Tag Archives: For God’s glory

God Chooses to Use the MOST Unlikely People – The Lyin’ Hooker

I am always amused, and sometimes have to laugh, when I’m reading the Bible and come across those most unlikely people God uses.

Sometimes we are guilty of doing God’s choosing for Him.  How many times have we thought or actually said (yes, we’ve heard it), “So and so would make a nice Christian, or church member.”

On the flip side…have you ever looked with disdain at someone God is using for His greater good?

The spies, in Joshua 2, were told to go check out Jericho.   Imagine their surprise when they ended up on the porch of a prostitute.  “Wow, what are we going to tell Joshua?”  But they stayed, because she welcomed them, it was in God’s plan, and they needed help.

A lyin’ hooker.  A prostitute.  Someone who was accustomed to bedding down men for a living.  And there they were.

BUT WAIT!  SHE HAD HEARD ABOUT THEM AND THE TRUE GOD!

I can imagine what the women were saying, because women sometimes tend to be the worst at things like that.    (sorry, but it’s true)

Here we have one of those stories we’re afraid to tell our kids, and one we tend to make excuses for of why God would have chosen her.

But the fact is He did..and the 2nd fact is – He still does, and he honored Rahab for her obedience.

And only when we start seeing others with the eyes of Jesus, Who allowed a prostitute anoint His feet, Who gave living water to a woman who couldn’t hold onto a husband, Who allowed unclean women to touch Him….only then will we see the magnificent work of God in their lives…and in ours.

 

Let the Church be the Church

It seems like every time I open up facebook or other social media, there is another post or article bashing Christians or the church.   And sadly, these are from Christians.

for blog, inside of church

Let me say that I have been hurt by those in the church many times, but I do not want to get swept up in this thought process.  I just want you to know I am not coming from a “pollyanish” viewpoint.

From these postings, we are shamed that we don’t love the poor enough nor graciously accept sinners.  We don’t give enough and are made to feel like jerks because we go to church in man-made buildings with A/C.

Outside service

Lest I sound like one who “protesteth too much,” please allow me to share some things I see that are good and right in the churches we have attended recently.

First, my husband (Tom) has preached for 39 years in churches in different states.  We’ve seen the good, bad and ugly in many situations.  But we have definitely seen the good.  Tom is doing mission work now but here are some observations I have made.

We have attended a church a few times which gives 50% of their income to missions.  They had an announcement in their bulletin a few weeks ago about a friendship program with international students.   They are reaching out to many.   Many of their men still wear suits and ties and they are a tad bit conservative in their music and worship, but they are reaching the world for Christ.  (I only mention the suits and ties because some people think that type of dress offends others).

A tiny church on the North Shore of Oahu has increased their giving twice to support our ministry more.   Waialua Christian Church is led by Steve Sturm.  Steve and his wife, Blossom, toil tirelessly but most of their “fruit” eventually move, since many of them are military people.  But they love…deeply.

Waialua 6

Two good friends of mine quietly go to jail every Thursday night to minister to the women there.   Their husbands support them, their church prays for them, and they go.  Another friend I have (who is 82 years old) goes every week to a prison to teach, sing and play the piano.

I know of a couple who left their secure ministry at a fairly large church to run a ministry for the disenfranchised of Joplin, Missouri.

I know of Christians, from churches we have served, who have apologized to us and accepted our love, bringing healing to our relationships.

There is a small church in rural Missouri which had 9 baptisms a couple of months ago…and it wasn’t the “pretty people” who were baptized.  Somebody had to love them into that.

There are friends of mine who are growing by leaps and bounds (who attend traditional churches), and those who have incredible ministries to homosexuals, single parents, un-wed mothers, addicts (and the list goes on).

There are those we know who preach the Word of God without fear (including our son) and who love others sincerely at the same time – because how can you preach the Word and not love?

Others go on missions trip, collect items for the poor, serve meals and those who reach out to the homeless.

Still others lose sleep to be with those who are hurting, sick or grieving.

This is not a conclusive list…in fact, it is just the very tip of the iceberg! 

This is all (and more) within our small sphere of friendships or acquaintances.   I cannot believe that we are the only ones who see Christ at work through others.   Are we perfect?  Of course not!  But there are many I know who are trying to draw closer to the Lord and wanting to serve Him with their whole hearts.

God has not called us to deride other Christians, through sarcasm or shame-based criticism, for what they are not doing.  He wants to know what WE are going to do.   And quite honestly, when we judge others like this, are we not doing the same thing for which we are judging them?

When we give up trying to be responsible for others’ actions, or lack of service, or complacency, we will do a lot to move closer to Jesus and allow His Holy Spirit to convict others.

We don’t know what others are doing behind the scenes, nor do we know what is going on in their lives.  Let’s just be the church in our own lives, pray for others, love others and quit bashing that which Christ died for!

I would love to hear how you or those you know are serving others and reaching them for Christ.

 

New Beginnings 2015

 

picture of 2015

New Year’s resolutions are lauded by some and belittled by many. But for me?…I like them.  I love new beginnings, starting afresh.  I feel like the new year brings in a time to look toward the future.

In 2014 I decided to start reading through the Bible again.  But instead of reading to learn or to study for something specific, I decided to read to simply see God.   I spend time with the Lord every morning, before anything else.   Before I read, I ask God to let me see Him in what I’m reading.  It has expanded to a prayer of allowing me to see Him in everything in my day and life.

It has been a year of growth for me..in my heart and soul.  And I want it to continue.

From the time spent with the Lord I have learned some things about myself that I want to continue and expand on for 2015.   Here are a few, maybe you can see yourself in some of it also:  (and be sure to see the last one, as that is what it’s all about.)

1)  Realize my worth in Christ.  (I Peter 1:18-21) This is where it all begins and ends. From the creation of the world…to my creation by a Loving Heavenly Father…to what Jesus did on the cross – God had me in mind.  And you.   If I can grasp a fraction more of that,  I will be further on the path to wholeness.

2)  Stop blaming myself.  (Philippians 3:7-11) I have a long history of beating myself up.  When something goes wrong I blame myself.   Constantly I ask myself what I could have done differently or better.  I know the experts say this is a form of selfishness, but many of those of us who lean this way don’t see it that way.   I obsessively wonder:  How I can love better and more?  Can I change something in my life to better the given situation?  How I can allow God to change me to be more like Him.  While it’s good that we are examining ourselves before God’s righteous throne, the enemy takes all things good and corrupts them.   And he has done this with me…long enough.  He has used what was meant to be good and beat me up.  And I have allowed him.  No more.  While I will continue to evaluate myself by God’s standards, I want to drop the polluted criterion of others.

3)  Realize that I am a loving, kind, caring person and if people don’t like me…well, it’s their problem.  (Romans 14:4)  Doesn’t that sound pretty narcissistic?   I contend it’s not.  Again, satan has battered me with a distorted view of myself.   And it has led me to the sin of being more concerned about what others think of me than I am of what God thinks.  I have no intentions of using this as a license to abuse anyone, but it’s time I saw myself through God’s eyes, rather than the Liar’s.

4)  Realize a) God has forgiven me and b) I need to forgive myself.  (Romans 3:23)  Yes, I make mistakes…sometimes big ones.   But we all do.  We all sin, we all have fallen short of the glory of God.   I tend to ruminate on all I do wrong.   This simply flies in the face of what God has done for me on the cross.  I am saying, “that is not enough.”  And that is wrong.   I want to allow myself more grace….knowing that TRUE grace (Titus 2:11-14) will lead me to a more holy life in Christ.  And this is what I long for.

5)  Understand that ALL of these concepts will enable me to receive and give grace, and love God and others more.  (Romans 12:9-21)   Paul tells us over and over that our ultimate goal should be love.  It doesn’t matter what we DO for Christ, if we don’t love.  Wrapped up in that has to be grace, because it can be difficult to love some people.  But when we understand what God has done for us and who we are in Him, it frees us to love unconditionally.  If we can’t do that, then we don’t understand it ourselves.

7)  LAST BUT NOT LEAST… ALL things for the glory of God.   (1 Timothy 1:15-17) – “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.  Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”