Come to My Rescue

1/23/17

Psalm 91:15

When he calls to me,  I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.

Oh Lord, my God. You are infinitely beautiful in all You are. Thank You for hearing me when I cry out to You. No matter what time of day or how many times I stumble and fall, You are so gentle and loving to run to my aid. I need rescue absolutely constantly. At every moment I need Your protection and embrace. The enemy is out for destruction. I am in war. There isn’t a moment when bullets aren’t flying past me. I’m surrounded. And when I get shot, You run back from Your position and bring me to safety. You are next to me in this battle. In every battle. You don’t leave my side even when I ‘feel’ deserted.

The Lord has been teaching me to cry out to Him more. Especially when it comes to spiritual warfare going on in my mind. Just those little prayers of, “God, please help me” in a moment of attack have been so important. And this verse brings comfort. It reminds me that I have a loving and compassionate God. One who not only listens, but answers. One who is by my side through every struggle. But there, too, He goes above and beyond. He’s not only with me, but He rescues me. He snatches me away from the enemy-from myself. He pulls me out of the burning building, out of the ocean I was drowning in. He sees where we are, but never leaves us there when we ask for His help. And that’s the only ‘thing’.

We have to be faithful to the little things. To that first step of crying out. So often I am not. I’m somehow content to stay in the building that’s aflame, trying to find my way out. Eventually, my lungs fill with smoke. I’m fine with letting the waters wash over me, and take me to the depths. But He’s with me. I only need ask for His help and admit I do not have the capacity to save myself. It has to be an issue of none other than pride that holds someone-that holds me back-from asking for help.

I don’t want to go up in flames, and I don’t want to drown. I have the ultimate protector. The faithful shield and refuge. And He desires to rescue me from whatever trouble I face. “Come to Me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28.

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Confidence is Key

1/27/17

Philippians 1:6

“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”.

Many years ago, the Lord began a good work in me. I was just a little girl then, and I had absolutely no idea what life would be like. There have been many ups and downs since the moment I got saved as a kid. There have been countless difficulties and trials. But my God has been working in my life. I can look back and be confident in that truth.

Now I am 21 years old living as a missionary in Kenya. And honestly, it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, if not the hardest. There are struggles every single day. The enemy tries desperately to throw anything and everything he can at me, hoping it will trip me up. He does not want the work of the Lord to be done, I can tell you that for sure. Yet it is in that very thing I can find comfort.

The enemy does not want the work of the Lord to be done… So when I am struggling, when I feel the enemy is on constant watch, continually attacking, I can be encouraged. God is working! His will is being done. His work is being accomplished in and through me. As a Christian, this perspective is precious.

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you: but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy”.

1 Peter 4:12&13.

In the most difficult season of my life thus far, I can take confidence, take joy, that the hand of my Creator is at work in my life. He began a long time ago, and is faithful to continue working until the moment I die. Thank you, God, for never being finished with me.

We Settle

12/19/16

Isaiah 55:1-2

Everyone enjoys free things. People who don’t have a lot of money, as well as those who are well-off. I can’t think of one person, regardless of their financial standing, who wouldn’t be thrilled if we could somehow get all of our food at absolutely no cost to us. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, nor do I think it ever will be. Yet, this offer is still at hand.

“Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” John 4:13-14.

“But He said to [His disciples], ‘I have food to eat of which you do not know.’ Therefore His disciples said to one another, ‘Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?’ Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” John 4:32-34.

Every single person on this earth has the chance, the choice, to take of the food that will never run out and the water which shall never run dry. Like I said, food and water are not free. But Jesus Christ bought these spiritual nourishments for us on the cross. He paid the price. Now we can eat and drink of eternal life.

He paid for all we could ever need, yet we are still wasting our money on that which “does not satisfy”. It would be like having a gift card to a grocery store that will never run out. No matter how much you spend, there will always be money on that card. But you, being aware that you could purchase whatever you need at whatever time, go to a different store and buy things there, instead. Why would anyone do this? The food and all the products at the store you have a gift card to are the best of the best. The finest quality. All the other stores around have questionable products. They look good, but they always break. The produce is rotten on the inside. Why would you spend your money there?

This is what humanity does. We settle for less. We are content with mediocre, or just plain bad. We’re comfortable with filth. We turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, people, our own darkness, to fill us. But they absolutely never will. We are given the gift, free and undeserved, of that which will satisfy forever. We will never hunger or thirst again if we accept life in Jesus Christ- if we have a personal relationship with Him. He is all that is good. We can rest and remain in Him and His love which will never end. It is only then that our souls can delight in abundance. This requires a mere step of faith: a surrender and total letting go of our lives and what we want.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways”, says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts”. Isaiah 55:8-9

Application: With John 4:34 in mind, I will write a reflection on what I have looked to for satisfaction in the past, and what I look to now.

In the Name of Love

12/12/16

Ephesians 3:16-19

“Love is the overflowing result of one person in true fellowship with another”-Oswald Chambers.

The world holds such a twisted view of what love is. It’s that type of love we often see manifested in day to day life, but it’s completely self-seeking. Someone says, “I love…” such and such a person or thing, yet their actions prove something different. 1 Corinthians 13:5 says that love does not seek it’s own.

In my life, I make the widely detrimental mistake of progressing forward in relationships with people based on my past experiences. It can be hard to trust and be open, as a result of the hurt others in the past have caused. Worse than relating this to people, though, I can find myself, if I’m not careful, relating it to God and His love toward me.

I think about friends or family who have said they loved me, but caused me a lot of pain. I know some of them meant it, while others I’m not so sure. Whether they actually did love me or not, they were only capable of love in their messed up human ways, but that’s the only way we can “love” without Christ. We can’t possess that fullness verse 19 describes. So people go around inflicting all sorts of harm on others in the name of this pathetic, shallow excuse for love.

The type of love Christ holds for the church, His children, is not anything like the world’s love. It is something I can trust in- be rooted, grounded, and rest in. His perfect love casts out all the fear I can still hold onto from experiences. He paid the ultimate price, death on the cross, for love. “By this we know love, because He laid His life down for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” 1 John 3:16.

There’s nothing I want more than to be rooted and grounded in the love the Lord offers. I want to be so full of this Godly love that I pour it out into others, naturally. The key is abiding in the truth the Scriptures have to offer. “Heaven and earth may pass but My words will by no means pass away” Matthew 24:35. So when the Creator of the universe says He loves me and died for me, that is a promise I can surely rest in.

Application: In studying the book of John, I will be sure to highlight the love Jesus shows to the people He encounters.

It’s Not Worth It

12/5/16

1 Corinthians 8:13

Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

“For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more.” 1 Corinthians 9:19.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12

Love. It is the greatest defining marker of the Christian life. A life fully submitted to Christ will exhibit indescribable amounts of love, not just to those the person likes, but also to anyone the person encounters daily. This even includes enemies. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us about the qualities of love. They include long-suffering and being selfless.

Out of pure love for my fellow man I should conduct my actions in a way that would not cause them to stumble. I seek to point all to Christ, be them already saved or not. There are things in life that are not inherently wrong. There are things that I might feel convicted not to do, while others do not have that conviction and vice versa.

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. 1 Corinthians 6:12”. I have freedom in Christ. “But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.” 1 Corinthians 8:9. So just because I have liberty, doesn’t mean I should use it lightly.

Out of love, I must be sensitive to those around me. What is it worth for me to do something I feel is “okay” when it causes someone else to stumble? Nothing is worth that. Nothing in this world means that much to do or say if I compromise the morality of my brother or sister. Even if it means swallowing pride and selfishness. I must be mindful of those around me.

Nothing is worth more in this world than proclaiming the name of Christ to all, both in word and in deed. Jesus sacrificed His life for love. Anything I could sacrifice pales in comparison and is worth it to glorify Him.

Application: Pray for each teammate individually, asking to be sensitive to their struggles.

Don’t Miss the Point

11/28/16

Matthew 25:35-40

Romans 3:10 says, “There is none righteous, no not one”. Verse 37 of this portion in Matthew points out, “Then the righteous will answer Him…” These “righteous” people, the best of the best, as it were, noticed nothing. They did nothing. They pose all of these questions because they missed the point. They were so busy being full of pride and self-righteousness they failed to recognize the needs of others.

Where are my eyes focused? I can be the same exact way these “righteous” people are, here. How often do I overlook the needs of others because I am selfish and prideful? It is so important to be empty and broken, realizing truly, as Romans 3:12 tells us, “Theres is none who does good, no not one”. I have nothing! There’s nothing, not one thing in and of myself that I can bring to the table. If I think I have anything to offer, I am woefully deceived, full of pride, and negligent to the truth at hand.

I am called to be a servant. Nothing more. Servants do not have rights to themselves. In the same manner, I am not my own. James 1:17 states, “Every good and perfect gift is from above”. My life and all that I am is a gift. There’s nothing I did to deserve it. Because of love, Jesus Christ gave His all for me. Now it’s my turn.

Verse 40 of the passage says, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me”. That’s convicting on many levels. I am challenged to serve all people at full capacity, as unto the Lord. I am pushed, even, to rid myself of the mind-set of looking at someone as “less” than anyone else. I should look at everyone and see a child of God. A person my Savior died for, just as much as He died for me.

Lord, rid me of my pride and self-righteousness that I may not hinder any service to Your people, and ultimately You.

Application: Search the Scriptures and compile a list of verses about humility to combat pride and self-focus.

The Big Picture

11/10/16

Romans 5:3-4

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character, and character, hope.

It seems incredibly counter-intuitive. Why would you ever “glory” in tribulations? Why should I rejoice in my sufferings? When things are difficult or have been, my honest first response is not to rejoice. More often than not, it is to throw a pity party and question everything. I fight against the difficulty, wondering why this would happen to me.

But this all has to do with my perspective. I’m focusing on self and am completely lost in the ocean of my woes in the present moment. I lack trust in the promise stated just a few chapters later in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose”. Why do you doubt as if the Lord has not kept this promise to you for twenty-one years? How quickly I forget that: God’s own testimony in my life. He says He will never leave or forsake me. Has He ever given me any reason to doubt this? Absolutely not.

So with a more broad perspective I can grasp this verse, knowing and trusting that my Heavenly Father delights in the process of my growth and change. I can rejoice because God sees the big picture that a season of suffering can lead me to being more like Christ. My suffering produces perseverance. With this quality I am able to press on. When I press on, I build a godly character. I’ve heard character described as who you are when no one is looking. In my sufferings, do I remain in the joy of the Lord? It’s a good question to check where my character is at. When I truly maintain a Christ-like character, I can have a hope that only Jesus gives, no matter my circumstances.

“This hope we have as an anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast…” Hebrews 6:19.