The Rocks Will Cry Out… If We Don’t….

rocksI tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out.” Luke 19:40

It was the week before the darkest day in history. The day Jesus would take upon Himself the sins of the world. The day when the wrath of God would be poured out upon Him. Yet, on this day the picture is quite different.

We find Jesus and his disciples heading to Jerusalem and when they arrived at Bethany, Jesus sends his disciples ahead of Him into the village to find a colt. And not just any old colt, but a colt which had never been ridden, that will be tied up. He tells them if anyone ask why they are untying the colt, just to say, “The Lord has need of it.” So the disciples go and they find a colt just like Jesus said they would and while they untie it, someone ask what they are doing and they give them the exact reply Jesus had said. Apparently this was enough, for off they go with the colt for Jesus.

Each time I read this I am amazed at the disciples obedience to just do what Jesus said. What he asked didn’t necessarily make sense, but they obeyed and everything worked out just as Jesus said it would. I know for a fact sometimes what Jesus ask of us doesn’t make sense but I’m also a firm believer that when we just trust and obey, He blesses our socks off.

As Jesus rides the colt into Jerusalem, the people in the crowd begin throwing down their coats and waving palm branches shouting,Hosanna, blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.” The same people who one week cry out His praises, a week later will shout crucify!

These were worshiping Jesus thinking He was their earthly King, that He would deliver them. They worshiped Him more for what He could do for them, than they worshiped Him for who He is. But before we cast stones, aren’t we too guilty of this. Worshiping and serving Jesus at times more for what He can do for us, than worshiping Him just because He is worthy.

Yet, as they shout His praises, the Pharisees who are jealous of the attention Jesus is receiving tell Jesus to rebuke his disciples. Jesus response is amazing, for He lets them know that if the crowds are quiet, even the rocks will cry out His praises. He is declaring Himself King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

I heard tell of a guy one time who was arrested for telling others about Jesus. His response was quite similar. As the guards led him into the room, he brings in a large rock and places it upon the table. The officers are all quite confused and wonder why he has brought a rock. He quickly explains to them, that if they silence Him and keep him from telling others of Jesus, that the rock will cry out. The men in the room all thought he was crazy, and they let him go. Amazing!

Jesus is worthy of our praise. We are told countless times throughout God’s Word to praise Him. To declare His praises and His glory among the nations. The government can try to silence us, the schools can seek to take out prayer, our families and friends can ridicule us. Yet, regardless of what anyone else says or does, He is worthy of our praise. And as the Lord is teaching me, He is worthy of my praise and thanksgiving regardless of my circumstance or how I feel as well.

He is worthy and if we don’t declare His praise and give Him the praise He deserves, I do believe the rocks will cry out and the trees will clap their hands in praise.

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Christian Karma?!?

god's loveSometimes my thoughts are misguided. Sometimes, I begin to believe the lie that somehow God owes me something. I believe the lie that all the blessings in my life are due to some good I’ve done.

Living in Central Asia where Karma is the way of life… I’ve realized that though we as Christians say we don’t believe in Karma, this is far from how we live.

In our own ways, we believe that if we do good, if we are a kind person, if we read and study our Bibles, then God will bless us. On the other hand, we believe that if we fail God and sin, if we don’t spend time with God. Then He is somehow angry with us, and will withhold all that is good.

Thus Christian Karma…

When the amazing reality is, That on my best day and on my worst day, God’s love for me does not change!!!

As I was reading in Deuteronomy yesterday, I came across this verse, He is your praise and He is your God, who has done these great and awesome things for you which your eyes have seen. (Deut. 10:21)

Over and over in this passage, Moses is stressing to the Israelites as they are getting ready to enter the promised land, that God has chosen them, not because they are anyone special, but because He is God. He tells them that all that God has done in bringing them through the wilderness, defeating their enemies… all of this is not due to them, it is for His name, His glory.

The same is true for us Christian… all the good in our lives is not based on us. It is based on the goodness and greatness of our God. And all the bad, all the problems. These too are not based on us, they are based on the fact that we live in a sinful, fallen world, where bad things happen.

True, God disciplines those He loves. True, God allows trials in our lives to teach us, to train us, to make us more like Christ.

But, to always believe that the problems in our lives are based somehow on our actions, is not so.

Likewise, to always believe that the good in our lives is based on us earning favor with God, is not true.

We serve an amazing, gracious, merciful God, who chooses who He will have favor upon, and whom He will not.

It is called grace.

So what, if how we live does not affect what God does, then why live godly, why live holy?

Because we are commanded to be holy as He is holy.

And when we begin to grasp the awesome truth that our righteousness has nothing to do with us, and everything to do with Jesus… we will want to do nothing more than live lives pleasing to our God.

How then do you live?

Do you practice this Christian Karma, believing you have to live and do certain things to earn God’s blessings?

Or are you resting on the truth that when God looks at you… He see’s the blood of Jesus, who took your place, and set you free from sin and death.

Dear sister, He is your praise and He is your God!!!

All we have, all we are, we owe to Him.

 

 

 

Learning to “Remember”

rememberIt has been almost a year now since the Lord gave us clear directions to come to Nepal. In a year’s time, He has raised up support, helped us set up a non-profit organization, and established us here in this new land. It has been a fast and furious ride, yet amazing to be apart of.

Yet, in the midst of all the hustle and bustle of ministry here, it is easy to forget. Easy to be so busy “doing”, that I fail to “remember.”

As I was reading Deuteronomy this morning, the Lord spoke clearly to my heart.

See, before Joshua led the Israelites into the promised land, Moses had some specific instructions for them. Yet, one repeated theme was this, “When the Lord brings you into the promised land, remember…., remember and teach these things to your children. Remember!

The older I get, the more forgetful I have become. It seems I must have a list to remember anything. If I don’t write it down, you might as well as forget having it accomplished.

The same I suppose is true of all of us… this tendency to forget.

When trials and problems rise, do we remember that we serve the same God who has brought us through the stormy water before? Do we remember that He is always faithful to care for us, or do we fret and worry thinking that maybe this time, our problem is too big for God?

When we get busy doing things for God, do we remember “who” we are serving?

Do we remember the Lord’s past faithfulness to us, and do we teach it to our children? Do they know the stories of how God has worked amazingly in our lives?

The Israelites were to teach these things to their children, to write them on the walls, to hang them about their necks… they were to teach them at all times of all days, no matter what.

I’m convinced that God knows our wayward hearts, He knows our forgetfulness, thus we are instructed to remember.

To be honest, since the Lord has established us here. We have been busy doing the ministry He appointed us to. And if I’m not careful, it is easy to forget all He has done to get us here.

My days are packed full of service,but if I don’t prioritize, I fail to spend time with the One whom I came to serve. If I don’t make time, I fail to teach these things to my children , reminding them of our great, big God.

I could be wrong, but I believe that a lot of ministers and servants of the Lord grow weary in their call because they fail to remember the One they serve. They fail to remember why they serve. They fail to teach these things to their children, and  fail to remember these things themselves.

It is a privilege indeed to be called and used of the Lord. A privilege I don’t take lightly. Yet, I must, we all must never forget who we serve, and why we do what we do.

We must never forget that it truly is all about Jesus!

Then when problems come (and they will), we will be quick to remember the Lord’s faithfulness.

Then when life get’s busy (and it will), we will make sure we have spent time with the One we serve.

And as we watch our children grow, we will be faithful to remind them of the Lord and His faithfulness, so that as they grow older, they too will remember all that the Lord has done.

How about you? Do you have a tendency to forget the faithfulness of our Lord? Or have you disciplined yourself to be faithful to remember all He has done.

I will be the first to say this doesn’t just happen. We must work at it. Daily, we must pray and thank God for all He has done. Daily, we must set aside time to teach these things to our children. Daily, when problems arise, we must remind ourselves who we serve.

But, as we do, the Lord whom we seek to remember, will indeed be found!

The tendency to grumble and complain….

praiseI once listened to a sermon by David Platt. He began by reading Psalm 150, and concluded this reading by saying, “Praise the Lord.” Humorously he asked the question, “what if that last line said, let everything that praises the Lord have breath, how many of us would be living? 🙂

Yet today, I woke up feeling much like the Israelites must have felt as they wandered in the wilderness. Doing more grumbling and complaining than praising.

The Israelites had left Egypt, and were following the leading of Moses, as he led them to the promised land.

Yet, problems quickly rose up, the biggest being their need for water.

And they were quick to grumble, and to complain about this need, failing to trust the same God who had delivered them from the Egyptians.

Our water issues started a couple of days ago. The night before,while washing dishes, I realized we were out of water, and told my husband. So he pumped water for almost an hour (the pump takes the water from our well, to the top of the house to the storage containers). It seemed strange that we were out of water, since we had just pumped water a few days before. None the less, we did what we needed to do, finished the dishes, and went to bed. Somewhere during the night, I woke up to use the toilet and when I did, I was shocked to find that there was no water. I went throughout the house checking the sinks, which just sputtered.

So I did the only thing I knew to do, I woke up my hubby at 5 am. We wondered if maybe there was a toilet leaking, so we turned off all but one toilet, and pumped water once more. (By this point, the water in the well is getting really low).  After getting the kids up, we went about our morning and got everyone off to school.

After getting home in the afternoon, we checked the water, and were once again shocked and frustrated by the fact that the water was gone.

By this point, I was scratching my head in wonder and had begun complaining. How were we going to wash clothes, take showers, wash dishes etc.. without water.

Having been up since around 4:30, I was exhausted and went to bed. Eric contacted the owner and was told a plumber would be here the next day.

I woke up today feeling sorry for myself. Thursday is my day to stay home. It is the day I wash clothes, clean the house, and try to get all the things done I have little time to do during the rest of the week. Now I was wondering how would I do all that needed to be done.

Thankfully, my loving husband had a better outlook. As he prayed over breakfast, the Lord struck my heart. Showing me I was acting just like the Israelites. Forgetting Whom I serve, my eyes had drifted to my problems and self-pity. As Eric prayed, he thanked God for being the joy of our strength. He thanked God that He was the God who sees, and that though we had problems, we were blessed.

I was humbled by my attitude, and likewise repented before the Lord.

This hasn’t changed my water problems. I still don’t know how I will get the housework that needs to be accomplished done today. Yet, I can thank God, and sing praises to Him.

Because though I do not have water, I have Living Water. Water that fills my every need. Water that satisfies, that cleanses me of my sin, and gives me hope for tomorrow.

Are you like me? Do you have grumbling tendencies when things go wrong? Or do you see problems through God’s eyes. Allowing each trial to be a teaching moment between you and the Lord.

It seems each day I realize just how far I have to go. I realize each day that though my heart longs to be right with the Lord, my flesh is still real. Fighting against the Spirit.

I challenge you as the Lord has challenged me. To see things from His perspective. To look at your daily struggles as teachable moments between the Lord and yourself.

God is showing me that we can learn a lot, and grow to be more like Christ, if we’d only look up! Choosing to praise Him, rather than complain.

 

Tested Faith

imagesThis past week my faith was tested on a whole new level, when my son woke up Thursday morning with over 104 degrees of fever,and a headache. Being in a foreign land, we were at loss with what to do. Thankfully, though very early, our pastor and friend agreed to meet us, and help get our son to the hospital. Since our other children were still asleep, I remained at home, doing the only thing I could do, praying.

I assumed they would go, and come back. So I took the other children to school, and came home ready to play nurse. Yet, as the hours continued to pass, test upon test were being done on our son, to find the reason for his fever. I was amazed at the number of test being done. In one day, they did a chest x-ray, an ultrasound, blood work, urine and stool samples, and even an EKG (due to his erratic heart beat). With each test, my husband sent me a text to let me know what was happening. And with each text, all I could do is pray.

I felt the Lord asking me to release Landon to him. I resisted, I wanted to tell God what to do. To tell Him, to heal him. Yet, God’s still small voice, kept saying, let him go, trust me with Him.

The day before I had read the account of Abraham and Issac, and throughout the day, the Lord kept reminding me of this story. Making it clear to me that I had to trust God to do what was best. I had to trust the Lord to provide the way. I had to be willing to release my son into the capable, loving hands of God.

Finally, the call came. They were on their way home, and though Landon was very sick with a bacterial infection, that was causing him great pain, he would be okay. Once more, I fell to my knees, this time thanking God for hearing and answering my prayers.

Today, I can look back,and smile. Because though God didn’t have to, He heard and answered my prayers. He gave the doctors wisdom, and helped them know what was wrong, and what to do.

Yet, I was also taught a valuable lesson. Though yes, God can be trusted, and though yes, we are to pray. What God desires is for us to submit to His ways. Just as with Abraham, he had to place Issac on the altar. I had to do the same with Landon. Allowing God to be in control, allowing God to work as only He can, allowing God to bring healing. There was nothing more I could do.

My husband will tell you, I like to be in control. Thursday, I was not. I couldn’t control anything. I could do nothing but pray, nothing but allow God to work.

Today my hubby preached on James 1. How we are to rejoice in trials, and how God uses trials to test our faith. He asked the congregation, what was Abraham’s first test. His first test was a drought, which led him to Egypt, which led him to lie about his wife. First test…failed. Yet, what was his last test? To sacrifice his son. And, he passed with flying colors. Eric said, he would never have passed the final test without first having gone through the other test. And he’s right.

The same is true of us. God uses trials of all shapes and sizes. He test us for our good, He test us to grow our faith and to prepare us for tomorrow.

This week, I was tested on a different level, and I watched as God intervened and fought on my behalf. I watched as He gave wisdom to the doctors, and heard our prayers.

My trials and yours are not the same. Maybe you have no trials presently.Maybe your trials are far greater than my own. Either way, we serve the One True God. We serve the God who cares, the God who sees, the God who hears,the God who is in complete control.

As my husband concluded in his sermon, may we allow God to use our trials to make us more like Jesus. May we endure through our trials, and even rejoice in them. Knowing that God is up to something far greater than we can understand.

Though weeping may last for the night, joy comes in the morning. Ps. 30:5

 

 

Trusting God in the day to day stuff…

trusting god1I am always amazed at how so often we as Christians trust God to save us (which is huge). We trust that the Bible is true and depend upon it.

Yet, so often we fail to trust Him in the day-to-day.

I know this to be true, because it is true of me as well.

Recently I was reading the account of Abram and how God came to him and said, “Go, leave your family, your possessions, your home ,and follow me to the land I will show you.”

Abram had no clue where he was going, and yet the Bible says, he and his family set out, leaving everything.

This was HUGE!

Yet, if you keep reading the Genesis account, you find that as they journeyed into Egypt, fear over took Abrams senses. Suddenly, his trust in God to care for him has vanished, and we find Abram scheming. Telling Sarai to tell everyone she is his sister, not his wife.

No more is Abram fearing and trusting God, he is fearing man and trusting himself.

Now, before we are too hard on Abram, I would vouch to say that this would often describe us in our Christian journeys as well.

We trust God to save our souls, but when a child is sick, we worry.

When finances are lacking, we stress.

When difficulties come, we wonder where is God.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Letting Go. My oldest son went on a three-day class trip.

And I found myself anxious, worried, and lacking trust at times that God could and would care for him.

How often in our lives, do we fall into the Abram trap. Trusting God for the big stuff, but failing to trust for the small things?

Leaving America and coming to the mission field, though hard, was somewhat easy. I just believed God had called us to go and that He would provide. And He did.

But since being here, I often find myself struggling to believe God in the little things.

And maybe to be honest, it isn’t that I lack trust, it is just that I believe I can handle the small things myself. So I work and strive and seek to figure my own way out of problems.

While all along, God is waiting for me to just turn to Him.

As with Abram, he assumed he could handle the situation, so he came up with his own plan concerning his wife.

Yet, God was there all along, watching and waiting.

And at just the right time, He intervened.

Friend, God can be trusted for the big things, but also for the little.

Just as He longs for us to depend on Him for our salvation. He desires that we depend on Him to take care of our kids, to meet our financial needs, to get us through the difficult days.

I’m learning that what the Lord desires, is that I take everything big and small to Him in prayer.

I’m learning that God cares for the smallest details just as He cares for the big.

Let us then seek to trust God with all the details of our lives.

To trust Him with our children, our finances, our day-to-day commutes to work etc.

He is worthy of our trust, because though we are not always faithful.

God is faithful, because He can not deny Himself!!!!!