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In case you haven’t heard the news, we’ve moved to a new location.
We’ve been working on getting it up for a while, to explain why we haven’t written many posts recently  (been saving it all for the new blog).  Check it out here!!!
The Fourth Call (There is a new entry over there too)!

 1. Where to pray
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” -Matthew 6:5-6

-Sure some people are very gifted in how they pray in public. Group prayer is not bad, but there are those who try to pray in order to seem holy and in order to draw attention to themselves.  They are not praying with a true heart, but for prideful intent. When you are to pray, we should do it privately.  It is really cool to think that our Father is in secret and when we pray in secret to Him, He is the only one who will see you and knows your heart. That’s so wonderful.

2. Length of Prayer
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” -Matthew 6:7-8

– When I was 13, I used to pray at night with my mom in her room. I’d pray for a good 30 minutes.  She would fall asleep as I’d pray.  It is better to pray short prayers from the heart and say little, for the burdens you have in your heart have already been heard by God.

SONY DSC3. What to Pray (Matthew 6:9-13)
“Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”

-Recognize who God is and where He is. Acknowledge His holiness and mightiness.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

-Long for the establishment of God’s kingdom to be here in how you live and as you live.  There is great peace in heaven, and to long for that here on earth is beautiful!  We should live what we hope should be here.  Make sure that God’s will is always first.  We need to seek Him and His kingdom first.  This is so important!

“Give us this day our daily bread,”

-He knows your needs.  Ask for them to be provided for you.

“and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

-We do wrong every day. We need to acknowledge our sin and long for freedom from it.  Because He forgives you of these things, you must also forgive people who have sinned against you, no matter how hard it is. For God doesn’t hold anything against us when we are forgiven, nor should we.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

-Pray that you do not have the ability to even be led into temptation that leads to sin.  For when we are tempted, our testing of our faith can come about and we might get trapped and ensnared.  We should not want Satan to have any hold on our lives at all.

4. Important conclusion
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” -Matthew 6:14-15

-This is extended from the Lord’s prayer’s explanation a bit.  Can you imagine how powerful forgiveness is here? Jesus saved us from sin and we are called to be like Him. He did not kill those who physically accused Him or killed Him at all but instead forgave them. In living like Jesus and being like Him, we need to definitely do this.  Imagine not being able to be forgiven simply because you held things against others? That’s intense! We should live this out!

yourwillbedoneI struggle so much lately.
With people. With myself.

The most valuable lesson I’ve been learning over the past few months is something I’ve been struggling with like crazy: to focus on my own relationship with Christ & to show love to others, meeting them where they are.

What does this struggle look like?
Jesus loved me and everyone so much that He wanted to prove to us all that He is Truth, that He is God, that He loves us and knows our hearts.  That’s the kicker there: He knows our hearts. I don’t know the hearts of others as He does.

We are told to seek His kingdom first (Matthew 6:33). We can encourage others to do so as well.  We can’t however think that we know better than others or know where they may or may not be growing or stumbling.  We need to think as Jesus did. While He was hanging on the cross to die, and through all that was done to His body beforehand, and the fact that He did no wrong at all, He didn’t look down on us or show anger towards us or hold our sins against us.  Instead He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what we do.” (Luke 23:34) That’s what we need to have an attitude of.  Forgiveness. Everyone is seeking for answers and they/we don’t know what we do time and time again.

I sometimes wonder where others stand with God. This is not what we are called to do.  I can’t change people’s minds and hearts, only Christ can. I have done wrong in having this attitude and it is being worked on now. Today.  I can show compassion on all and try to help them, but I am not to believe that I know where they are in their faith.  I don’t.  I also don’t have the answers for everything. I can only point to Christ. May they seek Him out and may He transform us all. I am sorry for hurting people with the old mindset I once had, for I truly did not know what I was doing. I want to look at everyone for now on and know that Jesus loves them and that I must also, no matter how difficult it might be. May His will be done here on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).

Pray with me:
“Our heavenly Father, I truly know that I am in need of work.  Help me to seek you out. Help me to go to your Word for guidance on my life rather than focusing on the people around me.  Show me how you love others. In your son Jesus’ name, Amen.”

I was taught the pledge of allegiance at the age of 5 as well as the pledge to the Christian flag that sounds similar but is really completely different. . .so which was I supposed to really be standing for?

In that same time frame I was healed by Jesus in a dream of my partial-deafness that caused my speech to replicate what I heard (which was extremely muffled and low-tonal and nothing like what “normal” people hear or sound like).  Therefore, some of the first things I learned to say and was taught to think were the following: To do as the “Romans” (Americans) do while living as Jesus wanted.   Jesus came into my life FIRST, and I should have gone to Him before doing what society had in store for me.

Let’s look back at the Romans of Jesus’ day for a minute.  They were highly regarded with their great Roman pride. Americans highly regard themselves today.  Romans thought they were the best and most blessed people.  Americans tend to have that same mindset.

newtribesmission

I was taught (by those calling themselves Christians) that immigrants were less than me and shouldn’t be in our country, even though my great-grandparents on my dad’s side were from Ireland and France and my great-great-great grandparents came from all over the place on my Mom’s side – all once immigrants.  It seemed as a child that it was okay for Americans to travel wherever they wanted, but God-forbid anyone outside of our nation comes here without knowing English.  They aren’t as worthy.  While The Bible tells me, “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” -Exodus 22:21

Jesus Himself did not belong to this world! He created it, but came down into it and served others even though He is King! In fact we are told in John 15 that we are not of this world as His children.  Therefore we must show kindness to all people no matter where they come from and accept being hated for being from outside of this world; of God’s kingdom!
 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.  Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.  But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.” -John 15:18-21

I grew up in two churches that seemed to be all about missionary work, but when missionaries came to speak about their work, they never seemed like the rest of the people I ever knew.  There was a huge difference between their stories of “the church”, where it seemed that they were living out the teachings of Jesus, and the way I was raised in “the church” (far too comfortable in comparison).  My soul has always eaten up missionary stories and I am so glad to know many who are missionaries today.  When my own uncle and his family were missionaries in Colombia to tell the gospel to unreached tribes, it was so different to me.  It made no sense that they lived outside of everything I was taught.

After my uncle was killed, family members started to complain that my uncle KNEW he was going to die. They felt he betrayed them. They were surprised.  As far as I remembered in reading the Bible, we are to understand that it is definitely possible that you’ll die in the mission field.   Isn’t that how soldiers in the military train too?  People accept the training and death of a worldly soldier but not a godly one?

The question of loyalties and where mine stood, always came at play in my head.  People made a huge deal about my dad being a war veteran (I admit, lately it has been irritating me how often people pump up his being a veteran).  Many consider him a hero.  As a young girl, I compared two different soldiers on a regular basis and their lives.  My dad lived like the world in my own presence. My uncle stood out as someone who was humble and kind and preached the gospel and was beautiful inside that is showed out of his eyes.  My dad had so much anger, never taught me about Jesus by word of mouth or by example, never spent time with me, and had darkness in his eyes.  He was a church go-er, but not a church live-er. When my uncle would come to visit family members, it seemed he would go out of his way to spend time with the children, rather than the adults.  Perhaps he had a hard time around adults who weren’t willing to discuss Christ, but were just set into society.  I am unsure.  He was the acting principal of missionary kids where they were in Bogota (because no one else seemed up for the job), so perhaps it was just his heart was for the youth.

UncleTim

My last memory spent with him was when he came alone without his family visiting my family right before he was kidnapped.  I was probably 9 or 10 and my mom (who was his sister) and dad were excited that they were going to spend time with him alone. Instead, he played basketball with my one older brother and me (my other brother was in college). He talked to me and showed so much love through asking me questions and getting to know me. My own father wouldn’t ever do that.  It blessed me so much.  My dad killed many people in Vietnam.  My uncle’s body showed visible signs of torture from the 17 months he had spent in captivity.  He didn’t kill his captors, but all I think about in the many times I’ve had dreams of my uncle, is him laughing with the men (he was a very funny man) and telling them he (and Jesus) loved them with every painful act done to him.  There have been ex-guerrillas who have come out to proclaim the gospel of Christ, giving up their lives, and many times I wonder if my uncle told them about Jesus. My dad didn’t even get to know his enemies other than where they were stationed so he could shoot them out, while my uncle wanted to get to know his enemies peacefully and love them as himself, so much so that he did not fight when they took him hostage (and he was probably double their height – as he was maybe 6’7″ – yes, really tall).  My dad was upset when I told him I wouldn’t want his medals after he died (he asked me if I’d take them) & I told him to give them to one of my brothers who would probably appreciate them.  My dad (unfortunately) has left no legacy with me yet (I love my dad, just saying how it is).  My uncle left one and I want to live life as he did, which was just doing what Jesus stated (since Jesus is the ULTIMATE hero of heroes with the greatest legacy of all time)!

Family_0004There are no greater heroes than missionaries and than someone who lays their life down for the sake of the gospel of Christ; not one who lays down his life for his country (though I understand that they believe they are doing the greatest duty, and I have known many many many people who have served in the military, or are still currently serving).  God is far greater than country.  God created all people.  We are told to go into all the world to preach to all people and to show love to them (baptizing and discipling them so they can do the same work).  Jesus laid down His life for us when He could have destroyed anyone who tried to touch Him with just a word. He created them and loved them still while they (and we) were brutally murdering Him.  Aren’t we to be willing to do the same as He did for us? His disciples endured it, and considering they KNEW Jesus in person while also having HIS Spirit inside of them, I’d trust that they did the best thing as well.

Why is it that there are far more people (Christians included) in our society to praise and admire and thank soldiers of country and it seems like no one seems to thank the missionaries?  There are loads of people each day signing up to “defend their country”, but how many are signing up to “live and die for Jesus” on the mission field?  I am rewiring my entire love to be for ALL nations and ALL people.  I mourn when I hear of the destruction done to ALL sides in wars.  I will not stand for the murders of people whom we are meant to show the love of Christ to in sharing the gospel to them as servants. Christ came to us, instead of wiping us out.  We are to share our love to our enemies.  We are to show compassion to a people who might seem to not want any part of Christ.  My life has changed because of Jesus.  My trust and life are His.

My husband was telling me the other day something that was so interesting.  If David Wilkerson decided to not go into meet a bunch of gang members from two different gangs and went with knives to defend himself, how much different would his story have been? He went in with nothing but Christ.  He had the powerful weapons of prayer to get him through it. He put his trust in Jesus.  Could they have killed him? Absolutely.  He didn’t go in with guns trying to wipe them out for the crimes they committed, but instead offered the Word of God to people who were lost and “unreachable”. That must have been so difficult to do!  The gospel of Christ is only going to affect the people that you try to get to know while working along side of them to help them.  Murdering people won’t end violence and war,  it just makes more people angrier and wanting to spread more bloodshed. Only Jesus has the power to change others when His words penetrates their souls!

“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’  To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” -Romans 12:17-21

[Note: My own personal experience with a former soldier in the military doesn’t reflect how all soldiers are. I have known some very wonderful soldiers who love their kids and spend much time with them]


[Photo #1 is from New Tribes Mission – which is what my uncle was involved in.  Photo #2 & #3 are of my uncle – the first of him is holding a Colombian child. The second of him is when he visited my family when I was about 7 and dressed as a tribal man from Colombia to explain the work they were doing there]

gangespujaI don’t think we understand the intensity of idols and gods in our world.
Perhaps you don’t even realize that they are there.

With preparing for however long it will take for us to go to India, I have been learning about the gods and goddesses in the area we plan to be involved in.

For instance, the Hindus pretty much worship the Ganges river by believing they’ll be cleansed by sins each time they bathe in it, as it symbolizes purity (granted it is in the top 5 ranked “most polluted rivers of the world”).  They cup their hands with “her” (goddess Ganga’s) water and let it fall back into it and give “her” flowers and light (cups with oil lit).  People from around the country “pilgrimage” there to take “her” water to use for rituals.  They put the ashes of loved ones into “her” waters which grants them salvation.

How much would it change these people’s lives to know that God, creator of the world sent His son and covered our sins so we can have cleansing?  How much more effective could baptism be to these people to know that Christ can cleanse them and they’ll find true salvation in Him after death?

I showed my sons pictures of the idols and the drawings depicting the gods/goddesses in the area we are learning about and told them that people worship them.  I showed them dozens of photos and my six year old was shocked.  The Hindu people are extremely devoted to their gods there.

Let’s look at the USA.  Our gods take on a different form. We do not literally bow to our gods, but there are some who are so taken in by success, that it is their idol. There are some who long for fame, and that is their idol.  There are others who spend all day long in front of their Televisions, or at least not being able to miss a day of seeing their favorite show that it is all they can think about doing.  There are others who deify an interest they have or a famous person or a sports team.  I honestly feel that with the many things within the Smithsonian museum that have been kept that people long to see and adore, those to me are idols, as are statues of famous people who once lived and monuments that people travel from across the country or world to see (seriously, think about it, it is just like the “pilgrims” who travel from afar to see and bathe into the Ganges River in India).  Are these not idols that take hold of our lives that we need to give up to Christ?  It will be extremely difficult for the Hindu man or woman to give up their daily rituals of worship towards their idols, but Christ can transform us.

ganges2There are idols everywhere we go. It is not a joke.
I honestly told my children when showing them the pictures mentioned, “They might look lovely, but they are truly demonic.” While some might think nothing of these images or idols in our own country, they possess the people who do worship them.  It is just as how we are possessed by the things that take a hold of our lives.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,  but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” -Exodus 20:4-6

What are you holding on to?
A year ago I was heavily convicted by the re-reading of the Ten Commandments. I had a whole cabinet case filled with pretty faeries and unicorns I collected since I was a teenager and other carvings of people and angels. I got rid of them. I didn’t literally worship these things, but for me, I felt there was no reason to have them any longer because I felt it went against this commandment.  I don’t think Christians or our culture take it seriously enough and I wanted to.  You’ll find no statues of people or animals in our home or crosses even. They are all gone. We don’t normally talk about it to others, but Rob totally understood my heart about it and we have changed a lot in how we lived in the past year or two.  People might believe we are “legalistic” but we never tell people they NEED to do this too.  We’ll share what God let us know through His word, but it is up to Him to convict one’s heart, not us to change a person’s lifestyle against their will.  We are changing so many things that we believe our culture raised us in that we now can’t believe we fell victim to for so long.  We’ve found freedom.  We are allowing God to raise us all over again while trying to teach our children what we were failed to be taught.

[photo credit: 1 & 2]

I used to care deeply about politics. I used to write lengthy posts on my old livejournal about why people should or shouldn’t vote for a candidate (this was once I was allowed to vote).  It used to actually make my heart race to debate and to feel superior to other people because of the things I would find out. Honestly, that is the attitude I had. It was a terrible thing and I want to apologize to all the people that I hurt in the process of making sure I was vocal about my political stances.

Rob and I have been discussing politics much more lately.  I do get huffy-puffy sometimes at his outlandish remarks, but usually afterwards I think, “Rob’s actually completely on the dot about that.”  In a recent debate with Rob, I told him that we should simply want to focus on fellowshipping with other believers, spreading the gospel of Christ and ultimately living for Him in how we love, not about any structure of government. It was pretty much what we both decided on. The person I once was when vocal about politics was anything but this. Politics actually started to drive a wedge in my relationships with others and they had a bad taste in their mouth about Christianity.

With the last presidential election I actually convinced a few people to register to vote and helped them decide to vote for who I believed was the “lesser of two evils”.  A friend’s mom even privately let me know that she voted for the person I voted for and to not tell my friend.  I was fuming with anxiety and anger and emotion when Rob told me, “I voted for Chuck Baldwin” who was the Constitution Party candidate for president four years ago. It was my birthday on that day and I said that he ruined my birthday by voting for someone with no chance at winning.  He said that the lesser of two evils was still evil and that he couldn’t vote for evil.

When this coming election was closing in, I had a candidate I was excited about, but when they dropped out I felt hopeless and at a loss. I was putting my trust in the leadership of the country and the people in the country instead of Jesus Christ who sees a larger perspective of everything.  Rob convinced me that the Constitution Party candidate had beliefs based on the Bible and that they are against things like pornography.

Rob had been more outspoken about voting for the Constitution Party and I would sit back and just pay attention to everyone fighting and debating and arguing on facebook and twitter. I only spoke up on someone else’s post a couple days ago, and that was it. It made me realize that many people have an idol in politics. Some have an idol called government. They make it so important that if someone doesn’t see as they do, they get really upset and sometimes cut people out of their lives.  Where is the compassion and love of the believers such as I read about in the Bible? Where was Jesus? I didn’t and still don’t really see it with politics.

I grow weary of my own parents yelling at me about wasting a vote or allowing “the other guy” to win if I didn’t vote like them.  My dad even said that if Elmer Fudd were up against such-and-such person, he’d vote for Elmer Fudd and that I am stupid for not doing the same thing. It really hurt me deeply. I see now that there was a constant fear in people who are believers in Christ. They are so afraid of what will happen to our country. They want to stand for their beliefs and stand up for governmental liberty and freedoms but forget to live out the gospel!

“But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, ‘These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.’ And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard these things. And when they had taken money as security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.” -Acts 17:5-9

If you are to be a radical for Christ, be a radical. So that’s what we decided to do; just like the early day Christians and those currently in our world who stand up for righteousness as they are persecuted and killed for the Lord.

I have no fear. I have a king who rules over me. I have mentioned before here how I see Jesus as King and worthy of honor and glory.  I started to realize that no matter who wins any elections anywhere, God knows what is going on. He has control. He cares for us and is going to help us no matter what goes down or what evil might come about. I have to just trust in Him. There is no better place than to put my hope and trust in Him. And a peace poured over me. No more anger or rage regarding politics as I once had. No more hurting others except by disappointing them for not seeing things their way. I am going to look to Christ. When our new pastor echoed this on Sunday, it helped confirm what Rob and I have already been speaking out about.

A friend of ours told me four years ago that he really loved the book by Shane Claiborne called Jesus For President.  Our friend either actually voted for Jesus on the ballot four years ago, or didn’t bother voting. I felt this was ridiculous, but kept it in mind. Shane Claiborne’s book The Irresistible Revolution actually changed my heart big time about three to four years ago and gave me a new perspective on so many Biblical things, so I respect the author. I have yet to read Jesus for President, but will do so.

This morning I decided to look up quotes from the book Jesus for President. I shared them on my facebook and to Rob privately.

“When the church takes affairs of the state more seriously than they do Jesus, Pax Romana becomes its gospel and the president becomes the Son of God.”

“This is what Jesus had in mind: folks coming together, forming close-knit communities and meeting each other’s needs– no kings, no major welfare systems, no presidents necessary. His is a theology and practice for the people of God, not a set of suggestions for empire.”

“One by one, these disciples would infect the nations with grace. It wasn’t a call to take the sword or the throne and force the world to bow. Rather, they were to live the contagious love of God, to woo the nations into a new future.”

Shane Claiborne recently stated this as well, which I shared:
“So, we may vote on November 6. But we will also vote today, and tomorrow, and the next day. We are convinced that change is not confined to one day every four years. Change happens every day. We vote with our lives. And we are convinced that voting for a new President may be little more than damage control. For Presidents and Caesars do not save the world. But there is a God who can…Enough donkeys and elephants… long live the Lamb.”

It makes complete sense to me. Why vote? Why live as the rest of the nation? Why bicker and argue about something that just causes anger? If we are to stand for our beliefs, we’ll do it, not for anyone but Jesus Christ. We should be most outspoken about Him than any candidate at all.  One of my best friends said that she couldn’t even find it in her heart to vote without feeling guilty.  Rob was going to stop to vote before going to work, but after I told him about these quotes, he let it out he never stopped to vote. He said, “I have decided that due to the fact that I have no God or King other than the one true God and His son that I will not be voting today.” It touched my heart so much. I will also not be voting. I am not worried about who wins or loses because in the end Christ wins and this earth will pass away. I love being at peace! There is only ONE WAY, ONE TRUTH, and ONE LIFE. Everything must direct towards Him for His glory. I am extremely grateful to coming to this realization and for Christ changing my attitude and heart.

I’ve come to realize I set my standards too high for my writing on this blog. My desire to be excellent with my writing of interesting topics has left me at a state of complete neglect of new posts. I have this idea in my head that I’ll only write a post when I have that awesome everyone-will-read-it article that I’ve completely ignored the fact that it isn’t MY job to be excellent, but God’s alone.

I think it also relates to how I am at work. I’m quite honestly VERY soft spoken about my beliefs. Too soft spoken. What it comes down to is I need to stop expecting to be the deliverer of an amazing word (Mario Savio style) and to just be the lips that part to say whatever God has for me to say, however short. Jarrid Wilson’s blog for instance has relatively short but awesomely inspiring posts relating to simply living in The Way. I encourage everyone to check out his blog as well. Yes, he seems a bit of a hipster (and I mean that in the BEST ways possible, I’m a bit of one too) but don’t let it deter you. We are about more than Earthly classifications anyway, right?

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