Friday, November 27, 2015

Matthew 25:21 "His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master."

Sometimes I wonder what the future holds. What will I do after I return home? How will it be living in the states again? What is God's plan for my life? I hardly even know what I want to do with my life, will God show me?

But through these questions, wonderings, and worries, the Lord has pressed onto my heart to simply just be faithful with what he was given me for this time. It is not a question of 'what is God's plan for my life?' and then wondering and waiting until it is revealed. It is a question of 'what is God's plan for the time I am in now?' and choosing to walk in it.

In this parable of the servants and the talents, the master entrusted to each of his servants a certain amount of talents based on their ability. He expected each of his servants to faithfully invest his talents. No matter how small the amount was that they were given, He expected the talents to be used to bring more talents and not to be wasted. To the servants who were faithful with the amount that they had been given, he rewarded them with more to be faithful with.

Likewise, he has entrusted me with this time and this ministry. Whether to me it seems like a big thing or a small thing it does not matter, only that i am faithful in it. Because, as Warren Wiersbe pointed out to me in "The Bumps Are What You Climb On", the small things are what show who I really am, they determine if I will be capable to handle something bigger. The small things may seem small, but the Lord is able to bring a beautiful harvest from seeds faithfully sown.

I was so encouraged by Pastor Chuck, the former head pastor of the New Life Church, and his testimony of how the Lord led him to Cambodia. When he was asked if he always had a heart to spread the gospel oversees, or if he had a vision for a long time to go to the people of Cambodia, he said that that was not necessarily true. After he and his wife became Christians, they started out their ministry to the church by cleaning the bathrooms. Just simply cleaning the bathrooms. As they served faithfully in that, they began working in children's ministry, and as they served faithfully in that, the Lord led them to the next thing, and then the next. Finally the Lord called them to simply take the ministry that they were doing in the United States and transfer it to a cross cultural setting. And of course, as faithful and willing servants of the Lord, they said yes.

Faithful in cleaning the bathrooms. The dirty work that nobody cared to do. The unimportant job that nobody really noticed. But the Lord did.

I desire to be faithful with what the Lord has called me to during this time. Some things may seem to me bigger and more important to me than other little things that seem like they don't matter. But in God's eyes, the small things are the big things too.

God has not called me to the future, he has called me to this time, to soak up and be faithful in what he has called me to for this time.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Mark 9:22-24 "'...But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.' And Jesus said to him, 'If you can'! All things are possible for one who beleives.' Immediately the Father of the child cried out and said, "I beleive; help my unbeleif!"

The Father of this demon possessed child had already brought his child before the disciples, they could not cast out the demon. In desperation he came before Jesus, "If you can do anything"! Here was this desperate circumstance, and the father cried out to Jesus to help him if he could, help him if it was in his power to do so!

How often am I the same as this man. My first inclination when fear arises, when I feel my weak capabilities loosing control, sadly is to try to figure it out myself. Tossing and turning the matter over in my mind, depending on my weakness for strength. Maybe even consulting those around me to help me to get control of the situation. Why do i hestitant to turn to Jesus for help? Why do I question the faithfulness of my Savior? The lack of my faith is so evident. Sure, I beleive that Jesus can but do I beleive that he will?

But I am finding more and more that in the midst of my frantic mind, when fear and dread begin to rise up in me, the freedom comes when I come to the Lord as this man did, "Lord I beleive, but will you help my unbeleif." Here, Lord, is my unbeleif. Here Lord is my heart and all of its rawness, not some patched up, masked up thing, so hidden by fakeness that it is indecipherable. I love to try to bring that before God, "Here is my heart God, I tried to fix it up a little."

He wants ALL of my heart. He just wants me to give it all to him. He doesn't ask me to work on it first before I bring it, he just wants me to bring everything, even the dirty parts. And when I show it all, when I talk about it with him instead of myself, that is faith. Here is my lack of faith God, here it is. I tried to pretend that it's not there, I tried to make it not be there but I cant. God will you take this.

It turns out that the demon plaguing the child, was one that could only be driven out by prayer. That is why all other sources were powerless. All Jesus wanted was for them to come before him and him alone with there great need.

And Jesus wants the same from me. To come before him, in rawness and honesty, believing that he will help my unbeleif.

Matthew 11:28-39 "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Genesis 2:7 "then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living creature."

Dust. This seemingly insignificant particle of the earth. The ugly filth that stains the feet. Dust is dirty, it is dirt really. This is what the LORD God choose to make man out of. And a song comes to mind,

"You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of dust."

God chose this ugly, this dirty, this insignificant thing that I hardly give a thought to except when there is the bothersome duty of removing it, God took it and made out of it a beautiful creature, he called that creature good and breathed the breath of life into his frame. But the part that encourages me the most was brought to mind as I thought of the next phrase of the song,

"You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of us."

Because I am that seemingly insignificant human, who has dirt and stains and scars. No matter how hard I try, I can't make them go away. I cannot make myself beautiful. But God has chosen to make me beautiful. He has chosen to take my messiness and create out of it something beautiful. Like the dust, dead and lifeless, he has chosen to breathe into me the breath of life.

"As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame, he remembers that we are dust."

He knows that I am weak. And he is not this God who is looking down on me and wondering, shaking his head at the fact that all the time I fail. And yes I fail, again and again. But he knows that I am weak and he does not condemn me for it. I am the one who condemns myself for being weak, I am the one who has difficulty trusting him to make a beautiful thing out of me, so just in case, I try to do it myself. I like to think that i can, somehow i think that i am trustworthy more than God to do this work. This is a silly thing to do, because can dust make itself beautiful? Can dust breath on its own?

But no, as God created something beautiful out of dust, he is creating something beautiful out of us. I must rest that he is making a beautiful thing. It is his breath giving me life, and nothing out of my own strength.

"All this pain, I wonder if I'll ever find my way. I wonder if my life could really change, at all. All this earth, could all that is lost ever be found? Could a garden come up from this ground at all?"

"You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of dust. You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of us."

-Gungor "Beautiful Things"

To practically apply this verse, I will worship to this song

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Psalms 13:5-6 "But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt abundantly with me."

I love the rawness of the Psalms. The heartfelt, honest prayers of the Psalmist, pouring his heart to God. The Psalm begins as the Psalmist desparatly cries out asking,

"How long O LORD will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me. How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow to my heart all the day? How long shall my enemies be exalted over me?"

So often, when circumstances seem bleak, it is easy to wonder, where is the Lord? Why hasn't he come and saved the day by now? Where is victory? How long will it be before my enemies are silented? Situations and feelings threaten to defeat and discourage. Maybe we don't see the Lord work in the way we think he should.

These same feelings seem to bombard the mind of the one who wrote this Psalm. Although instead of harboring these questions, letting doubt eat away at his mind, he brings them honestly before the Lord. And then he remembers the character of the Lord, "But if have trusted in your steadfast love..." He is reminded of the love of the Lord. Whatever he is dealing with may seem out of control. It may seem like the Lord is hiding, is not showing his face. But there is his unfailing love. That love that i can go back to, that i can trust and rest in, even when I don't understand.

The Psalmist chooses also to give thanks. To rejoice because of his salvation. To sing because of the abundance of his blessings. Situations tempt to change our view of God, but he does not change. He is always good. He always loves me.

I must choose, in the good and the bad, to recognize God's goodness and his consistent love. His character is not transient like circumstances are, no, it is steadfast. As Roy Hession pointed out to me ("The Bumps Are What You Climb On"), when I have faith in the God who is love, I will be able to give thanks, even in what may seem like a difficulty.

To practically apply this verse, I will begin, on a sheet on my wall, a list of blessings he has abundantly given.