Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Answer to “Why”

I recently listened to this interview with Naghmeh Abedini, wife of Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini who is serving an eight-year prison sentence for his faith.  I was touched by his answer to the “why” question in regards to suffering.

There is no way to compare my “suffering” or trials with what this family has gone through, but the answer to my “why” questions is the same.  The answer is “Who” – Who is in control.

The answer to the "why" is "Who." Who is in control? The Lord Jesus Christ is in control. I desire for you to learn important lessons during these trying times, lessons that you carry now for the rest of your life. The answer to the "why" is "Who." The confusion of "why has all of this happened," and why your prayers are not answered is resolved with understanding Who is in control—the Lord Jesus Christ, our God.

God is in control of that whole world and everything that is happening in it, for His good purpose, for His glory, and will be worked out for our good (Romans 8:28). Jesus allows me to be kept here for His glory. He's doing something inside each of us and also outside in the world.

--Saeed Abedini, in a letter to his daughter for her 8th birthday

I have recently asked a lot of “why” questions.  Why deputation?  Why does it take so long?  Why did we wait to start until we had four children?  Why isn’t there another way?  Why twins?  Why is child training so difficult?

The answer is “Who.”  Who is in control?  The Lord.  He has designed this process for me and my family, at this time.  He has designed it to mold us more into the image of Christ.  He has designed it to make us more of a testimony of the Gospel and it’s power to change lives.  He has designed it to teach us to rely on Him for everything, even our “daily bread.”  He has designed it to give us more ministry experience and to let us see other churches in operation and to hear stories of successful church plants so that when we go to the Bronx we are armed with lessons learned from the experience of others.

The answer to “why” is “Who.”  That’s a powerful thought that can realign my focus to where it needs to be – on Christ.

Answer to Why jpg

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Pouring in the Scriptures

Bible Pictures

Being a mom of little kids can be exhausting physically – and spiritually.  So many times I come to the end of my day or my week, and to my shame I realize how little time I have spent in prayer or in reading the Word of God.  And the time that I have spent in those activities has been in five minutes here or a whispered quick prayer there.  Rarely is it a large chunk of time that I get to indulge in my devotional time.

But when I am running on empty and feeling dry, that is when I really need to pour the Scriptures into my life and speak the truth to my heart.  If I don’t I will trip and fall into that trap of the enemy – again.  I will make a mess of relationships and situations – again.  I will rely on myself – again.  This is so dangerous because Romans 7:18 says “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing…”

And yet sometimes it is just impossible to carve out that chunk of time.  Many times I can do it if I choose to – if I check Facebook less often, or shorten my nap, or leave the dishes in the sink.  But there are times when I just can’t get up earlier because I’ve been up all night with the baby.  Or I can’t find quiet time because the kids are acting out today. 

The Lord has shown me some creative ways that I can still pour the Scriptures into my heart, and meditate on the truth of God.

  • “Decorate” my house with the Word of God.  When a verse or passage really speaks to my heart or to the situation I am facing, I print it out and hang it in a visible place in my home.  I have a cluster of verses on the wall where I will see them first thing in the morning.  All of my kitchen cabinets are covered in verses.  This helps me to see God’s Word many times through the day and be reminded to meditate on it or pray it for my family and friends.
  • Listen to sermons.  We don’t have a washing machine, so someone has to spend a couple of hours at the laundry mat each week.  I load up my iPhone with podcasts (Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss) and sermons (Ambassador Baptist College Chapel) and I listen as I work.  I play them while I’m in the shower and the kids are busy elsewhere.  I play them in the car when we’re driving.  God always uses the sermon/podcast next in my list to be just what I need at that moment.  This has been so helpful also since I often don’t get to sit through a whole church service without leaving to feed the babies.
  • Play Christian music in the home.  Sometimes it is just too much noise, but I try to have background music on as much as possible.  Even just a phrase that I catch as I pass through the room will stick in my head throughout the day and encourage or challenge me.
  • Teach my children.  God is using parenting my littles to really refine several areas in my own life.  And so often the song I choose to teach them, or the Bible story we read has one application to them, and a different facet of an application to my own life and situation.  He challenges me, encourages me, and convicts me as I teach my children.  Even just the simple prayers that they offer to God are a challenge to me.  They are so faithful to remember certain people, never forgetting to mention them in prayer.  And often I wish I was that dedicated to prayer for others.

How about you?  How do you keep the Scriptures a priority when time seems short or your season of life is so overwhelming?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Little Yes


Abandoning all to Him.  Surrender.  Living with open hands.  Open to whatever God chooses to place into them or take out of them.  It can be a very fearful thing.  Never knowing what God has planned.  And while I made that one “big yes” to God (Romans 12:1) as a teenager, I often struggle to say “yes” moment by moment, day by day.

It’s not the big plans of my life that I have trouble relinquishing.  It’s not who I will marry or where I will live, or what is my career.  Many of those questions have been answered already (at least for now).  It’s the little plans.  Letting Him control the path of my day when I had so many things that I wanted to accomplish. 

It’s the “I wanted to do __________ during naptime but the baby won’t sleep.”

It’s the “I never get time for myself.”

It’s the “Why are all of my kids sick, again?”

It’s the “I’m so tired of changing diapers and washing dishes and wiping up spills.”

In those mundane, everyday tasks and plans which are so necessary to daily life.  That is where I resist.  That is where I hold back.  That is where I try to force my plans instead of opening my hand to God’s agenda for my day. 

That is where I must surrender.

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
Matthew 16:24