Blessings in Disguise (with Laura Story)
Monday, March 26, 2012
There may be thousands tonight at city hall and yesterday there were hoodies worn in support at churches all the way from Sanford, Florida, to New York City, following the shooting death of Trayvon Martin on February 26.
Today is the one month anniversary of the shooting death of an African American teenager in a town 20 miles outside Orlando. The admitted shooter is a Neighborhood Watch volunteer, 28-year-old George Zimmerman, whose attorney friend started speaking out this weekend, saying Zimmerman is no racist. Meantime the New Black Panther Party has put out a ten thousand dollar reward for Zimmerman’s capture. A Black Panther is quoted as saying, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. And if you’ve studies the scriptures, you know that’s not what the Bible teaches. The family of Trayvon is saddened in sorrow and demanding justice. The friends of George Zimmerman, say it was not a shooting based on racial profiling. And now a new investigation is underway as the Sanford, Florida, police took a leave of absence. Welcome to HT, on a Monday, I’m CM sharing the GS that’s all about Jesus and a program where we will be joined by grammy award winning artist Laura Story. She will talk with us from Atlanta about, the sorrows she and her husband Martin have endured. She’ll also talk with us later about Blessings.
Open - Blessings
The most request song by a Christian artist not only last year, but in a very long time. Laura Story, and the title song of her CD called Blessings. You know if you don’t have a copy yet of the CD Blessings, you need to make a gift to HT and ask for a copy after the program when you call 1-800-654-2836. That’s 1-800-65-HAVEN. Or go to haventoday.org. That’s haventoday.org. Stay with us, Laura will join in a few minutes from Atlanta and she’s going to tell us about writing this song blessings. Over the next few days we’ll be talking about when we experience hardship or heartbreak. For Laura and her husband, they had to ask the question, “Lord am I being punished?” “If my husband has poor health, that a a curse from God? Some may think so. She’ll tell us about Martin’s brain tumor and when they first found out, well-meaning strangers would ask him if he had any unconfessed sin in his life, for surely God would not curse him for no reason. But the more Laura and Martin looked at God’s Word, the more they came to realize that sometimes God actually blesses His children through the absence of the very things they pray for. Paul asked God to remove the thorn from his flesh. Instead, God chose to teach Paul about a power that is only made perfect in weakness. Job deeply mourned the loss of his possessions and his health, yet he learned to worship God in the midst of his nakedness. So how does Laura, a worship leader at Peremeter Church in Atlanta define blessings now? She doesn’t have all the answers, but this she does know. There is a depth of intimacy with God that can only be known through suffering. There is a reliance on Him that can only be experienced when everything else around her soul seems to give way. And so even in sometimes stubbornness, Laura and Martin are clinging to that old rugged cross. They says somebody can claim prosperity, but they would rather have Jesus.
“The Lord lifts the burdens of those bent beneath their loads. The Lord loves the righteous. Psalm 146:8.
Middle - Bless the Lord
Close - It is Well (by Selah or Steve Green for traditional sound and by Daniel Dross Band for contemporary)
30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him. 31 For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.
Trials, sorrows, call them whatever you will, we all have them and they occur more often than we would like. If you’ve recently experienced a significant loss, you’re probably looking for some sort of silver lining around the clouds of hardship. But if you’re like most of us, you may be having trouble finding even a thin thread of silver around those clouds. Does that sound like the words of a songwriter? We’ll your right. Those words are written by Laura Story in her new book that comes out of the song Blessings. I think it’s time to remind ourselves of these two facts for those of us in Christ: First, God’s love for you is limitless. Second, His plans are far greater than your plans.
May your trial or sorrow is not having lost someone you love. Maybe you are undergoing some physical distress. You may be sick like I’ve been for almost two weeks. Thankfully, everyone that became ill on our trip to Israel and Jordan is pretty much well now. I’m pretty much recovered and very thankful for everyone who prayed. But you may have cancer or some other issue that isn’t going away quickly, like after a round of an antibiotic. Can healing come through tears? And, can God use your temporary pain for His eternal purposes? I think you know the answer already, but the answer is yes and yes. God can heal through our tears. God can use our temporary pain for His eternal purposes. God can work His love into and through our lives, even if the answer for an illness is not to be found in this lifetime. Perhaps you feel like you’ve been isolate by events and circumstances from which you can never recover. If you have these feelings – and even if these feelings seem very real indeed – you are mistaken. Every difficult circumstance and every painful expe4rience can be used by God for His purposes and for your spiritual growth. Since God is everywhere, we are free to sense His presence whenever we take the time to quiet our souls and turn our prayers to Him. But sometimes, amid the incessant demands of everyday life,, we may turn our thoughts far from God; when we do, we rob ourselves of the peace – God’s peace that is ours for the asking. Are you exhausted, discouraged, or fearful? Take comfort because God is with you. Christ is with you. Are you confused? Listen for the quiet voice of the Lord. Are you bitter? Talk with Jesus and seek His guidance. Are you still grieving a loss from long ago? Ask Him to heal your heart. He is the giver of all good things, and He has a plan for spiritual healing and spiritual growth that is designed just for you. You’ve heard these words before today, but here they are again:
“…what if your blessings come through raindrops? What if your healing comes through tears? What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you’re near? What if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise?” Words from the songs called Blessings. On the line with from outside Atlanta, getting ready to get on the bus again, is Laura Story, the writer of the song and those those lyrics. Laura welcome back again to HT.
SONG – It Is Well With My Soul – Wes Hampton & Steve Green
This hymn was written after several traumatic events in Spafford’s life. The first was the death of his only son in 1871 at the age of four, shortly followed by the great Chicago Fire which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer). Then in 1873, he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre, but sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Great Chicago Fire. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sailing ship, the Loch Earn, and all four of Spafford's daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, "Saved alone . . .". Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died.
Bliss called his tune Ville du Havre, from the name of the stricken vessel.
The Spaffords later had three more children, one of whom (a son) died in infancy. In 1881 the Spaffords, including baby Bertha and newborn Grace, set sail for Israel. The Spaffords moved to Jerusalem and helped found a group called the American Colony; its mission was to serve the poor.
Ruth Graham Bell raised all those
“Those who abandon ship the first time it enters a storm miss the calm beyond. And the rougher the storms weathered together, the deeper and stronger real love grows.” Ruth Graham Bell
“Suffering may be someone’s fault or it may not be anyone’s fault. But if given to God, our suffering becomes an opportunity to experience the power of God at work in our lives and to give glory to Him.” Anne Graham Lotz.
God's blessings are often unrecognized. Many people, sadly, miss out on life's greatest blessings and never realize it. Why? Because God often sends blessings in disguise and only eyes of faith will see them. Laura Story discovered this personally and captured it in her new devotional book What if Blessings Come Through Raindrops? - 30 key insights which will help you begin to see God's blessings-in-disguise in your own life.
At Haven we believe that this is the kind of life-changing work Jesus wants to do in our lives on a daily basis. That's what drives our message every day and also why I'd like to ask you to make a gift to support Haven Today. Every one of us needs a daily encounter with God ... we need Jesus in our lives today! When you make your gift, please be sure to request a copy of Laura Story's new book. It's our way of saying thank you for your help.
What If Your Blessings Come Through Raindrops?
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Most people miss out on God's greatest blessings and never realize it. Why? Because often God sends His richest blessings in disguise. We need eyes of faith to see them and we must believe what God says is true....
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Laura Story wrote the Number 1 worship hit “Indescribable” recorded by Chris Tomlin She is married to an athlete named Martin Elvington, and has worked in music and women’s ministry at the 4,000-member Perimeter Church in Atlanta. After signing an artist deal with the INO...
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