Friday, March 11, 2011
Earthquake in New Zealand, earthquake in Japan. It led me to Psalm 46 again- the scripture the Lord gave me after returning from Haiti and hearing about the earthquake that happened there. It first starts off to proclaim who God is and His accessibility, giving us the confidence to stand firm while everything around us screams the opposite. It tells of His authority over all things, and then lastly after all these things... "Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
I have been thinking about the earthquakes that have happened in my life these past few months- things that have shaken me to, making known that my foundation can be in nothing but the Lord. There's a lot of things that can be said about our faith, but application is truly seen in the times of testing and in those times of shaking. I've heard it said that from the mind to the heart is the longest 18 inches that must be traveled. It's in these earthquakes of life that I can see how much of those 18 inches from the mind have: already made the connection to the heart, currently traveling, and what areas from the mind that need to travel to the heart yet still. It's true as well, when the things around us shake, the Lord can be the only One that we cling to for refuge. We learn this to be true as the facts or God's Word resonate in our mind and become the outflow of our heart. Trials only strengthen and speed up this understanding. I have found it to be a beautiful picture of dependency and the Lord rightfully receiving our whole undivided hearts. I'm finding His word to come alive to me and to be my source for all things. 'Living' is a word that continues to echo. The Lord has given us His living Word, His living Spirit, a living hope, and our living God is bringing His promises to pass.
An email from a missionary in Japan after the earthquake: "We are reminded at this time of whom we serve, of whom we worship and we want to be bold, efficient, effective believers who are seeking to live out the Presence of a very real Living God in the midst of this national tragedy."
Hebrews 12:25-29 ... all will be shaken that the things that can not be shaken will remain...
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away" Matthew 24:35... Him Word will remain throughout all eternity!
and lastly: "In this (our living hope because of Jesus' finished work on the cross) you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 1:6-7
I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision —Acts 26:19
If we lose “the heavenly vision” God has given us, we alone are responsible— not God. We lose the vision because of our own lack of spiritual growth. If we do not apply our beliefs about God to the issues of everyday life, the vision God has given us will never be fulfilled. The only way to be obedient to “the heavenly vision” is to give our utmost for His highest— our best for His glory. This can be accomplished only when we make a determination to continually remember God’s vision. But the acid test is obedience to the vision in the details of our everyday life— sixty seconds out of every minute, and sixty minutes out of every hour, not just during times of personal prayer or public meetings.
“Though it tarries, wait for it . . .” (Habakkuk 2:3). We cannot bring the vision to fulfillment through our own efforts, but must live under its inspiration until it fulfills itself. We try to be so practical that we forget the vision. At the very beginning we saw the vision but did not wait for it. We rushed off to do our practical work, and once the vision was fulfilled we could no longer even see it. Waiting for a vision that “tarries” is the true test of our faithfulness to God. It is at the risk of our own soul’s welfare that we get caught up in practical busy-work, only to miss the fulfillment of the vision.
Watch for the storms of God. The only way God plants His saints is through the whirlwind of His storms. Will you be proven to be an empty pod with no seed inside? That will depend on whether or not you are actually living in the light of the vision you have seen. Let God send you out through His storm, and don’t go until He does. If you select your own spot to be planted, you will prove yourself to be an unproductive, empty pod. However, if you allow God to plant you, you will “bear much fruit” (John 15:8).
It is essential that we live and “walk in the light” of God’s vision for us (1 John 1:7).
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
A lot of you have been praying for our friend Brent and his family after he found out about the brain tumor. Brent recently wrote us to keep us updated with his medical state. Please continue to keep him and his family in your prayers! He sends his love:
To my beloved family at TCC and TCS, I feel impelled to write and update each and every one of you concerning the events that have transpired in my life over the course of the last few days. No doubt these events have been unexpected, yet through it all I have never been more aware of the presence of God than at this point in my life. I have concluded in my heart and mind that God has ordained this by His sovereignty and for His glory. I feel so honored and humbled that God has counted me faithful to suffer on behalf of His name to this degree.
I have come to understand that the desires He has given me can only be realized in my life through His divine design. For my life He saw fit that this ailment would bring about that end. Although the natural man will never understand this fact, the spiritual man submits to the truthfulness of this reality with all of his heart. The redeemed children of God know that His ways are above their ways and they are past finding out!
I will not lie; I have experienced times of despair and fear since hearing the news. My heart yearns when I wake up next to my wife not knowing how many more times I will see her laying next to me. My heart has failed when I hear my boys laughing not knowing how many more times I will hear their beautiful voices or if I will see them grow up into healthy young men. But each and every time my heart becomes overwhelmed; the Lord’s supernatural comfort warms my soul. Not by revealing that He will heal me of this sickness but rather that He will be with me through the valley of the shadow of death! I wholeheartedly believe that all of these things will work together for good because I love Him and I am called according to His purpose. These events, no matter how they unfold, will turn out to the glory of His Name!
I have been astounded by the love of the saints. Your support, prayers, and comfort have become a great source of consolation to my family and me. I ask that you continually uphold us in your prayers. Pray that the Lord would grant us courage and confidence in Him as we walk forward in the future. Our greatest plea is that we would represent our Savior properly during this time.
I sincerely wish I could speak to each and every one of you face to face to express my appreciation. Yet it is clear that at this point I am to focus on my family and spend as much time with them as possible. I will purpose to keep everyone updated as we receive more information. To God be the glory in His Church both now and forever!
In His Hands,
Brent, Andrea, Jaiden and Micah
Oh my goodness, probably one of my favorite songs! Read through this song and meditate on the Words! :)
Oh Lord, you're beautiful,
Your face is all I seek,
For when your eyes are on this child,
Your grace abounds to me.
I want to take your word and shine it all around.
But first help me just to live it Lord.
And when I'm doing well, help me to never seek a crown.
For my reward is giving glory to you.
Oh Lord, please light the fire,
That once burned bright and clear.
Replace the lamp of my first love,
That burns with Holy fear.
"Now set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God." 1 Chronicles 22:19a
Friday, March 4, 2011
"None of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself . . ." —Acts 20:24
It is easier to serve or work for God without a vision and without a call, because then you are not bothered by what He requires. Common sense, covered with a layer of Christian emotion, becomes your guide. You may be more prosperous and successful from the world’s perspective, and will have more leisure time, if you never acknowledge the call of God. But once you receive a commission from Jesus Christ, the memory of what God asks of you will always be there to prod you on to do His will. You will no longer be able to work for Him on the basis of common sense.
What do I count in my life as “dear to myself”? If I have not been seized by Jesus Christ and have not surrendered myself to Him, I will consider the time I decide to give God and my own ideas of service as dear. I will also consider my own life as “dear to myself.” But Paul said he considered his life dear so that he might fulfill the ministry he had received, and he refused to use his energy on anything else. This verse shows an almost noble annoyance by Paul at being asked to consider himself. He was absolutely indifferent to any consideration other than that of fulfilling the ministry he had received. Our ordinary and reasonable service to God may actually compete against our total surrender to Him. Our reasonable work is based on the following argument which we say to ourselves, “Remember how useful you are here, and think how much value you would be in that particular type of work.” That attitude chooses our own judgment, instead of Jesus Christ, to be our guide as to where we should go and where we could be used the most. Never consider whether or not you are of use— but always consider that “you are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19). You are His.