Power in the Name of Jesus

power in name of jesusAs a missionary sometimes it is easy to think God needs me.

Easy to fall into the trap that things depend upon me.

In my quiet time I was reminded afresh and anew that though God does use me, He doesn’t need me.

I was reminded that it is only my privilege to be used of God.

I have no power in and of myself.

I have nothing good to offer the lost and dying all around me.

I can not feed all the poor, I can not help every outcast.

It is impossible for me to heal the sick, to cast out demons…

I have nothing to offer…

I can and must only give them JESUS!

It is only through His power I can serve.

Only through His name the lost can be saved.

They do not need what I can give. They do not need what I can offer.

They need Jesus!

In my quiet time I read of the lame man who was begging and asking for alms. Peter and John walked by him and he cried out to them for money, for help.

Here in the city,it is not unfamiliar to pass such people on a regular basis. Those in need, asking for help.

Yet, Peter and John did not give the man food, money or anything.

They instead told him , “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene… walk! (Acts 4:6)

What then do the needy need? Do they need water, food, medical helps, money……

Yes, they do and we must as Christians seek to supply such needs, but we mustn’t stop there, for what they really need is Jesus.

And if we constantly give, constantly work… we will wear out.

Just as the lost need Jesus, we as believers need Jesus.

Daily we need His power, His strength to serve.

Another interesting lesson learned is the fact that the people were quite happy for the miracles, but wanted to leave Jesus out of it.

They wanted the disciples to heal, they wanted the disciples to do miracles.

But they didn’t want Jesus.

Similarly here, the people love to see the power of God, but want little to do with God.

We must be careful as believers not to just supply the people with what they want, we must give them Jesus.

They must surrender to Him.

And though we can’t help all the needy, we can’t lead every lost soul to Christ.

We must do what we can and allow God to do what we can’t.

To be His hands and His feet. To help those in our paths, to tell those of Jesus who we daily meet.

Katie Davis once said,“I have learned that I will not change the world, Jesus will do that. I can however, change the world for one person.”

This is out goal, this is our command.

We can’t change the world,but we can be used of God, one day, one person at a time.

Let us then give them Jesus and let us rely not upon ourselves, our strength…let us rely upon the power of Christ.

The Adjustments of Life

adjustmentsMoving to the mission field in Central Asia has been full of adjustments. And it seem that just when we have adjusted to one thing, we then have to adjust to something else.

When we first arrived, our stomachs had to adjust to the different foods and spices (and some days it still does). We had to adjust to the pollution and dust, causing our allergies to flare up.

We adjusted to a whole new way of driving. For here they drive on the left side and the steering wheel is also on the left side of the car. My husband had to adjust to learning to drive in what appears to be utter chaos and confusion.

The kids had to adjust to a new school, new teachers, new friends.

We have been here less than 2 months, but just the other day I commented to my mom that I thought we had adjusted quite well. Telling her we had found our grove and established our routine.

When out of no where the north winds began to blow and cold rains began to fall. So now we are learning to adjust to the cold. To buildings and homes without central heat. To sleeping under piles of blankets and cold floor.

All in all, we have had to adjust to a different way of life. A slower pace. We have had to let go of expectations and learn to accept new ways of doing things.

The adjustments of life are never through though. This I’m learning. For we are always learning, always growing.

And the Lord is teaching me that this is ok. He’s teaching me that all I need to do is be in tune with Him, walking in step with His leading.

Jesus came seeking not to do His will, but the Fathers will.

Jesus sought not to please Himself, but to please the Father.

And I’m learning that this is all He requires of me too.

Adjustments will come, life as a whole is one adjustment after another, but this is how we grow.

My goal, my purpose is to do the will of the Father, the will He has for me.

My goal is to daily seek to please not myself, but the Lord.

And as I do these things, the Lord will give me the grace and strength needed to adjust to whatever life throws my way.

The same is true for you. No matter where you are, adjustments will come. And your goal like mine is just to walk in step with the Father, doing His Will, pleasing Him.

The will He has for my life will be different from the will He has for yours. The ways you daily please Him, likewise won’t be the same.

Yet our goal must be the same.

Our goal should be to seek to be more like Jesus. Desiring to do His will and to please Him.

 

According to your faith….

faithWhat things are you believing God for?

What are you praying and asking the Lord to accomplish in your life?

As I was reading my Bible, I came across this verse,“According to your faith will it be done to you.”

Jesus was speaking to two blind men who approached Him on the road. They wanted Jesus to restore their sight.

I’m sure they kind of thought this was a strange response. Yet the Bible tells us that they were healed and could see again.

This verse really struck me. And made me wonder, if they had not believed, would their sight have been restored? If they had doubted or questioned the Lord, would they have been able to see again?

Was the power in the amount of faith they had? No.

Yet, it did play a vital role in the response they received.

As I continued to read, I came across a similar passage when Jesus visits His hometown. The Bible tells us that He was teaching in the temples, but everyone was whispering, who is this, isn’t his Joseph the Carpenter’s son??

And the Bible says that, He could not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith!

So our faith matters. Our faith affects the prayers we pray.

In Hebrews we are told that, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”

When we doubt, when we are afraid, when our hearts are full of unbelief, we are not pleasing to God.

And faith isn’t seeing and knowing. Faith is complete trust in God, despite what we do or don’t see. Despite what we know or don’t know.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

So where do we get this faith and how much faith do we need to please God?

Jesus made it clear that if we just have the faith of a mustard see, that is enough.

For it isn’t so much the amount of faith we have, it is who our faith is placed in.

And this faith comes from the Word of God.

“For faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17

We must be in the Word, allowing it to grow and saturate our minds and hearts so that it will produce the faith we need to believe and please the Lord.

How often do we fear the impossibilities of life? How often do we strive to figure our problems out? How often are our hearts full of doubt and unbelief, when problems rise up?

Convicting right?

The Bible tells us that God is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine.

Nothing is too much, nothing too hard. No situation truly an impossibility.

Our response depends not on the Lord, but on our faith or lack there of.

When we neglect God’s Word, we will be full of fear, full of doubt and unbelief. But when we are in God’s Word, allowing it to multiply and change us. Then and only then will we have the faith needed to believe and please God.

So where are you today? Are you stressing over life’s problems and impossibilities. Are you doubting that God sees, knows or cares? Is your heart full of fear?

I encourage you as God has encouraged me to get in His Word. Not to just read it hurriedly as you begin your day. But to dig deep and allow God to grow you spiritually. Removing the lies of the enemy and replacing them with the truths of His Word.

I encourage you as God has encouraged me to believe Him for that which I need. Resting in the amazing fact that He can do above and beyond all I could ever think to ask or imagine.

The enemy longs to keep us doubting, to keep us afraid. While the Lord longs for us to be like a child and just believe Him.

He is able, He is God!

O Death where is your sting…

There has been much talk about death and dying in the news and reports as of late.no fear of death

From the Ebola that is wiping out so many in Africa and has now made landfall in the USA.

To the lady in Oregon who has chosen to end her own life Nov.1st.

Death is everywhere, it is all around us.

And just recently due to a suicide bomber in Yemen, 70 people died.

Every day 21,000 people, the majority children, die of starvation.

And in the newest Syrian war, it is reported that 140,000 have been killed, 7,000 of that number children.

Death is real and at some point we all will experience the process of death. The hurt of loosing those we love.

But I am here to tell you that this “death” is not the end.

We should not fear death, we should fear what comes next.

See this life is but a vapor. We are here one day and gone the next.

This short life will be over in the blink of an eye.

It is eternity that will last forever.

For those of us who know the Lord, who are covered by the blood of Christ.

Those of us who have been ransomed, redeemed and made righteous.

The death we will experience on this earth leads only to the great joy of being with our Lord forever.

Yet, for those who know not the Lord, there should be a great fear of death.

And not just of dying in this life, but of the eternity they will spend separated from the Lord in Hell.

See Hell is real. And is coming quickly for so many.

Recently I attended a birthday celebration for a neighbor who turned 84.

This was a big deal, for it was a celebration of her longevity and the fact that by this point she had seen 1000 moons.

The next day over coffee with my hubby I told him, that all I could think of when I looked at this lady was that death was getting closer, and she wasn’t ready.

See, this lady is a Hindu, and though she is a wonderful women.

Though she is extremely kind and has done so much for others.

When she dies, all of the good she has done in this life will matter not.

All that will matter is whether or not she has been covered by the blood of the Lamb.

For those dying daily, this is all that matters as well.

Whether from Ebola, hunger, war or at one’s own hand.

This death is not what is to be feared.

The Lord, He alone is to be feared.

Doing good, being nice, doing religious things will not get you to heaven.

For it is only by grace through faith.

It is a gift of God, offered freely to all who will believe.

Are you fearful of death?

You don’t have to be, for death has lost its sting, for those in Christ.

Turn to Him today and allow the Lord to wash away your sins.

Then whether you die from age, war, cancer, or natural causes….. it won’t matter.

For you will be resting in the arms of your Heavenly Father.

 

 

 

To the Perfectionist

pefectionistI have known many a perfectionist in my life. In fact I married one.

One of my closest friends growing up was one, and I can sometimes be one myself.

You know what I mean, those who want everything just right. Always wanting the perfect score on the test.

When Eric and I first married and painted our first room together, I thought for sure it was over.

He wanted it just right, and I just wanted it to be finished. A clash for sure.

But to be honest, I am a perfectionist as well when it comes to cleaning and wanting the kitchen and house to look just so.

We all have our areas of “perfection.”

This morning, I came across a verse that seems to be impossible in my Bible reading.

In fact I gave it to my children as a trivia challenge.

The verse says, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Mathew 5:48

I asked my boys if this was possible and they said no.

But, I told them it is a command. Why then would God tell us to do something that is not possible.

The same is true for the verse that says, “Be holy because I am holy.” I Peter 1:16

Now, to the perfectionist, this causes a rub.

But not just to the perfectionist, to all of us.

How can we be perfect and holy as God is perfect and holy?

And if it isn’t possible, why are we commanded to do so.

It’s like telling your kid to go paint a masterpiece, but failing to give them any paint, colors or canvas.

For we are told to do that which we can not do.

But GRACE…..

See God knew we could never be perfect, He knew we could never be holy.

So He sent Jesus.

For through Him and through His blood, we are made righteous.

In Christ, we are holy.

In Christ, we are perfect.

In Christ we lack nothing!!!!

Apart from Jesus, this command is not possible, but because of Jesus, it is entirely possible.

So to the perfectionist, the one who always wants everything to be “just so.”

Take heart, for in Christ you are perfect!

Oh the Gospel is so much more than salvation.

The Gospel of Jesus, is how we live the day-to-day Christian life.

By grace through faith.

Believing that we are who God says we are.

Does this mean we will actually be perfect, without ever sinning?

Absolutely not. We will fail, and we should definitely strive to live a life pleasing to God.

But at the end of the day, when God looks at us.

He see’s not all our faults.

And when we stand before Him on that day.

He will see us robed in righteousness, covered by the blood.

Pure, perfect, spotless and holy!!!

 

 

 

 

Obedient, disgraced and blessed

God knowsAfter a long journey through the Old Testament, finally I have made it to the New Testament. Now don’t get me wrong, there is some real good stuff in the Old Testament and I have grown a lot as I have read it. But, it is with great joy that my eyes are now dwelling on the days of our Savior and His grand entry into the world.

In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were upright in the sight of God observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly. BUT they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren and they were both well along in years.” Luke 1:5-7

Every time I come to this passage God speaks to my heart. For so often I fall into the trap that somehow my doing good and living a good life will lead to God’s blessings and joys. It’s hard not to fall into this trap when so many churches preach the health, wealth and prosperity gospel. Which frankly is no gospel at all. For the true Gospel is one of grace!

Nevertheless, I fall into this trap. Thinking that somehow if I live right, do good, serve others and God. Then life should and will be good. Then, when the storms come and hard times fall upon me, I wonder where is God and want to have a pity party about how life isn’t fair. (Does this sound familiar to you as well or is it  just me 🙂 )

Thus, the reason this passage always speaks to my heart.

Zechariah and Elizabeth were not just some ordinary people. Zechariah was a priest, who yearly went to the temple to make offering to the Lord for the sins of the people. He was a religious, good, devout man of God. In fact according to the verse, they were both upright in the sight of God, observing ALL of the Lord’s commandments. They were in fact blameless.

And I think to myself, yea, I’m probably not all that righteous.

Yet, despite how good they were, despite that they were blameless and devout in their worship of God…. they had spent years disgraced in the sight of man. For Elizabeth was barren and in that day, this was a very big deal. It was a shame. People would point and think she must not be right with God or she would surely have children. Year after year she had lived with this shame. And year after year, Zechariah had prayed.

Thus doing good and being a good Christian does not mean life will be rosy. In fact, it will often mean difficulties and struggles.

Some days I struggle with this. I think God, we have left everything to come around the world to serve you. Why then does everything have to be so hard? And God says, so what, you are just being obedient to me, which is your duty and privilege. Yea, I get put in my place quick :-).

But Zechariah and Elizabeth’s story doesn’t end there. For we know that the angel of the Lord comes to Zechariah when he is in the temple praying. (Another lesson, no matter how long you pray, never give up). And the angel says, “Do not be afraid Zechariah, your prayer has been heard. (Luke 1:13).”

For years, they have endured shame, for years they have prayed and not given up. And finally, God has heard and answered. How often do we feel God isn’t hearing our prayers. We pray and pray and it seems we get no where. When in fact, lots of times the answer isn’t no like we assume, it is wait.

I can’t tell you the number of times I have prayed for something and then given up. And I wonder what if I had just continued to pray. Not that my prayer changes the mind of God, but God certainly uses my prayers to change me.

We can learn a lot from the saints of old. For they were consistent in their prayer. I don’t know about you, but this was a challenge for me. To do as Jesus said and “pray and not give up.”

The Bible tells us that after Zechariah completed his time of service, he returned home to his wife and she became pregnant. And she said, “The Lord has done this for me, In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people (Luke 1:25).”

All of her married life, she has endured disgrace and shame. She knew she had lived a life pleasing to God, but everyone else was quick to whisper and pity her. Yet, she had remained faithful to the Lord. Praying and not giving up. Until the Lord indeed has heard and answered her prayer. Thus she has gone from disgraced to blessed of the Lord. For this would not be just any ordinary child, but the one chosen of God to prepare the way for the Lord. And He had done it in a way where He would receive all the glory. For Elizabeth’s childbearing days were surely a thing of the past, yet God has done the impossible!

For some of you, you are in a time of waiting. And believe me I know all about waiting and how hard it can be. Our family waited two years while we lived with our family to be sent out to the mission field. It wasn’t easy or fun. But God was and is faithful and just as He heard our prayers and answered in His perfect time. He will hear and answer your prayers, as you wait upon Him.

For some of you, you are in a place that seems impossible. I understand this as well. For when we had all but given up and were in a place that seemed impossible, it was only then that God opened the door for us to go to the field. Remember no situation is too much for God, He can do what no man can, and impossibilities are only a grand opportunity for God to show His glory.

And for some of you, God has you in a season of blessing. I encourage you to praise Him for this, but also realize that storms will come. And storms do not always mean you are not right with the Lord (though they certainly can), but sometimes storms will come even in the midst of our service to the Lord. This isn’t a punishment, but is only a time of testing so that we may grow in our faith.

Waiting is hard and living in disgrace, miserable. But don’t give up…. for God is at work and your time of blessing will come.