Sunday, June 30, 2013

"Thank God it wasn't $2,000."

       I heard a story once of a group of missionaries in South America somewhere around the 1950's.  This group of missionaries were dedicated to taking the Gospel to remote Indian tribes in the jungle.  However, the organization was seeing a huge need for a plane since it sometimes took up to 3 weeks to hike in or out of these tribes.
       One day a plane was made available for purchase, but the selling price was $20,000.  The organization had no money saved up for the purchase, and they only had a two week window of time before the plane would be sold to someone else.
      The leadership group of about ten men instantly began to pray.  After a couple hours of prayer they took a short break and one of the men said, "Thank God it wasn't only $2,000 that we needed."  Many of the other men looked at him shocked.  One man responded, "Why?  Two thousand dollars seems much more feasible for us!"  "Exactly," the first man replied, "If we only needed $2,000 then we would be spending our time figuring out how we can raise it.  But since we need $20,000, all we can do is pray.  Only God can accomplish a task like this in this amount of time."  Because of God's provision, two weeks later the plane was theirs.

       That is similar to how we feel with the task of seeing God raise up a team of financial partners for the ministry we will be doing in Romania.  It is a God sized task.  I see such similarity in the passage from 2 Corinthians 1:8-11.  Paul had been through tons of hardships on his journeys and writes, "For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many."  Paul and his companions arrived to the point where they felt they would surely die.  God allowed them to get to this point so that they would trust in Him alone and place all of their hope in Him alone.  The Corinthians joined Paul and his companion's through prayer, and as God delivered them they were all mutually encouraged because they all saw God at work.
       This month we are asking people to join with us in prayer all 31 days of July that every day God would stir one more of His children to financially partner with this ministry totaling 31 partners in 31 days.  May this month be about more than just God building up this ministry's partners, may it be about encouraging the body of Christ to place their hope and trust in God alone.  Please be praying each day this month that God would be working in His children's hearts and stirring them to listen and obey His voice.

       Although it is still the last day in June, we already have seen God begin to answer your prayers!  We had one new partner join our team over the weekend after our newsletter was sent out.  May God receive all the praise and glory this month because this request would be impossible for men but not for God.  

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Learning to Wait on the Lord


      I have never enjoyed waiting.  To me it feels like being promised a gift, shown the gift, but never being allowed to open the gift.  As soon as we joined ReachGlobal I assumed that God would instantly start building up our team or prayer and financial partners.  However, that didn’t happen.  It has been a very slow process.  Even though there are a ton of verses like Psalm 27:14 (Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!) which talk about waiting, it never occurred that God could ask us to wait for Him.  
Many frustrated days I have asked, “Is this really what God has called us to?”  At first, my answer was “I think so.”  Then, “Yes.”  And now, “Absolutely.”  Having to wait for our team of partners to grow has caused me to pray significantly more than I would have if the growth would have been instantaneous.  Praying and waiting has caused me to see that He ALONE must be my rock or I will always be shaken. 
During this last month we saw very little growth in our team.  As I was talking to the Lord about my discouraged heart He brought me to the story of Gideon in Judges 6.  When the angel of the Lord told him, “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.”  Gideon’s response was, “O my Lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?  And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’  But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hands of Midian” (Judges 6:13).  God showed me that I had an attitude like Gideon was displaying.  Gideon has heard stories of God delivering Israel from Egypt and of great miracles, but Gideon had never personally experienced it and his daily life made him feel as if God has abandoned them.  In a similar way I have heard tons of stories of God’s faithful provision, but I have never personally experienced it on a grand scale.  
      God’s response to Gideon: “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian.  Have I not sent you?”  (Judges 6:14).  The Midianites had a massive army which would have been daunting, yet Gideon could find confidence in the fact that God had called Him to that task.  In the same way, I have heard stories of God’s provision over the years and our task right now seems daunting, but I can rest in the fact that Jamie and I are confident that God has called us to this task, and He alone is our Rock.

Isaiah 40:31 
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Psalm 62:2
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.