Monday, June 20, 2011

Leap of Faith

My heart is overflowing with joy, hope, and expectation right now. This evening I had a delightful dinner with a family from church whom I just met. The Lord was so present in our conversation and my spirit was completely refreshed as we shared stories of ways in which the Lord has, does, and will work in our lives. Because His character is consistent, the Lord can always be counted on to be present and active among us.

The testimonies of our ancestors in Scripture and the events of our own lives bear witness to an ever-present God. Because our God allows Himself to be known by us, we never have to walk into the unknown with fear. Though our circumstances may change and be unfamiliar, our God is unchanging. If we are looking to Him daily and drinking in His Word, we will learn to recognize God when He is moving around us.

This truth is really hitting home for me right now. I am traveling to the Czech Republic next week and will be away for a month. Though I do not know what to expect in my program and though I am very unfamiliar with the culture, I have hope in the God of my salvation who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is the Living God and He has authority over all things - in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18) - and He is before all things and in Him all things hold together (Colossians 1:17).

I am certain that God has ordained this trip to the Czech Republic. I am sure that He wants me there. But tonight I was reminded that I have no control over my trip. I received a phone call about my flight and it appears that I may need to leave the US a couple of days earlier so I can get to Prague in time since I may be flying into Amsterdam instead. From the looks of things, God wants me to start and end my journey in Amsterdam. I am not sure at this point how I am going to get from Amsterdam to Prague or from Prague to Amsterdam on the return trip, but I'm sure it is going to be an exciting journey, however it may come about.

I called my mom to tell her about this new update and she seemed just a tad concerned about the practicality of my new travel arrangement. I smiled and said, "Mom, God is writing my story and I am just living it." She is super supportive and said that God definitely keeps leading me into adventures and it's true that He is the Author of all of our adventures.

Once again, God has me on a learning curve in this faith journey and He is continuing to open my eyes to the sweet nature of dependence on Him. Once we realize that we are merely living the story He is writing, all fear will be diminished and replaced with hope and expectancy.

I am hopeful and expectant and SO excited about what He is going to do in the days and weeks ahead! I ask now for your prayers for discernment and trust and faith. Taking the leap can be a bit scary, but I know that God is surrounding me and my trust is entirely in Him. When my dependence is entirely on Him, then I am leaning not on my own efforts, but on His power and strength, and I can never fall. Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength. (Isaiah 45:24) For the righteous will never be moved (Psalm 112: 6).

It is not by trusting in our own understanding that we may experience the riches of God's grace and love - we are to lean not on our own understanding but in all our ways acknowledge Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). With the eyes of man, it would appear that this is an obstacle in my journey. However, I realize that because of this situation, God's name will be magnified and He will be glorified all the more because He will triumph over these circumstances. With God, all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26).

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
-Psalm 20:7

My hope and trust are in the Lord and I am rejoicing because I know this is just another opportunity for His sovereignty to be demonstrated. He will prevail.

The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation. (Psalm 18:46)


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

falling in love with Love

You know how the more you get to know somebody the more that you really like them and think "where has this person been all of my life?" You just keep liking them more and more and totally enjoy their company and want to keep getting to know everything about them and it's totally great because all of the sudden, someone who you didn't even realize was so awesome is your friend and your life is forever affected by that bond. Well, that's kind of how I feel about God right now.

My walk with Christ over the past year has been such an incredible journey. A year ago, God opened my eyes to realize that He is not only my Savior and Lord of my life, He is also the LIVING GOD - the same Living God who spoke to Abraham, rescued Isaac, and extended grace to Jacob. This blew me away. At the time, I had been a Christian for 14 years, but I was just beginning to see how miraculous my God is and how involved He is in my everyday life. While I knew a lot about God and occasionally experienced intimate moments with God prior to my summer experience, I have grown so much in my walk with Christ since last May. Now I not only know about Him, I know Him.

He has taught me to recognize His voice, to respond to His Spirit, and to surrender my desires so that I may know the freedom of walking by faith, not sight. He has taught me to trust, to love, and to hope when my natural, sinful self was opposed to the pursuit of righteousness. These are not lessons that are learned once and always retained; no, these are things that God is continually teaching me and ways in which He is constantly sharpening me. To be honest, the sharpening isn't always comfortable. But deep within my soul there is peace and joy as I hope in my Savior and continue to surrender my heart to my Lord so that He may do in me the work He created me for.

As I walk with God daily, He is strengthening the roots of my faith. He is my reward. I am His and He is mine. It is a precious friendship. Abide. That is what God desires. That I may abide in Him and He in me so that I may bear fruit. For apart from him, I can do nothing. (John 15:1-11)

The way in which I am most thankful for God's intervention in my life last summer is that He has given me an insatiable appetite for the Word. I have always really struggled with reading my Bible regularly. I was never disciplined enough and always gave up after a few days of reading a new study or going through a book of the Bible. But once I encountered the Living God, I discovered how much power is in His Living Word, and now I crave the Scriptures. I used to think that reading the Bible was a pretty demanding obligation. I mean, c'mon - life is busy. It's kind of hard to read the Bible on top of life. But that was such a shallow, immature view of my faith! There is no life apart from the Word! That is the entire purpose of reading the Bible - to understand what life really is.

Nevermind how impossible it would be to fulfill the Great Commission without first having read the divinely inspired words of God so that we could know whose disciples we were making. . .We don't even have to talk about how impossible it is to be the light of the world without first knowing the one Great Light of the World as He has revealed Himself to us in His Word. We cannot know anything about Christ, the ministry of Christ, or the ministry we are called to by Christ without first examining, studying, and meditating on His Word, but more than that, we will never experience love, hope, or life if we do not first know the Word of God, which teaches us how to have all three.

If you have never fallen in love with the Word, perhaps you have never fallen in love with Christ. And if you have never fallen in love with Christ, perhaps you have never read the life-giving scriptures in His Word.

It is not that reading the Bible is imperative to fulfilling our duties as Christ followers, it is that we will never know the Christ that we claim to follow without first absorbing the teachings of His Word.

I love the Lord. So very much. And that love is growing as I seek to know Him more. There is so much on my heart and mind about who God is and what He is doing in my life right now and so I know these thoughts may just seem like a ramble. But if, by the grace of God, these humble ramblings have somehow had an effect on your heart, I pray that you may be moved to pursue God. I pray that you may find yourself falling in love with God more as you fall in love with His Word more. You will never be the same. That I promise you.

Our God is not dead. He is very much alive.

And He treasures YOU.

I pray that you may make Him your treasure as well.

With the deepest love and affection,