Glorifying Him With My Life

I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.

For the Sake of the Call; I Give Myself Away; and Here Am I Send Me are three of my favorite songs of all time. They speak of laying down the SELF life for the SELF-LESS life.

I’ve known some who are called to this life of service and sacrifice but choose to  quit before finishing the task. Being in this life (the God life/the Called life/the life that is all about Him) is not always easy. The called life means that you make a commitment to denying yourself every day – EVERY DAY! (and sometimes at many instances throughout the day).

The called life means that you have to persevere when:

  • the people that you are serving treat you with disdain
  • when those that say they are in your corner cannot be found
  • when the joy seems to be waning
  • when you feel all alone

There have been times when facing one or several of these things that I have been tempted to just stop. I answered the call to ministry, but the circumstances of life can eat up your heart to serve much like the weeds that eat up seeds planted in shallow soil. I have found that as I travel the ministry road it helps me to remind myself that I’m not alone at all — He has blessed me with everything that is necessary for life and godliness; He has created me for good works, so that I might walk in them; He has promised that if I am faithful, I will receive the crown of life.

Trials – they do come – but He has already overcome them, so there is no cause for me to worry; it will work out for my good because I love Him and have been called by Him. When I encourage myself with His promises, I can continue in ministry THAT day. Yes! I have to do it every day. I want to honor Him with my whole life, and at the end, when I stand before His judgment seat – I want to hear Him say ‘well done’. I refuse to live a life rejecting the great plans that God has for me; I am embracing His best for me and, by faith, I am committed to complete the task that He has placed before me – even when He changes the script, I will commit to finish well. (and some of you might know from experience, his script changes are not easy!)

God has done His part by redeeming me through the blood of Christ; and equipping me with His Holy Spirit. I must not neglect my part to submit to the difficulties, the setbacks, the disappointments and the pain and look ahead to the day when I’ll meet Him face to face. I am determined to allow Him to develop within me a heart that can stand and I am committed to ask Him to move in HIs power and ignite the passion in me to live for His pleasure and for ultimate joy! I won’t give out – I won’t give in!

I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.

John 17:4

Passion Week 2017

Passion WeekFrom Denver Seminary’s president, Dr. Mark Young.

Let’s make Passion Week a meaningful time of reflection and prayer that takes us deeply into the suffering of our Lord and the glory of His victory over sin and death. To do that, I invite you to join me in a guided reading from passages found in chapters 12-20 of John’s Gospel.

  1. Set aside time each day to carefully read and reflect on the passages listed below.
  2. Imagine yourself in each scene that John describes.
  3. Think about the people who were present in the scene and reflect on the significance of the highlighted statement to each of them.
  4. Ask yourself: How does that statement impact my life today?

Sunday, April 9
John 12: 12-19
“Look how the whole world has gone after him.”

Monday, April 10
John 12: 20-36
“Sir, we would like to see Jesus.”

Tuesday, April 11
John 12:37-43
“For they loved human praise more than praise from God.”

Wednesday, April 12
John 12:44-50
“Whoever believes in me . . . believes in the one who sent me.”

Thursday, April 13
John 13:1-17
“Having loved his own . . . he loved them to the end.”

Friday, April 14
John 19: 16-37
“It is finished.”

Saturday, April 15
John 19:38-42
“. . . they laid Jesus there.”

Sunday, April 16
John 20:1-18
“I have seen the Lord!”

There is no greater truth for the Christian than the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. John Piper sums it up well, “The best news of the Christian gospel is that the supremely glorious Creator of the universe has acted in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection to remove every obstacle between us and himself so that we may find everlasting joy in seeing and savoring his infinite beauty.” Amen!

Mark Young
President, Denver Seminary

http://www.denverseminary.edu/passion-week-2017/

 

Trust Him with ALL

proverbs-3-5-and-6On January 17, 2017 –  I was involved in a serious car accident with my sweetheart.  I was driving and went unconscious while behind the wheel for several minutes.  The car was going down the highway at about 70MPH.  Lloyd had to maintain his composure while: 1)  hoping that his unconscious wife was alive ; 2) having thoughts of what his life (and his children’s lives) might be like if she was not alive; 3) realizing that he would have to save our lives; and 4) realizing that no matter what he did, only God could save us.

The King of Kings was with us that night for sure because Lloyd says the muscle in my right leg relaxed which let the car start to slow down while he grabbed the wheel.  We crashed into a traffic sign instead of into oncoming traffic.  Eric, an off duty Colorado police officer, was behind us and stopped to help Lloyd to navigate the madness – which was also wonderful because the calls to 911 kept saying “call failed”.  God kept Lloyd and I here and I just cannot thank Him enough!

The reactions of our friends/family were varied:”God has something planned for you!”; “It wasn’t time for you to go!”; “God extended His grace to you!”; “God granted His grace to us!”; “God looked out for us!”; “Thank God!”; “Get to the doctor!”; “REST!”; “Don’t ever travel again!”; Or in some cases – just tears or looks that needed no words.

My heart and Lloyd’s heart have been running through a gamut of emotions.  We are grateful!  We’ve been concerned! We have had some fear that has passed.  But the most amazing thing is that we have felt great passion for our callings toward the gospel being spread across the earth.  We have felt a burning urgency to carry out some of the things that God has placed in our hearts in recent days.  We have found ourselves worshipping everywhere we go because that has been one of the most effective tools against the fear and concern.  Gratefulness. Concern. Fear. Passion. Urgency. Worship! Yes – worship has been one of the most effective tools against the negative thoughts or feelings – I can see what Paul and Silas felt at midnight!  We lived to see another new mercy. This mercy – we truly can say we’ve never witnessed before!  Nothing in us has us wanting to stop doing what God has called us to do.  This latest experience has only made us both want to dive deeper into it and get it done with more passion; more excellence; and as soon as we can do it.

What about you?  As you live your life for the King of Kings are you acting as if your eternal life will be lived right where you are?!  I want to encourage you to live it like every moment just might be your last where you are.  None of us know when our last moment is –  I’m not saying that you might die; but I am saying that you might be moved!!  You just don’t know!  If the Lord tells you to share the gospel with someone – Open Your Mouth Today!  If the Lord tells you to write a book – Put The Pen To The Page Today!  If the Lord tells you to get under someone’s discipleship – Make The Move Today! If the Lord tells you to get a doctorate degree – Start The Program Today!  If God makes a way for you to show some hospitality – do it Today!  Don’t Procrastinate!  Don’t Hesitate!  Don’t try to fit God’s plan into your schedule.

If you’ve made the decision to call Him the Lord of your life – just go ahead and trust in Him completely and move your own understanding of things out of the way.  Relinquish your own idea about what might be right about how to carry things out over to Him and believe that He really will work it out in the way that is best for you!

As for Lloyd and I,  YES – God has asked us to do some pretty radical things in the last couple of years and we’ve done most with very little hesitation; but we’ve piddled around on some that aren’t so comfortable or easy.  This latest experience has just told us to go on and Do It!  He’s Ordering our Steps.  He’s Making the Path Plain.  He’s Got Us!  In Fact — He Has Got It All!!  Nothing that He’s asking of us is too hard for us because all of our strength is in Him and all of our purpose rests in Him and our life is hidden in His Son!

In fact, the only reason we even ARE is Him!

Proverbs 3:5,6  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

 

 

Serving in Sorrow

Jesus WordleThere are some things about the culture of the world that are the same across boundaries; across ethnic differences; across color lines –  and selfishness is one of those things.  99.9% of us think of ourselves first especially when we are in difficulty – we want people to see us and care for us and we want a break from giving ourselves away.  Unfortunately, that is not the way the call of God works.

Those who we are discipling need teaching and direction.  Those who are hurting need love and compassion.  Those who are lost need the path to our Lord, Christ. Those who are in despair need to be given a picture of hope.  And wouldn’t you know it! – the children of God; those redeemed by Jesus Christ; we are responsible always for giving our lives, hearts, love, compassion, truth, hope, peace, joy – to the world.  Even when we ourselves are in need!

In recent months I’ve lost both my nephew and his mother, my oldest sister.  I’ve also had some health challenges that have been both an enigma and an inconvenience.  People who love me are constantly telling me to rest; to take some time away; to take a break – and I am giving my mind and heart times of rest, but not neglecting my calling. AsI read God’s Word and look at the beheading of John, I know that Jesus was retreating from danger and opposition; but I in light of my recent losses, it appears to me that my Savior is also grieving the loss of His cousin and ministry forerunner.  However, even in this time of struggle and bereavement He continues in His ministry, allowing His compassion for the world to reign!

I want to be like Him! So … I too will keep going; keep pressing; keep loving; keep listening.  I do have to readjust some things – I couldn’t travel to Africa for several months; I cannot drive; I have to keep my stress down – but it doesn’t mean that I cannot show love and be a missionary right where I am.  Inviting my neighbors into my home; speaking words of grace to the cashier; showing love in ways that speak to my mother and my sister in our family’s great grief.

I cannot allow the troubles of this world or the pain that is piercing my heart to keep me from carrying out my calling.  It is my privilege and duty to be God’s love in a lost world!  I need His compassion and peace in my heart – so I’ve got to be ready to give His compassion and peace away!  God Himself will strengthen me and He will also be The One those in need see!  I’m His chosen one even in my own times of trouble.  My duty is to Him – ALWAYS!

His disciples came and took away the body and buried it; and they went and reported to Jesus.  Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. Matthew 14: 12- 14

Choose to Live Like An Overcomer

John 16 33

No matter what is happening in this broken world, I am an overcomer. As believers in Christ the adversity, grief, heartache, woe and injustice that we experience is to be expected. We are not citizens of in this earthly realm; our home is in heaven .  We are foreigners here, aliens on a journey. It would stand to reason that we will experience enmity, bigotry, bias, hate. The world will not embrace us nor will its systems treat us with fairness. Sadly, many of us, who are citizens of heaven, have forgotten our place and are treating other citizens of heaven in ways that we should not — but I digress.

It can be difficult to muster the strength to hold on to joy and peace.

But,  I have chosen to hold on to joy and peace. 

As we grieve the things that happen to us on this earth, we can rejoice that we are not alone nor or we forsaken! We have a great High Priest who is acquainted with the troubles that we face. He is limitless in His mercy and grace and He invites us to cast our cares upon Him. We are His chosen children – He loves us and wants what is best for us. You see, the world wants us to believe that all is lost, that our case is hopeless, that the battles will never end, that we are less than deserving of a peaceful life. But God has told us over and over again in His word that this is simply not true. We will overcome! We can hold on to joy  because our hope does not lie in the things of this world or in the systems of this world, but in The One who cannot and will not fail; in The One who loves truly and perfectly; in The One who is our all! 

Much like those three Hebrew boys who were in the burning furnace, we have to make the choice to believe that there is One that sees us, hears us and will deliver us in His own perfect time and in His own way. We have to choose to embrace His truth – He is our peace.

Yes, life can be painful; it can be unfair; it may even be discouraging. Sometimes all of it feels so wrong! But don’t lose sight of the truth. Nothing happening is contrary to what our Lord has spoken to us because He has foretold that the trials would come; but more than that He has revealed a future victory that no world system will be able to snatch from us. The troubles of this world can touch my flesh and they can prick my heart, but I will not allow them to swallow my heart and He will not let them cover my soul in darkness.  I am an overcomer — and I intend to live like it.

I encourage you to make the choice to believe His truths no matter what is happening around you so that you can experience his peace that man cannot understand. The one who dwells within you is greater than any issue that you might face. Don’t lose heart – in the end, you will win! Yes! In the end He will reign!

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)