Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Mission Field At Home

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When you think about the term “missions” or “missionaries” what is the first picture that comes to your mind?  What do you think of?  If you’re like me, and I’d surmise like many people in the world, the scenario that plays in your head goes a little something like this.  A missionary is someone who sells all they have, lives in poverty, and takes the gospel to a third world country – probably not with the best hygiene, living conditions or comforts of home.  You wonder what kind of person leaves all they know to be true and good, and voluntarily puts themselves in such a situation – with the possibility of getting hurt, sick, living in terrible conditions, or ever persecuted for their faith.  Really, who does that!?

Now, let’s talk short term.  What comes to mind when you think of a short term mission trip?  Do you think of a team of crazy people who put themselves in harms way to just share the gospel with a few people for a few days or maybe even a week or two?  Do you wonder what they’re thinking – or how they could possibly make a difference in that short of a time?

Our church recently sent a team on a medical mission trip to Honduras.  The reports that came in were nothing short of amazing, and all God in action.  Just hearing the testimonials of those who went, about the lives that were changed instilled in me the desire to be on the next team that goes. However, I’m getting ahead of myself here.  What really stood out to me was how much they all went for whatever reason(s) they set out to go on this trip – but all came back with their own lives having been touched as a result.  God worked through them in some pretty powerful ways.  However, he also worked through the Honduran people to see life change happen amongst the team as well.  Many prayed a prayer that God would break their hearts for what breaks his.  What a powerful prayer.  God’s love knows no boundaries.

With all of this in mind regarding missions, I’d like to urge you to take a step out in your own back yard.  Look around.  Drive through your community – observe.  My point is this – you do not need to travel to the far ends of the earth to make an impact, to be a missionary in your own community.  I’ve been praying the same or similar prayer. God, break  my heart for what breaks yours.  I want His heart for people.  That can sometimes be a dangerous thing to pray – because He’ll do it…and suddenly you’ll find yourself loving people and making a difference in ways that at one time seem foreign to you.  Don’t be afraid to reach out.  Don’t be afraid to be that living testimony of and for who He is.  Remember that you have the power (through Him) to make a difference and a lasting impact in our world, in your community, and in the lives of those you have the potential to reach out and touch.

The entire message behind this post is to just illuminate the fact that yes, there ARE those called to be long and short term missionaries across the world.  There are, however, many more of us (every human being alive) called to be missionaries right here at home.  Your city may very well be your mission field.  You may very well be the only Jesus some people see.

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Someday When They Are Older – Because I Love Them

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The following is a poem that I found particular touching. The words are not my own, and I do not take credit for them. I have no idea who the author is. I will not say any more about this, as I believe the words will speak for themselves:

Someday when my children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates a parent, I will tell them:

I loved you enough to ask where you were going, with whom, and what time you would be home.
I loved you enough to insist that you save ……your money and buy a bike for yourself even though we could afford to buy one for you.
I loved you enough to be silent and let you discover that your new best friend was a creep.
I loved you enough to make you go pay for the bubble gum you had taken and tell the clerk, “I stole this yesterday and want to pay for it”.
I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your room, a job that should have taken 15 minutes.
I loved you enough to let you see anger, disappointment and tears in my eyes. Children must learn that their parents are not perfect.
I love u enough to let you assume the responsibility for your actions even when the penalties were so harsh they almost broke my heart.
But most of all, I loved you enough to say NO when I knew you would hate me for it.
Those were the most difficult battles

Sharing Love – People Need People

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Something that has been on my heart a great deal is love. As I have experienced even a glimpse at or a fraction of the crazy love God offers us, I am finding myself experiencing an inward transformation. I am finding that the more I personally know of and feel loved, the more I want to share that very same love with people. I am finding a burning desire to reach out to people in love. I want to help people – people I know, but also those I do not yet know. All in all, it all boils down to the fact that people need people. People need to know love. Love brings hope. People need to realize that all hope is not lost. I cannot explain why or how things have changed within me.

It is a hard concept for me to understand, much less put into words. However, what I can tell you is this. As I have said time and time again, my life has been changed directly and indirectly by the actions / love / encouragement from others. It has now become a passion, my life’s mission to love others, and share that same love and hope with them. I think people need to know that they are not alone. People need to know that they matter, and that someone believes in them.

Did you know that sometimes just a smile might make the difference in a good or a bad day in another persons life? It’s true. Simple acts of love / kindness can often make more of a difference in a persons life than you might ever know. I know because I have been the recipient. I know because I am human, and have felt many of these same emotions over the course of time.

I pray that God’s love shines through me like never before. I also pray that He keeps this fire burning bright – that my heart’s cry continues to be for His people – that somehow, He can use me to bring hope to a hurting, thirsty and hungry world. May I, even in small part, be able to let them know they are not alone. There is hope. They are loved.

Having a Vision – Nothing is Too Big!

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Do you have any areas of your life that you just do not know how to deal with? (Raises hand) Yeah, me. I know I do! As I was thinking about a few things in my life that have caused a great deal of stress for me over the course of time, I was realizing many things. One issue I often have is knowing how to tackle a larger project / chore, etc. Sometimes there can be just so many things that need doing, it is hard to even comprehend a starting point – let alone how to accomplish the entire task. I realize many things need doing – just have not had the foggiest clue how to set about actually accomplishing them all.

Well, I had a very minor (but huge to me) revelation. What I have been asking God to show me is HOW to do these things. Show me, God – how to tackle things that seem unsurmountable. I know you know, God – cause you are God. Help! Slowly, but surely, I have been getting ideas. But, one thing that came to mind today is having a vision. I need a vision of what I want the end result to be. If I want a clean house, I need to actually get a mental image of exactly what I want it to look like when I am done. Do NOT look at the current situation, so much as the future outcome.

Also, it is all in baby steps. Using the analogy of cleaning up my house – get an overall vision. But, along with that, I also need a room by room (or even section by section) vision. I see what is there now, but ask God to give me that vision. Then, ask for His direction to accomplish the tasks at hand.

It is the same with my spiritual life. I know that I MUST have a vision of where I want to be, how I want to get there, etc – or I will wander a road of the status-quo forever, and get nowhere. I am getting to a point in my life that I cannot stand sitting back and doing nothing. Forward motion, progress, or whatever you may call it – is paramount to a healthy life – physical, mental, spiritual, etc. If I sit around and just wait on God to show up, sure, He is faithful. He will show up. However, imagine the blessing that awaits by being proactive, seeking His face, and shining His light out to a hurting and thirsty world. God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t love everyone with a passion. It doesn’t mean He doesn’t want a genuine encounter with every single person on this planet. However, he WILL reward His children – those who seek Him.

God is a God of love. I cannot say that enough. He is also a God of grace. His grace is sufficient to cover all my needs. All of them. Not just some of them. ALL! He is a faithful God. When I lose track of my vision, and I need that direction, all I have to do is ask. Often, that is the hardest part – actually remembering that we serve such a loving God, that we just need to ASK for His help. He is ready and willing to help us. It just requires action (asking) on our part.

No matter where you are, no matter what your situation – God CAN reach you. Pray for his guidance and his light. Just as an earthly parent would take care of his/her child, He will take care of you. He will not let you fall by the wayside, unnoticed. You matter to Him. He cares deeply for you. He is a faithful God, and will touch you right where you are. Pray and ask Him to be your comorter. He is faithful, and will hold you. Tell Him that you want an encounter with Him. Ask Him to be real in your life. Learn to live and breath Him. God loves you with a passion, and wants a personal love relationship with Him. Just talk to Him. That is all prayer is. It is talking to God. Tell Him about your day, your hopes, your fears, your goals, your dreams, and anything else you can think of. He will listen. He hears. Open your heart to Him. He will fill it with His joy and His love. All you have to do is ask. Trust Him today.

Okay, so some of that just came purely out of no where. Well, I take that back. God is NOT nowhere! I know that I personally need to hear much of what I just wrote. However, what I can say is this – someone out there needs to know that God thinks you are important. God loves you right where you are. I, literally, did not feel as if I could stop writing until His message was broadcast. Know that you are not alone, and that you are loved. May God be with you today, and as you walk through the future that is your life. Let God hold you. He loves and cares about you.

What Has Your Focus, Has You!

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As I was collecting my thoughts, I started jotting down thoughts, or “little life’s lessons” if you will.

Whatever has your attention and focus has you. Plain and simple. This relates to either the positive or negative things. Whatever it is that you pour your attention towards will ultimately shape your destiny.

To achieve true success, you must get rid of wrong thinking. Learn to think and dream big.  Don’t think you can’t do something because….and fill in the blank.

You must do away with wrong attitudes. Attitude truly is everything. A good attitude promotes success whereas a bad attitude will bring failure.

You also need to check your words. The words that come out of your mouth have the power to bring pain and hurt or the ability to heal. Which do you choose?

Wrong habits need to be elimated also. Your success or failures come from what habits you form.

You need to surround yourself with friendships that promote success. Who you keep as a friend defines who you are.

Be cautious to not harbor unforgiveness. It will suck the life right out of you!

One very important idea is to also get rid of self condemnation. Know that you are forgiven. It’s over – don’t spend another minute dwelling on it.

Clearly, I have been taking a great deal of time to reflect here lately. I realized the need to evaluate my own thoughts, as well as the fact that how I talk, the things I say, the company I keep, etc – are all a witness of who I am. If I choose words that are not glorifying Him, I believe am in direct disobedience of Him and His word for me. As a Christian, I have to conduct myself in a manner that sets me apart from the rest of the world. This does not, by any means, make me better than the next person – it just makes me striving to live a life with God at the center. As Christians, we need to let our actions be a witness for who God IS, not who He is NOT. It is my resolve to be a living testimony of His great love for each and every one of us.

Tomorrow Is Not a Guarantee

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I wrote this on the evening of September 21, 2012
 
Do you have hope for tomorrow?
Do you have faith in something greater than yourself?
Are you one who thinks you are responsible
for all the good or bad situations you walk through?
Do you understand how precious you are,
and how precious life is?
Life is short,
Life is long,
Life is not a guarantee.
No matter who you are,
No matter what you’ve done,
You haven’t gone too far,
and not all hope is lost.
 
For your life is precious,
don’t waste another minute.
 
My greatest prayer for you
is that you give your life today.
For, after all, tomorrow is not a guarantee.
I just pray that you have tomorrow.
I pray your tomorrow comes.
Would you listen to His voice today?
I am praying for your heart and soul.
I pray you put it in His capable hands.
I thank God for His mercy,
 and that he is faitful to give us chance after chance –
time and time again.
Give your life to Jesus,
put it in His hands.
Trust Him with today,
Tomorrow is not guaranteed.
 
For your life is precious,
don’t waste another minute.
 
My only concern is that,
while His grace is unending,
He also gives us free will.
It is a choice only you can make.
I pray you make it while there is still time.
Thankfully, you may have a long plentiful life
full of many years left on this earth.
However, that is not a guarantee.
Should your life not follow the mold you have envisioned,
I pray you trust Him with it.
Now is the time.
My sincere prayers are with and for you.
Do not put off until tomorrow what needs doing today.
Trust Him with today,
Tomorrow is not guaranteed.

 

An Inward Look – Love and Passion

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Right now, I sit and ponder many things. Above all else, I ask myself a question that burns with a passion. Why in the world did I wait THIS long to get real with myself, and before God. Of course He knows all things – everything I went through over the course of my life, leading up to present. But, I ask myself – why now? How come I waited this long to seek Him in a more real way? Having been in and around church growing up, I was that girl who know all the right answers. I knew to do right, and generally did. I had even asked Jesus to be a part of my life at a very early age. However, decisions I made personally allowed me to drift further and further away from my destiny in Him. He never, not once, left me. He was and is still the same God of all creation. He is constant. Me? I allowed myself to drift. Though I cannot really second guess myself, asking why I waited so long – I can not help but wonder how my life and the lives of others would be different. But, I cannot and will not dwell on the past. What I have learned is that I simply must live today with the potential it has. I must look forward to tomorrow and beyond with expectancy – in anticipation of what God is not only capable of, but what He is planning on doing.

My heart is just filled, to what seems to be nearly overflowing. I cannot comprehend or contain how truly amazing God is. More than that, I am finding – as I have mentioned recently – that there is an undescribable love I have for other people. This has not always been the case. There have been many times in my life that my life revolved around me, and what happened in my direct spehere of influence. But, what I am finding – now more than ever before, is that I genuinely care about people. I have asked God to birth in me a passion and love for the people He calls His children – all people. It has been my sincere honor and blessing to be able to reach out to people who are hurting, or who may just need to know that someone cares – and that God is there for them, no matter what. I believe that prayer is a mighty tool in the hands of those who believe in and trust God with their lives. Do not ever doubt the validity or necessity of prayer. From the family who is believing God for specific test results, to the family who has a family member battling disease, to the person who has lost all hope, to pretty much everyone alive – prayer matters. Prayer not only works, it is a necessity.

There have been times in my life that I wondered what life was really all about. I questioned my own worth and usefullness. It was not a matter of planning something drastic, so much as just pondering. However, now – I want my life to mean something. I want my life’s experiences to mean something. If just one person has hope, smiles, or is made to feel like they are not alone, it will have all been worth it. The more I live my life in the light of who God is, how He loves me, and what He has done for me, the more I know my life has meaning. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I am loved unconditionally. That, right there, is sometimes hard to even comprehend.

I know I have said this before, and will likely say it many times again, but to experience even a fraction of His very real love is truly life-changing. Did I just never get that real glimpse before? Did I never have that true life experience before? I don’t know. I can’t really say. However, what I can say is that I have felt His love in such a powerful way, that my life has changed, and is changing before my eyes. Are there still things in my life that I don’t like, and in need of change? Absolutely, without question! However, I firmly believe in both taking baby steps and giant leaps of faith. No matter which is the right season at the moment, know that it is not wrong. If you can only do little things – baby steps, know that you are moving forward. If you feel required to make giant leaps of faith, know again that you are moving forward – progressing towards the things in your heart to do. I see and feel things in my life that are changing all the time. Change is a process. It takes time – sometimes more than others.

Ultimately, I am just grateful to be where I am right now, at this moment – and looking forward to the future. Though I cannot say with certainty what the future holds, I know it will be full of His love, and ways to share that same love with hurting, thirsty and hungry people in this world. His love heals hurts. It mends broken hearts. It brings hope to the hopeless. It brings life. It sustains life. His love is very real, and I am grateful to experience it time and time again.