Save Your Life

The only thing that will keep you alive is living your purpose.  (And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. 24“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. – Luke 9:23-24). This is the first resort; not the last resort because anything else you tried didn’t work.  He wants you to go out boldly.  He wants you to be audacious.  You have been chosen and you have the Holy Spirit living in you.

I woke up every single morning depressed the pressures of this world when the Bible says we don’t have to try so hard. (Jesus’ Prayer of Thanksgiving25 At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. 26 Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way!27 “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” I was constantly depressed.  There was nothing on this planet that could satisfy me.  I was unfulfilled. – Matthew 11:25-30).

We are beings meant to fulfill a purpose.  (Confirming One’s Calling and Election3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. Anything outside the will of God will lead to unfulfillment.  Human beings are the Lord’s most important resource and the most misallocated ones at that.  2 Peter 1:3-4).  I thought that people were just supposed to be born knowing their purpose.  That pastors’ sons became pastors.  Everyone got married the day after graduation.  You needed to have the funds to spend 50k a year on seminary.  That’s how you get into full time ministry.  And anyone who wasn’t in that mold was just secondary.  He has nothing for me that will be spectacular. I took a spiritual gifts test at 28 years old and He told me I was a teacher.  I hated being on stage, I hated speeches, I didn’t like sitting through classes although I enjoyed education.  What does this have to do with someone who’s such a terrible public speaker?  And who makes mouths? he said.  (The LORD said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD? – Exodus 4:11).  So I signed up for children’s ministry and was good at it and loved it.  I tried to go back to school to get another degree in teaching but I ran out of student loans so it was impossible.

“Why didn’t you tell me this sooner?” I asked the Lord.  “Why didn’t you ask me sooner?” I believe He answered.

Fast forward a couple of years and I was in a position where I could go teach English overseas.  And my church was in Buenos Aires.  I truly believe I was called here.

I no longer wake up in the morning and cry on my way to work.  I’m no longer bullied by everyone in my life, because I have a place in the world.  I can’t tell you if that place will change but it isn’t always where you were born.  Sometimes it is.  I no longer feel hopeless because anything outside of the will of God isn’t safe.  (“When you cross the Jordan and live in the land which the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies around you so that you live in security. – Deut. 12:10).  This doesn’t mean He isn’t going to bless you if you misinterpret what He said.  It even happens to pastors that they thought He said one thing and then the Lord will make it evident that we aren’t prophets LOL.  I certainly woke up one morning recently where I believe He said, “I appreciate you seeking knowledge; keep it up!  but you already know you’re not a prophet, just in case you need reminding.  I gave you the gift of teaching.”  LOL.  ( If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. – James 1:5)

What was I doing differently than before?  I know that the Lord gave me all of these things that I will tell you, because they are in the Bible.  But they are the things that we fail to read into more deeply.

  1. I was praying to God (Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he:before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior.- Isaiah43:10,11) every day that “dangerous” prayer Pastor Rick tells us to pray, “Use me.”  God isn’t going to spoil a willing resource.  If you woke up breathing today it’s because you have some task to fulfill.  Pastor Rick says happiness is the byproduct of doing His will for our lives.  I used to think, “This is like communism.  I didn’t ask to be forced to be here, or do this thing.”  Then I just did what He said in the spiritual gifts test as soon as He told me to do it.  The Lord loves a good miracle.  The Lord is not a communist.   He’s not going to give us a job we hate.  We like to create our own lives built off good intentions.  Let me tell you where good intentions got me: a job and life I hated with awful people.  I felt like I was on a merry-go-round from hell I couldn’t get off of.  Let’s put it this way, if I directed my own movie and Steven Spielberg directed my movie, who do you think would do a better job?  What do you think your Lord and Savior will do for you?  Even Jesus prayed, “If it’s Your will.”  (And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will. – Mark 14:36).  I must interject here, that we have heard terrible stories and have suffered terrible abuses from the world.  Praying “use me” doesn’t mean you’re going to get you martyred or jailed although I used both those Biblical examples hahaha.  This is a key part in where your faith lies.  It’s unsafe outside the Lord so you must submit to solace in Him.  He wants to hear your prayers, but you must live a life worthy of your calling (As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. – Ephesians 4:1 when Paul was writing from jail) or you’re cheating yourself and others of your spiritual gift.  Always regift your spiritual gift!
  2. I was praying all day long.  Did I make mistakes?  Absolutely.  Don’t drive yourself nuts.  I also asked the Holy Spirit to pray on my behalf when I didn’t know what to say myself. (In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. – Romans 8:26).
  3. I had to forgive.  It doesn’t mean I need to like, trust, or hang out with people who have harmed me.  The Bible says to be very careful with the people you surround yourself by (24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. – Proverbs 8:24) and to guard your heart in all matters. (Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. – Proverbs 4:23).  Also, if we are living in unforgiveness, the Lord will only forgive us as much as we forgive others.  (14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. – Matthew 6:14-15).  Trust me, He will pay them back.  He doesn’t condone abuse and knows it better than anyone.  Forgiveness is a command not an option.
  4. I walked in obedience.  We do not get to ignore the parts of the Bible that we don’t like.  It said that, “If you love me, you WILL keep my commandments. (John 14:15)”  Not you will keep my commands because you love me.  Love is the most important but it doesn’t cancel out every other sin.  (36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”Matthew 22:36-40)  Especially the sins society doesn’t think are popular, the ones that offend people that we need to sugar coat when the Bible didn’t say sugar coat, it said, lovingly tell others (https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-14-gentle-art-correction-2-timothy-223-26) and doesn’t mean we stop witnessing because “Jesus talk” is scaring other people.  You don’t need to hold up signs that say, “Repent or go to hell.”  Those people even bother me.  I spent years apologizing for Christians instead of actually boldly declaring Christianity and living the Great Commission.  Luckily for us, repentance is available because Jesus made us white as snow. (9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9)
  5. It’s our job to be an example to others.  (14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. 15 Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you. – 1 Timothy 4:14-16).  Take the action even if you don’t feel it.  Eventually you’ll want to do it.  Because you were chosen and it’s the healthier choice.  Once the human body is accustomed to healthy food and the human mind is accustomed to love, it doesn’t want to revert to the dread of this world.  We need to be proclaiming the Word and what it says.  Our relationships need to be more intentional.  We need to be supporting the Great Commission, love, service, family units, marriage.  We need to be living these things and not shunning them because people will call us weak, demanding, whiny, etc.  You must be joyful in the Lord and His commands because they’re good for you!
  6. You must be patient.  Patient with yourself and with others until the happiness comes.  It’s no surprise people wake up miserable everyday.  The world is full of sin and selfishness, perversions, demands, and every type of uncomfortability.  Even several folks in the Bible said they wish they had never been born and felt it would’ve been better if they weren’t.  (Elijah, Job, Moses, and many more have conveyed this message!)  If you keep doing these things above they will absolutely pay off.  It will not be perfect.  We’re not in Heaven.  But we must keep praying earnestly for His will to be done here as it is in Heaven (your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. – Matthew 6:10) with details of the things that must be convicted in love in the church, in others, yes your spouses too! and of course ourselves.

I know it’s hard when it doesn’t seem like the Lord is listening, or therapy didn’t work, or medicine didn’t work.  But Jesus is a healer and has sent us His helper (And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. – John 14:16).  and He said that we will do even greater things than these, “because I am going to the Father”. (Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. – John 14:12)  The same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in us and we are people who rise.  We are people who are risen from the dead.  He is always doing something new.  (See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. – Isaiah 43:19).  He’s looking to change things, but He isn’t going to do it unless you let Him.  He isn’t going to take your free will.

You will never be fulfilled until you fulfill your calling.  Simply because that is the function you were made to perform.

background photo credit: Rennett Stowe <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/10393601@N08/31631781963″>Joshua Tree Morning</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Advertisements

Good Intentions vs. God Intentions

BE YOURSELF

Scenario 1:  I lived my life getting a corporate job and taking out thousands in student loans to be responsible and keep afloat in a state way too expensive to live in.  I never fit into the office culture and neither does anyone else.  Everyone was pretending to be someone they weren’t and my bosses never respected my personal life or me.  These were all my plans (good intentions often produce bad results) and they didn’t work.

Scenario 2:  (God intentions always produce good results!)  However, I went on a mission and realized that the job I thought I was supposed to take had more than enough time to finish my contract and it got so complicated that I couldn’t work there.  That the ministry I was supposed to do didn’t start for a year and a half.  That it still won’t be starting until (who can really be sure) the end of the month.  There was also another personal disappointment lately that I thought I was called for the last 15 months that fell through.  Something I honestly would have just moved away from and put out of my mind had I thought it wasn’t from God.  I’m worried I can’t hear the Lord’s voice and grieving that more than the situation.  These were all God’s plans (or so I thought) and they didn’t work either.

So when do we give up?  He says that His burden is light but we’re running a race.  He says that He’ll fight our battles but we need to endure.  Did I totally miss my calling?  Did I miss His voice?  I’m sure if there was some message He wanted me to convey, He’d let me know.  Where the heart is willing He will prevail…

I keep recounting every single sin…wasn’t I obedient?  Was there some resentment there that I needed to forgive that’s hindering His voice?  Didn’t I try to change countries, jobs, homes, and give up a ton of my possessions?  And what have I done? Nothing.  Was I supposed to do more?  This is a trap from the accuser.  Guilt and condemnation do not come from the Lord.

I keep racking my brain over the decisions that I have and haven’t made over the last year and a half.  I know I haven’t been perfect but am I being too hard on myself?  I already know that our plans don’t work and we shouldn’t be boasting about them, but I thought I quit all that.

When do we keep fighting for a square peg in a round hole and when do we give up?  I wish I had the answer.

You have to remember that in what we see as present failure is future success.  His successes aren’t like our successes as we are commanded not to conform to this world.  How many apostles were kicked off islands, out of countries, and run out of towns because there messages were rejected?  That sucks and I know it isn’t encouraging.  If I want encouragement I read I and II Peter.  Frankly Acts keeps it a little too real for me when I’m in a discouraged mood LOL.  Acts is wonderful but we are told to read different scripture at different times by the Spirit for a reason.  Back to them getting kicked off islands – they were probably like, this sucks!  I came with no sandals, no food, I’m just over here trying to minister the Word, and they’re chasing after me yelling at me in different languages.  Why would God put me here? This isn’t doing any good!  This is nonsense and actually I’ve made things worse.  I can’t speak for others, but there has to have been a point they felt like that; if not daily.

I know you’re all running off to become missionaries right now.  It’s really, really glamourous.

I have shoes and food and I live in a nice neighborhood and I eat food I buy daily from supermarkets with angry people cutting in front of me and in another language; but a supermarket nonetheless.  I teach people that I truly enjoy teaching and have other countless blessings.  I can’t complain.  Apostle life is hard, friends.  I’m really glad I’m not one of the original 12!

So when I’m thinking about, what the heck am I doing here and why aren’t You using me if I’m willing and the food sucks and I can’t hear Your voice and I’ve failed…I’ll just remember that maybe whatever it is I’m doing here will have a ripple effect and in 2000 years someone will have benefitted from it.

Patience is the key to respect

I only know things because I learned them the hard way.  Patience is the key to respect.  My friend told me this when I was having anxiety about teaching young adults in Spanish.  Of course I imagined the worst up front, not that they’ve done anything to me so far.  I have yet to start ministry.  What if they don’t respect me and it’s a disaster?

If you want to teach, you’ll have to discover your patience, she said.  Well put.  People get rowdy in life and reacting with the same as others treat you never works.  Yes I know it’s like an unfair life thing that others can treat you like crap but if you do it back you’re wrong, you’re fired, etc.  Rising above puts you above – like in a higher position.  There’s so much responsibility there.  I get tired of Him being perfect in my weakness.  Don’t my strengths count for anything?  Do I even realize what they are anymore?

Patience isn’t always just waiting.  It’s hiking through anxiety and coming out on the other side.  It’s responding without a raised voice or an insult although they really have it coming.

The Bible says if we have knowledge and no love we sound like a clanging symbol.  Imagine standing up in front of twenty somethings in anger.  An image of a tin foil hat comes to mind.  Do I want to be patient?  Not really.  Is this an upward battle?  Yes.

She said I also have to invest in people.  Everyone I’ve asked to hang out doesn’t do it.  The people who ask me are creepy guys.  No I shouldn’t evangelize them.  That’s a man’s job.  See my Freedom post.  You know what you do in investing?  You wait.  Sometimes quietly (or loudly) while your stocks plummet temporarily and in 40 years you have a retirement fund that isn’t too bad.  I have 16 months here.   Quality friendships always take awhile to make.  Investing is also waiting.  Waiting until the thing you invested in (Buenos Aires, my life, my job, my relationships, etc., etc.), flourish.

Imagine how long Christ has been waiting for us.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God_s grace in its various forms. I Pedro 4_10

Waiting sucks.  There are no two ways about it.  It’s painful.  Sometimes there is no reason behind it.  Usually it’s because some bureaucrat didn’t do their job.  Usually it’s because someone isn’t considerate.

But that’s earthly waiting.  We’re in spiritual waiting.

Imagine how long Christ has been waiting for us.

Look at the above scripture.  “At the right time…”  Not even Christ knows the time or the day that we’ll be reconciled with him.  Only the Lord, since before the world was made, knows when we are to be reconciled with him.  Sometimes the Lord doesn’t reveal to us a certain time that something will happen and that’s where the faith is.

His thoughts aren’t like our thoughts.  And our waiting doesn’t even come close to his waiting.  Imagine to suffer what Christ had suffered and then to not know when it will be reconciled.

And that’s where your faith lies.  And all of your power is in your patience.

photo credit: flashpacker-travelguide.de <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/149324445@N08/33439363384″>Salinas Grandes | Argentina | South America | Südamerika</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Starting Ministry Update

After 16 months of being in the wilderness (of Buenos Aires) I can finally say that I am going to start ministry the end of September.  I’m going to help out in the college ministry with separating them into groups and connecting people and leading conversations between them once a month.  It’s called “Plug.”  I just need to improve my Spanish.  The good thing is that I have biblegateway.com to study the Word in Spanish.  Sometimes I do it for hours a day.

The process has been super long for doing any ministry in this church.  You have to have a background check from both countries, two church classes that take all day Saturday and come once a month, one ministry class (I’ll take next month), and an interview.

There are even more classes, interviews and requirements if you want to do different ministries.  They’re starting life groups for the college in March, they say.  That’s when, if all goes well, I’ll lead my own group but for now I’m just looking at what I’m doing in front of me.

For a multitude of reasons I’ve had to wait this long.  Other people just jumped into their ministries right away and I felt like I wasn’t doing enough or something.  Not everybody has a public ministry right away.  Moses had to wait 80 years.  Jesus and John had to wait 30.

I have learned a lot this year.

“In captivity we build strength.” – Lisa Bevere

When we are waiting to begin a new chapter, roam the desert, sit in the wilderness, or whatever you call it, there are things that we learn:

  • obedience
  • patience
  • endurance
  • preparation
    • positive choices
    • training i.e. Spanish
  • perseverance
  • consistency

“Most dreams die in the soil.” – Steven Furtick

This is where Steven Furtick says most dreams die.  In the soil.  In that place after we’ve done a ton of work planting and after we’re just sitting there like, why is this not happening, and then all of a sudden the rain comes and there’s a sunflower or something.  (Don’t trust me.  I am not a gardener.)  We’re not just going to sit in the dirt forever like a gross seed lol.

I go to the Purpose Driven church because church, ministry, and missions aren’t an option.  Not only do you cheat yourself of the best life possible but you also cheat everyone else of their blessings when you aren’t doing your spiritual gift.  Outside of living my life’s purpose I’m not really sure I know what I would want.  Why would you want an unfulfilled life?  We’re unfulfilled because we aren’t doing our assignments.  Trying to explain that to the pastor yesterday was difficult at the time and went something like this:

Her: Why did you come to Buenos Aires?
Me: I was called.
Her: How long are you planning on staying?
Me: I don’t know.  Until He tells me to move.

I actually think I did better on the Spanish part because at least if it’s in Spanish they think I’m confused because of the language.  In English I think it’s worse if I can’t express myself lol.

What I believe the Lord is telling me in this season of life is to help others find their life purpose so they can fulfill their assignments, live the Great Commission, and live their best possible lives as well.

I feel like I’ve got all of this knowledge stored up inside of me and then when I open my mouth nothing comes out, or it isn’t ready, or it’s poorly constructed in Spanish.  John the Baptist’s father couldn’t speak for over a year.  Can you imagine?

 

Snapshots of Encouragement

Last year I believed the Lord called me to move to BA on a mission and I have been in a waiting period of starting ministry.  How close you come to it when you feel like giving up.  It’s very exciting when it’s new but all great leaders from the Bible have suffered mountains of discouragement; which is only another deterrent when not properly prepared :).  Did you forget that the Lord already equipped you before He spoke the world into creation?

Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 11.18.55 PM.png

Two weekends ago was super fun and then last week I spent another waste in government offices followed by a bout of the flu!  We are so supposed to resist the devil the same way as Jesus did in the wilderness, quoting, “It is written…” and the devil will flee from you.  He attacks you before you’re about to begin a strong ministry.  Even when your own thinking is going against you.  Anything that isn’t loving isn’t from God:

Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 11.20.49 PM.png

Stop abusing Philippians 4:13! 😀  Yes, it’s great because it came from the Bible.  But when you need some more in depth encouragement and Christians shout, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” and then run off, that’s extremely inefficient.  Great, thanks.  You have solved all my problems and cured world hunger in one sentence.

What if your husband repeated, “I love you, I love you, I love you,” like a parrot everyday but didn’t take you out, didn’t do the housework, didn’t pick up the kids…do you see my point?  You should be going further.  You should be exceeding it.  The devil also knows the entire Bible, probably better than you.  So if you’re only reading pinterest he’s going to laugh at Philippians 4:13.

I’ve gone through every excuse not to do ministry.  Like I’m not one to just pleasantly do my work.  Some people have really easy times doing their ministries.  I’m one who questions all and analyzes everything.  Not that I’m not helpful or willing.  Don’t be afraid of the past:

Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 11.22.57 PM.png

When I’m not feeling encouraged I really get anxious.  I think Satan’s biggest tool on me is discouragement.  This is a problem because we turn to the approval of others and for what?  For them to tell us what God already told us.  We do need encouragement.  Without it we will die.  Literally.  Exhortation is just as important as any other spiritual gift.  Mine are teaching and exhortation at the top in fact.  It’s the motivation that’s the problem.  We need to start moving.  We need others’ encouragement- not their approval.  I need to encourage others in order to enrich lives and my own.  Others need to encourage me because as the Charlie Brown meme says, “My anxieties have anxieties.”  But do I really have to?  You’ll be glad you did…

Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 11.54.36 PM.png

 

WHATEVER GIFT YOU HAVE RECEIVED

Not the gift you think that you want to have.  Never hurts to try.  This is when regifting is socially acceptable!  Always regift your spiritual gift!

photo credit: flashpacker-travelguide.de <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/149324445@N08/33439363384″>Salinas Grandes | Argentina | South America | Südamerika</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;