Saturday, July 16, 2011

A personal insult becomes an opportunity for a saint to reveal the incredible sweetness of the Lord Jesus

The words must come out now.

The story must be fulfilled now.

The workers must be sent now.

The lovers must be willing to die now.

The people lost in the darkness of the enemy must be told the Truth now.

The lies that have covered this people group for centuries must be burned now.

There is no time like today.

The movement of the Gospel is making a grand entrance in this country.

The movement of the Gospel is unstoppable and undeniable.

The movement of the Gospel is the most powerful movement to greet this great Earth.

The movement of the Gospel is penetrating the hearts of the paralyzed.

The paralyzed are feeling the deep wave of the Gospel moving in their hearts.

The love of the Lord Jesus Christ is making it’s way into the minds of those who have been turning away for years.

But there is a cost….

There is a cost that was a great cost to pay.

The price was paid for the Muslims, and Christians alike.

How dare we separate the cost into different religions.

The cost was paid.

The cost was paid for the Kingdom.

The Kingdom of God includes all who see and believe Jesus Christ is their savior.

The people of the Kingdom are a different type of people.

They are not seen by what they try to do, but by the actual characteristics of Christ being manifest inside of them.

The people of the Kingdom are held to a higher cost.

They must obey.

They must obey His will.

They must obey His will whatever the cost may be.

They must obey not because the law tells them to, but because out of their love for Jesus Christ, they desire nothing more in this world then to obey their Father.

Its not about pride that they desire to show Jesus Christ to the world, but it is out of their sincerest and most humble desire for the Savior’s Name to be proclaimed throughout this world.

The enemy has a plan.

His plan is to stop the Lovers of God from sharing the good news with the world.

He tells us we are not good enough.

He tells us what we are sharing with people is a lie.

He tells us that the Good News is not ever going to be good news to this people group.

He tells us these people want nothing to do with the Gospel.

But I will tell you,

There is nothing like the movement here. The people cannot deny the love of Jesus Christ that is being shown through His disciples here in the Mid East.

On Wednesday I heard many unkind words spoken against Christianity and lovers of Jesus.

I heard many unkind words spoken of my homeland.

I had a desire to go home to America. I had a desire to weep and tell God that it is impossible. I had the desire to slap my friend in the face. I had anger burning inside of me for all of the harsh words spoken against me. I had a sickness invented by the flesh I dwell in, the sickness was believing that I could not do anything in this country. The Enemy was taunting me telling me that my friend was right and that Christianity only brought war and anger. I actually had the Enemy telling me that the words coming out of mouth were falling on deaf ears. The enemy told me on judgment day every body will see the truth, every body will know who chose the right religion, and you are wrong, you have chosen the wrong one.

And the worst part was that….for many moments while I remained with my friend I believed the Enemy. I believed that there was no point in me being here. I believed there was absolutely no way that anybody would come to know Christ the way I know him while I was here. I believed the stupid lies of the enemy, and I am ashamed.

Thank God for His sweet mercy and kindness, because with the Spirit inside of me I remained silent.

As my friend Sam (name changed) and I walked from class to the cafeteria he told me about how mad he was at our friend Sarah (name changed) for getting upset because he wouldn’t turn off the fan because she was cold. He went on for minute after minute calling her names and saying EVIL things about her. And then when he was done the Spirit spoke a word to him, “did you know in the Bible there is a verse that says, ‘out of the overflow of your heart, your mouth speaks’?” He looked at me as if it was a foreign concept for him to hear, and he was silent for a moment and then the words came that the enemy told him to say, “ooo I forgot you are a “good Christian” and I shouldn’t say those kinds of things around you.”

It is true in these moments I wonder what exactly the Enemy is thinking telling him to say those things. I laugh at the future I laugh at the Enemy because I know my sweet Savior has already won this battle.

We are breaking the gates of hell…

As we continued walking to the cafeteria I allowed him to say all he had to say about our friend Sarah, and although the words hurt, I heard the Lord speaking to me, “just wait.”

I praised God that I was on the other side of campus and that I had a good 20 minute walk to catch a taxi, because in those moments the Lord spoke so clearly to me.

He said in my ear, “my dear child, have no anger for Sam.”

“Father, please please forgive him for he knows not what he says, for the enemy has consumed his mind.”

“Sweetheart, keep your heart set on me, follow me and do not look back, I told you many months ago that if you decided to follow Me to the Mid East that you would experience extreme persecution, things you never dreamed you would hear against your Love. I told you that while you were here, that many people would hate what you are doing, that they would hate the joy that fills your heart every day. They hate it my beloved, because they want it, and they know you are showing them the way they can get it. But there is another player in the game and his name is Satan. He is the prince of lies, and he has become so beautiful to Sam. Sam sees the Enemy disguised as an angel of light (2 Corinth 11:14).”

“But why Father? Why is Sam acting like this, on Saturday he wanted to listen to me, he wanted to hear what you had to say to him, and now he comes at me with fire?”

“My beloved, the Enemy sees you, he sees what you are trying to do. He sees that you are my disciple and that you have a longing a deep longing for Sam to come to know me in a true way. And so he is trying with all of his power to get you to run away from this place, to say there is no hope for this area of the world. He is trying to get you to listen to him to him saying that there is no point in even being a part of this movement. But my beloved, do not listen to him, for he only speaks lies to you. He tells you what he thinks you should hear, but I am here to tell you the Truth. I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly. I have come that they may see the Truth and that the Truth will set them free. I have come to walk you through the valley of the shadow of death, in this dry and weary land, and to see you as my vessel give fruit to this land. I have come that you may work in this land and that many of my children would come running to me. I have come that all may see the Light of the glory of Jesus Christ the Gospel, the Good News of love, mercy, and grace.

Satan: Do not be deceived: God IS NOT MOCKED, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Gal 6:7-9”

“O my sweet Father in Heaven, I praise you all day long for you offer wisdom and knowledge beyond my own mind. You have given me a light that has rejuvenated me and built me up, that I may not turn away from this great movement you are making here. I see you working and I will not run. Do not leave me or forsake me, for it is with you that I work, live, and pray, and it is only for your glory and honor and praise.”

You know, brothers and sisters, there is not one time in my life that I felt myself closer to my heavenly Father. It is true that the deeper you go to God the further away from the world and from the people of this world that you feel. The words of A.W. Tozer have sunk deep into my heart this week as I have seen that the Saint must walk alone. I have seen that when we feel most alone, far away from our friends from our family, from our loved ones, we feel the closest to our Lover. It’s a beautiful thing to witness to be a part of, and to learn to fall more deeply in love with Jesus Christ.

The words spoken to me from Oswald chambers the following morning after my occurrence on campus:

I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” (Matt. 5:39)

This verse reveals the humiliation of being a Christian IN the natural realm, if a person does not hit back, it is because he is a coward. But in the spiritual realm, it is the very evidence of the Son of God in him if he does not hit back. When you are insulted, you must not only not resent it, but you must make it an opportunity to exhibit the Son of God in your life. And you cannot imitate the nature of Jesus—it is either in you or it is not. A personal insult becomes an opportunity for a saint to reveal the incredible sweetness of the L J.

filling “up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of C…”(Col 1:24).

Never look for justice, but never cease to give it.

Oh my brothers and sisters, my prayer for you this week and for the rest of this summer and throughout the rest of your lives, that you would be stirred to pray for this part of the world. Please lift this people group up.

I pray the Lord will stir many of your hearts to come work in this place. I pray He sends many laborers to bear the burden here, we cannot bear it alone. We can only bear what the Lord Jesus Christ gives us to bear. We will look next to each other and we will see that we are walking caring our own cross, but there will be many of us in this land, I can feel the Lord stirring the hearts of you my brothers and sisters. Please listen to Him beckoning you to Him. Please follow that voice in your heart that is telling you to come be a Light of the Gospel here in this place. Do not run away from it. I know it is a scary thing to be called to the Midea but you will witness the movement of the Gospel in a way you never dreamed you would see it move.

Just listen.

Thanking Him today for His encouragement and Love for a sinner like me,

Lauren

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Spirit Leading, Spirit Guiding




“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25)

I must be led by the Spirit in order to experience all that the L has allowed me to see.

Last week when I got out of class I was walking underneath the road to catch a taxi and there is a nice little $1 movie stand at the end of the walkway. I was standing next to a beautiful girl with a hijab and we were both restlessly trying to find a good movie to watch. She began talking to me and discussing which movies would be good to watch. Pretty soon we were talking about our majors and how old we were and what we were doing that afternoon. I told her I had planned on going home to study and do my homework, she then proceeded to ask me if I would like to come over to her house so she could help me with my Arabic homework and we could eat with her family. So, in any other country I probably would have thought this was weird, and I may have been a little skeptical of the whole situation, but here I knew it was a part of their culture to just meet people and invite them to your home. I also knew if I decided to go over to her house, then I was becoming her best friend. The friendships here are different then they are in the states. My house mom here, told me they are like zip ties, you can only tighten them, but you can’t loosen them without breaking them. So I decided it was too much of a “coincidence”—obviously a divinely appointed relationship—that I would meet this 21 year old girl on the street and that we would have such a fun time chatting with each other. Being urged by the Spirit I decided to just go for it. We hopped in the car with her uncle, little brother and sister, and headed to her house. When we arrived I noticed how perfect everything looked, it was a beautifully decorated house, and there were many people inside! I of course met every single one of them, her aunts and uncles, her siblings, her cousins EVERYBODy. They were so welcoming and wanted so badly to practice their English with me! It definitely threw them off when I started speaking Arabic to them :) After greeting everybody Haya took me into her room and she unveiled her self. Many things started going through my head while I was standing there as she gladly took her covering off, but I don’t think it all hit me until later that evening. After her changing clothes we went into their family room and Haya told me she had to go to the bathroom but her father told me she was really going to pry. After she was done we went into their kitchen and ate the food her mom had prepared earlier that day. Haya and I had awesome conversations with her Aunt from Saudi and her mom, and then after a little while it was just us two sitting in the kitchen talking. She of course asked me about what I believed in and I told her I am a follower of J. She began to tell me about the girl that works for them who said she was a C and wanted to convert to I. I asked her why she wanted to convert and she said that she felt she would be closer to G if she was M. Haya continued sharing with me all about Isl*m and what she believes in, and she continued telling me that she thought what I believe in is false and that I should not believe in it. She told me the words of the B*ble are not the words of G, and that J.C. couldn’t be the Son of G. I believe you don’t really ask yourself these questions until you are in the position where you have to know the answer on the spot. So there I was sitting in front of this beautiful M girl who was telling me that everything I grew up knowing since I was a baby was false. What would you do? Everything inside of me, the Spirit and the flesh were at peace. I am so grateful for G’s mercy towards me while I was sitting there, as He urged His Spirit to continue giving me peace with remaining silent. So I told her what I felt the Spirit urging me to tell her and then I left the rest alone. As we walked away from the Kingdom conversation we began talking about art and she decided to share some of her artwork with me. We went into her room again and sat on her bed and looked at her artwork. Funny thing is, her pieces were drawings of Brittney Spears, Barrack Obama and other random celebrities :) After looking at her art she told me before I left she had to put on her hijab because her other cousin had just arrived and she had to be covered in front of him. I stood there watching her do the tedious task of putting on layer after layer of clothing. And as I was watching her put on all of that clothing, I thought about where the L has me in my walk with Him. I thought about how thankful I am knowing I don’t have to cover myself to that extent due to legalistic issues created by society. While it is a beautiful thing that these women respect their bodies that much, I have learned this past week that the women behind the veil sometimes act like they like the veil a lot more then they actually do. I asked her if she enjoys wearing the hijab and she told me yes, but she told me it gets tiring. She is so beautiful without the hijab, I wish you all could see, she is a beautiful beautiful creation created by our heavenly Father.

Follow up will be today, so I pry the L uses my time with her and her family again today to bring us into Kingdom conversations that I am now more prepared for after prying about it. After sitting in front of her questioning whether what she believes in is not far from what I believe in, I started asking G to speak to me through His word and He brought me to this verse:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of C and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gspel of C. But even if we or an agel from haven should preach to you a gspel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: if anyone is preaching to you a gspel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of G? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of C.

Although I was never actually turning away from C*ristianity, I was listening to the words she was saying too much. I was allowing it to get into my heart, where the Spirit was aching for me to not listen to the lies. It would be a lie for me to tell you that everything M believe in is false, I believe a lot of how they think and act is a beautiful picture of their submission to G, but I believe they are missing the point of the Go*pel. They don’t see the saving nature of J.C. And my pryer through this verse, is that I would not be moved by any of the lies I am hearing, but that also the people blinded by lies would not be accursed, but that they would be saved through the redeeming grace and mercy of J.C.

This past weekend I went to Wadi Rum and Aqaba on a school trip with 70 other students from all over the world: London, Germany, Pakistan, Palestine, Canada, California, Australia, New Zealand, China, Korea, Italy, and Spain, etc. We started the trip off in the Wadi rum desert where the L spoke loud and clear to me. He told me story after story of all the people in the bible who walked through the desert day and night and relied on Him to provide food and water. And then the ultimate Sacrifice J.C. himself, willingly obeyed the command of G to walk in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights. So many stories were brought to life as I stood in the 115* desert wondering what it would be like to walk through the desert begging G to provide. We then made our way to the Red Sea where even more came to life, as we sat and saw Israel and Egypt across the sea. On the way home I had an incredible conversation with my friend Shauyb who is a M from London, and my friend Liz from Georgia (a fellow B*liever). We talked about the Kingdom, and how we know what we know, who we learned everything we know from and why we believe what we believe. He asked many questions about J.C. He even asked if he could see where it was written in the Bble about Jes*s being the Son of G. So as Liz and I were sitting there continuing talking of our Lord J>C> to him, we were prying fervently that he would be changed by the word as he read. I told him many stories about how the L speaks to people, we explained the Spirit to him, and how the Spirit is how G speaks to us. I talked to him without worrying what was coming out of my mouth, which is such an answer to pryer because the L is continuing to give me new boldness. I am constantly thinking about what He would say and what He would do if He was here with me, and all I see is this constant reflection of love towards these people. I see this perfect love that G offers to all of His children, and that He desires to offer to the whole world, that He does offer to the whole world if they would choose to believe with their whole heart that J is L. Shauyb was so interested in the idea that G speaks to me. He kept on asking me, how do you hear from him, do you hear his actual voice, what does he say…etc. It challenges me in a new way to hear him ask me this questions and then to think about the grace we have received that we can hear from our Father in Heaven. I explained to Him that it is not about a religious act or duty like his faith is, but that it is a personal relationship with C that comes from the spirit inside of us. We told him that G sent us the Spirit to be our helper. I shared verses with him about heaven and what it will look like, and he also shared with us that they believe J is coming back to get everybody too. They also believe in a heaven and hell like we do, but they believe that people will only enter into heaven if they believe M* is the final prophet. Although there were many differences in what we believed, he seemed very interested in hearing about the good news. He was very eager to ask questions and wanted to know exactly what I did every day to have a good relationship with G. He asked me if I read my bible every day, and when I pray, and how I pray. And yesterday when I was on campus I went to lunch with Shauyb, Sylvia, and Aundrea (from Italy), and Shauyb asked me if I read my bible even though we had to be up so early and I was so tired. Thankfully, the L had stirred my heart to spend time with Him that morning before going to class. It is times like these, that the L desires to see our obedience that He may receive all glory and honor and praise for stirring the hearts of His children towards this obedience.

Pry that Shauyb will continue asking me questions, that he may see a difference in his relationship with G and my relationship with G and that he will desire to be a part of having a personal relationship with C and with G.

“The evangel*zation of the world is a desperate struggle with the Prince of Darkness, and with everything his rage can stir up in the shape of obstacles, vexations, oppositions, and hatred, whether by circumstances or by the hand of man. It is a serious task. Oh, it should mean a life of consecration.” Francois Colliard

No human being could ever be prepared enough for a task this great. It means taking yourself away from everything you once held true and held so dear to your heart, and submitting yourself to a constant influx of lies. It means submitting yourself to hearing people dog your faith your beliefs, and everything you once knew to be true. It means allowing yourself to dig deeper in your faith to see the One True foundation that lays in Jesus Christ alone.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

A calling to the Impossible

So I have realized how annoying it is to have blonde hair and wanting to be a worker in another country. God bless the movie stars because I have no idea how they handle being stared at all the time. I thought I was used to it being in Uganda, but I definitely was not prepared to receive the same amount of attention here. When we walk down the street there is nowhere we can go without being seen. Men drop their mouths and wait until we are out of their sight to stop looking. It makes me feel like a dog, like I am something that should be stared at for long periods of time. I am so tired of it, and it makes me so frustrated to the point of not wanting to go walk around anywhere unless I have to get to a certain place.

So it’s true, the life in the Mid East is not as glorifying as some would think it is. It’s not picture perfect all of the time, and the move of the Gospel is not as fluent or easy as some would think it would be. It’s difficult to share, you have to be careful in everything you say, and you have to make sure the person you are speaking with is open to hearing those things.

Perhaps no part of the cost of being a foreign Missionary is greater than the loneliness. The alien experiences a sense of utter isolation, and is tempted to cling with greater tenacity to others of his own language and culture.

The words of this woman who was totally surrendered to Jesus Christ have hit home with me in the past two weeks. The loneliness is horrible, and the desire to share these experiences with somebody has been eating at me. I praise and thank the Lord because He has given me my sister R to share in all of these experiences and to talk with, but I do wonder what it will be like to share this type of life with my husband.

“She was finding at firsthand that missionaries are not set apart from the rest of the human race, not purer, nobler, higher. Wings are an illusive fallacy some may possess them, but they are not very visible, and as for me, there isn’t the least sign of a feather. Don’t imagine that by crossing the sea and landing on a foreign shore and learning a foreign lingo you ‘burst the bonds of outer sin and hatch yourself a cherubim.”

The truth of Amy Carmichael’s words, have sunk into my heart this past week I have realized this changing scenery this new people group that I am around is not going anywhere, and I will be here for two straight months. It’s a dry area. It is a place where the movement of Jesus Christ is just beginning, hasn’t been started, and is taking baby steps into the lives of the Arabs. This mission that this family is beginning seems impossible right now. It seems impossible, but the Truth we hold on to is the truth that many movements are just beginning all over the world, and they are beginning in places where people are yearning to hear the word, and in places where the Enemy has completely blinded them. And we are encouraged by the words of Paul, “For we were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We do not boast beyond limit in the labors of others, but our hope is that as your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged, so that we may preach the Gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another’s area of influence. Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. (2 Corinth 10:14-18)

So I am human. I have weaknesses, I have downfalls, I have many things wrong with the way I view the world, and the Lord is redeeming me of those things, He is teaching me things I didn’t want to learn, and He is taking me to deeper depths in faith. And it isn’t easy, it’s not always fun, and it is not always as we want it to be. But to God be the glory. To Him be the glory when I am being stared at in ways that I never have ever wanted to be looked at in. To Him be the glory when those men staring at me are given the desire to seek Jesus Christ To G be the glory when one of those men stop staring at me, and actually ask if I need help with wherever I am trying to go. To God be the glory when a taxi driver waits five minutes for me to cross the busy intersection in the city, because he sees I need help. To God be the glory when my teacher offers to help me out with my Arabic. To God be the glory when my steps are directed exactly to where I should be, without me knowing where I am going :) To God be the glory when I least expect Him to show Himself and He appears shining as bright as ever.

Now for my obvious favor from the Lord in my relationship with Arab women:

This past week I met a young woman named Amal. The first time I met her we had a lot of really good conversations but one in particular really hit home with me. I have been drawn to Muslim women in general, but Amal just stole my heart. We were there to help women with English but we ended up having a conversation about religion due to the fact that they were so interested in my major being religion :) We starting talking about her headcover and she asked me if I understood why they wear them. I told her that I wanted to hear her explanation, and this is the beautiful description she gave me:

She asked me if I was given the choice of two diamonds an expensive one and a cheap one which one would I choose and I told her the expensive one. Then she said, if I wanted to protect my expensive diamond what would I do with it. I proceeded to tell her that I would put in a box. She said yes that is exactly why we choose to cover ourselves. She said in this culture we believe that if we do not cover ourselves if we wear short shorts and no sleeves and low-cut shirts that we are seen as worth less, then if we cover ourselves, even our heads. I think the most precious thing about her telling me this is that she was saying THEY decided to cover themselves; their fathers or husbands didn’t force them into doing it. It was such a sweet moment with Papa and me too, as He spoke to me and said, “this is exactly why I have been teaching you modesty for the past year. Because, I see you as my precious creation waiting to only be seen by your husband, and I want more then anything for you to be held to the cost that I paid for you by sending my son to die for you.” These women are beautiful with or without their head covering, but their devotion to Allah makes them even more beautiful. Amal and I continued talking about religion and then we got on the subject of what Americans think of Muslims. We talked a lot about how to know whether someone is part of Jihad or not and I asked her how she knew I was an okay person to talk to. She then proceeded to tell me that I have a white heart.

There is not much to say after that because exactly when I began to question what I was doing here, why He had called me here to this “impossible” mission, He shows up and says, “because they see who you are and Whose you are. They see without you saying anything about me, they see without asking any questions, what I have done on the inside of your heart.”

The coolest thing about her saying this is that a few months ago I was at this amazing church in Bham called Vineyard Community Church and a friend of mine’s mom came up to me after the service and she told me she felt the need to pray for me. She asked me what I was doing this summer, and I continued telling her that I was going to be serving in Uganda and in the Mid East. She then prayed that everybody here would see my hair in the Mid East. She prayed it would be a natural light, and that people would be drawn to it. So perhaps my complaining about being stared at all the time is really just an answer to prayer, either way, He answers, and He is faithful.

It’s not every day that the Lord speaks so clearly to you that you can’t deny that He is surrounding you, watching your moves, and allowing you to be a light to the people He gives you. But every day while I have been here He has spoken something specific to me. He has called me out of my self-pity and my selfishness into a much Greater cause.

Please, please continue to keep the people of this country in your prayers. Pray for the opportunities with these women. They are our sisters, and they are our brothers, waiting to see the glory of Jesus Christ revealed to them.

“Once God has placed His call on you, woe be to you if you “turn aside to the right hand or to the left.” (Deuteronomy 5:32) Oswald Chambers