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How to Develop Night Vision

 

Welcome to our themed Thursday, Simply Trusting. Shall we practice seeing in the dark?

Simply Trusting Thursdays

 

 

I’m sniffling and sneezing when I finally check email. As soon as I start to read, the tears begin to flow and really, can my already stuffy nose swell any bigger?

“My mom passed away in her sleep two years ago,” the email reads. “There was no warning, no sickness, no nothing, just literally here one day and gone the next.” My heart hurts as I read  but what I see next causes an old pain, deep and raw, to be triggered.

“I feel sucker punched.” She says it and I’ve felt it and yes, I’ve walked the maze of wandering. The maze of wondering what God’s intentions really are. I’ve known the words she scratches out:  “I feel betrayed by God.”

My own story, the abandonment there on the other side of the world, in a dark, dirty corner in the middle of nowhere…the mornings I woke up and everything I thought I knew to be true suddenly wasn’t. When everything is snatched out from under you and where is the God you call Rock?

There was that day at church too, when a son came in and tapped the momma on the shoulder and they go to the back. While pastor is delivering the message a blood curdling scream comes from the rear of the building. Uncontrollable sobbing and shrieking and the services stop and we learn that a 14 year old daughter, Emily, was just killed in a car accident.

Years later I look into that momma’s eyes and still she says it, “I know what I should think. But it feels like God stabbed me in the back. He betrayed me.”

Sitting at the kitchen table with a stuffy nose and aching heart, I look outside the kitchen window. How do you live in a world where Creator God stabs in the back? The goldfinches are back, their bright yellow feathers fluff as they make lunch of the sunflowers we planted at the window. But I know how empty beauty is without trust.

Hollow eyes are blind to beauty, blind to the riches of the unseen. Trust is what gives sight.

I type back a response, fanning flickering flames of faith within my own heart, willing the sparks to light another. “Those struggling with betrayal and doubt have much in common with John the Baptist,” I tell her and really, is that a bad thing? John, the forerunner of Christ, the greatest born among women was living his last days on earth….in a prison cell. He had been arrested and imprisoned in Herod’s dungeon.

Away from the Master he had loved from inception, he felt a darkness that reached far beyond the damp, hard cell. This darkness invaded his very soul.

Feeling abandoned, betrayed, and isolated from everything he once believed to be true, the disillusioned follower sent a message to Jesus. “Are you really who you say you are?”

And how many times have I asked that as well… “You say You are good, but really? Are You really trustworthy? Are You really working in my best interests? How can this be right? Are You really in control? Because the entirety of the evidence speaks to the contrary.”

And Jesus sent back a message: “Blessed is he who does not fall away on account of Me.”

Jesus, who did not go to visit His forerunner in prison, gave him a word: “Hold onto your most precious faith! Consider the Word and consider the works and hold onto your faith!”

From Genesis 3 we see it is true, that darkness tries to produce doubt and if he can only succeed in planting that seed, doubt will turn around and magnify the darkness. Darkness and doubt work in connection to steal a person’s greatest asset: the eyes. Darkness does not want us seeing the unseen.

And we must understand what Jesus was telling John: the enemy of our souls is out for that most precious possession we have: our faith. In all the trials, heartaches, and traumas of life, he seeks to add true destruction to injury by robbing us of our faith. He desires us to fail by failing to believe.

This I know. I go back and reread the account of Jesus and John in Matthew 11. His words say it all, “Go tell John the things you hear and the things you see” and sometimes we can be the eyes of faith for another. Sometimes we can be the ears of hope. We can help them see when they cannot see and trust what they cannot hear. We can help others believe what they cannot imagine.

And while none of us holds all the answers, we can indeed have night vision. The vision to see the unseen in the midst of darkness.

How is your vision? Are you good at seeing in the dark? Today, how can you help another see God in their darkness?

 

~Developing your night vision~

1. Sit down and list all the attributes of God you can think of. Slip these attributes on as your night goggles.

2. Take your darkness and see it through God’s attributes. Ex: “Because God is both kind and wise, He arranged these (fill in the blank) circumstances in my life.” Ask Him to show you His goodness, nature, and kind purposes in this. (Psalm 27:13) Repeat this when fears, doubt, and distrust creep back in.

3. Choose to believe that God is who He says He is and ask God to help your unbelief. We get to choose what we believe (even if it isn’t really true!) so choose to believe God.

With practice, we get better at spotting the nature, the good purposes, and the blessed intentions of God, even in the dark. Be intentional about focusing on what is unseen rather than seen. Yes, it takes discipline, but the rewards are worth it and the sooner you start, the further ahead you’ll be.

Suggested resource (on my “to read” list): Lessons I Learned In the Dark ~by blind author Jennifer Rothschild

I’m at Christy’s Place Today…

 

 

A very gracious Christy at Cross Moms has interviewed me for today’s version of Monday’s Mom. {Psst… she has interviewed some great role-model moms  if you have a few minutes to search her archives!} Christy asked me questions like what we do overseas and the greatest struggle and blessing of living outside our home country. So if you want to know a little bit more about our family, hop on over to say hello! See you there :)

Re-Establishing the Supply Lines

 

 

The kids and I drive downtown into the setting sun to hear about the Nuba people. We sing in Arabic and the Sudanese teach us “Yesu gouwa aswa gouwa.” {At least that’s how I sing it.} Jesus is super, super power.

The three men report to our association of churches. They show videos of the lorries filled with grain traveling through the rain into the Nuba mountains. The Nuba people come running. “Who sent this?” they ask. “Where does this come from and why?”

And our brothers, those three men sent out from our churches, girded with the prayers of the brethren and enabled with support, they tell them: “Your brothers and sisters in America have heard about you. They love you and want you to know they care. They sent us to you with food and the love of Christ.”

And the tears trickle down their faces and ours and we all bow low, basked in this Glory.

We watch as the grain goes off the trucks in sacks, carried on shoulders into caves and crevices where mothers and children hide. Then the refugees pile in. Over 500 people pack into those trucks, until they are forced to turn people away. Back down the mountain, through muck and checkpoints and danger, down to the nearest refugee camp.

We praise our Father for the success of this mission and at the end of report time, the floor is opened for questions.

One woman stands up and asks if there is a way to send supplies, things like shoes and clothing. “I have a garage full of clothing I can’t use,” she says.

And Pastor Greg, he says something that lingers long, “It’s not a matter of food and clothing being available. They have these things available and at far lower prices than we could ever get it to them at. Additionally, there are other relief organizations on the ground and governement agencies as well.”

“So it’s not a matter of availability. It’s that the supply lines are broken. They can’t get the supplies to them.”

Pastor Greg explains how the enemy has come in and bombed, creating fear. The people are running for their lives, dispersed and scattered. The supply line needed to move resources has crumbled.

The people starve because there is no way to get the abundance of food in the city up the mountains into the caves.

And long after the service is over, the Spirit speaks the words over and again: “It’s not a matter of availability. My grace is sufficient. But the supply line is down.”

“The supply line is down.”

And don’t the scriptures tell us how the enemy of our souls, he roams and roars? He aims to ignite fear and we scatter and the supply line is cut off and aren’t all the resources of Christ surely always available to us but not always appropriated?

And then, just this blinking headlight in the battle dark…. that faith is the victory. The victory that overcomes the world.

And I see with shocking clarity, that truly the believer’s supply line is our faith and if our faith is down, our resources are cut off. It isn’t that resources aren’t available…they are not appropriated.

“Faith is the source of all graces that we recieve. We are saved by faith. We live by faith. We pray by faith. We walk by faith. We appropriate the filling of the Holy Spirit by faith. By faith we overcome the world. All these blessings and virtues of the Christian life are rooted in faith.”

~Dr. Joon Gon Kim, founder of Campus Crusade’s Korean ministry, as quoted in Vonette Bright’s book “In His Hands”

 

If we are not fully appropriating the sufficiency of Christ, we must tend to our most holy faith.

 

 

“But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith [make progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher], praying in the Holy Spirit.”

~Jude 1:20 (AMP)

 

The Nuba team tells us the plan to establish a church there at the base of those mountains. I can envision it, faith rising like an edifice, stretching from south to north, closing the gaps, re-establishing the supply line.

And with my own battle weary eyes I see it, a faith amongst God’s children the globe over that appropriates all the sufficiency of Christ. Yes, beloved ones, re-establish the supply line. Build yourselves up in your most holy faith.

 

A new themed day here on Thursdays, Simply Trusting… Because faith IS the victory that overcomes and because we ARE commanded to build ourselves up in faith. It’s how we are to live and how we are to appropriate all the riches of Christ. I invite you to join us as we learn together?

 

How To Build Faith~The Foundation

Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

A steady diet of God’s Word is the foundation of faith. Do you have a Bible reading plan? I personally use the The One Year Chronological Bible for longer reading spells. One very helpful resource we use as a family is the Daily Light Devotional, which includes two short scripture portions for each day.

Has your supply line been cut off?

What is your plan to build yourself up in the faith?

Start your reading plan today… 

Simply Trusting Thursdays

 

 

 

For Where Else Can We Go?

 

 

 

How He Heals

simply trusting button

 

 

“My father used to beat me,” he says. “It’s really the only thing I remember from my childhood….the fear.

“My Daddy…I’d beg him to stop. ‘Just please, please Daddy, no more.’ But he wouldn’t listen.”

I see the tears in Jackson’s eyes as he listens. The love trickles down. I gulp back the ache in my throat. “I’ve struggled with fear my whole life,” Mr. Clyde says it, this missionary man, this father, this fellow broken one. Yes, broken ones know fear.

All I can think about are those Israelites. They left Egypt wounded, weary from oppression. Broken. They’d jumped to the commands of others their whole lives and had the scars to prove it.

Sure, they finally had their freedom, but they were accustomed to slavery. They had grown up looking over shoulders. All they’d known was the whip. How do you live free when you’ve never had freedom? How do you stop fearing when fear is all you’ve ever known?

And for this, God does the strangest thing.

He takes this broken people aside, introduces Himself as Yahweh-Rapha, the God who heals…then He leads them into deep deprivation. First, no food. Then, no water. Then, He allows the weakest of them to be attacked from behind in unexpected onslaught.

They are a weak, wounded, untrained, abused people… not warriors. Not miracle workers. 

And this is how Rapha God brings healing?

“These last few months have nearly killed me,” Mr. Clyde says. “My oldest son has embraced an “alternative lifestyle.” One of my daughters was expelled from school for smoking and drinking. Someone anonymously called our mission agency to report supposed sexual abuse on my part towards my daughters. I’ve had attorneys and investigations and suspicions…all of them completely unfounded.”

Then Mr. Clyde says it: “You know what all this has done? It’s made me face my fears.”

Mr. Clyde, he’s known the deprivation of the wilderness. He’s thirsted for relief. He’s wondered where sustanence will come from. He’s been attacked from behind. And he’s discovered that circumstances don’t have to matter.

Like the Israelites, he’s learned it doesn’t really matter if your greatest fears come truebecause no matter what, I AM is always Enough. Really.

I AM is the  Bread when you hunger and your belly aches.

I AM is the Rock when the world spins crazy.

I AM is the Water in the dryness.

I AM is the shelter from the scorching heat.

I AM is the blanket of comfort.

I AM is the Warrior who covers in victory.

For each and every need, I AM is ENOUGH.

 

It’s what the wilderness teaches.

If we let it.

Who would have thought? Maybe this is why we run from the wilderness instead of embrace it. We don’t realize how Rapha God heals. We don’t understand how He drives out fear. We don’t see how He makes us desperate only to give us something better…much better.

Mr. Clyde, he tells us he’s starting over. He’s moving to Texas, out to the middle of nowhere. He’ll be living in a small home his brother has. He doesn’t have possessions and he’s lost his reputation. He doesn’t have a job lined up and he sure doesn’t know what the future holds. And sadly, he doesn’t have children with their faith intact.

But he’s not afraid anymore. The wilderness has trained him to rely solely on His God.

And He has not disappointed.

I look at Mr. Clyde and I do believe that’s water from the Jordan clinging to his clothes. He has crossed over from wilderness wandering into the blessed land of abundance. He has learned how to dig deep into Jesus and find in Him all he needs. No matter what.

Yes. This is the portion of the broken. If only we will trust.

 

“Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you.

Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors.

He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good.”

Deuteronomy 8:2-5

Simply Trusting Thursdays

 

Beginning something new here on Thursdays~ a themed day about trust. Simply trusting… because no matter what, in Him we are complete.

How to Live Open-Handedly

 

We get the text and I begin to fret.

Their family is using the van during vacation. We’ve told them we want to give them the van when we leave for the field in a few weeks. This cycle of grace spinning ’round. 

But now, the engine light is on and the family doesn’t want to deal with it until the end of the week, when vacation is wrapping up.

I have a nagging feeling of how this is going to play out. “Why can’t they stop and get it checked?” I wonder. “They are going to blow the engine like they did on their own van, then expect us to fix it and give it back to them.”

I grumble to Jackson about everyone taking advantage of him. “Friends stick you with stuff because they know you’ll do it. They know good ole Jackson will literally give the shirt off his back. Why can’t someone else give up the shirt every once in awhile?”

I know it’s ugliness boiling up in me. I know it’s bitter and corrosive and likely to eat me up. I sound like Job’s wife, even to my own ears but somehow I can’t stop it.

Jackson looks at me and smiles sadly at my poor attitude. “Do you know why I do it? I don’t do it for them. I do it for God.”

I’m glad for him, I really am. I’m glad he can always be the one put out and be fine with it.

But I can’t.

I feel like prey for vultures.

Jackson sees how it’s eating me up, how I’m worried about replacing an engine while our own needs mount. He gently pulls me aside. “People who trust,” he begins and I break down.

Trust. Isn’t that what it’s always about?

And Jackson reminds me that people who trust see the glory of God. “Christians who live close-handed will never see God in the ways they could have.”  That’s what Jackson tells me and that’s how Jackson lives, even if he gets burned.

“God, help me,” I pray as we turn back the sheets on the bed. “I feel so bitter right now and I don’t want to be. I want to live open-handedly, even if it does take everything.”

Midst the brokenness, He speaks. “Do you remember the widow’s mite?” He asks. “She gave everything she had. Everything. Do you really think she was the worse off for it?”  His question rouses me, exposes my true condition. Of course I don’t believe she was worse off, at least that’s what I would say…but do I live that way?

Do I refuse to give up my last mite, cluching to it tightly like a security blanket? Am I only willing to give out of my excess? Do I profess an all-sufficient Lord but live like He’s anything but sufficient? And doesn’t the test of what I truly believe lie in what I do with my last mite?

The gentle Savior whispers to me. “Which would you rather have…your finances shored up? Or trust?”

And suddenly, it isn’t hard anymore. I’m a blind man seeing again.

There are things more valuable than security and safety. Trust is one of them.

Yes, I’m desirous of trust.

When we exercise faith to the point of giving that most precious to us, we experience the very nature of God.

 

 

“For God so loved the world that He gave…”

 

 

This giving, loving nature of God must be the object of truest trust.

Right there, He offers an invitation…  What if, instead of seeing the engine as an expense, I trusted and gave it?

What if I didn’t stop at the engine and my whole approach to life changed? What if, instead of calculating how I could be a minimalist, I became a maximist, seeking to give the absolute most of time, treasure, talent, affection, approval, encouragement, grace…whatever the moment demanded?

What if instead of cutting costs, protecting interests, reserving resources, what if we got a vision for how we could trustingly give them up?

 

By giving the last little we have, we could all become maximists.

 

Oh yes, I’m in.

I open the hand and let go. I discover the essence of Glory. I’m becoming a maximist.

 

“Did I not tell you that if you believe  {trust} , you would see the Glory of God?”

~John 11:40

 

And an invitation to join us on Thursdays for Simply Trusting? Because faith is the victory that overcomes the world and trust is best restored in community.

Linking up with Women Living Well.

 

Son of the Underground

 

 

In this post, I shared one of my favorite books  and how it has greatly impacted my life. Brother Yun is a modern day Apostle Paul~ although he would never claim the similarity~ and to have him living in our day and time is truly a gift from God.

So…when I was given the chance to review his son’s book, “Son of the Underground,” I couldn’t accept fast enough.

As you might expect, Son of the Underground: The Life of Isaac Liu, son of Brother Yun, the Heavenly Man, tells the story of Isaac Liu’s growing up years.

Isaac was born while his father was in prison and the two did not meet until Isaac was four years old. Here is his recounting of the meeting:

 

“The front door is locked and I have already fallen asleep on my mat. Eventually my mother wakes me up and says, “Your father has come home.”

I hold her hand and move awkwardly to the door to peer distrustfully at this stranger. He crouches down and stretches his arms out to me- but I hide behind my mother. This strange man seems quite sinister to me. What does he have to do with me? Is he bad after all?

Then I see my father go down on his knees. He prays loudly and passionately; he praises God for my life; he extols God’s goodness and His will. Then he blesses me.

These tones are familiar to me. While he is praying, I go to him and fling my arms around his neck. Now we are all kneeling on the stamped- down clay, thanking God for His goodness and His help.”

 

Isaac shares about the spiritual heritage his grandparents and parents left him. His recounting includes the victories and the failures and is rich with examples to imitate.

Isaac also shares about when he hated God. There came a time when both of his parents were in prison for their faith. He and his sister had to flee to avoid being taken by the authorities. If taken, they would be placed in an “approved school” and brainwashed to abandon their faith.

As the children fled, church members were there to hide them. Facing great danger, these men and women transported them to another city and found a Christian woman for them to live with.

God had certainly preserved their lives and their faith, but their living conditions were very bad, they didn’t fit in at school, and they missed the rural environment. Isaac writes,

 

“All in all, it became too heavy a burden for me. I got angry with God and felt very embittered.

I had of course been through a lot with God, but in this city he seemed to me to have become small and ineffective. My hatred of this puny little God was so great that I decided never to become a preacher.

I understand now how it’s possible for people living through terrible circumstances to be unable to believe in God’s love. For me the realization came later, when I was seventeen, that even if I could hate God, He still loved me. He didn’t abandon me, even when at thirteen I wanted to stop following Him.

 

There is so much packed into this little book. To have stories like these available {and in English!} is truly a blessing. Isaac’s book is suitable for the entire family and it is my pleasure to recommend it.

 

Disclosure: I received a free review copy of Son of the Underground: The Life of Isaac Liu, son of Brother Yun, the Heavenly Man from Kregel. I received no compensation for this post. My opinion is my own. Some of the links above are affiliate links.

How to be a Confident Mom

 

How good are you at recognizing insecurity in yourself?

Becoming a confident mom starts with knowing the three basic types of insecurity.

Join me at The Better Mom to discover the 3 types as well as the one weapon to overcoming insecurity.

The One Essential for Mommas

 

A momma sits home alone with a broken heart. She feels she’s lost her beloved child. She remembers nursing this precious one, rubbing little toes, getting slobbery kisses, catching bugs together, giving piggyback rides.

Now, her child is beyond reach.

Every mother grieves with her. We know the fear of losing our children to the world and Satan.

But we need to be very careful how we respond to our fears of this happening or to the reality that it already has.

Click here for every momma’s hope, even if our child is beyond our reach.

The Knowing God Family Activity Guide, Volume I provides 20 fun, interactive family devotions with related activities that will introduce you and your children to the names of God.

Activities include making a clay masterpiece, playing flashlight tag, having a tea party, going on a treasure hunt and much more. The goal is to introduce children to God’s character in interactive and engaging ways {which is how God teaches us!}

To receive Volume I, simply subscribe to Arabah. The download link is at the bottom of each post I write. Enjoy!

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