Created by Him, through Him and for Him

created for Him“In the beginning God…(Genesis 1:1)”

In the beginning God was there  because God had always been there. There was not a time He did not exist.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).”

In the beginning all that was created was created by God.

“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created (Col. 1:16).”

And all was created not only by Him, but through Him, and for Him.

You and I were created by God, through God, and for God.

I listened to a message earlier by JD Greear, and he said this about creation.

  1. The story is about Him, He is the major character, not us! God’s Word begins and ends with Him.
  2. We were created for God, not for our pleasure. We thrive only when our lives revolve upon Him.
  3. We were created in the image of God, to do that which He created us for.
  4. Only the One who brought life out of nothing can bring life back from the dead.

As I listened I was challenged by the reality that far too often I make myself the main character. I make myself the focus, or my kids, or other things. Rather than remembering the story is about Him. His life lived out through me, for His glory.

I was reminded that God created me and called me from before the foundation of the world to do the good works He created me for. My life is not my own, it belongs to Him. And I am most joyful and content when my life revolves around Him.

As my kids grow older and begin to think and dream about tomorrow, one of my greatest desires is that they know that they were created by Him, through Him, and for Him. And that whatever He calls them to do, they do it to bring much glory to Him, their Creator. That they do not loose sight of the fact that He must be the Center, and that their lives revolve around Him. For only then, will they find true joy, true contentment, and true peace.

Is He the center of your life? Satan desires to get us to put other things at the center. He lies and tells us that we will never be truly happy until we _(fill in the blank)__.

Yet it is a lie! For God did not create us, save us, and call us unto Himself to lives our lives for ourselves. He did this so that we might live our lives on passion for Christ. Making Him known, wherever He leads us, calls us, and places us.

May we not loose sight of these simple truths, and may our lives be motivated by our great and merciful Savior!

 

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Raising World Changers….

downloadRecently I was picked along with a group of others to help Kristen Welch launch her newest book, “Raising World Changers in a Changing World.”

I was super excited to read this new book, and the insights I knew would be there. See, Kristen and her husband began a non-profit organization back in 2010 called Mercy House Global (http://mercyhouseglobal.org/about-us/), which exists to engage, empower and disciple women around the globe in Jesus’ name. Engage those with resources to say yes to the plight of women in poverty. Empower women and teenage mothers around the world through partnerships and sustainable fair trade product development. Disciple women to be lifelong followers of Jesus Christ. 

Knowing that she and her family were indeed seeking to make a difference in this world, and after having read all of her other books, Rhinestone Jesus, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, and Don’t Make me Come up There, I knew this new book would be inspirational as well.

This past week, I began reading the book, you can pre-order yours here http://bit.ly/raisingworldchangers  now. Each chapter gives some question/answer, which she asked, and her children answered, and which she encourages us to ask our children.

So I finished chapter one, and began the question/answer time with my own. With the first question being, “What does it mean to be a world changer?” I gave mine the day to think it through, and then excitedly gathered their response.

My oldest said, “A World changer is someone who allows God to work through them, and goes out of their way to help others.” My middle son said, “A world changer is someone who helps others, and who tells others about Jesus.” And my youngest replied, “To be a world changer is to be a light that points others who are in the dark to Jesus. It means to be different than others.”

And I suppose I couldn’t have answered it better than that. You see, being a world changer does not mean you have to be someone special, you have to do something huge, you don’t have to start a non-profit, or move overseas.

To be a world changer begins right where you are, it begins when you change the lives of those you come in contact daily, rather than allowing this dark world to change you. As my daughter said, it is being a light in the darkness, and being different than this world.

I am excited to continue reading this book, and for the impact I know it will make.

We live in a dark world, a world whose news is full of tragedy, heartbreak, and strife. A world so far from the Lord and His teachings it is scary. Yet, we do not have to allow this world to change us into fearful, angry people. We don’t have to allow this world to change our kids or draw our kids away from the Lord. We can rather seek to change this world, by being His hands and feet. By being that light on top of the hill that shines ever so bright, that points the lost to Him.

See, we can’t change the world, only Jesus can.

Yet, He allows us to be His hands and His feet, He allows us to be apart of what He is doing.

And it begins with our own. We can’t expect to change the world unless we are first and foremost changing the lives of those most precious to us, our families.

May we join together and seek to raise up the next generation of people who will say “yes Lord, here am I send me, use me, and use my life for your glory!”

A Letter to my Daughter

Today my daughter turned 9.How different it is to raise a girl than boys. They think, feel, and learn differently. So to my 9 year old going on 20, there are a few things I want you to know.

  1.  Your beauty is not found in your dress or jean size. Your significance is not found in the length of your hair or the amount of jewelry you wear.You beauty is found according to the Scriptures, in a gentle and quiet spirit. It is found in what is in the inside, not in what is found on the outside..“your adornment must not be merely external– braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God (I Peter 3:3-4)”

    2. You are your beloved’s and He is yours.He is enthralled with your beauty and longs for you to come away with Him.

    The One who loves you the most, loves you just as you are. He made you that way. He loves the freckles on your nose, the color of your hair, the shape of your face. And He desires for you to care more about what He thinks of you than what anyone else says. He invites you to come away with Him and find your joy in Him.

    “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine,”( Song of Solomon 6:3)

    “his banner over me is love.” (Song of Solomon 2;4)

    3. You should clothe yourself with the things that matter.

    All too often we pick out our clothes, we dress a certain way to draw attention to ourselves. We want to be noticed. We want to fit in, look the part.Yet, the label on our clothes and the length of our skirt, is not the issue. All over the world, women dress certain ways to fit their culture. But, God says, what we wear on the outside is not what matters. It’s the things we clothe ourselves with on the inside.

    ” clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity (Col. 3:12-14).”

    4. You are never alone, you have a friend who is closer than a brother…

    When others hurt you and you feel alone. Don’t believe that lie. You are never alone. The One who loves you most, the One who cares for you the most, He is always with you. Though others will let you down, He never will.

    “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Prov. 18:24).”

    5. You are holy, righteous, justified, forgiven, chosen of God.

    Though the enemy will lie to you and try to tell you that you have no worth. Your worth is great in the eyes of God. Because of what Jesus has done, you are perfect. Don’t listen to the lies of the enemy, instead fill your mind with the truth of God’s Word.

    “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things (Phil. 4:8).”

    You my darling daughter are a daughter of the King of Kings. He loves you just as you are. He delights in you, and made you just as you are for His glory and for His purposes. When He looks at you, He see’s His creation and He says it is very good!

To My Teenage Son

As of today, we have two teenage sons! I shake my head as I write this, because it doesn’t seem possible. In my mind, they are still little boys, yet as I look at them, watching them grow and change into young men, my heart melts with love.

So to my kind-hearted, generous son on the brink of his teenage years, there are some things I want you to know.

  1. You are loved. Loved first and foremost by the Lord, and loved by us. And what matters more than anything else in this life is that you seek to love the Lord with everything you got!
  2. You are important. Not because of how many friends you have, how cool you are, but because you were made in the image of God, and there is no one else like you!
  3. You are a child of God. So, no matter what the crowd says, you should always do what is right. I know from experience how easy it is to follow the crowd. But the Bible teaches us that we are to swim against the stream. It is easy to follow, but hard to walk the narrow road. Yet, it is on the narrow road that you will find abundant, everlasting life.
  4. You can’t love God and this world. Friendship with the world is hatred towards God. It seems harsh, it seems extreme but it is true. We can not love this world or the things of it and love God. We must love Him and the things of God more. Fixing our eyes on what is unseen rather than what is seen.
  5. Jesus is to be your best friend. I know having good friends is important, yet never forget that Jesus is to be your best friend. Though others will fail you, others will let you down, He never will.
  6. You are different because you belong to Christ. So you should always stand up for what is right. It won’t always be easy, and it may mean you get laughed at. Yet, this is what pleases the Lord.
  7. You are a gentleman. When girls begin to notice you, (and they will) remember that it matters more what a girl’s heart looks like, than what she looks like. “Charm is deceptive and beauty is vain, but a women who fears the Lord is to be praised (Pr. 31:30).”
  8. You are to be a man of God’s Word. And though this world may tell you one thing, it is what God’s Word says that matters. Always stand firm upon and hold fast to God’s Word. For only here will you find the truth, truth that will set you free, to be the man of God, the Lord longs for you to be.
  9. You are not home yet. In your mere 13 years, you have had 5 different homes, lived in 3 different countries and have done amazing at it all. Yet, no matter what remember this world is not our home. We are merely passing through. Seek to live for the Lord as you travel through.
  10. You are amazing and nothing God leads you to do is impossible. So reach for the stars, pray big, do whatever God ask. And one day you will stand back amazed at all the Lord can and will accomplish through your life!

Discipling Our Children


It’s hard to believe but my oldest will turn 15 in the fall, my middle child will turn 13 this month, and my youngest 9, also this month. As I watch them grow and change, and as I’m reminded by Facebook of my previous memories. I’m amazed at where the time has gone.

And as I contemplate this, I’m left with one thought. That though, I wish them the best in their lives, the best in their studies, the best in what the Lord calls them to. What matters most is that they love and serve the Lord.

My greatest ministry is that to my children. If I disciple hundreds, yet fail to teach my own, I have failed.

As I have been reading in Judges, I’ve noticed this is exactly what happened to the Israelites. Though the people who had seen the Lord’s deliverance continued to serve the Lord, they failed to teach their children. They failed to pass down the stories of God’s deliverance, as they had been instructed.

For in Judges 2, we are told that a new generation rose up who neither knew of the Lord nor of what He had done. And this generation did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

It is easy to look at society and complain of the new generation, to blame media and technology, all of which certainly do impact lives. Yet, as parents it is our duty to teach our children the things of the Lord. Our responsibility to share with them what God has done in our lives. It is not the job of the pastor, the Sunday school teacher or the youth director, it is our job.

Here in Nepal, we attend a church made up of mostly first generation Christians. People who have seen and experienced the hand of God, and watched as their whole families have been saved. But, it is also a church of a growing second generation. Children and youth who attend simply because their parents make them, or because it is the thing to do. (Much like kids and youth in the USA).

Yet, it is not enough they attend, not enough that they grow up in a “Christian” home rather than a Hindu home. They must be taught God’s Word. They must hear the testimonies of what God had done, they must experience the Lord personally in their own lives.

My kids have all professed Christ as their Savior, a fact for which I give thanks. Yet, we have told them we will inspect their lives. And that if we see that they are not producing the fruit of a Christian, we will point it out in their lives. Something I wish others had done for me. For even Scripture teaches us to be sure of our salvation!

I do not want my kids to believe, to go to church, to do “Christian” things because it is expected. I want my kids to yearn and desire after Christ. To hunger and thirst after His Word. I long to see them experience the Lord personally in their lives, not just in our families lives. For them to recognize the Lord’s hand in each aspect of their lives.

Yet, these things don’t just happen. They require me to pray, to teach, and to help them see what God has done, is doing, and will do.

We live in a day similar to that of the Judges, where people do as they see fit. Among a people who neither know the Lord, nor know of what He has done. And this is not the fault of society, the school, or the church.

May we be faithful to train up our children in the ways of the Lord. May we be faithful to disciple them to be the women and men of God that He desires them to be. May we recognize their importance, and may we pour ourselves into them.

They are ours to care for only a little while. Then they are gone. The Lord has blessed our lives with them, entrusted them into our care. Let us then be faithful to the responsibility given to us!

Grace and Mercy for today….

grace-and-mercyLast week in our ladies Bible study group I was reminded of an important truth. The truth that the Lord’s grace is sufficient for today and His mercies are new every morning.

At this time of year it is easy to get stressed with all that has to be done. The days seem to be missing hours and time passes so quickly. If we are not careful we dream of waking up when the holidays have passed and we miss out on the true joy of the season.

I have a bad habit of borrowing trouble, focusing on the supposed problems of tomorrow, that I often miss today. Living in Nepal has helped me a lot in this area.  Because here I’ve learned truly what Jesus said is true. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34). 

Here life can change in an instant and what you intend to do today may or not happen as you planned.

It is certainly easy to borrow trouble, but the reality of these great truths is the fact that God’s grace and His mercy are sufficient for only today, not for tomorrow, not for next week, not for next year. Only for today!

If our focus is on tomorrow, next week or next year we will grow anxious, we will worry and we will do what I am so guilty of doing and that is trying to figure it all out.

However, if our focus is on today, the day God has given us… then His grace and His mercy are enough for whatever may come our way.

This is certainly my most favorite time of the year. I love the excitement of the holidays, the joy of Christmas, the anticipation in the eyes of my children. But if my focus is on tomorrow and what all needs to be done.. then I miss this. I miss the joy, I miss the love, I miss the point.

Truly, today has enough trouble of its own, let us then focus on today and leave tomorrow to the Lord.

Let’s look to the Lord for the grace and mercy we need for this day, knowing and believing in faith that His grace and mercy will be sufficient for tomorrow as well.

His grace, His mercy… they are enough, they are sufficient, they are there in their fullness for today!

And as we think on this, we will then be able to be still in today, knowing that He is God!

 

Swimming against the stream….

vbs 2016 9“But mom, everyone is doing it. I will feel so left out if I’m the only one not doing it.” This is what I heard this morning as I was getting my 8-year-old daughter ready for school.

And thus it begins…. temptations, wanting to fit in, having to teach my kids that sometimes as Christians we have to be set apart.

This all began about a month ago when the locals began wearing their green and yellow bangles and attired their hands with beautiful henna designs. Lauren’s friend brought her a whole bag full of bangles and multiple people offered to draw on her hand.

It has been a battle ever since. Not because there is anything wrong with bangles (I have many of my own) and not because having a henna design is wrong. But Hindu devotees here celebrate this month as the month of Lord Shiva and observe the tradition of wearing green bangles, henna tattoos and necklaces. So for this month, for this time, we are avoiding such things.

And we’ve had this discussion multiple times over the past few weeks of why she doesn’t need to wear her bangles or do these things right now… because she is Christian not Hindu.

But to an 8-year-old who just doesn’t understand it is hard. To an 8-year-old who doesn’t want to be left out it is difficult.

I keep telling her that this will not be the last time that she will feel left out due to being a Christian. The easy thing is to go with the crowd. The easy thing is to let others dictate who you are.

The hard thing is to swim against the stream, the be set apart, to take a stand for what you believe.

Difficult lessons for all ages, all stages of life. But especially a little girl.

So as I wiped away her tears, I hugged her and explained one more time that being a Christian isn’t always easy, but that as a Christian we are to be different and try to live our lives in a way that points others to Jesus.

She still wasn’t happy about it, and my heart hurts for her as she goes to school today and feels left out. Sometimes even being a parent is hard. It sure would be easy for me to just give in…. but that isn’t what I’m called to do either.

Standing for truth can be hard. Doing what is right harder still. Going against the flow, well yea it’s just plain difficult.

But this is what God has called each of us to. It comes in different forms every day…  but we each have to decide who we will love more… ourselves or our God!

(By the way, I’m planning to take my daughter later to do something special so we can continue this discussion – because this her first experience with this will certainly not be her last)