buildingbodies4christ

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Archive for the tag “Mission field”

Time Out

Even before I know what happened while I slept, I was reminded God is in control. The birds are still singing, the earth still rotated for the sun to rise in the east. God is still a miracle worker, a way maker – even when we don’t see Him working, He still works. Even when we don’t feel Him near, He is still near. Most of those words are from a song titled Way Maker by Leeland. The song was playing in my head as I read my daily Scripture this morning.

The Bible is full of stories of God’s work in progress. I have read through God’s instructions to Moses and the Laws given to the Levites. I read through the promises God gave His people. But I also noticed God had warns if His people were disobedient. He promised too that if the people did not follow His Laws, then there would be consequences. And He warned them what would happen – exile from the Promised Land He would give them. The Land would be cursed because of their disobedience.

God is still working in the process. We may not understand what He’s doing in the midst of our circumstances, but He is still at work. This circumstance we’re in today may be a “time out” – a warning – like He gave the Israelites in the Old Testament before their exile. We have to admit our disobedience to God’s Word. We have been very disrespectful to Him through the last twenty years for sure. I don’t want to say this virus is a punishment from God, but this could be a way He uses to get our attention.

We have been distracted by many things especially in the last four years. This time out has wiped away our distractions – no more sports, no more running around after things that do not matter. The television is still blaring, but it’s only blaring bad news. I get stressed just listening to all the information they keep throwing at us. I turned it off. I still find out what I need to know, but I don’t have to listen to it sixteen hours a day.

Precautions are a good thing. Washing hands – yes, please do – we shouldn’t have to be reminded of this during a crisis. However, we are to be aware of what God is doing around us. If someone is panicking, we need to help them with perspective. God is still on the throne. God is still a miracle worker. He is the Way Maker. He is the hope of the world. We can help them look up and see Him at work in the world. This may be the greatest time in our current history to show them His glory.

I have a book that I read in my quiet time written by missionaries throughout the world. One of the stories I read this morning concerned a missionary who traveled by motorcycle to remote villages. A Muslim man drove him for many days on dirt paths through the jungle. One day, they had a flat tire in the middle of nowhere. There was no hope for the tire to be fixed unless God fixed it. The missionary lifted the tire to the heavens and asked God to fix it.

The missionary handed the tire to the driver and asked him to put it back on the motorcycle. They started out slowly, but after a few miles the driver increased his speed. By the end of the day, the tire was like new. This story circulated throughout the area – not about a tire, but about a God who hears and answers prayers. Many came to faith in an awesome God who answers prayers.

God still answers prayers. However, we still have to be faithful to ask them. We still have to humble ourselves before Him. He is waiting patiently and sometimes He has to get our attention. Sometimes the finances have to be wiped away. Sometimes our health has to fail. Sometimes we have to realize we are not in control. Sometimes we need to be in time out so that we can see Him more clearly.

Time out is a fairly new concept. We didn’t have it when I was growing up. I got the full punishment when I was disobedient. There wasn’t a time when I sat in a chair to think about the wrong I had done. When I got caught doing something wrong, I knew punishment was coming. Most of the time it was just a spanking, but on the rare occasion I received the belt. I didn’t like punishment, but I knew if I disobeyed there would be consequences. Most of the time, I thought I could get away with my wrongdoing. Some of the times I did. But the times I got caught, I knew what to expect. I had already been warned beforehand.

This may be our time out for this season. We may have to think about the things we have done wrong and seek forgiveness. But if we don’t change our ways, there will be stiffer penalties in the future. We have had ample time to change our ways. God said in His word to Solomon at the dedication of the temple (2 Chronicles 7:13-14):

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

God warns. We react with humility and prayers. We watch God work and give Him the glory. “Tires” should be lifted to heaven and watch God restore our land and fill our hearts. Let the Miracle Worker – the Way Maker do what only He can do as we lift those “tires” for His glory. Let us pray faithfully and obediently and watch God work.

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:15-16

Crossing Bridges

A few weeks ago, I realized that my season of preparation was coming to an end. At least, that’s the name I call this time I’ve had off from the “working” world – that daily grind. I have had over six years of preparation for something that has yet to be revealed; well, that’s what I am anticipating. Although, I have taken another part-time job in something that really isn’t my passion or my real desire to work in this field; I know I have to do it to bridge the gap between where I am now and where I am going in the future.

God chooses the fields where we work. We may feel that we have gotten where we are based on our experience or our schooling; however, it’s God who opens the doors to the opportunities we eventually get. There is a reason we all land in a particular place – whether it’s a job or a neighborhood or a city. God has a purpose in it. I have seen this play out much of my working life. I have moved from one job to another, from one city to another, and it has all been by the hand of God. There was always a growing opportunity in that place. This time, I would think no differently. There is a reason I landed in the position I now hold.

Although this part-time job is probably just a bridge to get me from the season of preparation to the expected opportunity on the other side, there’s still a purpose to fulfill where God places me. He knows the fields where He needs workers. This is our training ground for the next field and then for the ultimate field – the promised field of heaven.

When I think of fields, I always come back to the field of Boaz in the Book of Ruth. Ruth started out that day from Bethlehem searching for a field in which to glean so that she and Naomi could eat. She might have just “picked” the field of her husband’s family farm, but God’s hand was at work in it. Maybe it was the first field she came to or maybe she saw something different about the field and stopped. Who knows how she chose it, but read how it all turned out. Ruth gleaned, Boaz saw her; they became engaged and married; they had a son, Obed, who had a son, Jesse, who had a son, David who would become a great King of the nation of Israel. Coincidence? I think not.

There was a purpose and a plan that God had in place from the beginning of time. Why would He work differently in our lives? I don’t think He does. We may not always have such a great story of meeting a guy and falling in love and then producing a King, but there is something significant in our stories that we just don’t realize here on earth. I think we’ll see it on the other side of this earthly experience.

This earthly experience is our preparation for something greater. And there is a bridge that God has placed for us to cross to the other side – it gets us from this earthly experience to our heavenly home and His name is Jesus. Jesus is our bridge of hope, of redemption, of reconciliation between us and God. He takes us from this earthly life to a spiritual life when we believe He did the work on the cross – taking on our sins and giving us His righteousness. We cannot cross over by ourselves. We don’t have what it takes, but Jesus does.

God saw the problem of sin from the very beginning of time and knew when Jesus needed to come on the scene. God saw it all from the beginning. He knew exactly when to place each of us here in our earthly experience. There is a reason and a purpose for us – God saw the need from the beginning, and the person to fulfill that need. It’s you. It’s me. We may not see it right now, but it’s how God works.

The Bible is proof beyond doubt. We might think of the ones mentioned in the Bible as “greater” people, but they were not. They were just average people living average lives until God intervened. Then greater things happened because of their willingness to step into their purpose. They could have all said no – Moses tried to, Gideon didn’t want to, Mary accepted it without doubt. They each said yes. No matter where we are, God can use us in His plans if we would just say yes to the opportunities when God places them in front of us.

The key is to know when the opportunity is from God; but even if it’s not, God can still use the opportunity and create some good out of it. God promised us that it would be so – read Romans 8:28. There’s still a plan even in this current madness. God is still looking for people to say yes and step into the greater life. The season of preparation is equipping us for what’s to come. Are you ready to say yes when the opportunity comes? Cross the bridge. What waits on the other side is worth it. Jesus did it for us. He thought we were worth it too. Stay focused on Jesus and let Him guide you every step of the way. Just say yes and watch what He can do through you!

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV)

Safe or Faith

I am to live a life of faith not a life of safe. I had this thought not too long ago. I think for years I have heard “safe” instead of “faith.” I believe I am finally coming into the fullness of who I am to be. I am to be a person of great faith. I am tired of living in the comfortable. It’s actually quite boring to be honest. I want adventure. I want to get up every morning anticipating a day that can be a life-changer for someone, and I get to be involved in the process! Right now, I don’t have those thoughts. But I can change that. I can say “yes” to all God calls me to.

God has been at work at my church in a mighty way. He has called my pastor and the elders to start a new “School of Ministry” to begin equipping us to disciple others. They were challenged to help us to become the missionaries we are all meant to be. That doesn’t mean we are all called to go to other nations, although some of us will be. But we are all called to take the message of the Good News to our friends and neighbors. I don’t know exactly what that looks like for me, but it means that I am not to play it safe anymore. I am to live that life of great faith. It means I need to love and serve others as I am led to do. It may actually cost me something to do this thing. I may actually be called to the mission field at some point. But first I need the equipping. I need to be ready.

As I was contemplating this new path (whatever that is), Scripture was put on my heart. I don’t believe in coincidences. The Scripture was 1 Timothy 4:12-16 (I’ll include it below). I think this is a word to all. We are to be devoted to studying the Word and teaching others. We are to watch how we live and what we believe. Others are watching us. Others are paying attention to what we say and what we do. Others will see our progress. I believe this is true. I believe we are to live with integrity so that others understand our words and actions are the same. I don’t have it all figured out, but I am progressing in my walk of faith. That’s what this life is all about – progress. Success comes when we do what we are called to do – live a life of faith. Take the risks God asks us to take. He is the reason we are all alive today. I am excited to live in faith so that I may experience a greater life. I am tired of boring! It’s time to live it out LOUD! Who’s with me?

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 Timothy 4:12-16

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