I strongly believe that we underestimate the power of our own abilities. And God’s. At least not the full extent of it.
“For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.”
For whatever reason, when we hear of any major crisis. We feel numb and helpless. Helplessness doesn’t move a person to action. I want to challenge you to do what you can with what you have. If you live in America, you’re rich. Now, I’m not one to use statistics for the purpose of burdening you with guilt. So I’m not going to go there. Just know that you’re richer than most of the world. So if you just found out you didn’t receive the pay raise, let it go, and have faith that your needs will be provided for. Guilt does not move a person to action either. Guilt cries out,” You filthy, rich, spoiled brat. You should be ashamed of yourself.” I’ve been down that road. It took me nowhere.
I believe that every individual whether you’re a “broke college student” or a person making six figures every year, you’d be surprised with how any amount has the potential to contribute to life saving relief and relational efforts. From the time I was in elementary school, I always gave each of my teachers a small Christmas present. I continued it on all the way through High School. I believe I was a sophomore in High School, when I stopped competing with other classmates on who would buy Mrs. Clark the biggest chocolate bar. My mom had the brilliant idea of giving five chickens through Samaritan’s Purse in my teachers’ names. In our American minds this sounds rather lame. Because my teachers’ didn’t get anything out of it. However, I found that each year, they were rather touched. They felt they were part of something bigger. When we give, or partake in an effort that on the outside bigger then ourselves, something inside of us comes alive. It’s the flicker of compassion in our hearts sparking to a bright flame.
So where am I going with all of this?
In case you were unaware, and I hope this is not the case, on October 15th of this year, a devastating 7. 1 earthquake devastated the Philippines. It was heart breaking and tragic. BUT, it brought people together, to fight something that appears to be so much bigger than themselves. This week, a category-five super-typhoon, struck the Philippines. It is currently the worst hurricane ever recorded in recent history (and possibly ever). Keep in mind that the earthquake already displaced almost 300,000 residents all across the country.
You have the power to give back, and fight something, bigger and stronger. Donate to Help Bohol as they partner with Montana on a Mission. Damage from the earthquake has already been assessed. Funds are being adequately distributed.
Keep in mind that finances aren’t the only way to support a cause. You can share this link without having to give yourself. Serving comes in the form of time, talent, and treasure. Which will you choose?
“You may choose to look the other way but you can never again say you did not know.”
I can’t sleep tonight. My heart is aching. Breaking. Tonight my heart is with my brothers and sisters in the Philippines and those I know who have served there. Last night their world literally crumbled beneath their feet when a 7.2 earthquake hit Bohol and Cebu.
When I hear of news like this, I feel helpless. Simply because I cannot be there in physical form. But God sent His son, SO THAT we could intervene. He wants us to come to Jesus with our prayers and concerns. For we cannot handle these trials on our own. My lack of faith astounding. For God tells me if it were just as large as a mustard seed I could move mountains!
God is changing me. Humbling me. Reminding me how blessed I am to have a roof over my head and four walls enclosing me. Everyday when I cone home from being educated at school I am welcomed with parents and brothers and sisters who love me. I have never known starvation or poverty. I’ve seen these things with my own eyes, but it is hard for someone so blessed with material items to follow the narrow path. I have so much to lose by following Jesus. But if I really give Jesus my all, I make an eternal investment. I previously did not take this passage in the Bible very seriously. Then I started thinking. Just because I’ve given him my life doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve given him my all.
I have a powerful God who loves and protects me. Always. Even when I stumble and sin against him. I am reminded and grateful for all these things as all around the world many are struggling. Significantly.
But God is constant. He is the anchor to which I cling to and the one I must trust.
For we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.
Lord, heal those who are broken, strengthen the weak, and call those of us who are able to you. Thank-you for loving us always. Thank-you for being the only One we can always count on; through every storm, up every mountain and down every valley.
Alex and I went on our first trip to Haiti together last summer in 2012. Deep down somehow I knew that first trip wouldn’t be her last. Your time, talent, and treasures will send give Alex and her multiple teams they need to make this world a better place, and what’s more, shine Jesus’s light in one of the world’s darkest places.
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. by faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
A few years ago I was having a conversation with a friend when she asked me, “What kind of person do you want to be when you’re older?” and I surprised myself by answering with, “I just want to be someone in love with Jesus.” It’s a simple concept really, for me to be someone in love with the man who bled and died for me specifically, the man who in constantly seeking to spend time with me and loves me no matter how many times I fail Him. The tough part is trusting, trusting that He knows His plans for me and that I need not worry what tomorrow holds or where I will be in 10 years (or one to be completely honest here). We as a fallen people try so hard to hold on tightly to the control and direction of our lives…
I’ve written a lot. I adore writing. I’ve written about practically anything and everything. However, I dislike I talking about myself. It is the one topic I avoid at all costs. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve filled journal on top of journal filled with life. But wait, sharing this knowledge? That’s a totally different story. God has been convicting me of something lately (as He always is); God turns our messy lives into messages. I can make Him famous by sharing my story. We all have stories. They started the day we took our very first breath. Our lives are a book written by God. Each day is a page. Every decade a chapter. We were created to be read. We were written to put God on the Bestseller list!
God formed Man out of dirt from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. The Man came alive–a living soul!
Genesis 2: 7
If that’s not crazy, astonishing and thrilling, I don’t know what is.
Apparently, I am really good at putting on a poker face. I don’t try to look like I have it all together. In fact, oftentimes I feel like screaming “I’m not strong, but He is! Every waking minute Jesus is holding me!” It is because of His strength that I am capable of being strong in my weaknesses.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the LIFE of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
2 Corinthians 4: 7-10
Before I begin sharing my story, I want to exhort you to share yours. Your story may not sound exciting to you, but you never know whose life you can touch without sharing it! If it means anything, your story matters to me. If God, the one who created us to be full of purpose, shouldn’t we have faith that He is using it for something epic?
I’m going to share with you mine . I would start with day one, but I’m 6,791 days old.
Eleven years ago, at the age of seven. I had my first epileptic seizure. I conked out on the floor of the Olive Garden Restaurant on 196th St. in Lynnwood, WA. Here’s the catch: I was perfectly healthy, and nobody knew it was a seizure. We didn’t even call an ambulance. I took a sip of water and finished eating dinner with my family. I felt fine after gracefully smashing my head on their then-brick floor. (OK, I make that sound much more exciting than it actually was). Nothing showed up on my post-fall MRI. Not even a minor concussion! Clearly, angels do exist.
My mom scheduled an emergency appointment of course. She figured the whole thing was just a fluke. It wasn’t. You may be thinking “wow, that is unfortunate.” Well, you are wrong. That day changed my life forever. OK, now you’re thinking “well duh.” It was a good life changing experience. I’m still not sure exactly how it has changed my life for the better, but everything takes some figuring out. Can I get an amen?
In the beginning I saw three different doctors. These three doctors proposed three different diagnoses:
– Most likely Vasodepressor Syncope
-Colloid on 3rd ventricle
-Small chance the episode was a seizure
I went through so many tests it’s CRAZY. EEG’s, MRI’s, blood tests, the tilt-table test, cat scans. The whole bit. I even wore a heart monitor for about one month. God was there. Holding my hand. He was upside down with me when I was strapped on that table.
My mom, being the awesome woman that as she is, finally pull out her handy dandy Taber’s Medical Dictionary from the bookshelf, performed her own research and she basically said, “Let’s take the focus off the heart and look at what is going on in her brain.”
Since my diagnosis of absence seizures has been confirmed, life has been a whirlwind. I’ve been tossed hither and thither. Since that time I’ve tried two alternative treatments to medication: 1) The Modified Atkins Diet and 2) a Vegas Nerve Stimulator. Concerning the MAD, let me just say this. After six months of eating fifteen and 10 carbohydrates per day, I obtained a whole new appreciation for bread and an extreme dislike for milk and peanuts which I practically thrived off of.
The Vegas Nerve Stimulator brings me to where I am today! Contrary to popular belief, the Vegas Nerve Stimulator is NOT brain surgery. Think of it more as a pacemaker for the brain. Well, I remember the day of my implant. I was supposed to have a history exam that day and all I could remember was that April 9th. The date of my surgery was ironically a date in history I needed to memorize. What a strange coincidence! Fast forward to today, 9/13/ 2013. Today I am recovering from the surgery I underwent yesterday to have the device removed. Why, you ask? I was given two choices: 1) replace the battery or 2) remove the battery. As of today I am fifty-one days seizure free! It’s these little victories we must embrace.
A few days ago I received my OUTPATIENT NOTE in the mail. One sentence written by my physician stuck out to me: “She has been approximately 40 days seizure free. It is not clear to us the reason for the increased efficacy…” To doctors, these instances are just medical mysteries. I read this and thought to myself, Clearly, Jesus is at work in my life right now. I realize that while he is always at work in my life, I tend to only recognize this truth when I am having either a really bad day or an extraordinarily good day. Something about that needs to change. Whether or not I’m having a particular high or low day, I need to start off each day saying these words:
This is the day which the Lord has made;Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118: 24 (NASB)
God is consistent. That being said, I shouldn’t “shelve” God. I ALWAYS need Him. I should never take Him down when I think I need Him and marginalize Him when I am under the impression that I can do things myself. So how is your storybook going to look? On the cover of my current journal, I wrote “The story of how Jesus wrecked my life and put me back together again.” He knows exactly what is wrong in our lives and puts us back together the way he sees fit! So why do we worry? We’re still human. God recognizes that. We are extremely blessed because He looks at us the way He looks at His Son. Incredible!
Your story matters. How will you use it to change the world?
I’ve been thinking. A lot. As I watch our country fall apart, I look around and search for the faith our country was built on. A few favorite quotes come to mind.
“If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under”- Ronald Reagan
“God allows in his wisdom what he could prevent by his power” – Graham Cooke
“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on”- Thomas Jefferson
There is so much truth in these words.
These days, I cannot say anything on social media about God without getting a bunch of feedback. Mostly negative. From both my Christian and non-Christian friends. For a long while, I sat back, shut my mouth, and ignored things I felt were ‘controversial.’ Over time, I learned that just because I shut up no one else would. You’re either for something or against it. Christians shouldn’t be silent, but no one should be hateful.
99.999999% the few debates I either indirectly or directly become involved in, don’t go so hot. 99.9999999% what I am trying to say doesn’t exactly come out how I intended. By the time it comes out my readers or listeners are crawling all over me. The latest accusation from an ‘acquaintance’ who is a self-proclaimed atheist was in regards to all that happened over the country last week. . He wanted a factual response. Some believers I know are great at proving things with bits and pieces of science and whatnot. I on the other hand am not.In this particular case I was commenting on another friend’s status-who by the way ended up deleting his status AND comment thread. Christianity is a relationship with God. God created us to be with him.
Let me just make this clear. AGAIN. I’m writing this because I care. I have such a huge treasure. One that I can share over and over and over again! We’re not all that we knock ourselves to be. Our sins separate us from God.That SHOULD be obvious by now. But When thousands of years later, lets face it, we aren’t doing so well at learning from our mistakes. When I say ‘we’ I mean ‘me’ and ‘you’. I’m not trying to exclude myself.God wiped out sin, but he ALLOWED it back into the world after he gave us a glorious second chance. God forgives all sins “70 X 7” times. He gave us what we wanted. Free will. Sin was our choice. Of course God didn’t leave us destined for hell as we deserved. On the contrary he provided the ultimate sacrifice. More is never enough for us. Those who choose the gift of life he gives us are saved from judgement forever.. Or we can shove it back in God’s face. At this point in the convo I’m typically cut off, so thanks for reading on. I don’t have to sit home with a checklist of things to do because I’m not going to get it all right. Without Jesus, I would never be able to live up to standards outlined in the Bible. Sins cannot be removed by good deeds.
“But what about the old testament? It says there… We don’t stone people, We don’t eat crawfish, people made animal sacrifices”……..the list goes on and on and on. My small group discussed this whole OT ‘So what?’ question. So “what about it?”. In the old testament these ‘rules and regulations’ were made because believers didn’t have any other choice. Let me elaborate. Jesus hadn’t come yet. Jesus is the Ultimate Sacrifice who paid the price of our sins. Mine, yours multiplied by everyone on this planet. He bore the weight of it all. Paying the price for sin Jesus died and rose again. All those things were their SECOND CHANCE which, in the New Testament is Jesus. If you’re still with me, can we just revel in the fact that we, as undeserving as we are, can have what nobody else has. Everyone who trusts in him has eternal life. The gift that supersedes all riches (:
I’m not going to ‘act’ smart and pretend I know why everything happened in Boston, MA and Waco, TX. I’m not in anyway trying to justify anything. I’m saying God does whatever it takes to be near us. Is Jesus dying on the cross not enough evidence or proof that he loves us? Rest in the knowledge that no matter how bad we screw up, he will keep on forgiving us. Again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again……I think you get the picture.
In my college bible study ‘Ignite’ today-it was my first time- a fellow believer from Egypt, said something quite profound. Something that believers have to constantly remind themselves. He said with a strong accent, “I have three citizen-ships. Egypt, America, and Heaven.” How cool is that?!