Be Who God Called You to Be….

be who god wants you to beWhat are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? And are you using this gift to further God’s kingdom?

I’ve been re-reading a book by Jeanie Allen entitled “Restless: Because you were made for more.” (A great read!) And in this book, she ask these questions, and others.

The truth is we all like and have a tendency to compare ourselves to others. If we aren’t careful, we begin to believe the lies that others are better and more spiritual than us because of what they “do.” We believe the lies that what God has called us to is not as big or important as what others are called to.

And we begin to sink into ourselves….

But, this is not God’s plan for us. He has created each of us in His own image. In the image of God you were created.

But, just as each of my children have a different personality. Just as each of my children learn in different ways and have different strengths and weaknesses.

Likewise, God has gifted each of His children differently.

Some He has created with the gift of hospitality, or teaching. Others with the gift of discernment or faith. Still others are gifted musically or artistically. And the list goes on and on.

He also gives each of us a heart for certain things. Some have a heart for the orphan, others a heart for the elderly, the disabled, the handicapped, for children, teens or adults.

This is not to say that as believers we can only do that which we are good at doing, or minister only to those we have a heart for.

But, God has gifted you and He has gifted me in specific ways.

Not, so we can sit on our gifts, but so we can use our gifts, our calling to build His kingdom.

So, let me ask you? Ask yourself? What things are you good at? What has God-given you a heart for?

Then let me encourage you to pray and ask Him to show you how He wants to use this gift He has given you for His glory and to grow His kingdom.

I promise if you seek Him on this, He will guide you and show you.

And I am convinced that if everyone in the church today was truly using their gift to build His kingdom, there would be less needs and wants in the church. And the same few who always do everything, would not need to do this anymore.

Don’t compare yourself to others, be who God has called you to be.

Don’t look down on yourself and think others are better, Be who God has called you to be!

It is easy to compare, easy to think we dont’ measure up.

This is a lie, a lie the enemy wants us to believe.

Yet, the truth is.. you are uniquely gifted.

So let us each use our gift, and let us use them not for selfish gain or to call attention to us. Let us use these gifts to grow and expand God’s kingdom here on earth!

Advertisements

Confident Prayers

i need theeThis past weekend, my husband preached from Psalm 23. As he began, he mentioned that in his quiet time that week, when he came upon the Psalm in his daily reading, that he was tempted to skip over it. Having memorized this as a child, he felt he already “knew” what it said. However, instead of skimming through it, he read it and read it again, and the Lord spoke truths to his heart, that he was then able to preach to the people here.

This morning I had a similar moment in my own reading. When I came upon the verses, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have what we asked of Him.” I John 5:14-15

I read these verses and was about to just move quickly passed them, when I sensed the Spirit of the Lord asking me, “do you really believe this?”

I think if we are not careful, we can assume we know the things of God. We can believe the lie, that because we know that story, that verse, that we can move past its truth.

Many people use the above verses and misquote and misuse them. Thinking that somehow God is like a Ginny in a bottle, waiting for our three wishes for the day.

This is a misguided notion. As I looked on this verse this morning, God showed me some truths, that changed how I prayed.

John begins by saying, this is the confidence we have in approaching God. And I asked myself, why do we have confidence? Do I have confidence when I come to God in prayer, or do I just say my prayers, not fully believing God will answer?

We have confidence dear friends not because of ourselves, but because of the blood of Christ. We have confidence that He hears, because he has told us to pray. We have confidence because the Spirit of God that lives within us intercedes on our behalf. We have confidence because the Son of God intercedes with the Father for us. The confidence comes in believing in the One who has the power to answer.

The second truth God spoke to my heart was concerning asking anything according to His will. And I wondered at my prayers, how often are my prayers focused on the things I want, rather than God’s will. God is not a Ginny waiting to give us our wishes. We can have confidence and we can know He hears and that He will answer us, if we are praying according to His good and perfect will.

You may wonder, well what if I don’t know God’s will? How do I pray? This is a great question. Yet, over and over and over again in the Scriptures God teaches us and shows us His will.

It is His will that none perish and that all come to Him in repentance.  So a prayer you can be confident praying, is a prayer for the salvation of your lost loved ones and friends. This doesn’t mean they will come to Christ the moment that you pray, but you can have confidence that God hears such a prayer and that in HIs perfect time and way, He will answer.

It is His will that we grow in our faith and walks with Him. It is His will that our husband and children grow in their walks with Him. So we can come boldly before the Lord and pray that He will grow us and our families in our relationship with Him. That we become more and more like Christ.

As we search God’s Word and know it, we will know God’s will, and when we pray asking according to His will, we can know He hears.

The last truth is, that if we are praying according to His will, and we know He hears, then we can believe that He will answer that prayer.

A lot of times, my prayers don’t come from faith. They come in desperation or in hopes that God will hear and do what I’ve prayed. Yet they lack the confidence, the faith believing that God has heard and He will answer.

God longs for us to come to Him humbly as a child, bringing our request to Him. He longs for us to come to Him in faith, believing that He is able to do all things.

Yet, He desires that we come in confidence and that we pray according to His will.

It seems so often in times of prayer request, the request are mostly centered upon the sick, wanting God to heal so and so. And I’m not saying that it is not important to pray for our loved ones who are sick. But, I am saying that our focus is off.

The prayers that God hears,the prayers God is waiting to answer. Are the prayers that are focused on His kingdom coming and His will being done on earth as it is in Heaven.

The prayers that seek for God to grow His Kingdom, to build His church, to establish His name among the lost, and to change His children into His image.

It is all about Him. Shouldn’t our prayers have the same aim?

I’m convinced that they should. As I finished my quiet time, I came boldly before God not because of who I am or what I’ve done. I came in confidence only because of what Christ has done. And as I interceded for others and brought my request before the throne. I began by saying, “God, I know it is your will that……, so I pray and I ask that you would…..”

And I know that He has heard, and I will now wait in anticipation to see the great things He will do!

We serve an amazing God, may all praise and glory be given unto Him.

Prone to wonder Lord I feel it….

dusty kathmanduLiving in somewhat of a dust bowl, I sometimes wonder why I bother to clean.

I can sweep the house in the morning, but by evening, you can’t seem to tell.

The dust comes in under the doors, through the windows and falls off our clothes and shoes.

So why bother? Why not just let it go?

Well for one, I’d go a little more crazy, and for two, it wouldn’t be healthy for our family.

So rather than quit, I keep on sweeping.

Some times we as believers can ask similar questions.

Wondering why bother to read, pray, and do what is right?

When some days it seems like it does little to no good.

Some days we look around and see the “world” prospering.

While, we as Christians seem to be stuck with a world of problems, difficulties and trials.

I learned early on in my Christian walk that when I run hard after following the Lord, the enemy is quick on my heels. When I’m lethargic or apathetic… he seems to leave me be.

The enemy is all about discouraging us. He wants nothing more than to steal our joy and make us ineffective.

Some days I struggle to get motivated. I can think of numerous things I need to do, yet have little to no motivation to get after them.

This morning my husband preached a message from Proverbs 24:30 and onward which says,

I went past the field of a sluggard,
    past the vineyard of someone who has no sense;
 thorns had come up everywhere,
    the ground was covered with weeds,
    and the stone wall was in ruins.
 I applied my heart to what I observed
    and learned a lesson from what I saw:
 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest—
 and poverty will come on you like a thief
    and scarcity like an armed man.

And he said, it is easy as Christians and minister to start off good, but often along the way, we grow tired and weary and we begin to compromise, and before we know it if we aren’t careful, our vineyard is overgrown with weeds, our walls are in ruins, and when God looks on our life, our ministry He is displeased.

For none of us this is our goal. Yet, all too often this is the case. We lose sight of our prize, Jesus. We grow tired and weary in the race, and instead of running hard after the Lord, we start chasing after earthly pleasures. We sometimes even quit on God.

And the enemy is pleased, and he rejoices.

My husband shared that in the book of Proverbs, over and over again, we are told to search for, go after and seek wisdom and understanding. Like keeping the house clean, living in a dusty country, it is hard work. It doesn’t just happen, and it takes diligence.

Yet, if we are going to run the race well. If we are going to store up treasures in Heaven where neither moth nor rust can destroy. We must set our gaze on Christ. We must saturate our hearts and minds with God’s Word. We must encouraged others and be encouraged. We must diligently seek the Lord.

But here is the awesome truth. When we seek hard after Him, we will find Him. When we saturate our minds and hearts with God’s Word, we will see things as He sees them. We will think as He thinks. When we encourage others and are encouraged, we will have the strength needed to keep on keeping on.

The Christian walk isn’t easy. This is why Jesus said, broad is the way that leads to death and narrow is the way that leads to life.

It would be easy to quit, easy to live like the world. Easy to sleep and slumber, but rest assured, the thorns and thistles will quickly follow, and the walls will become broken.

Which is why we must be dressed in readiness, anticipating the real truth that even today, Christ could return. Will we be ready? Will our works on this earth have been of gold, silver and precious stones, or will they have been hay, and straw which will be consumed by the fire?

I want to encourage you today that though the Christian life can be hard. It is often met with challenges, trials and hardship. That it will be worth it all in the end.

And though continuing to run hard after Christ can sometimes feel futile. It is not.

Time spent drawing close to the Lord, seeking Him, and living for Him. Is time that is never wasted, but well spent.

Run hard after Jesus. Seek Him, and He will be found. Draw near to Him,and allow Him to cheer you along the way.

He is worth it!

To the one who is waiting on God…

thG2HN27RCI know it is hard, I understand.

I’ve been where you are, and it is a tough place to be.

For two years, our family went through a time of waiting. A time wondering what God was doing and why at times He just seemed silent.

Two years of seeking to know what He wanted, two years of praying, fasting and crying out to Him.

Then, He answered, and led us to the other side of the world to serve Him.

In those two years, we learned so much about trusting Him. And in those two years, He worked to prepare us for the life we are now seeking to live.

In my quiet time this week, as I read the story of Abraham and Sarah, I was reminded of some truths about waiting.

Waiting on God often leads to….

  1. Doubt, and questioning if God knows or cares.

Abram and Sarai had been promised that their offspring would outnumber the stars in the sky… yet years and years passed before this came to pass. Times when they doubted and wondered at God’s promise.

2. Blame

-Sarai blamed God for keeping her childless, believing the lie that it was somehow His fault. That God was holding out on her.

3. Leads to scheming

-When Sarai became impatient with God, she came up with her own plan.

4. Anger

-When Sarai’s plan didn’t seem to work, or go as planned. She became angry with both Abram and Hagar.

But God is gracious and though we often fail, He is faithful to bless us and do as He has promised. Though Abram and Sari failed to wait, failed to trust. God still established His covenant with them.

5. Can lead to confusion

Abram thought it would be easiest if Ishmael was the chosen one. To him, this made sense. But the easy way is not always the best way. And God’s ways are always greater and higher than our own.

6. Unbelief

-When Sarai heard God’s plan, she laughed. She didn’t believe it was possible at her age to have a child. But God spoke and made it clear that “nothing is too hard for the Lord.”

7. Fear

-Sarai was afraid when she knew that He’d heard her laugh and lied, to try to cover it up.

8. Many times lead to sin

– In the midst of the wait for the promise. Abram and Sarai go to the Negev. Abram fears for his life, so he has Sarai lie about who she is. But God, spoke to Abimelech in a dream, preventing Him for taking Sarai as His own, protecting His good and perfect plan.

9. Eventually leads to fulfillment

-Though Sarah and Abraham lost their way and gave into their own plans. In God’s perfect time and way, He allowed Sarah to conceive just as He had promised.

10. Leads to joy.

-The fullfillment of God’s plans, though the waiting is heard, lead to joy and fulfillment.

God’s ways and His plans often fail to make sense.We can’t understand at times what He is doing or why things have to be so hard. But His goal isn’t to make life easy for us, but to transform us into His likeness. To teach us to truly trust and depend upon Him.

After the promised child comes, the one through whom the descendents will come through. God tells Abraham to take Issac,the son he loves, and to offer him as a sacrifice.

Along Abrahams journey of faith, He has grown in his walk with the Lord. He has learned to trust Him. And though what God asked didn’t make any sense. Abraham did as God asked, but He believed God would do something great. For he tells the servants to wait, until they had made the sacrifice and then they’d return.

It got to the point that Abraham had Issac upon the altar, ready to slay him, when God spoke and told him to stop because He knew Abraham feared Him alone, and He provided the ram.

Throughout Abraham’s journey of faith, he has often feared man, feared for his life, but now God sees He fears Him alone.

In our faith walks, there are always times of waiting. And times of waiting are hard. But don’t lose heart, God sees where you are. He has a plan and He will bring it to fulfillment as you wait on Him. And take heart, though you may fail along the way, He is faithful. He is gracious, and His plans will not thwarted.

As you go through the wait, He is preparing you for bigger things.

Had God asked Abraham at the beginning of his journey to sacrifice Issac, I’m sure he would have probably failed. But through the journey, as God taught Him to look to Him and to trust in Him He came to understand who God is and to rely upon the Almighty God, whom He served.

When I look back upon our time of waiting, I realize how much like Sarai and Abram I was. My fleshly tendencies often led me to give into the above. Yet, though I failed, He never did. Though I didn’t understand or see the big picture. God did.  And had we never gone through the waiting, and learned to rely upon Him, we wouldn’t be able to know Him as we do today. He did so much in that time of waiting to prepare us for today. Teaching us things we might not have learned any other way.

So to the one who is waiting upon God, don’t lose heart.

Rejoice and know He is there with you. Walking beside you and carrying you when you don’t feel you can go on.

Draw close to Him and He will draw close to you.

Learn from Him as you wait, knowing that the lessons learned now, will be lessons He has you teach others in the days ahead.

Nothing is wasted in God’ good and perfect plan.

 

 

Thankful for the little things

thanful for little thingsLife in Nepal has taught me to be thankful for the small things.

Because when you live third culturally you begin to realize all you have taken for granted all your life, and you learn to process things differently.

This past Thanksgiving, our family made a thankful box. Each day, we would write something we were thankful for on a slip of paper and put it into the box. Then on Thanksgiving day, we dumped them all out and took turns reading them.

I was amazed at the things my three kids had written they were thankful for. Things they would never have been thankful for were we back in the USA.

Slip after slip showed they were thankful for food, water, electricity, cooking gas, and petrol. Things that aren’t as easy to come by here, especially since the blockade that begin almost five months ago.

In the past month, not only have the above been limited, but the load shedding (time without electricity) has also increased. At this point, it is off 13 hours a day, and most of the “on” time takes place while I’m sleeping.(makes tons of sense I know).

Today, we came in from school and work, arriving just as the electric came on. I knew I had about four hours to get much accomplished. So I rushed to make coffee, wash cloths, pump water, and cook food for dinner and for breakfast. I was so pumped that the electric was on, and not only was it on, but it was at full voltage.

The day before when I tried to wash clothes, it sent our inverter into overload and would not wash. Due to the low voltage. So for two days, clothes set in the wash in yucky water. (Needless to say, they had to be re-washed) but the crazy thing was… I was just thankful I could get them washed again today.

Life here is teaching me to be thankful for the little things. Nepal is teaching me to be grateful and not to take things for granted. I’m learning that God shows up in the small things and the big things. Realizing that it is a choice I make daily. A choice to complain or be thankful.

Giving thanks brings joy. Giving thanks honors God. Giving thanks shows the Father how dependent you truly are upon Him.

What little things are you thankful for today? The old hymn tells us to Count our blessings name them one by one, count your blessings see what God has done…

Are you counting your blessings, if so, make sure to express your gratitude to the King of Kings. And realize even if your going through a hard time, that you most likely do have it better than most of the rest of the world.

Blessings from Nepal

 

Favorite Books of 2015

love for readingI love this time of year. It’s a new start and all that jazz, but I love how everyone post about their favorite books of the previous year. Because I love to read, and am always looking for good book ideas.

I have read a lot of good books in this past year. Most of which have been biographies, especially missionary biographies. I have always been a sucker for these. When I was young, I read about the far off places and dreamed of someday going there. They inspired me and God used them to put a passion in my heart for missions. Nowadays, I read them for their source of encouragement.

Because in such tales, I find real people, going through real struggles for the sake of the Gospel. I find people just like me who sometimes have a hard time being in the place that God called them. People to whom difficult days come, and how God brings them through.

So my favorite reads of 2015 are (drum roll please!!! 🙂 )

  1. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi– this is the story of a young muslim man who in his search for the truth, finds Jesus, The Way, the Truth and the Life!
  2. In This Place and In Every Place by Kim Abernathy– These are sequels that detail the life and missionary call on a family to serve Christ in West Africa.
  3. Hiding in the Light: Why I risked everything to leave Islam and follow Jesus by Rifqa Bary– a true account of one women’s faith in Christ, that led her to walk away from Islam, leaving her family and friends behind to follow Jesus.
  4. In the Land of Blue Burqas and Farewell, Four Waters by Kate McCord– These are sequels that detail the life and missionary call of a single female missionary to Afghanistan.
  5. My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay– This was a captivating story of a young group of high school graduates who thought they were going on a summer mission trip to Indonesia, who in the end were running for their lives. I couldn’t put it down.
  6. Both Feet In: A journey to surrender, sacrifice ans service by Bud Fray– Biography of missionary couple to Africa, who truly hungered for God in every part of their lie and service there.
  7. Behind the Veils of Yemen by Audra Grace Shelby– True account of one missionary families call to take the Gospel to Yemen and all that God brought them through to get there.
  8. The Pastor’s Wife: Strengthened by Grace for a life of Love by Gloria Fruman– Great book of encouragement for any type of ministers wife. Gloria Fruman is a pastor’s wife, but also a missionary wife to Dubai.
  9. From Good to Grace: Letting go of the Goodness Gospel by Christine Hoover – The title pretty much sums this one up.Yet, as women, we have a tendency to do, and do more to somehow make ourselves better. The author shares from Scripture how God wants us to let go of this and cling to God’s grace.
  10. You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity by Francis and Lisa Chan– Actually I’m still reading this one, but it is so good. And to be honest it is not just for married folks. The truths of the Gospel shared in this book are for every relationship you have. So good, thus far.

I’ve found in the Christian journey, how important good books are. To keep one’s mind and thoughts fixed on Christ. There is so much in the world vying for our attention, so much that pulls us away and seeks to get our attention all on us. The list above, has encouraged me this past year…. what books do you have to add. I would love for you to help me add to by 2016 reading plan!

Blessings from Nepal!

How will you spend your vapor?

vapor“So how will you spend your vapor of a life…Will you try to make your life call attention to itself? Or will you put every ounce of effort into calling attention to the God who alone is worthy of glory?”-Francis Chan

I found this quote on a blog I was reading the other day, and I can’t get it out of my head.

It’s quite profound, quite convicting as well.

For if we are all honest, we read this quote and think, wow, I want to put every ounce of my effort into calling attention to God, who is the only one worthy of glory. Yet, how much of out time is focused instead on ourselves?

In Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love, he quotes, “When we love God because we feel we should love Him, instead of genuinely loving out of our true selves, we have forgotten who God really is.” He goes on to say, this is a type of spiritual amnesia.

Such amnesia I’m ashamed to say, I have too often. This tendency to forget my first love. Tendency to forget who I once was, and who I am because of Christ.

I’m all together too forgetful. Failing to remember how great God is, how blessed I am, and how undeserving I am.

Instead contrary to the quote above, I’m prone to call attention to myself and spend far too much of my vapor thinking about me, and what I want.

Yet, I read this quote and I’m reminded of this profound truth…. that this life is just a vapor. Here one minute, gone the next.

And I want my vapor to count for Him. I want my life to call attention to how great and awesome God is.

All too often as Christians, we are busy doing good and even great things… but our tendency is to say, “Hey, look at me.”

When this is nothing more than idolatry. For everything we do or don’t do… should cry out, “Hey, look at my awesome God.”

It is a new year. Only four days in, and I have resolved to make this year count for Him.

This tiny vapor of a life, may it point others to the One true God.

How about you? What will you spend your “vapor” of a life doing? Whom will you serve with your “vapor?”

Yet, let me make one thing clear.

Good intentions are not enough. And the enemy will spend his energy to keep you distracted. He will wreak havoc in your life, if your sole purpose is to honor God.

So don’t be surprised as you seek to make this year count for God, if things aren’t easy.

Satan has been a liar, schemer and thief since the creation of the world. He will aim to pull you away from your purpose.

But, stand firm.

Commit each day to the One true God. Pray that God will enable you to recognize Him in each day. And live hard for Him.

Your friends may think your a radical… but who cares.

The only One who matters is the Lord.

Let’s live this vapor of a life, sold out to Christ. Seeking to use all we have, and all we are to glorify Him.

Then on “that” day, we will hear, “well done, good and faithful servant.”

And it will have been WORTH IT ALL.