Tuesday, May 31, 2011

An Inexcusable Heartache

I want to change the world.

No, I am not disillusioned. No, I am not prideful in making that statement. No, I am not being unrealistic when I state that this world needs the love of Jesus Christ to change it... and I want to be one of the ones who brings it to them.

I am restless. A "holy dissatisfaction", some call it. I simply call it a heartache... because my heart aches. How can it be that 143 million children have no mother or father and no one who holds them in their arms and tells them that they are loved? How can it be that three billion people on the face of this same planet that I stand on right now have never heard even the NAME of Jesus before?

How can it be that millions proclaim to be Christians and how can it be that the majority of them live in this blessed country that we live in, with all the resources we could ever ask for, and yet the facts listed above still stand?

If every Christian man and woman, boy and girl, were obedient to the call of Christ on their lives - whatever that may be or in whatever form that may be in - I do believe that there would not be 143 million orphans. I do believe that there would not be three billion people who have never heard the Name of Jesus before.

Why do I believe that?

Because Jesus has sent us out.

He has sent us out.

I can have an excuse and I can deny what I just stated above if I were ignorant to the truths in the Bible. However, I am now held responsible because I have read such verses as these:

"The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves."
-Luke 10:2-3

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted from the world."
-James 1:27

"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me."
-Luke 9:23

"To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps."
-1 Peter 2:21

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

-Matthew 28:19-20

I am responsible now. I now have no excuse. I have held the hands of orphans; I have seen skinny, malnourished women sitting on the side of the streets because they have not eaten in weeks; I have watched as babies bathe in buckets of muddy water because they have no clean water to bathe in; I have held a baby in my arms who I am not sure today if she is still nourished or even alive; I have sang songs of praise to God with 200 children who go to sleep at night with empty stomachs, without a bed or a pillow... and they are some of the most joyful children I have ever met; I have cried tears of brokenness over leaving behind countries that the Lord has taken me to, to fall in love with and share His love with... I have hugged children "see you later" with tears welling up in my eyes and my heart breaking inside of me... And I do not want any of this to have been in vain.

No, I am now held responsible because I have held them in my own arms, I have seen them with my own eyes, I have smelled the trash and the garbage along the streets, I have heard the wailing of children who are hungry, I have wept over all that is yet to be done and what little is now being done.

It is an agony - a pure tragedy - that we in America are so blessed by God and yet we are doing so little to reach out to those in the world who He has called us to love, who He has called us to share Him with.

And, of course, I am not exempt from this. I am one of them and yet the greatest tragedy of all is that I am held more responsible than any American who has never seen what I have seen or who has never read the verses in God's infallible Word that I have read.

And I do not want to just stand by my whole life in inexcusable ignorance that will end in shame when I stand before my Savior. I do not want that. And yet the selfishness of this nation, the selfishness of Christians, and most of all the selfishness of ME.... can steal my heart away from all of His purposes into a life of self-centeredness based on decisions of what I want, of what I think I need, of what will make me feel good...

NO! That is a tragedy.

He and His Kingdom purposes are all that matter in this life. I am sure of it. I am absolutely sure of it because nothing in all the world can satisfy like the love of Jesus Christ... and it must be shared with those who have never heard of it. It must be shared.

It MUST be shared.

I have a heartache... and the hardest part of all is that I have no excuse.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Knocking Down that Brick Wall...

I am so... sad. I don't know that I am ready to become the person that the Lord is asking me to become. Sometimes I am excited. Other times, like tonight, I am apprehensive... torn... doubtful... I recognize each feeling as an attack of the Enemy because feelings cannot be trusted. And I do not trust them. I am just expressing how I feel because I am very broken...

*Why would You send me so many hours away from my family, my best friends, and all that I know and love?

*Why would You ask me to go to a Bible Institute where every student is trained for ministry?

*Why would You send me alone?

I am scared. I am terrified! I am already broken over the ones I love so much whom the Lord is asking me to leave. Why? I don't understand why. What is the reason? I don't even know that.

All I know is that He is asking me to "Go" and I must Go.

All I know is that He promises that He will always be with me, that He will never leave me.

That is all I know. That is all I need to know.

It is just hard. So very, very hard. I would be inhuman if I thought it was easy... Because it is not. I do believe it is the hardest thing He's asked me to do so far in life.

It scares me to think about what this could be preparing me for... as my first mission trip to Chuuk, which I thought was so impossible, has prepared me in so many ways for leaving home to go to a Bible college far away.

Every step is a step closer. I only have one Light, and it is the Word which is a lamp unto my feet. Only as I take a step can I see any farther ahead. I must continue on in faith.

I must break down the brick wall that seems to tower over me. It is a high, thick, and wide brick wall that looms before me. It is the wall that stands between me and the destiny that God has set before me. This is where rubber meets the road. This is where I make the decision of whether I am going to go the hard way and knock down that rough brick wall, as painful as it will be... Or whether I am going to turn around and walk away from that wall, ever wondering what is beyond it... ever regretting that I turned away.

No. NO. I cannot turn away. I resolve not to turn away. I recognize the doubts, the fears, the anxieties, the bitterness, the resentment all as attacks of the Enemy on my very life... for I know that he comes to steal and kill and destroy my life and all of the blessings that the Lord intends to bestow upon it.

This life is Yours, Father... to have and to hold, to use and to mold... Forever Yours.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Call

"Michael and Gabriel were puzzled.

'Why doesn't He let us do it?' Michael asked.

They were sitting in a quiet corner of Heaven, chatting together as they watched what was happening on the small but beautiful blue and green planet called Earth.

'I know, we could do a far better job.' Gabriel sighed. 'Those human creatures He depends on so much are really quite useless. I know He loves them but they're so disobedient. Just take, for example, that little place in Africa - Burkina Faso. I don't know how many times He spoke in someone's ear about it and none of them took any notice. They sometimes seem to be too afraid to do His will. We, on the other hand, are too afraid not to do His will and we would have started to obey even while He was still speaking!'

'And it would have been such a privilege. You know, I think He made a mistake when He gave them choice and free will. If I had been creating creatures to serve me, I would have made them obey me!'

'It would certainly have got the job done more efficiently. But you know,' Gabriel went on, and his voice took on a rather wistful quality, 'I think I can understand why He did it. Have you ever seen His smile when one of those stubborn creatures does obey Him, out of love and with no compulsion?'

Michael nodded slowly, 'Yes, I've been in the Presence when that happens - it lights up Heaven. But it's just so frustrating watching them make such a mess of it all, knowing that we could do better. Even the obedient ones - they're so slow and weak and they're not very well equipped for the task. They can't fly in an instant from one place to another. It takes them ages getting anywhere in those little steel structures.'

'And it takes them even longer learning a new language,' Gabriel added. 'At least people hear us in their own language when we speak to them. All this language learning adds years on to the job. It can be hard watching them struggle with it - funny, sometimes too!'

'Of course, to be fair, we must remember that some of them have the right idea - it just takes so long.'

Gabriel smiled, 'I know what you mean. Men like Stanley and Jeremy have the vision, they can see what needs to be done..........'

'Stanley and Jeremy........ we got all excited up here about their plans. Now if only He had let us carry out those plans. You know that map of villages that Jeremy wants to evangelise? You and I could have taken a legion or two of angels and appeared to everyone in those villages to tell them the Good News. It would have been so easy, too - job done in a couple of hours.'

'The only problem with that,' Gabriel reminded Michael, 'is that we frighten those human creatures so easily. They're just not used to shining presences from Heaven speaking to them.'

Michael laughed, 'Yes, we are rather impressive, aren't we?'

Gabriel turned to him with a serious expression,
'You know I'm not sure we'll ever really understand His reasons for spreading the Gospel this way. You and I and the legions of mighty angels may be impressive and much more beautiful than the human creatures He created, but He seems to have a very special place in His heart for them. Maybe we could do a better job and do it more quickly and efficiently but He has chosen to do it through them. Somehow, seeing them serve Him, however ineffectively, brings more pleasure to Him than we ever could in an eternity of faultless service.'

'He loves them with such passion, doesn't He? It must be wonderful to be loved by Him like that......' Michael gazed down at the little planet, turning in space on its axis, and looked as though he wished that he could be one of those human creatures so beloved by Heaven's King.

'Do you think they know?' Gabriel wondered. 'Do you think they have any idea of the depth of His love?'

'They would if they could hear Him singing,' Michael smiled. 'What an amazing sound that is - when the God of Heaven rejoices over His children with singing. The hosts of heavenly choristers might sing well but even they listen with awe when the King sings...'"
-Epilogue "Angel Talk" from the book "A Place Prepared" by Gloria Kearney

I understand that this is not a true conversation between the angels in Heaven. However, I was encouraged... overwhelmed... by the message of this story. You will understand more about Stanley and Jeremy and Burkina Faso and the vision that the Lord placed on those two men's hearts if you read the book in its entirety. However, this epilogue is enough to bring across a very clear point: God loves you.

God wants to use you for His Kingdom service.

If we knew how much God loves us... if we would truly listen to His voice.... if we would obey Him because we love Him so much and we understood the honor of the task at hand... our world would be a different place. And not just OUR world - what we know and see and feel - but the whole world.

"For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With His love, He will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs."
-Zephaniah 3:17

Do we really understand that? Do we really KNOW that... in our hearts? The King of Heaven delights in us with gladness... He will calm all our fears... He REJOICES over us with joyful songs!

"'While you were doing all these things,' declares the LORD, 'I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you, but you did not answer.'"
-Jeremiah 7:13

Let that not be us, as His followers... as His beloved Bride. No matter where we are in life, "let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith." (Hebrews 12:1-2)

What is He asking of you? What is He calling out to you? You do not want to miss this. We cannot afford to miss this. He is yearning for us to come into a love relationship with Him, to obey Him with everything that we have, to live our lives in total and complete surrender to Him...

Let us not be the ones who do not listen when He speaks to us. Let us not be the ones who do not answer when He calls us. Let us answer the Call...