Friday, September 26, 2014

Sow Your Seeds

"Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty.....I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well." Teddy Roosevelt

Has anyone else ever noticed the numb complacency that wants to settle over our lives like a heavy blanket? As soon as we sit back and get comfortable, it creeps in. We forget what it felt like to truly come alive. It becomes easier to shut our eyes and our ears to the hurting community all around us. And we let entertainment fill our days and lull us to sleep until we are contained like sleeping giants. 

What is it that we should be doing? 
Ephesians 4:7-13 MSG:

He climbed the high mountain, He captured the enemy and seized the booty, He handed it all out in gifts to the people......
Gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor-teacher to train Christ's followers in skilled servant work in the body of Christ.

God has given us ALL gifts, treasures. He took the extravagant treasures back from the enemy and gave them to us. They were woven in to the very fabric of our being at the moment of our creation. These gifts are the seeds we are meant to sow during our short time on earth. They are our potential to change our world, the potential to send ripples of change that will never stop until the end of time. But, the enemy prowls around like a hungry lion, seeking whom he may devour. Looking for potential seeds to gobble up before they are sown. He knows exactly what those gift seeds are worth and he knows their power. After all, he had them in his possession for quite some time. 

I feel myself put on the mantle of who I was created to be when I  make the choice to use those gifts for God. I offer myself to God for the front lines of the battle for changing lives. When I am hooked up to God's voice and operating in the spiritual gifts he has given me, it is uncomfortable, painful and scary. But it wakes my warrior spirit up and I become fully alive. A fearsome thing for the enemy to behold.

So, this is the wake up call. Wake up sleeping giant! Rise up. Sow those seeds! Realize that you (yes YOU!) have the very gifts, placed in you by God, that this world is desperate for. Don't you know who you are?
You are:
The answer to someone's prayer
More than a Conquerer
An Overcomer
Salt and Light
Firmly Rooted
Greatly Loved
Full of Power, Love and a Sound Mind

Yes, these things are for you and your family. But they are also for the greater good around you.     

Now, get out there and    Change     Your     World!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Finish the Puzzle

Have you ever started a 1,000 piece puzzle? It is overwhelming. You dump out all the tiny pieces and your first thought is "this is too much." You almost want to scoop all those itty pieces back into the box, close the lid, and stick it on a shelf in the closet. That's how it feels when we focus on the hurting people around us. Whether we are overseas, or in our own neighborhoods, we bump into too much need. It can be so overwhelming that we just shut down and shut it all out. But, what if you shift your perspective?

Instead of focusing on helping someone get all 1,000 pieces together (who has time for that?), what if you took time to see what they really need? Perhaps they just lost their lid. You know, the lid with the completed puzzle picture on it? Maybe they just need you to take them to God's Word to remind them of the completed picture. Another might just need you to help them get the edge pieces together-- to give them a starting place. For others, you might have the privilege of putting the final piece in as they take off into God's life for them. 

What I'm saying is, just take it one person at a time. You don't have to be their savior. Jesus already filled that role. You just have to get involved. Getting involved might look like this:

Or this:

Or this:

It might mean a meal, a hug, an encouraging text reminding them of who they are in Christ, being silly and laughing with them, and on and on. Love takes many forms. Involvement takes many forms. Do what you can. Don't shut it out. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Struggles On the Way

Scars and struggles on the way. But with joy our hearts can say. Yes our hearts can say.....

This Matt Redman song has been running through my head today. This last week has been a struggle. Ever feel like the enemy has put a nice, big target on your back? Suddenly you are under fire from all sides? We thought we were handling the pressure of family life, work life, and mission work life ok. In fact, I recently had a friend ask me how I was fitting it all in: Skype calls, U.S. non-profit business meetings, Guatemala non-profit business emails, interviews, buying plane tickets, booking hotels, cooking, housework, and homeschooling. I flippantly said that God was just working it all out and we were flying above it all. Then suddenly, this weekend, we are yelling at each other in the car. Fighting about this business issue and that business decision.

So now, we are both offended and in heavy silence mode. But I decide to be the bigger person and offer him a piece of gum from my purse. He likes gum. He asks for it ALL the time. But he sticks his nose in the air and declares that he doesn't want any gum....... until 4 minutes later when he has now decided in his own, good time that he wants me to dig for gum. Well, no sir buddy. You had your chance. I am no longer being the bigger person. I am now in full stubborn toddler mode. Driving 70 mph down the highway, my husband is trying to grab my purse out of my lap for the gum I refuse to give him while I'm holding onto it like an old lady on the subway and strongly considering throwing all the gum out the window and onto the turnpike so he can't ever have any again. Stop laughing. It's not funny to me yet.

I guess my point is that when you're stepping out in faith, it turns into a painful growing process. I don't know why that should surprise us. It makes sense that to be able to handle big things, we need to have a very strong character. And we know what the Bible says about how to go about getting one of those. 

James 1:3 
because you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.
Romans 5:3-5 
We glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

I really want perseverance, character, and hope. So, I will continue to trust God as he lets us be squeezed. Because I never know what is in that heart of mine until it is squeezed. And once I see the gunk, it's easy to ask God to wipe it off and build me up in that area. You are faithful, God, you are faithful.