Written by Mike Verkaik
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. – Colossians 3:1
As I read through the Colossians 3 and 4, that verse resinated with as I reflected on conversations and interactions at the motel. It was a rough week emotionally for many of the children and adults. A spirit of negativity, sarcasm, and subtle, or not so subtle, comments flooded the airwaves in and around the perimeter of the motel. Toxic words stung deeply, as children jockey for status and acceptance by making others feeling small.
After witnessing a young boy make yet another bad choice, I retreated to the car with another volunteer disheartened and disappointed. Waiting to depart for our afternoon activity, a pray for a changed heart was offered and God put the lyrics to the song This is My Father’s World in my mind and I began to say:
This is my Father’s world:
O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet.
What an amazing and present God we serve. In the midst of harsh, bitter and demeaning words He reveals Himself and reminds us that the struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)
One volunteer texted, With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and fight our battles. (2 Chronicles 32)
God has woven together an incredible group of volunteers to bring His presence into the storms of the daily life of so many served. Indeed God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12)
Walking into arguments, harsh conversations, and degrading comments, we praise God for how He works in and through our responses. In turn these responses give a platform for His message of forgiveness, love, grace and peace to pierce the enemy’s darkness and model a different response than the tense-filled retaliation of bitter and demeaning words to control.
Although the recent events exposed the brokenness of our fallen state, the reminders that as believers we have weapons of dwelling, prayer, and praise that God has given to combat the onslaught of discouragement, hopelessness and despair. In the midst of chaos our Father prepares us, equips us and comes alongside of us as we seek more and more of Him.
Read the following texts, prayers and interactions revealing how His followers are moving into the generational battles that we are fighting against.
Volunteer 1: I was meditating on several verses about the resurrection and God impressed His incomparably great power to bring resurrection at the hotel. Read Ephesians 1:18-19!
A prayer from Volunteer 2: By the power of Your Word and Spirit, bring light into the darkness. Bring shalom into the chaos. Do what you are famous for. Break the power of satan’s hold and set the girls free. Pour your life and love back into us, Your workers. All this matters Lord. Don’t waste a tear. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Volunteer 3: Could you lift up some extra prayers for the kids tonight? Lots of spiritual and verbal battles going on at the hotel while I was there for girl’s night 😕 but God is at work too. An attempted suicide brought up a long and good conversation with the rest of the girls about their own suicidal thoughts. An intense screaming match led to a wonderful moment of forgiveness between two girls. Draining – yet the glimpses of God are encouraging.
Volunteer 4: As I was reminded this week again. If the ministry is hard it is a sign that we have our enemy’s attention, which is expected if we are bringing light to the chaos. Praying for a breakthrough as residents see the peace God is bringing into the storm through His words spoken through us.
As the week came to a close, I was driving to deliver medication to the jail for a hotel resident, admitted a few hours earlier. Approaching the jail the Holy Spirit prompted me to listen to some praise music. Turning on the radio Jehovah Jirah provided an old song that I love, My Redeemer Lives. (Nicole C. Mullen) It was just the reminder I needed.
Now, I know my Redeemer lives I know my Redeemer lives
Let all creation testify
Let this life within me cry I know my Redeemer …..
As the song came to a close, my favorite unwritten words were sung, “I spoke with Him this morning, He lives!”
Yes, we have the ability to come into the throne room of our Father every moment of our lives. As people who have been raised with Christ, join us in using the weapons of praise, dwelling and prayers for revelation, restoration and revival to usher in the kingdom of our Father to earth.
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3: 16-17)