More than Mere Existence

existExist. That’s where most of us spend our time — in that one word – exist. EXIST – a word that really has nothing to do with who we were created to be at all! EXIST – quite boring really – it makes me think of words like survive, subsist. We exist because He created us – but He didn’t create us to merely exist – He created us to THRIVE and to live lives of purpose. We fail every day to grasp ahold of God’s wondrous plans for our existence. His will for our lives will glorify Him and satisfy us and He has give us His Word and the Holy Spirit to guide us into His perfect will for us. His will is not a mystery – but we do not seek it.

It’s true – we don’t seek His will for us; not because we don’t want to be in His will, but because we are afraid of what He might ask us to give up. We are careful to be good people; to go to church; to give to the poor; to keep the law of the land; etc. and in return we expect God’s favor to rest on our lives. He is a gracious God – and many times He does bless mundane lives. But why would you settle for the mundane when you could have the magnificent? What if He created you to bring hope to the lost? to bring healing to broken hearts? to preach the gospel in a foreign country? to be the image of Christ for your neighborhood?

I worked for Rosewood Hotels and Resorts as Corporate HR Manager in my other life. It was a fairy tale story. I was a temp in their F&B department; then a temp in HR; and the VP of HR saw something in me and gave me the job which helped me put my hubby through seminary. It was a great job! I got to see the world and stay in beautiful places. My friends loved to tell their friends where I worked. They thought it was magnificent – as did I. Some of my friends even enjoyed comp nights at some of the finest hotels and resorts in the world.  But one day God knocked on the door of my heart and said Africa is where He wanted Lloyd and I to serve. I remember telling my boss I was resigning so that we could pursue the missionary life and she asked if I could afford to do it — I told her I couldn’t afford NOT to do it. Just 3 years later we were in Ghana – leading people to the Lord; training pastors and their wives; training community leaders; giving our lives away! 10 years after that we were asked to be Africa Directors for our mission and we get to encourage, equip and empower other missionaries AND I still get to see God’s beautiful creation all over the world! The money is nothing to write home about for sure! – but I am satisfied!  AND I know beyond any shadow of doubt that God is glorified through my life. I am convinced that I am so satisfied because this life that I live is not about me – everyday my life points to and depends upon Him.

I could very well have fought God early on and tried to hang on to my corner office with the beautiful view; to my title and the prestige it brought with it — but I trusted Him enough to believe that whatever He had in front of me would be incredible – more incredible than I could imagine. I decided to believe His word when it says that He can do immeasurably more than my little mind can conceive. I decided to believe that the one who created me knew the purpose He had for me and I decided to live a life in step with Him. I never once questioned His word to me – I knew that it was He who placed me in that job, and I knew that should I ever need a job again He would surely open the door for me. I’m not perfect – not by any stretch of the imagination; but I had enough wisdom to trust in The One who is trustworthy.

Someone reading this is on the brink – God is talking to you and showing you great and mighty things; but you have taken your focus off of the blesser and become fixated on the blessings (material) and are afraid to let them go in order to run hard after what He has for you. I will not tell you that following God is easy – but I will tell you that he loves you and what He has planned for you is satisfying – completely satisfying. Don’t waste time fighting His will for you — be wise enough to trust the God in whom all wisdom dwells. He won’t lead you astray!

Look around you! This world needs the people of God on their posts. The Body of Christ needs to rise up and grab hold of God’s plan. Every believer needs to get in step with God’s will for their lives and allow him to complete the great work that He is doing within us. Take a stand to walk like God’s child today; don’t waste another minute following after the world’s lures — grab hold of Him and His will for you today!  If you want to live a life well spent – and not just exist without purpose – choose the wise way – choose His way!

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15,16)

Tainted Water

Lloyd and I were driving by a well Imagerecently drilled for a local community and spied some children fetching water.  They were pulling together on their rope to get their bucket out – and then came shock – horror!  They were fetching the water in a turpentine can!  Because we live here among this particular people group, we know that no one washed container out with soap and water or bleach or boiling water – they just rinsed it in the local pond until they couldn’t smell the turpentine and then declared it fit for use.  This community clearly needed not only to know that clean water was important but they needed to understand what things would contaminate the water and what was necessary for them to avoid introducing contaminates into their drinking water.  They needed to know that if contaminates were introduced – this water would bring death and not life.

There is a tendency in the Western world to believe that once we have shared the truth of the gospel with people and they have confessed that they believe – we have done our part.  But I am a witness that what you leave behind is a person that believes the truth, but has no idea what the truth is, or what to do with that truth.  They twist it to fit their circumstance, they ignore the parts that they cannot easily understand, some rise to a position of leadership and then exploit the little that they know to their own benefit – – some minister an adulterated gospel and taint the water for entire congregations!  What is the answer???  The answer is to teach the complete gospel.  That means that we go beyond salvation.  We have to teach people to study the word of God so that they can come to know the person of God.  If they can’t read, which is often the case where we live, then we have to be willing to give the time and resources necessary to teach them to read or to provide an audio bible.  After teaching them to read the word or to listen to the word, we must teach them to interact in the word in such a way that it becomes something that they can apply to their life!  When we equip them with these tools – they will know what the truth looks like and are less likely to fall prey to any contaminated word.  When we equip them with these tools then we are preparing them to protect the word that is taking root in their hearts.  When we equip them with these tools – we ensure that the word will bring them to the abundant life that God has planned for them.

But alas – this takes TIME!!  And, be honest, how many of us are willing to give our precious time to another??  I can tell you as one who lives a life of discipleship,  that it is a 24 hour a day commitment.  The women that I disciple call whenever they need to, they visit whenever they need to, they invite me to delve into places in their lives that I don’t want to go!  And I am also a witness – that you might have an 8 week program – but I have yet to disciple a new Christian in only 8 weeks!  Discipleship is life on life – LIFE on LIFE!!  It means (here I go again!) loving someone as much as you love yourself. Would you drink tainted water willingly?! I think not!!

Interestingly – our Savior’s last words to us were that we should go, preach, teach and make disciples.  He really did not say go, preach, teach, and get them saved!  We’ve got to be willing to give our whole lives to the purposes and passions of our Savior and King – He wants them to know Him, He wants them to know the Father, He wants them to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  In the words of my husband, “time has come to stop dunkin’ ‘em and droppin’ ‘em” – we’ve got to start counting them as so dear to us that we not only give them the gospel but our very lives. (1 Thess 2:8)