I praise God for His wonderful creation and allowing me to be alive to enjoy it. It never ceases to amaze me how fascinating He has made this world. This past week I was able to visit a giant whirlpool that had the power to carve out a vast and deep ravine in only a matter of hours. That alone boggles my mind. Not only that but the river rushed forward, swirled around the bowl it had formed and back upon itself. When the two opposing currents met one dove under the other and continued back down the river. Furthermore, if the water level dropped a certain amount the whirlpool would swirl in the opposite direction. Only our God would come up with something like that. When I see something so amazing, i have to say, "What is man that You should be mindful of him?" Yet we are God's masterpiece. That is what is truly amazing.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1: 9
Lately, I've been thinking about skydiving. No, I have never gone skydiving; nor do I ever intend to go skydiving. Why should I jump out of a perfectly good airplane? But this weekend I had an opportunity to listen to a friend describe her skydiving adventure. (One of those "God-instances").
Lenada is a retiree who is one of the most adventurous people I've met. She said that stepping out of the plane was a real rush. She was tandem jumping with an experienced diver. One of the things that really amazed her was the unbelievable force of the wind and the fact that she could still clearly hear the instructions her partner gave her. Because she is visually impaired she said she couldn't see much of anything. After free-falling for a few minutes, the 'chute was deployed and they floated gently to earth like a leaf or feather. She wants to go again.
I feel as if Randall and I are spiritually skydiving. I gave notice at work the other day. Now both of us are out of the safe, comfortable airplane and are in free-fall. Scary and exciting all at once. We can't see the ground rushing up toward us, but we know it's there. The winds of fear and doubt are buffeting us. But we are not diving solo. We are in tandem with the best partner there is. He's gone before us and knows what to do. Nothing takes Him by surprise and He never panics. If we listen to Him, we'll be able to hear His instructions and if we do exactly as He tells us, all will be well. At the appointed time, the 'chute will open and we will land gently where He wants us. Who knows, maybe someday, I might go skydiving .... or not.
In referring to Satan's strategy, I once heard a speaker at our church say something along the lines of this: "He doesn't always need to make us bad, all he really needs to do is make us busy."
Busy. How often do we find ourselves consumed with matters from the time we get up until well after we probably should be laying down? It is NOT that what we do is not beneficial or not needed. I, for instance, spent a week wholly involved at a christian youth camp, I have a large list of projects to work on around my church, I am involved as an adult leader in a local Boy Scout Troop, and working on friends computers, not to mention the work I need to accomplish towards partnership development and things needing attention around my house. On top of that are "recreational" activities we participate in as a family but tend to be just as stressful as our "work."
Don't get me wrong, I love all the things I am involved in... but am I always putting God's work first? I wonder sometimes.
We grew up hearing "Idleness is the Devil's playground," and it is true, but only to an extent. Do we keep busy JUST so we don't succumb to temptation? God tells us different in His Word.
When was the last time you obeyed the first part of Psalms 46:10 "Be STILL and know that I am God?" I have to admit, that I know I do not make the time often enough myself. This is what I bring to you today. Pray that I don't get SO busy in the process of doing the work that I lose focus of WHY we have been drawn to this.
So, 9 and a half months after becoming members, and six months after our first inquiries, we have now been offered an invitation to work in Papua New Guinea. This is a huge answer to prayer. Now we will be able to tell people something when they ask where we are going. It also renews our focus and desire to "get to the field." I hate discussing money, because I tend to give it too much authority in my life, but the truth is that we cannot accomplish our work for the Lord out of our own resources. We need the prayers and commitments of people who want to see the work of Bible Translation continue. But what I really want is the chance to build relationships and involve others in our journey and work. Those of you who know me well, know that I love to talk and tell of my latest adventure or accomplishment. Whether it is with the Boy Scouts, a difficult computer problem, a great day of shooting archery or a trip we've just taken, I enjoy describing it and bringing it to life for others. I want to bring everyone along with us as we take this path of service. I want you to really see why I feel my abilities and knowledge (all gifts of God) are so necessary to the continuation of this work. I also want everyone to see how the Lord is guiding and directing Paula in her desire to use her artistic abilities. This is a story yet to be unfolded and discovered. Join us as we discover Paula's great potential to reach people through her art. If you would like to accompany us on this journey, just let us know. Support comes in the form of prayer mostly, and everyone can offer that. If you are led to help support us financially, please contact us. There are many ways to accomplish this, and we are in need of one-time gifts as well as on-going monthly support. We want to serve the Lord to the best of our abilities, and we hope and pray you would be felt led to do the same, in whatever capacity He directs you.
Warm thoughts on a bitterly cold day. It's winter here in Ohio. I will freely admit that it isn't my favorite season. I don't like being cold even on the rare days the sun decides to shine. I also don't like to wait. Waiting for spring; waiting for warm days; waiting for life to re-awaken in the Earth; waiting to be surprised by the first spring flowers or the returning songbirds; waiting in general. It irks me. But winter is necessary. I know that the Earth needs a season of dormancy to prepare for the seasons of vitality and activity. I also know that even though there maybe no outward signs of life in the ‘dead of winter,’ sap, the lifeblood of trees is beginning to flow; one by one the small songbirds are beginning to return and build nests for their young; hibernating animals begin to awaken and give birth. Slowly the ice melts and cracks and is washed away. Then, before you know it, the dead brown grass turns green and the hills are covered with wildflowers; the bitter winds of winter become gentle and warm; and the Earth bursts forth in abundant life. I think that God also gives us seasons of ‘winter’ in our lives so that we learn to wait; to be still and know that He is God. And even though I become impatient in the waiting, I know that if I will listen and look around me that I will discover the subtle signs of His presence. Then, before I know it, I will discover the surprises He has prepared for me during the ‘winter months’ as I walk forward in the warm springtime of His love.
The Lord granted me an amazing gift this last week. It was the opportunity to offer and receive forgiveness to heal some very old wounds.
What a tremendous joy it is to say (type) "I offer you full forgiveness by His grace" and to receive the same from another person. Then to have that person offer back a sincere thanks.
I think we, as humans, tend to hold tight to grudges and hurts. Even small ones, because we think it gives us some type of power over another. Yet, in the end, it only holds us down, and away from God's perfect love for us.
If you are reading this and know you've got a grudge, or a hurt that is not reconciled,... just take a moment to reach out to that other person and ask for forgiveness, or offer it even if it is not requested from you. You won't believe the joy that can be associated with it!
Well, at the urging of a very nice friend, I have finally created a blog. You would think that a computer nerd/geek like me wouldn't need any urging, yet even though I've own my own domain (www.yorkchops.com) for over 8 years, I've never felt the urge to blog.
Still, my friend was correct in the idea that this may be a more effective way to communicate to my friends and partners as we prepare for our call to mission work.