Saturday, February 28, 2015

I Believe God

Typically at the end of the year I begin to pray and make goals for the upcoming New Year.  At church we have Vision Sunday where we encourage our folks to get a vision for the New Year as well.

At church we hand out goal sheets, prayer pages, Bible reading schedules, budget sheets – all tools to help with their walk with God. 

  1. The Bible reading schedule – so that you can strive to read the Bible through in a year.  The Bible is God’s love letter to us, His instruction manual for us to follow, and a lot of lessons to help us understand the many things we’ll face in this life time.  God’s Word contains the principles we need to follow in order to make the best decisions throughout our lives.  It is also a Book promises to us from God, our Heavenly Father.  It is history, prophecy, and our overall answer Book. 
  2.  The Prayer pages are also for our benefit.  We take for granted the ultimate privilege we have in prayer to take all our needs before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  We can boldly go to the Father, to the Throne of Grace and make our requests known unto Him.  Through prayer, God has promised to perform many miracles.
  3.  The budget sheets – because money is a very big part of our lives.  Though we should never make money our main goal in life – the truth is that “where our treasure is, there will our heart be also.”  In other words, what we truly treasure in life is evidenced by how we spend our money.  People don’t like it when churches talk about money – but Jesus spoke about money a lot because He knew that the love of money is the root of all evil.  He did not want us to be dependent on money – but rather on Him. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:”  Matthew 6:19
Now, with all of that said, when I set my New Year goals I have one standing goal – to read my Bible through at least once per year.  I started that the first year I was saved because the day I was saved, when I got home, my phone rang almost as soon as I walked in the door.  It was Nanna, my husband’s grandmother, calling me to tell me that she had purchased me a Bible!  She was a saved woman – at the time she was dying of cancer and the Holy Spirit impressed on her heart to buy me a Bible during the very hour I was praying asking the Lord to save me!  That was a huge statement to me that told me that God wanted me to have and read the Bible – why else would He send a dying woman out to buy ME a Bible.  She had 7 grandchildren, yet the Lord told her to buy it for me!

God’s Word has been to me
  • my comfort in the times of my storms
  • my guide when I didn’t know what to do
  • my teacher as I sought to raise my kids
  • my help when I felt lost
  • my companion when I felt alone
  • my source for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding
  • my strength in times of weakness
  • my shield against oppression
  • my joy in times of sorrow
  • my hiding place when I wanted to be alone
  • my safety zone when I am afraid
  • my answer
Now I could go on and on – and truly my prayer is that you too will turn to God’s Word for all of these things and more.  So, of course that would be one of my main goals every year.

As I look back at goals I set in past years many of those goals are not relevant to my life at all right now.  So, setting new goals on an annual basis is a good thing – only this year my list is much shorter.  In fact my goal for 2015 can be summed up in one verse:

“And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” Luke 1:38

I know I have surrendered my life to God – I remember the very day I went forward at a church invitation and surrendered to do whatever the Lord wanted with my life; I didn’t know what He wanted me to do, or even all that it meant – I only knew that He was working on my heart 

Now, I said that and it sounds wonderful – but I can’t tell you how many times God has called on me to do something and I didn’t immediately surrender!   I love the song “My Life Lord is Yours to Control” but the truth is while we all may love that song, and find it a beautiful song to sing– we all don’t really let God control our lives – we like to be in control and we like to make excuses about how and why we haven’t given God our lives to control -we just can’t do it, or we say “we’re just not there yet” in our Christian walk.  
Often it is more like my life is Yours to control – except when … you can fill in the blank for anything or any time you find yourself unwilling to do what you know God wants you to do.

This year my one goal is to be fully surrendered to God – “behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy word”

For me that has 3 meanings specifically
  1. I am God’s servant (behold the handmaid of the Lord) – I am God’s servant, He purchased me with His blood and so I consider myself a slave and it is not up to me to question God, it is up to me to do what He says, follow where He leads, seek His will in every decision I make
  2. I will trust God’s Word – “be it unto me according to thy word” Again that means to not only obey, but also, I will accept what God wants for my life even if or when it is hard for me.  When Mary said that she was accepting what the angel told her concerning the child she was going to bear, it was not especially desirable that she would be considered an unwed mother, or that she might lose her fiance; yet, she was willing to accept what God wanted even though it was going to be a hard thing.  She realized that it was a tremendous privilege to be called of God to do anything!
  3. I Believe, truly Believe God.  When we truly believe something it is evidenced by our actions.  When I truly believe something it affects my behavior, my attitude, my choices, my thoughts – everything. 
my husband (far right) USA Church Planter, Lighthouse Baptist Church Planters
On the Sunday that we became members of Lancaster Baptist Church and missionaries being sent out of their church, it was their Vision Sunday –it was a big deal(to me anyway), as it meant we would no longer be members of our home church; it meant that we were really going to leave our church, our home, and our possessions to go on deputation and become full-time church planters.  As many of you that know me know, it was a very emotional day for me. As I spent a lot of time in prayer for all the changes that we would face in our lives, the Lord placed Luke 1:38 on my heart as my verse, and He gave me a song as well.  In fact, the morning of that Vision service I wrote in my Bible the following:

  • My goal for 2015, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy Word.”
  • My theme song for 2015 is, “I Believe God"

You can imagine how my heart was stirred when the special music, the one special they sang for the service, was the very song the Lord had placed on my heart for 2015, “I Believe God.” What a blessing it was to me to know that God wanted to confirm in my heart that He recognized our step of faith, and that He acknowledged my “offering” of surrender to Him.  Tears flowed down my cheeks as I heard these words:

I Believe God

Some place their trust in the wisdom of another
Some search for light in the dark
But like a child, I have come with simple faith
In the only One who could change my heart

Chorus:  I Believe God, I believe His Word is true
For I’ve seen what He can do when I call upon His name
I believe God, so let the world say what they will
I will choose to serve Him still, knowing He will never change
I believe God

Verse 2:  Some say this life is the only thing that matters
Some say we live and then we die
But I’m convinced that eternity awaits
So with every breath, I will testify…(chorus)

Tag:  so loved this world He gave His only Son to die
And that’s why (chorus)

Ladies, won’t you consider truly surrendering to God – truly trusting Him and joining me in saying, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy word?” – won’t you say with me, “I Believe God?”  I pray you will make it a goal to grow closer to our Saviour this year, and that you’ll spend more time than ever before in His Word.  I can promise you that you will be blessed.

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, February 27, 2015

I'd Rather Have Jesus

Years ago, shortly after we were saved, we were faced with a difficult decision.  My husband had designed and built a beautiful custom home for our family.  It was over 3000 sq. ft. on a decent sized parcel of land, in a very nice neighborhood in San Jose.  The decision we were faced with was whether we should keep the house and continue to commute to church and school, and struggle to keep the house and the kids in Christian school, or to sell the house to move closer to the church and have an easier budget to work with to keep the kids in Christian school.

I remember sitting in church hearing the preacher talk about when God takes things from you – he said it is either because it is not good for you, He has something better for you, or as in the case of the Levites – because you belong to Him, you don’t get the “inheritance” as the other children of Israel did.  As we sat there, my husband and I both knew in our hearts, that, that was our case.  We knew that God wanted us for Him –that we were His, and that we would not have, down here, what others had.  I wish I could say I was overjoyed and honored – but in truth, we looked at each other and said, “Well, that’s us.”  

As young Christians, we didn’t realize the honor God was bestowing upon us in asking us to give up our house, and we didn’t understand that it would mean “always” and “in every situation;” we really thought it was just concerning our house. We decided, that night, it was more important to keep our kids in Christian school than try to keep the house so… that week we listed the house.

Since that time, that same scenario has repeated itself – we have “our dream” and then the Lord moves us.  I don’t know why it took me so long to realize that God was revealing to us, all those many years ago, His plan for our lives.  Only today I realize today what a tremendous honor we have in serving our Lord; in being His as a gift to His children to minister to them.

Nu 18:6 And I, behold, I have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel: to you they are given as a gift for the LORD, to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.
Jos 18:7 But the Levites have no part among you; for the priesthood of the LORD is their inheritance:”

As I ponder the truth that we won't have our own church building, our own church family, or our own home to own, as we tried to do last year; I realize it is because the Lord has a “GREATER VISION” for us.  
We thought we could stay in one place as a base to work from- we had hoped we could continue to plant churches and have each one sent from our first church plant – but that was not God’s plan. God’s plan is a greater plan – He has a greater vision.

I thought of Paul and how his bonds allowed him to further spread the gospel.  I am sure that he was not pleased that it looked like he was a criminal in prison – but God chose those bonds in his life so that the gospel could spread further.  

Philippians 1:13  So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;  18  What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

In our life God chose bonds (not of prison) as well and He made it very clear that He wanted us to serve Him as full-time missionaries planting churches.  The bonds he placed in our lives led us to a door that opened so that the gospel could be spread further!  We know how that worked for Paul – and I believe that is the case for us as well. I understand the truth is God is moving us for the furtherance of the Gospel!  

As I sat as a guest in a church the other night and saw the church family interacting with each other, the beautiful facility in which they were meeting, and joy of being able to see fruit of their work staying with them – I must admit I felt a little sad realizing that in our calling we will not be able to enjoy that.  We are as the Levites – we belong to God, we have a job to do and we don’t have the same inheritance as some others;our privilege of serving God is our inheritance.  

As I thought about the truth of what I was feeling and what God was showing me, I suddenly felt ashamed at myself and at the same time I realized in my heart that in truth, I would rather have Jesus than those things. What a privilege that God would choose us to be His – and that our inheritance is the fact that we are His!  Our inheritance is the royal priesthood that God told us about in I Peter 2:9, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”  That brought tremendous joy to my heart!

So, early in our journey on deputation as a church planter’s wife and missionary I have found this song to have a new meaning to me. “I’d Rather Have Jesus.” This is a song that people love to sing – but are these words your truth?

I’d Rather Have Jesus – The Lyrics

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands,
I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hand.

Than to be a king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin’s dread sway,
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than world-wide fame,
I’d rather be true to His holy name.

He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He’s sweeter than honey from out of the comb;
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs,
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead. 

It is with great joy that we embark on our new journey and joining so many of our heroes that have gone before us.  Thank you Father for entrusting us with this ministry – may we honor and glorify you in all that we do!  Today this song is the truth of my heart.  I pray that you may know this joy as well – for truly “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,  Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;  That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.  Ephesians 3:14-19

Have a wonderful day!