Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Believing So We May Truly "See"

"The world says that 'seeing is believing,' but God wants us to believe in order to see. The psalmist said, ' I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living' (Psalm 27:13 NASB). Do you believe God only when your circumstances are favorable, or do you believe no matter what your circumstances may be?" - C.H.P.

"May God grant us faith to completely trust His Word, even when every other sign
points the other way." - C.H.P.

"Great faith is exhibited not so much in doing as in suffering." - Charles Parkhurst

"Indeed, there is nothing God will not do for those who will dare to step out in faith onto what appears to be only a mist. As they take their first step, they will find a rock beneath their feet."
- F.B. Meyer

"Trusting even when it appears you have been forsaken; praying when it seems your words are simply entering a vast expanse where no one hears and no voice answers; believing that God's love is complete and that He is aware of your circumstances, even when your world seems to grind on as if setting its own direction and not caring for life or moving one inch in response to your petitions; desiring only what God's hands have planned for you; waiting patienty while seemingly starving to death, with your only fear being that your faith might fail - 'this is the victory that has overcome the world'; this is genuine faith." - George MacDonald

"We must be willing to live by faith, not hoping or desiring to live any other way. We must be willing to have every light around us extinguished, to have every star in the heavens blotted out, and to live with nothing encircling us but darkness and danger.Yes, we must be willing to do all this, if God will only leave within our soul an inner radiance from the pure, bright light that faith has kindled."
- Thomas C. Upham

"...And Abraham thought of himself as a father, because God had said so. That is genuine faith - believing and declaring what God has said, stepping out on what appears to be thin air and finding solid rock beneath your feet. Therefore, boldly declare what God says you have, and He will accomplish what you believe. You must, however, exhibit genuine faith and trust Him with your entire being." - from "Crumbs"

 "The Lord only builds a bridge of faith directly under the feet of a faithful traveler. He never builds the bridge a few steps ahead, for then it would not be one of faith. 'We live by faith, not by sight.' (2 Cor. 5:7)" - Henry Clay Trumbell

Monday, October 18, 2010

Softened by the Rain

  Pitter, patter. Pitter, patter. As I write, I hear the faint sound of raindrops on our tin roof. I am hoping they increase and give us a nice, loooong, really wet rainshower.

 Last week we were becoming a bit concerned. Though we are supposedly in a wet season, it wasn't so evident. Our red dirt was dry and hard. Our thirsty plants appeared to be shriveling up, and our water tanks were also devoid of the wet stuff. Yes, we had some rain - but little showers were not enough to quench this thirsty land.

 Being a girl who hails from the Northwest, a place which hardly ever seems to lack rain, I never really thought I would be so desirous of those liquid drops.

 We prayed, and we asked our friends across the ocean to pray for rain. And, God heard. The other night - it rained, no, it poured. For about 45 minutes straight, God opened the storehouses of heaven and softened our soil, watered our plants and filled basins, jericans and our water tanks! Hooray! We were so happy!

 It is funny how dry, hot weather can make you so appreciative of rain!

 I personally feel as if I have been going through a "desert time." My spiritual life has become hard like our soil was, my faith has been shrinking up, and my tank of energy and vision is becoming empty. But, I am learning that God works in the desert times, as much, if not more, as in the times of rain and fruitfulness.

 And, just like He provided us with rain here on the island, He also knows how to bring refreshment in the spiritual desert.

 Last week by invitation, the Shepherd's Heart staff joined the area staff of YWAM (Youth With A Mission) at a beautiful YWAM base near Jinja. It was both YWAM and SHIM's weekly prayer day, and we joined forces to seek God over several topics. One issue that lay heavy on the hearts of both organizations and their members was a broken down YWAM base that at one time offered medical services to the people of the upper islands, but had been abandoned for a couple of years.

 We divided and conquered - listening to hear God's voice regarding the future of this base and SHIM's involvement in its restoration. It was a blessing to hear from those gathered that there was still hope for this once-forsaken place and it could be revived to once again provide vital services to people who desperately need them.

 After this time of waiting upon God, the entire SHIM team that was present was invited up front to be prayed for in regard to this opportunity and our overall ministry in the islands. My heart was softened by my tears as these precious people laid hands on and prayed for me and my SHIM family. I felt renewed, refreshed and restored - able to go on and serve as God had called me.

 God knows how to bring rain, especially in the desert.

 "We never know where God has hidden His streams. We see a large stone and have no idea that it covers the source of a spring. We see a rocky area and never imagine that it is hiding a fountain. God leads me into hard and difficult places, and it is there I realize I am where eternal streams abide."
- Streams in the Desert, pg. 262

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Something Better - The Best

  Detective, actress, radio station DJ, writer, inventor, teacher… As a little girl I dreamed of becoming one or a combination of these. Some were mere dreams, while others were seeds for things I actually would become.

  During the last two weeks I was meeting with a group of our sponsored students. They are the top class at our island’s secondary (high) school and they are preparing for their final exams, and then life beyond the island. I asked them about their desires for the future. Without fail, all said they wanted to continue their studies at the next secondary level, called A-level, like junior college. Because of poor grades and/or lack of money, this just may not be possible.

  It may mean taking a less-popular path and instead going to a vocational school or institution. All have big aspirations - to be a doctor, an engineer, or a teacher. Not going on to A-level pushes those dreams further into the future or out of their path completely.

 I tried to explain that if they fail to continue to A-level , it does not mean it will never be in their future, just perhaps not now. I tried to explain that God may give us dreams and desires, but we must be willing to trust and wait on Him for their fulfillment.

  I recently read an excellent article, entitled “The Things I Won’t Be,” written by Suzanne Hadley Gosselin, and posted at: http://www.boundlessline.org/articlesbysuzanne_hadley.html. In the article she tells of the dreams she once held: to marry young, to be the first of her siblings to marry, to be a young mother, a youthful grandmother, etc. When those dreams appeared delayed, or even out of the realm of possibility, she had a choice: 1. Be bitter, or 2. Wait for the better – the dreams God had for her.

  She told the story of Ruth (personally one of my favorite Bible stories ). Ruth left her dreams of remarriage, children, and happiness in her home country, to follow and support her bitter mother-in-law Naomi as she returned to her homeland of Israel. This not only meant Ruth was abandoning her dreams, but this choice also meant she would be living in a country where she was seen as an outcast and a foreigner, further limiting her prospects.

  I don’t think the Bible really tells us what motivated Ruth to so loyally follow Naomi. I wonder - what kind of inner struggle did she endure as she turned her back on her homeland, to loyally follow her heart-broken mother-in-law?

  I also have been thinking of Abraham, David, Joseph and others in the Bible. All had dreams. Some were in the form of promises right from God’s mouth. Most, if not all, were not fulfilled according to man’s timing or in line with man’s ideas. But, the fulfillment was far better than the dreamer could have imagined – it was the best. It was the best way and in the best timing.

  You will notice that my little girl aspirations did not include the title “missionary.” I never dreamed of becoming a missionary, nor was Africa among my top five destinations. Even as recently as five years ago, I had no such aspirations. If you would have looked into your crystal ball and told me I would be here in Uganda today, I would have said you were crazy. While I was having imaginations in the realm of the possible, God was on the higher plane.

  Sometimes what God has in mind for us could be called “crazy.” But, only He is big enough to have those big dreams for us. And, honestly, I am quite happy here in a place I never dreamed of being, doing things I had never planned on.

  Yes, I do have other desires that have been postponed, or I am realizing, may never be fulfilled. But, I have a choice – hang on so tightly to them and become bitter when they are delayed or unfilled? Or, let go and embrace God’s best!

P.S. Also, check out Suzanne's article entitled: "Ruth and Me." : )