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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Creating Thoughts From Words



Creating Thoughts from Words.

Today I was pondering 1John. A dear missionary friend had written me from Israel. We are praying for her to be able to come home for a couple of months to settle her affairs a bit more to begin the true journey of living in a little town next to Bethlehem. She has spent the past year there and the Lord has spoken deeply to her heart. Her studies led her to this one phrase, "do not love the world or anything in the world" and she said “the sentences that hang from that have me wanting to understand what 'love' is there in that exhortation.”

I was meditating those verses around chapter 2: 15-17 appreciating that until we sincerely grasp the complete knowledge that Jesus abides IN us, therefore we are all things in Him and all we do stems from His wisdom, power, authority and love, we will continue living with one foot in the world.

I spent half my life looking for people that would fill the void I carried until I met a dear friend who counseled and delivered me through that need, replacing it with the love of Christ.  But today I feel that the intellectual capacity of Who Christ truly is in my life stopped there and it’s time (again) for growth. This morning I ask for new impartation of how to live fully IN and ABOUT His care. To honestly look at the world from an outsider (with no need for it to give meaning or bring purpose, identity or security) believing for change and hoping for the future of the next generation BECAUSE of Who He is. To know that my marriage and ministry will thrive just for the simple reason that it is HIS and not my own.

The Lord asked me this morning “what would you like to do just for one week.” I thought it would be fun to be only a wife, author and housekeeper. We giggled as we both thought of my to-do list for the ministry, however HE asked. I said “I love to create thoughts from words and never seem to find the time anymore.” I realized from that one simple statement that it was my own doing. If I want to spend a bit of my time writing, reading, cleaning or cooking I certainly can because that is how God wired me. Those things I am passionate for on the home-front are just as important as the appetite I hold for the ministry of missions. I can have it all. I may not be able (or even want) to engage in each thing every day, but when I feel the need to lay down one thing for another, it is OK. I’m allowed.

The busyness of the ‘world’ tends to draw us away from who WE are to make us who THEY want us to be. It’s the little things, the subtleness really, of belittling our morality, integrity, belief system and the need for a Sabbath; wearing us down to further the intent of the enemy. The world would sway us to believe we find our strength within ourselves, twisting truth to make evil sound good and exhorting us to think the same; all the while the Word of God becomes watered down and in jeopardy. And in that we can lose our identity in Christ if we don’t beware.
A bible study I was reading by Trinity Center says, “God will remind us over and over of the emptiness of the world's promises. We will soon or later be very disappointed, be betrayed by them. Our participation in God's work in our lives is to agree with God that our lives and true identities are only to be found in Him and to not place ourselves in temptation's way. And our obedience to what we sense God is calling us to, should come out of a trust that God is the only source of life. God does desire that we trust Him and live as if He is who He reveals Himself to be—our ultimate joy and life. As we struggle to live in this world and not be of it, we can place our hope in God, to finish His work in us and to lovingly continue to show us the emptiness of all other "sources" of life.”

God has so much more in store for us than we can even think of or imagine. He has offered us His Son Who came to give us life and that in abundance. Though we love the people of the world just as Christ does, desiring their presence in eternity, we cannot fall into the pressures or demands society puts on our thinking or behavior.  Today I am grateful that Christ is in me, the true hope of Glory and nothing can sway me from that truth.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Thank You Note


This is from last year, but I read it as I was organizing my new book and decided to share:


As I sit coffee in hand, lazily taking in the surroundings of my newly Christmas-decorated home, I am thankful.  Thankful that Maslow’s theory is at work and we have the basic necessities to be comfortable, thankful that we have a little extra to make our home comfy cozy and probably way more clothes than 2 people need. I am thankful for a husband who loves me unconditionally and cheers me on as I run the race Christ has set before me.  I am thankful for parents who raised me to be compassionate and to give out of lack or abundance cheerfully.  I am thankful for a Father who sent His only Son to stand in propitiation for my sins so I may live a redemptive life.  I am thankful for Grace and Mercy and Love.   I am thankful that whether I have a good day or a bad day, I am content as I fall into the arms of refuge each and every night. 

This is all relative to what I see in the world.  Some by choice, most not, there are those that live on the streets, beg on the corners, are mentally incapable of living a normal life or choose drugs and alcohol over food.  There are those oppressed by government, threatened by rebels, soldiers and racists.  Many spend their lives suffering daily bombings, rape and picking through garbage to feed their children and offer them one more day of life.  Others experience affliction from drought and unhealthy environments.

I feel like I’ve seen it all; unfortunately, I know I have not. 
We have, however, been privileged to work with those that have. 

Each missionary God has given us the honor of meeting has seen a different side of sorrow; some within our country and some outside.  Whether they choose to minister in a local church, community, a country or nation of people, their hearts are not their own.  Field warriors bear an uncommon compassion.  The dictionary describes the word uncommon as rare, unusual, exceptional; used to emphasize the great extent of something; concern, consideration, empathy and kindness.  The word compassion in Hebrew is “raham” and means “to love from the womb”; the tender love of a mother for her own helpless child.

(God uses “raham” when He describes himself to Moses in Exodus 34:6.  ‘Then the LORD passed by in front of him (Moses) and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in (raham) lovingkindness and truth’.)

Those called to venture into a world many of us are unaware of, are rare and tender lovers of people. Abounding in ‘lovingkindness and truth’ they share the devotion of Christ with those that don’t know what a Christmas decoration looks like, who couldn’t dream of having food on the table every night or a change of clothes each day.   They hug the little children, wash feet with hidden tears and tell silly stories just to bring a laugh.


I’m thankful that my vision has been increased by these unique elite.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Deep-Breath Moment















It’s been a whirlwind month! We lost our 36-year-old parrot, Sylvester, which was devastating by itself but losing him in the middle of final packing for our yearly month in Kenya was really difficult. (I have to admit I forgot quite a few important items because of my lack of concentration.)  We have been moving so fast that there has been little time to process we are actually here in Kenya; 1 week and already 3 towns.

Today, I awoke in my own sweet home in Bungoma. The sounds of worship from the Bible School fill the yet-dark morning and I lay here in awe of the Father who chose to use me in this way. I don’t do much while I’m here…a little teaching, a little preaching; not like the team that just left after re-painting the Bible School and building Margaret real live cabinets for her kitchen! We visit other missionaries during the day, but come home each night to a comfortable dinner and relaxing evenings with our Kenyan brother and sister.

But, I know it’s where I am to be. The Lord planted this place in my very core as a child and now in the heart of my husband. It is truly a home to us. We live life with the people here. We know the bible students; they come over and hang with us to  share in the Word. Young and old working through living in this world, knowing we are from another. We wave at the kids coming and going past our window to pre-school. We have watched 15 of the kids at the Children’s Home grow from little boys to high school graduates and rejoice as more are welcomed in.

It’s different. The food is unique albeit tasty. Bottled water is used for everything, even the daily habits like brushing your teeth or making tea. Routines are shattered and though I will daily teach at the school it is admittedly more laid back in Africa. We are also spoiled. Hannah & Margaret do most of the cooking, cleaning and washing, though I have my small chores, as any eldest sister!


So, though I am used to a task-filled day when I am at home in the U.S., I find God has brought me here (at least this year) to regroup from a crazy change-filled year. Time to write.  Time to ponder. Time for conversations with Papa planning our upcoming season. It’s a deep- breath moment. Sometimes we just need those.