A vapor and it’s gone…..

fleeting lifeIt seems the older I get, the quicker it seems the days, weeks, months and years pass me by. It seems like only yesterday my oldest son was born, but now in a few months he will somehow be 14. My three little ones are now 8, 12, and 14… how can this be? Where has the time gone?

But the Bible lets us know that our life is but a vapor. Here today, but gone tomorrow. David says it like this, “LORD, make me to know my end. And what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am.“Behold, You have made my days as handbreadth; And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight;  Surely every man at his best is a mere breath (Psalm 39:4-5).”

Having been married now 15 years, we have lived in 6 different homes, 3 different countries, and made countless friends whom I will never see again this side of Heaven. Through it all I’ve learned quite a bit about being transient. This word means to last only a short time, not permanent.

Now living in a third world country, I know even more how unsure life can be. How quick life can change in an instant. Why people living here live for today.

But even through all of this, I’ve still yet to grasp just how fleeting, how temporary life is. How quick it is truly passing me by.

As I ponder these verses the other morning, I wept at the time I’ve wasted. Doing good things, when I could have been doing better things. Investing in things that are meaningless when I should have been investing in eternal things.

But this is where Satan would have me, us stay. In a place that says I’ve failed.

But God….

But God says, today is a new day. This is the day I have made, rejoice and be glad in it.

The truth is if you are alive today, you have been given another chance to make a difference. Another chance to invest in that which matters. To have your life count for the Kingdom.

We all fail, we are all selfish, and we like to do the things that gratify the flesh.

Yet, as Paul says, we must discipline ourselves, making the most of our days, storing up treasures that will last forever.

We are all transient. Our days are fleeting, they are a mere handbreadth.

This is the truth. The question then is what will we do with this short life we have been given? How will we use that which we’ve been given.

Are we living for today or for THAT day?

As the Lord used these verses to work in my heart, I realized how guilty I am of having good ideas, making great plans, but somehow failing to follow through.

Good plans, good intentions are just that good.

They do not become great, until they are accomplished.

Let us then not just talk about living for the Lord and making our lives counts. Let’s go out and live this, for His glory and honor!

Our life is but a vapor… how then will we spend it?

 

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Our Serving Savior

serving others“But the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Mark 10:45

When we first arrived in Central Asia I couldn’t wait to serve the people, to meet needs, to share Christ. I have a hard time saying no, so I said yes to every opportunity thrown my way to serve the people here.

Now almost two years have passed, and if I’m not careful I take on the wrong attitude. Wanting others to serve me rather than wanting to serve them.

Sometimes it is hard. Hard to serve people who are not interested, who don’t care. Difficult to serve those who hurt you, take advantage of you, and treat you unkindly.

But then I’m reminded of Mark 10:45 and our Serving Savior.

See, Jesus who is fully God, yet fully man, left all of Heaven and its glory, and took on the role of a bond servant. And according to this verse, He came not for others to serve Him, but so that He could serve the people.

Here we have the King of Glory, worthy of all praise. Yet, in His ministry here, we see Him not accepting the praise of man. Instead we find Him healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead, and washing His disciples feet.

He came to serve!

Not only is this amazing in and of itself. What is more amazing, is the people He came to serve rejected Him. They mocked Him, made fun of Him, and many wanted nothing to do with Him. Yet, He served.

The night before the crucifixion, He washed His disciples feet, demonstrating service to others and told them to go and do likewise. And on this night, He even washed Judas feet, the one who would go on to betray Him with a kiss.

He served His betrayer. He served people who made fun of Him. He served those who rejected Him.

See, it is easy to serve those who appreciate it. Easy to serve when you can walk away feeling a sense of accomplishment. Yet, difficult to serve those who don’t care.

But Jesus… He is our example. He is whom we are to follow, and He has told us to go and do likewise.

So when I’m struggling, wanting appreciation, wanting a little service done for me. I quickly have to fix my mind, my thoughts on Christ.

And remember why I have come. Remember that the people here are the people God has called me to serve, the people He has called me to set an example before, the people He has called me to pour myself out for.

Sometimes it is easy, but often it is hard.

But it doesn’t matter. Because it is my job to follow my Savior’s example and to serve just as He served.

How about you? Why do you do the things you do? Who has God called you to serve?

I encourage you to remember our Serving Savior, who deserved more than anyone to be served, to be praised. But who stooped down and served the least of these.

Oh may we never forget our greatest job as a Christian is to serve others! May our focus not be upon ourselves and what we think we deserve. But may our focus be on our Savior who left everything to come and serve.

And not only to serve, but to give His life as a ransom for many!

What a Savior… He only is worthy of our praise!

The gift we have…. His presence!

god's presenceOur family recently began working our way through the book of Numbers. My children have asked why all the details, all the numbers?? But we have insisted that God is a God of details and even the numbers are important to Him.

The other day we read only two verses, but God spoke clearly, reminding me once again that His Word is indeed living and active.

We read of the Gershonites. These were members of the Levitical clan, meaning they were priest of God. “And they were responsible for the tabernacle and the tent and the curtains and everything to do with At the tent of meeting the Gershonites were responsible for the care of the tabernacle and tent, its coverings, the curtain at the entrance to the tent of meeting, the curtains of the courtyard, the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard surrounding the tabernacle and altar, and the ropes—and everything related to their use.”

Now I don’t know about you, but I love curtains. They make a room feel homey. Before coming to Nepal, our family lived in my parent’s basement (Lessons learned from the basement). And when we were living here, I couldn’t wait to get a home where I could hang some curtains. (Pretty Curtains). For me, curtains meant a place of our own, stability and the things I was missing during this time. Then we came to Nepal, and we have curtains :). Here most curtains are handmade, beautiful, and costly.

But, the curtains here don’t even come close to the beauty or importance of the curtains the Gershonites were responsible for. This curtain, known as the “veil,” was made of fine linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn. There were figures of cherubim (angels) embroidered onto it. Cherubim, spirits who serve God, were in the presence of God to demonstrate His almighty power and majesty. They also guarded the throne of God. These cherubim were also on the innermost layer of covering of the tent. If one looked upward, they would see the cherubim figures.

And these curtains were of utmost importance because they separated the temple room from the holy of holies. A place only the hight priest were allowed to enter. Because coming into the holy of holies signified being in the presence of the Lord. A matter of great seriousness. In fact, the high priest who entered had great fear and reverence of this place, knowing that if they entered without dealing with sin, God could and would strike them dead.

So you see, the job of the Gershonites was very important. Oh, when you read the description of their job duties, it didn’t sound so great. But, it was of great importance to the Lord.

As I thought on this I was reminded how thankful I am that the veil was torn into from top to bottom. That no longer is there a curtain separating me from the presence of God. No longer is it only the high priest who can enter into God’s presence. In fact we are told in Hebrews to enter with boldness into the presence of God. We don’t have to go to the high priest, we can talk and meet with God at any time and on any day.

These beautiful curtains the Gershonites were responsible for are no longer needed, because through the blood of Christ, we now enter into God’s presence and enjoy fellowship with Him.

But, just as the Gershonites guarded the holy of holies, just as the high priest had a reverence for entering into the holy of holies. Let us not take this gift for granted. Let us not treat it lightly. We have access to meet and fellowship with the One true God. What a privilege, what a joy.

So, what can we learn from the Gershonites??
1. Each and every job given by God is of utmost importance to Him and we should be faithful to do our best.

2. Like the Gershonites, we should guard our time with the Lord and not let distractions carry us away.

3. We should not take for granted the privilege we have to enter into the King of King’s presence. But, treat prayer with reverence just as the high priest.

Two verses, and God spoke so much to my heart as I meditated on what this meant. God’s word is certainly not too old, too outdated to work today. In fact, it is sharper than a two-edged sword, it is living and it is active. It is true, and it is our hope.

What is God speaking to you through His Word? I encourage you to dig deep, search the scriptures, and enjoy dwelling in His presence, today!

Faithful in the small things….

faithful in little thingsIt has been an interesting week. A week of struggle and a week of success.

You see I really want to make a difference in this world. I want my life to count. But sometimes when I’m stuck in the mundane ( you know laundry, cooking, cleaning, homework) I wonder….

I mean I want to see faith move mountains. I want to see the amazing hand of God do the impossible. I long to see His glory displayed for all to see.

But when your busy going about the everyday, if you aren’t careful you miss it.

And this is where I was this past week. So focused on some huge event, that I failed to see the little things God is doing everyday.

For you see, God is in the big things, but He is also in the little, minute details. He displays His glory at every sunrise and sunset. His hand is there each and every day as our family goes about out daily duties. And He is working even when I can’t see what He is doing.

As I struggled longing for something more, the Lord spoke in His still small voice. “Be faithful to what I’ve told you. Feed my sheep, one sheep at a time.”

Sometimes God shows Himself in grand ways. Ways for all to see. But most of the times He is visible in the small things. In the daily grinds. Yet, we miss it, we miss Him. While we search for the bigger, greater.

I’ve realized this past week that I don’t want to miss Him in my search for more. I want to recognize His hand daily in the everyday.

I don’t want to be so busy searching for more, that I miss now.

He is here, He is now.

How about you? Are you living for tomorrow or content with today? Do you see the hand of God in your day-to-day or have you missed Him?

Oh may we faithfully recognize His daily presence in our lives. Acknowledging Him and giving Him glory for the daily insignificant.

For nothing is insignificant in God’s eyes, every detail matters. And if it matters to Him, shouldn’t it matter to us?

What has God shown you to do now? Are you doing it? Let us be faithful to these things, because then and only then will He give us more.

Motivated by fear or faith??!!

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What motivates me to do the things I do? What drives my decisions?

I want to be super spiritual and tell you it is always faith, but the truth is often it is not faith it is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the future, fear of failure, fear of what others may think… fear, fear, fear.

As I am working my way through I Samuel I recently read of how twice God gave King Saul into David’s hands. Twice, David could have killed Saul and taken the throne, but both times, he was unwilling to touch God’s anointed. Two times he approached Saul and could have been killed, yet was protected by God.

But then the Bible tells us that, “David thought to himself, ‘One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul.'” And then he crosses over to the enemy’s side and fights for them.

Each time I read this I want to shake David and say, what are you thinking? I mean seriously you have watched God take care of you again and again. You have seen Him deliver you very enemy into your hand. He has shown you time and time again that He is with you and has blessed the work of your hands. How can you seriously believe that now after all of this, God will allow King Saul to kill you. Don’t you remember you were anointed to be King??

I asked my husband why or how David got to this point. And his answer was simple. David was tired. He got tired of running, tired of waiting, tired of not seeing God answer prayers, tired of loosing loved ones (Jonathan and Michael). And when you get tired and weary when you’re in the hard places, the enemy has you exactly where He wants you. And if you aren’t careful, you have crossed into his territory and instead of serving God in faith, your serving the enemy in fear.

For so long, David had been led and motivated by his faith in God. But suddenly he has nothing left, and instead of being motivated by faith… He allows fear to motivate.

And can I just tell you, I’m also guilty of this.

When my thoughts and focus are on the Lord and I’m trusting in Him, then it doesn’t matter what happens my faith carries me through. But as soon as my thoughts center upon the problems and my eyes are fixed on the issues at hand… I like David begin to think to myself, and then before long it is fear that is carrying me through.

But there is another important lesson here, one we are quick to skip over. When we are tired, when we are weary, we are more susceptible to the enemies schemes. Which means we must get the rest, exercise, sleep, and nutrition our body needs. If we are burning the candle at both ends, always running to the next thing, eventually we will crash.

So let’s learn from David’s mistakes. As Paul instructs us to in Romans 15:4 saying, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us,so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope!”

What’s motivating you today? Let it be faith rather than fear!

Parenting and the holiness of God…..

kidsWe have all heard it said, “God is more interested in our holiness than our happiness.” And personally I have indeed found this to be true. So often God allows difficult times, trials and problems to arise in our lives. Not because He doesn’t love us, not because He wants to be mean and just cause us problems. But because He is more interested in us becoming more like Christ, than in us being happy right now.

As I thought about this concept and applied it to parenting, the Lord showed me some similar guidelines and truths.

  1. I love my kids and want what is best for them, just as God loves me and wants what is best for me. However, my best for them  may not be their idea of “best.” Just as God’s idea of “best” is often different from my idea. And though they may get angry when their idea is not mine, in the long run they will understand. Just as we eventually we can look back and see what God was doing in our lives.
  2. I want my kids to understand that anything worth having in life takes work and is often not easy. But that God desires that in everything we do whether in word or deed, we do it as unto Him. God has given us every spiritual gift in Christ, and we have access to His throne of grace daily. Yet, God isn’t a genie who just gives us what we want, we have to work and do our part in seeking Him, in walking with Him and in being filled with the Spirit.
  3. I want my kids to be happy, but even more I want them to right with God. Nowadays there is a common phenomenon of giving our kids our very best, making sure they are keeping up with their friends so they aren’t left out, and being concerned that they are happy. Yet, I’m convinced that a child who grows up this way will be confronted with the real world one day too soon and will not know how to handle the obstacles thrown their way. Sure, I can make it easy for my kids, and make sure they are happy. But will they be holy?
  4. I want my kids to look to God. I’m like any typical mom and don’t want to see my kids hurt. In fact if I’m not careful I want to fight their battles for them, I want to fix their problems. Yet, if I do these things, they learn nothing of dependence upon God. Sometimes God will lead me to step in and do this, but first and foremost I want my kids to look to Him.
  5. I want my kids to desire Christ and love Him most. There is a real battle going on in our kids lives. A battle between what they have been taught is right and what the world says is best. If we are not careful the world will be their desire and they will love this world more than God. So I must find the balance by limiting what they can and cant’ do, what they can and can’t watch. Why? Because the enemy is just waiting to steer them away from God.

The list could go on, and yet I’m learning that this is what is most important that my kids know and learn. This doesn’t mean it is easy or that my kids are always happy with me. In fact, many times they aren’t happy. Like today, my kids envisioned a day of rest and relaxation, but this was interrupted when they found out that before playing, before relaxation, homework and studying was to take place. My husband and I’s idea of best collided with their idea of best… but even now that the work is done and free time is being enjoyed, they can see what we saw.

I have a looong way to go from being parent of the year, and by the world’s standards, I’m positive I would never receive such award. Yet, it is my desire that my kids grow up loving God with all their hearts, soul, mind and strength and loving others as they love themselves.