Remembering the Greatness of our God

When we forget whom we serve, we grow tired and weary. When we forget whom we serve, we have anxious and fearful hearts.

Yet, when we remember how great is our God, we are encouraged. When we remember how great is our God, peace floods our souls.

As I was reading through the Psalms at church today, I was reminded of the greatness of our God. I was reminded that He truly holds the whole world in His hands. He sees and knows our every need.

He is not limited by time or space. He needs not our assistance, nor our instructions in what to do. For His ways, His thoughts are far beyond our limited views.

“By awesome deeds You answer us in righteousness, O God of our salvation, You who are the trust of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest sea;Who establishes the mountains by His strength, Being girded with might; Who stills the roaring of the seas, The roaring of their waves, And the tumult of the peoples. They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy (Ps. 65:5-8).”

He answers our prayers not in accordance with what we think is best. He answers in awesome deeds true to His very nature. So much better than what we could ever ask or even imagine.

Why? Because He is awesome in all that He does. His greatness is beyond our understanding.

He is the trust, the hope, the answer to all peoples, even to the ends of the earth.

The Mountains were created and are sustained by His strength.

Even the vast, magnificent Himalayas were established by His greatness and for His glory.

And though the seas roar, they calm completly at His word. He tells them just how far they can go, and they obey His voice.

Through His amazing creation, His voice goes out into all the world, so that people as far as the farthest seas stand in complete awe of His wonders.

And as magnificent as the beauty of the sunrise and sunset are, they pale in comparison to the greatness of our God.

As I meditated upon these verses, I stood in complete awe of who God is.

I was undone by my limited view, my doubting heart, and my fearful spirit. I was ashamed at how often I think I know better, and how often I act as if He needs my help.

Yet,I  was also encouraged and strengthened. As I was reminded afresh and anew of how truly amazing He is. As I learned again that nothing is too difficult for the Lord.

As we stood to sing, my heart rejoiced in praise to the Lord. My spirit which was weary grew strong. My heart that was anxious became calm.

Simply by remembering the greatness of my God.

Where are you today? Are you tired, weary, and worn? Is your heart anxious and afraid?

Then I encourage you to take time to remember the God you serve. Meditate upon His greatness, sing His praises, and watch how the burdens you now face become so small as you look upon His greatness.

We truly do serve a mighty, and awesome God!

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Praying for your Teens

I don’t know how it happened. My little boys who use to make mud pies, drive cars through the dirt, and wear cowboy hats and boots, have become teenagers. These boys who use to love being wherever I was, now long to go hang out with their friends.

It is the natural way of life. Yet, I have found that the older they get, the harder I pray. For when they are young, they depended so much on me and their dad. Yet, as they grow older they must learn all the more how to depend upon the Lord.

So I pray regularly for them, not that they’d be a success in the eyes of this “world”, but that they would be pleasing in the eyes of the Lord.

10 things to pray for your teens:

1. Pray that they will have their own “real and personal” relationship with the Lord.  One that is not based upon what they have been told, but rather what they have experienced in their own lives with the Lord.

2. Pray that they will desire the things of the Lord more than their own way, and be willing to follow hard after Him. 

3. Pray that they would seek the Lord and His wisdom first before making decisions. Being willing to wait upon the Lord and His perfect timing.

4. Pray that they would seek and desire after a godly mate, and that God would bless them with a wonderful marriage.

5. Pray that they will remain pure until they are married.

6. Pray that no matter what God ask, no matter how big or how small, they will walk in obedience to His leading in their lives.

7. Pray that their lives will reflect their walk with the Lord, that others will see Jesus when they look at them.

8. Pray that they will never become so successful that they depend upon themselves rather than the Lord.

9. Pray that they will raise up their children and your future grandchildren in the ways of the Lord.

10. Pray that they will always know how much they are loved, how special they are, and that “in Christ”, they are perfect.

As a mom we want our kids safe, we want them successful, we want them to have friends, to experience love, to enjoy life….but I’m realizing that more than all of that, our greatest desire should be that they truly love the Lord their God with all of their hearts, mind, and strength.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

3 John 1:4

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!”

Trusting God Even When it’s Hard

How do we trust God when we can’t see the way?

How do we trust God when nothing makes sense?

When life seems to be spinning out of control?

When someone we love is sick or hurting, and we are helpless to help?

We all know trusting God is easy when life is good, when all is well in our worlds. Yet the true test of our trust is shown not in the good, easy times, but in the difficult.

Trusting God to do the impossible is easy to instruct others, but difficult to hold onto when you’re the one needing to believe.

Holding fast to the Lord seems painless until He is all you have to hold onto.

I think of the saints of old, and how they trusted God.

Abraham trusted God with Issac, the promised son.

Joseph trusted God as he waited in prison to be remembered.

David trusted God when he was running for his life.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abindigo trusted God regardless of the outcome.

Daniel trusted God as he faced the lions.

And the list goes on and on.

Yet, these great men of old were still just that men. They weren’t perfect, more holy than you or me. They still struggled I’m sure to trust and believe in the midst of such times. The Psalms of David give us a glimpse of this as we read of him crying out to the Lord.

So how do we do as Proverbs 3:5-6 instructs?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.

  1. We must remember who we serve. The LORD, with whom all things are possible. The One and only who spoke all things into existence. Whose voice the wind and waves obey.
  2. We must remember His faithfulness. In the midst of difficulties, it is easy to see only the difficulties. Yet, this is the prime time we need to remember his faithfulness. Taking the time to think back on all He has done for us, how He has always taken care of us, and resting in the fact that the same is true now.
  3. We must remember to lay our burdens and cares at His feet, knowing He cares for us. Too often we pray about our difficulties, and yet we hold onto them, still trying to resolve the issues, still attempting to fix the problems. Then we become weary and feel we can’t go on. When this is not what the Lord intends. He calls us to, lay them down and trust Him to work it out.
  4. We must remember to spend time in His presence. In Psalm 73, the Psalmist was overcome with life’s problems, overcome with the unfairness of how the wicked seemed to prosper. Until He came into the presence of the Lord. Then all things were brought into perspective. As we read and study the Word of God, the peace of God radiates our soul. The joy of the Lord becomes our strength, and our faith is increased.
  5. We must remember to do as the verse says, to rely not on our own understanding, but in all our ways to acknowledge Him. We will become weary, depressed, angry, afraid if we rely upon our own understanding. We will be spinning our wheels, with no answers. Instead we must rely upon Him. Rely upon the fact that nothing about our problems or situation takes the Lord by surprise. He ordained all the days of our lives before they came to be. And He can be trusted to bring about what He has planned.
  6. We must remember to acknowledge that He is God and we are not. We can’t fix the problems, we can’t manipulate the details, we can’t orchestrate the events. But, He can. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present. He doesn’t need our help, but He desires our trust.

I don’t know the struggles you are going through, any more than you know mine. But the Lord knows each and every detail, and He calls us to trust Him. He calls us to believe on Him, to rely on Him, to draw our strength from Him, and to find our rest in His presence.

 

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!

When we miss out on what God has because we are afraid…

I still remember the fear, I had never done any evangelism before. Yet, here I was, a first year seminary student doing evangelism on the University of Memphis campus. I listened and learned as others in my group approached students hanging out after class. Then they said it was my turn. I was so afraid. I mean I knew God desired that I tell others about Him, I knew that these needed to hear the Good News. But, man was I afraid.

I could have gone running the other way or got my friend to take my place. Yet, if I had I would have missed out on what God had in store. For as I began to share the Gospel, the students listened respectively, but in the end basically said, thanks but no thanks and walked away. I was disappointed, but happy I had obeyed the Lord. But amazingly there was another girl I had not noticed standing nearby who had heard everything I had said. Before I knew what was happening, she approached me, and asked me to tell her what she needed to do to be saved! Awesome! Had I let my fear rule, I would have missed out.

Fast forward 8 years or so when I was sitting in my comfortable home in Tennessee. When the phone rang with a request from a professor that my husband and I pray about moving to Korea to teach in a seminary. Again, I could have let my fear of the unknown, the fear of raising my kids abroad, the fear of all the details that had to be worked out keep me from obedience. But, I would have missed two of the best years of my life, as our family served the Lord in South Korea.

Now, here I sit in my house in Nepal. Living here with my family for almost 3 years now. The unknowns once more could have kept me from this place. In fact I wrestled with God about bringing my kids to this faraway land. Yet, once more I can’t imagine the joys I would have missed had I let my fear keep me from here.

But this has not always been the case. I can’t begin to list the different times I have allowed fear to keep me from obedience. When my husband and I first married, we were on our way to China. We were almost through the process with our mission agency, ready to go to orientation and training when along came our first-born. One look at his tiny face, and my heart constricted in fear. No way was I taking this little one to China. Surely God would understand, surely my husband would understand. And sure, they did understand, but to this day I live with that regret. For I know now that the same God who has cared for us all these years, would have cared for us then. I know I missed out on seeing what God could have used us to accomplish for him. I know that our lives today would be far different, had I not allowed fear to stand in the way, but had embraced what God had.

Thankfully, God can always take our mistakes, take our fears and use them for His glory. I have no doubt He did this in our lives, but I know then and at other times I let fear keep me from experiencing what God had.

Even now there are unknowns of what the tomorrows hold. Easy for me to want the security of what makes sense. The security of the constant, the comfortable. Rather than setting aside fears, and letting God lead.

As I have been reading through Deuteronomy I have been amazed at this same theme. The Israelites whom God delivered from the hand of Pharoah as they walked across the Red Sea never knew the joy of living in the Promised Land. The missed out on the great things the Lord had because of their fear and rebellion against Him.  In chapter 2 Moses repeats to the next generation, those who would enter into the Promised Land, “do not be afraid, do not be discouraged.” He repeatedly told them this, because he knew their hearts. He had seen how fear and discouragement had kept the others from believing and trusting God. He had watched as each one died in the wilderness, missing out on what God had. So he tells them, do not be afraid, do not be discouraged!!! Trust God, believe Him!!

This same message rings true for each of us today. Of course what God ask of us will be different. Our lives are not meant to be compared. Yet, we each have a choice to make. Will we believe God, following Him despite our fears? Or will we allow our fears to cause us to miss out on what God intends. We can remain comfortable and safe or we can let go of our fears and trust God for the impossible.

Again I am thankful for how God can and does use our mistakes, our failures to accomplish His plans. I’m thankful that nothing is wasted. Yet, I long to trust Him more, believe Him for greater things,and watch in anticipation of what He can and will do for those who truly have their faith completely in Him.

A New Year… A New Start… Focused on Christ

a-new-year2016 is passed. Another year finished, another year in the journey.

2017 has begun. A new start, a new journey.

Last night we attended a New Year’s Eve prayer meeting that my husband shared at. He shared from the Gospel of John where Jesus says, “I have glorified You on earth by accomplishing the work You gave Me to do (John 17:4).”

Then he asked the question, can this be said of you in 2016? He mentioned that often as a new year begins we start well, we make our resolutions and we have great intentions… but often we get distracted from these things and before long we get in a rut and forget all about our good intentions.

As he shared I thought how true what he was saying was. How quickly I get distracted from what matters, how often I am so much more like Martha than Mary. Distracted by many things and failing to choose what matters.

It is easy to be busy in ministry. Easy to get so busy doing that you forget whom you are doing things for. You forget to draw your strength from the Lord, forget that it truly is all about Him!

As we knelt to pray I spent a good amount of time confessing how distracted I have been this past year. Confessing my need for Christ, confessing my need to fix my eyes on Him, and do the work He has for me to do, not necessarily the work others think I should do.

But I also prayed that His grace would be sufficient for me to do this… because I know my natural tendency is to do things for Him, rather than sit at His feet.

The older I get the more I realize that it really isn’t about what we do or accomplish for the Lord… because He truly doesn’t need us. It is really just about drawing closer and closer to Him and allowing Him to live in and through us.

Mary chose what was greater, this is my desire for 2017. To truly throw off everything that entangles and weighs me down and to run the race which Christ has prepared for me! To sit at His feet and be transformed more and more!