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Archive for the tag “The Path of Obedience”

The Stirring

What could possibly go wrong with a day of exploring a cave with twelve young boys? I’m sure if the young coach would have thought it through, it might have occurred to him it wasn’t a good idea during monsoon season. But like all of us in those seasons of our lives, we don’t necessarily think of those things that could go wrong – especially when we are young and life hasn’t thrown us a curve or two. Been there, done that and have the scars to prove it. You too? Too many times we end up needing a savior to rescue us from our misfortunes. But sometimes in those misfortunes, we find our greatest victory.

We’ve all heard the stories of these children and many more of unfortunate circumstances for other children stuck in a situation that was not of their own doing. Children are vulnerable to the whims of the adults who are in charge of their care. It’s unfortunate some of those adults don’t make the best decisions on behalf of those children. Maybe they don’t think their decisions through. The best laid plans don’t always have good outcomes. But sometimes they do, even when the odds are stacked against them.

On my July 4th holiday, I had a movie marathon. One movie opened my heart in a new way. It was about children. Particularly, about one Irish child’s unfortunate circumstance that produced a great victory for hundreds of thousands of children in Vietnam and Mongolia. The story was told through the movie Noble, the story of Christine Noble. One woman changed thousands of children’s lives by her willingness to go. This one woman had a dream of Vietnamese children suffering in the gutters of a city in Vietnam. That dream changed her life and the lives of countless others. One woman.

This week, I also finished a book I had been reading called Love Does by Bob Goff. Love Does is part of Bob’s story and the work he does just because he can. Bob is a willing participant in Jesus’ work around the world. Bob’s heart was positioned to be used for the children of Uganda. His foundation has built boarding and schools for the children in Uganda. Uganda has many orphaned children due to wars and AIDS.

Bob and a young man boarded a plane for Uganda with an idea to help the Ugandan children. They drove up to the northern part of the country through war-torn countryside and checkpoints along the way and saw the needs so great they knew they had to do something.

Christine boarded a plane for Vietnam. She didn’t know how she was going to help either, but she knew she needed to try. She began to walk the city and through God’s direction found the place where the need was the greatest. And she began the task to build a better life for the ones she found there. And the idea grew.

God led both of these inspirational people were led on their journeys. They listened to the inner voice and the stirring in their souls to do something. They didn’t know how. They didn’t have the resources. But God did. They were just willing participants in God’s work to help these children have a brighter future. Bob and Christine had an idea. They had no idea how that idea was going to play out. They just started to walk their idea out. And God was faithful to lead them to the right people and the right places.

Sometimes we might think, these types of people are different. But I think we’re all called to have the same willingness to go and walk out the ideas that stirs our souls. Sometimes we over think our ideas – we’re afraid to fail, so why even try? But maybe God has stirred our souls. Maybe God has given us the ideas to walk them out and depend on Him to show us the way.

God’s heart leans in the direction of children. God hears the children’s cries of help. God directs our steps to help these children. I know there are many times children have cried out for help, but no one comes. It doesn’t mean God doesn’t hear. I think it has more to do with those He prompts to do something and we failed to act on the stirring.

There are some divers who have flown around the world to help the children in the cave. The divers’ hearts have been stirred to action. It might seem insignificant at the time, but it could change everything for the future of the country. It only took one stirring to begin the change in Uganda and one stirring to begin the change in Vietnam. One stirring.

The Spirit of God is looking for hearts that are willing to be stirred for the sake of the children. Today it may be children in a cave in Thailand or in an orphanage in Uganda or Vietnam; but tomorrow maybe in a red-light district in Greece or at a border crossing in Texas. What would God have us do for the children? Any ideas?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

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Building a Better Relationship

Relationships are hard to develop and keep in this day and time. We are even busier than ever before. Our culture isn’t conducive to form lasting relationships either – we like our independence and we tend to move about. Last week, I mentioned that we have to be intentional about listening to those around us. But it is also about being intentional about our relationships. There is a spiritual battlefield that is going on around us to keep us from developing true friendships. I believe one of our enemy’s schemes is to drive a wedge in our relationships. The family is especially important to God. And the family has been under attack for the last few years. God put relationships in the Bible in the very beginning. It’s His design for us to depend on one another.

God introduced Adam and Eve to us in the very beginning of His Word. He designed them to need one another but also to have a relationship with Him. God walked with them in the garden. Can you imagine? What a blessing to have that kind of intimate conversation with God! Yet, we are given that opportunity too. But do we take advantage of our opportunity to have a conversation with the living God – Creator of the Universe and everything in it? Again, we have to be intentional about this relationship. We have to spend time listening to His voice. But distractions (one of the enemy’s greatest tools) keep us from hearing God’s whisper.

I have been blessed over these last four years to have the time to develop a deeper relationship with Jesus. But I still have trouble hearing from Him at times. Or if I hear, I start to doubt what He’s saying. Doubt creeps in – especially when I start to act in faith when my toe is touching water! The enemy is hard at work. This weekend is a case in point. I began to make progress in a decision that I had to make. I believe I heard it was time to move forward with a new opportunity. I had a crisis of belief Sunday when I heard a series of messages that made me take my toe out of the water and pause long enough to doubt I heard correctly. The first message was to “wait on God.” The second message was not to “settle for less” and the third was to “not to let doubt take us out.”

Andy Stanley mentioned in his message that Peter started to doubt when he thought this whole “walk on water” thing wouldn’t work out. Each message was really about trusting God. The messages mean that we have to have a right relationship with Jesus in order to hear His voice. Scriptures tell us that Jesus’ followers know His voice. He is depicted as the Shepherd, and we are the sheep. The sheep are pretty dumb animals and are prone to wander in search of another blade of grass to eat. The shepherd keeps his eyes on his sheep and will move them to the place of greener grass and fresh water. I don’t want to be a sheep that is in search of the blade of grass that is in the wrong pasture. I want the right pasture, and I want it at the right time. There is a time to settle in a pasture and a time to move on.

My pastor said that God offers a better plan than what we could choose for ourselves. Andy Stanley says that “You’ll never know what God might have done if we allow our doubt to take us out.” The disciples had no idea what was in store for them when they continued to keep walking the path Jesus set before them. When we surrender to the path, God will do amazing things through us too. It takes intentional time with Jesus and with others to be the instruments that God wants us to be. It is not meant for us to walk the path alone. We are stronger together as a community of believers who listen and are active in our faith walk. One step at a time.

God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever he will do next. May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we’ll be a choir—not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus! Romans 15:5-6 (The Message)

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