Friday, April 24, 2015

Battle Worn Boots

Many have used that term, "front line" referring to those of us  who are foreign missionaries.   But I must tell you, it has never set well with me because I believe the front line is anywhere, anytime we give the gospel out.  The enemy of our soul will not fight  against us being religious anywhere in the world, but try giving out the gospel.  Fear will cause our hearts to race, our minds will tell us we will suffer rejection if we speak about Him, excuses will come quickly on why we should be silent.   We'll find a way to leave the front lines if it makes us feel uncomfortable.   

  Little did I know a battle was raging for my soul the day a Sunday school teacher from a near by church sit in our family room and presenting me with the choice of accepting God love for me or rejecting it. 

Little did I know the battle would continue even after I accepted God's free gift and open a bible to learn more about this amazing God who loved me enough to send His Son to die in my place so I could have a relationship with Him. 

Little did I know a battle would rise up when I sit down with my family and shared why there was such a radical change in my life.  

Little did I know how much of a battle would occur when we submitted to enter into full time ministry and later head over seas to serve the Lord.  God was enlarging our battle field. 

A few years have passed since  all those battles and a new one has risen.  We're back to stateside living where it easy to get to church, sit in a comfortable room, hear great music, shake a few familiar hands, eat at a good restaurant then drive home to our comfortable apartment.    We have been boots on the ground in two foreign countries yet it's this battle that is the hardest, the battle of ease.   We have taken off our battle worn boots and replace them with comfortable shoes that don't like to get bloody.  Our easy chairs call us to come relax, you've done your part, enjoy the abundance of ease.  And all around us people are dying without Christ, in America of all places where there is freedom still to speak our faith.  

My heart is convicted as I read post after post of those standing in the gap for God all over the world.  Time to put on the those  bloody worn boots, lace up and get back in the battle  on what ever ground God has placed me.  It's not the location of my  bodies but the location of my  hearts that equips me to fight the good fight.  Like me, if you are His you are a soldier of the cross...lets wear our uniform with boldness and humility.  

This post is a part of a series of stories shared over at The High Calling. This week you will find a community of wordsmiths sharing stories of living out faith in the line of fire.  Grab a cup of coffee and an open heart, settle into your favorite chair and join us as we share thoughts and encouragement to lift you up.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Spiritual Discipline/Boot Camp/Boot Straps

Part of the missionary training we had for living overseas in a remote location was called, Boot Camp.   Our mission no longer uses that term since it offends or gives the wrong impression.

  Our day started with classes on practical life dealing with relationship with family, friends, saved, and unsaved.  Culture classes consisted of studying a group of American Indians  to learn the process of learning how others view the world. These classes required tons of reading which meant we had discipline ourselves to meet the requirements.
Jungle camp house built during Boot Camp,  made by small poles cut from the woods,
draped in plastics,  homemade mud oven for cooking.   Home made table and benches,
for eating the food we canned to last 6 weeks. 

Jungle house in the jungle.  Amazing how the training paid off.  

Afternoons were taken up with work detail  to help maintain  the training center.  In doing that we learned to work along side  someone with a different back ground and views on work among other issues.  

 Everyone looked forward to volleyball after supper.  Nothing like playing sports of any kind to bring out a lack of spiritual discipline. Even the most talented player could get in the flesh.  Pride knows no boundaries and all of us fell into it at one time or another.  It was a great time to put into  practice the spiritual disciplines we had been learning

 During that time we moved out in the woods for six weeks,  lived in tents while we built a jungle camp house, cook on a mud oven, learn to live without electricity, running water and indoor bathrooms.  The missions goal was to prepare the best they could for some rugged living.  Be flexible was the theme that went along with everything we learned.  

At times the training seemed hard and other times you had to wonder if there was any value in this.  Then you land on the shores of a country like Papua New Guinea where everyday you have the unexpecting happening.  Knowing how to order our day became an invaluable tool that kept us from completely falling apart when trials came our way.  

Some spiritual discipline come a little easier, because it involves our choices, like praying, reading our bible, giving, all doing disciplines. I am all for all the things I named and more but there is also a danger in these kinds of disciplines.  The Pharisee were very discipline in, memorizing scriptures, faithfully went to the synagogue, taught others, gave money, obeyed biblical rules, prayed, became leaders and they looked the part too.  Their faith was in their faithfulness not in God's.  

Then there is the discipline that comes with a trial,  the kind of spiritual discipline you have no choice in, James described it as trials of many kinds. They come in all shapes and sizes and knock us off balance in our walking faith.   If we could we would forgo that kind of discipline because  it's out of our hands.  Yet it is those trials that shows where are our faith is.  It brings out of us how much we love control, how much we love the "doing of discipline" better then a faith walk.  That old saying, "pull ourselves up by our boot straps" works well until the boot straps break under the load of trials.  

My boot straps have broke several times and no amount of doing the normal things a Christian should do, like read my Bible, go to church, etc, fixed them.  Only God in His perfect timing along with His perfects methods can fix those straps. Trust me I don't look forward to more of those broken boot straps but looking at the past ones I know beyond a shadow of a doubt I grew more from that kind of discipline then the ones I had a choice in.  

Great quote from Mary Demuth...Instead of obeying in the moment and experiencing powerful growth, we wander around in circles of chasing ease, trusting in ourselves to solve our problems living  a Godless life.  
      How's your boot straps?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Resurrection Talk

Hearing the resurrection story over and over never gets old.  It  has the power to reach through a difficult language groups buried deep in remote jungle locations and convict their hearts of their need of the Savior.  

As you listen to the Easter story in the Moi language watch his eyes shine with the light of the glorious gospel.  Hear the wonder in his voice, the assurance that God loved him enough to send someone to live in their primitive village, learn their culture and language, teach them to read and write their language, translate the bible in their language, teach the bible so they can hear the story of God's love for them.  


There will be no Easter baskets filled with goodies, no frilly dresses and hats or fancy shoes as they celebrate the  Easter story in hundreds of small remote villages.  Believers will stand and give testimonies to when they heard the resurrection story and how it changed their lives.    

Let me tell you of my resurrection story.  As a lost woman of 35 God sent several people my way to boldly ask me what would happen to me when I died.  That question haunted me for I knew somehow deep inside me I would go to hell.  For a few weeks I wrestled with it as we attended a local church they invited us to.  Conviction was heavy on my soul till finally I gave in and admitted I could do nothing to get to heaven and believe I needed Jesus to save me from eternal separation from a Holy God.   His love  drew me to the cross where I found the ground level and Him waiting with open arms to receive me into His family.  Then my voice took on a new tone, a freedom tone, my eyes became bright with the love of God and the desires of my heart changed. No longer did I want to walk in my ways, I desired to be obedient to the one who loved me.   Like the man in the video I have to share the resurrection story, it begs to be told over and over and over.  

now go tell your story.