Saturday, March 28, 2015


I am once again overwhelmed by all the suffering in the world.  The longer I work to combat injustice, inequality and systemic problems the more darkness I discover.  The more I hear individual stories, the larger and more grandiose the problem becomes.  If a small business can exploit over 200 people, how many people are being exploited by multi-national corporations? It seems like every time I check the news I am inundated with stories of fresh horror I never knew existed.  The weight of the pain human beings can inflict upon each other is staggering.  Sin is literally killing us.
When I think about the scope of injustice, it threatens to consume me.  I am one person, how can I make a difference?  Will my effort have an impact when I have worked so hard and seen little visible change in an unjust system?  What about the people who have no one fighting for them?  Selah!

BUT…………………………. I serve the Creator who did not intend for the world to be so unjust.  He hates the evil we inflict upon one another and sent His son to overcome sin and death.  When he looks at the unaccompanied minor or pregnant woman fleeing their war-torn country, His heart shatters.  His heart breaks more than mine when He hears stories of abuse and exploitation.  Thought the problem is overwhelming, He is just and will correct everything in the end.  Also, the moment my heart ceases to break when I hear stories of pain means that I am bitter and no longer passionate about my work.  Even in the painful reality of the human condition, I can celebrate the ultimate victory of good over evil, life of death, justice over selfishness.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Coming Back Around

At the conference I attended in February, a friend was sharing about the lesson she learned last year.  She was once again learning a lesson that seems to appear every few years.  Instead of being frustrated with learning the new lesson, she was celebrating the fact she was able to go deeper in growth.  Our Father in not content to have our character and actions be shallow, so we are being challenged to go deepen our character and make every action reflect Him.  This is a lifelong process and we will never be prefect at it or fully display His attributes.  Instead of being upset with herself or think the lesson was remedial, she was celebrating the change to experience something more from Him. 

My friend used the analogy that character development is like climbing a mountain.  Now, we don’t scale this mountain but slowly walk around the entire circumference until we reach the top.  We can learn a lesson at the base of the mountain and when we are at 1,500 feet we might be again be working on that area in our life/lesson but it is not the same lesson we learned at the base.  At 1,500 feet we have new muscles, have more experience, and have more knowledge about what is needed to survive the mountain.   We need to hone our skills in this area so that we can make it to 3,000 feet, 5,000 feet or ever have hopes of reaching the top.

This analogy has been extremely helpful for me this week.  I am a planner and like to have things scheduled.  Living cross-culturally, this natural desire is often challenged and just doesn’t happen a majority of the time.  My first few years living in Asia, learning to be flexible and “go with the flow” was one of the biggest and hardest lessons I had to learn.  This week, it has become clear that I have come back around to the lesson of flexibility.  [Coming out of a meeting where your mentor challenges you to be open-handed with your schedule and receiving 10 text messages asking you to change plans or rearrange something is a pretty clear indication that flexibility is once again on the lesson plan].  After the selfish, human part of my flesh had a pity party and was angry that my plans were changed, I remembered my friends wise words.  

Being asked to work on my flexibility does not mean that I did not pay attention to the previous lesson or that I forgot all that I learned.  It means that flexibility is a tool that He needs me to hone, sharpen, and use so I can serve Him to my full capacity.  I can fight the growth and learn the lesson anyway, or I could lean into it and work with the growth (the latter is much less painful, or so I’ve heard).  I will not be learning the same lesson. I am now at 1,500 feet and need to be sharpened so that I have the capacity to climb to 3,000 feet. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Boldly I Approach

I am currently reading the OT books of the law. Reading the law there hundreds of ways that we can sin willingly and unwillingly.  According to the law, even unintentional contact with something unclean (sinful) means that you are sinful and would need to go to the Temple and make a sacrifice to cleanse you from that sin.  

This Easter season I have been struck in a new way the separation between Israel and His presence in the OT.  Only the High Priest was able to directly be in His of the Most High and atone for the sins of the people.  There was literally a physical divide between His presence in the Tabernacle and the rest of Israel.  People could not directly atone for their sins, but needed the priest to do it on their behalf.  If someone besides the High Priest were to enter the Holy of Holies, they would be struck to death for daring to experience the holiness of His presence.

This separation no longer exists, hallelujah!!! Because of His sacrifice on the Cross the veil has been torn and anyone can enter His presence at any time.  We no longer need a proxy to atone for our sin, but can directly repent. His grace has allowed us to commune with Him at any times.  What a blessed miracle.

I love the lyrics of the Rend Collective song “Boldly I Approach” because it elegantly encompasses the beauty of the Cross.

Boldly I approach your throne
Blameless now I’m coming home
By Your blood I come
Welcomed as Your Own
Into Your arms of majesty

What a blessing that we can boldly approach Him at any time!