Journey 9-29-05

Therefore , since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

Being a nature person, I love to look at the mountains, rivers, oceans, trees and animals. It is so calming and relaxing, but it is nothing like fixing my eyes on Jesus. There is no greater joy, no greater comfort, no greater peace than when I take my eyes off of all that surrounds me in this crazy life and I fix my eyes on Jesus. Only then can I gain perspective. Only then can I let go of all I am trying to accomplish and rest in the truth that He has everything under control and as impossible as it may seem in a moment, that He really is working ALL THINGS together for my good. If He could take the shame of the cross and make it into the very reason I live then He can take my hopes, my fears, my disappointments, my sorrows and my joys and work them together for an eternal purpose.

Journey 9-21-05

“What do you think?” “He is worthy of death,” they answered. Matt 26:66

Of all the things Jesus is worthy of, death was never one of them. How amazing, how humbling and inspiring that the perfect Son of God chose the death that I deserved that I might have life!

And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seal, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” Rev 5:9-10

Journey 9-12-05

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Matt. 25:31-32

I’ve been reading this week in Matthew and I am always amazed to see how Jesus, though teaching Israel specifically at this time, continually makes known that the nations will be gathered to himself. I am so thankful for the love of God for all mankind. I am also thankful that I grew up in a place where the gospel is preached and there is freedom to believe.

I went to Disney’s Christian concert “Night of Joy” event this weekend. The park was sold out to capacity and the crowds were a little overwhelming at times. Yet the thought came to my mind, that on one weekend, in one city, in one single location, there were as many or more believers gathered then there are Christians in the entire nation of Hungary. While it was such a blessing to gather with other believers in a large worship event, the thought was never far from my mind that I live in a land where the light is plentiful while there are still so many who live where there is no light at all.

Journey 8-31-05

I was recently reading a novel that made the following six statements about the love of God.

He chooses.

He pursues.

He rescues.

He woos.

He protects.

He lavishes. 

(Black – Ted Dekker)

How blessed I am to be the recipient of such love!

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Pet. 2:9

Journey 8-24-05

“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Gen. 22:12

Pastor Ken recently stated that God didn’t want Isaac, he wanted all of Abraham. He told us how God doesn’t want or need our “Isaac” but he wants all of us.

This truth came to my mind today. God is reminding me that it isn’t the accomplishment of a task that He wants from me, it is me He wants. As I have wrestled with this time of waiting I’ve wondered about God’s purpose it in. I had been specifically thinking along the lines of what it was that He wanted me to do in this time. For, to me, a purpose is almost always coupled with a task. Today God whispered that maybe it is not about what He wants me to do but who He wants me to be. Am I letting Him use this time mold me into who He would have me be? The refrain from a Stephan Curtis Chapman song has been running through my head today.

Be still and know that he is God. Be still and know that he is holy. Be still O restless soul of mine, bow before the Prince of Peace, let the noise and clamor cease. Be still and know that he is God. Be still and know that he is faithful. Consider all that he has done, stand in awe and be amazed and know that he will never change.

Journey 8-18-05

I have a recurring prayer this week. I am praying that God will bless me, both in His physical provision and with His abundant, overflowing presence in my life. And I pray this not only for my benefit, but for the goal of spreading the glory of His name and His salvation among all the earth.

Sometimes I find it hard to pray for myself. In so many ways it is easier to approach God on behalf of others. Yet, God clearly wants us to seek Him, taking every burden and every need in our life to Him, not to demand of Him, but to learn dependence upon Him. I have had the joy of learning how richly He desires to provide for us. Too often, I have listened to our credit based society. When something would go wrong I would go out and charge what I needed for the solution rather than seeking God about it. I have been delighted to have our Lord demonstrate over this last year what a wonderful joy it is to take my need before my Father and then to wait and to rejoice when He provides. And He always provides! It is not always when I expected it or the way I expected or the thing I expected but I have tried and found Him faithful!

I can always trust Him to always do what is best. And I constantly thank God for each one of you who have been the hands and feet of God in my life! From your financial commitments to PI, to your phone calls, e-mails and prayers. I have been blessed over and over by your care! I pray that God will always take the blessings that I have received and use me to bless others that He may be glorified all the more!

Journey 8-9-05

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have the power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Eph. 3:17b-19

I think that the love of God is something I will never truly get a full grasp on. Every time I look at Him his love is deeper and wider and longer. It is beyond my understanding and it sweeps over my soul making me complete while still filling me with longing. Rich Mullins sang, “There’s a wideness in God’s mercy that I can’t find in my own, and it keeps this candle burning and it melts this heart of stone, keeps me aching, with a yearning, and I’m glad to have been caught in the reckless, raging fury that they call the Love of God.”

The first line of that song always grips me. There is a wideness in God’s mercy, there’s an expanse to God’s love that far exceeds my own! And that is what makes the prayer of Paul in Ephesians so very meaningful to me. I want to know His love, the kind of love that in a reckless abandonment of self, gave up His one and only Son, for the sake of His enemies. I want to know His love, which truly surpasses knowledge, so that it may spill over in every aspect of my life to the glory and praise of God!

Journey 8-3-05

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” John 9:1-3

Can you imagine what it must have been like to be blind in those days? There were no government assistance programs. Blindness condemned the man to the life of a beggar. And there were no Braille books or support networks. Instead, this blind man received the censure of his own people who fully believed that his blindness was deserved, the result of sin. I wonder at his thoughts as he sat begging day after day. How did he deal with this hardship in his life? Then comes Jesus. He goes straight to the truth of the matter. Not all hardship in life is the result of sin. It may very well be a catalyst that the glory of God may be displayed.

I have been reading in Hosea this week and I wondered the same thing about the prophet. He took to himself an unfaithful wife so that the love of God might be displayed, so that the people might realize the consequences of their sin. What a heartbreaking task, to live day after day with that burden. Yet he called out to the people, “Come, let us return to the LORD, He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us…after two days he will revive us, on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.” Hosea 6:1-2

I read about these examples in Scripture but when it comes to me, to my plans, my goals, my life, what is my reaction? Do I welcome the interruption of something difficult from God so that He may be glorified. Honestly, I almost never do. Sometimes I tolerate it. Often, I complain to God about it. In fact, not only the large things but the small roadblocks that God brings into my life are often met with less than a grateful heart.

But if I truly wish to understand the depths of His love, if I truly desire for His glory to be displayed I must learn to welcome those situations for His names sake. Paul says that our “light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Cor. 4:17

The things that Paul speaks of in his life seem anything but light and momentary to me, yet his perspective is true. I want to find and maintain that perspective for my life. This week I have grieved with two friends who lost loved ones to death. I have sorrowed with a friend diagnosed with a serious illness and I have mourned over a friend caught in the circumstances created by a poor choice. The trials that I face personally right now are minor, yet I must seek to trust God and His work in them if I am to be able to minister to others. And that is my passion – that Jesus will be able to work through me!

My prayer for each of you this week is that you may find the ways that God seeks to work through you for His glory.

Journey 7-26-05

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thes. 5:16

What a beautiful thought. In times of waiting, in times of moving forward, in times of hardship and times of plenty this is God’s will.

May He continually teach me about these simple truths.

Journey 7-19-05

O Lord, Open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings, The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit and a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Ps 51:15-17

Rich Mullins wrote a song that stated “By the standards around here I’m not doing that awful…but it’s hard to be like Jesus.”

This week God convicted me of something that I needed to change in my life. One of those little things that I had never even thought of in relation to holiness. To be honest, at first I was annoyed. I argued with God. That only lasted a day because who can win that argument. Then I told Him o.k., you are God, if that is what you want I’ll yield, but I don’t have to like it. And that was when God began to break my heart. God isn’t the God that the Pharisee’s thought He was, demanding perfect obedience in every letter of the law, but neglecting the heart. The sacrifice that He desires is a heart that is broken before Him. The attitude is as important as the obedience itself.

For those of you who were concerned about me on Saturday – thank you for caring. God had been preparing me to see the truth. We sang “like a rose, trampled on the ground, you took the fall and thought of me, above all.” As we sang I couldn’t stop thinking of His sacrifice on my behalf. He held NOTHING back and “for the joy set before him endured the cross” (Heb 12:2). So what if God asks something of me that I would prefer He didn’t. In the end it is for my benefit, for my holiness. How can I not lay down absolutely everything in the face of that kind of love!

God used this week to shape and mold me and I am thankful that He is faithful to never let go of me! I know a number of you were wondering if I was discouraged by the delay to leave for Hungary. Honestly, there are days that I am discouraged. But there are days, like Saturday, when I see God’s hand and recognize that He doesn’t make mistakes. He still has a lifetime of lessons to teach me and He knows the circumstances that are needed for me to learn the lessons. And I will wait on Him, for He is good.