The way out of hopeless

I just returned last night from Cambodia, celebrating the grand opening of our second nightcare – so much goodness! Nightcare is our initiative with www.savingmoses.org
where we take care of the babies & toddlers of prostitutes while they work. Without nightcare, these babies & toddlers are at work with their moms – every horror you can imagine & more. The hopeless part is that I can get overwhelmed by the needs, atrocities & unimaginable devastation occurring every night in these neighborhoods without nightcare.
Hopeless happens in our lives when we stop moving forward, when we fixate on what is dark & evil. Hope is taking a step, doing something positive & loving genuinely. Love rescues us from being hopeless. Genuine love gives the escape

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I need you

I grew up as a very independent person & felt very strongly that being independent was a noble aim. Now, I’m not so sure. I find myself frequently in situations where I’m inadequate, not smart enough nor strong enough to handle what’s happening. More often than not, the people who are around me have solutions I’ve not thought of, strength I don’t have & poise for the pressures of the moment. And if all of that isn’t enough, I hear that still, small & comforting voice in my heart saying, “I’m here.” I’m finding that we need each other & it’s a wonderful discovery!

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Hot topic: prostitutes

If a person talks about prostitutes or sex workers, people have some interesting reactions. Some people get really uncomfortable & change the subject quickly. Some people get really condescending & holy. Some people don’t get too jittery & seem relatively calm. In the Bible, prostitutes were often considered lower class, except by Jesus. When I watch how Jesus treated women of ill repute, He didn’t shun nor shame them. In fact, it says that He was considered a friend of sinners.
In my work with Saving Moses, we look after the babies of prostitutes with our nightcare centers. Without our centers, these babies & toddlers have tremendous struggles which are difficult for us to imagine & understand. I’m in Cambodia right now celebrating the Grand Opening of our 2nd nightcare & was recently told about a 3year old little girl who was helping her mom in the evenings by selling birth control to the customers of her mother. I want to be like Jesus & love people more than shame them, including prostitutes.

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Recovering from setbacks

Recently, one of my friends had her purse stolen in a rather traumatic way. When I think about how her purse was stolen, it creeps me out & it could be a real setback for my friend in many different ways (credit cards, wallet, phone, etc). Here are a few helpful ideas for overcoming setbacks:
*pray first – ask God for strength, wisdom, help , . . . .
*stay in the game – sometimes when something had happens, we can pause on the sidelines for too long
*dont let your heart get poisoned with bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, etc
*ask for God’s perspective – seeing things from God’s point of view helps us to keep our thinking in a more healthy & less destructive zone

tricksy, I say!

If the devil can get you to question or doubt God’s character than you’ve moved into a very dangerous place.  If you think about it, that’s exactly what the snake did to Eve in the Garden of Eden – question God’s motives and character.  Consider this:  God is love, so God is always loving.  When we think that God is sometimes unfaithful, unreliable or not helping us, then we’ve already eaten the apple with which the snake was tempting Eve.  Some things about God that never change, regardless of how we feel or what we’re going through:  God is love, all-powerful, ever-present, our Helper, all-knowing and steadfast.  Don’t fall for any decptions that might cause you to think differently about who God is in your life! 🙂

Doesn’t meet expectations

We’ve all had experiences where we have disappointed someone’s expectations & let someone down. Sometimes we may feel this way about God – that God isn’t measuring up to what we expected or desire. But I’ve been reading about Martha, Mary & Lazarus’ resurrection in John 11 & there have been some really helpful things I’ve noticed. If you get a chance, please read this chapter & in the meantime, here are a few things to consider:
*Martha & Mary wanted healing but Jesus was into resurrection. Perhaps we should consider that God has something way more than what we are desiring
*gap management – there was a fair amount of time between Lazarus being sick & Jesus raising him from the dead. In this gap, the relationship Martha & Mary had with Jesus took some very significant quantum leaps!
* Martha & Mary came out of this experience with more faith in Jesus & Jesus came out of this with more glory; may our lives grow & faith & giving glory to Jesus!
*perhaps God would like to exchange some of our murky human thinking for glorious divine illumination 🙂

hot topic: unanswered prayer

In my journey with Jesus, I’ve had some frustrations about praying.  When I read John 14:13-14,  “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it”, Jesus’ words make me think that God will do what I ask, when I ask in Jesus’ name.  However, this hasn’t always been my experience.  I’ve asked God for many things in Jesus’ name and it seems like nothing has happened.  Ever had a similar experience?

So here are a few thoughts that might be helpful with unanswered prayer.  Perhaps our prayers don’t get the answers we want for some of these “reasons”:

  • motives:  we ask with selfish motives – James 4:3,  “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
  • methods:  greater glory for God – in John 11:4, we read that Jesus told His disciples that Lazarus’ sickness would end with great glory for God;  Lazarus’ sisters (Martha & Mary) wanted Lazarus to be healed rather than die, but Jesus had resurrection rather than healing for Lazarus.  We must always remember that God’s ways are higher than our ways (Is 55:8)
  • unbelief:  in Matt 13:58, it says that Jesus didn’t do many miracles in His hometown because of their unbelief;  faith is an important ingredient for praying
  • schedule:  God has a different schedule and timeline than what we think.  In John 7:6, Jesus told His brothers, ““My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune.'”  There are lots of occassions in the Bible where our timing is out of synch with God
  • maturity:  getting our way on our schedule isn’t always the optimum path God has for our development and intimacy with God.  In James 1:2-4 it says, ‘Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces cendurance. And let aendurance have its perfect result, so that you may be bperfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

It seems to me that God always answers prayer but maybe not always in the ways or timing that we want 🙂

Feedback please!

First, let me say thanks so much for reading my blog! I know you could chose lots of things to do, so thank you lots for reading this! I’m considering doing possible a weekly series on like hot topics, but still keeping it short.
I have 2 questions for you:
1 – do you like the idea of a weekly series (1 day a week)?
2 – what topics would be interesting to you?

Thanks HEAPS for your feedback!

Don’t Freak Out!!

“LET GO!!!!!”  When I was younger, I went paragliding in China & had virtually no instruction for the paragliding adventure.  Whatever training the paragliding “company” did was in Mandarin & my Mandarin skills don’t have any paragliding vocabulary.  Needless to say, I wasn’t prepared for this undertaking, which of course didn’t stop me – smile.  I strapped into the harness thing, proceeded to jump off the mountain and I had this TOTALLY SHOCKING experience, which I later learned was a thermal.  I caught a wind gust that was like rocket thrusting me straight up!  My mind said, “LET GO!!” and then I thought about my options: let go & fall or hold on & keep going up.  I decided that I preferred the lifting experience over the falling experience, so I held on.  Let’s make the same kind of decision about Jesus when we get in a crisis.  Hold on to Jesus & He will lift us up!

ps – I had an amazing ride with my paragliding experience 🙂

surprise, surprise!

My dad hated surprises – particularly bad surprises, but he wasn’t too keen on good ones either. I learned very quickly that I needed to give him lots of forewarning to avoid the “surprise fallout.”  I also learned from his reactions that not everyone thinks that surprises are fun.  Indeed, some people completely hate surprises, which can be kind of tricky to navigate when raising children (who are FULL of surpises).  So here are some helpful thoughts about surprises:

  • no “surprise” catches God off-guard, since God is all-knowing
  • since God is all-knowing, we get to trust that God’s plans are always better than anything we could consider
  • it seems to me that staying calm is a good way to navigate surprises for the best outcomes
  • despite our best efforts, there is always the unexpected in our lives so it’s better to be flexible than resistant 🙂
  • it always helps me to remember that God is sovereign & nothing makes God jittery!

Don’t forget to stay in touch with Saving Moses over the next month for some GREAT SURPRISES!!!