Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Trust by Kristine Mueller & Jesus Culture

It's the sweetest thing to trust You
Just to know that You've got everything under control

It's the sweetest thing to trust You
Just to know that You've got everything

And You are making me a mountain
Making me a mountain that cannot be shaken
You are making me a mountain
Making me a mountain that cannot be moved

High up on a rock
Looking out at the horizon
Watching as the storm rolls in
Wondering if my heart will survive it
As the waves crash all around me
And can't remember what it feels like to be free

I know You're making me a mountain
Making me a mountain that cannot be shaken
You are making me a mountain
Making me a mountain that cannot be moved

You say, I've got you my baby, I've got you
it's quite the mess you're in but it's nothing Love can't fix
So sit here upon my shoulders and watch as it all unwinds

You are making me a mountain
Making me a mountain that cannot be shaken
I know You're making me a mountain
Making me a mountain that cannot be moved
(Kristine Mueller & Jesus Culture)

Sometimes... I just play this song on repeat
again and again and again and again.

Friday, 23 July 2010

What a cool idea...

I want to give a shameless plug to this site:  in the hopes that everyone who reads this might check it out!

It's a group of photographers putting their work up for sale in order to support ministry to orphans in Uganda! Currently, 1/3 of all the profits will go to Racham-- the ministry I'm going out to work with as its Children's Home in Uganda gets established in the first few months of the coming year!

I LOVE the creative way they've found to sew into His Kingdom!!

Check it out and spread the word.These could make some lovely, meaningful gifts and it's never too early to stock up for Christmas when it means being His hands and feet in the world while you're at it!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Favour of the King...

I applied to have my visa extended today in order to stay in Sweden even after my commitment with the current ministry is up. It's in order to continue working with a family I've been nannying for to save up for Uganda in January-Apr. I applied today, and 25 minutes later they put the visa in my passport today. Just like that. That kind of reaction time is unheard of here. Everyone I tell says, "That never happens." I can't help but smile in awe at Him who knows no such thing as "never"...

It was very encouraging for so many reasons. First off, the way He's just unfolded EVERYTHING just so-- the job, the place to stay, the visa extension, etc (I even had just enough money to cover the cost of the extension because of the babysitting jobs He provided last week!)-- just encourages me onward in this uncertain path so far out of my own plan. Africa? And I've met with such opposition about going to Uganda from loved and respected people in my life. If He wasn't reconfirming this day after day with the way He's just leading me right through open doors, I would never even be able to consider it.

And simply because I've run into such discouragement in general this week, such overbearing discouragement that I'm struggling to stand up under. Feeling so very lonely as if in some far-flung corner of the world completely alone, and feeling so insecure, like just waiting for the bottom to fall out. This "little miracle" today is just heavy with His hand and the fact that He cares to reach into my life at all-- to let me know that  He's got me and He's never letting go, that I can trust Him, regardless of how it feels-- that just wraps me up in comfort.

And on top of that, my lovely Auntie in America the other day, knowing nothing of what's been transpiring, wrote to tell me that He's laid it on her heart to pray specifically for my comfort. Woah. And my sister wrote today to say that He's laid me on another precious heart lately-- my 3 year old niece brought me up in her precious prayers!! I could cry just thinking of it (and I am) :)

I hate that I need so much encouragement. I feel like I'm too demanding on Him. Yet... He doesn't seem to mind. He seems to delight in giving it. And always, always, I am left breathless at His attention, at His love.

How can I do anything but pour it all out for You right back, Love?

And this precious song again plays in my mind...

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

"Always do what you are afraid to do..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

This arrived in my email today. Kinda timely, I'd say.
(Sometimes I roll my eyes at Him and smile.)

Sunday, 18 July 2010

No Selling-out to Security...

Yesterday I moved into a beautiful, spacious apartment on a hill with big windows, high-ceilings, white walls, and a cat called Amos. I'm house-sitting  for 3 weeks for an American/Finnish couple I met through friends while they're on holiday in Finland. I am LOVING this place, even if it does feel huge after my tiny, one-room flat I share with a roommate, and empty with just the cat and I.

Yesterday on the tram in between jobs the Lord and I were talking through some things on my heart (I seem to do a lot of talking with God on my commutes here and there from day to day!), mostly about how unsettled my life is, and the toll that takes... About my next step, the way people have responded to my sharing with them what He's doing in that area, and the way I feel about it, the things I desire and don't, the lonesomeness inherent in this stage of life.

And the line He spoke so clearly to my heart and which has held me firmly since whenever the anxieties bubble up was, "I didn't make My people to be sell-outs to Security." I find the reminder of that truth so powerful right now. Security is not a bad thing in and of itself! I do hope to have some semblance more of it than I do now in His time. But not as my goal, and not at the risk of trusting Him through the less 'secure' things He might call me to. But how potent is the temptation to do just that-- to sell out to so-called 'security' in this life-- when He has made us to be completely counter-cultural, to live as if life truly is but a breath in light of eternity, living as if nothing else matters except to know Him and make Him known! He never said to only reach out as long as we are safe and secure in doing so. No, the ones who have refused to be sell-outs to earthly security, like Paul, have instead poured out their lives like drink offerings (Phil 2:17). And He's always kept His promise to the ones who leave much in order to follow Him, that they will have as much restored to them times a hundred (along with persecutions, so you shouldn't be surprised or daunted by opposition, silly Leah...) and in the rapidly approaching 'age to come', eternal life (Mark 10:29-30). I realize anew that I may struggle every day on this earth with the fight between my flesh and His Spirit in me, one longing so much to curl up safe in a 'security' I could build with my own hands, and the other knowing that His Security is the only true security. It could mean death or disease (I can testify to that one...) or loss or homelessness (and that one...) or heartbreak (yep) or hurt (yep, yep) or as many difficult things as you can imagine on this earth. But our time here is literally the blink of an eye in comparison with eternity, where none of those things can touch us. Eternity is the only real security. And that's the truth He's called us to live reflecting to the world.

You've heard the phrase, "So heavenly minded that she's of no earthly good" ? I'm afraid that's just not the way it works. Col. 3:2 tells us to, "Set your mind on things above, not on the things that are on earth." A life lived this biblical way is what William Penn called, "True godliness" which "does not turn turn men out of the world, but enables them to live better in it and excites their endeavors to mend it." Faith must be followed up with action, or it's dead.

So... I will luxuriate in this place He's given me to make home in for the next 3 weeks and let it remind me of the Security I rest in, even when I have no other rest in the world's eye. And I will continually pray for a renewed mind to see the world the way He does and not the way I naturally do. So that I might truly live as if there is no fear in Love...

Thank You, Love. Teach me how to stand so securely in You that I won't give in to the temptation to sell-out to so-called security out of fear when this life is so short, Your love is SO big, and Your ways so much higher...

Saturday, 10 July 2010

CAUTION: This Read Might Change Your Life!

If I ruled the world, “The Hole in Our Gospel” by Richard Stearns, president of World Vision, would be mandatory reading for anyone who claims to be a follower of Christ-- Alternatively, we could read our bibles and take them seriously, not glossing over the hard passages or making, "well, that was then" types of excuses for the way our Christian lives don't look like Christ's...

There is a hole in our gospel," writes Stearns, "and… as a result, we have embraced a view of our faith that is far too tame” (Pg 243). 

The Lord placed a copy of this book in my hands at just a time when I was desperately seeking Him for His leading in my life with a current residency visa coming to completion and a move on the horizon, and by the time I'd finished reading it, my unsafe, but good God had invited me to step into His Will which would take me places I never really dreamed I would go.  I could see that all across the world people were crying out in desperation to God for help, for comfort; widows, orphans, the sick, the disabled, the poor and the exploited. These millions of prayers were being lifted up to God, and we, each of us who claim to be His followers, were to be His answer. We were the ones who would bring the ‘good news’ of Christ to the poor, the sick, and the downtrodden. God had not turned His back on the poor in their suffering. God had sent us. This was the good news of the gospel—good news indeed for the poor” (Pg167).

This challenging (and life-changing, if you'll let it be!) book, through personal testimony, and many stories of the suffering of the majority of the world we keep so distant from us, brought home the truth that, we live our lives of relative luxury while our neighbors are dying, both spiritually and physically. And as followers of Him, we are asked to reach out in love with whatever we have to give. I haven't the means to make much money, I only have my life, my time to give, my ears to listen, my voice to speak up for those who cannot, my shoulder to cry on, my arms to hold, my heart to love... And I'm asked to give it, to give it all.

“The truth doesn’t change according to our ability to stomach it.” – Flannery O’Connor

The truth is, “More than 26,500 children died yesterday of preventable causes related to their poverty, and it will happen again today and tomorrow and the day after that. Almost 10 million children will be dead in the course of a year. So why does the crash of a single plane dominate the front pages of newspapers across the world while the equivalent of one hundred planes filled with children crashing daily never reaches our ears? And even though we now have the awareness, the access, and the ability to stop it, why have we chosen not to?” (pg 107).

How can we choose not to?

It starts with you. In the end, God simply calls you to be faithful to the things He has given you to do. He doesn’t require you to be a superstar, just faithful and obedient, by praying, loving, serving, giving, forgiving, healing, and caring—doing small things with great love” (Pg 277).

 So, I'm following Him to Uganda to help establish a Children's Home at the beginning of 2011. These next few months as my commitment with my current ministry draws to a close will be about learning to trust Him in this next step as I earn and fund-raise the money, gain prayer support, and prepare in every way to serve Him in places I never dreamed, and hear new tones in His heartbeat for this world...

To anyone with a heart captivated by the King, see how our mighty, awesome, compassionate God will meet you between the lines of this life-altering read. I dare you! It IS possible to change the world. Because of His love. How can we stay silent?

The kingdom of God, which Christ said is ‘within you’ (Luke 17:21 NKJV), was intended to change and challenge everything in our fallen world in the here and now. It was not meant to be a way to leave the world but rather the means to actually redeem it. Yes, it first requires that we repent of our own sinfulness and totally surrender our individual lives to follow Christ, but then we are also commanded to go into the world—to bear fruit by lifting up the poor and the marginalized, challenging injustice wherever we find it, rejecting the worldly values found within every culture, and loving our neighbors as ourselves. While our ‘joining’ in the coming kingdom of God may begin with a decision, a transaction, it requires so much more than that” (pg 17-18).

*I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Thursday, 8 July 2010

An awesome Franciscan benediction:

May God bless you with a restless discomfort
about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships,
so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression,
and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for
justice, freedom, and peace among all people.

May God bless you with the gift if tears to shed with those who suffer
from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you
may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that
you really can make a difference in this world, so that you are able, 
with God's grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.

And the blessing of God the Supreme Majesty and our Creator,
Jesus Christ the Incarnate Word Who is our Brother and Saviour,
and the Holy Spirit, our Advocate and Guide, be with you
and remain with you, this day and forevermore. Amen.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

What Do You Believe?

I had the beautiful privilege of visiting Stockholm this weekend for the first time in the 2 years since I've lived in Sweden (collectively). What a gorgeous city! Built on many little islands, it's a bit of a Nordic Venice :) Especially in the shine of the midnight sun!

Mmmm, I do love Sweden.

I spent my every spare moment on the island "Gamla Stan" which means, "Old Town". This one tiny island in the middle of the modern day city was once the entire original city way back when! I wandered up and down its cobble-stoned streets and listened as He made my heart sing with gratefulness for how big He is and how small I am and how big His dreams are for me, for you, for this broken, but beautiful world and how generous His heart is, calling us to be a part of its healing...

(Mmm, I love old doorways... It's like they represent something significant. You never know what's behind them waiting to be discovered...)

(Me on the steps of the Swedish royal family's residential palace, Drottningholm. I wanted to move right in :))

(Branda Tomten, my FAVOURITE little square on Gamla Stan)

I spent hours and hours walking around the city in the perfect Swedish sunshine; thinking and praying. I also spent hours in obliging little coffeeshops writing, working on my application to a mission agency called Pioneers, and pondering life by putting it all into words. I had a rather important email to write to my family this weekend, letting them in on some important ways God is moving at the moment, and how I, awestruck and head-all-a-whirl, am trying to hold on and keep up and... be brave enough to trust Him in. (I'll be letting all the rest of you in on it all soon!)

I have a cousin in whose life God is moving pretty incredibly at the moment too. He wrote a mass email recently letting everyone know of how he's feeling God calling him to leave his Christian university to study and serve Him at a secular one. There are many odds stacked against him so a reasonable person would think, "what?" But God just doesn't do reasonable the way we on earth do reasonable (THANKFULLY! Because who of us would sacrifice our son to redeem the world?)...

I was writing him a reply just encouraging him that following Him is worth it all; that God has indeed counted the cost but also covered it in every way, remembering so distinctly my first feelings of calling to ministry in Europe and how ridiculous it seemed and yet how DEFINITE He made Himself in my heart, in places I couldn't define. And as I wrote to encourage him, I was challenged so by my own words.

I still struggle with 'the cost'. I still fall into the gap between my flesh and my faith. It is my constant "entangling that hinders". I get caught up in fear over what choosing to follow Him down this 'road less traveled' costs. Going home for a visit especially heightens the feeling. I've written many many many times before about this tension between wanting to follow Him into extraordinary, yet fearing missing out on normal. Counting costs. As if He who gave His all for me is not worth my all... a billionfold.

I struggle to look at the world through His eyes. I see only impossible where He sees possible. I see only stupidity, where He sees wisdom. I justify ways not to step out and follow Him in trust more and more and more each day, or complain to Him about how much it hurts instead of counting it all joy. I fear. And I dream too small for someone who belongs to this God...

I've been reading a terrific book called "A Hole in Our Gospel" by Rich Stearns (soon to be reviewed here for the publisher!) and just at a very timely moment for me as I've been praying for His direction for when my commitment with Rescue Mission is up in September. I am being challenged left and right about what it means to live belonging to Christ... I've been thinking about how safe we as Christians tend to play it. I've been having conversations lately at Rescue Mission with a girl not interested in Christ because of His Christians. And that kills me. What our world needs are Christians who live like our Christ. And I am so challenged... If my faith is real, I have to live like it is. James 1:22 is ringing in my ears, “But don’t just listen to God’s Word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves."

And I am too convicted to stand still when He says jump...

“It’s not what you believe that counts; it’s what you believe enough to do” --Gary Gulbranson

So, like I pondered as I wandered around this beautiful city with no one but my God... I want to ask you, what do you believe in?

I believe in Love; His Love which knows no bounds, not even the bounds of torture and death, and expressed in Grace; which sees no colour or status or past deeds or present positions, but only the heart, and has compassion on the meek and needy (and we all have poverty of soul, whether we realise it or not). I don't believe in religion, unless it's the "religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless," from James 1:27, "to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." I believe it is possible to change the world, because we are loved with the love which touched empty space and left stars in its wake, the love which draws the ocean tides, and imputes righteousness to these jars of clay, anointing these ordinary hands and feet to bring love to the loveless, hope to the hopeless, rest to the restless.

And I believe it so much that I am compelled to do something about it. Otherwise... it's just air, it's just fluff, it's just theory. He's so much more than theory... He is life, abundantly. And I so want every last precious soul made in His image to know it...

...What do you believe? And so... what do you do?

Thursday, 1 July 2010

“God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through.”
– Francis Chan

Oh Lord...
Help me to trust You so completely.
Come through.

I love You.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...