Thursday, July 25, 2013

Jesus is Not American But He Knows All His Sheep

  When a church has turned from sola scriptura, the journey can go in any direction. This is where I find myself.

  I penned a letter, a plea for the church to open its eyes. It addressed my concerns for sound doctrine in the pulpit, biblically sound worship, and unity. This plea garnered very little response and as much as I desired for the church to turn around, I knew my feeble cry would be more about my obedience than a David versus Goliath victory. However, one response was quite interesting. 

  Apparently, my stealth ninja skills are amazing because even though I have been at this church for almost 6 years, some people do not know me from Adam (excuse the cliche). One older gentleman (who I was in a theology class with) asked a friend of mine if she knew this letter writer. He wanted to know my status as an American citizen. Was I an illegal immigrant? Was I anti-American? 

  Here is what I said that got him in such an uproar:
 "Is not the Creator worthy of being worshiped in Truth above country? Above holiday? Above everything?"

  It should be a concern when we use time that is supposed to be dedicated to worship of our mighty, holy, awesome God to glorify other things but all that he heard was, "America stinks." That was a huge leap especially when seen in context with the rest of the letter.

  Most certainly we are to give honor to whom honor is due but does that mean we do it in worship time? Is God not a jealous God?

  I am blessed beyond measure that God put me in America. Just one step outside of this country and it is clear that there is freedom and abundance here. My family members have served this country as well, some still suffering the wounds from it. No one can discount that. But, understand this, God is God and He is first above all. His hand is protecting all His sheep, American or not, and all His sheep are one in Christ. Submitting to that can only result in making me a better American, a better woman, a better wife, a better mother, a better anything (except sinner).

  How can one not glory in a Shepherd that loves His flock so dearly? He knows us by name when others even in our own city or church do not. He knows our every concern right down to the number of hairs on our head. He even knows the smallest, weakest, and least valuable in the world's eyes, listens to her every cry, and answers. He does not forsake us. That is above and beyond any wealth or freedom and all my soul knows to do is pour out praise to Him.

Friday, July 19, 2013

That Could Be An Apple Or It Could Just Feel Like One

  I'm back!

  I flew away to my mission trip last week and just got back. Every year I go on this trip I come back feeling so shameful for all the petty things I have complained about and all things I take for granted. A baby died while we were there of anemia of all things. I met mother after mother who had a sick child and family after family that worked just to survive each day. They were not trying to pay off their I-phone bill or buy the coolest shoes. They were gathering what food they could grow, washing what little they had on rocks, and doing it all on their own. 

  How could God want to use me, a person so full of pride and greed? But, in Christ I am not that person. In Christ, I am not American or a mother or a wife. In Christ, I am part of Him with a purpose. That purpose is to spread the gospel, to love others, and serve them.

  My Spanish is very poor. I can only speak and understand very little but even though I could not talk much with the people we served, I found my brothers and sisters in Christ. We did not need many words because what we had in common was The Word. The day we left, it took everything to keep from hanging on to each other and I am not a touchy, clingy person. 

  Flying back into the US was sad. How can I keep the momentum going and not get caught up in the world again? How can I keep the vision of Christ? How can I serve continuously with joy?

  This morning I have to pick up my foster daughter from respite. She could not go with us because it was just not possible due to the nature of our work and safety issues. She was not happy to go to respite so this is probably the testing of what I gained. Is it fruit or is it just feeling? Only God knows and only time will tell. Please let it be fruit!

John  12:24

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I Am Fine and You?

  Amazing how a little obedience changes things quickly. 

  When God puts something on your heart to do and you take it to mean that you need to pray for someone to step up and do it, you get worn down faster than the welcome mat at Chik-Fil-A during lunch hour. The call would pop into my head and my response was, "Yes Lord, someone needs to do that so please send a strong, solid person that will take care of it right away."
  Ahhh, personal rebellion...gotta love a heart that tries to operate on its terms. Nope! Gotta rebuke it, repent, and be obedient. Why I have to add all these extra steps to my life, I'll never understand. 

  The call was to confront one straying from Truth. If you know anything about me, you know I am as confrontational as a swinging door. I am also a big scaredy cat of making grown-ups mad (children are a different story). Top all those winning qualities with the fact that I prefer to be in the background in a corner and you have an amazing leader - NOT! 

 Week after week, the burden gnawed at me. I used to boast that the Lord had given me the gift of being able to go to bed and go right to sleep but even that was taken from me. My stomach hurt. My nails were chewed to nubs and I was grumbling to others. I felt awful, looked awful, and started acting awful. 

  Unfortunately, the time for my mission trip is drawing near and wham! It struck me that I might need to back out. How can one serve with an unclean conscious? You can't. Backed into a corner, my view of the situation became clear. It was me. I had to respond. I had to step up. There was no strong, solid person being called. They had their own calls to answer, this one was mine. 
  So...I did it. It was not even close to resembling David standing before Goliath with a slingshot or Esther going before the king but it was obedience. The whole time I was wondering if it was appropriate to pray that I did not wet my pants or vomit in front of others but, ultimately, I determined that if it meant God would be glorified I had to do it and be okay with the fact that I would probably be humbled in the process. Oh, the peace that flooded in afterward!

  If you learn nothing else from this blog, learn to obey God and do it quickly! Few things in life I take very seriously because in life, most things are temporary but God's holiness is very serious and it is eternal. Obviously, I need to be even more serious about it so I respond the first time.

  "Holy" has become a church word that is void of meaning. We say it but we do not think about it. How can we get back its meaning? Its reverence? One way is by being obedient when you are called to do something. Now please excuse me while I go study the lesson I have to teach on this mission trip about submission to teaching and correcting others in love. Coincidence? I think not.

Monday, July 1, 2013

I'm Not Fine, Thank You & How Are You?

  When I read 2 Corinthians 11, I wonder how Paul bore up under all the things he faced on a daily basis. Of course, he had faith in Christ that sustained him but moment by moment, did his flesh sometimes have a mutiny?

Did he sometimes hide away and cry? Probably not.

Sometimes it is easy to imagine him haggard and worn down saying the words in this chapter, or was he more like a concerned father? 

  Either way I wish I was more like Paul...but I am not. It is only a magnificent Lord that would tolerate such a sorry servant and continue the arduous task of sanctification.

    Today I leave you with words from someone more like him. This is from the missionary Amy Carmichael:

Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,
I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star,
Hast thou no scar?

Hast thou no wound?
Yet I was wounded by the archers, spent,
Leaned Me against a tree to die, and rent
by ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned:
Hast thou no wound?

No wound, no scar?
Yet as the Master shall the servant be,
And, pierced are the feet that follow Me;
But thine are whole: can he have followed far
Who has no wound nor scar?