Excuses………

I’m good at making excuses for why I can’t.excuses

Have a tendency to give up on things that are too hard.

So, I can identify fully with Moses and Jeremiah when God came calling on their lives.

Though minding their own business, God came along and rocked their world.

Appearing in a burning bush to Moses, God told Moses that he was God’s chosen servant to stand before Pharoah, and to lead the people into the promised land.

Moses of course didn’t agree at all.

In fact he had other ideas and was quick to offer excuses for why he could not do this.

Likewise, Jeremiah’s life was interrupted.

For the Lord came to him and said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:5).”

But Jeremiah like Moses, wasn’t too excited about this special call.

For he too began making excuses.

But if we are honest aren’t we all like this.

Quick to make excuses when what God calls us to is scary or it just seems to hard.

God has called our family to the mission field, and we have said yes to God.

But that doesn’t make it less scary or less hard.

In my mind I have countless conversations with the Lord on why we aren’t the right people.

Why we can’t do this. Why this is too much and too hard.

Fears that rattle me and anguish thinking about goodbye.

But then I remember the Lord’s response to Jeremiah.

For he said, “You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid….(Jer. 1:6).”

Tonight someone asked me, “Why Nepal?”

And my response was, because God said, go here.

I told the man, it was definitely not a place I would have chosen on my own.

But God, said this is it. This is where I’m sending you.

I told him, so after kicking and screaming a bit, we have resolved to go.

But the truth is, even after being resolved to go, I still want to kick and scream a little.

I want to complain, I want to make excuses.

Because leaving my family is going to be hard.

Taking our kids to a whole other world is going to be hard.

Adjusting to a radically different culture is going to be hard.

But, God never said it would be easy.

He just says, Follow Me.

And in following Christ, we are to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him.

So, after I shed some tears, repent, pray and remind myself of the promises of God.

I can take a deep breath and say, ok Lord. I’m in.

What has God called you to? Have you said yes or are you making excuses? Are you resisting His call or surrendering to it? Following Christ isn’t always easy. Some times it’s hard. Sometimes it hurts.

But, God is there with us and he says, Do not fear, I am with you!

 

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When God Rocks Your World

forever changedI love the story of Manasseh. He was a wicked, evil King changed forever by the grace of God.

If anyone thinks they have done too much bad stuff, I’m sure Manasseh has you beat.

Manasseh walked in the ways of the nations God had driven out. He worshiped the Baals and made Asherah poles. He bowed down to the stars and worshiped them. He even sacrificed his sons in the fire. Manasseh practiced sorcery, witchcraft and all sorts of evil. The Bible says he did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, provoking him to anger! Because of Manasseh, the people did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites!

I’m telling you he was vile. He had no desire for God.

But God rocked his world.

In His mercy, God brought disaster upon Jerusalem and Judah. The Lord allowed the King of Assyria to take Manasseh prisoner and they put a hook in his nose and placed him in shackles carrying him off to Babylon.

Then, in his distress, Manasseh sought the Lord.

And amazingly enough, God heard his cry and because Manasseh humbled himself greatly before the Lord, the Lord was moved by his prayer.

Talk about grace, undeserved, unmerited favor!

The Bible tells us that the Lord brought him back to Jerusalem and restored his kingdom.

Then, Manasseh knew that the Lord is God (2 Chron. 33:13)

A work of God by the grace of God.

I can remember well when God rocked my world.

I had grown up in church and never practiced witchcraft or done any of the outright evils like Manasseh.

But I was far from God and had just as wicked a heart.

I lived for myself and strived to make myself happy.

I went to church and did most of the right things. Not because I loved God, but because it was expected.

Then in college the Lord got hold of my life for real and it has never been the same.

To many I went a bit extreme. Giving up what I intended to do with my life.

My life was surrendered to the Lord and off to seminary I went.

Life no longer was about me and my happiness.

It became about a desire to please Him.

Like Manasseh, I knew that the Lord is God.

A work of God by the grace of God.

How about you? Has God rocked your world? Has your life been forever changed?

Oh, we won’t be perfect, far from it, this side of Heaven, but our desire should be for Him and His glory.

Lord, may we never lose sight of your amazing grace. Though vile and wicked, we have been forgiven and changed. Transferred out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. May we live our lives thankful daily for all You have done.

100 %

So often in life, we want full assurance we are on the right path.trusting god

That we are doing exactly what we are supposed to.

We shy away from things unless we know without a doubt that these things are for sure.

Recently I was reading a book by Jeanie Allen, Restless.

In it, she spoke of how she didn’t know 100% if her and her husband were to adopt. They had a passion and heart for this, but no burning bush. She spoke of how she wasn’t sure the Lord was calling her into full-time women’s ministry, but that again, this was what He had put on her heart. She made the statement, that none of these thing did she have 100 % assurance from the Lord. All she had, was the nudge from God. From there, she had to step out in faith and trust God to bring it to pass.

As I read this, I felt great reassurance.

For, though we fully believe God has called us to Nepal. We don’t have all the answers.

We don’t know 100% how it is all going to work out. We don’t know 100% where we will live, how the kids will adjust, or what our days will fully consist of. We don’t know 100% where all the money needed for this will come from. We just don’t know.

But isn’t that where faith comes in?

For faith is not knowing then doing. Faith is believing God despite the unknowns.

So, though we don’t know a lot.

Though some days I’m so anxious I can barely breathe.

We will do this, we will pack, sale, and move to the other side of the world.

Doing this in faith that our God, who is able, will take care of the rest.

This sounds ludicrous from a world mindset.

Yet, I’m convinced from God’s eyes, this is the kind of faith He is looking for.

I’m convinced that in His eyes, this is easy.

I believe He can and will do above and beyond what we could ever ask or imagine.

I believe and when I struggle, I pray all the more, Lord help my unbelief.

So, what is God nudging you to do? What passion, desire has He placed on your heart?

I encourage you to just step out on faith. I encourage you to do it even if you don’t know 100%.

Because God is bigger than all of that. He will make it clear. He will make the way.

He will provide what’s needed. As you trust fully in Him.

People may doubt you, people may question you, people may let you down.

But God…..

He will never let you down, for He is always faithful.

Step out dear friend and watch God show out for His glory.

Off with the old and on with the new!

We have all heard this phrase.word of Christ

When it’s time for something new, out goes the old.

I can remember when Eric and I first married, we had my parent’s old bedroom furniture. It was great, but it wasn’t ours.

Then I remember when we finally were able to buy our own furniture. It was time to get rid of the old and replace it with the new.

Throughout Paul’s letters, this is a focal theme.

This idea of casting off the old man and putting on the new man.

Now, if you are like me. This is all easy to teach but hard to live.

For how do we daily put off the old man and put on the new man?

How do we daily die to self?

How do we do this???

I have been thinking on this for some time and am still not there.

But, I do believe it starts with this concept of denying self.

Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.”

In order to follow Christ, we have to deny ourselves.

In Col. 3 Paul tells us to “Therefore, consider the members of your earthly body as dead to …….”

Before the new can replace the old, the old has to be removed.

And Paul tells us that for this to take place we have to put to death our natural desires or tendencies.

In 2 Corinthians 4, he puts it like this. He says, “For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus sake; so that, the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”

In order for Christ to live in and through us. We have to daily die to self.

Now, this is not fun.

In fact it’s hard and most of us give into what self wants rather than deny self.

I still remember a student in seminary who would not get seconds on spaghetti because he chose to deny himself. At the time, I thought he was a bit extreme.

But, I think he was on to something.

Paul said, “I beat my body into submission.

Paul understood that in order to be dead to self, he had to daily die to self.

Once we have denied self, then and only then can Christ shine through us.

We are putting off the flesh and putting on Christ.

And this takes place when we, “Let the Word of Christ richly dwell within (us).”Col. 3:16

What dwells in you?

If we are honest, we all have a bit of pride, selfishness, fear, anger, bitterness….. within us.

And Paul would say, die to that, put that old man off.

Then let God’s Word dwell richly within you.

Let God’s Word infiltrate your mind.

Let it rule your heart.

Let is govern your life.

May God’s Word feed your soul daily.

I’m convinced that in order to put off the old and put on the new.

These are two key instructions.

We must deny ourselves and allow God’s Word to richly dwell within.

Only then can we be dead to ourselves and alive to Christ.

Where are you today? Do you daily practice denying self? What do you dwell on? The things of this world or the things of God?

Lord, we want to live for you. We want to put off the old man and allow Christ to shine through. Help us by your grace to deny ourselves. Give us an unceasing hunger and unquenchable thirst for You and your Word. May it richly dwell within our hearts, minds and souls. Protect us from the enemy and his lies. We need you O Lord, for the help of man is useless.

Earrings For a Cause

jennifer phillipsFriends seem to come and go.

Through the years, I have  had many friends/acquaintances.

But only a select few make the cut of those who you can pick up the phone and talk to.

Even after months of not speaking.

Close friends like those of David and Jonathan.

Yet, the Lord has blessed my life with a few such friends.

The type I know I can count on no matter what.

One friend in particular has been my BFF since Jr. High.

She is one of those friends I  wrote lengthy letters to during class while I pretended to take notes.  A friend who I was either with or on the phone with it seems at all hours of the day.

Oh, we had our up and downs over the years, but in the long haul our friendship is one of those that has stood the test of time.

This dear friend is very creative.

She loves to write and does an amazing job at it. She loves dogs ,and in her spare time loves to make earrings.

A few weeks ago she wrote and told me that she wanted to sell these earrings to help our family raise the support needed for the calling God has placed on our lives.

See God has told us to go and train pastors, plant churches, and teach the children in Nepal and the Himalayas.

We have surrendered our white flag and said yes, Lord, we are in.

Not fully knowing how it would work out, just stepping out of the boat into faith.

And friends such as Jennifer and others, have stepped up to the plate and said yes, Lord. I too will do my part.

Like Jonathan was there, looking out for David. Jennifer has been there for me.

She’s an amazing friend, who I thank God for.

To check out her earrings go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/EarringsForACause

To find out more about our mission work in the Himalayas go to http://ambassadorsfortruth.org/home.aspx

 

 

Saying Yes to God leads to God sized dream….

yes to GodSaying yes to God can be scary.

Saying yes to God can be exciting.

And sometimes it can be both.

About two months ago, our family said, yes Lord.

We will go serve you in Nepal.

And in these two months, we have watched as God has orchestrated and worked out details in amazing ways.

So often that is what He is waiting on.

Us to say yes, so that He can shine forth.

In the past two months the Lord has helped us begin a nonprofit organization, Ambassadors for Truth.

Whose purpose is to teach and train Christian leaders in the third world, help establish churches, provide Christian education to the children, and to declare the Kingdom of God.

He has also helped us to raise over half of our funds needed.

Blowing us away through the generosity of others.

One dear friend has made earrings for years.

These earring are amazing.

And the other day, she wrote me to tell me that she wants to set up a website on Etsy to sale these earrings.

Then she wants to give all the proceeds to our ministry.

Amazing! We know that none of what He has called us to do would be possible apart from Him or apart from His people.

In a month and a half we will pack and leave for Nepal.

To say we have it all figured out would be a lie. To say we have no fears would be just as far from the truth.

In fact there have been many Roller Coaster Days

But, one thing I know for sure…. My God is able to do abundantly more than I could ever ask or imagine.

Kristen Welch in her book Rhinestone Jesus says this about God sized dreams:

1. They will be bigger than your capability

2.They will require hard labor

3. They will look impossible and you won’t have all the answers

4. There will be a gap between your yes and the reality of your dream

5. They will require great dependence on God

We have found all of this to be true.

Saying yes, doesn’t guarantee it will be easy and you will certainly have to depend on God.

Yet, watching Him bring about your God sized dream is amazing.

So, what is God asking you to do?

Where is He leading you to go?

It may be nothing more than crossing the road to your neighbors to invite them to church.

It could be to begin a Bible study in your home.

He may ask you to teach a class at your church.

Or like us, He might be leading you to go to the ends of the earth.

I challenge you to just say yes.

Yes, to God.

Then step back and watch Him show out, for His glory.

God's story

 

You can check out the earrings my friend Jennifer is selling at https://www.etsy.com/shop/EarringsForACause

You can check out our ministry website at http://ambassadorsfortruth.org/home.aspx

On Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ambassadorsfortruth

 

Moving Forward or Regressing

Last night, I heard a great message and testimony of the work of God in a young man’s life.

He made a statement that stuck….

He said, “If you aren’t growing in your walk with the Lord, you are moving backwards.”

I’ve been thinking on this ever since.

You see, it’s easy to get to a point in our walks with the Lord and think, hey, I’ve got this.

It’s easy to get busy with other stuff and leave God out of the mix.

And the truth is, both of these are sin.

As I sat and listened to this testimony, I thought back on my own walk with the Lord.

I can remember vividly the times in my life I have had a hunger for the Lord and the things of the Lord.

When all I wanted was to spend time with Him.

And I can remember just as vividly the times in my life when my hunger has been for other things.

When spending time with the Lord, was just a formality.

To be honest, even now as we prepare to go overseas to serve as missionaries, life has just been busy.

And the business and stress of life, has a way of squeezing the passion out of one’s walk with the Lord.

But, that is no excuse!

I don’t want to regress in my walk with the Lord, I want to daily be moving forward.

But that takes work. It takes more than a little Bible reading.

It takes diligent study of God’s Word and time spent in prayer.

I’ve always heard it said that, “when you feel God is far away, it isn’t Him who has moved, it is you.”

This is so true.

Life will choke out our passion.

Stuff will choke out our love for the Lord.

Business will destroy our walk with Christ.

We must determine that we will daily grow and that nothing will stop this.

So where are you? Are you moving forward or regressing?

We must like Paul determine that our goal is to know Christ and to make Him know.

moving forward