Tuesday, August 31, 2010

In the Desert.....

What does your desert look like? I think our deserts may look different but I have a feeling that our deserts are quite the same.

I've often thought about Moses and how he spent 40 years in the desert in Midian before the Lord called him to his ministry of leading the Israelites out of Egypt.

Moses lived in Pharaoh's digs for 40 years. He lived in the lap of luxury for his first forty years of life. He was at the top of his game. Was it enough for him? Acts 7:23 tells us, "But when he was approaching the age of forty it entered his mind to visit his brethren the sons of Israel." Was he curious how life was on the other side? Did they know or have something that he was missing as a prince of Egypt? His excursion lead to the death of an Egyptian by his own hands. (Exodus 2:15) He tasted injustice in the life of an Israelite and intervened. He had a heart even than for his people. He yearned for justice but it ended in a way that wasn't in his plan.....so he ran. He ran into the desert and fled from his life that he knew. Escaping the consequences of his actions. He was able to start anew. His life looked and felt very different from what he knew to be true in Egypt. His fresh start on life was at the bottom of the totem pole as a shepherd in the desert. Not a shepherd of his own flock but even a notch lower working as a shepherd watching someone elses flock.

I don't know first hand what its like to be a shepherd in the desert outside of Egypt but I can imagine what it might of been....long hot days and frigid cold nights alone. Watching, waiting, on guard for predators, decision making that effects your flock.....but the loudest and prominent occurrences is the long periods of time of silence on the outside but how you hear your thoughts arguing with your heart in the inside.

We all experience time in the desert. Whether you like to admit it or not. Like I said before, all our deserts may look different but I think they all are the same. It's what we do and think about when we're in the desert that determines how we come out. What do you feed yourself when you're in the desert? Do you feed yourself TRUTH or do you feed yourself the lies of your thoughts and regrets? The times in the desert are barren and no where else to run but to dig deep into your heart and see what is there. You figure out that you have nothing and nothing to give but yourself which is your soul. You can look back and remember the high life and live the life of regret or you can look around and see how God carried you there to the desert to meet Him. His glory is there in the desert. Do you see it?

Jeremiah 17: 5-10

"Thus says the Lord,

Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind

And makes flesh his strength,

And whose heart turns away from the Lord.

For he will be like a bush in the desert

And will not see when prosperity comes,

But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness,

A land of salt without inhabitant.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord

And whose trust is the Lord.

For he will be like a tree planted by the water,

That extends its roots by a stream

And will not fear when the heat comes,

But its leaves will be green,

And it will not be anxious in a year of drought

Nor cease to yield fruit."

Numbers 12: 3 tells us that "Moses was very humble , more than any man who was on the face of the earth." Living in the desert for forty years, I can imagine being there can do that to you, but only if you feed yourself the TRUTH. It was in the desolate desert that God was able to get Mose's to be quiet and still. He was able reveal to him his idols and bring him to the depths of his heart and humble him so that Moses could see His glory.

I think of our brother Job. After all he went through and wrestled with, it wasn't till God responded and told him who He truly was. At that point, Job was able to say, "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You; there I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes (Job 42:5-6)." After forty years in the desert Moses came out the most humble man on earth. He was able to see God's glory and live, but most of all he was used by His King for HIS GLORY and HIS GLORY alone.

I don't know about you....BUT I don't want to be the bush in the desert that lives in stony waste. I don't want to miss out on seeing HIS GLORY when its before me. I want to be the tree that is green and yields fruit even in the year of drought. To be that tree I need to TRUST when I am sitting in the desert because and realize that God brought me there to rid me of the idols that I held so dear so through the time of drought I can rid the idols from my heart so that I can see HIS GLORY instead.

What do you see in the desert of your life and heart? Are you the tree or the bush?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Undefiled Religion

I am mother of three boys. If you count my husband that's four boys. I'm smiling. Are you smiling? My boys have asked for a little sister throughout the years. As they grow older or should I say...as my husband and I grow older they're asking for a little sister via adoption. Our friends have adopted a little girl from Haiti after the devastating earthquake that occurred there. Since than the boys have beg for us to do the same.
My friend Shanley left for Bombo, Africa on a mission type of trip to help Align Ministries with their blog, website and social media. Their desire was to bring the local needs of the people of Bombo to the world via the Internet and social media so that the people of Bombo, Africa who are in need may be sponsored by others. Shanley has gone to Africa before and had an idea of what to expect when she arrived but her expectations didn't come close to the reality of what is truly going on in Bombo, Africa.
My only way of communicating with Shanley were her daily posts to Facebook. Earlier in the week I woke up to a post of hers basically saying that she was discouraged because she met an eleven year old little girl who suffers with AIDS. Both of her parents have died with AIDS and she is being raised by her grandmother. She travels an hour each way by foot to go to school where they beat her for poor grades and/or lack of payment for her schooling. She has to travel 3 hours by foot each way to pick up her medication for her AIDS. She has sores all over her skin from the disease. Without hesitation I responded that I would sponsor her. All my boys are without disease. I can't imagine this little girl suffering with a disease that had nothing to do with her but yet she is called to suffer with it.
Shanley was brought to tears on how quickly someone responded to sponsor this little girl. I quickly had questions too. Can I get a picture of her? Can we write letters to her? I want her to know that she's not alone and that someone does care. Not just me but Jesus cares! I was told that I cannot communicate with her. They want the locals to know that their needs are being provided by the local church in Bombo not by some American. I will be sponsoring her through Align Ministries.
One of Shanley's observations of being in Bombo is that the believer's faith is so basic. "Childlike" would be an appropriate word for it. They believe in the simple terms of faith. They just BELIEVE.

Matthew 18: 1- 5

"At the time the disciples came to Jesus and said, "Who than is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, "Truly I say to you unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. "Whoever than humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me;"

Whether you are a believer or not, what hill are you willing to die on to make your point OR why you believe or more importantly why don't you believe? God calls you to "humble" yourself. What does that mean to humble yourself? Definition of humble - "to lower your pride or arrogance; to reduce your self sufficiently of; to make meek and submissive." Being stripped of everything you hold dear will make you experience humility quickly. Humility in any form will teach you what you hold close or better yet what you TRUST. What have you lost that you will fight with all your might to win it back? When events or situations in your life aren't going the way you thought or liked, what are you most upset about? That is where you will find your first love, what you trust and what you hope in. Who or what is it? Do you know? Why do we complicate life with all our STUFF? If you were in Bombo, Africa living in a hut with no food and riddled with sores all over your body with a disease given to you by your parents who are no longer are with you....what would you hold dear? Would you be able to say, "I love God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength?" They do. What do they have that we don't? An undefiled religion? They have nothing to give BUT their soul. What will it take for us to give up our idols and just humble ourselves to BELIEVE with "childlike" faith?
The next day I received a picture of Safina. She is so beautiful. We will more than likely never meet or know each other. Her picture will be in my home like there are of my boys. I will provide her with support but also my love & prayers. All she knows is that the church is providing for her....BUT I know she's the little girl God gave me to take care for. My daughter ...SAFINA.