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!

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Moving Forward, Post Earthquake

nepal earthquakeIt has been 2 days since the second quake rocked Nepal. Which has meant two more nights sleeping outside, two more days of waiting to see if another large aftershock would come.

We had just gotten ready to resume life as “normal”,when once again the pause button was pushed on life here in Kathmandu. Thankfully, our family was together this time, and the Lord once more protected us.

Yesterday it seemed people were at a loss with what to do, whether to go to work or stay close to home.

And to be honest my nerves were just about shot, and I caught myself responding in anger and frustration more than in kindness and love.

The what if’s are difficult. Each time I venture upstairs, I wonder what if another strikes. Each time the kids want to get something from their room, I think what if….

These are deadly words to dwell upon, “If only” and “what if”.

Yet, the reality is it is hard to move forward. Hard to let go of fear.

It seems that these earthquakes have not only shook the nation of Nepal. They have also shaken the faith of many, and shown the cracks in my own relationship with the Lord.

Recently I read of a man who is a believer, yet who is wondering where God is, in all of this.

I think many feel this way.

Personally, it is the cracks God has used the earthquakes to show me.

Cracks in my walk with Him, cracks in my relationship with my husband and kids.

Yet, He has also used the earthquakes to show me He is bigger. That He is stronger.

I have learned that He is ever faithful, as He has twice now protected our family and our home.

So how do we live “post earthquake,” here in Nepal.

I’m learning that it means taking baby steps each day. Seeking to let go of fear and trust that God is bigger.

To be honest after the second one hit, my first thought was, “Lord, I want to go home, enough of this!”

Yet, as I read Isaiah 6:8 today in my quiet time, I was reminded of my prayer before coming here.

“Here I am, send me!(Is. 6:8)”

I know that though it is difficult, though it is frightening, though it is just hard to be here right now.

That God has us here for such a time as this.

He knew when we came, this would happen.

And all I can do now is hold fast to Him and rest in Him. Clinging to Him for His perfect peace, and trusting that the same God who has now delivered us twice from major earthquakes, will deliver us in the days ahead.

Blessings from Nepal

“The Lord will give strength to His people;

the Lord will bless His people with peace.” Psalm 30: 11

What is the Gospel

gospelI listened to a sermon the other day and the pastor asked this question. “If you only have a few minutes, could you share the Gospel with someone?”

I imminently thought of I Cor. 15:3-4, ” that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,”

And in essence, this is the Gospel, the Good News. That Jesus died in our place, taking our sins. That He was buried, yet defeated death, and that He rose again.

But isn’t the Gospel more than this?

Some people think of the Gospel only as that which they are to share with the lost. And it is.

Some people see the Gospel as an evangelistic tool. And it is.

Yet, I’m sure, the Gospel is so much more.

For you see, the Gospel is how we live our lives, day-to-day.

Not only does the Gospel save, the Gospel sanctifies, and one day the Gospel will glorify!

For it is the same grace which saved us,that allows us to live the Christian life each day.

It is the same death at Calvary, that frees us from our sins today.

And the same resurrection that allows us to walk and talk with our risen Savior.

The Gospel that saved a sinner like me, is the same Gospel that has justified me.

So on those bad days when I fail, it is on the Gospel that I stand. For because of the Gospel, no matter how bad my day, I stand forgiven, holy and set apart.

And on the good days when I love and serve my Lord with all my heart, it is still the Gospel that ransoms me.

It seems this time of year, as Easter approaches, we hear a lot about the Gospel. We hear sermons and sing songs about the cross and the blood.

This is good, but it is a wonderful truth worth celebrating more than just one weekend. It is a truth we are to celebrate each day.

For without the cross, without the death, burial,and resurrection, we are nothing.

But because of the these things, we have been redeemed, set free, and forgiven!

So that we might live life’s pleasing to the Lord. That we might love Him with all of our hearts, soul, mind and strength. In order that we who have been rescued from sin and death, may lead the lost to Him.

This is the Gospel… let us then seek to live it out each and every day.

 

 

Tested Faith

imagesThis past week my faith was tested on a whole new level, when my son woke up Thursday morning with over 104 degrees of fever,and a headache. Being in a foreign land, we were at loss with what to do. Thankfully, though very early, our pastor and friend agreed to meet us, and help get our son to the hospital. Since our other children were still asleep, I remained at home, doing the only thing I could do, praying.

I assumed they would go, and come back. So I took the other children to school, and came home ready to play nurse. Yet, as the hours continued to pass, test upon test were being done on our son, to find the reason for his fever. I was amazed at the number of test being done. In one day, they did a chest x-ray, an ultrasound, blood work, urine and stool samples, and even an EKG (due to his erratic heart beat). With each test, my husband sent me a text to let me know what was happening. And with each text, all I could do is pray.

I felt the Lord asking me to release Landon to him. I resisted, I wanted to tell God what to do. To tell Him, to heal him. Yet, God’s still small voice, kept saying, let him go, trust me with Him.

The day before I had read the account of Abraham and Issac, and throughout the day, the Lord kept reminding me of this story. Making it clear to me that I had to trust God to do what was best. I had to trust the Lord to provide the way. I had to be willing to release my son into the capable, loving hands of God.

Finally, the call came. They were on their way home, and though Landon was very sick with a bacterial infection, that was causing him great pain, he would be okay. Once more, I fell to my knees, this time thanking God for hearing and answering my prayers.

Today, I can look back,and smile. Because though God didn’t have to, He heard and answered my prayers. He gave the doctors wisdom, and helped them know what was wrong, and what to do.

Yet, I was also taught a valuable lesson. Though yes, God can be trusted, and though yes, we are to pray. What God desires is for us to submit to His ways. Just as with Abraham, he had to place Issac on the altar. I had to do the same with Landon. Allowing God to be in control, allowing God to work as only He can, allowing God to bring healing. There was nothing more I could do.

My husband will tell you, I like to be in control. Thursday, I was not. I couldn’t control anything. I could do nothing but pray, nothing but allow God to work.

Today my hubby preached on James 1. How we are to rejoice in trials, and how God uses trials to test our faith. He asked the congregation, what was Abraham’s first test. His first test was a drought, which led him to Egypt, which led him to lie about his wife. First test…failed. Yet, what was his last test? To sacrifice his son. And, he passed with flying colors. Eric said, he would never have passed the final test without first having gone through the other test. And he’s right.

The same is true of us. God uses trials of all shapes and sizes. He test us for our good, He test us to grow our faith and to prepare us for tomorrow.

This week, I was tested on a different level, and I watched as God intervened and fought on my behalf. I watched as He gave wisdom to the doctors, and heard our prayers.

My trials and yours are not the same. Maybe you have no trials presently.Maybe your trials are far greater than my own. Either way, we serve the One True God. We serve the God who cares, the God who sees, the God who hears,the God who is in complete control.

As my husband concluded in his sermon, may we allow God to use our trials to make us more like Jesus. May we endure through our trials, and even rejoice in them. Knowing that God is up to something far greater than we can understand.

Though weeping may last for the night, joy comes in the morning. Ps. 30:5

 

 

Trusting God in the day to day stuff…

trusting god1I am always amazed at how so often we as Christians trust God to save us (which is huge). We trust that the Bible is true and depend upon it.

Yet, so often we fail to trust Him in the day-to-day.

I know this to be true, because it is true of me as well.

Recently I was reading the account of Abram and how God came to him and said, “Go, leave your family, your possessions, your home ,and follow me to the land I will show you.”

Abram had no clue where he was going, and yet the Bible says, he and his family set out, leaving everything.

This was HUGE!

Yet, if you keep reading the Genesis account, you find that as they journeyed into Egypt, fear over took Abrams senses. Suddenly, his trust in God to care for him has vanished, and we find Abram scheming. Telling Sarai to tell everyone she is his sister, not his wife.

No more is Abram fearing and trusting God, he is fearing man and trusting himself.

Now, before we are too hard on Abram, I would vouch to say that this would often describe us in our Christian journeys as well.

We trust God to save our souls, but when a child is sick, we worry.

When finances are lacking, we stress.

When difficulties come, we wonder where is God.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Letting Go. My oldest son went on a three-day class trip.

And I found myself anxious, worried, and lacking trust at times that God could and would care for him.

How often in our lives, do we fall into the Abram trap. Trusting God for the big stuff, but failing to trust for the small things?

Leaving America and coming to the mission field, though hard, was somewhat easy. I just believed God had called us to go and that He would provide. And He did.

But since being here, I often find myself struggling to believe God in the little things.

And maybe to be honest, it isn’t that I lack trust, it is just that I believe I can handle the small things myself. So I work and strive and seek to figure my own way out of problems.

While all along, God is waiting for me to just turn to Him.

As with Abram, he assumed he could handle the situation, so he came up with his own plan concerning his wife.

Yet, God was there all along, watching and waiting.

And at just the right time, He intervened.

Friend, God can be trusted for the big things, but also for the little.

Just as He longs for us to depend on Him for our salvation. He desires that we depend on Him to take care of our kids, to meet our financial needs, to get us through the difficult days.

I’m learning that what the Lord desires, is that I take everything big and small to Him in prayer.

I’m learning that God cares for the smallest details just as He cares for the big.

Let us then seek to trust God with all the details of our lives.

To trust Him with our children, our finances, our day-to-day commutes to work etc.

He is worthy of our trust, because though we are not always faithful.

God is faithful, because He can not deny Himself!!!!!

 

Letting Go…

letting goI am now the mother of a soon to be teenage boy. In a matter of months, my oldest will be 13. It is entirely too hard to believe. Yet it is true.

Since coming to Nepal, my kids have all been troopers. I mean leaving the comforts of America, their friends, their grandparents was not easy. Yet, they have adapted so well, and I am so thankful.

So, when Andrew came home from school with excitement in his eyes, telling us about a school trip.. I had to stop and listen.

The trip was scheduled to leave from Thursday to Saturday. Three days and two nights. I swallowed hard, and my first instinct was a strong no!

I wrestled with this for days, asking my husband to pray that God would give me peace. Sure, school trips are normal, nothing new. Except, we are on the other side of the world, and my son would be going on a 3 day trip with his teachers and classmates to a place I’d never been. Hiking up a mountain to get to the lodge they’d stay the night in.

Finally, the day arrived when we had to inform the school if he was going or not. By this point, I had more peace than before, and we signed the form. Andrew was so excited.

The day before the trip was set to leave, we packed his backpack, bought snacks and I added bandages, neosporin, germex, and mosquito spray to his bag. He rolled his eyes, but said nothing.

Then the day came and wouldn’t you know, we rose up to a dark sky that looked like rain. Really Lord, I thought, can’t it be sunny… this is hard enough. After taking him to school and talking with the teachers, I said my goodbyes and left to walk to the church. As I walked, I prayed asking the Lord to take care of him. And the Lord reminded me that he was His, and that just as He knows the number of stars in the sky, He also knows the number of hairs on Andrew’s head, and could and would care for Him.

As I walked, the rains began, but I had a peace that passed understanding. Yet, this peace was short-lived. For about an hour later, the rains were pouring down, thunders roared, and lightning flashed across the sky.

I had packed Andrew an umbrella, but he didn’t have a raincoat. So I talked my hubby into taking me to the school to let him use, Eric’s raincoat. If we left right then, we’d get there before they left. So off we went, only to arrive and find out that the trip was postponed due to the storm. Though the kids were disappointed, I was reminded that God truly is in control.

Today, we woke up to sunny skies. Andrew hummed through breakfast, ready to get to school to set off on this new adventure. Saying goodbye didn’t prove as hard today. And though I have thought of and prayed for him through out the day. The Lord is helping me to let go and trust Him. Reminding me that nothing can happen to me or my children which isn’t first approved by the Lord.

As I sit here typing, Andrew is up on the mountain, sleeping I’m sure after a five-hour hike. But, I spoke with him on the phone and he’s doing fine. Will I be glad when he is safely back home? Yes! But, I’m glad that we let him go..and that God is teaching me to trust Him on a different level.

So often in life, it is easy to let fears control. To let fears keep us from obedience to the Lord. To let fears keep us from missing out on the “more” God has for us. Yet, this is not what He intends. He desires that we truly learn to let go of the fears, and live life to the fullest. Trusting in His sovereignty and His faithfulness. We serve the One True God. The King of Kings, who holds the world in His hands. May we each learn to let go of worries and fears, and to truly trust and put our faith in the Lord.

God Knows, and that’s enough!

god knows bestThis morning as we were rushing about to get out the door on time for school. My daughter came down the stairs asking for the mop. At that moment I was busy getting the dishes from breakfast washed, and cleaning up the kitchen. Therefore I pointed to the corner where the mop was located and continued with my work.

After she left I quickly wondered what she was up to, but to be honest, I figured I was probably best off not knowing. Later I found that she had spilled water on the bathroom floor and was using the mop to clean it up. So it was a good thing.

Later as we were on our way to school, I reflected on this. This truth that sometimes it is best not to know.

And I thought of how so often we long to know the future. We want God to reveal to us next month,next year etc. I thought of how we seek to understand the end times and want to figure out how and when it will all take place. How we just wish for knowledge we do not have.

And I thought to myself, just as I didn’t need to know why Lauren needed the mop, some things are truly better off not knowing.

How many things in our past would we change, if we’d only known.

I’m sure we all  have a long list. Yet, this was all God’s plan.

Had I known that when we went to Korea, we’d only be there two short years, would I have gone? I don’t know.

Had I known that returning from Korea would lead us to spend a year and a half living with my family, would I have wanted to return? I don’t know.

Had I truly known what living day-to-day would be like here in Nepal, would I have come? I don’t know.

The truth is, some things are best that we don’t know.

Because the amazing truth is, GOD DOES KNOW.

And He is always working and orchestrating the details of our lives according to His plans.

He does see tomorrow. He see’s years ahead.

He knows….. and He has it all covered!

If we knew, we would not have need to trust in the Lord or put our faith in Him.

If we knew, we wouldn’t need to rely on the Lord.

Yes, some things are best left unknown.

For the Lord knows what is best for each of us, and we can trust in Him for all the unknowns.