Life Happens

life-happens

It is much easier to recognize what is going wrong in our lives, than it is to rejoice for the good.  I don’t know why that is, but it seems that our natural bent is to complain about what is happening to us rather than recognize what God is doing in the difficulty.  I’m sure that I have been guilty of that in my own life.  As we come out of the Christmas season and I have seen people returning those precious Christmas gifts complaining that the gift didn’t work; was the wrong size; didn’t meet with their liking; etc. — I could only think about how dissatisfied we are most of the time!  Just like we forgot that someone sacrificed something in order that we might have that gift; we forget that He sacrificed all so that we might have eternal life.

When Lloyd and I moved to Ghana in 2004 we didn’t speak the language; we couldn’t eat the food; we didn’t know the rules; we didn’t understand the culture.  People stole from us; people told us that they did work that they didn’t actually do; the car kept breaking down; pipes kept bursting (once so badly that we had to fetch water and bring large barrels into and around the house for use); bugs were getting into everything; the ceiling fell in; malaria happened; dysentery happened; etc.   When all of these things happened – we were careful to encourage one another to rejoice at how God was going to fix it for us; how He was going to use us to be Him to the people we were trusting to fix the problems; how our headaches would bring Him glory.  Lloyd and I would go into our room and inspect one another – miraculously we found that neither of us had scars from a thorny crown; holes from nails in our wrists or feet; and not even a spear in our sides!  Incredible isn’t it!  None of it was Calvary! We believed every time that He would give us the strength to bear it – and He did!!  Time and time again – He brought us through all of it.

My dear friend Mike Pickett wrote a song that serves to remind me daily of what it means to count all of it as joy.  The lyrics say,

“You are the salt of the earth, a preservative for some. You may be the ONLY reason destruction hasn’t come. If while following God you find yourself in the midst of circumstance; you may have been sent there to let someone know that today may be the last chance to walk in righteousness; holiness; love; peace; and joy in the Holy Spirit of God”

So, yeah — you may be driving a car that is a little older than you like, and it may require a lot of repair; but are you taking that opportunity to be salt and light to the person who will repair the car?  You might be facing a different trial everyday in your health; but are you being salt and light to all who visit you and to the doctors and nurses that serve you?

This life on this earth is temporal!  Don’t lose sight of that!  Our home is in heaven – a place where all will be well!  As for the “momentary light afflictions” you WILL face down here — count it as joy AND count it as an opportunity for you to be His glory in this fallen world.  Know that as you face each hardship with joy – you will have more patience and endurance to face the next thing.  Being used for His glory in the midst of it all is just the icing on the cake!  I like icing and the thought of being icing on His cake is an incredible gift to my heart!  May the Father move me to trust Him in the midst of it all and may He bend my heart toward full joy and the hope of my eternal hope.  Remind yourself in the midst of difficulties and hardships  — It Ain’t Calvary!

The Miracle Worker

Reading the book of Matthew. I got to chapter 11 and what an amazing picture of those who see God’s power but still will not believe!

Verse 20 says “they had seen miracles, but were not moved by them. ‘Then Christ began to denounce the people in the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent and change their hearts and lives.

The text does not tell us that they did not marvel; nor does it say that they did not believe in the power that was displayed, but it is clear that these miracles did not serve as something that made them turn from their sinful ways.

Here’s a question: What if there were believers in those cities in which Jesus had done miracles? Did believers stand up and point to the need to believe in Jesus’ based on the miracles? What If?!?!?!

Miracles are seen today in amazing ways that bring God glory! Well, they are supposed to bring God glory – but do they?!?! I am a testimony myself of what miracles look like and what they can do to the believer’s heart. For me, my faith is bigger!, my trust is even more true!; my words to the lost are even more common – they have to know Him and believe Him so that their lives will be changed and their hearts will be more pure … that’s why I’m always opening my mouth.

When you’ve experienced God’s amazing power yourself, have you told the lost around you about The One who did it? Did you take time to offer them The God who never leaves nor forsakes? OR, Did you just testify about your own favor from Him and let them call on Him without ever believing? What about your own heart? Do you testify about your relationship to Him? or, do you testify about this thing that God did for you because He is able?

Do you see what I’m saying? As believers in The Most High God, our testimony about what He is able to do should point people to Him and not lead them to believe that just anyone at all can just expect Him to solve their problems OR even cause them to believe that our God is an amazing entertainer.

In this scripture, it is clear that Christ sent His disciples to preach the truth – and Christ entered those cities teaching and also showing people the amazing power of God. Christ had to punish these people because they were excited about the works they saw but not by the God that made these works happen. Certainly, they applauded the Christ for the miracles, but not as the Son of God. Christ was not seeking to be glorified, He was seeking to bring them to salvation … repenting of sin and faith in Him!

Repentance was not AND is not spurred on by miraculous acts!

We, as believers in Christ – as the Body of Christ, must aim for the same thing! We just have to lift Him up as Our Savior, because He was lifted up on Calvary to draw all people to Him … not just to miracles! (John 12:32).

Christ Himself must be the one for which hearts long! Christ Himself must be the main attraction! No miracles; no mystical experience can take the place of the Risen Christ.

If we are not careful to point to The God of miracles and NOT to the miracles themselves, we will be leading a generation of people into the lowest place!

Because we have seen/experienced the utmost miracle – our salvation and our reconciliation to The Holy God while we were yet sinners – that miracle must be the one that we feel everyone has to know! We cannot forget and we must know in our hearts that our salvation and reconciliation is the most wonderful miracle that we must share …

Lord God, point our hearts in the right direction. Make our desires to be for You and for The Christ. May we turn from our sin because of what we know about You. May we lead others to true knowledge so that they too will understand the power of God unto salvation. Amen

The Power of Testimony

When we fail to tell people what the Lord has done in our lives; we fail at giving them opportunity to know and serve Him.

I get annoyed when I hear people say to a person sharing their experience with God, “You are always telling that story!”  Why?  Because there are so many texts in the Bible where generations of people fall away from the Almighty God because  – they did not know the Lord and what He had done for their fathers.  Think of the amazing things the Lord did for the Israelites – think about their deliverance from the Egyptians and how their children after them fell away to false gods!

The Word of God tells us that we overcome by the word of our testimony and the blood of the Lamb.  I am not inclined to think that this word of testimony is talking only about our salvation from sin and death; but every victory that we have won in the power of Christ!

No matter where you are, there is sure to be someone in the room who is deciding whether or not Christ is the answer for them.  You can not always know what people are struggling with, but you can rest assured that whatever He saved you from – there is someone else who needs to know His power in that same way!

I am always telling my children about the power of obedience to Christ.  I know for certain that my life would have been very, very different had I not heeded His call even though I did not like what He was calling me to!  So, whenever any of them have a decision to make my first question is, “Have you talked to the Lord about it?”  That is quickly followed up with my testimony, which they have heard now hundreds of times.  I don’t call it beating a dead horse – I call it reinforcing for them power, peace, victory and joy that comes when you obey.  If my children don’t obey God, it won’t be because I didn’t teach them.  They can never say that no one ever told them to just obey God.

19225458_1832950003388471_1539705968881985503_nThis photo is of my mother-in-love, Beatrice Evelyn Sorrell Chinn.  She passed away in 1996.  One of the most beautiful memories I have of my mother-in-law is her journals.  She wrote down her prayers for her children, her daughters-in-law, her grandchildren.

We found those journals after her death.  They served as a reminder to us that she trusted in God for all that concerned us and it reminded us to place our trust in Him as well.

Will your posterity know in whom you trusted?  I don’t know what your testimony is — but especially in your family and in your spheres of influence – Tell Your Story!  You were once blind – but now you see!  You were once lost – but now you’re found.

You were once ___________________________; but now you’re ________________________.  Tell It!


Joshua 2:10

And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers.  And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel.  

Grace .. for His glory!

He extended grace to us – not for our own sake – but for his glory! His unmerited favor was meant to send us on a passionate quest for the lost among every nation, introducing them to the truth of the gospel and leading them to become disciples of Christ – not replicas of us!

His grace is amazing indeed – so spread the word! The nations live all around you – tell someone who doesn’t know so that they too might believe and walk in obedient faith and abundant life!

“through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake” Romans 1:5

Weeping for Lost Souls

hearttearsReading the account of Lazarus death and resurrection in John, I was struck by the grief of our Savior.  The onlookers remarked about his love for Lazarus.  I re-read the account and it occurred to me that because He is God – what He grieved for was probably not what we might think he  grieved for.  Yes – He loved Lazarus; but it seems unusual to me that our Lord who knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead would be weeping over the loss of life; so I re-read the passage several more times and then it occurred to me that the humanity of our Christ came face to face with the reality of the wages of sin and what it means for a fallen humanity.  He was fully human – Yes! – but he was without sin!  He loved these people deeply and what was happening here brought our Lord face to face with the effects that sin would have not only on the sinner, but on those whom the sinner loves. I believe that He grieved for their sinfulness. He grieved the effects of their unbelief.  Continue reading “Weeping for Lost Souls”