Is it a fear that I will be overcome with a love for another people group?
Is it a fear that my heart will again be burdened for an injustice that seems so impossible to overcome?
Or is it a fear that she will no longer be just a number?
Here they are, all sitting in front of me. One by one, lined up, and forgotten. They are a number. 26,342,567. Slaves. Sex slaves.
And I see that number, number 14,765,456. And I cry out to God for that number.
But in 9 or 10 days that number, number 14,765,456 will become a face. And then, only then, she can no longer be number 14,765,456. Then her face, and her name, and her passions will be written on my heart. Then I will be able to weep with her and cry out to God beside her. But I won't be able to rescue her from where she has been.
Just. Like. With. Ella. Grace.
And that is precisely my greatest fear. I want to rescue them from being just a number. I want to rescue them from becoming one of those numbers. But I can't. I can't. I keep hitting that wall, that wall at the end of the word "can't," the wall at the letter "t." Which very possibly is where the Lord wants me. At the end of myself . And the beginning of Himself, "I can."
"My grace is sufficient, for my power is made perfect in weakness." [2 Corinthians 12:9]
There at the "t" I find my end. The end of my strength, the end of my tears, and the final shattered piece of my heart. There His Spirit, His life, and His Son, Jesus come to life fully inside of me. And there a battle is being won against my flesh. For if there is one thing I have discovered in the past 6 months, it is that once we relinquish it all, then He shows His all-powerful self through us.
And He says, "my daughter, you cannot rescue her from being that number, because sin exists, and death persists, but what you can do, by my grace, is keep her from remaining number 14,765,456. By loving her as Jesus, she will be prevented from remaining number 14,765,456, and her identity will be daughter of the King of Kings, precious in my eyes, honored, and My Beloved. Which is exactly who Ella Grace became, and who she is even now as she rejoices at my throne. It will hurt you my Beloved, because this was never the way it was intended to be, but I promised you, and remind you I AM COMING BACK. And behold, I am with you always to the end of the age."
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Thursday, November 28, 2013
We arrive at the ski mountain, ready to tear up the mountain. As we are anxiously awaiting our time to get on the ski lift the Lord causes me to pause and ask Him what He wants out of this day. And His answer was, "I want my glory to be made known on this mountain. I want these people to recognize who I am and why this mountain exists."
"Okay" I say, "I want that as well."
"Then be open and willing to sharing truth with my people who get on the lift with you."
"Yes I will."
What an incredible day it was from that moment on, starting conversations with all of His children, some that know Him and some that don't know Him. But one man in particular grew a liking to me and wanted to continue talking and talking and talking. His name is Joe, and he is from the Washington DC/ New York area. He actually did YWAM's DTS 10 years ago, in Germany. However, now he is Jewish. Why, you ask? Because he felt he didn't find the answers he wanted in Christianity (our God is a mysterious God). The conversation continued as I told him about a dream I had where Jesus came to me and said. "come follow me." He said, "that's great, and if Jesus came to me in a dream I wouldn't ask any more questions."
"Okay," I said excitingly! "Then you are going to have a dream of Jesus because He wants you in His Kingdom, and I am going to pray for that!"
"Well I am pretty set in my ways but whatever you say! I would love prayers!"
We arrived at the top of the mountain shortly after this and decided to hike a few hundred yards to look at the view on the back side of the mountain together.
The view drew deep worship to our Creator out of all three of us, and we stood astounded at the seeming "coincidence" that we ended up meeting each other.
As we walked back we exchanged numbers and said "maybe we will run into each other again." And we did, continuing the conversation about an hour later when we ended up on the lift together again.
Marte and I had a few more conversations about the Gospel with people on the lift. Some of them welcomed the Truth, others despised the Truth. Nevertheless, the people on that mountain which God created from His hands, heard about the Love of Jesus Christ.
Marte and I may never know what fruit will come from us sharing the Gospel on those ski lifts, but what was a self-centered day, turned it to a God-centered day, and was much more satisfying. So I challenge you, to ask God what He wants out of this day and who He wants you to love today.
"All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always to the end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20
Monday, October 28, 2013
Saturday night I was talking to my sweet sister in Christ about why our walks with the Lord are so challenging. She shared with me her frustration in being obedient to the Lord. Not because she doesn't want to be Obedient but because walking with the Lord seems so challenging. "It seems like so much work." My other sweet sister, Alyssa responded and said, "nobody, especially not Christ ever said it would be easy." Then Fee went on to say, "for example the other day we were at Starbucks and I saw these two young girls sitting down and I knew the Lord was calling me to share with them but I denied Him, then when I finally decided to be obedient they were gone."
I kindly responded and said, "why do you think you originally decided to not share with them?"
She said, "I don't know, because I was scared?"
"Yes, because your reputation was more important to you than their salvation. We only are fearful because we are afraid of how people will react, and we are only fearful of how people will react because we don't want to be rejected. However, think of how often Jesus was rejected, and yet he still kept sharing. Fee, God wants you to be obedient because He wants you to join with Him in His heart for the nations to teach you faith."
Jesus Christ's command is clear, "go and make disciples of all nations.." His command is straightforward; the fulfillment of it is challenging. Because we often trade the eternal satisfaction of sharing Christ, for the fleeting satisfaction of maintaining our reputation.
"Sister," I said, "listen to God when He asks you to be obedient, pray without ceasing and abide in Him."
The following day after Fee was tested in her obedience with her finances, we went to the laundromat to wash our clothes. After praying for opportunities to share the Gospel, we walked in and pretty immediately Fee felt the desire to share with two young men who were also washing their clothes. It was time for Fee to make the decision about whether her reputation was more important than their salvation. She decided no.
Although neither one of the guys were interested in hearing the Truth from her (one was an atheist) Fee was set free to enjoy the proud look of a Father to His daughter for her obedience. And there is nothing like the look of a Father's glory being satisfied through His daughter's obedience.
Today it was my turn. While sitting at Chipotle grabbing lunch, I noticed a guy sitting by himself eating. After trying to encourage everybody or anybody at the table to share with him, finally Joe looked at me and said, "Elle, if you want him to hear the Truth so badly why don't you just go share with him?" Although it wasn't the voice of God directly, I knew He was speaking through Joe, and it was my time to be obedient. My friend Steve and I went and sat next to him to start a conversation with him. After talking to him about worshiping the creator through creation, we prayed for him, encouraged him, and he ended up leaving saying "please keep doing what y'all are doing." Although he didn't come to know the Lord, Steve rightly proclaimed, "seed planted."
It's true, it's all about planting seeds, in obedience, by the grace and strength of Jesus Christ inside of you, and for His glory alone.
So, sacrifice your reputation, for the sake of another's salvation. BECAUSE: "when faith becomes obedience then it is true faith indeed" (God's pursuit of Man, Tozer p. 121).
|Fee is on the far left and Alyssa is on the far right. Mafe is the one with the white headband, also a faithful Gospel sharer!|
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
A farmer went out to farm his field. As he was going about planting seeds he saw this huge wave of water rushing in. As the water drew close, he noticed in the next field over the farmer's (who he competes with) daughter napping on the ground. There his bag of seed lay on the ground. The bag was too heavy to be able to carry it and the little girl. In a moment he needed to make a choice, sacrifice all fo this season's seeds and risk not having an income for a whole season. Tears streamed down his face as he thought of how he wouldn't be able to care for his family if he lost all the seeds. In the following moment he saw his very own daughter on the field and ran to get her just before the wave came crashing down taking the seeds with it. As he ran furiously to his neighbor's house he squeezed the little girl in his arms and safely arrived at the house. Right after he laid her on the stairs he began to walk away because he didn't want anybody to see him crying. Just then the parents of the little girl ran out of the house weeping for the fear they had lost their one and only daughter. There they found her laying on the stairs and nobody in sight. As the farmer was walking back to his house, tears wept down his face as he thought of how he wouldn't be able to care for his family. Weeks passed by and the farmer looked for work everywhere but nobody needed help. The following day the farmer decided not to get out of bed because he was so ashamed his family was running out of food. All of a sudden his youngest daughter, the one he "saw" in the field when the water was coming, ran into his room saying "daddy daddy, come quick! come look!" Dragging her daddy out of bed, she took him over to the window to see the most lucious, fruitful field he had ever seen. He ran downstairs with his daughter on his back only to find the whole town gathered around looking at his green field. They had never seen a field so green! The farmer then exclaimed, "there's food for everyone!"
To the degree that we understand the Gospel we will also understand this verse,
"do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves."
Because our Father in Heaven lived this out to a degree that we never will be able to live out. In humility he counted us as "more significant" than himself. He in his perfect nature did not count his sinlessness something to be protected, he condescended and came to us from his perfect and holy Throne. He became poor, lived in a sinful world, and dwelt among sinful people. And yet, he came to save those very people, us. He saw his bag of seeds, his security, and then he saw us, trapped, napping in our sin, unaware of the eternal death that lingered. In humility, outside of selfish more significant than his perfect, righteous presence at the right hand of God the Father. So we don't see Jesus as being born when he came out of Mary's womb, instead the moment he came out of Mary's womb was the moment he counted us as more significant than his eternal righteous, existence in Heaven.
Friday, October 18, 2013
Friday, October 11, 2013
We talked back and forth for a few minutes, and then he looked at me and he said, "What if Ella Grace grew up and she came to you one day and said 'mommy, why do you love me?' what would you say in response?"
I tried to form a response but ended up saying, "there is no worldly way why I would love her, I just do." And he said, "imagine Ella Grace asking you again, 'but why mommy? There must be a reason you love me?' You would probably try to come up with some reason why you loved her, but would end up saying, 'because you are my daughter.' Now imagine how you have felt, unworthy of God's love, and you keep asking Him why? Imagine what His response to you would be."
I don't quite understand God's love, but I want to. Its mysterious. Maybe I never will understand why God looked at me and has continued looking at me even with all of my questions and has said, "my precious daughter, 'I love you'" but I know He does. I really really believe that despite all of this pain and suffering - that one day will be redeemed - I still love the Lord and He loves me, unconditionally.
"I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you." Isaiah 31:3
My answer would be, as well I believe the answer my Father has given me:
My sweet Ella Grace, when you came into my arms, there was a love brought over me that was completely unexplainable. That love continued to grow even as I had sleepless nights taking care of you. That love continued to grow even when you screamed out. And that love continued even when you rejected my love. And when somebody else held you if even for a moment I was jealous, I wanted you to myself, and I wanted you to know I would be there for you no matter what. And then that one look you gave me, when I handed you to another person, you didn't have to say the words, but the way you looked at me, I knew you loved me in return.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
The rhythms of the water drop deep into my soul, uttering the most tangible and softest pattern my heart can fathom. And there, there on the river where my soul finds rest, there it also worships the Creator.
Perhaps they don't understand, they don't believe it's fair, but often there is an adventure out there for everyone we just don't take chances. I don't know what I shall do tomorrow. But I know what I will do today: fish.