Friday, October 24, 2014

Learning to Swim

This rings so deep and true in my heart right now. I don't even know where to begin explaining why or how. But I'll try.

So much of our lives in the past year have been so far out of the box I lived most of my life in, and I love it! I don't ever want to be boxed in by that old way of thinking, yet some days I find myself trying to find a new box to hide in. Some days I feel so exposed and so vulnerable and want desperately for those old relationships back, that once made me feel so connected, but now due to our current situation and theology have become distant and awkward. It is on these days that I feel the struggle between my flesh and the Spirit. My flesh wanting to be comfortable and just go through life at ease, and the Spirit telling me to step outside and reach out to people who need Him. The Spirit in me placing the desire to be a vessel by which He can manifest His healing power and love to a dying world versus my flesh that keeps saying, "What if nothing happens? You'll look stupid. and you'll tarnish the name of the Lord." But then...this quote happens to pop up on my facebook feed,

"If you want to learn to swim jump into the water. 
On dry land no frame of mind is ever going to help you." 

We all know what it's like to stick our toes in the water, and then slowly walk in trying to get used to each stage of getting wet until we finally are in past our waist and can finally put our heads under. We all know that it's so much easier (and less painful) to just dive in all at once. The water doesn't seem so scary and cold when we just dive in and get it over with. We realize that it's actually enjoyable and we begin to swim. Yet, for some reason we fear the pain of the cold and we slowly endure it until we either jump out and give up, or finally give in and dunk our heads under and swim.

To walk the talk, it means stepping out of my cozy little box and jumping in. Not just peaking out and maybe standing on the edge, wading, getting my toes wet, trying to convince myself and summon up some sort of courage to brave the water. Which is basically what I've been doing spiritually speaking concerning this growth in this area of my authority in Christ. He's prompting me, ever so gently (yet bluntly I might add! He doesn't mince words!), to dive in head first. If I truly want to walk in Belief I have to jump in ALL the way. There is no half way with God. It's all or nothing. No amount of time will ever convince my flesh to give itself up and feel comfortable with this. I must step out in faith in the unseen, so that God can be seen!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

He wants my heart

The passage from ifequip today was, again, very poignant. The Lord has been encouraging me and giving me the ability to not worry about what others think right now. I'd rather obey God, then men (Acts 5:29). The more confidence I have in my God, the less I care what others think. But, there is still that part of me that wants to convince others that we aren't crazy! That we aren't deceived!  To somehow convince them with my words that this is from God, and make them see His Word the way we see it. But, I know that, that doesn't work. I was there just a few short months ago. I was the one my husband was trying to convince, and I wouldn't hear it. It didn't matter what he said. If I didn't want to believe it, I wasn't going to. But, the Lord was working. I called out to Him and asked Him what is right and what is wrong? Which way do I go on this issue? He didn't answer my specific question. He knew that if He did, I still wouldn't believe. I'd still question the answer and think "is that really what He meant?" He doesn't want my mind. He wants my heart. And so, His answer was simply, "My daughter, obey me." I knew what was very clear in the Word and the things that I knew I was not obeying Him in. As I began to obey Him in those areas that I did know, He began to open up the Word to me and reveal things to me that I'd never seen before. He began to confirm His Word in my heart so that I didn't just think I knew which side of the issue was right, but I knew and believed deep within my heart. He wants me to trust Him fully, and He dug down to the root of my fear and unbelief and planted His Word deep and strong. He could have just given me the answer, but instead gave me belief in Him and confirmed the answer deep within my heart so that I know without a shadow of a doubt that this is from Him.

We still have so many questions, but as my husband and I walk this out, we won't need to convince others with our words because they will be convinced by our fruit. Like this passage in Acts 5 when the apostles were brought before the religious leaders, one of the Pharisees told them not to worry about the apostles and what they were doing in the name of Christ. He said if this is from men, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop them. Basically, they will know if this is from God by their fruit. What an amazing thought! God's plans will not be thwarted no matter who comes against. If God be for us, who can be against us! This is exactly how we feel right now. We are deeper with the Lord than ever before! We are experiencing peace when those around us are all tied up in knots over this! We are hopeful for how God is repositioning us for ministry! We may have lost one ministry, but God doesn't see it that way. He sees it as the next step of the straight path He can see from beginning to end! What a great God we serve! May we continue to be rooted deep down into Him, firm and secure, growing in Grace and knowledge, bringing others to Christ and glory to Him!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

IF: Equip Acts 1:12-26

"All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers." - Acts 1:14

Thanks to a friend, I learned about an online study called If: Equip. They are going through the book of Acts right now. This weeks passage struck me in a whole new way. In light of my current situation, this passage is just so beautiful! 

This passage is right after Jesus appeared to them, gave them instructions, and then ascended to heaven. Then 120 of them gathered together, constantly praying, in one accord. They had to make a decision on whether Mathias or Joseph would be the one to take the place of Judas, who betrayed Jesus and was now dead. The Spirit led them to choose Mathias and not Joseph.

They were of ONE accord, devoted to prayer! If only all believers could devote themselves to prayer and go forward in one accord. If only all decisions in life could be made in this way, totally led and moved by the Spirit of God! 

The main thing that really struck me though was this...

Jesus gave the apostles very specific instructions right before He ascended to WAIT! Did they run out and do their own thing anyway instead of waiting for the Spirit like Jesus told them to do. Did they sit there and analyze what Jesus said and say, "Well, did he really mean that? or maybe we were just interpreting him wrong and he really meant this…” No! They just heard what he said and obeyed! They gathered together in one accord in prayer to move forward in obedience to the Words of Jesus. 

We are called to be obedient to the Word regardless of the opinions of men. The only opinion that matters is God's. Do I want, when I come face to face with Jesus, to have any regrets? No! I want to come face to face with Jesus knowing that I risked my life to be obedient to His Word and His calling on my life.  

It’s so hard to sit back and listen to others tell us how wrong we are and that we are the ones causing disunity, when we are merely wanting to follow Christ and go forward together with one purpose. Like I said in a previous post, Priscilla Shirer said it well when she said, “Unity is not sameness. It is oneness of purpose.” Unfortunately, not everyone sees it that way. I have to trust that God has a HUGE purpose in this!! Just as Mathias was called to that particular ministry, and Joseph to something else, God is calling us to a particular ministry even though we don’t know what that is yet. Just as these men went forward in obedience to God and were rejected and attacked by others for it, so I will go forward in obedience regardless of the attacks of men. 

I can think that the purposes of men have ruined my life, or I can remember that God uses even the "wrong" choices of men to do His purposes in and through us, and dare to say that God chose them to reject us so that He could re-position us for His purposes and His glory! 

I feel like everything in our life up until this point has prepared and positioned us for this very moment. We are at a pivotal point in our journey, and the Lord has us in this time of waiting and prepartion as He works in us to prepare us a little more for the next step. Like He told the apostles to WAIT before He unleashed His Spirit, so I will WAIT before He unleashes His plan for us. Oh what a joy it is to be right where HE has positioned us to be! What a joy to risk it all for the sake of Christ our Lord! 

Sunday, April 20, 2014


I don't have much to say today. I have much on my heart and mind, but am having a difficult time organizing the jumble in my brain, and putting those thoughts down on paper in a tangible coherent way. Instead I will quote what someone else said that struck me so profoundly. Sarah Young, in her book Jesus Calling, wrote this:

"Be willing to go out on a limb with Me. If that is where I am leading you, it is the safest place to be...Your desire to live close to Me is at odds with your attempts to minimize risk. You are approaching a crossroads in your journey. In order to follow Me wholeheartedly, you must relinquish your tendency to play it safe.

Let Me lead you step by step through this day. If your primary focus in on Me, you can walk along perilous paths without being afraid. Eventually, you will learn to relax and enjoy the adventure of our journey together. As long as you stay close to Me, My sovereign Presence protects you wherever you go."  

- Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Oneness of Purpose

I've been so saddened by what seems to be the latest fad in Christianity these days. I realize this is probably nothing new, but it seems that it is hitting me full force right now. Godly men attacking other Godly men because they don't agree on certain areas of Scripture, or because they aren't the same denomination and hold to the same interpretations of certain passages of Scripture. They are spending thousands of dollars to hold conferences and produce the dvds and books of these conferences, all based on what? On a difference of opinion.

The Word of God gives allowances for a difference of opinion in some areas that seem quite huge to us. But, as much as we may want to be dogmatic on our opinion and no matter how much we think we are right, we are all fallible. We are all growing and changing in our understanding.

(side note: I'm not saying that there aren't wrong interpretations that actually do go directly against the Word, or have been taken to an extreme that changes the Gospel. We should not stand for obviously unbiblical interpretations that change the Gospel and teach a false view of who God is. But, that isn't my point. My point is when we DO agree on those primary things, and our differences of opinion on these other areas are treated as primary when they shouldn't be).

I don't know why the Lord allows for these differences of opinion, and why He doesn't just come right out and clearly say what we are to think and how we are to interpret these passages. Or maybe He does and we are just not listening clearly enough. Or maybe He doesn't intend for these differences, but sin and pride have caused division. Not to mention how we  tend to forget that we are fighting against "principalities and powers" not against "flesh and blood." Regardless...He IS clear on what NEEDS to be clear! #1, the Gospel!! He is VERY clear on what it is and what it is not. He is VERY clear on His character and His Sovereignty. He is also VERY clear on Unity and Love in the body of Christ.

So, why are we spending thousands of dollars to attack our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord, calling them heretics or false teachers, because of a difference of opinion instead of being obedient to what God is quite clear of those things being Unity! and another Love!

I love this quote by Pricilla Shirer, "Unity is not sameness. Unity is oneness of purpose." 

Fellow followers of Jesus, we have a common purpose! We desire to see the Gospel taken from here to the ends of the earth, and see His Kingdom advanced and our God glorified. Let's be unified! Let's love one another! John 13:35, "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." We agree on everything that is important, so let's stop preaching about who NOT to listen to, and just start preaching the beautiful truths of the Word! Let's stop pointing fingers, and start joining hands!

This can also lead to how we treat unbelievers as-well. Why are we expecting unbelievers to act like believers? They don't know Jesus! They don't have the Holy Spirit! Maybe instead of preaching against immorality and pointing fingers, we should be preaching on the love of Christ who came to save sinners just as they are, sinners acknowledging they are separated from God and need Jesus to give them a right relationship with the Father. The reward of salvation isn't heaven (although that's a enjoyable benefit), the reward is HIM! HE is the reason we need to be saved! We are separated from Him, lost in our darkness. We need to be with Him again to be whole! We need His light! We need His Grace! We need ALL that He is because HE is the prize! I think if we lose sight of that, we lose sight of how to speak the truth into someone's life, and our message becomes one of brimstone and fire rather than a message of Love and Grace.

Instead of approaching unbelievers with "turn from your sin so you can get saved and act like people are supposed to act" speeches, let's start loving them! Showing them it's not about good behavior! It's about a God who came down to die for us! To pay our debt, to make us right with God! When they trust in Christ, they will receive the Holy Spirit who will empower them to produce the fruit of the Spirit and not the flesh.

All that to say, let's stop pointing fingers and show the world the love of Christ in how we treat our brothers and sisters, and also how we treat the world.

I'll end with a few lines from the song, "Love You with the Truth" by Casting Crowns. You can look it up on Youtube if you want to listen.

"When we love, we earn the right to speak the truth.
When we speak truth, we show the world we truly love
I'm not pointing my finger
I'm holding out my hand
I lay it all out on the line now to see God save my friend

Let my life and my words be the proof
I'm going to love you with the truth

It's not about religion or earning God's forgiveness
or magic prayers or new behaviour
It's all about your heart
He'll meet you where you are"

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Isaiah 43

This has been a favorite passage of Scripture of mine for years now. Before leaving for the mission field, this became "my verse." In the middle of some of the most difficult times of my life, this verse held promises and truths that I could cling to and carry on and continue trusting in my Lord. Today, I return once again to this passage and in typical God fashion, He highlighted a couple of verse in here and gave them a whole new fresh meaning and application to my current situation. A few verses that somehow didn't mean as much to me as they do now. His Word truly is alive and active! His mercies new every morning! 

I'll copy the whole passage for you at the bottom of this post, but for now these are the verses that have really struck me, that I keep coming back to. And I'm pretty sure these are going to end up on a canvas on my wall some day. 

 Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.

When going through the storm, I find myself at times giving thanks and at rest, and then all of a sudden out of no where I'll get so angry and start playing the blame game. Have you ever had someone have such a huge influence on your life and the lives of others and you feel like they are to blame for everything that is happening? I do. I find myself thinking, "if only (so and so) would stay out of my life and leave us alone, none of this would be happening! I would be carrying on with my original plans and life may not be perfect but at-least it would feel right." But, then I come back to this verse and the first thing it says is, "Forget the former things! Do no dwell on the past." *sigh* Okay Lord! Turning my eyes forward to You. Then I read "See, I am doing a new thing! NOW it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." Wow! Okay Lord! If I truly believe that He is Sovereign over every detail of my life, then I will truly believe with all my heart that regardless of other people and their decisions and how those decisions affect my life, HE is the One controlling it all and I will be at rest and at peace in Him. I am in that "wilderness" right now, and yet God doesn't see it as a wilderness. He sees this beautiful, new thing springing up from the ground with fresh life.

"Forget the former things! Do not dwell on the past."  Yes, Lord!
"Do not be anxious for anything!" Yes, Lord!
Give thanks in everything!" Yes, Lord!
"I am doing a new thing!!" Thank you Lord!
"No really! I am doing a new thing right now!" I believe! Open my eyes to see it Lord!

Lord, "My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but (You) God are the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever." - Psalm 73:26 (parenthesis mine)

Isaiah 43:1-21

 But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
    Cush and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
    nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
    I will bring your children from the east
    and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
    and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
    and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.”
Lead out those who have eyes but are blind,
    who have ears but are deaf.
All the nations gather together
    and the peoples assemble.
Which of their gods foretold this
    and proclaimed to us the former things?
Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right,
    so that others may hear and say, “It is true.”
10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,
    “and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
    and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
    nor will there be one after me.
11 I, even I, am the Lord,
    and apart from me there is no savior.
12 I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—
    I, and not some foreign god among you.
You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God.
13     Yes, and from ancient days I am he.
No one can deliver out of my hand.
    When I act, who can reverse it?”
14 This is what the Lord says—
    your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“For your sake I will send to Babylon
    and bring down as fugitives all the Babylonians,[b]
    in the ships in which they took pride.
15 I am the Lord, your Holy One,
    Israel’s Creator, your King.”
16 This is what the Lord says—
    he who made a way through the sea,
    a path through the mighty waters,
17 who drew out the chariots and horses,
    the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
    extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
18 Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.
20 The wild animals honor me,
    the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
21     the people I formed for myself
    that they may proclaim my praise.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Welcome to the Ramblings of my Crazy Wonderful

First things first. I'm not really a blogger. I really haven't had the time for it, nor the resources. For the past 8 years, we (my husband, kids and I) have lived overseas without reliable internet connection. Well, most of the time no internet connection at all in the middle of the rain forest.

Recently, I've had so much on my heart and mind as I try to navigate my way through many changes and heartaches. I need to somehow get these thoughts out of my head and on to paper, and somehow get some of these thoughts heard.

 Three kids finally asleep. So here I sit, alone in the dark, listening to music, praying to my Father, crying my tears, and learning how to feel His presence in my current situation all over again.

Starting this blog as an outlet, and hopefully an encouragement to others wrestling with some of the same thoughts and feelings. Maybe different circumstances, but the same struggle and the same God who hears us and seeks after us. The same Spirit who makes even the the groanings and longings of our hearts intelligible to Him when words fail us and we don't know how to pray anymore.

No commitments here to keep up with this blog. When I feel the need to post, I will. When I feel the need to let it go and focus my energies elsewhere, I will. No pressure is the only way I can roll these days. Thanks for reading along. Thanks for any words of encouragement you would like to leave in the comments.

With all that it goes. Welcome to the ramblings of this girl's life that I like to call...crazy wonderful!