Archive for September 4th, 2010

Pork, Prayer and Praise


In a recent time of discouragement, I asked the Lord for a word, anything at all to help me continue with an attitude of praise, ‘cause all I really wanted to do was pout.
 
“Speak to me,” I said. “What is it you want to do in my life?”
 
Then he spoke to me in that intimate way he always does, words of life and living water:

“Pork, Prayer and Praise”

“Ummm, alrighty then," I replied. "Ok if I get back to you on that one.” ????
 
I went to the grocery store later that week and as I perused the meat section, looking for an affordable source of protein to meet the needs of my carnivorous husband, the $.99 lb pork shoulder roasts nearly jumped out of the case and into my cart. I hesitated at first because they were really way more meat than just the two of us could eat.
 
“Exactly,” I heard the Lord say over the loudspeaker.
 
Lord knows I make a mean Cuban pork roast, so I purchased two of the biggest roasts they had, came home and sent out an invitation that the Ely’s were throwing a “Pork, Prayer and Praise” gathering at our home on Friday night and that they should come prepared to Eat, Pray, Love.

Now here's the thing you should know – that recent time of discouragement I mentioned earlier? I'm talking about serious discouragement. Neither my husband nor I were particularly in the mood to throw a party. There's been a lot of news around our house lately and none of it the kind you want to shout from the housetops about.

However…..all the recent sleepless nights have led to some pretty interesting conversations between me and the Lord; in fact he's been quite chatty.

Lord: "We need to talk."

Me: "Don't you ever sleep?"

Lord: "Remember your focus on hospitality? Communal dinners? Reaching out?"

Me: "It's all I think about."

Lord: "Don't you think it might be a good time to get back to it?"

Me: "Not particularly."

I can be like that sometimes. To be honest, though, it had occurred to me that the best remedy for my funk would be to do the exact opposite of what I felt like doing –which was to run away and hide.

Then the Lord started talking again. This guy never gives up.

Lord: "Read 2nd Corinthians chapter 8."

Me: "Right now?!"

Lord: Silence, but I swear I could hear his eyes rolling back in his head.

Me: "Now," I said. "Right now is a good time." So I turned on the light, picked up the Bible and read. 

Me: "And?"

Lord: More eye rolling and then….."Read it in The Message Translation."

This is what I read:

"So here's what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart's been in the right place all along. You've got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can't. The heart regulates the hands."

The heart regulates the hands.

I had made a commitment to keep my heart and my home open, no matter what. I needed to "do what I can, not what I can't." Pork, prayer and praise was what I could do. Despite everything that was going on in my life, I could throw the doors open, join hands and hearts together with others and declare: "YET WILL I REJOICE!"

Matthew 10:27 says, "What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops."

Maybe the "news" around the Ely household hasn't been all that great lately, but what He speaks to our hearts in the middle of the night is definitely worth proclaiming and acting upon!

So, last night was our "Pork, prayer and praise" gathering. We provided the pork and the place, our guests provided the side dishes and we all joined in the prayer and praise.

Here's a sampling of what our guests said about the evening  on Facebook:

"Profuse pork, portentous prayer and profound praise with a peptic palliative provided!" (referring to the candy dishes filled with Tums – you can't serve Cuban pork without black beans!)

"Positively pacified after a particularly palatable and pleasant party of pork, prayer and praise with precious friends…."

Precious.

THE LAST COURSE:

Has the Lord ever spoken to your heart in the middle of the night? When you're exhausted it's so easy to roll over and say, "Get back to me about that in the morning, Lord." We've all done it.

But, oh the blessing we receive when we pay attention. I guarantee you that if you can say yes to his gentle voice at 3am he will give you something to shout about in the morning!

"Weeping may last through the night but a shout of joy comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5