My mama taught me that I shouldn’t tell any person every thing about me – that I should always keep something hidden for just me. My relationship with my Lloyd is so close that I’m sure that I have not kept that teaching very well! (SMILE) But I take great comfort in knowing that there are some things about my life that only God and I know.
Back in 2004, when I first moved to Ghana, there were many who said to me “Wow! You get to live in Africa!” – of course they had no idea about issues with electricity, issues with running water, snakes, scorpions, demonic attacks, and certainly no idea that I wasn’t going to receive a salary. There were others who, when they heard I was moving to Ghana, said “O no! God is going to make you move there!” – of course they had no idea of the JOY I received everyday knowing I was doing just what God wanted me to do; no idea that I was having the privilege of being used to teach/disciple/model Christ’s life so that people came to faith in Christ; no idea that my family’s life would be so enriched by giving ourselves away.
When I heard God’s voice, I knew that He had plans for me before eternity began and that I could be secure in my obedience to Him. Oh Great Joy!! I knew that He was going to keep my family in His care and I knew that He was going to use us in His plan to reconcile the world to himself. Oh Great Joy!! Today, in our current work, I have no doubt at all that what He has worked out for us – He will do, we only have to be available and willing tools! OH GREAT JOY!!
God is trying to speak to you today – He is asking you to do something or showing you some glimpse of your future. Whatever God has placed before you, you can be sure of two things: He will bring it to pass AND It is meant for you. I challenge you to take time to quiet yourself and LISTEN to God’s voice. When my boys were small, my quiet place was my car. I’d get in that car, cut the music off and just drive around in silence and let the Lord talk to me. My call to missions was confirmed in my car! Oh Great Joy!!
LISTEN to Him and you will find that he will tell you hidden things about your life that will not be easily understood by other people, things that God will confirm and sanction.
God knows you and He is aware of every detail of your life. Whatever He has for you to do – He will accomplish it through you. All that you have to do is yield and submit; trust and obey. Listen to Him – and you won’t ever have to make another New Year’s resolution – because your resolve each day will be to live out God’s revealed plan for only you! Enjoy the freedom to walk in God’s purpose for you – even if it something you could never have imagined!
I arose this morning so excited to know that the baby was given birth too! Can you imagine how the shepherds and wise men must have felt in their hearts? This morning I woke up, excitedly and with great submission ALL OVER AGAIN, giving my life; my heart; my skills; my mind; my purpose .. All Of Me to The Father as a gift to lift up the name of Jesus Christ … ALL OVER AGAIN! Grateful this morning. Thankful that the Father gave His son for me! I can’t repay Him and I certainly will never be able to thank Him enough! I can only commit once again to give Him my whole life for the rest of my life. Thank you, Father, for Jesus – who is the Christ; Lord at His birth! BEST GIFT EVER!
Bob Carlisle wrote a song back in 1996 that was made popular by Donnie McClurkin, “We Fall Down”. The song talks about a person discovering the grace of God in His failures – realizing even people of God made mistakes and the grace of God covered them and gave them a new start. We all have different testimonies – but all of us have made our share of mistakes – we have all said and done things that we later regretted and as we take a backwards look at our lives, we know it was the grace of God that kept us. As for me – I am amazed at how the Lord has kept me in spite of me! My testimony is that I faltered, but because of His grace – it was never fatal!
God does not delight in our mistakes but He delights in our desire to obey Him. Even when we falter, He sees our hearts and knows whether we are truly seeking His will or seeking to satisfy ourselves. Think about it with this statement – powerful in every way ….
WHEN you desire to obey Him
When YOU desire to obey Him
When you DESIRE to obey Him
When you desire to OBEY Him;
He will honor your obedience with His presence and power in your life!
Sometimes we step out in front of God; moving before we get his direction about something that seems urgent. What does stepping out in front of God look like? It looks like: getting something off our chests when we should’ve keep quiet; taking out a payday loan when we need to manage the funds we have; buying that sale item when we don’t really need to be spending; eating that last piece of pie when we know we don’t need it; getting into a relationship that we know is ungodly; compromising our morals because it seems like an easier way; etc. When we move outside of His will, we are failing to exercise our right to rely on The One who will always guide us to the best action and decision for our lives. When we fail to follow His lead – we will miss out of His best for us.
The great thing about being a Christ follower is that because we are His chosen ones – we have access to His grace. Because we have access to His grace — we always have access to a course correction. We might have to go back to the drawing board — but He will be there waiting to redirect us – to get us headed in the right direction. He knew we were going to muddle things; He knew we couldn’t keep His commandments without His intervention; He knew that we would botch even His simplest commands — so, in His great love, He sent us a Savior! He gave us unlimited access to His grace! When we mess up He has a giant eraser AND a beautiful paint canvas! How awesome is that?!
Here’s the deal — we all make mistakes; but He, in His infinite kindness towards us, will always be willing to give us a do over. We can rest assured that as we trust in Him and seek to obey Him (seek to OBEY Him!); He will honor us with His direction and His presence in our situation. Take a step back from your situation; your temptation; your stressor — He will gladly guide you in the right way allowing you to start over because it gives Him great joy to bless your life when you are leaning on His understanding and not your own.
Our mistakes do not have to be fatal errors — we really can start over! CTRL/ALT/DEL — reboot — start again.
The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way. (Psalms 37:23)
On this the 4th Sunday of Advent – I thought it appropriate to talk about the power of love.
Life happens – and sometimes it is filled with hurt, pain and disappointment. Broken relationships and shattered dreams can leave us full of worry, angst and skepticism. We avoid people and situations in order to protect ourselves; but really we are missing out on what God has for us. As believers in Christ we are admonished/exhorted and even commanded to be filled with the Spirit daily. If we allow our past experiences to fill us with these destructive feelings we block our hearts from being filled with the Holy Spirit. Our hearts cannot be filled to the full with Him if we insist on holding on to the hurts of the past.
We all have pasts – but the beauty of Calvary is that we get to live as new creatures whose sin has been cast into the sea of forgetfulness; as far as the east is from the west. We not only neglect the fullness of Christ in us when we hold on to our pasts — we also neglect people around us who would benefit from His love flowing through us. If you make a determination to forgive those in your past who have hurt you, God can and He will trade beauty for those ashes — He can and He will restore what the locusts have destroyed.
I have had deep hurts in my life – and they left gaping open holes in my heart. I was on my way to becoming unloving and unlovely. I didn’t want anyone to close to me because I wanted to ensure that my heart was safe. I thank God for my father and my beloved, Lloyd, because they loved me and helped me to get to a place where I was willing to give God my heart. I made the decision to trust God with those past hurts and I forgave those who breached my trust. I really forgave them — I hold nothing against them and have no animosity in my heart; in fact I pray for them to experience the blessing of God as I have.
Open your heart to receive and walk in God’s abundant and powerful love because He can and He will turn it all around for your good and for His glory. God is love. God loves you more than you can fathom. Ask Him to help you to receive His love and then ask Him to fill you to the full with His love, leaving no room for anything else in you. He will make you complete in Him. He will plant your roots deeply in His love and make you new. Let His Love Fill You! His love is true – unfailing – pure – real – powerful. Accept His love – and He will give you a brand new life.
Working in the world of global missions\international ministry/missionary service – whatever you’d like to call it 🙂 is a grand privilege. We work in the power of God to present the world with the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ! Our boss is the most powerful boss on the planet; the most virtuous; the most fair; the most loving boss in the entire world. He is loving; He wants all of us to succeed; He has equipped and called us in specific ways! He created the world and He has accomplished more than we will ever accomplish AND He will bring to pass more than we can ever hope to do in our own power! Perfect — He is absolutely perfect!
But there is, as always with humans, a little bit of a catch. We love to give honor; adoration; credit; distinction to others who have been in the same line of work – as if something that they’ve done is beyond us. It’s normal – its what we do; its what I do! We name things after those who went to the mission field 100s of years ago; we compare one another to those who have laid their lives down for the gospel and gone on to glory; we remind ourselves of what our predecessors have done. Normal ….
The truth of the matter is there was but ONE who counts as the initial missionary – He is our Christ, His name is Jesus. He left His home and throne to come down to this earth and ensure that a fallen world would be reconciled to The Creator. He is the ONE who shed His blood – and only His blood is worthy of any praise and adoration. For those of us who have believed on Him and have since been called to a life on the mission field (Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, or the uttermost parts of the earth) — we all will benefit the same; whether we were called 100s or years ago or just landed in our new place of service.
We just better be careful! There is nothing that we do that will esteem us above Him. There is nothing that we will do that will esteem us above one another. Didn’t you believe on Him to be saved?! Didn’t you answer the call out of your own love and obedience to God? Didn’t you say “Yes” because you were willing to work for His glory and not your own? Aren’t you ready to accept whatever it is He greets you with in glory, even if its not the same as Jim Elliot, Ray Buker, Mark Young, Amanda Berry Smith, George Leile, Grover Cooper or even Lloyd Chinn?!
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.--Romans 8:38-39