Monday, March 25, 2013

Beyond the Open Door

HSBC. I'm not sure what that is, but it seems to be a company that has its advertising all over Calgary Airport.

Yes, I'm in the airport. Again. And no, I'm not in the Philippines any more. And I'm also rather jet-lagged still, which I predict will be reflected in this post.

(I should explain that the reason I was silent about my return from the Philippines is because I was planning a surprise visit to my old school, Fountainview, which worked wonderfully. Some people thought I was still in the Philippines, and voila, there I am at church!)

In a month's crazy change of events, what was going to be the next 22.5 weeks quickly became a matter of days.

It all started at midnight. I was riding with the pastor up on our trip to Ilocos Sur in the north of the Philippines, and as we journeyed in the night I received an email. That email would change the next year of my life.

Probably the rest of my life, for that matter.

I prayed. I prayed so hard. And I talked with family and friends, searched God's word, searched my heart -- all the while preparing sermons for the week of prayer for the kids. Resume sent. Research done. Intense prayer... "Not my will, but Thy will be done." Agonizing waiting.

And every time I finally gave my worry and stress over it to God, wonderful peace. Right after peace, miracle after miracle. It's like God was waiting for me -- just trust Me -- before He would act.

He far exceeded all my expectations. I'll share a few examples:

Financial barriers broken down (they were never there, actually, but I didn't know that right away).
Impossible timing for papers worked out just in time.
Visa in my passport within hours of my appointment.

So now those who have no idea about what I am sharing are probably wondering what's going on. Most of my friends and family know already. I'm going to Germany/Europe for a year for an internship with Amazing Facts Europe. It is exciting, and God has really opened the door so wide. But honestly, I don't feel ready or capable. In my own strength and wisdom, that is. I am ready -- ready to trust God to do the work in whatever way and through whomever He sees fit. And it's not just the work to be done in Europe. It's the work to be done in my own heart. I'm ready to trust Him with it.

It's His work, anyhow.

Beyond the Open Door

In the things familiar we find security 
Resisting all the changes that days and years can bring, 
When God decides to lead you through an open door 
Inviting you to walk in realms you've never walked before. 

Beyond the open door is a new and fresh anointing, 
Hear the Spirit calling you to go. 
Walk on through the door for the Lord will go before you 
Into a greater power you've never known before. 

Hear the spirit calling to wake the living dead, 
To reach the huddled masses who cry out for living bread. 
Arise oh mighty army, take up thy shield and sword 
For the Father lifts His golden lamp beside the open door. 

Beyond the open door is a new and fresh anointing, 
Hear the Spirit calling you to go. 
Walk on through the door for the Lord will go before you 
Into a greater power you've never known before

Where He leads me, I will follow 
Where He leads me, I will follow 
And where He leads me, I will follow 
Into a greater power we've never known before, 
Beyond the open door.

~Faith First

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Golden Rule

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. - Matthew 7:7-12
At first glance, this passage is about seeking God and asking blessings from Him. But then, the last sentence seems to be completely unrelated, except for the fact that it starts with "Therefore..."

Therefore, whatever you want people to do to you, do to them. We candidly call this the "golden rule." Basically, it means that you shouldn't expect people to do for you what you are not willing to do for them. I shouldn't expect you to make me food and take care of me when I'm sick, if I am not willing to do the same for you, we're our positions reversed.

I could not see how this "golden rule" tied in with the previous verses, and I was praying that God would show me why they seem to be linked together. Then He showed me a beautiful picture of His character...

Vs 11 describes "how much more" the Father will give good things to us. It reminded me of this verse:

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?- Romans 8:32

The Father freely gave us all things in the gift of His Son, which in reality is a gift of Himself. If an earthly parent gives good things to his children, the Father does infinitely more. God, in the person of the Son, "gave Himself" for us. This is the ultimate gift, giving oneself to another. Another word we use for this is "surrender."

This, then, is what God is like: He doesn't expect us to do for Him what He is not willing to do for us. He doesn't ask us to give all ourselves to Him without first giving all Himself to us. He doesn't ask for full surrender and entire consecration without first doing the same for us.

God lives by His own golden rule.

He does to us what He would have us do Him. From the very beginning of time, He gave Himself and committed Himself unreservedly to a deep, personal, and eternal relationship with each one of us; and He longs to reciprocate this response in us towards Him. This is why John says, "We love Him because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19). God is the ultimate Initiator. He loved us first, and then and only then He asks us to love Him in return.

Interestingly enough, Jesus says that this principle "is the Law and the Prophets." This is because the Law and the Prophets are a picture, a Story, of a God who lives by His own golden rule -- who loves first, gives first, and surrenders first, before He ever asks for the same in return.

And He does ask. He longs. He wants to have that deep, personal, and eternal relationship with us. This is why He gave Himself for us, even to death. It is only after He has given all that He asks the same from us.

God lives by His own golden rule.

What will be your response?

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Soldier's Prayer

+Sean Nebblett recently wrote a blog post (please read it before continuing on; this will make more sense if you do), and it inspired me to share this poem with you. It's an old poem, but the message remains relevant. The prayer stays the same. It always will, until that glorious day...

May we never stop fighting. We will somehow win. Though it seems all the odds are against us, and we have not the strength...

God does.

May we be freed from the enemy within, so that we may focus on the mission...

There are crosses that need to be planted.

January 22, 2011

Lord, I'm tired of it all,
tired of fighting, of taking
a few steps, but then fall;
It's not just the old ones,
but the young soldiers too;
At least this one,
she's one of the few
who to her comrades may appear
to hold nothing in life
'cept Your mission dear.

But it's a lie.

Now don't get me wrong --
To die for that mission,
she enlisted, with strong
resolve to complete.
To go forward
To forsake all for the call
and count all but loss
no matter the cost.

But in the thick of battle
resolve starts to break.
When the mighty foe presses in,
how much more can she take?

I have not the strength
To meet the strength
of the attacks
To return blow for blow
I'm being pushed back

Who is this foe?
Who makes the attack?
from within.

It is me. My self.

And I
hold Your mission dear.
This soldier, her focus clear
at times. But the enemy
Has infiltrated
Has betrayed
Has battled
Has blurred
Made dear to her these things else:
pride, desire, temptation --
The chains of self.

I have not the strength
To shake off these chains.
But I will try again
I will fight again
I will somehow win

And You say:
"Will you stop living a lie?
Yes, you must try again.
Yes, you must fight again.
Yes, you will somehow win.
But not with those chains on.
It is My mission or those,
what will you choose?

"The choice is yours
But you have not the strength."

This soldier has not the strength to battle at all
She takes a few steps, but then falls.
She holds dear the chains
She holds dear Your mission
She fights with confusion.
She cannot see
But she will go forward
Forsake all for the call
Count all but loss
No matter the cost.

I have not the strength
But You are my Strength
Break the chains
Return the blows
Push self back
Press the attack

I will somehow win.

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