When Life Demands I Pour from My Empty Cup [day 21:give]

Affection and time-I-don’t-have to my husband.
Sippies and snacks, hugs and kisses to my kids.
Surprise visits, small gifts, and gospel tracts to my unbelieving friends.

 

In marriage, motherhood, and missional living — at times– it can seem like I just give and give and give. If I allow my focus to turn inwardly, I can start to see myself as saintly and others as soul suckers emptying me of my energy and taking advantage of my efforts to serve. This is not a true heart of service nor is it honoring to the God who calls me to give myself to these people each day.

There is no doubt that I will fall short of the big dreams to love and serve others like Jesus would. As I wrote in “31 Days Living the Golden Rule” during Write 31 Days last year,

We will let people down. We won’t be able to fulfill what we promise. We won’t find the strength to love like Jesus. We occupy bodies broken by the Fall and are unable to live perfectly and honorably at all times (or most of the time!). We trust God to work on our behalf, to communicate the words we fail to speak, and to show the love we fail to display.

 

We will strive and struggle. It’s all part of this thing called sanctification. We need heaping spoonfuls of grace and answered prayers for the strength to do more. We make right the things we can make right, and we ask God to take care of the rest. Sometimes that’s all we can do.

Heaping Spoonfuls of Grace for When We Goof it All Up, October 2016

In all of this, sensitivity to the working of the Holy Spirit is of utmost importance. At times, I clearly sense that the Lord is telling me to give myself a break, to rest in His promises, and take time to recover and refuel. A burned-out missionary isn’t of much more use than one who stayed at home, and a checked-out mom and wife does not supply a firm foundation for family. But there are other times, I feel the stirring in my soul to look beyond my own borders and give a little more. Often in these instances, I sit with gaping mouth because I’m certain I have no more to give.

God reminds me then of the widow in 1 Kings 17 who ministered to the needs of Elijah. Even though what she had to offer did not seem to match the need at hand, God honored her willingness to serve others and never let her supply run out. In the same way, I can follow the Spirit’s leading to continue to serve when I feel like my cup is just about empty. I can trust He will give me a little more strength and encourage my heart as the service is carried out for Him — because ultimately my service to literally anyone is service to Him (Matthew 25:40).

Like the last sip of a hot mocha, I savor the emptying cup. When I celebrate small, at the bottom of the frothy glass I see evidence of a life poured out in service to others. I see an opportunity to fill up on the truths of God’s word and sit close to Him in hopes that some of His strength may spill over into me. I pray and trust that He will fill me up again each time I give the last bit to another. I give with a heart wide open, aware of the possibility of my cup going dry but so sure of His care for me when that time comes.

When I celebrate small, I don’t live in fear of an empty cup. I savor service to others and a sweet relationship with the supplier of my every need. When He says “rest,” I rest in Him, knowing He is multiplying the moments I’ve given. When He says, “give,” I surrender my need to know I have what it takes because I know He will do what He does best — He will fill up my cup,

How have you seen God fill your empty cup?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

 

 

Discover God’s Heart for the Lost [day 20: discover]

Five Minute Friday: DISCOVER

00:00

We are 6 months into a church plant. 6 months of planting, sowing, praying, and planning. I’ve watched my husband work harder than anyone I’ve ever seen with a passion I’ve never seen paralleled — of course, I am a bit biased on that matter. God has placed a big dream in our hearts to see a gospel movement in this country. At times, we have been discouraged because we have found the work to be slow going just as language learning proved to be. We trust God knows what He is doing, and His timing is perfect, but big dreams leave us wanting.

God has been teaching me that minimal is still movement and painstaking is still progress. If we glimpse to see it, there is evidence of God’s passionate pursuit of our people. Not only that — I have also discovered God’s heart for the lost. He desires that all men be saved. Each and every one. He tells us in His word that He rejoices with each repentant heart that passes from death to life. And so should we. If every convert takes 6 months or more, they are worthy of every effort expended because He is worthy to receive them into His fold. And he is looking for them, calling them to Himself.

So I choose to celebrate small in what we’ve seen in 6 months — one soul trust Christ. Praise be to God!

05:00

I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance (Luke 15:7).

 

There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth (Luke 15:10 b).

What have you discovered about God’s heart for the lost?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

 

 

5 Biblical Truths that Make Me Brave [day 19: brave]

“You’re so brave!” is something I hear pretty frequently from those learning of both my vocation as a church planter’s wife and my location in Kathmandu, Nepal. The funny thing is, my bravery was — at least not to my knowledge — never considered when qualifying for overseas service.  My husband did take me on a short-term missions trip to Burkina Faso, West Africa before he proposed. I suppose that could have been considered a test of my bravery.

Anyone who knows me could testify to my lack of bravery. My husband has bungee jumped, and I have sworn off of the notion forever and ever amen. I don’t even think I’d jump off of a diving board these days. I used to jump off cliffs into the water even though I’m not a great swimmer. I would watch scary movies for fun. Now I think, “What in the world was wrong with me? I was so stupid!” I’ve had enough scares in the last few years without intentionally involving myself in anything that would give opportunity to fright in my life.

Bottom line: I’m not brave. Not even a little bit. My life doesn’t require me to search out things that scare me (remember that gecko in the cereal box?) as I navigate life in a foreign land and share the message of Jesus with people who aren’t keen to hear it. Fear comes often and in many forms.  Living missionally goes against my instincts that tell me to flee from the things that frighten me. Jesus commands me to run towards these things in His name. Knees shake and my voice quivers more often than they don’t, but I comfort myself with truths found in God’s Word.

5 Biblical Truths that Make Me Brave


I am loved by God- Romans 8: 36-39

As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Fear does not come from God – 2 Timothy 1: 7-8

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.

God is always with me- Psalm 139:7-10

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea. Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

God makes me brave – Hebrews 13: 6-8

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto meRemember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

I can trust God with my fear- Psalm 56:11-13

In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me. Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?


In Christ, I have freedom from fear. Taking these truths to heart, I am empowered to celebrate small in missional living. As I plow on in the work He gives me to do, I can take each step confidently without fear of what lies ahead because God goes with me. Free from fear, I praise Him for each progressive step as well as each misstep along the way. Since I am not blinded by fear, I am able to see the great potential in Gospel encounters and opportunities to serve Jesus.

As I seek to serve Him and share Him with others, Christ will make me brave. He will give me courage when my knees knock and the breath in my lungs feels stuck within. As I honor Him by speaking up to those I encounter in my life, I don’t have to be afraid. How many times in Scripture does he admonish His children saying, “Let not your heart be troubled?” Because of the gift He gives of a sound mind in place of fear (2 Tim. 1:7), we can have victory over fear in our lives. When we face fearful circumstances in service to Him, the instinct to flee will still kick in, but we can surrender these impulses to the Lord of all.

You won’t see me jumping off any cliffs or popping a horror film into the DVD player anytime soon. But I pray you might find me conquering my fears of speaking the name of Jesus to those who don’t know Him. If they ask how I can speak to them like this, I’ll just tell them, “He makes me brave.”

What Biblical truths make YOU brave?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

 

 

Faithfulness to Feed despite Fear of Rejection [day 18: share]

Yesterday, for the very first time, our daughter tried the traditional meal of Nepal, dal bhat which is made up of a lentil soup and rice. It was a big deal because this day has been coming for 2 and 1/2 years! We hooped and hollered and promised her a trip today to go buy some new movies. How many times had a plate of dal bhat been offered to her? Countless times! Her school serves it every day. We always thought peer pressure would be enough to get her to eat it, but after nearly a week of her refusal to eat, her teacher called to request we start packing her lunch.

She’s always been a picky eater — so much so that I wondered if we would ever have peace at our dining table. Per the suggestion of the pediatrician we consulted with, we kept serving her the same food we were eating with one thing on her plate we knew she liked. Whether she refused or dug in was up to her, and we were not to pressure her lest we give her anxiety about mealtimes. We just kept putting the plate in front of her.

So often, I feel a similar struggle in efforts to share Christ with friends and neighbors. Yesterday, I confessed that fear of saying the wrong thing keeps me from sharing the gospel and living as a bold witness for Christ. Another thing that has hindered this work of God in the past is the fear of my message being rejected. “What if they get mad? What if they think — or worse, say — I’m rude and should have kept my big mouth shut?” ‘What if’ is so rarely a good starting point in my thought life.

In the moment, it feels like the worst thing that could happen. And it is absolutely heartbreaking to hear someone reject the work of Christ– especially so if it be someone you love. I have found comfort knowing that it is only my responsibility to present the message in a palatable form. It is God who works in hearts to change lives with the truth of the Gospel.

When I celebrate small, I celebrate the share. I recognize my inability to force my faith upon someone — as I’ve learned with my small children—  and I lean hard on the Lord who declares His desire to win all people into His family. I don’t know who will come along and water the seed I’ve planted with simple words. I don’t know what lies beneath hard exteriors and harsh words. I can’t foresee how a friendship may flourish and what further opportunities He may give to continue to communicate the truths of the Gospel.

Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building (1 Cor. 3:5-9).

Like daddy and I are on the same team teaching little people what nourishes their bodies, we are laborers together with God in reaching the world with the Gospel message. We are afforded the amazing opportunity to work alongside the master of the universe to accomplish His will — though we know Who does the heavy lifting. In His glorious grace, He allows us to reap the rewards. We aren’t promised immediate yeses and full embrace of the Gospel when we step out in faith to share Jesus, but we are promised He will be with us. Truly, His presence trumps positive outcomes.

We can positively praise when the Gospel is presented, — not only when it is received. Faithfulness is to practice hospitality in presenting plates loaded with the good stuff of the message. Acceptance or refusal is on the receiver, and we rejoice that the message has been heard. We nourish our relationships by fully sharing our lives with those we love and live with. Sharing Jesus should be a natural outflow of that life sharing. We must only be faithful to keep showing up and placing the plate before them trusting that one day, “Yuck” will turn into “Yum” as they savor the sweetness of what the Savior has done. Our earnest prayer is that they will “Taste and see the Lord is good” as we do each day.

How can you share Jesus in a palatable form today?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

 

 

It’s OK to Grow as You Go [day 17: grow]

I have fond memories of playing in the park while my brother was on the baseball diamond as a child. There was flower picking, gravel scooping, and begging mom for slushies. It was the magic childhood is made of — at least, that’s what it seems like looking back. Little friends would chat, and sometimes we would get past “what’s your name?” and “what is your favorite color?” No one had ever told me not to talk to other kids about Jesus, so I asked my playmates if they were saved like they had any idea what that meant. I barely did. I just had Jesus in my heart, and everything on my heart came out eventually.

As I got older, fear of not presenting Jesus perfectly or having something in my life that would block the effectual working of the Gospel kept me from exhibiting this type of boldness. I knew I didn’t know everything, and I thought, “If I share my faith, someone is going to ask me a question I can’t answer.” So I just didn’t. I started to hear things like, “Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words.” I began to think it was OK, as long as I didn’t live like the lost, to keep my mouth shut about the greatest gift ever given to me. I’ve come to find out I was wrong. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).

I needed someone to tell me, “It’s OK to grow as you go.” I needed permission to share my faith without an undergrad in apologetics. I wish someone would have encouraged me to live faithfully as a Christian witness, speaking the truth in love while humbly admitting when I made mistakes. I would have benefited from a reminder that fear is a tool of the enemy which keeps me from fulfilling the will of God laid out in the Great Commission. Maybe someone did tell me, and I just wasn’t listening.

But now I know — when I celebrate small, I thank God that I don’t have all the answers. I find joy in the fact that I will never know everything about Him or truly understand the scale of what Has he has done for me. I relish each opportunity to share Him, and I trust Him to do a good work in spite of me. If I wait to live missionally until I’ve achieved spiritual giant status, I will miss out on great things God wants to do through my life. As I celebrate small, I praise Him for the understanding He gives along the way, and I trust He will polish my witness in his power while covering my flaws in His blood.

I think back and wonder how things would have been different had someone given me permission to be imperfect. I trust God was working even in my silence, but I think I think I’ll speak up from now on. I may have to pretend I’m still the brave little girl picking dandelions and spilling my heart to anyone who would listen.

What keeps you from living missionally?

Talk to me in the comment section below!