Opportunity?: Prayer Request

For months, we've prayed for guidance on how we should serve.  We've explored options as extreme as moving to Taiwan or China to care for orphans.  There may be an opportunity at our home church.  Though not quite the upheaval to our lives as moving to another country, it would require a significant commitment by the entire family.

Heavenly Father, We thank you for any opportunity to reflect your glory.  All of our blessing comes from you.  Our heart's desire is to serve you and follow in the path of righteousness you set before us.  Please light the path that you would have us walk.  In our blindness and weakness, we need your guiding hand to keep us on course.  Whatever opportunity you set before us, equip us in all ways to serve and bear fruit for your holy kingdom.

Handicapping God

Imagine on Judgment Day, all of our sins are laid out as blocks on a table.  For some of us, it'll be a very long table.  Now, imagine Jesus comes up beside us as our Advocate.  As he approaches, the blocks start melding and forming into a ball.  Jesus arrives at the table, takes hold of that ball, and throws it.

Most of us won't be able to help ourselves.  Stretching our necks we follow the trajectory of the ball to see where it lands.  We assume that the ball will remain within sight.  Should He choose to, our Judge can still fetch the ball.  For some, the ball will be too big to toss very far.

Scripture tells us differently.
God brought you alive—right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross.  (Col 2:13–14, MSG)
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;  as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Ps 103:11–12, NIV)  (One of my favorite songs, by Casting Crowns, is based on this verse.  Enjoy.)
Our ability to forgive is limited.  Even when we intend to forgive, in the recesses of our minds, we keep tabs.  Forgiveness, for us, is never absolute.

Let us not impose the same limitations on God.  He is love.  He can forgive.  He knows all.  So He forgave knowing what we would yet do.

The Cure for Impatience

How often have those of us who pray asked for patience?  Not a day goes by that I don't feel the need for greater patience.  There are times that I pray that God would hurry and give me patience.

But then perhaps I'm praying for the wrong answer?  While we humans may believe that patience is the antidote for impatience, I've come to believe the God has another answer in mind.  To illustrate, let me take you back over my last 24 hours:

  • "Just pull out of that space already!  Why is it so stinkin' hard?"
  • "Green means go!"
  • "The sign says slower traffic stay right!  If I'm on your tail, then you're obviously slower traffic!"
  • "Why do I have to keep explaining this when you're not paying attention?"
  • "I've been praying for the same thing for weeks now.  Why hasn't God answered?"
First of all, it's a good thing I work from home so I don't have to drive much.  (Maybe that's how God's answered my prayer....let me think about that some more.)

If I'm honest as I peel back to get the root of my impatience, what I'm really saying is "My time is more important than yours" and "I know the best way for doing things, and, naturally, it's my way."  In other words, the root of impatience is pride or self-conceit.  When I'm impatient, am I not just trying to put myself ahead at a cost to others?  If I truly have a servant mentality and consciously lift others up above myself, that impatient urge should be tampered.

In the Bible, patience in one translation will often be translated as "long suffering" or "perseverance" in another.  Patience, by its nature, requires the bearing of discomfort.  For example, according to the Apostle Paul, love isn't just warm and fuzzy.  "Love is patient."  (Cor. 13:4)  In the KJV, "Charity suffereth long."  In my simple mind, love requires us to suck it up and stop acting/thinking as if we deserve more or better.

So...the cure for impatience is not patience, it's humility.  

It's a little trickier when combined with parental duties but we'll leave that for another post.

See Love Is Patient on Desiring God.

Lord, Forgive all the times that I show impatience.  As You have been patient with me, who deserves nothing, let me be patient with others.  As You have loved me, let me love others.  

Serving God...NOW!

Since returning from Cameroon almost six months ago, I've been restless.  To be truthful, even while in Cameroon, I was already coming up with grand schemes on how I could serve God.  Like Peter, all that we'd experienced on the trip had inflamed my passion for service.  Reading books by David Platt and Richard Stearns only added fuel.  Again, like Peter, who'd offered to build tabernacles for Jesus, Moses and Eijah, I wanted to do something...something BIG!

Needs abound while we are so blessed.  Millions die each day from lack of necessities or from preventable diseases.  The number of orphans or children who've been abandoned continues to grow.  Natural disasters indiscriminately devastate in the U.S. and worldwide.

Peg and I have talked about things we can and should be doing.  Perhaps we (including the kids) will go on a short term mission to an orphanage in Mexico.  Or, there's always seems to be a need for volunteers in the South or the Caribbean after a hurricane.  Or maybe we're to serve longer term in China or Taiwan where I can speak the language.

Last month, I had lunch with our Pastor.  At that point, my urge to do something had become like a nervous tick.  I spent hours on the Internet looking at various mission opportunities.  Pastor Mike wisely advised that we not make any decisions out of restlessness but to do it out of peace.