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Faith's Firm Foundation: February 2009

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Making resolutions in February

It may be February 19, but it feels like January 1st because I've been looking at "My Goals and Resolutions 2009" (both figuratively and literally) asking God to write out His plans. Even before coming home from Mexico, the Lord said to me, Ok, new direction, new perspective, new idea of what your life looks like. He took His giant eraser and wiped the slate clean. It was actually a huge relief. He was impressing on my heart that He wanted to answer my prayers to change me, and was going to do something new in my life. And now the Lord's placed in me a zoomed-in desire for Him, a sharpened focus on being who He made me to be and a view of serving Him more in the way He has for me--not being a duplication of someone else's way. In order to communicate His plan to me, He's allowed my calendar to be almost completely empty of "commitments" right now and has given me time to self-examine, plan, pray and think. I'm grateful. Before we left Mexico, He began by reminding me of His commandment to "make disciples." He said to me, "You have already from Me enough to be able to give to others. Get going and do it wherever you are!" I'm sure it's true of 90% of American Christians. In terms of sharing all God's given me with others who God puts in my life, I need to think spiritually, not just materially. I realized I need to always be ready to share from God's Word and make plans to do so, but that He's already taught me so much I can share, so just teach, share, disciple already. In answer to "What would You have me to do here, Lord?" I believe one answer is host a Ladies Bible Study. The Mexican people do not have the plethora of spiritual resources that we are blessed with in the U.S. If I just shared with the women in Mexico the lessons God has taught me not only through His Word, but also tapes, books, and messages in the last year, I could be kept very busy for a long time. But God said, "Now go home and plan to share, teach, make disciples there, until I send you somewhere else again." Sometimes we think we have to study more, learn more first.
Before we went to Mexico, with the help of a friend, we were preparing framed Spanish Scripture pictures to take with us for gifts for the widows and others we would be visiting during the week. We also gave a framed 10 Commandments to both the church we helped and to the De Hoyoses. The theme of the 10 Commandments seemed to pop up everywhere as we prepared these pictures--I even saw a man's tie with the 10 Commandments on it!! No, I didn't buy it, but I was "tempted"!
So I've been thinking a lot about the 10 Commandments. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me: The first commandment. First place. That's the only position the Lord Jesus Christ will accept. That may conjure up a picture of an ogre standing over you with a club, but that couldn't be further from the truth, which is what He brought home to me yesterday. As I read Bible verses relating to the first commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," the picture was closer to a man wooing a woman. Words such as desirous, sweet, rejoicing the heart were used in the verses I read! "Set your affection on things above, not on things of the world." The Lord wants me heart and soul!! What a personal God!
I was also proofing the verses for our friend Amy for her girls' seminar, and one of the sweetest verses to me is Zephaniah 3:17, "The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing." What kind of voice do you think the Lord has? This has to be the most beautiful love song ever sung!!
Psa 63:5, "My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches." Psa 94:19, "In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul." These verses describe my response as being satisfied, full of praise, joy and delight!!
It's so easy to let other things become our "gods," I've realized. Anything that competes with Him for first place in my heart is a "competing affection," and can become an idol, a god. Reading verse after verse about how God feels about me, where my affections should lie, what I should be desiring, the blessing of making God the object of my affections was so meaningful to me, and made me feel all wrapped up in God's love. I am more and more excited to share this understanding of God's love with others. I hope to host in the near future a Bible Study for women and older girls on the 10 Commandments. The Lord is teaching me so much!!
On the "Day-at-a-glance"-view of my life, and as I continue to ask God what is on His plate for me, I aim each day to "Do the Next Thing" as Elisabeth Elliot says. We're talking as a family about ministry opportunities in the next months, but in the meantime, I'm trying to make strides towards greater order in many areas of my life. God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control. That last is the one I am claiming and applying to my daily schedule. Another reason it seems like Jan. 1--I'm resolving to do what He tells me to as I pray over goals, make schedules, bring discipline and order to bear in my daily life in areas where there has been increasing lack of discipline and disturbing DISorder--it is necessary work, (sigh) but I have to remember that it's also spiritual work (when I'm tempted to ask myself Why do I have to do this?) that hopefully will bring eternal rewards.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mexico Missions Trip

My Family 2009

Julia--a lady I've come to love for her infectious faith, joyful smile and perseverance in trials--with me in the store that our church, Cornerstone, helped her & her husband Fernando to start a couple of years ago.

Kels--sharing the love of Christ
in Mexico and loving it!

~Jerry preparing to preach for the first time
using an interpreter~

Little children just suddenly appear in Mexico! We
shared the gospel with these sweeties & others like
them and also gave them a few small gifts. This was
at the church building that we worked at for a few days.

Well, we're home from going as a family on mission trip #3 to Mexico.
God's been doing so much in my life and heart, I decided to start a blog. :) Maybe no one will read it, but I hope that some of you out there will think it's worthwhile.
This week I listened to a message by Elisabeth Elliot entitled "Make me a Servant" and in it she read a prayer written by Betty Scott Stam, martyred missionary to China:
"Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes
all my own desires and hopes
and accept Thy will for my life.
I give myself, my life, my all
utterly to Thee, to be Thine forever.
Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit
Use me as Thou wilt
Send me where Thou wilt
And work out Thy whole will in my life
--At Any Cost--now and forever."

I don't think anyone could truly pray that prayer if they knew what it meant in their life, what it was going to mean in their life, but I pray it with my eyes firmly fixed on Jesus Christ, meeting His gaze, seeing only the love in His eyes and nothing else.

In this message, Elisabeth Elliot went on to say that if God is going to make us a servant...A servant has no agenda of his own. He's at the disposal of his master. My famous last words are, "I thought I knew!" Sometimes I think I know what's going to happen. And then I'm taken by surprise--why? because I stopped keeping my eyes on the Master to see where He was going to send me next, what service He would bid me do, what direction He was going. I made my own plans, I didn't submit all my hopes and dreams and purposes to Him and lay them on His altar! And sometimes the rug is pulled out from under me. There are times when God seems to take great joy in reaching down and giving a little pull on the rug of my life! But I'm thankful for these times, because really He's calling my attention back to Him. Do you have small children? When you are training them, have you ever taken hold of their face and turned it to look at your face, so that you have their full attention? Sometimes things in my life that shake me up remind me of that. I can see God holding my face in His loving hands and saying, "Look at Me, pay attention!"

I named this blog "Faith's Firm Foundation" because when everything is shaken in life, you have to know what your faith is founded on--what you are standing on. Are your feet firmly planted upon the Rock, Jesus Christ? Do you know Who He is? When you are shaken, when "everything that's shakeable gets shaken," you'd better know. It's then that you must stand still on that Rock that never moves. Is your Rock the True One as described in the Word of God? Some pebble that you've made up of your own making won't do. It won't hold you when everything in your world turns upside down. Only rehearsing the true and faithful character qualities of the Lord Jesus Christ, of God Himself, as put forth in the Holy Scriptures, and standing on His promises will do, then. He is faithful. He is True. And a Firm Foundation is laid down in His Word--the Good News of Jesus Christ's suffering, substitutionary death for you and me, and resurrection! I pray that each one who reads these words has that faith in Jesus Christ, and is not only hearing His Words, but doing them, and so is standing on the Rock that never moves. Then you will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock, and when the winds blow and the rains come, your house will stand.

Matthew 7:24-27--"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not shalt be likened unto a foolish man which built his house upon the sand; And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house;
and it fell: and great was the fall of it."

Deuteronomy 32:3-4--"...I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he."

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