Journey 9-30-06

For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9a

This verse was an encouragement to me this week. How encouraging it is that God is looking for the one who needs His strength. It is interesting that in the context of the passage the verse is used as a rebuke to the King, Asa, who acted foolishly and chose to rely on men rather than on God. May it never be said of me. I want to keep my eyes fixed on Him from whom my help comes.

Journey 9-21-06

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21

This verse has been rolling around in my mind for awhile now. The particular reason it has stayed with me is the phrase, “a voice behind you.” God gives us His Word to teach us about His will. He gives us the Holy Spirit to provide checks and nudges in our life. And He often asks us to step out in faith. He told Abraham to step out and go to a land that He would show Him. Sometimes God asks us to move out and once we are moving then we hear His voice behind us, confirming “this is the way.”

I must admit that I would prefer a roadmap, marked with the destination, route and convenient stopping points along the way. Sometimes following His will here in Hungary seems so vague. I am often functioning, not based on a list of activities, but on a selection of opportunities. It is comforting to know that God holds the roadmap and keeps me on track even when I step out uncertain of what lies ahead.

Journey 9-13-06

I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this? John 11:25-26

I mentioned in my update e-mail last week that I had a gas leak in my apartment. I had known about it and been working on getting it fixed for weeks but hadn’t been able to get anything done about it. I was able to have my parents send a Carbon Monoxide monitor with my friend who was coming to visit. I wasn’t too surprised when the alarm went off as soon as I plugged it in, but I was surprised at how high the reading was.

The whole process got me thinking about how Co2 is a silent killer. You can’t see it or smell it and the effects of it sneak up on you. Slowly over the last month the air that I breath, the air that gives me life, was being removed from my apartment by an asphyxiating gas. You know that it often happens in my spiritual life as well? Slowly over time, without my even noticing, Jesus, who is the source of my life, can be slowly removed from my day to day thoughts and activities. Sometimes Jesus is pushed from the center of my being to the outskirts. He waits on the sidelines for me to realize that trying to live in my own strength is like breathing high levels of Co2. It compromises my very ability to live and I don’t even realize that it is happening.

I am glad for the Holy Spirit, my alarm system, who warns me when I am breathing in dangerous substances rather than living in the true life that Christ provides.

Journey 9-6-06

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

Just down the street from where I live they are tearing down an apartment building. As I walk by I can see into rooms that used to house families, I can see doors hanging off hinges and most disconcerting, I see stairways that lead to nowhere. If you were on the stairway going down you end at a 6 story drop and if you were going up there is no more roof, just the sky.

I was thinking this week about those broken stairways. Standing on one of those steps you would be trapped, with nowhere to go. Mankind is in that same position, but Jesus bridges the gap between men and God. He becomes the stairs that allow us to reach our destination. While the building with gaping holes and broken stairs inspires thoughts of sadness, the thought of How Jesus made a way for us brings such joy. He is the way and He can build something new and wonderful when we surrender our life to Him.

Journey 8-30-06

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2

But God is so much more than a list of do’s and don’ts. He is Holy and desires for us to live in holiness, but He is also grace and mercy. Christ is the one who gave himself in our place, His mercy granting God justice for sin and our forgiveness. It is so much beyond what any man can imagine that we don’t have to earn our standing with God. To accept that gift is precious. And then to live as imitators of that love is our response. It isn’t as clear cut as a directive of do exactly this, but it is so much better. The God who created us has a specific and special plan for each of our lives and we find that plan by simply imitating Him and walking in His love.

It is a good reminder to me as I look at where God has brought me from and what He has brought me to. He is leading me in that same love that sacrificed on my behalf and my job is to imitate Him and live a life of love.

Journey 8-22-06

This is what the LORD says: Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16

The devotional book that I am reading has been focusing on contentment as the theme for August. As I have been reading the stories and thoughts and prayers of others I have been greatly challenged, humbled and encouraged. I have read about contentment in want and contentment in plenty, about contentment in the midst of blessing and in the midst of sorrow. But the overall message that I have seen is that contentment comes from an eternal view. It is seeing the Big Picture and evaluating life in perspective.

I thought about the verse above and how God says to find the good way and walk in it. The good way leads to truth and hope and a promise of eternity in the presence of the Lord who loves us and gave Himself for us. I lose sight of how to be content when I take my eyes off of the destination and the goal and see only the short stretch of road before me. Or sometimes I see only the path that is behind me and all the other paths that I can not go back and travel. When I take my eyes off the big picture my soul is burdened and my heart is heavy. I want to see with eternal eyes and walk in the good way. And the key to the puzzle? God says to ask. I need to be asking God to lead and guide me, to teach me to obey and walk in the right way. Then I can have rest and contentment whatever my circumstances.

Journey 8-9-06

If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” John 7:37b-38

I’ve been rereading a book called Splash the Living Water by Esther Burroughs. The first chapter impacted me the same way this time as it did the last time I read it. The message repeated throughout the chapter: “…And she was thirsty.”

How often do I look around and see people involved in normal, everyday activities and forget that many of them are dying of thirst. Many are thirsty and don’t even realize that they are trying to quench their thirst with things that only dehydrate them in the end. But there are some, who search for the drink to quench their thirst, who are looking for the living water. Am I aware of their thirst? Am I aware of those moments when God puts them into my path so that I can offer them a drink? May I see with His eyes and stand with glass in hand so that the sentence may read, …and she was thirsty, but now her thirst is quenched by the streams of living water.”

Journey 8-2-06

The Jews were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having studied?” Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me.” John 7:15-16a

I want to share with you a quote and some of my recent thoughts that relate to it.

“The Bible is not a book for the faint of heart – it is a book full of all the greed and glory and violence and tenderness and sex and betrayal that befits mankind. It is not a collection of pretty little anecdotes mouthed by pious little church mice – it does not so much nibble at our shoe leather as it cuts to the heart and splits the marrow from the bone. It dies not give us answers fitted to our small-minded questions, but truth that goes beyond what we even know to ask.” Rich Mullins.

Are you ever surprised by what God says and how He speaks to a room full of people, but really He is speaking just to you? Are you ever amazed at how the Word that you have heard maybe a thousand times can go straight to your heart and penetrate the depth of your soul? I am amazed by the teaching of Jesus Christ and the whole counsel of the Word of God. It is like a mirror into my very soul, used to refine my life and make mold me into the woman that I long to be. And I am astounded when I see God take His Word and use it to change other people’s lives as well as my own.

I was reminded this week of the power of the Word. The message it contains can change the life of the lowest of low who is so far gone that society doesn’t even acknowledge his/her existence. And the truth it reveals can change the life of the person who appears to have it all together but is trapped by the mask of success that they wear. It is the message that gives hope to the broken and joy to the rescued. It is God’s gift to us and I urge you, even as I remind myself, that if we will seek God in the pages of His Word then He will meet us there.

Journey 7-26-06

Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deed among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise! 1 Chronicles 16:8,10,23-25a

My thoughts are swirling around in my head today. I am in awe of our great God.

I stand in awe of what sacrifice He made to show his great love for us.

I am captivated by this love that seeks me, this love that draws men out of darkness to light.

A love so great that it doesn’t wait for a response. A love that pursues us and gives hope to those lost in despair.

How great is our God that He chooses to love us! He is so worthy to praised and I will proclaim among the nations what He has done!

Journey 7-17-06

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.” John 6:28-29.

This is what we desire for the campers that we are working with. That they will realize that the work that God requires from them is belief in the saving work of Jesus.