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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bottom of the Well

I love meeting other wise hearted women, hearing all God has done in their life.  Rachel Dapper is a New Tribes Missionary  we met several months ago.  This tiny slip of a what looked like a young girl was actually a wise woman whose heart was to obey  the Lord.  Those words said long ago by others, Lord sent me, I will go, she heard and obeyed.    Now on the other side of the world, the adventure has left and just as He promised He is meeting her greatest need, Him.  Please pray as Rachel battles  discouragement, loneliness and hardships folks in the states never face.   Pray for Rachel Dapper as she takes the gospel to those who might never hear unless someone goes to tell them.  
 

 






















                            Rachel Dapper
                                                                                               
The current water shortage has lent a new meaning to “scraping the bottom of the barrel”.  In spite of careful rationing, I’m getting close to the end of my water supply and there’s no telling when the water will come back on again.  It could come on for a couple hours in the night.  It could come on tomorrow.   Or Sunday.  Or next Thursday.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not used to having to think about where I’m going to get water if I run out.  Actually, I’m just not used running out of water.  Ever.
* * *
I left home 38 days ago, and it seems like both yesterday and an eternity ago.  I was prepared for the heat.  For the dirt and swarms of flies and being jostled around mercilessly on bumpy roads.  For begging children and overflowing sewers and exhaustion.  For standing out no matter where I go.
But there is an emptiness, a not-enough-ness, a nothing-ness that I was not prepared for.  I know so little.  I can do so little.  Things I was competent in back home are suddenly irrelevant.  Being in an environment so completely different strips away much of what I have seen as my identity.  My first instinct is to run away and hide in a corner where I can be left alone.

It didn’t happen all at once, but since I’ve been here, I feel like I’ve been drained.  Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.  Yes, I feel like I’ve been drained right down to empty, and here I’ve discovered something.
Something I’ve known in my head but hadn’t experienced lately:

Being empty can be the very best thing to happen to you.

When I feel the crushing weight of my not-enough-ness, I experience God’s complete sufficiency.  When I feel like nothing, I remember God has promised to be everything I need.  When I’m empty, I learn that His purpose is “that [I] may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19b).  Filled with all the fullness of God.  That’s pretty incredible, isn’t it?                Remember how Paul compares us to jars of clay?  Unspectacular.  Fragile.  Empty.  Yet that very unspectacular-ness and emptiness is what makes them perfect to hold the treasure – the fullness of God Himself.  “…That the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”  (2 Corinthians 4:7b)

I am emptied to be filled. No, it doesn’t feel good.  No, I didn’t ask for it.  Yes, if there was another way to grow, I’d pick that.  But I know this is the place God wants me to be at: down to nothing.

And at the end of the day, not one of the things I’ve faced (or will face) can overpower me.
Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God.  Nothing, nothing, nothing.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Genesis Three



This week we are in a conference at New Tribes Mission headquarters in Florida.  It's always good to see people we have not seen in a long time but I have a  confession to make

I was not too excited most of the conference was going to be on marriage.   Of course I was sure we would pick up some new resources to give to those young married couples we meet with. 


The first DVD and chapter one of the work book was titled, Love Happens, God Purpose and Plan.  Good stuff, nothing I did not know already but good reminders. 

Second chapter,  Love Fades, Overcoming  Isolation.  This is where my breathe was taken from me as I watch the best illustration of Genesis 3.  I don't know where you are in your marriage, but 49 years later God drove the results of the fall deeper into my heart so I would receive only God and His word would free me from those results.     I hope you can take the few minutes it takes to watch this video. 
 
 


 Thanks God we do not have to live all the time in the results of the fall.  The results of the cross is where we should park our marriage and any relationship and stay there till there is a break through. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Hope Street


 This post has been sitting on my back burner for a while boiling over every time I read something on hope.   Here goes..........
Returning back to the states after serving overseas carries its own stress. Where to live was one of the biggest and to rent or buy was another.     Right after moving into our rented condo I started walking in the neighbor and was delighted to find a street named, Hope St.   
My  thinking  in the beginning was:  I will use this time walking on Hope St. to place my hopes and dreams before the Lord and see what He will do.   Oh the visions that danced in my head as I passed each modest house on my walk.  To see a “for sale” sign would cause me to rush home and give my husband the number of the real estate company.   Every time they were way over what we could afford but that did not stop me from hoping and dreaming.  It wasn’t long before I put this thought  before the Lord…a three bedroom house would be perfect God, we could  house missionaries needing a place to
stay when traveling through.  Oh yeah Lord, a small yard would be real nice for the grandchildren to play in. What wonderful way to give back what others have given us through the years.   I can envision it, Lord, CAN YOU?  And could you hurry up Lord while the market is down?  (some would call that manipulation. )
A visionary is described as one having unusual foresight and imagination or one having unrealistic dreams.  
As a visionary I have bounced between the two definitions a lot of my life.  In my mind I have not been able to see how hoping for our own home could be unrealistic…UNLESS GOD  had something better in store for me.  Today reading through my   lesson on contentment for this week, one statement brought a break through to my  heart.
Here is the whole paragraph in the book, Calm My Anxious Heart but Linda Dillow.   (When a woman looks for contentment in material possessions, the “thing” she wants pull her deeper and deeper into discontentment.   That for which she longs gradually becomes that to which she belongs. )   Each time I read this another layer of discontentment was revealed till I was deep in my heart where the  Holy Spirit was waiting for me to park a while.  I knew I was becoming discontented by how I was trying to make things happen in my own hope. 
Here is how my  discontentment rose to the surface when I tried to take matters into my own hands to obtain my dreams of a house and a few other things.   I bought a one dollar lottery ticket…I mean someone has to win, right? 
The visionary went to work thinking, if I won we could really have a reunion  when our daughter and family comes home from overseas. We could rent a  huge retreat house on the beach with mountains as the back drop, a bedroom for everyone, riding horses on the beach, extra money to do anything we wanted.      New clothes , ipads, new cars, toys galore for the grandchildren, eating  out every night, a house for everyone to go home to, Disneyland for a week and the list goes on and on.    
I was beginning to be owned by my hopes and dreams which started with a simple three bedroom house with a back yard.  Discontentment left to itself was taking me out to the sea of “Never Enough”.  In truth, I was beginning to be owned by my hope for material procession.  Trust me when I say, God has supplied all our needs, there is nothing I need at the moment so He has done His part over and above as always.  Looking at my needs will manifest a thankful heart whereas looking at what I hope for will usually  bring discontentment.  Hope deferred makes a heart sick.  Proverbs 13:12
A.W. Tozer says it best:  There is within the human heart a tough fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess, always to possess. It covets “things” with a deep and fierce passion. The pronouns “my” and “mine” look innocent enough in print, but their constant and universal use is significant. They express the real nature of the old Adamic man better than a thousand volumes of theology could do. They are verbal symptoms of our deep disease. The roots of our hearts have grown down into things, and we dare not pull up one rootlet lest we die. Things have become necessary to us. . . God’s gifts now take the place of God.
So often we ask God to endorse our own dreams, hopes and passions.  Scripture has commanded us to deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow Christ in dying to self.  We are to hope in:  His will...His word...His life...not our own.
 Self-indulgent "hope" is on "sifting sand" and really no hope at all.  C. S. Lewis
This much I know for sure.  If I had not repented from my self-indulgent hopes our time with our family would have been made miserable by my discontentment. 

 I still walk on "Hope Street" but I am more aware of the people who lives in the houses then the houses themselves now.   And today I met a lady watching her dog run around in her front yard.   Looking forward to talking to her again as I continue to walk on Hope Street.

                          Would love to hear your thoughts on "self-indulgent hope.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Abandoned

While living in Papua New Guinea we hiked about half hour into the jungle to an old abandoned air strip where parts of a World War II plane sits being over taking by rust and vines.  This country is full of artifact from  World War II.  Old tank  tracks are on a lot of beaches,  rusted out shells.  Your first thought  when you see this stuff is, why don't theses people use this to draw tourist to their country.  Because it's an undeveloped country most of it just sits abandoned.
 
There are times in our life when trials come and we are confused, angry and seemingly not hearing from the Lord.  We "feel" abandoned, all on our own, forsaken or deserted like an abandoned plane.  It's in these times we need to fall back on what we do know for sure.  Though we may not always be actively aware of the Holy Spirit he is always there to give us guidance and comfort by bringing to remembrance what God has already taught us.  Waiting for God to speak in some magical way will keep us from embracing what we already know.
 
Chuck Bomar talks about this in his book, Better Off Without Jesus.  It's one thing to teach on truth; it's another to embrace it personally.  I always seek to embrace things before I teach on them, but the truth is, I was going to have to embrace these principals in much more intimate way that ever before.
 A desire to hear the Holy Spirit speak shouldn't lead us to beg for a new revelation  as to seek to embrace what has already been revealed.
 
Two principals Chuck was reminded of that is spoken over and over again in the Word. 
Denial of self and dependence on God. 
Any time we are in a crisis of faith we need a foundation as we deal with the process of the issues at hand.  
 
  A crisis of [faith] belief is not a calamity in your life but a turning point where you must make a decision. You must decide what you truly believe God said. (Blackaby)
                       
When the time came for Jesus to return to heaven He did not ask the disciples to believe in who He was but what He said.  John 14:26.  They were facing a crisis of their faith and Jesus was promising them He was not abandoning them. That all He had taught them for three years was not in vain.  Truth would become solid in their hearts even if they could not touch Him physically anymore.  He had a better way to strengthen and encouraged them.

In steps the power of the Holy Spirit forever to be in the lives of every believer.  He is not hinder by space, distance or by our lack of ability,  his only hindrance is we who will not deny self and trust God.  His powers are up there with God, he knows all, sees all, works all things for our good and God's glory.  Most important is  he always lifts up Jesus.  When people say you are a Jesus person I believe the Holy Spirit smiles.  (Betty's paraphrase). 

What the lost and other Christian needs to see from us is not a person who walks around with a sad face during our trials because we "feel" abandoned.  But someone who has abandoned all to follow the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  

                        What has God taught you from your "crisis of faith"?
 
                                                  Need a good book: check out Chuck Bomar's...Better Off Without Jesus.