Monday, March 27, 2017

ligh in dark places

I'm sitting on the rooftop balcony in Alajuelita, Costa Rica as the last light of the day fades away and the city lights start to appear over the city.

Human voices call out to one another, babies crying, dogs barking, and the puttering of motorcycles blend in to make a symphony in he background. It tells the story of real life being lived, not the quiet life of being shit behind closed doors and thick insulation. Out in this open air, everyday life is out there for all to hear.

We got in to Costa Rica this afternoon and after dropping off bags at the ministry house, our whole group went out on a prayer walk around Alajuelita. The town square looks so different in just the span of a year.  The changes are good and point towards revival in the city.  A light entering a dark place.

Last year I remember sitting in the square as I watched the trees getting pruned. I was disappointed that the long branches where getting butcher to nubby stumps. AI didn't understand why they were doing it until now, an entire year later.

The park used to be very dark even in the middle of the day. There were so many trees that the sun never seemed to be able to shine through. The darkness seemed to create a covering for shady business, trash to be dumped and overall squalor.

As the trees were cut the light drove away the darkness and the dark acts below.

New park benches were brought in, tire swings were added and a brand new playground stands in a place that was once covered in filth.

The light of Christ comes to drive away darkness, opening the doors wide to change and new life.

The cacophony of sounds below because a beautiful melody, sounds of hope, bringing forth light in a dark place.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

in the wilderness

Here's a prime example of life getting in the way of being able to reflect on the goodness God's placed in your life. This was supposed to be posted in February, but here it is mid-March!

I've been in a place recently where God is teaching me to wait with expectancy, but he hasn't shown me what or when that will be. Because I know him to be a good father, I know that all of his plans will be better than my own, but sometimes the waiting can be hard. My heart's longing want to be fulfilled now. I want immediate action, but the only answer I get from God is, "Wait. Trust me. Allow me to take over the plans of your life."

My own plans never turn out that great, so for now, I stand before the Lord, knowing that he will give me what I can handle in HIS timing.

Devil's Garden, Arches National Park
Several weeks ago, our group had the privilege of going out west. While in Moab, Utah, we studied the Israelites, from their exodus from Egypt, to waiting in the wilderness, and then the time of the judges. Each time God provided for his people, they quickly forgot and turned from him to "do what was right in their own eyes."

First off, it baffles me that after all the plagues they witnessed, water coming out of a rock in the middle of a dry DESERT, manna coming from heaving every. single. day without fail, and yet, they still forgot to trust him.

Instead of seeing his provisions and the goodness of the promised land, all they could see were the hardships and hurdles they'd have to climb over. They quake at the very thought of what they face. Fear crept in and invaded their very beings. How would they be able to overcome these terrible giants? The answer is that they alone couldn't. They so quickly forgot God's strength. The Israelites imagined their own pathetic, journey worn, weary bodies against a vast army and thought, there's no way. Their own strength was no match against these people, they needed a strength outside of their own. Which is exactly the spot were God wants to take us, so that in our own weakness, his own strength is displayed.

The second thing this that makes me pause is the thought, "If it was that easy for the Israelites, who saw the cloud by day and pillar of fire, to forget God's faithfulness, how often do I forget? When am I trying to turn to my own strength and not God's? My own plans rather than resting on his?" The answer is probably a whole lot more often that I would like to admit. How easily I trust him one instant, then forget his goodness the next.

The Israelites waited for 40 years in the desert lands. Forty years of seeing the same sights, trusting God because their own faithlessness kept them from the promised that God had prepared before them. Their children would receive the blessings instead of them.

Can you imagine how Joshua and Caleb must have felt, to have stepped foot into this land that they knew would some day be theirs, only for God to tell them, that they were going to have to wait. not a week, month or year, but for 40 LONG years. Waiting for answers from God can seems like an eternity, but when viewed in light of the Israelites my own waiting looks like nothing.

In this wilderness time, God is shaping me, teaching me to trust him, and gently (and sometimes not so gently) prying away the plans I've so carefully crafted.

God's blessings on you, and enjoy some of the snapshots from my time in Moab!

Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Gold Bar
Dead Horse Point State Park
Jeep Arch, Moab Utah
Utah Juniper

Sand Dune Arch, Arches National Park

Dead Horse Point State Park