Nepal Bound (Our Journey to the far east)

hidus worshippingFirst flight of the journey, headed to Chicago. So far, it has been difficult indeed. Saying goodbye to the children about broke my heart into. They are quite used to daddy going away but never mommy too. As we stood in line to check in, I just stood and sobbed, as I could still hear Lauren crying for me as they walked away. Once I finally got myself together all I could say was, “For You Jesus, for You. I go because You have called. I go in obedience to you. Though my heart is broken, I go. Standing on the promises of Your Word. That You will bless in this life and in the life to come those who have left houses, lands, families, and friends for the sake of the Gospel (Mark 10:29-30).”

On the plane I read of the rich young ruler and was once again reminded of the cost of following Jesus. Here we find a wealthy, young man coming to Jesus telling Him, He wants to follow Him. Sadly to say most today, would just lead this man to pray a prayer and put him to work. Yet, Jesus approach was much different. For Jesus knew his heart. He knew that this man wanted to follow Him but for all the wrong reasons. Jesus knew this man already served a master, himself and his money. So Jesus tells him, “if you want to follow me, then go and give all you have away, and then come follow Me.”

There is a great cost to following Jesus. In truly being His disciple, His servant. Around the globe, the cost is great. For some the cost is their family, their jobs, their homes and friends. For others the cost includes prison and persecution and for some the cost is their own lives.

Today, I experienced a small flicker of the cost involved in following Jesus as I stood and said goodbye to my family and children. Since being in Nepal a few days, though I realize that is minute to the cost many of these face when they turn to follow Jesus. Many cut off from their families, disinherited.

May we all recognize there is a cost involved in following Jesus. That it is so much more than praying a prayer and then living as we choose. We have not been saved to sit, we have been saved to serve and tell others of our glorious Savior. Oh, may we all follow hard after Jesus.

*A funny: on our flight to Chicago, the flight attendant asked us where we were headed. Sitting at the back of the plane with the engine roaring, it was quite hard to hear. So, when Eric responded Kathmandu, the flight attendant thought Eric said, “Camping in the nude.” He looked at us quite strange for moments before he had seen me reading my Bible and thought to ask for Eric to repeat what he said. A little louder, Eric said Kathmandu and he burst out laughing explaining what he had thought we said. Oh my, how we laughed.

Flight Two:

We are now waiting in the airport for our next flight, the longest of the three headed to Istanbul. Already, I am missing my kids and wishing I were there to tuck them in. Yet, as I looked around at all who are waiting for the next flight. I am reminded why we go. For all around us are Muslim and Hindu women. And my heart breaks for the bondage they are in. They smile back as I smile there way and I realize the Lord has saved me, so that I might go and tell others of Him.

Istanbul, our flight to Turnkey with Turkish Airlines, was great. In fact I slept most of the way. Though back home it is 10 am, here it is 6 pm. What a journey it has been thus far. Eric has said, this is our scouting trip. Scouting out the journey and the land the Lord is leading our family to.

If I thought the number of Muslim and Hindu’s was large in Chicago, it is tremendous here. I was just reading in my Bible about the Jesus telling the disciples how difficult it is for a rich man to be saved. He says, “How hard it is for these to enter the Kingdom of God, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for these to enter the kingdom (Mark 10:23-27).” As I look about me, I see so many who do not know Jesus, so many blinded by the enemy. So many and I think Lord, how hard it is for these to enter the Kingdom of God. But then I am reminded by the fact that With man, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.”

Third flight

This morning as the plane got ready to land, looking out the window, I could see the beautiful Himalayas. Massive and gorgeous, I was reminded that in every place through creation, you have revealed yourself (Romans 1). So even here in a country surrounded by so much natural beauty, You have made your presence known. Yet, the god of this world has blinded their eyes through culture and religion. Break through dear Lord and reach the Nepali people for your glory.

Saltless Pretzels

images-1Some things should be salty, especially pretzels. A few weeks ago we  purchased a bag of pretzels and did not realize until much later that they were saltless. Now, I know some of you don’t like pretzels period, but I actually enjoy them except when they are without salt. Seriously, they have absolutely no taste without salt and in my opinion are worthless, no good!

In my quiet time today, I read where Jesus is giving the Sermon on the Mount. He has just finished describing the appropriate behavior of a Christian and then goes on to illustrate what one who professes to be a Christian yet fails to live it is like. Jesus makes it clear that such a person is no better than saltless salt or hidden light. Basically saying, they are worthless.

Sadly to say, this could be used to describe me at times in my life. Claiming to be a Christian but failing to live like it. Resembling the world and its values more than the Lord and His Word.

I also have encountered many of these along the way. Those who look the right part on Sunday but look like the world, talk like the world and live like the world the rest of the week.

It is when we live like this that we fail to bring any glory to God. We add nothing to His Kingdom and are pretty much useless.

I don’t know about you, but I long to be used to honor my King. I long to be His hands and His feet and to make a difference for eternity.

Saltless pretzels and pretty disgusting and to be honest so are saltless Christians.

So, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven (Math. 5:16).”

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When your overwhelmed….

 Do you ever wonder if there really is enough hours in the day? If there is any way you can get it all done?

Do you ever feel overwhelmed?

The past week or so I have experienced this numerous times. Thinking about all that has to get done before we leave. (Do you love me?)

I have my list and I have definitely checked it more than twice. Yet, still have things to do, things to prepare.

One of my favorite Psalms says, “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I (Ps. 61:2).”

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Don’t you just love that.

The Lord says, when you feel overwhelmed, over burdened. When it seems too much. Lean on Me!

I am bigger and I am stronger than you!

He says, You can’t do it, but I can!

The Lord is ready to help, He only waits on us to come to Him.

Being overwhelmed often leads us to feeling out of control. Often we get grouchy and feel stressed out.

None of these are necessary, when we lean on Him.

He never meant for us to walk this pilgrimage alone.

The Lord is there, waiting and ready to walk with us, to help us and to carry us when we can’t go on.

Let us then, go to Him.

“Lord, when our hearts are overwhelmed, lead us to You, our Rock, our Strength, Our Source! O how we need you!!”

 

Enjoying His Presence

Do you see it? Do you feel it?images

As I was sitting outside on the front porch this morning, I felt the cool breeze upon my face and saw the sun shining through the trees. I watched the leaves of various colors fall from the trees and heard the acorns hitting the ground.

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So often we miss it. We miss the presence of God that is in everything, for everything comes from Him. He is The Source! We rush about our days doing all we must do. Believing somehow the only way to experience His presence is through Bible study and prayer.

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These of course are the anchor and are a definite must. But unless you’re a monk or a nun, you don’t sit all day reading the Bible or on your knees in deep prayer. I have been asking the Lord to show me what it means to seek His presence and how to enjoy it all the day through.

 

I believe He showed me a glimpse of this, this morning as I sit and observed His beauty, His handiwork and gave thanks to Him.

When we acknowledge Who does all things well, we acknowledge God.

When we give thanks for the cool breeze, we show gratitude to the One who did it.

When we praise Him for His beauty, we celebrate Him.

Through each of these things, we are enjoying His presence. The Lord’s presence that is with us all the day through.

My prayer for you and I is that the Lord would open our eyes to see Him in all things. That He would open our ears to hear His voice in the gentle breeze. That we would indeed taste and see the Lord is good!

He is worthy of our continual praise. Let us then enjoy His sweet presence this day!

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Do you love me?

z209447432The Lord asks, “Do you love me?”

Our quick response is, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.”

To which He responds with a command of something He wants us to do and obey.

Years ago the Lord asked me, Do you love me? I said yes and He told me to go to Seminary and I went.

After graduation He asked.  Do you love me? Once more I said yes and He said be a pastors wife and I was.

8 years after serving in the pastorate He ask. Do you love me? Yes, Lord I responded. And He told us to move our family of five to Korea and we packed up and went.

Now He asks? Do you love me? I’m a little nervous but I say, yes Lord.  He says, leave your kids and travel around the world to Nepal for a few weeks. And the days draw nearer…..

Jesus said, “If anyone comes to me, and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:26-27).”

As I read these words this morning I was struck. Many read these words and think how could He say this? Does He really want us to hate our family. No, but in comparison to the love we have for Him, at times it may seem this way.

So as I pondered these words, I was reminded that the Lord has already asked us to leave our family and our home, our comforts and security. We have done this and He blessed. Now, He has taken it a bit further in my opinion. For now, He ask, are you willing to leave your children for a few weeks to serve me.

I must say this has been such a challenge and each night as I tuck my kids in bed and kiss their sweet faces, my heart breaks and He ask once more, “Do you love me, do you trust me?”

There has been a definite progression with His questions, each time I have responded with yes, what He has asked has proven a bit harder but has served as a greater blessing. I am grateful for the knowledge gained in seminary. Was blessed and grown through our time in the pastorate. We found great fulfilling joy in Korea and would not trade this time for the world.

As I have thought on this, He has brought great peace. Peace that just as He has been with us each step of the way and brought us through each part of our journey. He is with us now and He will go with us. How thankful I am that we serve the living God whose presence will be with us as we are in Nepal but will also remain here with our children as we go.

I rejoice that He has not abandoned us yet and will not start now. I rejoice that I can trust in Him because He is always faithful.

The Bible says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments (John 14:15).”

So, do we really love the Lord? Our obedience to what He ask, will be the proof.

The Lord said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength(Luke 10:27).”

Let us then love Him with all we are and may this great love be demonstrated to a lost world, by what we do.

Less than a dollar a day………….

SAM_0268 - CopyWe trudged through the mud as misty rain fell. We were walking through miles and miles of shantys. Taking food to the kids, who otherwise might now have eaten that day. This was the first real taste of poverty my kids or I had ever seen. Kids playing in tattered clothes, most without shoes. The smiles on their faces as we poured them a bowel of porridge was all the thanks we needed. Amazing, here were a group of children who had nothing, yet their joy was contagious.

As I think on this time and compare it with life back here in the States, I am overwhelmed. How is it we live in a land of plenty, where most have their needs and most of their wants met. In a land where obesity is rampant because we eat too much, thrift shops are everywhere because we have too much and yet where most still do not think they have enough. The reality is compared to the rest of the world if we have a roof over our heads, food to eat and running water, we are RICH!

5-MonroviaI just finished reading a book entitled, Running for My Life, in which a boy of six was stolen from his family by a group of rebels in Sudan. He and numerous others were forced to train to kill. Thankfully, he got away before this was forced upon him. Years after he spent living in a refuge camp in Kenya, he has the opportunity to come to America. Where a couple from New York adopt him as their own. For ten years, living at this refugee camp, he had eaten only one meal a day and the highlight of his week was Tuesday, when the leaders put out the garbage. On this day, the boys all fought over the half eaten food they found within. When he arrives in America, he can not begin to comprehend the abundance. When taken to McDonald’s and given an entire chicken sandwich, he is amazed. For never before had he gotten so much food at one time. Having a real bed after years of sleeping on the cold ground, indoor plumbing after years of taken care of business outside and his first soda were just a few of the luxuries he experienced.

As I read this true story, my heart broke. For this is the story of countless children around the world. Children who are dying daily of starvation. Children who by lot, have little to no chance of improving their situations. Children who go on to have more children, while the circle of poverty gets wider and wider.

SAM_0277Did you know that in many places such as Africa, India and China, people literally live on less than a dollar a day. This is so hard to comprehend, considering the only thing a dollar will buy you here is a candy bar and maybe a bottle of water.

As I look at the abundance of toys and stuff we have, quite honestly I feel ashamed. How can we have so much, while they have so little.

We are told again and again in Scripture to look after the poor. That if we turn our backs on the poor, we sin. Yet, isn’t this what we have done.

In David Platt‘s book Radical, he says, “maybe the Lord has not blessed us with so much so we can spend it on ourselves. Maybe, he has blessed us with so much so we can spend it on others.” I think he’s right. He goes on to say that “The mark of a Christ follower is that their hearts are in heaven and their treasures are spent there.” 

So the real question we have to ask ourselves is what do we treasure? For Jesus makes it clear that where our treasure is, there our heart will be also.

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