Monday, August 24, 2009

Share the Love #2: Living Free (Not Burdensome)

Oh the frustration of Monday morning! Four miserable hours wasted, trying to travel to another city and finally getting me right back where I started: at my own house. A Hindu woman sat next to me on my wasted bus ride. I thought, Okay, maybe God just put me on this bus to share the good news...maybe it's not all wasted time. I inquired about her gods and she informed me, "There are no living gods." I need to tell her Jesus is the living God, I thought. But, she just didn't seem to care to listen and I was so upset and ready to get off that dumb bus. Before departing company, we briefly exchanged phone numbers.

Five forty-five am the next morning I left the house again in attempt to go to the same city. Six hours on the train left my rear end aching, but relief that I had finally arrived. The whole trip I had busily chatted with the Christian woman seated next to me, and we also exchanged phone numbers before reaching our destination.

Praying the next morning, the Lord cut my heart as I read Psalm 58: "God presides in the great assembly; he gives judgment among the 'gods.'" Ouch...the Hindu woman from the day before didn't know Jesus was the living God, because I didn't tell her. But I don't want to go tell her! I'm so busy today! And she isn't going to believe...I could tell she wasn't a person of peace, I told God. He spoke gently to me the verse He'd been laying on my heart the previous week:
"This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome..."
1 John 5:2-3.

Grudginly, I decided to obey God and go tell her. I sure didn't want to, but surely it wouldn't be burdensome, right?

Inviting the Christian woman from the train to come along, the two of us went to the house of the Hindu lady that day (both women lived in the town I was visiting). Upon arrival, we chatted with the lady I had met from the train, as well as 5 other members of her family. Within a few hours, they had heard my own story of coming to know Jesus and the C2C story (the gospel in story form). It was actually fun! I had a great time sharing with them, and felt like they got a really good picture of the gospel. Some expressed interest to learn more and my Christian friend who went with me prayed for them and gave them her phone number to talk more.

What I thought would be miserable, actually turned out to be a really cool time. The Lord made me realize that even though I didn't want to go and I thought it was going to be a burden to spend my time there, it wasn't. It was actually more burden lifting and freeing because I went and shared! Looking back on the day, I realized that the struggle was not being obedient to Christ; my struggle was with denying myself and my desires to do something I didn't think I wanted to do. But, once I denied myself and went, I enjoyed the whole time tremendously! Being obedient and sharing was not actually burdensome at all, as I had feared. It was awesome to get to see how God had orchestrated all those meetings and let me be a part of it all.

And that's what it means to be a disciple of Christ, right? To deny myself and take up my cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23). I admit, I have failed to do so many times. But, how awesome it was when I did! And I know I still have today and tomorrow and every day hereafter to keep doing so. Here's to denying myself everyday, over and over again...

"This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome..." 1 John 5:3

Monday, August 17, 2009

Declaring His Wonders!

Many, O LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us
no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them,
they would be too many to declare."
Psalm 40:5

I've been struggling with trusting God with my burdens this week. I think I started trying to do too many things on my own and just sort of forgot how faithful God was in the past, how He's never failed me. So, this is me remembering just a small handful of awesome things He's done in my help me remember...

  1. My junior year of high school I felt so alone...I longed for a friend who was hungry for God like I was. I began praying that God would give me a friend who felt the same way I did. He did! 6 months after I started praying, He gave me Danny, Adam, & Bryan from Chillicothe; the first group of friends I ever had who were just truly on fire for God. Their passion for the Lord changed my life.
  2. About every semester in college I struggled with some kind of illness, from nodules on my vocal chords, carpal tunnel, acid reflux, torn cartilage in my knee, foot problems...many were never fully diagnosed. But, as I daily gave those parts of my body to Him, He was faithful and healed me. He really did. And He taught me that they were His all along...not my own.
  3. In high school I learned that one of my cousins didn't really know the Savior personally. I shared with him and began praying so earnestly...and God reached down and changed His life! He's now growing as a godly man!
  4. He's given me some of the best girlfriends a girl could ever ask for...ladies who challenge me and uplift me, pray for me and just listen...Heather, Amy Jo, Maike, Pattie, Rachel, Betsy, Michelle...
  5. He's blessed me with an awesome family, who love the Lord and are my best friends.
  6. I moved to South Asia and constantly begged God to teach me the language. I knew I couldn't learn it on my own...but He would have to teach me. And I just expected Him to do it. I never really thought He wouldn't teach me. And He was faithful...Now I speak all day long in our language as I disciple girls and share with others in nothing but the local language.
  7. I also didn't understand the people when I first came here, but as He taught me language, He also gave me a peak into their hearts. I can now freely share in a way that I know people understand...and it's so cool to see them respond to Him as He has enabled me to speak what they need to hear.
  8. I yearned to disciple a woman, as so many women had poured into me. I prayed for years and asked God to give me one to disciple, then years later, maybe even 2 or 3. He's now given me 10!
  9. One of my best friends became a believer...I prayed for so long that the Lord would lead her to be dunked in the water in obedience to Him and to break her free from the chains that were holding her back in sharing with her family. She finally did last June and is boldly proclaiming now!
  10. We needed testing groups for our project. I prayed and trusted the Lord to provide...and He did! He gave all of us groups, and I especially got to be involved in 2 groups...that are still continually hearing the Good News! And our project was completed!!! Something ONLY God could finish.
  11. I asked Him to give me the desires of His heart, to make me desire what He does. And He gave me some truly awesome, godly people to pour into my life, guiding me in the Truth and pointing out lies I was believing. I'm so thankful for Nicky, Danette, Jan, Steve, Mark, Lelanette, Pattie, Heather and the list goes on...
  12. I have never been alone. Not only is Jesus always with me, but He's also given me like-minded partners, who sought the Lord together with me and helped keep my walk upright...Betsy, Michelle, Kayla, Brandon, Dave...
I will stop there, but I could go on. I just needed to remind myself to "wait patiently for the Lord," for he will turn to me and hear my cry, lift me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire, and set my feet on a rock and give me a firm place to stand and put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God! Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord (Psalm 40)!

I will trust in Him.

You are my help and my deliverer;
O my God, do not delay.
Psalm 40:17

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Share the Love Series #1: Wanna Ride?

It struck me as odd today at how much a car ride can mean to some people.

I usually try and give rides to the ladies I see walking down my road when I drive by, at least to the main road or to their houses. The other day I gave a ride to a woman who lives nearby my house. When we came to her stop, she didn't know how to get out of the car! She had no idea how to use a door handle! At first I kind of giggled at her. But once she got out, I was just in awe: that this was her first time ever to ride in a car!

I was reminded of it again this evening when I offered to give a ride home to some of my CTT girls after our meeting at my house. We went right past the stop for 2 of the girls, but they wanted to wait until after we'd dropped the furthest girl. Then, as I returned to my house and passed their stop again, they would get out. They simply were in it for the joy of the ride.

I don't know if I'll ever really understand how much it means to them to ride in my car, but it makes me really happy to be able to share something so simple with them.

If I speak the language of the people around me and even of the angels, but have not love, I am only a kaa-ing crow or croaking frog...who cares what I have to say?
1 Corinthians 13:1 (JMM:)