“I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. Psalm 57:2

 

When I was younger the Lord put Africa on my heart and that sounds cliche because everybody and their mom want to go to Africa. But, I have had many different times where He has confirmed it. When coming to IGNITE I thought for sure that this is my time, to travel there. Then the Lord asked me if I was willing to go to Browning?

 

Recently I have had this fear that he won’t be faithful to this promise of Africa. After thinking about it I realized that the reason that is doubting so much, it’s because IGNITE has been such an opportune time to be sent to Africa. I fearful because the Lord is taking a different route than I expected. This reminds me of the story of Joseph in Genesis. The Lord gave him dreams that he would be great one day, and becoming a slave and sitting in jail probably weren’t the ways he thought he would get there.

 

This morning I re-strumbled over this verse and the Lord began to speak more. I was left with these question: Why am I so afraid of my future when God always fulfills his purpose for us? And, why am I seeking my purpose in life instead of my God who is the purpose?

 

As my application: I want to pray that I would have more faith in the Lord when it comes to my future. I also will write out a list of ways the Lord has been faithfull to me in the past as a remembrance to hold fast to promises.

The good, the bad, and the ugly

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

 

At the beginning of my field time a friend gave me this verse, little did she know that it would reign so true in my life. During my time in IGNITE, the Lord has been teaching me what different seasons look like. My time in Guatemala was a beautiful season of deep conviction and finding the Lord. I woke up every morning with a new song in my heart, I was filled with the joy of the Lord.  My field time has been a tad bit different, it has been a time of heartache and weariness. A time of deep trust and Spiritual perseverance. Alas, this is where this verse comes into play. Walking the spiritual mountain tops of Guatemala were wonderful and much needed. But, my desert solitude of Browning has been a season I would never change.

 

“He has made everything beautiful in its time”.

 

 Dry seasons are beautiful too, they develop your character. This season in Browning has helped me see myself for who I truly am. Which is not an easy place to be, but boy has I found out what God’s grace looks like. This time has been invaluable to help me to grow into the woman I am today. Has it been hard? Yes. Did I hate it at times? Yes. But, It has shown itself beautiful in its time.

 

He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end

 

 The second part of this verse is encouraging for those desert times. We cannot “fathom what God has done from beginning to end”. The definition of fathom is to understand the reason for (something). We cannot understand the why behind anything God is doing. I can ask over and over again, why did God bring me to Browning? Why does life have to be hard all the time? The answers are not for me to understand. But, what I know is what his word says,
“He has made everything beautiful in its time”.

 

    “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them”. Hosea 14:4

I was writing this IBS earlier and I was determined to make it be thought provoking and deep. Then I decided to delete that one, why? Because what I am learning is actually just the simple gospel.

As I have been reading through Exodus, I am walking through the story of Israel. These people loved God, but they doubted and ran from him any chance they could get. This is the exact place I have found myself. I see the wonders of God and still am left wondering am I loved by him.

Yesterday, I took some time and to figure out why I have fallen into feeling unloved? Using this verse the Lord told me that I was again struggling with the gospel of grace. I have been feeling unloved because I can’t measure up to the imaginary line of what I should “look like” spiritually. How could a woman that struggles so much, be loved by the Creator of the Universe?

   The beautiful thing about the book of Hosea is that it’s written to be used as a prophetic symbol of God’s love for Israel. What glories news to the human race. Hosea says that God will heal us of our waywardness/running and he will love us freely with NO restrictions.

  Ann Voskamp says it well: “You never have to overcome your brokenness to claim God’s love. His love has ALREADY overcome your brokenness and claimed you”.

  The fact is that I am never going to measure up, but that’s why God gives his grace because he knows we never could.

  This morning I read Exodus 16, this is the chapter when the Israelites are whiny to Moses and Aaron about being in the wilderness.  

 “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Exodus 16:3

The Israelites were scared and weary, but the Lord heard their cries and sent them the solution. He sent them food that they would gather each day for their daily portions (Vs. 4).

  Many times in my life I cry out to the Lord, doubting his goodness. I find myself in the same place as these people, tired and weary.  Israel was looking back to the sacrifices that they had to make to follow the Lord, I have been caught in this so much in this season of life. The fact is when reading this the Lord helped me see how much I compare to these whining people.

  These people (and myself) were given their freedom, safety and the portion of strength that always will be sufficient for the day. God didn’t ask me to look ahead and think about how I am going to make it to the finish line, but instead, he wakes me up every morning promising me that His grace is sufficient.

When realizing this, this morning my mind instantly went to the verse Psalms 27:13-14.  

 “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of living! Wait for the LORD;  be strong, and let your heart take courage: wait for the LORD!”

I have spent so much of my field time looking around and doubting the Lord’s goodness. I have spent 4 months weighing my sacrifice of coming to Browning, and out of my discontentment have been blinded to the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.

Moses said to the people, “Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord” (Exodus 16:8).

And 1 Samuel 12:24 says,

“But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.”

  Consider the great things he has done for us! My sacrifice to endure the coldness of Browning is nothing compared to the Cross my Jesus joyfully endured.

  Lord, Forgive my grumbling heart. I have been counting my sacrifices when you only care for obediences. Give me a zeal for your church once again. Help me to never grow blind to your goodness in the land of the living. Help my weary heart take courage in you.  Amen!

 

“Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the Lord, “I remember the devotion of your youth,   your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness,  in a land not sown. Jeremiah 2:2

 

I read this verse in a devotional the other day, it really touched me because I felt like this was written to my current situation. During my time in Guatemala, I learned what a life looked like fully surrender. I was completely on fire for the Lord. When asked to pray about coming to Browning the Lord told me it would a time that he called me out into the desert place, to a place not yet sown. Fully trusting the Lord’s character I obeyed to take the place. More than halfway through my field time the Lord asked me again to return to a desert place. I truly struggled with this, do I still trust the Lord’s goodness in this? That is when the Lord asked me to remember the devotion of my youth, remember the zeal that I once brought.

Lord, I don’t necessary want to be here anymore, but I will trust you. So I pray that my heart will be changed towards this place. Lord, replace my disappointment with zeal. Give me a new love for the people here.

 

Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” 13 But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” 14 Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.

When reading this I felt the Lord speaking to me a message. Will you be willing or not? The Lord in this chapter of the Bible was telling Moses that he was going to be used in a mighty way, Moses out of fear began to give excuses. This resulted in God’s anger, and He instead used Aaron to speak His the message. Even though Moses was still used in a lot of ways, he doubted the Lord power to use anybody. This Chapter has haunted me since, reading it. am I willing, or am I asking God to take this cup? Browning is a hard place for ministry and I have found myself discontent a lot of the time. I have been making up excuses to not be used here, or to talk to different people; “I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue”(vs.10).  I have been given a chance to be in Browning at such a time as this, am I going to waste it? Again the Lord asked me are you willing or will I use somebody else? 

Application: I will spend time in prayer today for the next time the Lord tells me to step out into faith and talk to someone, that I may walk in complete boldness.

Middle kid

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
 This verse has been written to me in 3 different letters recently. In the past week, the Lord has really been bringing it into play.
  I have always had this strong desire to be a leader. But, I have always suffered from the “so-called middle child syndrome”. If I am in the midst of a natural born leader, I tend to fall back into the middle kid box. This isn’t a jab at any leader in my life by no means. And I definitely don’t want anybody to step down to allow me to step up. But I am simply stating what my natural tendency are.
 Like I said I have a strong desire to be a leader but I lack it in many ways. I know that the Lord put this desire of my heart and that he will bring it to fruition and it’s time. But, I ask how can this be Lord because…  I wouldn’t say that my spiritual gift is leadership by any means, and People’s first instinct isn’t to tell me what a natural born leader I am. But through this verse the Lord has shown me many things. First that he can make me into anything he wants, “do not be afraid”. Second that you don’t have to be a “natural born leader” to be a leader. All you have to do is know and remember every day that the Lord is in your midst. That our power comes from him and that we can walk in boldness and confidence knowing who we are when sitting in his presence.
 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Acts 1:8a says “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you”.
So, Lord, I ask that you fill me with your Spirit so I might walk in power to share you. May I be reminded every day that you are with me. Thank you, Lord, for the things you show each and every one of us every day. Amen!