Archive | October 2014

Mission fields

Matthew 28:19,20a – “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…”

What is your mission field? You might be thinking, “I’m not a missionary. I don’t have a mission field.” Oh, but you do. And yes, you are a missionary.

You see this verse? Does it say “those of you who go out and get paid” or “those of you that go to foreign countries to spread The Good News”? Nope. Jesus was speaking with His disciples right before He ascended into Heaven. His disciples were His first New Testament church. They were fishermen, tax collectors and all sorts of non-missionary occupations. Yet, here was Jesus sending them out to tell and teach everything they knew about Him.

Jesus wants us to realize that every one needs to hear the Gospel of Christ. And it shouldn’t just be the missionaries out on the field getting paid to do so who are doing it. We all have been given a mission field. We all have people in our lives who need to hear the Gospel. Your mission field may be your child’s play group moms. Your mission field might be the people that you work along side of every day. Your mission field might be the people that live around you. Your mission field might be the kids you go to school with. Your mission field might be the people at the grocery store or the restaurant or the post office. It doesn’t matter where God has put you. He has put you there for a reason. He put you there to tell someone about Him.

What difference would there be in our daily life if we lived like our surroundings were our mission field? Would we see that person that drives us crazy as someone who needs Jesus? Would we feel a greater sense of urgency in what needs to be done because we know that our time is drawing short? Would we have a better attitude when we go to work if we looked at our work place as a mission field instead of a place to earn a living?

The devil likes to warp our view of things. He doesn’t want us to see our interactions as a mission field. He knows that doing so will drive us to be more expressive about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He knows that by doing so we will make a positive difference in someone’s life. He doesn’t want that. Remember, he wants as many people as possible to turn away from or never accept Jesus as their Savior. He wants Jesus to lose. But we know the end of the story and we know that what God has established cannot be changed – Jesus wins!

So try on something different today, princess. See your work place, your play group, your grocery store visit as a mission field. Don’t let the devil convince you otherwise. Memorize this verse to give you purpose and direction. Jesus wants you out there sharing His Good News of His free gift of salvation. He wants you out there telling and teaching wherever you find yourself today. Be a Light. Be the one to show someone else the Light that changes everything. Be a missionary today.

Yesterday

Matthew 28:20b – “and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

My daughter is eleven. Preteen years are difficult, confusing and, overall, an emotional roller coaster.

Take yesterday for an example. When I picked her up at school, she had her lip hanging and seemed as though she had the weight of the world on her shoulders. Come to find out, she had dropped her lunch on the cafeteria floor in front of everyone. She was mortified. But her loving principal, seeing the agony she was in, provided lunch for her since hers was on the floor. Then after getting home and getting homework done and dinner eaten, we traveled to dance class. On the way there, she shared with me that she was in a really good mood. And she was. She was perky and laughing and generally the young girl everyone loves. And then I get home from ladies’ meeting at church. Her dad had dropped her off to go get brother at soccer practice. I came in to her on the verge of a meltdown. I asked what was going on and this is what I got – “I’m trying to find a book to read for class. Every time I find one that looks good, it doesn’t have enough pages! I’m so mad and frustrated!” Now, you have to hear this with arms flailing, tears coming and voiced raised. The world was coming to and end. And all I could do was chuckle. I got her calmed down and we found a book and she was able to go to bed singing “Let it go”.

Why am I telling you this?
Do you ever have a day that is straight from the pages of a preteen drama? I sure do. And not necessarily through my daughter. We all have days where we are flying high as a kite only to come crashing to the ground in a matter of seconds. Life is like that sometimes.
But we don’t take this unsteady and crazy path alone. No, we have our Savior. We have Jesus. He promised us here in Matthew that He would be with us even to the end. He is even with us when we think it is the end – when the world is dark, when our work environment stinks, when our children are melting down before our very eyes, even when we pull the curtain off the wall by accident (yes, that did happen yesterday).

And He cares that all of this affects you. He cares that you are disappointed in the way things are going in your life. He cares that you are so excited that you can hardly stand yourself. He cares that you are having a hard time deciding what you should do. He cares about it all – good and not so good. He promised that He would be there through it all, through this roller coaster we call life.

Claim that promise, dear princess. Don’t try to walk it alone. It’s no fun that way. You need someone to laugh with you, to cry with you, to show you that you can find the good if you let Him show you. Jesus is waiting on your invitation. Won’t you walk with Him today?

Dig a little deeper

Jeremiah 17:7,8 – “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”

I like to grow things. Sometimes I am successful. Sometimes I am not. Right now I have mums on my porch that I know need to be watered today. I want them to continue growing. I want them to continue opening up their beautiful flowers. I have tried in the past to grow a garden. Some years were bountiful and beautiful. Other years were pitiful and sad.

Part of the reason that my garden did not do so well was from lack of water. Another issue that probably affected things was lack of nutrients. Plants need both these things in order to successfully produce fruits and vegetables. I also had weeds in my gardens. They took over one year because I didn’t pull them and tend to my garden the way that I should.

The point in all this plant talk is this – plants must be fed and tended to in order to grow. We are no different. If we want our relationship with our Savior to grow, we have to be fed and we have to tend to it. We have to make choices to be fed by His Word. We have to make choices to allow Him to tend to the garden of our life. Weeds will grow up and try to choke out new growth. Droughts will come when we feel like everything is going wrong. We will not be able to see any good whatsoever in our life. It is in those times that we have to be like a tree planted by the water. We have to ensure that our roots go down deep. We have to trust that our tap root will keep us supplied. How do you think that giant old trees stand through a tornado or hurricane? It is because their roots are strong and they go deep. We have to be the same way.

This verse in Jeremiah is encouraging to me. It helps me to remember to dig in a little deeper. It promises that blessings will be mine when I trust only in The Lord and hope only in The Lord. The verses before this one actually bring curses upon those whose hope is in man. People can and will fail. People forget to water their garden. People forget to weed their garden. And because of these choices, people aren’t always producing fruit. Why would we think that depending on them for something as important as your spiritual well being would be a good idea? God is constant. He doesn’t change. He never leaves His Living Water. He never fails to produce.

My encouragement for you today, princess, is to check out your root system. Do you need to dig a little deeper? Do you need to go to the Water for a drink or maybe a long gulp? Are you in a drought of joy? He can provide all this and more. You just have to be willing to let Him be all this and more.

Spectacular!

Psalm 62:5 – “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.”

Last night, we were sitting around the dinner table having our typical Sunday dinner of leftovers when my husband says, “So, what are you going to do this week that is spectacular?” Totally took me off guard. Wasn’t expecting that one!

He asked the kids first. They said things like “I’m going to ace my 23rd Psalm this week” and “I’m going to really good on my presentation”. Then he asked me. I told him that I wanted to work on writing more of my devotional book this week. To which my darling son replied, “Haven’t you been working on that for like two years?” Yes. Yes, I have.

Anyway, what are you going to do that is spectacular this week? Too often we just settle for the same old, same old. We don’t expect great things to happen. Why is that? Do we think that we don’t deserve it? Do we think that as long as life goes according to planned that we will be okay? Why? Why do you want to live that way? Why not expect God to do something amazing in your life?

Have you ever seen “The Incredibles”? Love that movie! There is one part where this little guy is sitting on his tricycle watching Mr. Incredible get out of the car. Mr. Incredible says, “What are you doing kid?” The kid says, “Waiting for something amazing to happen!” He was expecting it. He had seen it once before and he knew it could happen again.

Haven’t we all seen God do something amazing in our life? Shouldn’t we be anxiously awaiting Him to do something amazing again? I mean for land’s sake! We are talking about the One who walked on water, who calmed a storm and who turned the water into wine – just to name three!

So this week, princess, let me encourage you to expect something spectacular in your life. Don’t let the opportunity pass you by. When you see it coming, grab it by the horns and hold on and enjoy the ride! God’s blessings are meant to be enjoyed. They are meant to be treasured. And they are meant to be shared. God doesn’t expect us to walk around all sad faced and gloomy. He wants us to light up a room. He wants us to show Him in all we do. Jesus didn’t live a boring and solemn life. No, He was vibrant and expectant of things. Just another reason why we need to live more like Jesus.

Be ready

Matthew 24:42-46 – “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.”

I went to pick up my son at soccer practice yesterday. The coach was talking with the boys. They had a guest among them yesterday that played professional soccer and had grown up in the area. He was there to encourage the boys that their dreams of professional soccer could be a reality if they worked hard enough.

But what I want to focus on is what the coach spoke to the boys about – he told them that they never know who is going to show up for practice. It could be another professional; it could be a college scout; or it could be an Olympic scout. He told them that when he worked somewhere that had a desk, he always kept it clean because he didn’t know when the boss would come around. If you are doing what your boss expects of you, then you don’t have to fret and scurry when the boss comes around. His point was that no matter what you are doing in life, working or playing soccer or studying in school, when you do what you are supposed to be doing, you will reap the benefits of it.

This brought me to these Scriptures. Jesus has warned us that He will return like a thief in the night. We don’t know the hour of His return. Yet, we need to be living like it could happen at any moment. But do we? Do we really consider His return while we are working or going to the grocery store or cleaning toilets? My guess, probably not. I know I don’t think about that very often. I think about it more when I’m driving than any other time.

Jesus also encourages us that blessings will come our way when we are doing what He has told us to do until His return. This means that we need to live every moment like the Eastern sky is about to break open. This means that our Light needs to shine brighter than ever. Every action and every reaction needs to be an example of Him.

So, how can we live this way without someone wanting to lock us up and throw away the key? These actions need not only be an outward expression. I believe that we need to live more with a heart and mind that is pondering and considering Jesus’ return. Yes, our attitude needs to be more return focused. Just like so many times before, it comes back to attitude. It comes back to being different.

Today, princess, I want to encourage you to think about this : are ready for the boss to walk by right now? Do you practice like a scout is watching? Do you live your life like Jesus will return right…..Now?! Times a wastin’, princess. Be ready.

Forgiveness

Psalm 86:5 – “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.”

Last night, we got notification that my daughter had gotten a zero on something she was supposed to do for math. She had all week to do it, but she had failed to do it. I was not happy. Those kind of things fly all over me. So, I asked her to explain herself. She owned the issue. She didn’t make excuses for it. She just said, “Mom, I forgot. I remembered a few times but got busy doing something else and I just forgot. I’m sorry.” And she said all of this with no tears. (This is a MAJOR accomplishment for my emotional pre-teen!)

It took me a bit but I finally forgave her. We talked about it. We came up with a solution to prevent this from happening again. And we discussed what we needed to do to help her get a good grade on her test so that she can begin to bring the grade up.

And then, I complimented her. I told her that she had done a really good job at owning the problem and doing so without tears. I told her she took it like a woman and I was proud of her for that. I wanted to let her know that yes, she messed up but she handled it well. She usually breaks into massive tears and comes up with every excuse in the book. I guess my little girl is growing up.

Anyway, before I start crying all over my computer, I am reminded of God’s forgiveness toward us. We mess up all the time – thinking things we shouldn’t, saying things we shouldn’t, doing things we shouldn’t – you get the picture. And God is ready to forgive – all we have to do is ask for it. All we have to do is admit the problem and say we are sorry. We don’t need to offer excuses. We don’t need to offer suggestions for punishment. We just need to own the problem and then wait for Him to instruct us in a solution and consequence.

We need remember that our sins will find us out. My daughter’s problem would have been easier to handle if she had explained to us beforehand that she had forgotten to do her work. None of us like to admit our sins. None of us want to admit that we are wrong. That is a hard pill to swallow. But in order for forgiveness to be released, we have to admit we are wrong.

I want to encourage you, princess, to examine yourself. See if you have sin in you life that you need to get out into the open before it finds you out. Jesus is waiting with open arms to receive you into His forgiveness. Just run to Him.

Very superstitious

1Thessalonians 5:22 – “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

I teach the young teen Sunday school class at my church. I love those kids. They are so much fun.

This weekend, the lesson was on animism. Do you know what animism is? Dictionary.com describes it as “the belief that natural objects, natural phenomena, and the universe itself possess souls”. It also includes the belief in superstitions. Heavy stuff, I know.

So what is my point? Do followers of Christ have any business in animism? No. They do not. Let’s start at the beginning. Where did the soul come from? What has a soul? Genesis 2:7 – “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” God did not complete this task with any of His other creations. He did not breath life into the trees. He did not breath life into the animals. He did not breath life into any of His creations except man. And that is special. That makes mankind the only creation with a soul. Well, that pretty much disproves animism, according to the Dictionary.com definition.

Now onto superstitions. The invoking of superstitions is very prominent in our society. “Knock on wood”. The one about a black cat crossing your path being bad luck. Breaking a mirror brings seven years of bad luck. There are people who will put statues in their yards to keep the bad spirits away. And that is only the tip of the iceberg. Ask anyone and I’m sure they could name at least a dozen more.
But what does our belief or saying of superstitions say about us? As I was thinking about my Sunday school lesson, it made me think about how often and when I consider these things. I don’t believe the ones about mirrors or black cats, but I do say the “knock on wood” one often. What does that mean when I say it? It means that I don’t trust God to take care of it. I feel that I need some other source to manage the problem. It is really a trust issue. Do you really trust God to take care of you or do you think you have to do something to help things along a bit?

So how does this tie in with the Bible verse? God is encouraging us through the writing of Paul to keep away from things that may look evil or that you may look evil while doing them. Even the goofy, little things that seem harmless. In the scope of things, you may lead someone astray by believing that a broken mirror will cause bad luck. How much better would your testimony be if you explained that you don’t believe in these superstitions because you trust Jesus to take care of things instead of leaving it to chance? Just that one simple step of being different has the potential to be huge.

So my challenge to you is to choose to get rid of superstitions. And if you believe that anything other than mankind has a soul, I challenge you to search the Scriptures and determine for yourself what the Word of God says on the subject.
This blog is all about getting the reader to grow – to grow closer to God, to get into the Word of God and to be more expressive about the Word of God. It is time, sister, to stop being closed mouth and timid. 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”