Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Readiness

Readiness means having a right relationship to God and having the knowledge of where we are. We are so busy telling God where we would like to go. Yet the man or woman who is ready for God and His work is the one who receives the prize when the summons comes.

We wait with the idea that some great opportunity or something sensational will be coming our way, and when it does come we are quick to cry out, 'Here I am." Whenever we sense that Jesus Christ is rising up to take authority over some great task, we are there, but we are not ready for some obscure duty.

Readiness for God means that we are prepared to do the smallest thing or the largest thing - it makes no difference. It means we have no choice in what we want to do, but that whatever God's plans may be, we are there and ready. Whenever any duty presents itself, we hear God's voice as our Lord heard His Father's voice, and we are ready for it with the total readiness of our love for Him. Jesus Christ expects to do with us just as His Father did with Him. He can put us wherever He wants, in pleasant duties or in menial ones...

Be ready for the sudden surprise visits of God. A ready person never need to get ready - he is ready.

-Oswald Chambers

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Fulfilled

The week was intense. The battle grounds were hot as my perception of what was best and right for my life came head up against God's undeniable call in my heart to absolute surrender and trust in His sovereignty and perfect plan that I could as yet not see. As the struggle was raging in my heart, I often stepped back emotionally and wondered why it was so hard. Why is it sometimes so difficult to trust a God who has proved Himself faithful over and over again? Why do I even want to demand my way at all, when deep down I know His ways and timing are so much better?

I was both convicted and encouraged at the end of that tremendously rich, yet painfully difficult week of youth meetings. Convicted at my sometimes not so subtle ways of trying to manipulate situations in my life, and encouragement at how God had spoken His assurance into my heart time and time again that my life was in His hands. Completely. Perfectly.

I oftentimes think of a little plaque a friend gave me many years ago. It read, "God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame." Another one that has often been an encouragement is the one that truthfully states, "God always gives the best to those who leave the choice with Him."

You would think that once embraced, these facts would make it easy to trust God. To be joyful no matter what circumstances He allows. And yet, at least for me, the struggles still come at times. Maybe someday I will be able to say that I consistently trust God and rejoice in His will no matter He brings my way, but for now, I cherish seasons and opportunities when God proves Himself to me in undeniable ways. Times where I can see and comprehend the perfectness of His ways, and how much better He does things in comparison to my shallow planning and understanding.


Times like the three weeks following that week of wrestling. Traveling and experiencing different cultures, especially in regards to foreign mission work has been something that has long had a pull on my heart and that I've felt a call to. It's been something I've often grown impatient in waiting for, and wondered if it was something I was not doing that was preventing it from happening. At the same time, everything I did try always seemed to end in disappointment and frustration.

Just a short week after receiving the promise from the Lord that, "I have declared, and have saved, and I have shown, when there was no strange god among you...I will work, and who shall prevent it?" (Isaiah 43:12a, 13b) I found myself in a remote village of Mexico, in the heart of the Sierra Madre mountains, again among a people that had captured my heart two years previously. I marveled at the circumstances surrounding the invitation I received to go back. I stood in awe as I realized how completely it was a work of God, and none of my own scheming or manipulating.

I think that knowledge was the biggest reason those three weeks were some of the most blessed I have ever experienced in my life. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was in the center of God's will, and as I walked through an incredibly rich time there, I marveled at how much better God's ways are then my own. I was challenged to trust God in a way I never had before, and to live out Jim Elliot's words, "Where ever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt of every situation in which you believe to be the center of God's will."

I left Mexico and the dear people there ten and half weeks ago, and am now home. I'm back into the grind of work, studying, and the daily challenges of life. Though it wasn't all easy and pleasant, I miss Mexico terribly. I left a huge piece of my heart there. I think of it daily. I pray that someday God will allow me to return. There are times I am tempted to chaff against the seeming insignificance of life here in comparison to what I want to do. During those times, I have to let my heart wander back to why that trip was so blessed. My joy is always renewed as I meditate on who God is, and how He hath faithfully led me.

A friend shared a quote a couple days ago that sums up these thoughts completely. It is the heart I want to have, not just when I see God working, but even when I don't understand His ways, and my heart aches with deferred hopes and dreams. A heart that is fulfilled, not in desires granted, but in the amazing love of Jesus Christ.

"I had utterly abandoned myself to Him... Could any choice be as wonderful as His will? Could any place be safer than the center of His will? Did not He assure me by His very Presence that His thoughts toward us are good, and not evil? Death to my own plans and desires was almost deliriously delightful. Everything was laid at His nail-scarred feet, life or death, health or illness, appreciation by others or misunderstanding, success or failure as measured by human standards. Only He himself matter." - V. Raymond Edman

Monday, April 06, 2009

Stability


Stability means accepting the monotonous and making it work for us, not against us.

Stability says there must be no evasion, no pining for the grass that appears greener elsewhere - whether that be another mate or another ministry.

Stability will not allow us to evade the truth of whatever we have to do to prove the will of God, however dreary and boring and apparently unfruitful that may seem to us at present.

Stability recognizes a 'no-escape clause' in those relationships to which God has called us. It means I must know who I am and not run away from myself or abandon those relationships into which I have entered, believing them to be the will of God for my life. Rather, I must cling to the Cross, for at the foot thereof everything ultimately will be resolved and the inner coherence of all my painful experiences will be made plain.

Stability, in sum, is our response to that promise which reassures us that He is faithful and steadfast; and that we should 'never lose hope in God's mercy'.

-Excerpted from Lamplighters Blog