Believe

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Defying the Rules

“And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good.” (Deuteronomy 10:12-13 NIV)

Lately I’ve been reading and rereading Deuteronomy 10:12-22! It’s such a powerful call for Israel to live recklessly for God and a beautiful reminder of what a great God we have!

Often I want everything in life to make sense; I want a logical schedule of what’s going to happen in my life. But God has been reminding me that He isn’t bound by the rules of logic. The Creator of the laws of nature isn’t constrained by those laws! Just glance through the Bible and you’ll realize it’s full of unexpected events.

The entire earth was flooded.
A 90 year old woman had a son.
A bush was on fire, but didn’t burn up!
A man defeated 1,000 men with a donkey’s jawbone.
The sun stood still in the sky.
Dreams came true.
A city fell and became ruins after people marched around it.
A donkey spoke!
The sea divided.
A young woman “just happened” to glean in the field of her kinsman redeemer.
Hungry lions didn’t harm a man.
Three men went through fire and didn’t even smell like smoke.
A virgin had a child.
The lame walked.
The Creator chose to become the created.
The dead came back to life.
One of the greatest persecutors of the church become an apostle.

And those are only a few examples! Throughout history, God has done endless incredible things! I’m amazed when I read the stories of missionaries who witnessed the impossible. I’m in awe because I have seen God do the unbelievable in my own life! “He is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.” (Deut. 10:21)

So how can I expect to live a predictable life when I have a God like that? In Mark 5, a desperate father pleads with Jesus for the life of his dying daughter. When men come to tell the father to stop bothering Jesus because his daughter is dead, I love how Jesus responds! He tell the father:

“Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

While people were wailing and mourning, Jesus raised that little girl from the dead! When everything seems hopeless, God reminds us that no obstacle–not even death–is too big for Him to overcome.

God wants to do great and incredible things in our lives. We serve the great I AM who isn’t restricted by rules or expectations. Are we willing to have faith and expect the impossible? If God asks us to do something as illogical and bizarre as spending years building an ark, are we ready to follow His plan? Are we willing to risk being called crazy by society to serve our Savior? My desire is to be willing and ready to give up the sensible plans I have for the impossible, unimaginable plans God has for me!

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” ~Corrie ten Boom

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Show Hope

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” ~James 1:27

Looking back, it is incredible to see how God has changed my perspective of orphans. I used to have a very storybook, Anne-of-Green-Gables view of orphans and never really thought about how there were still orphans in the world I lived in! By the time my family had adopted two beautiful, sweet girls from China, my perspective had totally changed! God opened my eyes to the needs of these children and gave me a passion for the fatherless.

God promises to be a father to the fatherless, and I believe one way He fulfills that promise is by using us to care for orphans. I want to challenge and encourage people to follow God’s call to reach out to the fatherless. Whether it’s by adopting, giving money, or praying, anyone can have a huge impact on a child’s life!

One way to help is by becoming a Show Hope sponsor. This year, Show Hope is trying to double their number of sponsors to 10,000. That way, they can also double the impact they are making in the lives of orphans!

If you’re interested, here’s a video with more information:

God has loved us and adopted us as His own children. How can we chose not to also show that love to orphans?

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Psalm 138

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
    before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
    and will praise your name
    for your unfailing love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
    your name and your word.
When I called, you answered me;
    you made me bold and stouthearted.

May all the kings of the earth praise you, Lord,
    when they hear the words of your mouth.
May they sing of the ways of the Lord,
    for the glory of the Lord is great.

Though the Lord is on high, he looks upon the lowly;
    but the proud he knows from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
    you preserve my life.
You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;
    with your right hand you save me.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
    your love, O Lord, endures forever —
    do not abandon the works of your hands.

This is one of my favorite psalms! There is so much truth packed into these 8 verses, and God has used them so many times to encourage me! One of my favorite things about these verses is how they describe how God strengthens us to be bold and stouthearted. Yet while we are called to be bold for Him, these verses also remind us that humility is better than pride. C. S. Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less” which reminds us that humility isn’t beating ourselves up over our flaws or mistakes; humility is switching our focus from ourselves to others. When we think about ourselves, we hesitate to exert the energy to go to the extra mile or do something outside of our comfort zone. I want to strive to live humbly–to think less about me and more about God. And then, as a result, take action to live boldly according to His plan for my life (which is always better than my own, prideful plan!).

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Forgotten God

“Those of us who believe in Jesus would never deny the truth that we have the Spirit of the living God, the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead, living inside of us. I’m just not convinced we’ve internalized this truth and enjoyed His blessings as He intends. It seems like this is mostly head knowledge to us, and that we have not owned it. It has not really made much of a difference in our lives, to the degree that if we woke up tomorrow and discovered that it is not true the Holy Spirit lives inside of us, most likely our lives wouldn’t look much different.”

~Forgotten God by Francis Chan (page 34)

I’ve only read the first chapter of this book, and already I’ve realized a lot about the Holy Spirit. As Christians, we often talk about Jesus dying for us and about God our Father, but how often do we think about how the Holy Spirit is working in our lives? How am I living differently than the rest of the world? It’s so easy to be convicted by great books like this, the hard part is actually going out and living what you’ve learned!

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