Allowing God to Choose

jim elliotOur family is reading through I Samuel in our morning devotions (well most mornings anyway ūüėČ ) and today we read of how the Israelites chose to have Saul as their king. “And now behold the king whom you have chosen, for whom you have asked: behold, the Lord has set a king over you (I Sam. 12:13).”

In this passage Samuel has reminded them of all God has done for them. How He has been with them and delivered them from countless enemies. Yet, they have rejected Him, and want instead a king, so that they can be like all the other nations.

Samuel is quick to let them know that God has heard their prayer and answered, though he knows this was not what was best.

This morning I made pancakes, and when the plate was passed to my daughter she was quick to take the one that was the biggest. My oldest son, said, “of course you took the best one.” I smiled and told him, he would most likely have done the same.

We all have a tendency to be like Lot, who looked at his options and chose for himself which was most appealing to his eyes. Whereas Abraham allowed God to choose for Him, and in the end received that which was best.

The truth is, if left to ourselves, we will choose according to our hearts desire. And if we desire something enough and ask the Lord for such request, He just might answer it. Though in the long run, what we sought was not the best.

Growing up, I can remember singing at the ¬†top of my lungs the old Garth Brooks song, “Unanswered prayers.” Today I was reminded of this song. For though the author had prayed and asked God for many things, God had said no, because He had something better.

The other night my husband and I watched a Hallmark movie entitled “Loving Leah.” In this movie, the daughter is talking with her mom about her desire to go to college (though she is Jewish and this wasn’t looked favorably upon). Her mother made the statement, “Be careful, it may be that God will just give you what you want.” This stuck with me. For you see, she wasn’t meaning this in a good way. She was letting her daughter know that though she didn’t see this as God’s will, that the Lord just might answer her prayer and give her something which wasn’t His best.

I told the kids this morning, that it is always best to allow God to choose for us. It is always best to leave the answers up to Him. Sure, we can pray and ¬†ask for that which our hearts desire, but we must allow God to decide. And that sometimes when God says no, it isn’t because He is being mean or holding out on us. It is just that He has something better for us, if we will just wait on Him and trust Him.

Our natural, fleshly tendency leads us to want to choose for ourselves where we will go, what we will do, whom we will marry, what job we will have, where we will live…..

Yet, it is better. No, it is best to allow the Lord to choose. Best to bring our request unto Him, but allow Him to do the leading.

Though we may not always understand His decisions, and at times, His choice may cause us pain or discomfort. He unlike us see’s the full picture and truly does know what is best for us.

For me, I would never have chosen to move my family to Nepal. I would have never have chosen to be here when the earthquakes occurred. I would not have chosen any of this. Yet, I rest in the fact that God has chosen this place and this time for us. Though I don’t always like His choice, and there are days it is hard.¬†I know that His choice is best for us, and I rest in Him.

So then, let us, set our gaze upon Him, take our hands off the reigns and allow Him to truly lead us.

Serving Jesus in the hard places…

ramadan

Praying for, sending missionaries to, and caring about Muslims has become a controversial topic among even Christians today. I can remember hearing Mack Stiles account of moving his family to Dubai soon after the dreadful 9/11 attacks. They knew God was calling them to go, and had been preparing to leave when the twin towers were struck. The day after 9/11, they hammered the For Sale sign in their yard, and began to deal with numerous people telling them they should not go.

The truth is to go and serve the Lord among an Islamic nation is a fearful thing. The persecution is intense, and many times deadly. Going to these countries which are in the 10/40 window. Countries where the most unreached live, is a hard thing.

Yet, what strikes my heart, and makes me wince is that some “Christians” have such a hatred for the Muslim,and do not think they are worth the bother.

God has given me a heart for the Muslim people. A people who have been blinded by the god of this world to believe such outrageous lies about what it means to serve god. A people so dedicated to their faith that they are willing to die for it. A people who need nothing more than the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Why do those followers of the Islamic terrorist group ISIS, kill? Why do Muslims fasten bomb around themselves killing innocent people? Why is their so much persecution among the Islamic countries toward Christians?

BECAUSE THEY ARE LOST!

Why do Hindus go to temples daily, ringing bells, bringing offerings, and offering sacrifices to their gods?

BECAUSE THEY DO NOT KNOW THE LOVE OF JESUS.

Why to non believers/atheist live as they please.

BECAUSE THEY LIVE ACCORDING TO THE FLESH AND THE GOD OF THIS WORLD.

Friend, why do we expect the lost to live in ways that are pleasing? Why are we surprised when the lost do such evils?

We should not be surprised, we should instead be broken over their state, and commit to pray for them, and tell them of God’s saving grace.

June 18-July 17 marks the 30 day annual time of praying and fasting among the Muslim world, called Ramadan.

During Ramadan, observant Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset for the entire month. A single sip of water or a puff of a cigarette is considered enough to invalidate the fast. The fast is intended to bring the faithful closer to God and to remind them of the suffering of those less fortunate.

Maybe God is calling you to go and serve Him among an Islamic state. Maybe He is asking you to reach out to the Muslim community right where you live?

But what I do know, God is calling each of us to pray for these, and especially during this month of Ramadan.

You can download a prayer guide here and ways in which God can use you to reach out to the Muslims around you http://stories.imb.org/eurasia/interactives/view/ramadan-an-opportunity

May we commit to pray for, send to and go to people such as these who do not know the love of God. May God breaks our hearts over these who have never heard of Jesus, and who are believing lies.

Salvation through Christ is for all, Jesus died to save all who believe. Those who believe in the US, Africa, Nepal, China, Korea, Japan, Brazil, Suriname, Iran, Iraq, Syria and the list goes on.

Do they deserve to hear the good news of Christ? No, but neither did we. Yet, God in His amazing grace revealed Himself to us. Let us then show the same grace by going and praying for those who have not yet heard.

The lost are simply that, lost.

They need the only one who can change their lives, JESUS.

 

Our Unchanging God

unchanging godThis morning we woke up to thunder, and it wasn’t long before the rains began to pour down.

It seems we are moving into the rainy season here in Nepal.

When we first arrived, it was pleasant, not too hot, nor too cold during the fall months. Then winter came and though it wasn’t too cold outside, the temperature on the inside was frigid. Spring arrived with all its splendor as the flowers began to bloom and the temperatures began to rise.

And now, the rains, which they say will last off and on until the end of August.

One change after another.

The same is true in life. I can remember being my kids age, dancing through life without a care in the world. Then graduating high school and moving off to college on my own. It wasn’t long until school was done, and I was married, adding children a few years later.

More change.

The truth is change is certain. It will happen. Just as season change, the seasons of our lives change as well.

Just as people change, grow and mature, life is full of constant change.

But there is one constant, that never changes. One constant that is always the same.

God!

For our God is unchanging.

He is unchanging in His purpose. Unchanging in His character, and unchanging in His promises!

What a blessings, to rest in His unchanging presence!

The Bible tells us in Isaiah 46:9-10 this about God’s unchanging purpose.

“For I am God, and there is no other; I am God and there is no one like Me,¬†Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done,¬†Saying, “My purpose will be established and I will accomplish all My good pleasure!”

God’s plan, His purpose in redemption. His purpose in sending Jesus to die for our sins, and be raised to life has always been. Since the foundation of the world. God had a purpose, to declare Himself as the one true Holy God. One purpose to exalt Himself among all people. One purpose to provide the way for sinful man to have fellowship with Him. One purpose to defeat sin and death and bring forth a new Heaven and a new earth. These have been the purposes of God since before there was time, and His purposes will not change. They will be accomplished according to His great power!

The Lord God is also unchanging in His character, for the Bible says in Malachi 3:6

“For I, the Lord, do not change.”

God is love, God is Holy, God is righteous, just, gracious and merciful. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, eternal. God is kind, He is patient, He is forgiving. Our God is a jealous God who will not share His glory with another. He is present everywhere at all times,and not one thing is too difficult for Him. He is the same yesterday, today and forever, His character never changes.

Finally, God is unchanging in His promises. James 1: 17 says,

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”

Because He purposes are unchanging, and because God can not change in His character, every promise found in His Word He will be faithful to keep. What God says, He will do. Just as the Lord was faithful to bring the Israelites into the promised land, just as He was faithful to send His one and only son to die and be raised to life, just as every prophecy of old has been accomplished. God’s promise to send Jesus a second time to collect all who belong to Him, God’s promise to destroy sin and death, and God’s promise to establish a new Heaven and a new earth, will come to pass.

You might wonder why this matters? And I am here to tell you it matters greatly. Because if God  is changing then nothing is certain. Just as with life, there is nothing certain, we would not even be able to rely or rest in our God, if He was changing.

But He never changes, and because of that, we can rest in Him and in the assurance of His faithfulness.

All things will change, even heaven and earth will pass away…. but, God will never change.

Growing up in youth group, we use to sing a song entitled, “God’s love never changes,” it says,

God’s love never changes ,¬†His love never fails. When the world is shaken¬†

We can put our faith in knowing that His love will never change.

Dear friend we serve a unchanging God, who is always faithful. What assurance, what peace, is found in this simple truth. No matter what may occur on this earth, no matter how bad things get, our God is there beside us, unchanging in His purpose, His character and His promise.

Find rest in Him today!