Tuesday, November 29, 2016

When your Suffering Produces Hope

 “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”
- Romans 5:3-4
As I look around I wouldn’t say that I am suffering, I have food, shelter and all the essential things one would need. The one thing I would say is hard in life at the moment is being in a place that is secluded, in the middle of nowhere, and not being as comfortable that I would like. For example, having to walk into a church to use the restroom. Which really isn’t that bad, but I can easily become discontent in this place. I can easily get my eyes off of the one that brought me here, and look around and think, this is not what I saw my life looking like. That’s the point though, this was never my plan, this was always the Lords plan. As I sit here today I can still think of all the things that could make me discontent in this place. Things like comparison to the other locations or thinking of things back home.

            When I take my eyes off the things around me and place them on God alone I see that He really is working in mighty ways. I see that the discomfort and “suffering” I am facing is really just the Lord working His character into my life. I find that I am seeking the Lord deeper than I ever have and He is revealing himself to me more than I have ever known. If that is all I am here to learn or do, then I have a hope and a future that only he could give me. I have something better to look forward to. At the end of this I get to look in the mirror and see a better version of myself. The person God always wanted me to be. Molded and shaped into His image, not the image I thought, but the image He designed. I know that this time is producing an endurance in me I have never known before. He is working out His character in my life and producing a hope for future seasons to come. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

"How Long, O Lord?"

Psalm 13
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
    and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
    light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
    lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
    my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
    because he has dealt bountifully with me.

As I have been in Browning Montana I have been really seeking the Lord’s will for my life. What is next? Do you want me to go back overseas? Lord what is your desire for my life? Am I to go home and live normal life? But how do I do that when I feel my life has changed so much? The only answer the Lord continually gives me is wait. Be patient. This is the most frustrating answer of all. I wish He would just tell me the plan. I wish He would just give me the details of my life. Yet He doesn’t, and I sit here still seeking. Which is exactly where the Lord wants me. He wants me sitting at His feet daily. In this psalm David asks the Lord “How long” four times. It takes David four times of asking before he changes His stance of worship. Instead of asking the Lord for answers he then begins to praise the Lord during his wait. David sees that God has been faithful throughout his whole life and He will continue to be faithful in the future. As I studied this Psalm I sensed God pulling on my heart to do the same thing. I sensed that He wanted me to stop asking who, what, where, when, and why; and begin praising Him for all the ways in which he has been faithful to give me answers. I know that if He answered me tomorrow I would not be ready for all the plans that he has for my life. My mind could not handle the details of the great things He wants to do. He has called me to seek Him and His character in this time. So today I will praise Him for the abundance of blessings He has placed in my life. Running hard after Him until He reveals his plans for my life one by one. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Fan Into Flame

“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of hands,”
2 Timothy 1:6
A couple days before we left Guatemala my team and I were prayed over for the filling of the Holy Spirit. This is a vital thing when it comes to doing the work of the Lord. I am unable in my own strength to do what He has called me to. The tasks are bigger, harder and more difficult than I could ever conquer, but with the help of the Holy Spirit working in and through my life I am able to conquer anything that comes my way.

This verse from 2 Timothy was a great reminder of what was done while in training. It reminded me that the laying on of hands was not just a one-time thing, but also something that I have to cultivate within myself day after day. I have to seek the Lord day after day for a fresh filling of His Spirit. Without this I will grow weary in doing good, I will become irritable and dissatisfied in the state that I am in. When we walk with God it is our responsibility to keep this fire burning. I heard an analogy from my pastor the other day; it is like lighting coals for a fire. First you spray it with a little lighter fluid, and then you fan it so that they continue to burn, so that they can be used. I see this as such a great parallel in my life. I have to fan this fire that once ignited so quickly. I have to fan this flame so that it will continue to burn bright for the Lord. I know that this is not all one sided and that God will do His part in meeting me and helping me grow, but again I must be willing to see that parts that He sees and shape them to reflect more of the character of God. I am also reminded of a song we sang on Sunday, “Lord please light the fire that once burned bright in me.” God make this my prayer and my plea. Lord light the fire in my heart to run full speed after you. Restore me again the joy of your salvation and meet me in this place that you have put me. I cannot do your work with out your spirit, so Lord fill me again to overflow so that others might see you in me.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Exhort one Another

“But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
-Hebrews 3:13
While doing a study the other day this verse stuck out to me. The Lord recently has been showing me the ways in which I need to change and be refined. This process is never easy but I know that it is always worth it. I have been learning that I have a voice and sometimes I use it for good, but other times it can come out harsh and not glorifying to the Lord. I have been learning that in all that I do I want others to see the work of the Lord in my life. In this season I can see that this verse will help me while I am on a team. I can use my voice to encourage and exhort them in their gifts and talents that God has blessed them with. In this season I can see that God wants me to use my voice for the encouragement of others.

            This brings me back to this verse, which says when we should encourage and exhort. It clearly says “every day, as long as it is called today”, so when will I begin this change in my life. I will start today. I can only do this through with Gods strength. In my own flesh there is no way to do this on my own. Team life can get hard, being with people day after day, it is easy to miss their gifts and talents and it’s easy to forget to compliment them thinking they will just know. But they don’t know and I need God’s eyes to see them the way he does. So starting today as I wake in the morning I will pray for Gods vision to see my teammates the way He does.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Working Diligently

Hebrews 6:10-12
“For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for His name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

Am I working unto the Lord or am I seeking the approval of man? Do I work so that others will see the things I am doing or am I working so that my Father in heaven will be pleased with my service? This is a hard placed to be in. As I sit here on this reservation in Montana I look around and see all the work I could do in my strength. I can pass out invites, I can clean, I can talk to others, and I can do it all. But the real question is, what does God want me to do. Maybe it is the little things; maybe he wants me to spend day after day building relationships as he leads. Maybe he wants me to diligently sweep the floor and lift up the pastor and his wife so that they can be free to minister to the local people as they have always wanted to, but never had the time to do so. It may be the little things that he wants me to do not being sluggish or complaining, but being thankful for the place he has given me to live and the food he has provided. I may never get this time again and I know that I will have to be patient in His leading. The work here is going to take time, but I know that if I stay faithful just as the saints before me did, He will give us the promises of His word.
Today I ask that you would show me the little things you want from me. The ways in which I can be faithful in the place you have called me. Not only for me Lord, but also my team. I pray that you would not allow us to become comfortable with the setting. Make us uncomfortable so that we have to seek you in all that we do. Lord Guide us as we start a new week serving you in all that we do. I love you Lord and Praise you for your faithful guidance.
-Your Daughter