"You make Your saving help my shield; Your help has made me great."- II Samuel 22:36
One of the lasting memories from my childhood was how each summer my family had special activities planned that involved participating in and learning a new skill. I distinctly recall that on one drive from Manhattan to our cabin in Catskill, NY, that my grandmother broke the news (and suspense) of what the upcoming summer venture would entail. We had just taken that winter to learn how to snow ski and now with a great sense of enthusiasm my grandmother announced, "This summer you will learn how to swim!" Although, she seemed delighted in the activity and was expecting a similar response from the kids, I was less than a willing candidate. Despite my fear and trepidation, the swim lessons came and by the end of the summer I was swimming around like a fish and loving every minute (or splash) of it!
With summer 2016 quickly approaching I have a sense that this is to be a SEASON of PROMOTION for us. The transition into the summer is often marked by the idea of promotion. Kids are being promoted from elementary to middle school and from middle school to high school. This hits home for the Zwerling family as we have one child advancing to kindergarten and another moving up to high school. Another way that the Holy Spirit has signaled the prompting and promise of promotion is based on the things that God is releasing in our church family. Over the last month I have heard a handful of reports about how the Lord is opening doors, making a way, and bringing people to even greater heights.
* Three different people have received a promotion at their workplace.
* One person was able to land an amazing job after months of searching.
* Two families saw God open an amazing door of favor and provision for their children to participate in a special program.
* One person even received a special Mother's Day gift from her husband of being able to transition from a full-time job to a stay at home mom.
What makes these promotions so special is they meet a very real need and release people to the next place. These blessings allow for people to experience God's provision, a heart's longing fulfilled, and breakthrough in a challenging area. In many ways we are witnessing and experiencing the promise of Habakkuk 3:19 coming to pass today, "The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights."
Another area of promotion that we are walking through is our moving to a new church home. This journey has been something we have been praying, seeking, and believing for. Even though it is a promise that was birthed almost eight years ago and our present need for a larger space is very real, the announcement that "We are moving!" can be met by feelings of doubt, reservation, discomfort, and being completely overwhelmed. What I am finding is that even though promotion can be a necessity and exciting proposition, it can still be quite an intimidating assignment. The person with the promotion at the job may feel the pressure to perform with a greater level of competency and efficiency; the student at a new school may worry about the quality of teacher they get and making new friends; the family that receives a great blessing may question whether they deserve such a gift and hope that others are not jealous; the church move can add the weight of taking on a larger space, an increased monthly payment, and a new area to reach with God's love.
I want to encourage us to be a people that head into the summer season expecting God to move in our lives in a very real, powerful, and next level type of way. This summer can be a time that God meets a need, causes us to grow in a specific area, challenges us to accept a new assignment, and answers our prayers in a magnificent manner. I believe God is in the business of moving mountains in order to move us to a place of promise, joy, and unspeakable, unimaginable fulfillment.
Here are some promises that each individual, family, and the church can take a hold of as we enter the summer:
Jeremiah 17:7-8- "But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is from Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when the drought comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."
Philippians 1:6- "Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Deuteronomy 28:8- "The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land He is giving you."
I Thessalonians 5:24- "The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it."