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.

Journey 7-11-05

They [the words of the Law] are not just idle words for you – they are your life. Duet. 32:47

Moses spoke these words to the people of Israel just before God led them into the promised land.

I have been thinking this week about life and death, not the physical but the eternal, where real life and death are found. How often do I mistake the “normal” appearance of a person as reality, when in the spiritual realm they may be walking in death?

And how often do I really cling to the Word as my life?

There are people who have to take medication (insulin for example) on a regular basis just to live. They would no sooner “forget” to take their medication than to forget their right arm. It is a matter of life an death to them. Yet, how often do I neglect my relationship with Christ, which is my life? I don’t necessarily mean simply not reading the word, or not praying, but treating reading and praying as idle words rather than the life flow that they are.

My current situation, God leading me out and my waiting to see His provision, has stretched my faith in new ways. My desire is to serve Christ, taking His life to Hungary, and there are days that II am anxious to be on my way. Yet, this time of waiting is as much a part of my journey as any other. God has challenged me this week with a reminder that I need to, as C.S. Lewis put it, go “Further Up and Farther In.” There is more to know of Christ. There is more to rejoice in. There is more of myself to die to and more of Christ to live for. God is preparing me, molding me into His image and the waiting is a part of that molding. There is much more to this journey than I see with my eyes.

Journey 7-4-05

See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live…. Deut. 30:15-16a

Now choose life, so that you and your children will live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life…. Duet. 30:19b-20a

The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

Life. Abundant and full. Offered in Jesus name.

On this fourth of July weekend, I was reminded of the cry of one of our founding fathers as we sought our independence, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Christ himself answers that call for us. He died in our place that we might have liberty, freedom from the bondage of sin and life in His name.I thank the LORD for the LIFE he has given to me!

God is so good to constantly remind me why I am leaving family, friends and a comfortable lifestyle to move to Hungary. They need the light. They need life. They are dying apart from the salvation found only in Jesus Christ. I am privileged to be a representative of Jesus Christ as you send me out.

Journey 6-21-05

For the Lord is good, and His love endures forever…

I have been continually amazed as I travel to see all of the wonders of God’s creation! It makes my soul rise within me to praise the goodness of our Lord when I see the grandness of all his workmanship.

Journey 6-14-05

Do you not know, have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. Isaiah 40

One of the things that I love most about traveling is seeing the amazing world that God has made. In every part of the world God has created unique and beautiful landscapes. Yesterday I drove through the California foothills and past the grape vineyards and I thought about how different it is from Florida. The hills are dry and brown, but there is a unique beauty to the golden landscape and rolling hills that is so different from the wet and green beauty of Florida.

Not only has God made each corner of the world with its own unique beauty, he has made each of us in the body of Christ a unique workmanship, crafted in His image. We are designed and gifted with a special purpose and called to serve in different ways. I am so thankful for each of you who pray and give; who through your partnership allow me to serve God as He has called me.

Journey 6-7-05

Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll? But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David has triumphed. And they sang a new song: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood purchased me 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. Revelation 5: 4-5, 9-10

These verses are such an encouragement to me. When I feel discouraged I have only to remember that the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Jesus, has already triumphed. By His blood he has redeemed and in His timing he will establish his kingdom. From every nation, he will redeem men and women to serve and worship Him. It overwhelms me to think that He has given me the privilege of playing a role in His plan. And as you partner in prayer and support to reach the people of Hungary you also play a part in His grand design!

Journey 5-31-05

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with jewels. So the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. Isaiah 61:10-11

What an amazing love, He has clothed me with salvation.  What an amazing promise, He will be praised among all nations!

Journey 5-22-05

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit of itself, it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:4,8

My greatest desire and prayer request is that I remain in Christ and let Him be my strength! I tend to want to plan and make things happen. This time in my life is a great growing experience for me as EVERYTHING revolves around God’s provision, prompting and timing. (It always does but sometimes I see more ways to “help God out” and here I’m at a place where I can’t DO anything on my own). I can’t think of anything in this process of moving to Hungary that God isn’t using to teach me more about Him and my need for total dependence on Him.

Recently I heard someone use the word desperation when describing how we should live in our relationship with God. Through this week, as I’ve looked at the support I have and the support I need, I’ve realized the need for true desperation before God. I know He has called me and that without His intervention in the hearts and lives of people to partner in ministry I am not able to go. Without His intervention all will my best efforts amount to nothing. When I look at the call and I look at the need, God fills my heart with a desperation to see His hand at work so that He may be glorified. Realizing my total dependence upon Him is a good place to be, but stepping out and living in that abiding dependence on Jesus Christ on a daily basis is hard. Pray that as I learn to abide more that it will be to the Father’s glory in my life. This is my heart’s desire.