66 in 52 Challenge

Reflections on Job: Yet I will trust Him

Trust.

This is the word that rises to the surface as I read through Job.

It takes trust to fall to your knees in grief and worship there after receiving the news of the death of your children.

It takes trust to get up and move forward each day after that.

It takes trust to appeal to what you know about your God when those around you encourage you to give up and curse Him.

It takes trust to stay confident in your identity and convictions when those closest to you question you all the way.

It takes trust to appeal to God knowing how powerful He is but believing that whatever He could do to you would be better than giving in to what you know isn’t true.

It takes trust to humble yourself and admit where you didn’t live up to a perfect standard.

Trust.

Trustbelieves: “Even now, God in heaven is my witness and my protector.” Job 16:19

Trust remembers: “You, the source of my life, showered me with kindness and watched over me.” Job 10:12

Trust stays humble: “What you say is true. No human is innocent in the sight of God. Not once in a thousand times could we win our case if we took him to court. God is wise and powerful— who could possibly oppose him and win? When God becomes angry, he can move mountains before they even know it.” Job 9:2-5

Trust is not afraid to ask the hard questions: “Why should I patiently hope when my strength is gone?” Job 6:11 “Why is life so hard? Why do we suffer?” Job 7:1

Trust helps us remain faithful: “In spite of everything, Job did not sin or accuse God of doing wrong.” Job 1:22

Trust proclaims: “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!” Job 19:25-27

Trust stays focused on what’s most important: “Let God All-Powerful be your silver and gold.” Job 22:25

Trust does not depend on sight: “I cannot find God anywhere— in front or back of me, to my left or my right. God is always at work, though I never see him.” Job 23:8-9

Trust relinquishes perceived or desired control: “From the very beginning, God has been in control of all the world.” Job 34:13

Trust leans in when it doesn’t make sense: “Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him…” Job 13:15

Jesus, on the best days and the worst, may I trust You and You alone. Teach me to trust. Teach me the humility and peace, the patience and focus, the determination and proclamation of trust. Always. Amen.

Uncategorized

Prayers for Friends

A beautiful prayer for our friends and family members. I have some friends for whom I’m praying this today. I bet you have some friends who could use some prayer too.

Father, when we hear how much You love us, that You’ll always be there, how constant and consistent You are, it’s hard for us to believe. Others have let us down, and we know how flaky we are when we make promises. But when You say,’I’ll keep my promises,’ it’s true.

I pray for my friends now. Some of them are praying simple prayers. They need your strength to get through this day, this night, this, challenge. Others are praying difficult prayers–prayers that are so big and so confusing they don’t see how in the world anybody, even You, can work it out. I ask, Father, that now, as they pray, they begin to trust.

I pray that Your Spirit will tell them:
* You’ve heard their prayers.
* You’re already working on it.
* What You’re working on is the absolute best they could ever have.

For my friends who are wounded, I pray for their healing. For my friends who are angry, I pray for release and forgiveness. For my friends that are lost, I pray this will be the moment You find them. For all of us, may this be the moment that You remind us who You are and what we are in You. I pray this in Your name. Amen.

Taken from the book “In Real Time” by Mike Glenn

Haiti, Mission Work

Think Like A Missionary

One of my favorite thing in Haiti this past week was hearing more stories about Haiti.  Stories of the peoples’ lives, stories of God at work, stories of past trips.  As Dan was sharing some stories one night from a previous trip he kept bringing up the phrase, “Think Like a Missionary.”  I loved this concept and have to say that as the week went on, there were multiple times “think like a missionary” popped into my head and forced me to think outside the box a little.   I thought I’d share a few examples:

The first situation that comes to mind is during our first VBS.  We had brought a craft to do with the kids that involved making an angel necklace out of Ideal clamp paperclips a bead and some string.  We debated back and forth whether to do it all at once to or to separate out groups of kids to go do it a few at a time.  We ended up trying it all together since it was such a simple craft.  This may have worked fine… if there were only 150 kids there.  We only brought half of the supplies the first day because we knew we had other churches to go to later in the week but forgot to count how many kids were there before starting the craft. Opps.  We very quickly realized, as kids were swarming us for more supplies, that there were MUCH more than 150 kids there!  While very exciting, we had a problem on our hands.  “Think like a missionary” popped into my head.  The end result was cutting some of the longer strings in half with Pastor Allen’s pocket knife and using some of the extra “heads” (beads) we had to give to those who did not get paperclips.  In the long run, it ended up with some kids only have heads and others having decapitated angels, but hey, the gospel was proclaimed and we chose to give God the glory and ask him to give us better wisdom to handle the next VBS in a better way.

400+ Bracelets... now on the wrists of children all over Haiti

The thing with going on a mission trip is that you plan and plan and plan… and then are flexible when plans change.  On the schedule we had, that first VBS on Tuesday did not exist.  This meant that we needed to figure out what we would do on Thursday when we were back at the same church, in Les Cayes, with some of the same kids, but also a lot MORE kids.  We already didn’t have enough supplies the first time for a craft so we needed to figure out what to do.  “THINK LIKE A MISSIONARY.”  Our first task was to figure out a skit.  Through prayer, a conglomeration of previous skit ideas, and some brainstorming sessions, God provided us with a fun way to present his saving grace in a way kids, who didn’t speak English (with missionaries that didn’t speak Creole), could understand. We also decided to make friendship bracelets for the kids because we had a ton of Embroidery Floss.  So Wednesday night we set out to make 400 bracelets (we wanted to make sure we had enough).  My camp experience had taught me the quickest, easiest way to make many bracelets in the shortest amount of time.  Wednesday we set at our task and made close to 200 in about 45 mintues.  But this wasn’t good enough for some of the guys on our team.  After dinner, Dan broke out the drill.  We perfected our system and before we knew it we had nearly 450 awesome bracelets ready to hand out to excited children the next day.  🙂  Now that’s what I call, thinking like a missionary. (Video of the process to come soon!)
The "Manly" way to make friendship bracelets

One last example is simply in communication.  We tried our best to learn some Creole before heading to Haiti, and some of the children have picked up some English here and there, but often, “communication” did not come in words.  I am reminded of passages in the New Testament where Paul talks about doing whatever it takes to communicate Christ to people.  Often on our trip, we were forced to “think like a missionary” and find new creative ways to communicate with the people we came in contact with.

The more I think about this, as I’ve written this post, I’ve realize how much I want to “think like a missionary” more and more in my everyday life.  So often we keep God in a little box, we do things the same way because, we’ve always done it that way before.  I am reminded again of the story that I talked about in my last post of the feeding of the 5,000.  Jesus wasn’t asking the disciples to do some impossible task by feeding this people, though that is how they felt.  Rather, he was challenging them to “think like a missionary” and turn to the one who has an abundance to give.  Did Jesus feed the 5,000 people in the ways the disciples were originally trying to solve the problem?  No, but there was enough food.   Did we have enough supplies to make the craft the way we originally intended? No, but we had enough beads and string to send the kids away with something to remind them that God is always with them.

What is it in your life, and in mine where we need to start thinking like missionaries and turn to the one who may not always do things as WE think best, but always has more than enough?!?

Blessing

BLESSED!!!

No words of my own right now, but a few from others I’d like to share.

 

 

First, this paraphrase of Matthew 5:3-5:

You’re blessed when you are out of options, and all you can do is lean on God.  Because when you realize your need for God, it is only then that you tap into His immeasurable greatness and goodness.  You’re blessed when you’ve been stripped of that which is most precious to you.  Because only then can you be tenderly embraced by the One most precious to you.

 

Also, this passage from a devotional book quoted in a blog post I read this morning. 

“Be willing to follow wherever I lead. Follow Me wholeheartedly, with glad anticipation quickening your pace. Though you don’t know what lies ahead, I know; and that is enough! Some of My richest blessings are just around the bend: out of sight, but nonetheless very real. To receive these gifts, you must walk by faith–not by sight. This doesn’t mean closing your eyes to what is all around you. It means subordinating the visible world to the invisible Shepherd of your soul.”

 

And lastly, this beautiful prayer that was used in the traditional worship service at First Trinity last night and this morning:

"O most loving Father, You want us to give thanks for all things, to fear nothing except losing You, to follow You faithfully, and to lay all our cares on You.  Protect us from faithless fears and worldly anxieties, and give us confidence in Your merciful love given to us in our Savior Jesus, in whose Name we pray. Amen.”

Life Lessons Learned in the Kitchen

A Need to Be Kneaded

After my post about making bread last night, I decided to investigate WHY bread needs to be kneaded.  As I did a google search and read what www.wisegeek.com had to say about it, I was amazed at how God was STILL speaking to me through the simple act of baking bread.

 

Check out one of the reason behind kneading:

“One of the most important things that takes place during the kneading process is the development of gluten. As the flour that makes up the dough is moistened and stirred, the gluten begins to form and also gains in strength as the dough is subjecting to the kneading process. Gluten can be thought of as the binding agent within the dough, allowing the loaf to take on a cohesive texture that will allow the substance to not fall apart during baking.”

Do you see it?  Do you see the connections?!?

 

Yesterday in my post I was talking about God kneading truth into my life.  As this happens… I get stronger. 

 

As I submit to the kneading process… something that would probably be labeled as “weak” in this world… I actually gain strength. 

 

That truth works with the other ingredients that make up everyday life and becomes the binding agent that holds my life together and allows me to not fall apart when the tough times occur.

 

Bread of Life, knead Your truth into my life every moment of everyday!  Remind me to submit to this process, that I may gain strength to face whatever comes my way.

Poetry/Songs

Perspective

5:01am

Sitting at the gate at the Wichita airport.

 

 

10 feet away

A uniformed man holds back tears

As his parents say “goodbye”

Hopefully not for the last time

They leave

Embraced in each others’ arms

He fidgets .

Alone

Adjusting his uniform

Glancing around nervously

Trying to be strong

 

 

Seconds later

One more comes around the corner

This one with a wife

Her shoulders already shaking with grief

57 minutes till our flight departs

57 minutes of agony

Followed by months, maybe more

Of separation

 

 

And my biggest concern on this snowy day is whether or not I’ll make it to Buffalo or will have to work from Wichita, around my family, in a safe, warm house, for an extra day or so.

 

 

Perspective.

Bekah's Heart, Blessing, Joy

Vacations are for Detours

I come ‘round the last curve in the road.  A smile grows on my face as contentment grows in my soul.   If I wasn’t sure before, I’m now convinced that this impromptu detour down “J-Hill” road was a great idea.

I can’t wait to get down the drive and park the car, quick turning off the radio allowing for the silence this place demands. 

I look around for a rock to carry up. Unsuccessful, but decide the rocks don’t have to be literal, my figurative ones will work just fine for today.

The ascent begins and I ponder… Was it really nearly 10 years ago that I made this climb for the first time?  I also recall some of the “rocks” I laid down here nearly a decade ago… some of the same burdens I’ve come here to lay down again today. 

I pass the crossbar and continue the hike, thankful that the frozen ground makes this journey a little easier than the typical summer day with shifting dirt and sliding rocks.  Near the top, I finally turn around.  The awe-inspiring view steals my breath once again.  

As if there were an automatic recording, the familiar tune and words begin to come out of my mouth…. “Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary…”

I ponder again… how many times have I climbed this hill?  How many times have I sung that song?  How many rocks have I laid here… my sins, my burdens, my hurts, my joys.

I linger for a while but eventually begin the hike down to the car… hearing in my head the instructions that for many years came out of my mouth… “If you turn your feet sideways it makes it easier to get down without slipping.”  (As this thought passes through my head, I also slightly regret not changing into the gym shoes that were in the trunk.)

On my way down I pay specially attention to the names that remain on weather-worn rocks.

Luke.

Kylie.

Trina.

Julius.   I pause a little longer here.   

I wonder… What burdens or pains or hurts or sins might he have left there with his rock only weeks before he left every burden behind forever and went to the place of no more tears. 

Luke.

Anneka.

The names and rocks continue, some more familiar than others.  Each name representing the same thing…  a life changed in this place.  Each rock carries a story… one often known by God alone.   Each rock left there together forms a certain shape reminding… We are free.  Over the last decade, hundreds have made that same climb leaving behind their “junk.” And now, collectively, that “junk” is somehow able to point to our risen Lord.  To God Alone be the Glory!

Thanks God for today… for that spontaneous voice in my head that prompted my journey to 7821 Lyons Creek Road… one of the places in this world that has the label “home” in my heart … a place that gives a little glimpse into what our forever home will be like.