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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

It's Finally Happening!

Here we go...I am 34 years old, grew up in a home filled with faith and ministry minded parents who believe in missions. I have always had a tender heart towards missions. I love testimonies from missionaries! I love missions...and yet I have never been on a missions trip.


All of that is changing! I am so excited to be joining women from all over Illinois (and a few other places if I am not mistaken) in February to go and serve in Guatemala! I am scared and excited! I am nervous and so full of joy! Bottom line, I am being obedient to what I know God is clearly asking me to do.

Getting to Guatemala will take some work. I need so much prayer support, which is vital and crucial to this whole thing. I also need financial support. So, to get me started, I have created a gofundme account. To make a donation, just click on the link!

I can't wait for all God has in store!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

As a kid, St. Patrick's Day was just a day to wear green and color leprechaun's and enjoy chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil while imagining a big pot of gold at the bottom of a rainbow somewhere in Ireland. Oh, and a man who drove snakes from the same country.

Last fall, I read a 30 Day Journal/Devotional called The Live Dead Journal. It changed my life and as a youth group, we are reading it now.

One of the days that touched my heart the most was about the three martyrdoms:red, green and white. The devotion was written by a missionary and was preface by John 12:24(NLT),
24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.
The red martyrdom is, as I am sure you can tell, a total sacrifice of life for the sake of Jesus. 
The white martyrdom is the sacrifice to go anywhere the Lord may call you to be a witness in the unreached areas of the world.

Then there is the green martyrdom...Around 350 AD, a young Romanized English boy was stolen from his country. Irish pirates smuggled him into Ireland and made him a slave. Year later, Patrick escaped and through a process of time, returned to Ireland as a missionary. Some believe at this time he would have been in his early 70's! He gave the rest of his life to evangelize the Irish, understanding and loving them like no other.

By the time Patrick died, much of Ireland was Christian. Patrick and his team did such an exceptional job of preaching the gospel that Christians were sad they couldn't die for Jesus anymore! There were so many Christians that red martyrdom was not an issue. 

The story goes on from there. His legacy led to innovative methods that brought revival to the country. 

St. Patrick's Day is so much more than wearing green, kissing the Blarney Stone, having a drink or marching in a parade. This day is a rich day for the Christian world!  

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Fear of...

Reading in my text book about misconceptions of God- one is fear He will want you to do something you don't want to do..."The result of such fears is that we reject the excitement of God's nearness by keeping Him at arm's length. We avoid His embrace, choosing instead to communicate with God mainly so we can deliver our list of predictable prayer requests."

I have been struggling with feelings of inadequacy and a fear of failure or that I might disappoint my family, or worse, God.  I have been held back by these chains of fear for too long. And then I read this and God stopped me.

I mean...I can't even begin to count how many different people have made statements about me being in ministry as a mom, as a wife, as a woman. I don't think that the comments were necessarily meant the way they canme out but in so many ways, those comments have only fueled my feelings of inadequacy or failure. Reading this, I realize that I am not just holding myself back. I am holding God back from all He has for me and my family.

Wow! If you are not called into missions or ministry, please don't ask those of us who are why we would be a part of ministry when it can be so hard on the family. By choosing to be near Him enough to hear and respond to His call, we are fully giving Him our trust to provide, protect, bless, keep and sustain us and our spouses and children (if we are married). Sadly, I think too many reject the call because family and friends make them feel guilty about the call.

I am done feeling this way and am making a concerted effort to  living my life fully free from any chains! God has called me. He is equipping me. He is equipping my family for the work he has laid out for us to do and He will take care of every area of our lives.

I can't explain the weight that has been lifted from my heart and shoulders by just accepting the truth of trusting God.

I am so looking forward to what lies ahead!!

“But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. (Isaiah 43:18, 19 NLT)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Got wind?

While standing at the back of the class during my prayer and worship class this past weekend, listening to the voices if my classmates lifting up Jesus, I looked at my desk and God began to speak...I looked at my silly pen I got in Chicago that simply says, "Got Wind" and I felt in my spirit God saying:

To those who have felt the wind has been taken from their sales, He is saying, "I am the wind. I have never left and I have never forsaken and I NEVER WILL."

His wind comes to us to take us through the waters ahead, rough and choppy or smooth and calm. His wind guides us down the path He has laid out for us to travel.

If you feel the wind is gone, take courage! For it is here! He is as close as the air you breathe! HE IS THE AIR YOU BREATHE!

Breathe deep, Daughter! Breathe deep, Son! The wind is at your back pushing you on, the wind is at your front, clearing a way. The wind is at your side, protecting you.

Find Him again in the breeze the blows across your face today. Find Him again in His Word and in prayer. Come to Him today and rest in the presence of Almighty God, The Lord of Heaven's Armies who goes before you!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

30 Days 1 Reason- 2013

In India, there is a family whose father was just laid off from his job. There are many children and the mom and dad are not sure how they are going to make it. The oldest daughter, around 13 years old decides she wants to help and begins looking for a job. Her aunt comes to her and tells her that she has found a great opportunity for her to make money to help her family. The girl goes and meets with the people who tell her of the amazing opportunities she will have to help. She goes with them and is forced to have sex with many men and is told she will never see her family again.

This story is an all too common story.

If ever there was a reason to sacrifice, I believe I have found it. For the month of November, I will be wearing the same shirt every day.

I am wearing this shirt to raise awareness of human trafficking in India. Just $15-20 is all it takes to rescue one girl from this terrible life. I know it seems so small...what is one life compared to the many, many lives all over the world? One life is a life. One life is someone's daughter. One life is one more rescued. And we can overcome this horrific cycle, one life at a time!

Please consider supporting me in this effort to bring hope to the lives of the hopeless through Project Rescue!!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

In the night

I am reading 1Kings 3 as I prepare my sermon for youth tomorrow night. As I dove a little deeper into the passage and read through Matthew Henry's commentary, I came across this amazing little insight to verse 5, when the Lord comes to Solomon at night.

"The more we abound in God’s work the more comfort we may expect in him; if the day has been busy for him, the night will be easy in him. Silence and retirement befriend our communion with God. His kindest visits are often in the night,"

In this passage, "night" is literal. It's dark, it's quiet, it's peaceful at the place where Solomon offered sacrifices. But I can't help but think that this can mean so much more. We use night to describe our darkest moments at times. If we read this commentary in that mind set, what encouragement we can find! Sometimes, it's in our darkest, hardest moments that we actually are quiet enough to hear the voice of God speak to us in ways that we would never have heard otherwise. 

Whatever you are walking through at the moment, I challenge you to get quiet before the Lord. Let Him speak into your night and bring guidance, encouragement, peace, hope, and direction to your situation. Don't get bogged down by the trial, either. Find ways to continue to be faithful to God and serve Him. He is so faithful to meet with us. Prepare your meeting place and your heart for an encounter with the Creator of the universe. He longs for it. He desires to bring you rest and comfort. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Nothing is "new"

Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV)
9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

 And there it is. Does it get any simpler than that? I have heard that verse so many times in my life. I guess I always just took it in but never really gave it much thought. But tonight as I was studying about the book of Malachi (I know! Not even Ecclesiastes!), I read some things that jumped off of the page and brought this verse to mind.

Basically, the author is explaining that, as we read Malachi, we see the people of Israel and they could only see the current conditions and were unable to see what they had been brought out of. Although their current situation wasn't what they wanted or thought it would be, they were far better off than they were in captivity!

The text says, "Although they had worked hard with good motivation, they had encountered opposition and great difficulty in rebuilding the temple and the walls of Jerusalem. To them, this meant that they had somehow displeased the Lord and were reaping the consequences. As a result, the people had grown cynical: If this was the way God was going to treat them, why should they bother giving their best to God?"

It was right there that I had a Gru know Gru...the villain we all love from Despicable Me? "Lightbulb"...No? Oh...

Anyway, I had an "Ah ha" moment. Just in the past week I talked with several people who had a really bad life experience slightly as a result of their own choices but mostly as a result of others. Their response is just what this text is referring to. Immediately it was all God's fault and if that's all God is going to do, then what's the point?

Someone explain to me why, at the slightest hardship, moment of reality, or even correction, do we want to play the blame game and in this game, God gets the blame?

The argument I get is, "Well, if God really is who He says He is then He saw this all coming and it's His fault because He allowed me to ____________ and I got hurt."

The reality is that, God created us. He created in His image, meaning that we have the ability to think, reason, be emotional, and be in relationship with others. In His amazingly divine wisdom, He also created us with something called, FREE WILL. That's right! We have the ability to choose for ourselves.

I love my husband and I love my kids. I love my family and I have some awesome friends. But I would never want them to do something for me or spend time with me or even say they love me because I make them. I want them to want to do/be those things. It's the same with God. Yes, He created us, but He still wants us to want to choose Him. So when bad things happen in this life, it's not His fault. It's the fault of the boneheads making poor choices without any thought of God's plan or how it will effect others around them. Do we get hurt in the process? Unfortunately, the answer to that is a resounding "YES!" And it's okay to ask God why the situation went down as it did and listen for His response.

Had the Israelites done that, if we would do that, then instead of being angry and hurt and shoving our boney pointy fingers in God's face, we would find that it is possible that others made a bad choice OR, what we thought was a part of the plan, was not really part of God's plan and we tried to do things on our own.

Nothing has changed! From thousands and thousands and thousands of years ago, to this very day, this is still a huge issue in our world.

Why did 3 women get abducted and remain captive for almost 10 years? Because the man that committed the crimes is a sick individual. Where was God? In the rooms with the women, crying as they wept, loving them as they were broken, giving them the will and strength to hold on one more day!

Why did the bombings in Boston happen? Because 2 men harbored an enormous amount of hatred and an enormous lack of value for human life. Where was God? In the hearts of those who ran TOWARDS the smoke and victims and hospitals to offer their assistance and blood.

Look, this life doesn't make sense. It's messy. It's hard. It's scary at times! And God still responds today as He did back then. "God responded to His people's questions by assuring them of His love and compassion for them."

Sometimes these terrible things happen, and sometimes people crush us simply as a result of living in a fallen world.

Quotes are taken from Old Testament Survey, developed by Global University Faculty and staff, Second Edition. Page 215, Chapter 14.3)