Tuesday, July 29, 2014

But God!!!

I have to admit, sometimes I get a little frustrated with God.  God has put so many amazing people in my life and family...so many of them doing kingdom work in beautiful ways.  I want to be able to support them financially as well as by word and deed.  In fact I realize that sometimes I withdraw from them because I feel bad that I can't support them more fully.  THAT is not a good thing, and that is not what God desires.

I just watched a video that Emmanuel and Allison made about their ministry in India.  Their organization is Influence International and they are making a difference in the lives of so many children as well as rasing up leaders for the kingdom.  Check out the video on my facebook page.  influenceintl.org

I need to call TiCarme today and see how her ministry in Haiti is coming.  TiCarme is a Haitian woman we met in Haiti several years ago and now she  is starting a mission to enable students, who have no way to pay for an education,  get schooling in Haiti.  She is also discipling them for Jesus Christ, giving them a hope and a future. (The money I make through coaching goes to support her ministry.  So get coached and know you are helping support this ministry!)

Caleb and Sonja continue to support Raising up Hope in Uganda through Beautiful Response.  Street children from the slums of Uganda are finding a place to be safe, and loved, and educated, and transformed by the love of kingdom people who love Jesus.  Check out beautiful response.org or Raising up Hope on facebook.

These are just the top three on my list!  I could go on and on.  It is part of the blessing of being in the kingdom!

O Lord, you know the needs.  You know my heart.  Help me to be faithful.  Help me to share all that you give for me to pass on whether financial or emotional, or wisdom, or love, or.... And help me never to pull away from those you have called me to love and support.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Little Campfire that Couldn't

Cran-hill Ranch is a beautiful place to spend a week with your grandchildren!  From July 7-12 I was the chaplain for their family camping program, which meant I got to stay up there for the week with Diedrick and Annika.  On Thursday evening my husband Al and our daughter Acacia joined us for the last day.

I woke up about 6:30 Friday morning and realized Al had given up on getting sleep on our spring loaded mattress, and Acacia was jet-lagged enough she was also awake...sort of.  I looked out the camper window and saw them sitting, looking forlornly at a fireless fire pit.  There were logs in the pit, and perhaps a wisp of smoke before these silent zombies.   Two tired faces, no talking, just staring.

I went out and joined them, assuming they hadn't found where I kept some paper...oh yes, they had used paper, and "self-starting" charcoal to try to ignite carefully positioned logs.  Nada!  I told them how pathetic they looked and began to laugh until I started to cry.  (So much for sympathy.)  I was trying to laugh quietly at 6:30 in the morning, and then my snorting got them started.

It wasn't until 3 hours later after the camp store open and Al got some lighter fluid that we finally had a fire.

It all got me thinking about the fire that burns, or smolders, or is evidenced only by a wisp within us. Having worked within the church for a couple of decades I know how hard we often try to ignite a fire in our churches.  As a Jesus-followers I also know the ebb and flow of the fire that burns within me.

There are times we think we have all the ingredients for great fire-building in play, only to see that first burst of flame, and then we experience the frustration of realizing the flame is gone before the wood catches on.  And we know, don't we that the flame that burns within doesn't depend on us trying harder, or looking more like "Johnny Woodsman."  The flame within comes from the Spirit, and John the baptist promised that Jesus would baptize us with this Spirit and with fire.  (Matthew 3:11)

We need to do what we can to position ourselves to be in flames with this fire, and to be fanners of the fire:  We need to seek, to be open and willing, to let go of what we think it should look like, or feel like.  We need to listen for the voice of God, and obey when we hear it.  We need to encourage one another and believe that our God is a God of power.  We need to long for more than a wisp...we need to fall in love with Jesus, sometimes all over again.  We need to stir the passion in our heart.

Can you imagine sitting around the campfire with Jesus and inviting him to ignite our fire?  Asking for a fresh dose of the Spirit, our only hope for genuine fire?  That is a prayer Jesus is longing to answer!

One more thought...one person where the fire has caught will be the tinder used to set others ablaze.  We don't get set on fire just to keep ourselves warm...

Lord don't let me sit on the sidelines with just a wisp of smoke rising from me.  Ignite me!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Aromatic or Smelly?

What is your favorite smell?  Freshly ground coffee?  A home filled with the smell of chocolate chips cookies?  A walk through a pine forest?  A particular flower?

My life coach was telling me about a conversation he had when he met a fellow believer.  They had been talking a bit when the man commented, "You smell like Jesus."  In II Corinthians 2:14-16 we read "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ, and through us spreads everywhere the fragance of the knowledge of him.  For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.  To the one we are the smell of death, to the other we are the fragrance of life.  And who is equal to the task?"

It got me thinking...how do we move through our day spreading everywhere the frangrance of Christ?  And how can we tell if we smell like Jesus?  And, what will be the impact of smelling like Jesus?

It dawns on me that:
1.  Smells permeate an environment.  Once let loose you can't contain it.
2.  Smells trigger a sensory response...it can make us hungry, in fact smells will make our mouths water, or they can make us vomit.
3.  Smells can trigger a memory.  Have you had it happen where a smell transported you back to another time and place in your memory?  There is a smell to August that brings me to the farm lanes of my childhood.
4.  Smells can draw us to them, or repel us away.

I'm picturing a Charlie Brown comic strip and seeing Linus with his cloud of dust and dirt following him.  If someone were to draw our cloud, following us what would it smell like to God and others?  How close will people want to get?  And how can I make sure that I am spreading the fragrance Christ calls me to spread.  Sometimes I fear I am doing the "right things" but my attitude doesn't smell much like Jesus.

Remember too that for those who don't know Jesus...yet, we may not be so appealing, but perhaps our fragrance of Christ will permeate their world and linger long enough to begin to change their perceptions of Christ-followers and the Christ we serve.  Maybe the next person you meet will be a pre-believer and because the Spirit is at work our aroma will be one more tool the Spirit uses to touch them.

We better be sure we are authentic Christ-followers, because a phony can be smelly in a hurry.  We better be checking our attitude as we walk out the door, or greet those coming in, as we don't want our fragrance to be tainted by our self-will and sinfulness.

So, my friends, Go forth and smell like Jesus wherever you go. I pray the Holy Spirit will continually permeate your world with the sweet frangrance of grace in Christ Jesus.