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Our Mission to the Himalayas and Beyond

The God Who Provides

god alwasy providesI love reading through Genesis, the stories of the men and women of faith, who were also far from perfect. I find it so encouraging as I read their stories. Because their stories are full of both triumphs and defeats, victories, and failures.

One in particular is the story of Abraham. A man who trusted God, yet often feared man. A man who learned many lessons along his faith journey, and yet passed the ultimate faith test, when he was willing to offer his son, his only son.

As I read this recently, I was struck by Issac’s question, he said, “Father? The fire and wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering (Gen. 22:7)?”

To which Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burn offering my son (22:8).”

I’m sure Issac pondered this in detail especially as his father bound him laid him on the altar, and reached out for his knife (22:9-10).

But, just in time, before it was too late, the angel of the angel of the Lord spoke, and God Himself did indeed provide, just as Abraham had said.

I can not imagine the struggle both Issac and Abraham must have had prior to hearing the voice of the Lord. Did they wonder where God was? Did they doubt the Lord’s provision? We are not told.

And yet, God, just in time provided everything needed.

Fast forward many years, and Abraham is on his death-bed. He is sending his servant to find a bride for his son. And, once more, the Lord provided everything needed.

I’m learning that God always provides.

It may not always be in the way I want, or according to my timetable. Yet, His faithfulness and provision are always true.

Since being back in Nepal, we have seen the Lord provide in numerous ways. First, when we arrived, but none of our luggage did. We prayed, and watched the Lord deliver our bags to our doorstep.

When my daughter lost her ring, we prayed knowing God knew its location, and He showed us where it was.

Upon our arrival when all of my daughters friends had moved, we prayed God would provide a new friend, and within days, she met a new girl to play with.

One answered prayer after another has proved over and over that we do indeed serve the God who always provides.

Sometimes, waiting for His provision is hard, sometimes He provides at the last second, and it seems so difficult to wait, but He is faithful, and we can trust Him.

How amazing to think that the God of Abraham is the same today, tomorrow, and forevermore!

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Simply Obedience

obeying godThe other morning as our family was doing our morning devotions, we read of Paul and how he had set his face toward Jerusalem. Despite the hardship and persecution that awaited him there, he chose to go.

One of our children asked the simple question, “Why would he choose to go, knowing how difficult it would be?”

This is a very logical question. I mean come on, why go where it is hard, where you might die for your faith? Why endure the hardship that come from going to a particular place?

To which the only response we could give, was that for Paul it was a matter of simple obedience.

Paul understood the risk, he recognized the hardship, he even realized that difficulty awaited him.

Yet, despite it all, Paul knew he had to go.

Not because he was special, not because he was crazy.

Simply because God had told him to do so.

And for those of us who know the rest of the story, God used Paul’s obedience to bring the Gospel before kings and queens. He used Paul’s obedience to spread His fame throughout the earth.

The past few weeks as we have sought to readjust to life here. I too have often questioned why we are here? Wondered at our frame of mind.

Yet, the reason is the same, we have returned, simply because God has called us to do so.

It’s really as simple as that.

This doesn’t make it easier, but it does give it purpose.

And it is not because we are someone special, it is not because we are super spiritual. It is only because for such a time as this, God has called us to this place.

And we have responded by saying yes, and simply obeying His request.

What is God asking of you today? What He ask of each us may differ, but our response should be the same.

Whether it is to go to the nations, to our neighbor, to stay at home with our kids, to homes school, to take that new job, or whatever it may be.

We serve a worthy Savior and our answer should be yes.

Whatever He ask, our response should be as Paul.

Ready and willing to go and do as He ask, simply because He is God, and He is worthy.

A Worthy Savior

worthyIt is hard to believe as I sit here tonight, that this time next week we will be arriving back in Nepal. Stepping out of this world, back into that world.

The only way in which I can begin to describe this is if you think about Lucy in the “Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” As she moved passed the coats and stepped out, she was in a whole new world. Likewise, once we step off the plane, we too will be in a whole new world. A world far removed, a lifetime it seems away.

Our time here has gone all too fast, making it all the more difficult to pack our bags, and say goodbyes. For the past few weeks, I have asked the Lord constantly for His grace. For His grace is sufficient for everything, even goodbyes.

Tonight, after time spent with family, I snuck down to read my Bible, and as I read I came across this verse: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation (Rev. 5:9).”

And I took a deep breath and remembered, He is worthy.

Which is why we go, why we say goodbye, why we pack our bags, and go live in a place a world away.

Because He is worthy and His blood has purchased men for God from every tribe, language, people and nation.

It doesn’t make it easier to say goodbye or live a world away.

But it does give it purpose.

At times it has been difficult to remember this, and easy to fall into the patterns of the world.

It has been easy to loose perspective, to forget Whom we serve and why we go.

Yet, this verse sums it all up.

We go because He is worthy.

 

 

 

No longer a babe, but a Savior

Is 96Tonight we attended a Christmas Eve service, and sang the song, “O Come O Come Emmanuel.” As we lifted up our voices, I couldn’t help but think, He indeed has come. John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us..”

The Word Emmanuel means “God with us.” And all those years ago, this is exactly what Jesus did. He took on flesh as a babe, and came to dwell among us.

But His birth was not the end, it was only the beginning. The Bible says, “and He grew in wisdom, and stature, in favor with God and with man (Luke 2:52).” For years He was simply the carpenter’s son. Then one day, He began His earthly ministry, choosing His twelve disciples. He preformed miracles, healed the sick, and raised the dead. Always pointing people to the Father.

Yes, He was born as a babe, but He came to be the Savior.

At just the right time, this babe, now a man, was arrested, beaten, mocked and crucified.

Paying the price we could not pay, taking your sins and mine upon Himself, that we could have forgiveness, and be declared righteous.

Tomorrow we celebrate His birth, and what a glorious day it was. A day foretold by the prophets, and sang of by the angles.

Yet, this was only the beginning.

For He came as a babe, so that, He could be our Savior and our Lord, both now and forevermore.

Christmas doesn’t end tomorrow, it continues each day as we celebrate the birth, death, and resurrection of our Savior.

He indeed is “The Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).”

How thankful I am that He came to be born, so that He could one day die, be raised from the dead, and ascend the the Father

In order that, one day, He might come again!

May we live our lives in anticipation of this day!

Merry Christmas!

Good News of Great Joy!

shepherdsDon’t you just love how God always uses the unusable to accomplish His plans.? How He uses those the world says are nobodies to complete His mission.

Over 2000 years ago, the Lord did just this the night of Jesus birth. For the news of His birth was not brought to the most important, it was not given to the elite. Rather, the news of His birth was proclaimed to mere Shepherds, the least of these.

Here the shepherds were, out keeping watch over their flocks. I’m sure they were probably getting sleepy when suddenly a host of angels appeared bearing the good news of great joy.

And though they proclaimed this news to the Shepherds, the angels declared that this great news was for everyone.

The news that the Savior had been born, who is Christ the Lord!

The Bible says that “when the angles had left them, and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about (Luke 2:15).”

So off they went, leaving the sheep to wonder on their own, they hurried and found Mary, Joseph and the baby lying in the manger, just as the angles had said.

But what happens next never ceases to amaze me.

For after seeing the Christ child, they could not contain the joy of this great news. For the Bible says, “When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them (Luke 2:17-18).”

They could not keep the message to themselves, they had to tell everyone this good news of Great joy, that is the Gospel.

See Christmas is certainly about the birth of the Christ child, but it is so much more. It is the birth of the Savior, the only One able to forgive us of our sins, the only One able to reconcile us to the Father. The only One who can give us eternal life.

The Shepherds recognize this, and spread the word of this great news.

As I read this and heard it preached upon last week, I was reminded that this good news of great joy, is exactly why we have said yes to the Lord’s call to go.

Like the shepherds all of us who know Jesus as Lord and Savior have a message to spread. No matter where we may live, what our jobs may be. We have the message of salvation to share.

May this message of good news of great joy burn within our hearts, and may we go into all the worlds to proclaim it.

Merry Christmas!

Is there room for Christ in your Christmas?

adoring HimI have to be honest, yesterday I was feeling anything but joyous as I battled for parking spaces, searched for the perfect gifts, and wandered aimlessly through stores. By the time I got back to the house, I felt more like the Grinch than Tiny Tim.

And I realized just how easy it is to lose sight of what Christmas is all about. How we can simply make it about our parties, families, kids etc. And how easy it is to miss HIM in the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

Over two thousand years ago, Joseph and Mary made their way to Bethlehem. As they arrived, tired and weary over their long day of travel, I’m sure all they wanted was a place to rest.

Yet, upon their arrival, they found there was simply no room in the inn. No room for the King of Kings to be born.

As I made my way home, I was reminded  that if I’m not careful, I’m just the same. Failing to make room for Christ in Christmas.

How about you? Have you made room for Christ in Christmas?  Or are you lacking the joy and peace only He can bring?

Christmas is all about Jesus, let our eyes, our thoughts, our focus be upon HIM.

He who took on flesh to dwell among us, who left Heaven and all of its glory to be born in a simple stable, with a manger as his bed.

It’s His birth we celebrate, “O Come Let Us Adore HIM!”

 

 

Joseph’s Trust

joseph's beliefSo often when we think of Christmas, all of the focus is upon Jesus and rightly so. Next in line is Mary, but very few take much notice of Joseph.

As I was reading through Mathew 1, however, I realized what a difficult situation Joseph, too, was placed in. As I stated in Mary’s Response, I’m sure that life after the news was anything but easy. And I’m sure the gossip spread like wildfire.

Can you imagine what Joseph must have thought when he heard that Mary was with child? He must have been disappointed, afraid and maybe a bit angry. For the Bible tells us that he had in mind to put her away.

Now to better understand the culture, we must take a look at the significance of a betrothal. Most likely this was an arranged marriage. I’m almost positive Joseph was older than Mary, and they knew very little about one another other than what their parents may have told them. Once a couple was betrothed in the Bible times, this betrothal would usually last for about one year. During this time, the husband would work to build and establish a home. While the bride to be would work to prepare the things that would go into the home. At the end of the year, the groom would come for his bride. The bride had to be ready and waiting for her groom to appear.

Yet, for Mary and Joseph, none of this turned out as they planned. While Joseph was busy working to prepare the home, an angel comes to him to tell him that Mary is with child. Now,remember, Joseph probably knew very little bout Mary. So now he is supposed to believe that this child is from God. Yet, the Bible tells us that this is exactly what he did. He believed.

He didn’t put her away, he took her as his bride and remained separate from her until Jesus was born. Though I’m sure many speculated on their marriage and the baby. Though they probably were doubted and questioned by many including their family and friends. They believed God.

Suddenly, Ceaser issues a decree that everyone had to be counted. Now, Joseph must take his pregnant wife to Bethlehem. I’m sure this was not in his plans. But, they went. When they arrive, Joseph searched everywhere to find a room for him and his wife. He knew how tired she was and how uncomfortable. Yet, he could find nothing. Hanging his head, he brought his wife to a stable, because there was no room for them in the inn.

After Jesus was born, Joseph had another dream, warning him to go home a different way because King Herod wanted Jesus dead. So Joseph and Mary settled and lived in Nazareth.

As I read through the Christmas story with Joseph in mind, I was struck by his unfailing trust and belief in the Lord. Though he could have questioned, could have doubted. He did not. Instead He just believed. He walked so close with the Lord, that He knew what he must do.

The Scriptures tell us very little about Joseph after the birth of Christ. We know he was a Carpenter and we know that he and Mary went on to have many other children. Yet, Joseph is not mentioned any further. By the time of the crucifixion, we know that Joseph has passed away. For it was only Mary who stood and watched as Jesus died for our sins.

It seems the life of Joseph was obscure. He is not exalted as being anyone special. Yet, I believe He was special in the eyes of the Lord. For just as Mary was chosen of God to be the mother of Jesus. Joseph was chosen to walk with and raise Jesus up.

Though the Bible tells us very little about Joseph, we know He was a man of great faith. For He trusted and believed God. He walked with the Lord and enjoyed fellowship with him.

Somedays, it is easy to think that our lives don’t count. That we aren’t anyone special. We get stuck in the mundane and feel insignificant.

Yet the truth is, we are special in the eyes of the Lord. He sees and knows everything we do. Nothing we do is insignificant. For when we live for and do all things as unto the Lord, He is pleased. When we trust and believe him, though others question us and though we don’t understand, He is honored as Lord.

Joseph like Mary was no one special. He was not some grand king or from a great family line. He was a simple carpenter. Who worked with his hands and sought to daily provide for his growing family. I’m sure there were many days he wondered at God’s plans and purposes for Him. Yet, in the eyes of the Lord, he was significant.

And in the same way, we too are significant.

This Christmas, let us not lose sight of the little things. Christ could have been born in a grand palace. He could have been born into a royal family. But he was not. He was born in a stable and placed in a manger. It was mere shepherds who were told of his birth and visited him at the stable. (Yes, sorry the wise men were not there, they came to his house probably a year or so later).

Yet, in the eyes of God, this was the night that changed the course of history. The night when God took on flesh and dwelt among us. Setting into action the plans for redemption that God had established from the foundation of the world.

Just a little night in Bethlehem… Just a simple young girl…. Just a Carpenter…. Just a few shepherds…

By no means, though simple and seemingly obscure, all of these things brought forth the Savior of the World.

I’m learning that Christmas is not about the fanfare. It isn’t about the lights, presents, food, family or songs. It is about Jesus and enjoying Him in the little things.

For He is there in the laughter of your child, the twinkle in your husband’s eyes. He’s there in the simple, daily task we must face each day.

Let us not miss Jesus this Christmas!!!

Mary’s Response

Mary's responseI love Christmas. The lights, the songs, the silly movies…

But I love reading the stories of Christmas as well.

And Mary’s song in response to the angels visitation is amazing.

She has just been confronted with some astounding news. Though she is young, is not married, and is a virgin. An angel of the Lord has just told her that she will have a baby. And not just any baby, the Son of God. Whose name she is to call, JESUS.

I can’t begin to imagine what  I would have thought. The questions, fears, concerns I would have felt. I’m sure I would have been full of unbelief. I would have worried what my betrothed would think. What my family would think. What the people in town would believe.

Yet, we see none of this in Mary. The Scriptures don’t tell us what life was like for Mary in the months leading up to the Saviors birth. But, I have a hard time believing it was smooth sailing. I’m sure there was much gossip concerning Mary’s “vision.” Many who probably said unkind things.

However, all Mary could say was, “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said!”

Wow!!! Here is a young girl, confronted with news that will forever change her life, and her only response is to proclaim that she is the Lord’s servant.

Many times when we are hit with difficult news, we fight and resist it.

Not stopping to think that, this situation, this news is from the Lord. That this circumstance is part of the Father’s plan.

Instead we doubt, we question, we worry and fret. While all along, the Lord is right there with us, seeking to grow us and change us into the image of His beloved Son.

Mary wasn’t done. For after the angel had left, Mary hurried into town to see her aunt Elizabeth. If the angel’s visit wasn’t enough, seeing her barren aunt pregnant  I’m sure confirmed all the angel had said.

And Mary broke into song, proclaiming

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my Spirit rejoices in 

God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of

his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed,

for the Mighty One has done great things for me- holy is his name….(Luke 1:46-49)

Though Mary could have been angry at the sudden interruption of her life. Though she could have been frustrated with the Lord and His plans. She was not.

Instead she rejoiced in what the Lord had done. Rejoiced that she, a simple peasant girl was chosen of God to bear the Savior of the World. She recognized that the Lord had done great things through her and blessed His name.

Many times we don’t understand the ways of God. We can’t grasp the plans of God or understand His ways. But, I’m convinced that if we could just see things the way Mary did, we’d rejoice.

For from the creation of time, the Lord was mindful of our sinful state.

From the beginning, He knew He would have Jesus come born of a virgin, only to die for our sins.

Every day the Lord is mindful of us, though we deserve nothing. He is there meeting our needs and working in our lives for His good purposes.

Just the fact that the God of the Universe is mindful of us, is amazing.

But just as the Lord did great things through His servant Mary, He too can do great things through us. As we yield our lives to Him.

May our response be like that of Mary. May we recognize that we are merely servants of the Lord. Acknowledging that the Lord, He is God.

That we might see “life” through His eyes. Grasping His great love for us, and recognizing the great things He does and is doing in and through us.

 

Zechariah’s Song

Zechariah's songIt has been months since he’d been able to speak, all because of his unbelief. Yet, the day finally arrived for his wife to have the baby. The one they had prayed for, so many years. At his birth, everyone assumes his name will be Zechariah, but Elizabeth says no, his name will be John. The people began to talk amongst themselves, and say none of your relatives are named John. Finally, Zechariah ask for a writing tablet, upon which he writes the words, “His name is John (Luke 1:63).” Immediately his voice returned, and he could speak. All who saw and heard of this, knew that this child was from God.

Zechariah then burst into song proclaiming that John would indeed be great, but that one greater than he was to come. He proclaimed that John would prepare the way for the One who would come “to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, to enable us to serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days (Luke 1:74-75).”

Zechariah sang of the One who would, “give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of sins, because of the tender mercy of God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace (Luke 1: 77-79).”

What a beautiful song, what a beautiful Savior!

The birth of our Savior is indeed a time to celebrate, a time to sing, and like Zechariah to proclaim who Jesus is, and what is to come.

Because of Jesus we can worship and serve the Lord all of our days. Because of Jesus we can know salvation, and be forgiven of sins. Because of Jesus, we can be a light for those living in darkness.

Because of Jesus.

Christmas is a time to celebrate our Savior, a time to rejoice in all The Father accomplished through the sending of His son.

May we like Zechariah sing of our Savior, proclaiming His goodness, His grace, His mercy, and His salvation, for all to hear!

 

 

 

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