it’s that simple

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It is really that simple. We can argue all we want. Debate. Strategize. Ignore. Complain. Scientifically seek answers. Survey. Seek to change government for or against. But in the scope of eternity, it changes nothing.

We are the creation. We have a Creator. It is impossible for what is fact to change no matter what anyone does or says.

God is God. He is the Creator. Everything is the created.

There is one response to this knowledge: REJECT or ACCEPT.

It is that simple.

Rejection: I choose me! Thus resulting in pretending to live this life as though I were in control and never seeing the fullness of life. Never!

Acceptance: I choose God! Thus resulting in placing this life I have been given back into the hands that created it to begin with. For the Creator knows his creations best.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Psalm 16:11 “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

James 1:17 “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”

Matthew 6:33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

{and hundreds more verses we could post}

  • In Christ I am SHE {SAVED. HOPEFUL. EMPOWERED.}

It’s Strange

* It’s strange how twenty dollars seems like such a large amount when you donate it to church, but such a small amount when you go shopping.

* It’s strange how 2 hours seem so long when you’re at church, and how short they seem when you’re watching a movie.

* It’s strange that you can’t find words to say when you’re praying, but you have no trouble thinking what to talk about with a friend.

* It’s strange how difficult it is to read one chapter of the Bible, but how easy it is to read a popular novel.

* It’s strange how everyone wants front-row-tickets to concerts, but they want to sit in the last row at Church.

* It’s strange how we need to know about an event for Church 2-3 weeks before the day so we can include it in our agenda, but we can adjust it for other events in the last minute?

* It’s strange how difficult it is to learn a fact about God and share it with others, but it’s easy to repeat gossip.

* It’s strange how we believe everything that magazines and newspapers say, but we question the words in the Bible?

CMW 04 treasure and heart Col 3 2– Author unknown

Matthew 6:21

Missionaries & Pastors

Sometimes you came across an article that is so good that you just cannot not share. This is one of them. It was written by Amy Medina. Personally, I have never meet Amy but through reading her blog I can relate to her in many aspects. For some, this article may or may not hit every aspect of missionary life, that is not the point. She does an excellent job expressing being on the field. I appreciate that.

What we need is fellow believers falling on their knees before our Lord upholding one another in prayerfully consideration and ask ourselves what can we do and be honest about what we are not doing for our missionaries as a church and as individuals.  

After reading Amy’s blog I began to ponder on a few things. First, as believers in Christ we all are “missionaries.” In First Corinthians 5 it says we are ambassadors of Christ. Second, there is another kind of family that is also a ‘missionary’ that often is overlooked or unseen as one. We tend to forget or maybe just grow comfortable with then take for granted — intended or not. I am talking about the Pastor and his family. I read a Facebook post today that said this:

“Before you judge your Pastor, imagine you are the Pastor and you have to deal with a church full of people like you…every day!

Now, pray for your Pastor…every day!”

I chuckled at first, then grew quickly saddened knowing how true this statement really was. We have heard the replies, “But you don’t know my Pastor” or “You don’t know the Pastor I had 20 years ago.” Believe me, we have first handedly seen the destruction of sinful things pastors have done to congregations; we have also seen awful things congregations have done to pastors and their families. Both are wrong.

To God’s glory, we have been given the opportunity to help churches over the years through some mighty hard situations. So please understand me when I write that I do understand both sides, but this never negates or replaces our personal responsibility before God to obey Him and His Word…NEVER! Before God it is not an excuse. We are accountable for our actions and responses. If we have been hurt, if we have a bitter filled heart, if we have been offended or hurt, unforgiveness fills us, whatever the case may be…it is our responsibility to get it right before God and that person. Leaving the baggage of sin at the proper doorstep brings freedom to your soul. 

Our God-given gifts are to be used in the church (I Cor. 12; Rom. 12; Eph. 4; I Cor. 13). If you are not using them we are living in disobedience to God. We are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25). If you are not actively serving and worshipping the Lord within our local church then we are in direct disobedience to God. It is that simple – this is just two examples. It is how God sees it. Either God is on the throne of ones life or He is not.

Oh but when a church is God-blessed with a Pastor who has the calling of God upon his life to shepherd and preach the Word; and one who seeks God whole heartedly first above all; and one who is God-leading the flock to the best of his abilities; that is a precious gift from God. It must brake God’s heart when a church fails to see this authority blessing and chooses to reject their Pastor. This ought not to be. For failure to follow and choose to reject with an unsubmissive spirit to God’s man kills the church. 

Are we, the church as a whole and individuals, supporting our Pastor and his family? Are we daily prayerfully supporting them in word and deed as they daily fight against spiritual and physical battles (many are related to you as a congregation), or are we to busy rejecting his leadership and trying to control him because of our own fear, past, or spiritual sickness. 

When we rebel against authorities, which include God’s man, we rebel against God Himself.  

We kill the church when we are unsupportive to our Pastor and reject his family.

We forget that our Pastor is our first missionary to our home field. They are our first responders. Many have moved their families to your land and left their home towns out of love for God and you! Just as our dear precious missionary families are entering into countries to share Christ, labor for the Lord, and give of their lives because of love for people; likewise your Pastor and his family has for YOU. How are you responding?

In Christ I Am S.H.E. {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}


Below is Amy’s Blog & Bio. {enjoy}


dear-supporter

I wrote you a newsletter today. I told you about the success in our ministry, about the lives being touched and the happy stories. Everyone was smiling in all the pictures. But there is so much more I wish I could tell you.

I wish I could tell you that lots of times I feel like a total failure. I’ve asked you to pray for the Big Event, or the Camp Sign-Ups, or the Grand Opening. You might not realize that afterwards, I don’t always tell you how it went. That’s because sometimes, despite weeks of hard work and lots of prayer, the event is a total flop. Five people show up. Or no one.  And I can’t bring myself to tell you.

Then there’s the time when I realize that I’ve hurt a national friend. Or a missionary colleague and I are having a huge conflict. Or I’ve made a major cultural mistake. Or I’m just not learning this language. Or everything blows up in my face. There are many, many times when I wonder why I’m here, or if I really am the right person for this job. But I’m afraid to tell you, because then I think you will wonder why I’m here or if I am the right person for this job.

I wish I could tell you about my personal struggles. Sometimes I feel like you make me out to be more spiritual than I am, but I wish you knew that becoming a missionary didn’t turn me into a saint. In fact, sometimes I think it brings out the worst in me.  I wish I could tell you about the immobilizing depression or the fights with my spouse. I wish I could tell you that my anxiety was so bad that I needed to travel to another country to see a professional counselor. I wish I could tell you about that time my friend was robbed at gunpoint in his home, and I couldn’t sleep for weeks afterward.

I wish you knew that I hate it here sometimes, and there’s nothing more I want than to go home. But I know I need to stay, so I don’t tell you because I’ve heard the stories of friends forced to go home because they confided in the wrong person. I don’t tell you because I can’t imagine you would want to support such a flawed person.

I wish I could tell you about the perks. We live in an exotic place, so sometimes that means that we take our kids snorkeling the way you would take your kids to the park.  Sometimes it means that our conferences or layovers take us to exciting places like Thailand or Johannesburg or Dubai. Sometimes it means that lobster is cheap or the historic castle is just a day-trip away.

But I am afraid to tell you about these experiences, because I’m afraid you think missionaries are supposed to suffer. After all, we often live in poor countries and we always subsist on your financial sacrifice. I’m worried you will think we are being extravagant. And I’ve heard stories of missionaries who have lost support because of their vacations. I fear your judgment.

I wish I could tell you that I long for more connection with you. The first couple years were great because we got lots of care packages and Christmas letters and everyone asked us how it was going. But time goes on and people move on and we realize that we’re really not that exciting anymore. It’s hard to come home and feel like we have to be pushy for opportunities to share.  It’s hard to feel like people are intimidated to talk to us because we are so different now. Our newsletter program tells us that only 60% of our list open our email updates, which isn’t that surprising since we only get a handful of responses.

Part of that is okay because we don’t need care packages as much anymore, and you’ve made new friends and we have too. But I wish you knew how much it means to me when you remember to ask about a detail I wrote about, or when you continue to send me your Christmas letter. When we are together, it makes my day when you ask about my life in my other country—when you really look me in the eyes and want to know how it’s going.  Listening is the best gift you can give me. And the scariest part of feeling disconnected is wondering if people are still praying for us. So when you tell me that you are still praying for me, that makes all the difference.

I wish I could find a way to express how much you mean to me. Despite how hard this life can be, I have the tremendous joy of doing God’s work in the place I am called. And there is no way I could do it without your sacrifice. I hope you know how important that is to me. How important you are to me.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Your Missionary



About Amy Medina

Amy Medina has spent almost half her life in Africa, both as an MK in Liberia and now in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, since 2001. Living in tropical Africa has helped her perfect the fine art of sweating, but she also loves teaching, cooking, and hospitality. She and her husband worked many years with TCKs and now are involved with theological training. They also adopted four amazing Tanzanian kids along the way. Amy blogs regularly at http://www.gilandamy.blogspot.com.

Where Change Begins

 

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I am not only blessed to have the most incredible husband in the world in whom I adore as my husband and the father of our children who is truly a man that is God-focused and Christ-centered in both heart and deed, but I am also blessed to call him my Pastor.

I started a Richard Woodruff/Pastor Quote Journal. I should have started one years ago but just never did til this past month. I could follow this man around all day and write quote after quote. He is wisdom walking though he’d be the first to praise God and tell you it is not him but Christ that liveth in him.

My children and I are daily blessed by Daddy, husband and Pastor.

“Repentance is the place where change begins.”

Do you want to see change in your life?

It can only come from a God-within-changed repentant heart. Honesty with God and self is called repentance. When we call out our sin before the righteous and holy God for what it truly is -sin- that is when repentance begins and only then can healing and restoration start within your life. God can begin to mend and care and restore and teach you the “way you should go” when your heart has been flushed out and preparations have been made to rebuild. What a sweet yet sometimes difficult and rewarding place to be. With God it is worth more than anything this world could offer.

“…With God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Christ in you – You are more than conquerors! You are empowered!

 

{Psalm 19}

I came across this video today. At this time I am unable to upload but I leave you the link from YouTube below. I hope that you will spend a few moments sometime this week to watch it. You will not regret it.

For those of you following us on Facebook – this video will be uploaded @In Christ I am SHE and you can see it there.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ya12I036lg


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Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God;

and the firmament sheweth his handywork.”

“Men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance, until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God.”

R.C. Sproul

I sit here in AWE over ONE – a pit stirs within my stomach. It has made my mind spin this afternoon fast then I can think. I find myself pondering over how much I consider my life to be “my world.”

Looking out my kitchen window my thoughts race with question to myself on how much of life do I live that is about me or not about me (two loaded questions and yes, I did answer). Taking stock in where my heart and treasures are is an awesome and scary thing all at once.

When confronted with GOD – it changes a person. I am a believer and have been since March 9, 1982. I know where I will spend eternity. I love the Lord. But I must say that I have been shaken today in how much I underestimate how great God is. I limit Him. I underestimate His vastness, greatness, ability, character, umm…Himself – He is GOD!

Does the very name ‘GOD’ shake me to my core to reverence {to fall on my knees before HIM} or is it just another word with just an ordinary response like if I said the word potato?

I am not in ANY way trying to be unreverent here, but think about how we daily use words like God, Lord, Jesus, Christ, Almighty, and Father in our conversations or writings – and just move on. I just don’t want to ‘move on’ with God as though He is just another word or thing. I want to STOP. Pause. Cease. Ponder. Mediate. To consider what, how and why the way I speak His name or even write it from now on is to display the glory and honor due to GOD every single time!

I will tell you right now – I know I am not perfect. My family can prove it! I will never be and I can guarantee you that I WILL fail, but with the Lord’s help I will strive from this point on!

It leaves you humbled for I am smaller than the smallest grain of sand on a beach compared to this vast universe – yet still He loves me (and you)! Yet still He died for me (and you)! Yet still He longs to have an intimate, personal, precious, deep relationship with ME (and you) and I choose “what” over HIM? Shame on me! Who am I?  I am so convicted. Lord, please forgive me. Thank you for your grace and love.

Truly, IN CHRIST I AM SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.} AMEN

Did some God-Running

 

Couple days ago, I was reading I Samuel chapter 1 in my personal devotions. Since then my heart has been impacted and so impressed by Hannah’s own personal walk with God, specifically seen through her prayer. I have read Hannah’s story many times before in the past, but this time was different.

Through Hannah’s example, I want to instill within my own heart and live before my Lord from within and without in such trust. So, in many ways, I am really writing to myself and sharing it with you, so thanks my friends for listening. Our Lord is so wonderful and timely.

When reading Hannah’s story in the past I remember understanding it, feeling her pain (more so as a married adult), understanding she was ridiculed by those from within her very home and seeing her being mistaken for a woman who was drunk instead of being intensely sorrowful in pray before her Lord by the priest, and so on. If you know her story, you know what I mean.

But reading through her prayer this time it has gripped my heart for it is far more than what meets the eye. Yes, she was asking the Lord for a son and then in the same sentence giving him back to God, but what I have missed many times before is Hannah’s heart (I Samuel 1:10-11).

As I started to think about this prayer that came so humbly yet truthfully from her heart, I began to think, what kind of woman asks God for a son (who has no children – remember her circumstances here) and then in the same sentence says, “…then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life…” (I Samuel 1:11) Think of it.

I know, personally speaking, we have gone through some tough waters as a couple and as a family. I can imagine that you have too. Life is good and filled with many blessings from the Lord, but life can also be very challenging and hard at times – so much so that we cannot even speak the words in prayer. We groan. Been there? When this happens, the Spirit speaks for us and makes intercession for us – I don’t know about you, but this give me goosebumps! (Thank you, LORD!)

This is where Hannah was. She was groaning. Her pain was intensely deep. Humanly speaking many would probably say Hannah would have been justified in being bitter over her plot in life. She was barren. Everyone around her knew it. In that day being barren was considered a curse from Lord. Now her husband loved her, but he did have another wife; her name was, Peninnah. Now Peninnah wasn’t the nicest lady to be cohabitating with for she was fruitful, multiplying and making sure Hannah felt every dig, every sarcasm, and every hairy eye she made!

Those who have walked the valley of grief (which comes in many forms) know there are stages. My husband and I like to call them “waves” because that’s what it feels like. We can say God is bigger than any situation, but living that out is another.

It is true, God is bigger that ANY situation we find ourselves in, but there is a choice on our end that must be made in each situation or circumstance we find ourselves in: To walk with God or without God.

I know that may sound very trite, but to be very frank it is everything! Without God, I don’t want to even think about how horrible it would be, but I can tell you first hand that with God – with God, the impossible is possible! It is still a process that you must walk through, but His strength and most of all His comfort is far more than I could ever describe on paper (that is another story for another day). It is deeper than the ocean, sweet, gentle yet strong and very VERY tender to your broken heart!     

Hannah chose God. She chose to humble herself under the mighty hand of God and His plan for her life whether she understood that plan or not. When found that day in the temple and thought to be “drunk” it was her broken heart speaking to the Lord. Her hurts. Her pains. Her fears.

Her prayer that day could have been much different. She could have prayed for God to shut Peninnah’s mouth or close her womb. She could have prayed that the ridicule and humiliation would stop, but instead she asked God to change HER! Wow! She approached God with humbleness and confidence in trust including her pain and lack of understanding why to trust – not in self but trust GOD! Hannah is an incredible example of ‘better’ over ‘bitter.’

That prayer in the temple was life altering for Hannah. What a glorious day it would be if we, like Hannah, choose God’s freedom over bondage. fork-in-the-road

I will never look at Hannah the same again. Her heart was revealed that day for all generations to see. May I follow her godly example.

To you my friend, if your soul is beaten, hurting, looking for something or wondering, take it to the ONE who truly cares for you – GOD! Allow Him to pick you up, heal your soul, set you free from whatever it is that has you bond and may you experience the inward blessings that only God can fulfill. He desires this for you!

Thankful Hannah ran to God!

I did some running to God myself this week! I don’t want to be bond but free in Christ!

He is always there!

God keeps His promises!

 

Our Soul’s Longing

I don’t know what your story looks like. I don’t know what the innermost parts of your heart look like, but I know who does, God!

You see, He doesn’t see a sinner, a failure, or any of the labels you put upon yourself. He sees only YOU. His precious daughter or son who is worthy of His love and forgiveness. You may not like yourself but God loves you beyond word and deed – so much so, that you were worth dieing for (even before you were a thought).

Funny thing about this ‘negative self promotion of self’ is just that: SELF. It comes from within (in our home we call it “STINKIN’-THINKIN’). We could also call it pride. Yes, self pity is pride.

Funny how the devil enjoys a defeated Christian who is absorbed with selfish-wrongful thoughts we think of ourself or maybe even of others. We do it to ourself. Maybe for some it is a form of self inflicted torture to mask the pain that they really feel deep within…the need for CHRIST!

Can you be a believer in Jesus Christ and not have a close intimate relationship with Him that changes you from the inside out…sadly, yes (satan’s favorite Christian). Could you be reading this blog and wonder what in the world am I talking about – this “Jesus filling my aching hurting heart…” Yes, I know He can!

It is only when we finally come to that place in our life when all else has failed and nothing but Christ will do (not a crutch) – just Christ. The awesome power of truly getting real with our soul and seeing our need for Christ because He is our Creator and I am His creation. Then and only can we begin the journey of healing from being filled with self to begin filled with the only One that can truly satisfies our soul!

Do you remember that sobbing tear-filled, broken spirit-needing God woman in Luke 7:36-50 (if not that’s OK because we’ll explain). Despite the jeering comments, the head turning crowd, and her own reputation she came boldly to Jesus not only with outward adoration but also with inward declaration. She not only poured out her dowery (which was very costly to her future) but she realized that Jesus Christ was the only One who can fill, cleanse, heal, forgive, restore, and free her hurting soul from within.

The same is true today, it is only when we bow at the feet of Jesus with our tear-soaked heart and pour out our alabaster jar do we find His peace, forgiveness, healing, cleansing, filling and find our innermost parts filled.20170202_135558

It’s a promise. It can be yours.

a Picture of Hope

‘Tell Your Heart to Beat Again’* – the first time I heard this song/testimony of the heart surgeon was about two or three weeks ago through a Facebook tag from my middle sister. I listened. Then listened again and again. It was so powerful to my soul that I couldn’t even repost it because it brought such tears to my eyes – especially with the recent last of my Dad, it ripped into my soul in ways that I am still working/healing through.

Over the years, my husband and I have had many losses through death. Whether it was grandparents that we adored, my husband’s father, to our third child passing exactly a week after my husband’s mother who we loved so much, then my Daddy.

This is my Daddy (the picture). He entered into eternity suddenly on July 31, 2016. There were no warnings. No signs. Nothing. One second an earthly-citizen the next a dadheavenly-citizen standing face to face with his Savior. The night we received that phone call, truthfully I don’t remember much except  a few things like first hearing that Dad had a heart attack – but remembering saying to myself “we will go and see him – he will pull through again.” Death wasn’t even on my radar. The next thing I remember is “I’m sorry (my name) your Dad didn’t make it.” Didn’t make it – that is impossible, they didn’t know who they were talking about! My Dad is stronger than strong. But, it was true. Dad was gone.

It has been an interesting wave-like several months. My sweet husband, children and I have faced many life changing events over this past year. New state. New job. Great incredible accomplishments. New church. Old friends gone. New friends are next to none. Away from the known. Extended family far away. Dad entered eternity. Oh, and I turned 40 (that wasn’t hard…lol).

Much to take in and digest when it happens all at once. Not impossible with Christ, the Lord has been incredibly good to us; He has protected us in a million ways, guided, and provided, but I must admit that humanly my faith has been challenged so intensely. At times the challenging’s have been so hard that it has scared me, but now; now, though I still don’t understand everything or his wise loving plan, this challenge of soul has sparked a journey in my soul that I couldn’t have dreamed of. My soul is literally burning with fire and sometimes it is all I can do to accomplish what I should be doing.

The passing of my earthly father has truly been hard – no goodbyes, no last hugs, no last anything’s – just gone. I miss him. It wasn’t in my plans for Dad to enter Heaven at 64 years old. It wasn’t suppose to happen that way. I struggle (some days more than others), but in my struggling it has brought me closer to my heavenly Father and ignited me in ways I knew not of. I couldn’t write it any better then the bridge of the song:

Let every heartbreak

And every scar

Be a picture that reminds you

Who has carried you this far

‘Cause love sees farther than you ever could

In this moment heaven’s working

Everything for your good

My soul is starting to beat again through the healing power of Jesus Christ. It is bursting into flames and how can I not speak boldly for on King? How can I not share Christ with others? Eternity is forever. Life is truly short! How can I not live in boldness to speak of Him? How can I not live my created God-confident life for this world is not my home for one day (sooner than I think) my time on earth is up just like yours is.

I could choose to take the reins of control and pretend to live this life as though I was the one in control, but I am not and neither are you. God is in control whether we want accept that reality or not. We are the creation and he is the Creator.

This life is not mine and I am choosing to not live another moment as though it is mine but rather I as simple clay – an instrument in His molding hands, willing. Obedient. Quick to respond to His Word. Putting on Christ. There is surety and intense hope in Jesus Christ for the future that I have never known before.

*disclaimer: I am so thankful for my precious sister posting this song to me via FB. This song has been an encouragement to my heart, but I must note, personally I do not support everything he (Danny Gokey) sings or produces nor have I seen or heard everything he has sung or produced.