  Because we had a "high profile" divorce (meaning it affected hundreds of people in the community besides just our family and friends), many people in the community were watching the proceedings closely.  Some people walked out of the court room that day describing an "aura" or glow about me.  Most said, "Wow! I just witnessed the hand of God move on your behalf!"  I had people across the country and in Uganda, Kenya, Germany and Russia praying for me on that particular day of trial.  Many were fasting with me 24 hours before.  A few people were on the front line and praying in the court room through every word and every decision. The divorce was final and things were settled.

Since then the Lord has called me to a small bush Village in Alaska where I work with the Yupik Eskimos. So far I have been given the priviledge of helping over 20 people accept the Lord.  I have seen other leaders repent of addictions and bootlegging and whole-heartedly live for Jesus.  I have been accepted into the culture and given the honor of a Yupik name.  But that is another blog....

Through all the deep agony I  experienced Jesus has been so close, walking me through every moment of every day. This is a blog about my journey with Jesus during tremendous suffering and pain of losing 32 years of marriage and closing a church I poured my life into for years. My purpose is to offer a glimpse of hope for those who are suffering one of life's death blows.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. I Cor. 13:7

Rev. Shelly Blocker

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Lord Laughs


The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them;
but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming.
Psalm 37:12-13 NIV

 
Have you ever thought of the Lord as laughing?  I love the artist's renditions of Jesus laughing. Why is He laughing? Laughing at what? Psalm 37 reveals one reason why our Lord is laughing.  He just laughs at the wicked person's schemes. He sees their future and it’s not going to end well for them.  Proverbs 1:26 tells us that the Lord will laugh at the calamity of people who refuse to listen to His words.

I’ve come to know and believe that “Jesus has my back.”  Those of you who know and hear me talk or preach has heard me say that phrase several times.  All evil intent, fiery darts, slander or word curses that come my way from the enemy won’t affect the favor I have in the Lord.  Jesus will laugh at those who plot wickedness against me (the righteous). Rest assuredly; He will laugh at your mockers, too.  You can count on it! Because you ARE righteous. The Word tells you that.  Believe it.  Confess it.


Thank you, Jesus, that You call me righteous.
You have “this”.  You have my back!

 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Inconceivable


The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
      he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.   Psalm 34:18 NLT

Ever watch the old movie The Princess Bride?  The villain continuously repeats the word "inconceivable" basically because his thinking is so small that he cannot wrap himself around new possibilities that he has never before experienced.

During traumatic times in our lives when events and circumstances hit us right and left we find ourselves thinking "inconceivable".  What will happen next?  How much more can I take?  I seem to have a series of 24 hour pockets of traumatic events.  For instance, one Wednesday evening my (X) husband arrogantly confessed his adultery. A couple hours later I found out my son was busted with a MCA (minor consuming alcohol).  By midnight I found myself in a hotel room with my close friend whose husband just tried to commit suicide and was rushed to the hospital. Lord, how much more?

Yet when I look back during those times of tremendous suffering I find God is so close I can feel a thickness around me.  Angels pressing into me?  He's there to rescue me.  Jesus rescued me that night.  He’s close to all the brokenhearted.  He is close to you, too.  Jesus will never leave you, ever.

I'm willing to walk with You, God, through places dark and difficult.
 Use every hardship and place of suffering to make me more like You.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Survivor


The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). John 10:10




As I was sitting at the most famous crowded beech in the world: Waikiki, in Hawaii, I watched a lady emerge into the ocean waves.  I was intrigued because she was bald, obviously a cancer survivor.  She had no hat or wig to hide under.  Nothing hindered her to live her life and have fun with her granddaughter.  There was no shame.  Her presence screamed, “I am a survivor!”

That scene made me think how many times I want to hide after I’ve gone through a battle – maybe mine wasn’t physical, as the bald lady, but more emotional and spiritual.  The Lord didn’t create us to just exist, but to live life abundantly.  Enjoy life and enjoy worshiping the Creator of the Universe.


This is the day the Lord has made.  I WILL rejoice and be glad in it!!!
No matter what happens today, Jesus, I know you are with me and I will enjoy this day.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Taking the Higher Road Part 3

Based on Deuteronomy 30 (MSG, NLT, CEV)

In part 1 I listed the blessings given to every person who loves and serves the Lord with a pure heart.  Whoo Hoo!

Part 2 listed the curses of the person who walks away from the Love of the Lord and serves the evil one.  Booo!

Today we will see what happens to the person when he or she decides to love and serve the Lord again with a sincere heart in absolute devotion.

J     The Lord promises to give him back his freedom!

J     Jesus will feel sorry for him and restore him!

J     The repentant person will have success, favor and blessings!
      (Read part 1)

J     He will love God with his whole being and live.  God will put all the curses on his enemies who are cruel to him.

J     The Lord will be happy with this person who whole heartily clings to the Spirit of the living God!

J     The Word of God is very near to his heart and mouth.

It boils down to two choices, according to this passage:

  1. Choose life and blessings or
  2. Choose death and curses

The Lord commands the wayward person to turn and love the Lord, keep His commands, obey His Word, and then the Lord will bless him.  If he chooses death, the Lord will turn away from him and all the curses will come upon him.  He will be destroyed.  Today, Jesus is offering this person life or death, blessings or curses.

CHOOSE LIFE! (Deut 30:19) To choose life is to love the Lord, our God, obey him and stay close to him (30:20).  He is your life.  He will let you live many years.  It’s your choice.  What will you choose?

I choose life, Lord.  Help me to serve only You, not the world or myself.