Saturday, March 31, 2012

what freaks you out?


These past few weeks have been filled with a great amount of personal turmoil for me.  I have had to look some of my deepest fears in the eye, give them my best Mommy style death stare and not budge until they blink first.  Needless to say I am exhausted, but I feel a resolve beginning to break through in my heart.  I hope to write more on these things as the weeks progress and as I process through stuff.  
A few days ago Luis said to me “YOU ARE NOT A RABID DOG BACKED INTO A CORNER WITH NO ONE TO FIGHT FOR YOU!”  That was a slap in the face and got me thinking.  I have been allowing the enemy the freedom to run all over my mind and heart with some legitimate and some illegitimate fears.  Loosing sleep, getting cranky, the whole bit....wasn't pretty!  Isn’t there always some bit of truth to a lie?  Yes, it is true that I am a selfish person, but God has made me like Jesus so I can walk free to be generous and loving.  Get my point?
The fundamental question arises, What does God’s word say?  My heart and my mind and the devil might be telling me one thing, but God’s word is my plumb line for sanity and peace!  It doesn’t matter WHAT is going on around me, what my circumstances are telling me and what is going on inside myself, What God’s word says is what I believe, PERIOD END OF STORY!  
God doesn’t want me to walk around with my head hidden and afraid, cowering at the thought of facing what I don’t want to face.  God wants me to stand up in the power and might of who Jesus has made me....THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS!!!  
The Lord is calling us to walk bold and confident in the knowledge of Jesus Christ being alive and real in our lives.  Lets face what freaks us out the most and trust God to make that smooth stone find its mark in the forehead of that ugly loud mouthed giant!   

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

emotions and street kids


A few weeks ago I was getting very upset over the children’s plight of Zambia.   We have children who come to our gate and ask us for help on a regular basis.   It is wearying on the emotion.  I was beginning to think of them as my own and it was driving me to the point of breaking.  I felt myself growing cynical and course. I told my mom... “Mom, I would NEVER kick Amira out on the streets!”  She said very calmly and firmly “Myranda, you have to remember Amira is your child, these are NOT your children!  You have to shut your emotion off and turn your discerning ears into the Holy Spirit. What does God want you to do?  If it is to simply give them an egg sandwich and a hug, then do it, but DO NOT do more that what God has told you to!”  The only thing that the Lord has been clear on for Luis and I is to go on the streets every wednesday and sit with the kids.  THAT’S IT!!!!  Out side of that I am only spinning my wheels and asking for burnout to come to my door step.  The City Market bus terminal is our fox hole!!   
It is easy to take on a burden for the lost and hurting that isn’t ours to take.  We have grace to sit with the street kids on Wednesdays.  We have the grace to walk away from the streets at 10:30 and go about our day.  We can go and be with Amira, Hannah and Brooklyn and know that we have set and good example to them of walking in obedience for them to follow.  We walk away with a sense that we have done EXACTLY what God has put into our hands to do, that we have been perfectly obedient and that He is pleased!  However, we DO NOT have the grace to take on more than that because the Lord hasn’t given us the go ahead to move out of our respective fox hole.  
Bearing all this in mind, today’s out reach was a hard one for me.  There was a young boy there whose face looked like a cheese grater had been taken to it.  I wasn’t able to get a clear picture of what actually happened to him.  One side of his face was covered in scabs.  Then there is Chileshe.  (say it like it is spelled)  She came today higher than a kite and seven months pregnant with her second child.  Talk about FRUSTRATING!  While I was attempting to talk to her I kept getting flash backs to all check ups (something like 12 per pregnancy) during all my pregnancies and the gallons of pre-natal vitamins I took.   
Here is my point.  By no means do Luis and I feel that we are the solution to the street children issue.  We are simply being obedient to God’s call and walking forward.  But the question arises “HOW!?”   We believe that the next step needs to be a store front or a bus where the kids can come and get feed, both spiritually and physically.   Would you please pray that we are listening to God’s direction?  That we don’t get our selves entangled in a good idea and not God’s idea.  In the mean while, would you please pray for Luis and I to stay in unity.  We need to fight back to back...get me?  Please pray for our children’s protection!  This work is only going to be as effective as the prayers that go into it.  AMEN!?  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

coffee dates and street ministry


We just came from having coffee with a wonderful couple who have been on the mission field to quit some time.  Raised kids, have grandkids, the whole bit.  They are SO FULL of life and wisdom!  I love sitting with people and listening to those who have “been there, done that”  My generation has been raised to BE TOUGH, BE INDEPENDENT, BE YOUR OWN PERSON.  And I think those ideals have given us the wrong impression about needing community and listening to those who have gone ahead and have actually gained some wisdom that we can glean from.  It has been perceived as being a form of weakness to admit you need help.  HOW STUPID CAN WE BE!?  Who among us has never needed help!?  Why do we think we have to be constantly “re-inventing” the wheel, when there are some who can help me avoid some pitfalls.   It was like sitting in a warm relaxing tub and letting my muscles unclench sitting with this wonderful couple and listening to their wisdom and experience.  I want people in my life who will speak into my heart, encourage me in my walk with God and hopefully I will have the heart and ears to listen to what they say!  

Now the streets....
We went yesterday to the same market, sat at the same table and saw the same kids.  IT WAS FLIPPIN AWESOME!!!!!!  Do you remember me telling you about Joe?  He is the ring leader......the chief cook and head bottle washer of the entire sub-culture out there.  WELL, he called us on our way out to the streets to make sure we were coming.  WHY!?  WELL, he took it upon himself to go out and round up kids to come and sit with us and have church in the market!  Joe understands that we are offering nothing of earthly value.  We have no clothes, no food, no NOTHING to give, but our love and our hearts and our time.  I was BLOWN AWAY to say the least.  So, we sat and I felt lead to share the story of Peter and John going to pray and they met a lame man on the way...feel the song coming on?  So as I was talking I knew God was prompting us to talk about how they need to believe the Lord for their hearts desires.  Luis and I both talked about how God wants to answer them and prove himself faithful on their behalf.  I encouraged them to pray with us for a store front where we can begin meeting.  So, about 5 kids took turns and prayed.  I have no clue what was said because they prayed in Nyanja, but from their faces, you could tell they were pouring the very soul of their hearts before God.  It was awesome to sense His peace in the midst of insanity in an African market.  
At the end of our time Joe pulled Luis aside and talked about how he feels like a hypocrite translating for us and then selling drugs to the kids.  He is SO CONVICTED!!!!!!!!  We have never told Joe that he is a filthy rotten sinner and that he is wicked for what he does.  We have simply shown him God’s love, shared God’s heart with him and have allowed him to come to conclusions on his own.  God is beginning to soften Joe’s heart and I know it will be a matter of time before he surrenders.  It was all I could do to not start shouting HALLELUJAH!  I just hugged him and told him that we love him so very very much and thanked him for his help.    

Will you pray for us?
We need WISDOM to keep our mouths shut and our hearts open to what God’s direction is
We need the grace to be faithful in where we are and not push to hard to fast.
PRAY FOR JOE!!  Pray that he finds rest for his weary soul in Jesus!   God’s hand is on him, of that I am sure!
Pray for our children!  They are doing SO well and thriving! 

Monday, March 12, 2012

What requires more faith?

What requires more faith?  To forgive someone for hurting you or raise someone from the dead?  To get out of bed and of about your day when you are depressed or to believe for someone's salvation?  

What about when the devil is whispering convincing lies in your ear?  Isn't it a fact that there is always an element of truth in a lie.  Yes, there are days when i feel like a complete looser and have nothing to offer anyone around me.  Yes, I a prone to depression.  HOWEVER...gods word tells me very clearly that I more than a conqueror and that the same power that raised Christ from the dead dwells in me!  That he has made me in the likeness of Jesus Christ!  That NO weapon formed against me will prosper!  That the JOY of the Lord is my strength!  I could go on and on but i think you are catching my drift.  

There is what I know and what I  KNOW...you know?  I have been struck with the truth that I can actually rely on what Gods word says.  DUH!!!   Why do we overcomplicate Gods simple truths?  Why do we feel the need to overcompensate with our intellect what the Lord has made plain enough?  Sometimes I truly believe that my children understand the mysteries of god better than I ever will.   

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

mountain climbing


How many of us are facing trials right now that seem incredibly overpowering?  Some days the task at hand is to painful to handle and it feels as if you might break from the pressure of it.  If you could just shut your mind off for a while and rest.  
Yesterday I was in a bible study and we were discussed the following quote:
Experienced mountaineers have a quiet, regular, short step - on the level it looks petty, but then this step they keep up on and on as they ascend, whilst the inexperienced townsman hurries along, and soon has to stop, dead beat with the climb.....Such an expert mountaineer, when the thick mists come, halts and camps out under some slight cover brought with him, quietly smoking his pipe, and moving on only when the mist has cleared away....You want to grow in virtue, to serve God, to love Christ?  Well, you will grow in and attain to these things if you will make them a slow an sure, an utterly real, a mountain step-plod and ascent, willing to have to camp for weeks or months in spiritual desolations, darkness and emptiness at different stages in your march and growth.  All demand for constant light, for ever the best - the best to your own feeling, all attempt at eliminating or minimizing the cross and trial, is so  much soft folly and puerile trifling....Baron Friedrich von Hugel.  
I really loved the picture this statement paints.  If we are to succeed at this life that God has blessed us with, we need to have a sure, quiet, regular step.  Not a racing to the finish line in an attempt to do all we can as fast as we can.  Filling up the calendars so there is no margin of free time and quit reflection.  
That mist might look different to each one of us depending on where we are at.  Some of us might be in a mist of waiting on God, some of us might be in a mist of bad marriage or ministry frustrations. But no matter what our individual “mists” are, the lesson still holds true for all of us.  We can’t figure it out on our own.  We need to be confident and sure of who God has called us to be.  We need to make our life a series of quiet regular steps of simple obedience and let Him be responsible for the out come.  We need to be careful to NOT get ahead of God’s timing.  We need to be constantly reminded, or maybe I just do, that it isn’t about us and about what we can accomplish for Christ.  It is about what he is accomplished in us and about sitting back and watching Jesus do what he does best THROUGH our lives.  If we remain obedient to His call and His voice!  Takes the pressure off doesn’t it?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Dream coats, pain and weeping


The story of Joseph has been very intriguing to me lately.  Especially the part where he had to forgive his brothers and reveal himself.  In scripture we see that he wept when he saw them and did somethings that have always confused me.  I have always been taught that he wept because he was so happy to see his brothers and his heart was overwhelmed.  So that has always left me with some questions....WHY didn’t he just reveal himself from day one if he was so excited?  Why did he put them through all he did?  Was it necessary to make them go back and forth, hide the cup in the bag, arrest one of them and just basically be a little bit nasty?  Honestly, that has always been in the back of my mind.  It has been said he was testing their motives, but it true forgiveness dependent on the motive of the other person?
Think about it, last time Joseph saw them they sold him!  They threw him down in a pit and SOLD HIM!  Then he was forced into a life of slavery, prison, starvation and loneliness.  Can you imagine the dejection and WHY GOD’S that he experienced?  We see that God honored his faithfulness to a righteous standard and how he was promoted to 2nd in command of the entire nation of Egypt.  But it didn’t come with out a great deal of pain and cost.   I mean, come on now....we know now the purpose and we learn so much from his story, but did he realize when he was in the middle of it?  We know that he made the best of it, but what was the reality day to day for him?  
THEN, boom all of a sudden there he is faced with those who were the soul reason for all the heart ache he experienced.   
I believe he wept because he was wrestling with the pain and the heart ache of rejection.  He was face to face with the hurt in a way that was causing him physical pain.  I wonder if all the things he did to his brother before revealing himself was just a knee jerk reaction to what they did to him?  I don’t believe that he completely understood God’s plan and GET IT until he revealed himself to his brothers.  Then he was flooded with love and the grace to forgive.  
I don’t quit have my brain wrapped around it yet, but I would love to hear your thoughts....