Sunday, February 26, 2012

From a Friend to You

I just wanted to share with you all a post written by one of my favourite writers, and one of my dearest friends. It was a big blessing to me, and I pray that it will be to you as well.

Shades of Life: The Struggle

Thursday, February 23, 2012

For the Love of Egg Rolls

Imagine standing in line at the cafeteria (at Fountainview). Straining your neck to see what's being served, past the curving line of hungry young people, you see that it's is absolutely the best thing that ever happened. At least, that's what you think at this moment. Egg rolls! Excitement and hunger rumble in your stomach. You are just itching to take the first luscious bite, because you know it will be good. You've tasted it before. But as you keep a sharp lookout on the progress of the line and the diminishing number of egg rolls, your rumbling stomach begins to sink. Anxiously you crowd the person in front of you in a futile effort to make the line go faster. You forget that this won't do you any good; the egg rolls will only disappear sooner. Finally, you make it to the table, only to find that there are no egg rolls left. Turning away in sorrow, you come face to face with a cafeteria worker carrying a deck-pan full of fresh egg rolls, straight out of the oven. They're the best egg rolls you've ever had.

You forgot the most important thing: there will always be enough. The cafeteria is well known for providing an abundance of food. There was nothing to worry about. They had everything under control.

Sometimes I feel like I'm standing in the line of life. I'm waiting, and when I catch glimpses of God's plan for me, my hunger for it grows. The fulfilment of God's plan for me is like an egg roll. I know it's going to be good. I've tasted it before. I can't wait to get my teeth into it and take that luscious bite. So, I try to make the line go faster. I want God to fulfil His plan for me right now, or at least reveal His plan right now. Can't He hand me an egg roll (reveal His plan) and give me concrete evidence that I will get to eat it?

But I don't run the cafeteria. I forget that there will always be enough. No matter how long God takes to fully work out His will in my life, the supply of egg rolls will never fail. God will supply me with everything I need at just the right time; He has everything under control, and I don't have to worry that I won't get any egg rolls. Sometimes, He leaves me waiting at the table, confused by the empty deck-pan, until I come face to face with Him. Then He'll give me the best egg rolls I've ever had.

"So the LORD must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the LORD is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help." - Isaiah 30:18 NLT

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Future and a Hope

Consider the experience of Moses. - Ministry of Healing, pg.474

I've been reading a lot about Moses lately. God worked miracle after miracle for the Israelites, but shortly after they would forget and murmur (complain) about present difficulties. It was a constant roller-coaster going from, "Praise the Lord, He is so good and has led us thus far," to, "Bitter water!? Come on Moses, did you bring us out here to die of thirst?" What a stupid question! God didn't bring them out to die in the desert. How could they forget all the wonders God worked in Egypt? How could they possibly forget crossing the Red Sea on dry ground? Just think, Moses had to deal with this stubborn bunch of whiners for more than 40 years! And that only because they were a stubborn bunch of whiners!

What prepared him for such a great and difficult work? Well of course, everything about him shouted, "LEADER." He had been trained in the royal schools of the most powerful nation on earth. Everything from diplomacy to strategy to governing was included in his training. All of Egypt, including his royal grandfather, once looked to him as the next Pharaoh. Surely this is what qualified him to lead the multitude of God's people. Right?

Not so.
The education he received in Egypt as the king’s grandson and the prospective heir to the throne was very thorough. Nothing was neglected that was calculated to make him a wise man, as the Egyptians understood wisdom. He received the highest civil and military training. He felt that he was fully prepared for the work of delivering Israel from bondage. But God judged otherwise. His providence appointed Moses forty years of training in the wilderness as a keeper of sheep (MH 474).

What? A shepherd? What happened to the great military leader, the heir to the throne of the most powerful kingdom in Egypt? Wasn't that the kind of training that would prepare Moses to lead his people? Doubtless it aided him greatly when the time came. But God knew that he wasn't ready yet. He had much to unlearn from his life as an honoured grandson of the Pharaoh, surrounded by heathen worship and glorified man-made structures. Here in the majestic mountains of the wilderness God revealed His power and greatness. Moses was alone with God, and he learned lessons of service, humility, tender care, patience, faithfulness, and meekness. He came to know God as a mighty but personal friend.

And then, the call came. Now God knew he was ready. Now, after he had let go of his own self-sufficiency, was he prepared to lead God's people from Egypt. In fact, he had become so humble and distrustful of himself that he shrank from the mission. It seemed impossible to him. God was patient, however, and provided everything he needed. And that encounter at the burning bush would be one of many near face-to-face meetings with God.

So what does this ancient familiar Bible story have to do with us today? Plenty. We are just as stubborn and whiny as those Israelites. We easily forget the ways God has led us in the past, and we complain and murmur about the smallest things.

Sometimes God leads you into the wilderness to teach you valuable lessons. This has to happen before He can really use you for the work He has called you to. You think that you are all prepared to do your lifework, or you think that you need education and power and honour in order to really do a work for God. But this is not reality. It may not make sense to the world, to your friends, to your family, or even to you, but God may place you in the most uncomfortable, uncanny, and unconventional circumstances to work out His greater purpose in your life.

And one day, you'll be ready.

One day, God will say to me, "Now you are ready. Go unto Pharaoh..." Whatever the work will be, I know that God is making me ready. He is using every experience and circumstance. And He is guiding every step. I may not meet a burning bush, or part the waters of a sea, but I KNOW, without a shadow of a doubt, that God has a plan for me.

And He has a plan for you.

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV).

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Word of the Moment

bit·ter·sweet  [adj. bit-er-sweet, bit-er-sweet; n. bit-er-sweet]
both bitter and sweet to the taste: bittersweet chocolate.
both pleasant and painful or regretful: a bittersweet memory.

If you want me to explain, just ask.

Friday, February 3, 2012

We'll Walk if We Have To

"Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!"

That all too familiar sound. Again. We were pulling out of Twin Falls this morning, and our bus wouldn't stop beeping. You see, yesterday we were delayed almost 4.5 hours because of a problem with the air compressor on the bus. Praise God, the repair man came from over an hour's drive away, and he was able to fix it quickly. On top of that, he didn't charge us anything! He is a Christian man, and it was a huge blessing because Scott was expecting anywhere from $500-1000. We gave him two DVDs.

It was a pretty uneventful drive for the most of the rest of the day. Walmart stop, Taco Bell pick-up, and then a late drive with a confusing time change that we didn't actually change but the schedule says it changed (the way that I wrote it is about as confusing as it was for us).

We were almost to the church, and Scott was in the lead. At an intersection (oh, that fateful intersection), Scott and Alistair were discussing over the radios. Their two GPS's hardly ever agree, and we never know which one is right. So we turned left. And Alistair turned right.

He was right.

We soon discovered this fact, so Scott attempted to turn around. Pitch black outside, lonely straight road with dirt and fields on either side, lined by barbed-wire fence on one side and an electric (as someone said) fence on the other. Just when we were perfectly perpendicular to the road, and completely blocking it, a grinding noise brought us to a halt. Back and forth, Scott tried to get us unstuck, but in vain. We went out to investigate. The back wheels on the driver's side were stuck in a foot-deep hole, conveniently just large enough for the wheels. On top of that, we had a flat tire (which is why we couldn't get out of the hole). On top of that, it was freezing cold outside. By the time the other bus picked us up (Alistair backed in), we ended up getting to sleep around 1:00 am (Boise time, 12:00 am BC time...I think).

And so today, we were rolling out and -- "Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!" It just wouldn't quit. A problem with the air again. So now we are back at the school/church where we stayed, having wifi and playing basketball. And praying. Really praying.

It was a real blessing for us to be able to have worship together as a group while we waited for the bus yesterday. In small groups, we discussed the story of the loaves and fishes. It is amazing how much there is in there about buses and Las Vegas Tour! I believe that a major highlight of what we learned (and shared with the whole group together) is that God can do the impossible with little things, and only if we give all to Him.

Pray for us; the devil doesn't like what we're doing, and he's stopping at nothing to stop us. And if he can't stop us, he's going to try to distract us from our purpose on this trip. He will have succeeded in that case. Pray that we will not get distracted or worry about the buses, showers, sleep (or the lack thereof), or making it to concerts on time. Pray that we will trust God completely and not waver in our faith and purpose. There is nothing to fear; nothing to worry about. Except that we forget how God has led us in the past...

"Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;
But we will remember the name of the Lord our God.
They have bowed down and fallen;
But we have risen and stand upright." Ps 20:7, 8

If God wants us there, He'll get us there. Nothing can stop us.

We'll walk if we have to.
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