Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Mountain, a Field, and a Chessboard with Friends

Weeks Review 1/15 - 1/28
     So a couple weeks ago, the eight of us interns were joined by Eloy and his wife Rondah who are going to be with us during our three months here at the ranch and then are going to leave and help in the mission field in Kenya. Their two youngest children came with them – Erica who’s 17 and Joey who’s 13. The unity that God has created among the eight of us interns has definitely spread to include them into the group. They’re really a great family – except for Joey when he beats me at chess (but I let him win – haha just kidding).
     The weather here can be described in one word – snowy. I have a hunch that whoever wrote the song “Let it Snow” probably didn’t live in Montana! The snow has been fairly consistent these past couple of weeks, and at least half of our mornings have been spent shoveling snow before breakfast. Don’t get me wrong – it’s beautiful when it’s coming down, but as soon as it hits the ground, it’s just not as appealing to look at when you know you’ll be the one who has to shovel it.
     I don’t want to give you the wrong impression, though. It’s not just all work and study here. There’s a mountain named Dog Mountain near the ranch which we can easily see from the dining room as we eat our meals. It’s beautiful, and one Friday afternoon a group of us hiked up to the top of it and could see the ranch, the lake, and all of the beautiful creation God made. We brought some guns, and at the top of the mountain, we interns got to shoot them. I got to shoot a 44mag; my aim wasn’t too good, but since that was my first time using a firearm, I didn’t really expect much from myself.
     So yeah, that’s about all that’s been going on these past couple of weeks – oh wait, I lied. There was one more little thing that happened a few days ago – we got our field assignments! I mentioned it in a previous blog, but if you didn’t read that one yet, I suggest you do. Usually, the pastoral staff doesn’t assign the interns their placements this early, but since Pastor Mike was about to leave on tour, they gave us our field placements on Thursday afternoon. I can’t wait to go on the field! It’s going to be so great watching how God’s going to work through us interns while we are in a different country.
     Thank you for everyone who is keeping me and the others here in your prayers. It’s so great for us here to know that we have people back home who are praying for us. Please keep it up. God bless.

Friday, January 27, 2012

1 Corinthians 12:11

Friday 1/27/12

1 Corinthians 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

     God distributes His gifts as He wills. He’s sovereign and always does what pleases Him. So then, if God gives spiritual gifts (and any blessing for that matter) to us according to His will, the question becomes “What kind of personality does God have – one to withhold things from me or one to give freely? Is He going to stingily withhold a blessing from me just because He can?” Well, there are countless verses in the Bible that show us God’s loving and generous character. In Jeremiah 29:11, for instance, He says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” This is God’s will for every Christian’s life. Concerning spiritual gifts, He desires to give us just the right gift(s) for what He has planned for our lives. I marvel at how He desires to give us every good thing; and those things are given to us as He wills and in His timing. We don’t have to worry about proving ourselves first or passing some test before He’ll bless us with the gifts we need. God is a loving father who desires to give good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11).

     I know I am loved greatly by my Heavenly Father and will ask Him to give me a thankful heart today and help me see His blessings, gifts, and working in my life. At the end of the day, I will thank God for at least three specific things that He did or showed me today.

So The Country I'm Going To For Six Months Is......

     So Thursday was a day that everyone here at the ranch was waiting for – specifically we interns. It was assignment day. Yup, it was the day we finally got our assignments to which country we would be serving for the next six months starting in April. Would we be sent to El Salvador, Costa Rica, Uganda, or Kenya? There was no doubt that this was the question floating around in every one of our minds. So where did I get sent to you want to know? Well, I could tell you in a simple one or two-word answer – or I could tell you the story….

     For years even before I thought of coming to Potter’s Field Ranch I desired to work with orphans in Latin and South America. Even though this was a noble ambition, I wanted it so much that God started speaking to my heart and showing me that I was loving working with kids more than Him and that it had become an idol in my life. I began confessing  it to Him and asking Him to take back His rightful place in my heart.  
     So, when I was contemplating coming to PFR, I heard that they had a few different places where the interns could serve and that one of them was El Salvador which had an orphanage. That was great news! However, I soon found out that the pastors would have the final say of where we would go. After learning that, I was wondering if I should go to PFR since there was a chance that I might get sent to Africa which I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt was not the desire of my heart. But I still felt that God was calling me here and knew that He could do anything and if He wanted me to go to El Salvador, He would put it on the pastors’ hearts.
     However, while I was here these past few weeks, I would still take advantage of dropping hints letting any of the staff know that my heart was at El Salvador and was hoping to get sent there. Meanwhile, God was still working on my heart, showing me that I was struggling with putting before Him my desire to go to El Salvador and work with the orphans and kids there. We interns were assigned a book called Pursuit of Happiness by Tozer. In one of the chapters, Tozer talks about Abraham and how he had to lay down Isaac and be willing to sacrifice him before God would give him back. Tozer mentioned how we have Isaacs in our lives and have to be willing to lay them down if we want to pursue God and let Him take His rightful place in our lives. Of course, while I was reading that chapter, I knew my “Isaac” was my desire to be going to El Salvador. So for some time, I had been going back and forth with trying to lay my desire down and asking God to be the most important thing in my life – but it wasn’t easy. At times I would refrain from dropping hints to the staff about where I wanted to go so that I could just trust God; but at other times I found myself still doing it.
     Well, the night before the pastors were going to meet and make their decision on our assignments, Tony, the guys’ RA, told us to write down on a piece of paper where we each thought God was calling us. “This was it!” I thought. I still thought God was calling me to go to El Salvador and this was a way that God would allow me to make my thoughts known. “Make sure you write where you think God is calling you and not yourself,” Tony said before he left. I went up to him and asked him how would I know if it was God telling me or not? “You just will,” was his reply. Thanks, Tony! That didn’t help much! But I still did think God was calling me to El Salvador. So I wrote that down on a piece of paper and gave it to Tony the next morning feeling good.
     After breakfast, Pastor Don McClure was teaching us interns. He taught on Jonathan and mentioned how Jonathan could be friends with David because he was secure in who he was in God. God was enough for him; and even though he was the one in line to be King, he wasn’t threatened by David who was anointed by God to be king instead. I thought of myself and whether God was enough for me or if I needed to be in El Salvador. Pastor Don went on to talk about how Jonathan and his armor bearer alone attacked 20 Philistines against all odds because they just trusted God. He mentioned how there are spiritual senses that are as real as the physical which God wants to develop in us. But sometimes, God wants us to follow our spiritual senses and have faith in Him and what He’s telling us to do even when it goes against our physical senses and all logic. As Pastor Don was teaching, God was putting on my heart so clearly that I should tell Tony that even though I had wanted to go to El Salvador this whole time, that now I believe God was putting Uganda on my heart. Inwardly, (which I would not tell Tony) I still and always did want to go to El Salvador; but I strongly felt that God was calling me to do this to lay down my “Isaac” and have faith in Him.
     So that’s what I did. I laid down my Isaac and told Tony about Uganda and decided to trust God. That day, I was wondering if God would still send me to El Salvador or if He wanted me in Uganda. I still know He had put the desire of Latin America in my heart and that He would give me the desires of my heart as I delight myself in Him. What I didn’t know was when He would give me the desires of my heart. Would He give me the desires of my heart now, or first let me go to Uganda for six months?
     The next day (Thursday), we were all suddenly told to meet in the upper room. We found out that it was time for the pastors to reveal our assignments. My heart was beating fast. I had thought that we were going to have to wait a week or two before they revealed it to us. Knowing that I was about to find out where I was going, I tried telling myself the same thing that I had been since the previous day: that God can use and bless me greatly in Uganda, and if it’s His will I go there, then He knows what He’s doing. I had a hope that God would still send me to El Salvador but didn’t want to get my hopes up in case that wasn’t His plan.
     After Pastor Mike and the other pastors talked a little bit about the assignments, Pastor Mike began letting us know the teams and where we were going.
The results were as follows:

Josh, Megan, and Caitie are going to Costa Rica;
Jordan and Austin are going to Kenya;
Jesse and Shaquanah are going to El Salvador…….
 And me –
I’m going to El Salvador, too.

     I thank God for what He’s doing in my life, but please still pray for me. God’s revived my Isaac, but pray that although He’s given it back to me, I don’t hold onto my Isaac too tightly and let it become an idol in my life. May I love the One who gives me the desires of my heart and not love the desires of my heart which He has given me more than I love Him.
     I pray this story encourages and blesses you.

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.

1 Corinthians 12:7

Thursday 1/26/12

1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.

     A definition of manifest is as follows: readily perceived by the eye or the understanding; evident; obvious; apparent; plain. If something is manifest, it is obvious and plain. We as people rely heavily on our physical senses. If we touch something, we know it’s there; if we see something, we have no problem believing (for the most part – magic tricks excluded). However, when it comes to spiritual matters, some people think that God and the spiritual world are vague concepts that aren’t as real as the physical. I know for me, while I know that the spiritual world is real, I find it hard to be certain of things that God is sharing with me. If I hear His voice, I struggle with having faith that it is God speaking to me and not my own thoughts. Many times, I come to God, but don’t expect Him to speak clearly to me or answer my questions plainly. If He does, I shrug it off as an exception rather than the usual. However, the Bible says that God did not give us a Spirit of confusion. He desires to speak plainly to us. He’s not teasing us or playing hard to get.

     I need to realize that God desires to make Himself known to me and reveal Himself to me. Whenever I go before God, I need to expect Him to answer me plainly and ask Him to give me the faith to believe that He will.

Monday, January 23, 2012

1 Corinthians 12:3

Tuesday 1/24/12

1 Corinthians 12:3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.

     According to this verse, we can’t even say Jesus is Lord without the Holy Spirit. I’m reminded of John 15:5b where Jesus says, "…Without Me you can do nothing.” Later in the chapter Jesus continues and says, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit…” (John 15:16a) Looking at these verses, we see how instrumental God is in a person’s salvation and their growth as a Christian after salvation. It is God who does the work in that person’s heart. John 14:26 talks about the Holy Spirit being our helper. Obviously, the Holy Spirit plays a major role in our lives as Christians.
     Hopefully it goes without saying, but I greatly desire to follow God, obey Him, and love Him. However, many times I find myself messing up or having very little strength. I need to be aware that the Christian life is not difficult but impossible. I need the Holy Spirit’s help every moment of the day.

     I will ask God to empower me with the Holy Spirit so I can bring Him glory and live my Christian life in God’s strength and not my own.

1 Corinthians 12:1

Monday 1/23/12

1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant.

     A gift is something that you do not deserve. The giver gives it because they want to. Jesus has blessed me with many gifts. I know He wants me to be thankful for the gifts He has given me and use those gifts for His glory.

Application: Today, I am going to thank God for specific gifts and blessings He has given me and ask Him to help me use each one for His glory.

Mark 8:38

Friday 1/20/12

Mark 8:38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.

     Usually, if I’m ashamed of something, I want to distance myself from it. Here, Jesus is talking about someone who is ashamed of Him and His Word, yet it is in His Word where we find Him, truth, and the path to life. I don’t want to be ashamed or distance myself from God or His Word.

     Lately, it’s been a challenge for me to spend time in God’s Word in the mornings before I start my day. Tomorrow morning, I’m going to take at least thirty minutes alone with God to read His Word, pray, and just be with Him.

Mark 8:37

Thursday 1/19/12

Mark 8:37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

     What will man give in exchange for his soul? Nothing. Oh, he can try; but the fact is that man has nothing good enough that’s worth his soul – not works, riches, or religion. Fortunately, Jesus does. His life for our life. But even then, Jesus is the One who gets the shorter end of the bargain. Yet, the Bible says that for the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross. He did it to ransom my soul. Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things.” Jesus made the trade to ransom my soul when I couldn’t, and on top of that He wants to give me all good things. However, the catch is that all these good things are given with Him. These good things are wrapped up in Jesus. And yet, many times I look elsewhere for fulfillment in my life instead of to the One who already saved my soul and now promises to fill it – and fill it freely at that!

     I’m going to take at least thirty minutes today in prayer and God’s Word thanking God for saving me and asking Him to fill me with Himself, making me willing to lay down any other things I thing I might need to make me happy.

Mark 8:36

Wednesday 1/18/12

Mark 8:36 – For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

     There are people that we pass everyday that do not know Jesus as their Savior and are on their way to Hell. They have jobs, go to school, work, get money, and go about their daily lives not even aware of the peril of their eternal destination. These are our neighbors, our friends, our aunts and uncles, the guy that cut us off on our way to work this morning, the stranger we walked by in the store, and the sales clerk. And this past weekend, it was the sales clerk whom I came across.
     It was Sunday afternoon and we interns had headed into town. I found myself quite aware of the reality of how blessed we were to know God, His truth, and were saved and going to Heaven. However, as we stopped at a coffee shop and walked in, God opened my eyes in such a way to make me realize that while we were all set and going to Heaven, these people in the coffee shop around us had no idea what they were missing – or where they were going for all of eternity. At that moment, God burdened my heart for these people, and I felt the desire to pray for them and maybe even tell some of them about what Jesus did for them on the cross. Praying I could do, and did do, but sharing the gospel – how would I start a conversation without being awkward? How would I get enough courage to even start a conversation if I knew how? But above that, how would I even know which person to talk to or pray for – for all I knew, they were all on their way to Hell.
     Well, after everyone got their coffee and desserts, we sat down and noticed a small separate shop attached to the coffee shop. I walked in, looked around, and somehow God started laying something on my heart. The shop wasn’t too busy and the sales clerk behind the counter was just hanging out, standing around waiting for a purchase. One or two of my friends started talking with her. I started getting a desire on my heart that the young lady behind the counter would be saved. But I didn’t know how to start a conversation without sounding weird – or perhaps I wasn’t courageous enough. I lifted a prayer or two up for her and her salvation, and I hung around the area – always looking back at her, wondering if God would put something on my heart to say to her or if He’d open a door.
     Eventually, I saw Jesse near the counter, and he and the young lady were talking. I walked over thinking that maybe God would open a door for me to witness to her. Well, whether or not He did, you be the judge. Here’s what happened:
     Jesse and the girl were talking about stuff that I can’t exactly remember. After I joined them, the young lady asked why we were in Montana. “This was it!” I told myself. “Maybe this is the door I was waiting for God to open.” I gladly explained to her about Potter’s Field Ranch, the mission school, going to other countries – making sure to add words like Bible, church, etc. I was hoping that the conversation would take off from there. To my dismay, though, it didn’t. She started telling me about how she was in the Peace Corps. and went to poorer countries to help people – it was great, and I enjoyed talking with her, but it wasn’t exactly the direction I had planned for the conversation to go. We talked about other things, and I slowly started to give up on the hope that the conversation would turn to God and spiritual things. Eventually the sales clerk said she was due for a fifteen-minute break and we parted ways. But even when she left, my heart still went out to her. When we left the coffee shop and started driving away, my heart still felt for her. That night it still felt for her. The next day and the next, God would still put her on my heart, and I was faithful to pray for her and her salvation.
     Whitefish, Montana is not that big and there aren’t many coffee shops in town. I realize that chances are I might see her again next weekend when we go into town or some following weekend. I try to imagine what I will say to her next time I see her – if I see her. My heart is still burdened for her, and I want to tell her that God has been putting her on my heart to pray for and I’ve been praying for her to know how much Jesus loves her. I want her to know that the God of the universe who created her and knows every detail about her loves her so much and wants to spend eternity with her. He sent His only son Jesus who willingly died taking away her sin and every bad thing she has done and ever will do. He did this because He is a just God who is perfect and can’t even allow the tiniest sin into Heaven. That’s why Jesus died and took the sins of every person who ever lived or will live upon Himself – so that by simply believing in Him and His perfect and complete payment He made by His death, anyone can go to Heaven if they receive His free gift by believing in Jesus and asking Him to save them from their sin.
     Whether I get the chance to tell her or whether I would be too afraid of sounding like a religious freak, I don’t know. But I believe there is a reason God burdened my heart so heavily for her these past few days, and if it’s just to pray for her, then I’m excited and thankful to be a part of what God is doing in her life.

     Today, I will take a half hour out of the day just to pray for the sales clerk that I met and that she would know how much Jesus loves her and did to save her. I’ll pray that she would accept Him into her life as her personal Lord and Savior.

Mark 8:35

Tuesday 1/17/12

Mark 8:35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.

     “I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly,” Jesus said. So often, I try to hold onto my life. I have desires and plans for my future that I believe would make me the happiest. It’s difficult for me to trust God and be patient for His timing and His ways. I find myself wanting to hold onto my life, my plans, and my timing; and I end up getting worried when God intervenes and allows something else to happen or calls me in a different direction that I was hoping for. But in reality, God knows what’s best and only has thoughts to give me a future and a hope.

     Today, I need to trust God that whenever something doesn’t go as I plan, He is still in control. I need to be willing to lose my life and my plans for the day so that when something unexpected or unwanted happens, I can trust God is doing what He wants in my life. My goal today is to not get anxious or upset when it seems something’s not going the way I thought it would.

Mark 8:34

Monday 1/16/12

Mark 8:34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

     There are three things that Jesus lists here. One is to take up our cross, one is to follow Him, but the first thing Jesus lists before those two is to deny ourselves. You see, Jesus didn’t say “Whoever desires to come after me just take up your cross and follow Me.” No, He first says to deny yourself – not the bad things about yourself, but just “yourself.” Many times, I don’t deny myself completely; but still try to help God with His work in my life when He says it’s all Him and that nothing good dwells in me. I continuously struggle with the lie that if I am praying harder, reading more of the Bible, or trying harder to hear God’s voice that I would be a tad bit more pleasing to Him. But He doesn’t ask me to do that. Granted, that should become a natural part of my life – but not when I’m struggling so hard to do it. Jesus says that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. And only when I completely deny all of myself will there be room for Him to empower me to carry my cross and follow Him. Then, and only then, will the struggle of taking up my cross give way to peace and joy as I follow Him.

     While I still need to submit to Him and obey God, I need to realize that there is nothing I can do to quicken or help God do the work in me that only He can do. I will pray to God in the morning, telling Him that there is nothing I can offer or promise Him, but ask Him to help me reckon myself dead and to fill me with His Spirit so that anything good that I do will be of His Spirit working in me and not of my own flesh trying to prove it can be spiritual.

Acts 2:46

Friday 1/13/12

Acts 2:46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart.

     Looking at this verse, I couldn’t see what God was trying to tell me through it. It’s not a short verse or anything, but it’s just filled with things that seem unnecessary – breaking bread, they ate – so what? Why include that in a verse? It seems like a minute detail that doesn’t hold much importance. Eating is something you do a few times a day, and although it can be quite enjoyable, why should it be included here? These Christians did the routine, barely-worth-mentioning things with gladness and simplicity of heart. Many times my life seems to get dull. Even here at Montana, even though I’m learning more about God and thankful at that, it’s starting to become a routine where I’m thinking to myself, “Different day, same process; ho hum. I can’t wait to be out in the field.” However, I believe God is showing me that no matter how often I do a task or how routine something is, if I keep my focus on Him, I can have gladness.

With God’s help, I want to find the routine things in my day today and ask God to give me gladness doing them as I remember that my joy comes from knowing Him, what He’s done for me, and what He’s promised to continue to do in my life.

Acts 2:45

Thursday 1/12/12

Acts 2:45 And sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.

    The Bible says “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Where were these Christians’ treasures? They sold them and gave to their brothers and sisters in Christ. They invested in other Christians. As they knew the money they gave the church helped fulfill the needs of other Christians, I’m sure their heart grew more in love with their fellow Christians. Thing about it: you just sold your favorite extra pair of sandals, wondering if you made the right choice as you give the money to the church. The next day, you come to church and see a widow with her six children giving thanks to God for the food they could eat that day for breakfast. You know God is a good God and would have provided for the widow and her children either way, but you also know that God had used you to help, all because you were willing to give of yourself and esteem others better than yourself.

     I want to love others more. However, it usually becomes difficult as selfishness and pride sneak into my heart. I want to deny myself and invest in my brothers and sisters in Christ by praying for them and their struggles. As I do this, my prayer is that my heart would go out to them as I find myself loving them more.

Acts 2:44

Wednesday 1/11/12

Acts 2:44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common.

     The problem with socialism is why would someone rich want to join such a group? Why did rich believers join and share all that they had? The verse says that the believers had all things in common. I propose that the reason why they had all things in common is because they had one  thing in common – a Savior. These believers realized that they had everything in Jesus. When Jesus gave us all that He had, how can we hold onto anything else? The Bible says you cannot serve two masters; you will hate one and love the other. These Christians loved Jesus with all their heart, they couldn’t hold onto anything else. Oh, how I wish I were like that. I need to love Him more. Yet there are times I hold on to things – be it money, material things, my pride, fear, selfishness, or my self-image.

     I need to be asking God to give me such a love for Him that I would be too full to hold onto anything else, that I would be too engrossed in Him to care. Then how God would be able to change me so that all I am and have will be used for His glory and for the benefit of His body, the church.

Acts 2:43

Tuesday 1/10/12

Acts 2:43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

     According to this verse, the apostles did many signs. According to Strong’s concordance, the word sign is translated “of miracles and wonders by which God authenticates the men sent by him, or by which men prove that the cause they are pleading is God's.” There was one time in the Bible when some people came to Jesus seeking a sign. It says in Matthew 12:38-40, “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, ‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’”
     So here are two different examples in the Bible concerning signs. In one case, the Pharisees didn’t get a sign from Jesus when they asked; in the other instance, many signs were given to people who didn’t even ask. So why the difference? Well, the Pharisees were going to get a sign according to Jesus – that sign would be the fact that Jesus would rise from the dead three days after he died. But what did they do when that happened? They ignored it; they tried to cover it up. However, here in Acts, these Christians accepted the sign as they accepted Jesus into their hearts by faith; and God continued to confirm it through other signs.
     So many times we want God to do something for us, show us something, or confirm something in a particular way. However, sometimes He doesn’t. Why? It could be that He has already spoken to us or shown us a sign confirming His will for our lives, and maybe we haven’t been believing the first thing He’s spoken to our hearts. Perhaps we are being like the religious leaders in Matthew 12 who are asking God to show us something while ignoring a sign God has already spoken to us. Since it is impossible to please God without faith (Heb. 11:6), perhaps He wants us to act on faith through that first sign He’s shown us and then once we act on faith, He’ll continue to confirm His will in our lives through other signs.

     So often I know the promises in God’s Word that tell me how He’s in control of everything and wants to bless me. He’ll bring promises to my mind and speak to me in His still small voice, speaking directly to the problems or questions that I have. Nevertheless, I still struggle and say, “Yeah, I know God, but...” and then I’ll fill in the rest with a reason why I shouldn’t believe what He says – “If it’s true why don’t I see this thing in my life?” or “Why can’t you make me more confident?” or even “Can you show me another verse?” Many times, God will be gracious and patient enough to give a second, third, or even a fourth sign just as He gave Gideon another sign when he left the fleece out for a second night and asked for a different sign. But I need to realize that there is also that possibility that God might not give me the confidence or another verse or sign that I think I need. He might be waiting for me to act out on faith in what He has already given me before He’ll confirm it through other signs. It’s not because He’s a mean God enjoying seeing me struggle, but because He’s doing a work in me as He’s helping me to learn to have faith in Him whether or not I have multiple signs.

Acts 2:42

Monday 1/ 9/12

Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

     Here, we have the beginning of the church. The word that sticks out is continued. Jesus had recently gone up to heaven, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit had just happened creating possibly the biggest revival ever, and three thousand people were just saved. Wow! Every Christian in the area might have been thinking “This is awesome! What next?” So now it comes to this verse. Perhaps they expected even more great things – miracles to be done, Jesus to come back in a few weeks, or even more people to get saved the next day. While the next verse does talk about miracles, and the rest of acts has great things in store, we must remember that these Christians didn’t know that yet. They didn’t sit around and wait, but rather they continued in their fellowship, prayer, and Bible doctrine. And not only did they continue, but they did it steadfastly. It doesn’t read that they did it for as long as the miracles were happening, or they did it as long as the apostles kept speaking in tongues. How many times do we see a work of God, get on fire for Him, and then drift off and slowly go back to our day-to-day routine slowly setting other priorities before the things of God that are really important. Doctrine, prayer, and fellowship were so important to the early church, but is it just as important to us that we are willing to continue steadfastly in it – regardless of whether or not the experiences and “spiritual highs” come or not?

     I get so excited when I see God do something great in my life or reveal himself to me in a special way. But the next day or two, when events don’t seem to be as awesome or I can’t see God work in my life as much as the previous day, I start to get worried and wonder why I can’t feel God’s presence as much as I could a day or two ago. I start to wonder if I am doing something wrong in my Christian walk or if God has gotten apathetic towards me and doesn’t feel like working in my life. I need to remember that every day I might not see God do great things in or through me, but that doesn’t mean He isn’t. I just need to continue doing what He’s called me to do (read His Word, pray, fellowship with other Christians) and leave the rest up to Him no matter how long it is before God decides He wants to reveal more of Himself to me and let me feel more of His presence.”

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Too Busy for Snow

     WEEK REVIEW (1/7 - 1/14)

     So this has been the first full week of classes, and it has been very busy. For the most part, we have breakfast at 8AM, start class at 8:45, go until lunch at noon. Then at 1PM we go back to class and continue until 5 or 5:30. Then we eat dinner at 5:30 and either do homework and sometimes we'll have an activity at night (i.e. Bible study or a movie). So we definitely are kept busy.

     This week we learned how to study the Bible in an effective way. It's called Inductive Bible Study (IBS) and it's really cool. Basically, if you don't know, IBS is a systematic way of breaking down Bible passages into smaller parts, making observations about the passages, interpreting the meaning of the passages within the correct context, and then letting the Holy Spririt speak to you and show you how it applies to your life practically and personally.

    The weather has been warm for Montana. We had only a little snow this week, but it was enough to get the two interns from Southern California (Jesse and Josh) excited. It was funny watching their excitement as they took pictures of the snow and hearing about how excited Josh was to make a snow angel. This week, it is predicted that we are going to have a bunch of snow. Josh can't wait! Perhaps he'll make a whole legion of snow angels. Hahahaha.

     We are also down to 8 interns now because one of them had decided to return home. As a group, we were sad to see him go, but we know God can use him wherever he is. Things are continuing to go well and I am continuing to grow in my relationship with God. Thanks to everyone who's praying for me. Please keep it up.

God Bless.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Ephesians 4:1

Friday 1/6/12
Verse: Eph. 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, (KJV)

     After looking up the words “that ye walk” I noticed that it means to progress and to pass one’s life. The words “of the vocation” are synonymous with a calling or an invitation. The words “ye are called” come from the word kaleo which implies calling by name or giving a name to. So here, Paul is begging the Ephesians to pass their life not as the world might spend their years here on Earth, but worthy. Why? Because they were called – they were invited by the God of the universe to have a purpose in life. Ephesus was a heathen city that was heavy into idol worship. The Christians in Ephesus must have seen non-believers worshiping statues and have noticed how empty it was. No doubt Satan must have tried to whisper in their ears “If that’s how empty worshipping an idol who can be seen is, why is worshipping your God who you can’t even see be any better?” But here Paul is telling them how they were called by name. God knew their name, He’s given them a calling in life, and as it says in the Old Testament it was even before they were born. God has a great call for everyone’s life, but some would rather worship idols that can’t do anything for them than worship the true God.
 I need to remember that the God I serve is real. Not only that, but He has called me out of the world, not to walk as the non-believer, but to abide in Him, and serve Him. As I think about that, it stirs up an excitement in my heart, knowing that He is such a good God. But so often the enemy tries to get my eyes off of the great invitation God has given me each day just to walk with Him and tries to get me to forget that God has a great plan for my life that is beyond my wildest imagination.


     Welcome to my blog! This is the place where I will be periodically writing updates about what God is doing in and through me this year while I'm at Potter's Field Ranch and in the mission field.

     We interns will also be practicing doing inductive Bible studies where we have a verse for the day and we write down some things about it that God put on our hearts and how it applies to our lives. So I will be putting these verses on my blog along with how God spoke to me through those verses.

(P.S. Please take note that we are going to have a tech fast where we will ont be using computers, cell phones, ipods, etc. starting Sunday and lasting for a few days. So I definitely won't be updating my blog during that time.)