Sunday, April 22, 2012

Depending on God

As Christians we have often been accused as being weak for needing God--that we use Him as a "crutch" because we can't deal with life and the problems we face. Some have gone as far as calling religion an "opiate" of the people, something we use to cope with life because we can't deal with reality.

I feel sorry for the person who is living their life without God. As I wake up each morning, I see His hand in creation, the glories of the sunrise, the birds singing, the flowers in my garden. I read about His goodness and mercy in my Bible, and am encouraged. Sure, I have trials and temptations, just like everyone else--but I often wonder how the person without God gets through life without Him. What joys they are missing!

The Bible tells us the fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. It is not intelligience that will keep you from seeking a relationship with God, but rather pride. Saying, I don't need God because I can handle it on my own is rather foolish. Every breath we take is a gift from God. Do you really want to die without God? Perhaps you have convinced yourself that the Bible is a good book, but only a good book--but what if you are wrong? Have you considered what happens after you die? Is there a small chance that you could be wrong, and the Bible is true? I wouldn't want to die without God and be separated from Him for eternity. If you have chosen to ignore God and make your own set of beliefs (everyone believes something) then God will give you exactly what you have asked for--He will not force himself upon anyone.

No one ever told me that the Bible was different than any other book ever written--somehow I knew it in my heart and it was sacred to me. It is powerful, and can change your life. Don't worry about the parts you can't understand--focus on the parts you do understand. If you seek God you will find Him--because He is standing at the door of your heart and would like to come in and have fellowship with you.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

So You Want to Be a Missionary?

Being a missionary has lots of benefits and blessings. Having said that, mission work, and ministry in general, is not for the faint of heart. Most of us will never suffer like the apostle Paul, but if being a missionary was an easy "job" we wouldn't see such a big turnover. Many people set out to become a foreign missionary, and if you survive the arduous task of raising the financial support you will need to sustain your family on the field, once you have arrived on the field it will take the grace of God to stay there.

Look at the legacy the apostle Paul left us in 2 Corinthians 11:23--28. Whenever I am tempted to feel discouraged (which can be more frequent than I would like), I am comforted by the fact that there is a purpose in our suffering. Paul was beaten, to the point of death....often. He was put in prison, stoned, suffered shipwreck, in perils during his frequent travels suffering robbers, troubles from his own countrymen, false brethren, heathen, in hunger, weariness, painfulness, cold, naked, and fasting often--all while caring for the churches he started. He admitted his own weakness, and knew it was the power of Christ that sustained him.

When Paul besought the Lord three times that he would take away a "thorn" in the flesh--an infirmity, the messenger of Satan used to keep Paul humble and dependent upon God, the Lord responded...."My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."

"For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh in us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;" 2 Corinthians 4: 16-17

Of course this applies to every believer with a desire to live for God's glory, not just the "full-time" missionary. We all have afflictions, trials, and temptations which will require the grace and power of God upon our lives. But if you are considering missions, you can be assured that your faith will be tested in ways that will go beyond your "comfort" zone."