Being Filled with Christ………..

grain of wheat“Apart from Me.. you can do nothing!” John 15:5

How much do I believe this? How much do you believe this?

Do we know this with our heads or with our hearts?

I think far to often we know this is true in our heads, we have heard it said, we’ve said it ourselves. Yet, in our day-to-day, we somehow lose sight of it. Going about “life” in our own power and our own strength.

When in reality, apart from the Lord, we can’t love our spouse, our children and certainly not our enemy. We can’t go the extra mile, much less turn the other cheek. We can’t endure ridicule, much less take insult and not defend ourselves. We can’t even love the Lord our God, apart from Him.

It is actually pretty sobering.

Today, my husband led a Bible study for the young adults. We are studying the Sermon on the Mt. We never got passed Mathew 5:3. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.”

We spent a whole lot of time discussing what exactly it means to be poor in spirit. Some translations describe it as being meek, some people take it to mean humility.

Yet, I don’t think these are completely accurate.

Jesus begins the beatitudes. He begins his teaching with this one thought…. and most of the rest of the sermon on the Mt is dependant upon this one truth.

Being poor in spirit.

This doesn’t mean being poor in the Holy Spirit,but poor or bankrupt in our own spirit.

Because before we can be filled with the Holy Spirit, we must first be empty of our own spirit.

Before Jesus can fill us and live through us, we have to cease in our self.

Relying not upon us, but upon HIM.

How can we live out God’s commands, how can we love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us. How do we turn the other cheek. Be the salt of the earth, the light of the world?

Apart from Christ, we can not.

Filled with ourselves, we will fail.

It begins with us emptying ourselves, just as Jesus did.

Being filled with His Spirit.

Relying upon and looking to Him.

Then and only then, can Christ dwell and live through us.

“I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24″

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The True Answer to our Problems and Source of our Strength

towzerTwice now in the past week, I have heard messages preached on the importance of being in God’s Word.

Last Sunday my husband Eric preached on “When we miss Jesus in our lives.” Talking in-depth about how easy it is to lose sight of the Lord in our daily lives. We say we need God, we know we need the Lord, but far too often we leave Him out. Going about our days in our own strength, our own power. Wondering why we are often left feeling defeated, tired and worn.

Then today, a visiting professor from the Philippines preached on why we need to daily be studying God’s Word. He shared that when we stop and spend time with the Lord, we will be enriched and amazed by His wisdom, the loftiness of His ways, the profound counsel of the Lord, and the splendor of His grace.

Last week I was convicted about how often I fail to sit at Jesus feet, acting much more like Martha.. doing, doing and doing. Today, I was convinced that the true answer for many of my prayer request, the true source of my strength is found in time spent with Jesus.

Many times, I find myself praying God would help me to be a better wife, a better mom. That He would help me to desire Him and the things of Him more. That I would hunger and thirst after Him.

As I bowed before the Lord, it was as if the light bulb went on.

How do I become a better wife and mother, by becoming more like Christ.

How do I desire the Lord and the things above, thirsting and hungering after Him? By becoming more like Jesus.

And how do I become more like Jesus? By spending time in God’s Word.

So simple, yet so profound.

Mary desired the things of God, because she spent time at Jesus feet.

Martha was distracted, busy, frustrated because he focus was upon other things.

So often I hear people say, “I just don’t have time to have my quiet time.” Many times I hear this from people in the ministry. Many times, I find myself saying the same thing.

Yet, how is this possible. For how can we minister, how can we serve others, love Jesus, or please the Father unless we have first spent time in His presence.

The truth is, we don’t have time not to spend with the Lord.

My husband tells a story about how when he was in seminary, he was scheduled to preach at the local prison. However, the next day he had a huge exam where he had to know lots of Scripture verses word for word in the King James Version. He had not studied for this test, and was not prepared. He wanted to call the prison and tell them he couldn’t come. But the Lord softly spoke to His heart and told him that if he honored the Lord and put Him first, that the Lord would honor him. So off he went to the prison. Around ten pm he arrived back home, studied for a while and then fell asleep. The next morning, before the test, he prayed and asked the Lord to help him. And the Lord did just that. For when he got his test back, not only had he done well, he had made a 100. He says that God taught him a valuable lesson that night, that he has never forgotten. “When we honor God, God honor us.”

I’m convinced that if we put the Lord first, if we spend time sitting at His feet. He will help us with all the other things we have to do that day.

The Lord is showing me that the answer to so many of my prayers can be found as I just dig into His Word.

I’m learning that in order to serve others, I first have to be draw my strength from the Lord.

Many times, we lack joy, we lack satisfaction or motivation with life. When in fact the Bible tells us that, “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” Our true satisfaction is found only in Christ. And as we feast upon the Lord, drawing closer and closer to Him, we are motivated and compelled to serve Him.

It is easy to gripe, easy to complain. Easy to see the problems, but when we get close to the Lord, we gain a new perspective. We see things through His eyes, and we are overwhelmed by His grace. When we spend time with Jesus, He speaks to us through His Word, guiding our feet.

The true answer to our problems, the true source of our strength is Jesus. And the more time we spend with Him, the more we will become like Him. The more like Christ we become, the less our eyes will be upon ourselves and the more they will be placed upon Him.

Man may look at the outward appearance, and may be able to fool many people by his good works. But the Lord, He looks at the heart. He is never fooled by our works, for He knows our hearts.

Let us then draw near to the throne of Grace. Let us seek to daily put the Lord first. Setting aside time to sit at the Lord’s feet.

For He alone is Worthy, nothing else.

God’s Bigger Plans

 

trusting godOn Wednesday I got to teach a group of ladies here in Nepal about the sovereignty of God. As I prepared to teach and taught, I was reminded of the greatness of our God. For God is sovereign over creation, plants, animals, the nations, kings and authorities. He is sovereign over every detail of our lives. And though we are told to plan,though we make choices each day. Ultimately it is God’s will that takes place.

I told this group of ladies that if they had told me when I was a teen that I would one day be sitting in a room with them, in Nepal teaching them about God’s sovereignty I would have said they were crazy. Because this was not my plan.

My plan as a young naïve teen was to be a big shot attorney, wearing stiletto hills, carrying a briefcase, living in NYC. My plan was to remain single and it certainly did not include children.

Yet, this was far from the plans God had envisioned for my life.

Now here I sit, on the other side of the world, living in Kathmandu, Nepal. Married for 14 years with 3 children.

Yet, He didn’t pluck me from college and deliver me here. It has been a journey. A journey of serving Him in Arkansas, Tennessee, Korea, and finally here in Nepal.

As I sat singing hymns in Nepali today, as I sat and listened to the prayer request of the ladies, and watched them bow with their faces to the ground to pray. I was overwhelmed.

See, my plans were far from sufficient.

My plans served only me.

But God’s plans are amazing, and they are all about service to Him.

Sometimes, the reality of what God has called me to do and the privilege it is to be here take my breath away.

Oh, it is certainly not always easy, and some days home sounds really good.

Yet, overall, I couldn’t have planned or dreamed that this is how God would ordain my days.

To think that He has saved me, called me and sent me out for His glory.  Humbled!

To look around and see so many who don’t know Him. Broken!

To get to be a part of what He is doing around the world. Amazing!

My plans fell so short of the greater plans God had, and I am so glad, so thankful that His plans and not mine were the ones to be fulfilled.

I don’t know where you are right now? But God does.

I don’t know what plans He has for your life? But I guarantee that if you wait upon Him and seek His plans, you will be amazed.

I don’t know what your life hold, but I do know who hold your life in His hands.

His plans, His ways, they are perfect.

And God is in control. He is sovereign over all, and His plans for you and for me… they will be fulfilled.

What a privilege, what a joy to get to be apart of this great adventure.

True Freedom

fourth of julyOn a day when America celebrates her independence, I’m sure the feelings are a bit mixed.

Seeing as many of America’s so-called freedoms have been removed, and new laws enforced.

It would be easy to become bitter and angry.

But I encourage you as believers not to focus with all that is wrong (that’s easy), but instead to be thankful for the true freedom you have in Christ.

In Christ, you are forgiven.

In Him, your sins have been washed away.

Because of the blood, you are righteous and have every spiritual blessing.

This my friend, is more than enough reason to rejoice.

Yet if you are still in need, give thanks that presently you do have the freedom of religion. You can worship freely and have a Bible of your own.

In many countries around the world this is not true.

Even where we live now, many are persecuted for following Jesus.

In other countries, you can be killed for the freedom you have.

And though the world may seem to be falling apart, and though it will probably get worse, not better.

We can rejoice, because God is still God and He is on His throne.

We can give thanks because on Calvary, Jesus said, “It is finished.”

And though there is nothing good in us, there is everything good found in Christ.

For everything that we are not, He is!

Let us then celebrate this Fourth of July for the true freedom we have, in Christ.

Because We aren’t Home Yet

not home yetIt seems when you turn on the news these days, it is just bad.

You see images of the fightings in Syria, Africa and the Middle East. You hear reports of ISIS, and persecution. But it isn’t all things happening far away. The news, shows events taking place in our own backyards. From church shootings, to churches being burned, to the supreme courts decision to “redefine” marriage.

It all looks and seems horrible, and it is.

And to be honest if we focus on all that is wrong, we will quickly become depressed. We will quickly lose hope.

For so long the persecution of believers has been what happened on the other side of the world, yet I believe now we will begin to see this taking place even in the US as believers seek to stand up for what they believe.

But should we be surprised by these events?

To be honest, no.

Jesus said before He returns, things will get bad. There will be war and rumors of war. There will be earthquakes and natural disasters. Children will turn on parents, and parents on children. It will get bad.

Jesus also told us not to be surprised when times of tribulation come, instead we should expect it.

Paul would tell us to embrace it, to in fact rejoice in it.

Believers in China would tell us that persecution is a good thing because it shows who is the real deal and who is not. It grows the faith of the followers of Christ.

No, we should not be surprised by the latest news events. Should these things grieve our hearts, yes. Should we fall on our knees to pray for God’s mercy and grace, absolutely.

But we should not lose heart.

Because I have good news.

God still wins in the end.

And even better, we are not home yet!

One day, this earth will all pass away, along with all the sin, death, and corruption.

One day we will be home.

But until then, we must endure. We must press on in Jesus name, knowing that His grace and His strength are prefect.

Until then, we must rest in the fact that though they can kill the body, they can not kill the soul (Mathew 10:28).

Friend, we are not home yet…

Let us then take each day the Lord entrust to us, and live it fully, and completely for His glory, honor and praise.

Yes, we may face persecution, we may be laughed at and ridiculed by our friends… but in light of eternity, it is a small price to pay.

Because this is not our home, but one day soon, we will be home with the Lord.