Beautifully Blooming

Eloquent efflorescence– it’s the new phrase that lingers around my life. It scents my hands as I serve someone other than myself; it kisses my cheek when I find my comfort in the Lord amidst hurt; it graces my shoulders when I turn my back on self-doubt.

I have chosen to believe my Lord when He promises newness in my life. I have chosen to listen and to cling to these words; I have chosen to make them my song for the year, and yes, the rest of my life!

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” -Isaiah 43:18-19

We serve a great and glorious, all-powerful and organized God. Praise Him, because my world, more often than not, looks like chaos. How ’bout you?

But even so, He orders my chaos and He guides my steps. As I seek after His heart, I find myself walking in His steps, tracing His path He has laid out before me and not my own. He truly is the One that lights this path of grace. And as I walk and sometimes stumble, He holds me up and teaches me gently. His voice is peace. His words are kind and not condemning. And as I am comforted, I learn lessons with which to comfort others. This is the beauty of the mind of God. While some of us are blessed to drink directly from His eternal fountain of Life, not everyone is. And so it is our duty–yours and mine–to carry water from that Well to sprinkle on others, so that in time, they too can lift their wilting petals to the Son.

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With a Heavy Heart 

Dear, sweet children of God, I write this to introduce something that has been constantly in my Spirit so heavy that I must speak out. It is a very controversial topic, especially among my generation…but know, that if you disagree with me on this issue, I once was in your shoes myself. But I have done much extensive research and prayerfully considered this topic over the span of many years, and trust me when I say, it is scary. Please, if anything, read with an open mind and a heart willing to be pierced by the truth of what is and what will always be–that we are not warring against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, spiritual forces of darkness out to wage war against our souls, yours and mine. Be faithful to our One Master and Lord, Jesus Christ, pay homage to no one else. Glorify God with your bodies.  

My heart is breaking 

to see darkness taking

hold of the people of God

They say they know the

Way of Truth

But somehow they forgot

They stretch and breathe

While all the while

opening doors to the

Powers that live

to take captive ignorant

children led by

ministers from within

Be on your guard dear child

and ask yourself the why

Why do you do what you do?

Why does it feel so right?

When did something so “normal”

start to overtake the Light?

Where and when did the practice emerge?

The Law, the Prophets,

do we see it in the Word?

Can we practice Light and darkness?

Can we serve both God and sin?

How the demons are rejoicing

when they know now they can win

And the Hindus are complaining

that we take too much from them

There will be more on this to come. Until then, in the words of our Lord,

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. ” Matthew 26:41

 

Tears and Trembling

Well, I cried in school today.

I was just watching a lecture, as usual, and at the end they added a video testimony from mission work in Papua New Guinea. The testimony was so awe-inspiring– the movement in the people was truly God-given. Plus watching the scene unfold answered my question from a passage I had just read:

“And thus I will make it my ambition to preach the Gospel, not where Christ has already been named so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.” –Romans 15:20

I understood the thought of preaching to the unreached, but Paul’s explanation puzzled me a bit, to be honest. I was trying to wrap my head around the why– why not work with someone else who’s already broken the ice? Why not?

But when I saw the video I understood. He wasn’t talking about a Christian foundation. (Of course not, these people are unreached remember Janessa? Duh.)

The missionaries to this tribe literally had to start from ground zero. They needed supernatural patience to be able to lay a foundation where someone had never heard the gospel or anything in the Bible at all. They didn’t even realize the vastness of this earth we live on. They were merely in a bubble of their own culture and belief system.

The first two days the missionary taught them geography. Why? To show them, in the end, where the Bible even came from.

Then, it took two full months preaching five days a week, twice a day, to lay the Old Testament foundation.

Later as the missionary told the story of Abraham and Isaac, four different men on four different occasions came to him suggesting the end of the story– they knew that Jesus had to come from the bloodline of Isaac, but they also knew that Abraham would be obedient. They suggested that somehow God would come through and provide another sacrifice. They thought it would be a physical lamb.

Their understanding astounded me.

These people had never heard these passages before and yet they knew what was coming. They knew the end of the story and the importance of a blood sacrifice.

That’s when tears began to fall.

Because these people, with the right foundation, were understanding the Old and New Covenant on their own. I thought of our Western church culture and my heart was so grieved at our state of Christianity.

*

He waited a full two months before introducing Jesus to them. And when he did, Jesus was their hero. They loved Him and worshipped Him before they had even known what He had done for us. For them. They loved Him for who He was and is.

Again I cried and the same questions came over me– why God? Why is our country so blind? Look at these people. Look!

*

During the service about the crucifixion and resurrection the normally reserved people kept getting out of their seats and shouting “It is true!” and “I believe!” in their native tongue.

They understood the importance of the sinless life and the blood. They couldn’t keep from testifying until in their joy, they all started joining together in dance.

For two and a half hours. 

They had found victory over their fears.

They had found victory in Jesus.

They understood the weight of the Gospel.

And how good this news truly is.

And they danced and danced and danced–

glorifying their Father in Heaven. They couldn’t keep from singing God’s praise.

And as they danced, I cried and cried.

Thinking, where are we?

God Speaking

Why don’t churches talk about this issue often? Why is it even something up for debate? I don’t understand how one can believe in having a personal relationship with Christ without also believing that He speaks to you and knowing how He does so. However, sometimes this topic is shied away from… But not today, friends! Below you will find my understanding of some of the ways that our Lord continues to speak even today.

Ways that God speaks to us “little” and “big” alike:

Actually can I first just take a moment to expound on something that I’ve been thinking about? I can? Thanks so much 😉 

God is all over the “little” things. Like my dad continually reminded me as I was growing up, the Bible says if we are faithful in the little things, then He will grant us the responsibility of “big” things. (Luke 16:10) Only after continued, faithful obedience will He give us bigger things, bolder things, tougher yet more glorious things to wrap our tiny hands around. So don’t despise the little things in your life. God chooses us because of our weakness and frailty so that He may be proved mighty through us! (2 Cor 12:9) Make those little things count, darlings. Make each moment count. 

Ok, pep talk over, let’s take a look at that list, shall we?
• through “coincidences” You know what I mean, those days that you keep hearing the same verse/topic from different people and places over and over and over again. I find this to be the clearest and most easily detected way that God speaks to me. Once I hear God speaking in this way and listen to His voice, I try to meditate and study on the concept throughout the week. Often it is what I shape my quiet times around and I try to write them down in my prayer journal periodically as they come to mind. It’s so helpful to be able to look back on the things that God has shown you and refresh your spirit with His faithfulness!
• through the conviction and prompting of the Holy Spirit. This is God speaking to you in the most personal manner possible. The Holy Spirit is here to guide us into all truth (John 16:13) so when we feel that gentle nudge or hear that quiet voice inside our spirit telling us to do something, please friends, listen. 
• through music. Music is a very powerful weapon. It plants seeds in your mind and heart that you may not even realize was there. Each song is sent out with an intention behind it and in the Spirit that is in the person behind it. That’s why we need to be SO careful with what we listen to and fill our minds with. But because music is so powerful, it can be a tool that God uses in your heart and life for healing or direction. (And probably an infinite number of other things too!)
• Through others. A funny example that happened to me just this Sunday: I got out of church and was trying to decided if I should go to another church service that I enjoy, but don’t always feel is the right thing spiritually for me to do. (Sometimes I really just need to come home and be alone with the Lord and spiritually recharge.) Today though, it was unclear what I should do and I was undecided. Now I could have made the decision on my own to just do whatever my first inclination was, but instead I purposed that I wanted to be obedient to God’s best for me** so I said a quick prayer, “Lord should I go to the other church or should I go home? I don’t know what to do.” I glanced down at my phone–I had a new message. I opened it. It was from God. Just kidding! Sort of… It was from my uncle saying that his church was having international students (from the local organization I’m trying to get involved in) come and give a presentation at the church before service and he invited me to come. Did I immediately recognize this as God speaking? Yes, I did. Did I immediately obey Him and decide in my heart to go? No, ashamedly I didn’t. I didn’t feel like going, I didn’t want to be inconvenienced or put in an awkward situation and I didn’t really feel like being social. But does that matter when God speaks to you (and more specifically) answers you? No, it doesn’t. I did a double take and a heart check and went to that service. And you know what, God spoke to me there too through the students and the pastor and the choir and His word. And it was one of the best services I’ve been to in a long time.

I find the best way to get acquainted with the Holy Spirit’s voice is to just be very aware. Try to be intentional as you go about your days and speak to God like He is there with you, listening to you and having a conversation with you– because He is! (My first anchor episode is about this, if you want to hear a little more about being in constant fellowship with God throughout the day!)

But also, as always, test the spirits, to see if they are of man, the Devil, or God. (1 John 4:1) Line what you hear up with Scripture. The Holy Spirit will never contradict the Word of God because they are One. They cannot be divided because though they are three in Person, they are One in Being, One in Substance, One in Essence. They all follow the same law, the Law of God, because they are that Law.

Also, simply ask. Sometimes I think we believe our requests are too small or too silly to bring before God, but that just isn’t true. Maybe we don’t want to “bother” Him–which could be rooted in a misunderstanding of how much He loves us. He. Loves. You. He wants to hear your every heart cry. And if you ask something that is in line with the mind and will of Christ, He will bless you with it. He will answer you because He promises that He hears us. Sometimes out answers are delayed in coming to us, but just because you don’t think you’ve gotten your answer, keep seeking His face fervently. (Daniel 10) The answer will come in time. If only you are patient enough to wait.

Sometimes I find that God like to test the patience and faith of His children by pushing things down to the wire, the very last moment, before providing your need. He wants our full dependence. He wants our complete trust. He wants our hearts.

• I am only going to briefly touch on this last way that comes to mind because I have yet to experience this myself– audibly. God spoke audibly in both the Old and New Testaments, but seems to do so more and more rarely in this era. Some denominations lay the claim that God absolutely does not speak audibly any longer, but I have heard several testimonies, some even personally, that prove otherwise. So, as always, if I don’t see it explicitly stated that such a thing has ceased and I have others experiences to back it up, I believe. Who am I to say what God will or will not do? (Job 38)  

Do you have any questions or experiences you would like to share? Leave them below! I hope this was helpful in some way to you! Much love in Christ our Saviour. ❤

**This is a li’l reminder to myself that I want to write a post about a very interesting passage I found last week that helped me to understand our lives and God’s will a little better. Interested? Let me know!

From Failure to Freedom

This was one of my journal entries from the beginning of the week. I’m posting it here because from the beginning to the end, you can see God’s hand in my thoughts and life, revealing truth and error and coming to comfort me in time of need. It was too precious not to share for we are called to “comfort with the comfort with which we have been comforted”. So, dear one, I hope you find peace and comfort here today.

 
9.05.2017 // I fear I was not and am not a faithful enough witness (to my extended family especially). My failure burdens me and I’m struggling with the accusations that I didn’t “do good enough”. That “I’m not good enough” to do any of this. That I. am. not. enough. I know that that’s not true and also that “there is none good but the Father”, but still I don’t feel the least bit worthy in my heart of hearts– I still feel like a failure…

If there’s one thing I can do, it is worship my Father in Heaven because He is so holy + perfect.

In death I will find my gain + rest because I can simply be in His presence and rest in Him completely and fully. I can worship and worship until I can no more and then my heart will keep on singing.

But the thing is, I can do that now. Here. In this moment and every moment. I can make each second of my life, every breath, every good thing and every failure an act of worship.

I can sit in His presence just as I am and just be because He accepts me that way– full of so. many. flaws.

He sees me as He created me– fearfully + wonderfully made. Intricate + complex. Perfect–through the blood of Christ.

He has a purpose for my life here and now, if only I can look beyond my shortcomings and just see His face.

I will find rest.

I will find peace here on earth.

Community

The mission: unity in community and in His presence– to dwell with Him forever. To abide. To abide in Him. To abide in His love.  

“I will be your God and you will be my people.” (See 2 Corinthians 6:16)

We belong, darlings. We belong.

We belong to each other– we are joint heirs with Christ!

We fellowship with the Lord– with God on High! How amazing is that?

Everyone wants to be invited.

Everyone wants to belong.

Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger

This community on earth is just a taste of the reunion we’re going to have in heaven. What celebration! What a day of rejoicing that will be!

I want to create that…a community of believers who are so like minded, who find their belonging in Christ and much encouragement in each other! To be influenced by each other’s passion and devotion… I want to bring life back into the Gospel (for it is the power of God unto salvation!) I want to invite people to finger His robe and smell of His beard and wash His feet in healing tears. I want to make Him known for who He truly is. He is so very real and He wants to be known, but sometimes, to make someone’s acquaintance, you must be introduced. 

Each person knows more fully different aspects of His character and nature and presence in our lives. Just as each person knows a certain friend in one way and the other in another, so it is with Jesus. We can’t all experience all of Him all the time, in every way, but we can get a taste of it through what others have seen and experienced. Then, in a way, we experience it for ourselves.

I want us to be a community of freedom, for Christ has come to set every prisoner and captive free from the chains that once condemned them! 

“We share so little in common, yet we share everything, because we share Christ.” – What Love Is, Kelly Minter

To be drawn near to the throne of grace and each other, we must be honest– we must be vulnerable

In a society that posts “perfect” lives in “perfect” pictures for all to see and approve, we need to begin to take down each wall brick by brick, to peel the layers of our false personas and just be true and unashamed

Christ already has the victory over our struggles so as we lay each one down at His feet, we can become whole again. And these people who surround us, they will be the gentle reminder that we need, of God’s goodness and provision. They will be the physical hand and feet of Jesus Himself, to cradle our hearts in their arms, to laugh with joy at our freedom, to have God’s song resounding in our very ears, bringing heaven down to earth.

Together, we can help each other to come together, to taste and see that the Lord is good. Indeed. He is so good. 

Unspoken Words: a response

Because most days in life I only get to nod and smile whilst dying inside // 

These are some of my many thoughts on the subject of missions abroad vs at home

I had a conversation last week and it got me to thinking (as most conversations do). I had just told this woman that I was preparing to start my missions training courses with the intent of serving overseas. She began to tell me how sad it was that “people” felt they had to go overseas (to preach the gospel and minister to others) when there were plenty of opportunities right here. She went on to say what a pity it was that every Sunday morning she saw so many children in the neighborhoods playing in the streets or riding their bikes (and not attending church). “People don’t need to go overseas–it’s a shame–there is plenty of work right here.” I nodded, smiled, looked sympathetic, and honestly felt misunderstood once again. But that’s not a new sensation to me, so I kept quiet and let her talk, as I always seem to find myself doing. Why don’t I ever speak up? I asked myself. Well, there’s a whole host of reasons, some of which are linked to insecurity, but mostly, I just don’t have the motivation to bother. If someone doesn’t seem like the receptive type, why split hairs? She had her mind made up. But then, so do I.

Missions. It can be a very ambiguous term, but I’m going to use it in it’s most general meaning today: spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to the unbelieving world. However, I’m finding there is much emphasis in the Bible on spreading this message to those who have never heard. Now that I’m writing this out, I think that may be just it. I think this may be the difference. One is evangelism and the other, missions. So let’s try this again, shall we?

Evangelism- spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to the unbelieving world

Missions- spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to the unbelieving world, specifically and especially to those who have never heard  

Both of these should be followed up with discpleship and since going to the unreached also requires church planting to keep the faith growing and spreading, it requires more work, more time, and more effort. It is not mere street or neighborhood or grocery store evangelism. It is not passing out tracks or hosting backyard Bible clubs or serving in a local shelter or orphanage. All of these things may be on the to do list and in the life of an overseas missionary, but that is just it. Missions in itself is a lifestyle. And it is a lifestyle that I am straining to live here in the US, but my heart is so drawn across the seas to those who have no hope. They don’t even know Who Jesus is! They know only darkness and unbelief. They are surrounded by evil spirits every day and don’t even recognize it. They sense no danger. They know no other way. There are no churches on their street corners, there is no chance meeting of a follower of Christ. Unless someone chooses to obey. To give up there comfortable Western life, their minor struggles, their aches and pains and heartaches and let their heart ache for something else. For those who have never heard. For every tribe, every language, every nation, every unreached person bound in the chains of ignorance. “And then the end will come.”

Let your heart break. 

And then go.

Because feelings without action is not obedience. It’s only emotion.

The Human Race 

I want to live a life of beauty 

for all world to see

but only for their eyes to fix

on the Christ that lives in me

I want to share all that I have 

with those who have no home

To be a friend to those in need 

So they no longer roam 

I want to travel far away

but not for fear of man

not because I groan this life 

or hate this western land

I want to travel overseas

to those who’ve never heard

not because of excitement there

but to share the Gospel word

I’m sure much change will there await

my young and eager face 

but only ’cause my Lord does call

will I set upon this race

Pause.

Few of us would choose just the life we live in this world. There are no chances, no accidents. Our ways are those of the Lord’s choosing– ways sadder, perhaps, but safer; rougher, perhaps, but surer; narrower, perhaps, but better than those of our own dreaming.” J.R. Miller, Daily Readings in the Life of Christ

Quotes like these make me pause. And that’s good. We need to stop and think and truly meditate on the spiritual so much more than I think we often do. After all, we are spiritual beings dwelling in earthly bodies. We’re really only renting them–and our life here? It’s only a resting place in the journey, a layover in the airport. We haven’t even made it to our destination yet. 

This quote worried me at first, honestly. Well not really worried I guess, more like I was taken aback. No, that’s not really right either. sigh Here, let me explain. You see in this quote the author makes it seem like we will be just a little bit sad living the life we’re “supposed” to, the one God wills for us. That’s probably not his intention at all, more likely he’s just pointing out the realities that are bound to come in the Christian life. That we will have struggles, but know that it’s a-ok because that’s normal. And yeah, I get that. Life isn’t going to be rosy. It’s not going to be sunshine and fields of wildflowers. (Well, at least not all the time.) But the thing is, I do love my life. Stuggles and all. I wouldn’t change it for the world (and I’m not even just being cliche) I really and truly wouldn’t. I wouldn’t give up the tears or the sleepless nights, the anxieties, the heartbreaks, none of it. Not one single experience. I truly love my life and trust the Author of my story. More and more I can see how He is weaving all my circumstances together and I know that He’s delighting to do so. Can you believe that? He delights in my life. What? I can hardly believe it either. But the thing is, the more I seek after Him and wish to see His face, He continues to feed that hunger. Again and again. And the more I know Him, the less I know Him. The more I find Him, the less I see. The more He delights me, the more He gives me what I delight in and desire. So yes, I love my life because it is the life my Father has given me. And in this life I can know Him and make Him known. Anywhere. Everywhere.  

“A life is complete whether long or short, that fulfils the purpose of its creation; and the longest life is incomplete and a failure if it does not work for which it was made…” -J.R. Miller, Daily Readings in the Life of Christ  


Praying + Practicing My Way To Perfection

I am really bad at consistency. And commitment. And courage. (And a whole host of other things that do not necessarily begin with the letter ‘c’…)

But I’m trying my best to be a pleasing aroma to my Lord and am learning what it means to conquer in His strength, so today, I thought I would make a little list.

I am quite a paradox when it comes to life– I’m not a particularly tidy person, but I love to have my schedule in order. My time. My future. My life. Actually, I’ve been coming to realize how little following the aforementioned schedule really is to me, it’s just the comfort of knowing what you’re expected to do day-to-day. It’s a security blanket and a false sense of control. It’s also often a surefire tactic of the Enemy to accuse me of my shortcomings, to call me a failure to my face, to lie to me, and for me to more often than I should, consider his confidences and agree with his soft taunting whispers. But lists and goals and aspirations can also be a guidepost and a roadmap from the Lord if you are delighting in Him and discovering His will for you. Like everything else in this life, it’s a balance. And that is certainly something I’ve been learning of late.

B A L A N C E //

i’ve been focusing on controlling myself: my actions, my appetite, my words, my emotions, my “control”. everything. 

B O L D N E S S //

i’ve posted on this already some here, but i’m desperately trying to come out of my shell and give a warmer first impression to the world. actually, no, i’m not mad or sad or tired. that’s just my face. but i’m trying to mend it a little. just for you 🙂  

C O N S I S T E N C Y //

do i even know what this is? procrastination has wormed its way into my life where it didn’t once belong. the need for “rest” has become too strong. i have an eternity of blissful rest awaiting me. now is not the time. i am not going to go on living a life of weekends. now is the time, now is the hour and the hour wanes.

C L A R I T Y //

i want to continue to strive to live more focused each day on the ultimate goal + prize in this life and the one beyond. i have been learning so much about rewards in heaven…God knew I needed a little motivation and He is the best kick in the pants there is. and i mean that in the most reverent way possible. but it’s true. i have come to long for His correction because that means He’s busy pulling weeds and growing something beautiful and new in the soil of my soul. and i do love flowers so dearly.

C O M P A N I O N S H I P //

(i really didn’t try to make these titles coincide, i promise) 

i have fallen on both sides of the coin of relational necessity. as in, “with Christ, do we really need any friends? after all, He is my Best Friend.” and while this is entirely true, and Jesus is still my closest confidante and ever will be, He Himself has been showing me my need for companionship, especially now. i need a solid church family to dwell in and friends to sharpen me. i have yet to find that out here in the boonies, but i’m still looking. 

So, now that I have some issues that I have perceived in my own life, what should I do about it? Well my friends, this is a battle, and I need a game plan. Err…battleplan. I have decided to purpose to take each of these shortcomings to the Lord in prayer daily. I am scheduling my morning routines once more to include time for spiritual and physical nourishment and strengthening. I am taking some time each week to fast and pray more deeply about the cares of my heart. I am trying to live more intentionally and will soon begin each of my days memorizing and meditating on a promise that the Lord has made to me. Am I telling you these things for a pat on the back? No, that would never be my desire. I don’t relish talking about myself and my failures. But I do long to grow. And to grow you must water yourself with accountability and intentions and lots and lots of prayer.

Let’s talk! What are some things you struggle with? I’m here for you, dear one. 

 

* photo credit