Sunday, December 8, 2013

Mary Knew

“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

Mary had just received a visit from an angel, probably a very scary experience, who told her that she was going to have a baby.  But Mary knew this was physically impossible. He told her that her son would be King over a kingdom that would never end. And Mary knew that her husband was from the line of David, but that this was not his baby. Then the angel told her that the Holy Spirit would accomplish all these things. And then what Mary knew changed a little, “for nothing will be impossible with God,” he told her.

What is Mary’s response to God’s amazing call on her life to bring the Most High God, Savior of the universe into the world? “Yes, Lord. I am Yours. Whatever you say, I’m on board.”

But what about after the baby? What’s next? What about Joseph? How’s HE going to feel about all this? I’m not old enough for this, Lord! I’m not strong enough. I can’t carry the SAVIOR of the WORLD. You said this would happen, but it can’t be ME. I think you’ve got the wrong Mary.

I can just hear all the objectives I would have against such a mind-blowing message. And I hear all the objectives I say even now to God’s call on my life. I mean, granted, I’m not about to birth another Son of God, so no worries, but hasn’t God made promises to me in His word that could be just as powerful in my life?

Going through the application process for dental school is scary, and living life in the in-between is so uncertain.  With no clear road ahead, it has become so clear to me that walking day by day with Jesus is my only clarity.  God is teaching me how important a little faith is. The faith of Mary. The faith to say “Yes”. The faith to believe God. The Bible tells us endless stories of people “who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight…(Heb 11:33-34)”. These people had no idea what God was going to do through them and what legacy they would leave, but they took each small step BY FAITH. 

Mary did not know who this angel was. Mary did not know why He was talking all kinds of crazy things to her. She did not know how all these things would take place or the step-by-step plan, but MARY KNEW her God. And she knew that He was worthy of her faith. And that was all she needed to say “Yes, Lord”

God promises us that if we “seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, all these things (clothing, food, etc) will be given to [us] as well (Matt 6:33)”, so we don’t have to worry.  He says that “surely [He] is with [us] always, to the very end of the age (Matt 28:20)”, so we don’t have to fear. He promises that “all things are possible with God (Mark 10:27)”, so we can believe in His power. He has told us that “in this world [we] will have trouble. But take heart! [He] has overcome the world (John 16:33)”, so we can have peace. We are made aware in Romans 8 that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”, “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us”, “all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose”, and “nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Etc, etc, etc!

The more I look at the promises of God, I realize that we have more than enough reason to have faith and say “Yes, Lord”. I’m thankful for Mary’s example to teach me that even in the midst of all of the things I do not know, God’s promises are something I can be sure of and absolutely hope for.  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

My God is the God Who Provides

It is Friday, two days before my Compassion Sunday Event at church, and my body is hit with a terrible sinus infection where I can barely speak. My entire throat and neck are swollen and hurting, and I am coughing up something unspeakable. I know that this is not looking good for Sunday, seeing as I’m supposed to speak at church and sing during the morning worship.  I continue praying as I have been for weeks for the event and for God to move, but this time I add in a selfish healing prayer as well.
Twenty-four hours before the service Sunday, I find out that a terrible cyclone has hit India, six hours southwest from where my dear friend, Sandeep Maity, lives. Sandeep was a Compassion child in a packet, and through the impact that the Lord has made in his life through Compassion is now a graduate of the university level program in India.  I had the wonderful opportunity of working with him this summer and hearing every week how God used Compassion to change his life.  He is supposed to tell his story during the event Sunday via Skype, and I haven’t been able to even reach him over Facebook since we had last spoken Friday morning.  I have no clue if he and his family are safe or even where they are located.  Even if they are okay, I am afraid that the storm has disturbed the wifi connection, and all hope of him sharing his story was lost.  I am constantly begging Jesus for His intercession. For His miraculous power to take over and His will to be done.  I keep reminding Him (as if He needs to be reminded) of His love for the children of the nations and how we need Him to intervene.  We need Him to cast out any work of the devil keeping His word from being preached and His heart from being shown.  No response.  Nothing.
My throat is getting worse and there is still no response from Sandeep.  Doubt. Fear. Anger.  I arrive at church early to finish setting up my table in the lobby and practice the song I’m supposed to sing. My throat is still throbbing and scratchy, but I decide to praise the Lord through it. He tells us in Psalms to make a joyful noise to the Lord, right? It doesn’t have to be a pretty one, I hope. 
So practice goes well and people have been asking questions at the table, but I still haven’t heard from Sandeep.  Ten minutes before I go on…nothing.  I had lost hope. I tell Brian, our music minister who helped me organize the entire Skype connection (THANK YOU!), that I would just go up and explain about Compassion and try to tell Sandeep’s story as best as I could.  We would just plan on him not speaking. In other words, I was saying God wasn’t going to come through.
Five minutes before…still nothing.  I drop to my knees in the back begging and crying to the Father, “please, God, please come through.” Three minutes til…nothing. 

And then the miracle happens.

 Literally, in less than a minute before I am introduced and making my way to the stage, Sandeep shows up online, calls in, and begins trying to speak to us as I am walking up the stairs.  I introduce him through tears and he blesses our church with his miraculous story of the Gospel.  The connection worked perfectly except for one time when we had to reconnect, but nevertheless, his entire story was told.
Before church was dismissed, we showed the video of Sandeep meeting his sponsor, which is one that will always bring joy to my heart and tears to my eyes, and one I will never tire of seeing.  TWELVE children were sponsored today. TWELVE lives were released from poverty in Jesus’ name. TWELVE families were saved from the cycle of poverty in Africa, Asia, Central America, and South America.

Oh how good is our God.

If you’d like to learn more about Compassion International, you can contact me at, or visit

34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Matthew 24:35-40

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

And time is in His hands...

I graduate from college in 6 weeks.

Wait, what?

Needless to say, there’s a lot of unknown coming my way, and I’m not handling it too well.  You see, I have this trust issue.  I trust the Lord too much. As long as I don’t have to make a decision, I can trust God all day long to provide for me and do what’s best for me and allow me to do His will.  But when it comes to making a decision, I crumble. I second guess. I double think. I am wrecked.  What if I make the wrong one? My decision gives me the option to fail, and I fear failure. 

Of course I tell God these things. I ask for wisdom and discernment. I beg him to just do it for me. Please God, close the doors I don’t need to walk through and open the ones I do. Just guide my heart, God. Guide my passion. I’m so weak. I’m such a coward. For some reason I can’t shake the responsibility I feel. I can’t trust that He’ll provide for me even when I make the wrong decision, and I’m fearful that my sinfulness will prevent me from being all He wants me to be.

Tonight I talked to a missionary from a country near Russia who was visiting his family for a couple of weeks.  He was called on during the youth service to speak on his thoughts of the differences in the Christians in America and the ones in his country.  He talked about how his American friends were going through some drama (even though seemingly less significant than the persecution he faces daily living in a country where it is illegal to be a Christian, but still very important), and that one thing he noticed was that most Christians aren’t turning to Christ for help.

He said, “The question is, IS JESUS ALIVE OR DEAD? Because if he’s alive, then we talk to him and discuss things with him and expect help and an answer.” 

In his country they have NO other choice, but to ask and receive from God. Even the small things come straight from the Provider, because there is no other option.  How often do we escape to movies, empty sayings, other people, or even our own imperfect mind to try to figure things out? Jesus tells us to come to Him and that He will provide for us, and that if we ask we will receive.  He promises that to us!

So in the middle of all the chaos, confusion, and uncertainty about the future, I urge you, along with me, to ask and believe, and we WILL receive.  We will receive the answers we need. We will receive the money we don’t have. We will receive the direction to pick a career. We will receive the love that He so generously gives us.  Because Jesus is dead in a tomb with no power? No, because Jesus is ALIVE! And he has power to do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine.