This month of August marks a special time of celebration in so many ways. This is the eighth month, the #8 is a time of new beginnings. This also celebrates a 3 year anniversary of a word that was whispered to a group of ladies gathered around a water fountain at our former Gateway Southlake Church (it is now the new Kings University). This was before we moved to our new Gateway SLK location at 700 Blessed Way. Hearts were gathered together and we came expectant, not even sure of what we were hoping for. A whisper I had heard was to invite some ladies to meet around the water fountain, ask the ladies to bring laundry baskets and all the baskets you can find in your home and come with prepared hearts.
A small group of ladies began walking up to the fountain, baskets in hand, and were looking at each other and asking what this was all about? Even I did not know exactly all that God had planned. We were just being obedient. We began sharing hearts about a story of King Jehoshaphat, you can read all about him in 2 Chronicles 20.
“Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!” 2 Chronicles 20:15-17
King Jehoshaphat and his men went out to gather the plunder. They found vast amounts of equipment, clothing, and other valuables—more than they could carry. There was so much plunder that it took them three days just to collect it all! On the fourth day they gathered in the Valley of Blessing, which got its name that day because the people praised and thanked the Lord there. It is still called the Valley of Blessing today. 2 Chronicles 20:25-26
God wants to fill our baskets with peace, protection, provision, prosperity, patience, power, presence, prayers answered, health, favor, joy, love, grace, liberty, justice, freedom and so much more! Above and Beyond what we could ever ask, dream or imagine. Plunder is something that is taken with force as in with war. We prayed for our plunder to be returned back to us. We were to gather it up.
We prayed for the windows of heaven to be opened. Let it Rain, Let it Rain. Open the floodgates of Heaven. Now the heartbeat of Heaven let us hear. Let it Rain!- by Jesus Culture
Valley of Blessing at the water fountain was the beginning of something really special. We asked what is on your heart? Ladies began writing out heartfelt prayers on pieces of paper and dropped them in the baskets. This is a glimpse of some of the prayers lifted up that day: bless my children and protect them, worship precedes healing, ignite their hearts, new doors, new life, new passion, new laughter, new joy, relief, unleashing, renewing, restoring, waterfall, I want to love like Jesus, abortions to stop 11:11, Embrace Grace mommies and babies, bless all the women here and their families, marriages to be restored and flourish, sisters to be saved and adore Jesus, harvest of fullness, abundance, land, golden thread of new beginnings, you get that fairy tale, baskets are overflowing… the list goes on and on… It was a simple act of writing our request out and placing them in the Hands of God.
“& then..”. God steps in and hears our hearts cry and pours out His blessings on us! As days pass, we begin to see prayers being answered and reflect back on that day at the fountain. So many stories were being shared about all that God was pouring out!
We have celebrated each year on August 1 with a humbled heart and asked God to fill and overflow our baskets, buckets, family jewels and more.
This year in August 2012 a new stirring has begun in our hearts. Operation Blessing… it was a simple sign on an 18 wheeler that passed by our family as we were returning home from our vacation. Something stirred inside of me when I saw it, so I wrote it down and was not sure of the meaning at the time. Since then, God has began giving little glimpses of His plan for Operation Blessings.
Many of us have heard of the phrase “act of random kindness” or maybe you have seen the movie “Pay it forward”. Operation Blessing is a way that we can bless others. This blessing does not have to only be monetary. So many blessings can be with words of kindness, acts of gratitude and thankful hearts, a simple smile, an offer to babysit for a friend, sweet kisses from Heaven, encouraging words from friends, a sweet embrace the moment you need it most.
A dear friend of mine was sharing her heart with me last week. She said that she had worked really hard the whole weekend and had been on her feet for hours at Dallas Market Hall. She was helping a friend of hers at her booth so that she could raise enough money for her 2 boys to play football. The price alone for registration, all the gear, under armour clothing and more really adds up so she was saving her money for her boys to be able to fulfill their hearts desire to play ball. Another friend of hers heard the story and felt in her heart to bless her. She called her up and said, I would love to write you a check for your boys to play football, including the price of all their gear and clothing. She said maybe you can use the money that you made at the market for something for yourself or bless someone else. My friend was blown away! She knew it was God’s favor and blessing being poured out upon her. She is now praying about how she can bless someone else and keep it going.
We all heard stories about support Chic-fil-A day last Wednesday, which also happened to be, you guessed it, August 1, the anniversary of valley of blessings! So many Christians gathered together at Chic-fil-A restaurants nationwide to show their support and eat at their establishment. They took a stand and the Lord fights for them. I know Pastor Robert said he was showing his support by eating breakfast, lunch and dinner there! That is Operation Blessing unfolding!!
A soldier dressed in uniform was at the Grapevine Mills Mall and had his 18 month old son with him. His son was sitting on a little carousel horse and was so happy and content with touching the buttons and playing with the amusement ride. My son loves to shake all the soldiers hands that he comes in contact with to tell them thank you for fighting for us and keeping us safe. This soldier smiled and said you are welcome. Then my son placed a dollar bill in the carousel horse for his son to ride. Simple acts of gratitude!
A friend of mine texted me the other day with a sweet thought of blessing her friend by watching her sweet girls for her so that the Mommy could have some time to herself to write, journal or do anything that she simply loves to do. She may normally be too preoccupied with the busyness of the day to actually sit down and take some sweet moments for herself. Mommy’s love to have a little free-time so maybe you can take turns watching each others babies so that you can have a little time to do what you love! That is an Operation Blessing for sure!
So we would love to offer a challenge for you to embrace Operation Blessing this month and beyond. You can never out-give God. We can give of our time, hearts, love, sacrafice, care and many other gifts. What is something that is stirring up inside you? What are some ways that you can bless others? Be creative, and have fun with it. These stories above are just some of the exciting blessings that happened last week. We pray this is a time of looking around you and searching for ways to bless those around you. We would love to hear your stories too! Please feel free to add your story to our comments! We love to hear all about God’s glory stories!!