Giving our everything to Him!!

Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.” Matthew 26:13

Living overseas, I have seen this personally. The stories of the Cross have been translated into multitudes of languages, and shared throughout the world. It is a beautiful thing.

Yet, I do not for one second believe this had anything to do with why Mary did such a lavish thing. She knew not how often her story would be told, she knew nothing of the languages the Scriptures would be translated in.

All she did, she did out of love. Love for her Savior!

Though this perfume could have been sold for a large price, though it seemed a waste to the disciples, and a cause of rebuke by Judas. She cared not.

For she was committed this act of love not for the applause of man, the attention of others. She did it solely and completely for the Lord.

And yet, this extravagant act of love lives on today. Spoken of throughout the world, acted out in dramas for all to see.

Causing us to think, to ask of ourselves. What are we willing to lay down, give up for the Lord? How can we lavishly love our Savior? Why do we even do the things we do, for the applause of the Lord or of man?

For Mary, she did the only thing she could. She took what was most valuable in the world to her, gave it to the Lord. And she didn’t just pour out a little, saving some perfume for herself. She gave all that she had, completely.

As Easter draws near, and I read the stories of the Cross. I am reminded that I too must lay all I have at his feet, give all that I have unto the Lord. For only He is worthy.

 

Bible Study Helps

god's presenceI know most of you are super spiritual and that you never ever struggle to do your daily Bible reading or to pray. But for the few like me who sometimes need a little help, I thought I’d offer a few guidelines that help me. 🙂

  1. Choose a time and make a habit: Easy to say, easy to plan, yet often hard to follow through with. But, having a daily quiet time is a discipline that has to be established. You don’t think twice about getting dressed in the morning, likewise, if we discipline ourselves to have a quiet time, we will not think twice about not doing this either.
  2. Have a plan: You don’t sit down and allow your Bible to fall open only to read from that set of verses for the day. (seriously you don’t, it might work occasionally but is certainly not the best way to go) No, have a reading plan. There are so many out there, you can search Bible reading plans and a host of different sites will come up. Choose one that will work for you and stick to it. And don’t get discouraged if you miss a day. Don’t try to catch up, just pick up where you left off. I love the chronological Bible reading plan, because reading straight through the Bible is hard for me. But there are many options, choose one.
  3. Get your accessories ready: Have a journal, pen, and whatever else you might need.  I journal what I read, it helps me to stay focused and then I write down the truths being taught. Another good accessory to have is some note cards to write down Bible Memory verses, and some cards to write letters of encouragement to those the Lord may bring to mind.
  4. Have a prayer plan: For me closing my eyes and quietly praying only leads me to go to sleep. I can’t stay focused. So instead, I write out my prayers in my journal. If I don’t have a journal, I pray out loud. Again, this helps me to stay focused and keep my mind from wandering off to what I might eat for lunch or my to do a list for the day.
  5. Establish a prayer routine: In seminary we were taught to make a prayer-book, we got a little notebook, added tabs for the days of the week and left pages between each day. Then wrote out the people and things we would seek to pray for on certain days. This was quite helpful, because realistically we are not going to be able to pray for everybody and everything each day.
  6. Remember that God, the creator of the Universe. The one who needs nothing, who knows all things desires to have a relationship with you. He set you apart from birth, He knows your name, knows your desires, cares for every detail of your life. He will transform you, speak to you, and encourage you as you take the time to read His Word and to pray.

Now I know what your thinking… you’re looking at this list and saying, if I only had time to do this, that would be great. But the truth is you have time. We both do. We make time for what is important. Instead of checking social media, check in to God’s Word. Instead of sleeping a few more minutes, get up earlier. Instead of going to bed early, stay up a little later. The method, the ways, the time spent are all important, but not as important as just taking the time you have and spending it with the Lord.

The Lord God Almighty is His name and He beckons you to come away with Him and allow Him to truly give you rest!

My beloved spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. Song of Solomon 2:10

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!

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.

 

When the well runs dry…

water from wellIt seems we have hit the start of the dry season, and we have many more months until the rains begin.

Yet already, our well is dry, and we have to purchase water now to do our wash, cook and to bathe.

About once a month, the big water truck, pulls up out front and with its long hose, it pumps water into our storage tank, so that we can then pump this water up to the roof. To use for household chores.

We have already learned how important water is, how vital it is to have.

And thankfully, as of now, we have no trouble purchasing water once a month, to make do until the rains begin.

Yet, what about a few months from now, when it gets really dry? Time will definitely tell.

The other day it rained unexpectantly. One minute it was sunny, the next the wind was blowing and the rains poured. We were excited, thinking that maybe we would have some water in the well.

So when the electric came on that night, we turned on the pump for the well. And we waited, and waited and waited. But no water came, and we realized for sure that our well was dry.

Today I was reminded of this as I pondered the Christian life.

Sometime our walk with the Lord is fresh and new, like a spring rain. Our love for Him overflows onto everything and everyone.

Then there are times, when our walk seems dry and stale. When it is difficult to feel close to the Lord.

So, what do we do, when our well is dry?

We go to the source!

Just as we have to go the water source to get our water. In our Christian life, we too must go to the source, we must go to the Lord.

And we have to immerse ourselves in His living waters, allowing Him to wash us afresh and anew.

It is then, that we are in need of His reminders. Allowing our hearts to ponder how great and amazing He is.

Often when my walk seems stale, it is because I have begun taking the Lord and His mercies for granted.

I have taken on an I deserve attitude, instead of having a grateful heart.

I have forgotten who I once was, a dead, sinful, evil person. Forgetting what Christ has done, and how He has made me alive.

So when your well has gone dry  go the source.

Get on your knees and cry out to Him.

Remember what He has done and who you once were.

Allow the Living Water to fill and sustain you.

Jesus told the women at the well, to drink from Him and she would never thirst again….

Are you thirsty? Have you stopped drinking from the Living Water?

He alone can satisfy.

May we allow the Lord to be our everything.

Good Reads…. 2014

downloadThis year has been a whirlwind of activity as our family has said yes to God to move to Nepal. Has worked to start a nonprofit organization,called Ambassadors for Truth, and trusted God to raise the support needed. Yet, in the midst of it all…. God’s Word and a good book, was what helped keep me grounded.

Here are some of my favorite reads of 2014… though some are repeats from last year. Some I have read more than three-five times. But hey, that’s what makes them good reads 🙂

1. Restless: Because You were made for More by Jeanie Allen

2. The Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer

3. Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God When Sparkly, Safe Faith Is No Longer Enough by Kristen Welch

4. What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa Terkeurst

5. Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full by Gloria Furman

6. Gods at War: Defeating the Idols that Battle For Your Heart by Kyle Idelman

7. Women of the Word: How to Study the Word with Both our Hearts and Minds by Jen Wilkin

8. Eight Twenty Eight: When Love Didn’t Give Up by Larissa Murphy

9. Women Living Well: Find Your Joy in God…… by Courtney Joseph

10. Radical… by David Platt ( a def. read and re-read)

11. The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken ( another read and re-read)

12. Anything by Jeanie Allen (same as above :-))

How about you? What great books have you read this year? I’m always looking for new ideas… so leave a message below! Thanks!!