Tag Archives: overwhelm

Two Roads…Which is the Path of Wisdom?

The road divides. One path is paved with brick, the other with stone. There are lamps on each, about 50 yards ahead. Beyond that, darkness. Trees on either side and between indicate that you must choose now, for there is no indication that these roads rejoin one another. You have no map, and none of those around you have travelled either of these roads before. This is your journey, your choice – but where is the Wisdom you seek to guide you?

Exodus 28, 31, 35, and 36 speak of the wisdom granted to craftsmen that they might do quality work in the service of their God. The skills, talents, and experiences you possess have been granted by the One who knows the path He designed you for. You will draw upon what you know, but do not lean too hard on your understanding, as He has been known to flip human understanding on its head. Seek His companionship and counsel with all that you are, and He will add light to your way. (Proverbs 3:5-6, Deut 4:29, Psalms 119:105)

In Deut 4:1-6, Moses reminds the people that they have been given God’s commands, and their wisdom and understanding will come from following them. So, in light of Exodus 20, examine the two choices:
• Which will lead you to recognize God alone, and which will distract you from Him?
• Which will cause you to depend on, or spend time and energy serving, something other than God?
• Which will bring you opportunity to hallow His name among your peers and neighbors? Which will cause them to believe He is not enough for your needs, or theirs? Which will diminish the worth of His name in your eyes, or theirs?
• Which will honor your desire to give God His weekly Sabbath, and which will insist that you invest God’s Sabbath hours in another agenda?
• Which will lead you to honor your heritage, especially living parents? Which environment will lead your children to honor you as God commands? Which environment will lead to exasperating your children, causing their honor of you to be diminished?
• Which risks the death of another – whether their body, their spirit, their reputation, their relationship with God?
• Which risks the relationship with your spouse or chosen mate? Which will open you, or that person, to temptation? Which will best honor them and the role and responsibility granted by God to them in your life?
• Which risks your integrity? Which may lead you to take pay or pencils that are not your established right to have? Which may lead you to take time, resources, experiences, or honor from your loved ones?
• Which risks your honesty? Which may lead you to wear masks in different environments, either by command of your superiors or by your own need to hide or present an artificial self?
• Which risks your contentment? Which may lead you to become jealous of your peers and neighbors, or the stranger in the marketplace? Which may lead you to an unholy dissatisfaction with your environment, possessions, or relationships?

In summary, which choice will keep you on your face before God, honoring who He is without shame as He examines your every action, word, and motive? Which will keep you, His child, anxious to meet with Him daily, that you might hear His praise, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”?

He has never left your side, and never will. He has led others safely through the unfamiliar. He knows how you think, and how to tell you in the unique language of your heart, “this is the way, walk here.” (Isaiah 30:21, paraphrased) He also knows how to redirect your course if you choose the unfavorable path. The focus of your trust must be in Him, in the provision and protection He has already shown you.

If you remain uncertain, step slowly onto one path or the other, and trust Him to rearrange the pavement as He sees fit. He’s been known to do that, just ask Saul of Tarsus, aka Paul.

Dear Someone, Thank You!

Lifelong Christians aren’t supposed to get frustrated, or discouraged, or wonder if they’ve made enough errors to be abandoned. Seeing miracles from time to time is supposed to shelter the faithful ones from all forms of doubt. Or, that’s what we tell ourselves…or perhaps tell each other.

Well, this lifelong Christian, called missionary, and observer of miracles has been having a rough go of it. Few know how discouraged I’ve been getting, how many times I’ve wondered if I’d have served better by staying in my former life. A six-figure life, complete with modest mortgage, two cats, and a fair bit of affirmation from coworkers, church leadership, and my beloved youth group. But I was under a call to another realm – the place of seeking deaf people and introducing them to Jesus. So I packed up my gear and headed north to focus on relearning American Sign Language (ASL).

The plan to become an interpreter for income fell through, leaving a lot of dust, doubt, and debt in its wake. I was at a point of nearly despairing, considering the need to return home and admit defeat. Then came a period of two weeks where I was placed in a home and assigned to a ministry. Not only was I not forgotten, not abandoned, but I was on track once again in a place of service to reach the most invisible and spiritually isolated people all over the world – deaf children. I’ve since moved steadily south to get closer to ministry headquarters, living in four different guest rooms so far.

I confidently agreed to accept whatever funding I could raise, counting on being a scheduled speaker at monthly missionary services. I looked forward to telling about my target group and receiving support to devote myself to the mission. A few of us discussed how a team of people would surround me to encourage, pray, and help me with building a network and a speaking schedule. That whole plan didn’t fall through — it crumbled, slowly and agonizingly… Memories of school fundraiser failures and dishonest televangelists mingled with impossible numeric goals and the already busy life rhythms of those I thought to lean on. It looks like I need to take on all aspects of fundraising, and I just don’t have it in me to treat people like walking wallets.

This is the burden that’s grown to unbearable proportions over the past several weeks. Reminding myself that God is faithful and His resources are unlimited doesn’t effectively counter the idea that I’ve failed too much to imagine continuing forward. It seems time to take on a second job for income, knowing that it will reduce the hours and energy I can give to this ministry. If I’m not in ministry, I’ve wasted the last eight years and the sacrifices of several loved ones. My standing prayer request at the moment is for clarity and against discouragement.

That brings us to the title statement: “Dear Someone, thank you.”

Two weeks ago I visited my friends up north. Not only was it a refreshing encouragement to be with my deaf friends, but they were willing to provide taxi service, lunch, and a love gift of $100 from “Someone.” I decided to put that toward a women’s retreat happening soon in the same area.

Yesterday, I noticed that a local pastor (and friend) intended to speak on John 14, and I could use a little “I’ve gone to prepare a place for you…” right about now. Still exploring church options near my new home, I chose to go there. The radio message was Dr. Paul Nyquist’s “Heirs with Christ,” on being adopted by God. I was warmly greeted by several people at the church and had some discussion with the Lord about perhaps serving with this body, then the pastor gave his message on the Fatherhood of God. His focus was verses 13-14, “ask in My name, and it will be done.” Then, being prompted, he asked the congregation if someone would give $20 to the visiting missionary. I was overwhelmed with more greetings, encouragement, a couple of contacts, a prayer, and a total of $386.

Afterward, I had a text from my friends up north. The cost of the women’s retreat is covered. Another unexpected blessing.

To all the Someones who have given of themselves to pray, encourage, affirm, and provide — especially recently — THANK YOU! I am overwhelmed.

The VBS Jungle

Hello friends, it’s been a while…

Let’s start with a few priority items. I want to thank you for your support over the last several years. Whether personal, emotional, financial, or in prayer, it all helps, and it is all appreciated. Continue reading The VBS Jungle

“My Song”, a movie about identity

This film is 24 minutes long, and worth attention in every frame.  It is done by folks in the UK, so they use British Sign Language (BSL), with audio and captions.  You may want to have tissues handy.

A Peek Over the Cliff

From “Oh Robin, our Robin“:

There will be those, and I know some of them, who will speak of how selfish people must be to choose a fatal option.  In a sense, when you consider the loss, agony, and guilt that living loved ones must cope with, “selfish” seems accurate.

To address this “selfish” idea, let me invite you into the one place I can speak authoritatively about… the edge of the cliff, nearly 30 years ago… Continue reading A Peek Over the Cliff