Posted in Change, Choices, Church planting, Control, Courage, Excuses, Faith, God's Voice, Goodbye, Journey, Kingdom, Missions, Obedience

Controlling the Chaos

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Today is Saturday, the 28th of April 2018. We have a little more than 3 weeks until we move to Bujumbura, Burundi from where we are now, Blantyre, Malawi. Books are randomly scattered all over the floor here in the office, we don’t have many chairs left to sit on, and I’m wondering how can I control the chaos! I need boxes, packing tape, a few more suitcases, and energy! Oh, how I need energy!

I find myself in the usual unusual territory of trusting God for each and every step. It’s a path I am supposed to be accustomed to but each and every time we embark on this journey of faith I have to relearn the steps of faith, for each lesson brings with it its own set of lessons. Every journey in faith is new, every journey of faith is meant to make us grow.

Growth is something I want, but the process that brings growth is what I don’t want. I want instant mashed potatoes growth; the kind that happens when I add some water and “poof,” I have grown! But that’s not the kind of growth that God brings – He brings the kind of growth that requires us to give Him control of everything; to have faith in His process and not our own.

We sing songs saying, “God take control” but the moment He tries to take over, we recoil. In our arsenal of excuses we have many Christian-esque sounding phrases that make our excuses sound spiritual:

“Oh, that’s not wisdom.” Yet we are told in Scripture that the way to wisdom is through foolishness:

1 Corinthians 3:18,19 NKJ  “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their own craftiness;’” 

“I prayed and don’t feel right.” If we were to be led by feelings, we would change course several times a day, it’s faith that we live by, not feelings:

Romans 1:17 NKJ For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’”

“Giving everything away to bring the Gospel elsewhere, well, God doesn’t want me to be poor.” When will we understand that we, believers, are the richest people in the world? Wealth in the Kingdom is not measured by the things we possess but by the One Who possesses us:

Romans 11:33 NKJOh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!”

How will God get the job done if we don’t start with the plans, funds, and popular support that our ambitions require? What I have learned is that God’s plans won’t unfold as I would have planned, nor will He fund them in the way that I would think, and they certainly won’t be popular even among some of those closest to me.

For some reason that escapes me, God wants me involved in the unfolding of His great plan. This alone causes me to wonder about His all-encompassing love, wisdom, and power. Why would He, the Creator, want anyone, let alone me, when He has the ability to get everything done without any help? But He’s chosen to involve Himself in our very small lives because He loves us without measure. Shouldn’t I, then, accept what is assigned to me in the face of this amazing love? Since I am unable to grasp His understanding of it all, I choose today to sit in the passenger seat and go when and where He decides. His driving record is spotless and His reservoir of supply has no limit – I can’t argue with that now, can I?

 

 

Posted in Choices, Fasting, God's Voice

Day 7 – Be Careful Little Eyes

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When I was a young girl living in New York City, I remember there was a toy store not far from the apartment where we lived. In fact, I think if I stood at the front door of our old apartment I could find that toy store, or where it used to be. This toy store had captured me with its displays of beautiful toys. There was an ice cream shop not far from it and I considered it a treat to get an ice cream and walk to the toy store and stare into the display for as long as my parents would let me, at what seemed to me, to be a magical wonderland. I imagined the displays, much like in the movie Toy Story or one of my daughter’s favorite shows Doc McStuffins, would come to life at night. Even after I left the window, my mind kept working, imagining all kinds of scenarios; many of which included me. I “made believe” that I was one of those toys, jumping around in a carefree wonderland.

One year in particular they had a dollhouse in the display that captured me. Everything in it was doll-sized: furniture, clothes, clothes hangers, lamps, a bathtub, and it even had small light fixtures that lit up! I was so captivated by that dollhouse that, in my mind, it became my imaginary home where I spent hours playing uninterrupted in a fairy-tale world where everything was just as it was supposed to be. I spent weeks begging my parents to buy this dollhouse that had captured my affections. “It even has electricity!” I pleaded with every ounce of sweetness that I could muster, but I was always answered with “We just can’t afford it, not now.” My heart was broken for months and I found that the only way I could forget about my dream dollhouse was to stop walking by the toy store, I had to find something else to look at.

As innocent as it was for my heart to be taken by that little dollhouse, it reminds me of how what we allow ourselves to see, influences us. We’ll either be influenced for good or bad by what we give entrance through our eyes and ears which are doorways to our hearts.

Matthew 6:22,23 TLB “If your eye is pure there will be sunshine in your soul. But if your eye is clouded with evil thoughts and desires, you are in deep spiritual darkness. And, oh, how deep that darkness can be!”

What we allow ourselves to see has a powerful effect on us spiritually as well; what we let in is eventually what will come out.

Garbage in = Garbage out

Why are we content to allow our hearts and minds to be used as trash cans when we are designed to carry within us the very Presence of God? I wonder how He feels about those things that He has to share space with in our hearts.

Society tells us, well-meaning friends say that we have the ability to choose how we behave, which is true. What we watch, what we listen to, according to this world, have no bearing on our actions because we can choose not to behave in ways that we have exposed ourselves to by what we see or hear. Indeed, we have the power to choose which path we will take, in fact, God made us with that power to make choices. It’s what we do with that power to choose that will determine the paths that our lives will take (Joshua 24:15).

Whether we like to admit it or not, the choices that we make daily in what we watch, read, see on our device screens all have an influence on us. As an athlete who is training for a marathon knows, performance in the race is undeniably connected not only to the physical training put in before the race, but also to the food that is used as fuel for the race.

How are you fueling your spirit?

Most people like, as with a new diet fad, to have a list of do’s and don’ts to help guide their behaviours. The problem is that God has not designed this life to be lived by law. He has designed life to be lived in relationship with Him as our Father, with us learning how to hear His voice as He guides us along the way.

John 10:27 NLT “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.”

Hearing God’s voice, following His will, isn’t something mysterious or something that God wants to keep from us. His voice becomes familiar to us as we grow in our relationship with Him, telling us which way is the right way to take.

Psalm 119:30 NLT “The teaching of your Word gives light, so even the simple can understand.”

Simply put, the more we choose to spend time with God in His Word, the more familiar His voice will become. The Bible, His written will, becomes real to us as we learn to enter into it and not just read it.

Don’t just wish to be able to hear God’s voice – He’s speaking daily. The question is, will we choose to set aside time to open His Book and listen?