Tag Archives: believing

The Christian must have patience

God works by stages

David wasn’t instantly made king. He had to flee from Saul for years and raise an army in a cave in the desert.

Joseph wasn’t named instantly the vice president of Egypt. He had to work first as a slave, then in the jail.

Abraham didn’t instantly get his baby boy. He had to wait around 25 years and in doing so panicked and came up with his own plan, having a child with Hagar — and that brought him great headaches.

It’s hard to wait on God, but waiting is part of God’s plan. He is patient with us. Why shouldn’t we be patient with Him?

Normally, you won’t understand what the Heaven God is currently doing in your life. Only after the fact do things make sense. This is a great truth that requires wisdom: God works in stages.

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There was opposition going forward

the fat of the land

“The fat of the land” was the King James version translation of the prosperity and blessing promised to the Israelites once they took possession of their God-destined territory. But there were significant obstacles — giants and stuff and heavily fortified cities.

When the Israelites finally mustered their courage, God blasted the walls in a way that puts modern demolition crews to shame. And the giants weren’t such a problem. Boys with slingshots took them out. Why did the first generation succumb to fear, doubt God and die in the desert? Yeah, in THAT place, they lived on the “lean of the land.”

Not everybody sees “fat” as bad around the world. In Nicaragua, they call a chubby guy “hermoso” — beautiful. That’s because in places where malnutrition is a chronic health issue, chubbiness is seen as healthy and blessed. Here in America, we’re blessed, but our forefathers had to act with great courage to win those blessings for us.

I encourage you to courage. Don’t stay in your comfort zone. Take up the greatest challenge God is stirring you to because that’s where His blessing is for you.

Fear and loathing in Los Angeles (and Guatemala)

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I conquered fear for 16 years. As a result, there’s a church and Christian school in Guatemala.

It was a contest of scary stories, but these were real — about assaults. The people one-upping each other were pastors in Guatemala. As the only gringo in the group, I begged them to stop since they worked worse in my mind. The Guatemalans gave accounts of the times they were held up at gunpoint or at knifepoint sometimes out of humor. I never got the joke.

Eventually the terror of the reigning insecurity in Guatemala got the best of me, and I high-tailed it to the U.S. Guatemala is nation dominated by drug-traffickers. Government officials are too busy stealing from the country. Police officers join the fray. You never know who to fear more, the crooks or the police officers.

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By the time I succumbed to fear, God had raised up leaders to take over and keep the work going.

I held out in faith for 16 years, but when I got held up by pros, after exchanging money at the bank, I was afraid for my kids. They would rapt them and demand ransom.

Please don’t be glib. You can spout scripture (“perfect love casts out all fear” comes to mind) from here in the United States where you face virtually no threat. But I’ll listen to a person who has been through worse things than me.

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The smiles are worth whatever fears I had. People have come to Christ.

Not all fear is bad. As David Bowie observed grimly: There are no atheists on the battlefield. Those who face death daily don’t have the luxury to flout their intellectual pride and declare themselves free-thinkers. Those who face fear hold to faith. I believe David Bowie, after promoting so much sin during his musical career, came to God at the end. Selling records and making money was cool, but it was useless to solve the death problem. Only God can do that.

Have you conquered all fears? Maybe you just haven’t had a big enough trial yet. You don’t fear God? Some go into eternity sticking to their pridefulness and insisting they don’t believe in God.

 

Get out of the campsite (and other life lessons from Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park)

lessons for life | Angel's Landing

If you never try in life, you will miss all the breath-taking views and the thrill of achievement.

1. Get out of the campsite. It represents playing it safe. No risk means no reward. Angel’s Landing hike info came with ample warnings: strenuous, dangerous, arduous. Plus, who knew if was even interesting. Had we hearkened to worry, we would have missed one of the best views in the world. A challenge beckons. Take a challenge.

Angel's Landing hike | Zion National Park

The trail is chiseled into the sandstone up the cliff wall. Impressive and fun!

2. You never know how far you can go until you try. The hike in Zion National Park was too long. I told my family that when we get tired, we turn back. But we kept going, tantalized by the possibility of another spectacular view. And we made it to the very end. It’s called Angel’s landing because the narrow ledge is so high up and so remote, that it was said that only angels could alight there.

Angel's Landing | Zion National Park

The trail follows the ridge to the left of Rob’s shoulder. It looks daunting but actually is not difficult if you just take one step at a time.

3. Keep your momentum going. Don’t get overwhelmed by the distance nor the elevation ahead. Just put one foot ahead of another. If you’re trying to get free from drugs or trying to establish a business, just do your best progress today. When you are working well, don’t slow. I breezed through the heart-breaking 21 switchbacks because I felt a second wind, and I just kept going.

Angel's Landing | Zion National Park4. Stick with you group. At some point, I left my wife behind because I thought she didn’t want to go the whole way. Oops! What a jerk I was. Because I left her behind, she got upset at me. Stay with those who have always stayed with you. Let your individual triumphs be group triumphs.

5. The spectacular is ahead. The view from Angel’s Landing was almost the best I’ve ever seen in the world (Yosemite tops it). Had I never tried, I would have never known. Too often we don’t even try something because we think it involves more effort than its worth.

Far gone?

far gone

image thanks to http://www.fanpop.com

Hope your family. Chance to get married. Dismal finances. Failing health. Forgiveness.

You may feel its too far gone. Happy days or wonderful dreams now seem other-worldly.

Such was the case of Jacob. His favorite son, Joseph, disappeared years ago, apparently victim to a savage animal. His other sons brought him proof of the horrid incident: a bloodied garment.

FOURTEEN YEARS later, Joseph surfaces in Egypt. He never was killed. He was sold in slavery. He’s been promoted to prime minister of Egypt. Jacob simply can’t believe his ears. He gave up hope so long ago and resigned himself to bitterness that now he dares not believe the report.

God has a way of bringing back to you impossibly lost days and dreams. That’s why you need to keep believing.

Broke girls as praying girls

from Pinterest

from Pinterest

Being broke is good — for prayer.

I often rued the crushing mortgage that crowded my prayer time. Wouldn’t it be wonderful just to pray for souls and not have to worry about dollars? Alas, now I no longer have such mind-numbing payments — and now (I’m ashamed to admit) it’s hard to raise the temperature of my prayers.

from Pinterest

from Pinterest

Don’t despair the problem driving you to your knees! Worse is flatlining! The Salvation Army’s founder went so far as to say he wanted his workers in debt to guarantee they would constantly pray!

When the answer does not immediately come, there is a need for patience. Don’t stress out, burn out or flame out. Stick to prayer. God is answering!

I haven’t seen the “Two Broke Girls,” the

from Pinterest

from Pinterest

latest drivel from Hollywood. I only know that being broke — whether you’re two girls, three guys, or a ministerial family — has a flip side.

Don’t expect the expected

No joke! This is what it’s like.

For over a year, we didn’t have a car. As missionaries in Guatemala, that meant we took either the bus (dangerous) or the taxi (expensive).

I kept thinking that eventually God would touch some gringo‘s heart, and s/he would get us some new wheels (I cracked the block by driving my old car into undrained water on the highway during a tropical storm). Waiting for some gringo to step up seemed logical: I was connected to ministers in the States; they have money.

It wasn’t new, and it didn’t come wrapped up like this.

I kept praying. I believed God. I imagined how the answer would come.

But it didn’t come the way I imagined. It was not a gringo, but a Guatemalan (and a poor one!), who gave me his car. This shock taught me that God dredges up resources from the most unexpected places.

From the least expected place. God brought water — out of a rock.

When it comes to God, I won’t say, “Expect the unexpected” (because that is cliché). Instead, I will say, “When it comes to God, don’t expect the expected.” He’s always got a new trick up His sleeve.

The Fiat from the Dark Ages was no luxury car, but it got us around. Steven Fernandez, the gringo pastor who took over in my absence, is now driving it. Hope you like it, Pastor Steve!

‘Perhaps today’

No two words hold more inspiration. They hang inside the prayer room at my church. Laconic but powerful: At any point, the answer will come, maybe even today.

If you knew that your long-awaited-for request were to be answered today, how earnestly, joyfully, expectantly would you pray? Do it.

Even if the answer DOESN’T come today, if you pray like it will, it MAY come today. “Perhaps today” fires up faith, and faith moves God.

If there have been tomes written on faith, this is faith’s haiku: Perhaps today. No more need be said.