Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Fire From Heaven

image from
Today in school we read the story of Elijah and the Prophets of Baal from 1Kings 18:17-40.  Please let me share with you the story in my own words, it is one of my favorites.

It had not rained for 3 years in the land of Israel because the King and the people had forgotten about God and had disobeyed his teachings.  The King was desperate for the prophet Elijah to fix this problem and for him to pray to God to let the rain come on his scorched land.  Elijah told the King to bring the false teachers and the people and to meet him on the mountain.  There they would see with their own eyes who was the true God. 

Quietly the people listened to Elijah tell them that it was time for them to choose.  It was time to stop going back and forth between God and the idol Baal, but first they must watch. 450 false teachers came and together they erected an alter to their god Baal and on that alter they placed the sacrifice.  For hours they wailed and cried and begged their god to hear them and prove himself to be true,  to consume the sacrifice with fire.  But no fire came.  Elijah told them to try harder, maybe Baal was sleeping.  They cut themselves, cried harder, but still nothing happened.

Finally it was Elijah's turn.  He built an alter with 12 large stones in the center of a large trench and on the alter he placed the wood and sacrifice.  To the people's surprise he had water poured on everything!  So much water that everything was dripping and the trench was full to the brim.  And then he began to pray, "Yahweh, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, today let it be known that You are God....Answer me so that this people will know that You, Yahweh, are God and that You have turned their hearts back."  Suddenly fire poured down out of heaven and consumed the entire sacrifice to include each stone,  drying up every bit of water along with it!  The people fell on their faces and worshiped God declaring "Yahweh, He is God!  Yahweh, He is God!"

We are more like the children of Israel than we care to admit sometimes.  We go back and forth between trusting God and going our own way.  Maybe we don't worship an idol made of gold or bronze, but anything we place above the Lord God is an idol.  Today put aside those things, bring them to the foot of the cross, kneel at the alter of the Lord and watch as God pours down fire from Heaven.  He wants to reveal himself to you, the only true God worthy of such praise and honor.

Friday, February 22, 2013

No Coincidence

Pure joy!
Do you ever get tired of waiting?  Can you recall a time you said, "I can't wait to sit on my thumbs and wait some more"?  I thought that our year leading up to bringing Toby home was our time of waiting.  Perhaps it was, or maybe it was more of a time of preparation and even abundance.  God provided all the funds needed for the adoption and even enough to have a bit of cushion.  I miss the cushion and looking back it probably didn't feel like it then either.  It is only on this side of things that I can see the plenty.

With fundraising over and surplus from college behind us the reality of raising four kids on one income has hit us.  Paying for numerous doctor bills for Toby and attempting to climb out of debt seems to be like trudging up a sand dune with bricks fastened to our feet.  Chris with degree in hand anxiously waits on God's direction.  His resume is out there in what seems like a dark void waiting to be found.

"When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."  Psalm 94:19
It's about more than money.  Dare I say it is more than just Chris's desire to be in the field he studied so hard to be in.  We both desire to seek God's will.  Not only is it important to enjoy the work you do, but to know God is using you for His purposes in your vocation.
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men."  Colossians 3:23
For me following God's plan is not the hard part, it is not knowing what the plan is.  He has not made it clear, but for weeks now the devotion book we are using again and again has provided encouragement and hope.  It is as if God himself wrote out this book mapping out each days scripture and commentary just for us.  Dear brothers and sisters in Christ consider nothing a coincidence, but rather consider each encounter, each moment a carefully thought out plan. 
"All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." 
 Psalm 139:16b
He makes no mistakes.  He is never late and He will NEVER let you down.
"As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb,
so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things."  Ecclesiastes 11:5
Are you also waiting?  Can we stand together?  Scripture tells us not only to diligently study God's Word, but to pray and lift each other up in this way.  While we are waiting let's be busy in prayer.  I would love to stand in the gap for you.  You can leave comments or email me.  Together let's storm the gates of heaven!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

And He Will Be Called...

There are several accounts in scripture when God chose to change someones name.  They were life changing events that brought radical change with impact on the Kingdom of God.  I would consider adoption fitting that criteria.  As parents we are given the privilege of naming our children.  As adoptive parents we are given the difficult choice of keeping, changing or modifying our new child's given name. 

We took the radical approach.  Our son has a given Taiwanese name that he came with that will remain  a nickname, but legally we will be giving him a new Christian name.  He is called comes from the name Tobias which means God is good!  We could not agree more with that. 

God blessed us with safe travels.  He provided meals through our church after our homecoming. He provided family to care for our other boys while we were away.  He gave Chris a job that allowed him the time off.  He gives me patience each day to handle the new challenges and sometimes less than appealing behaviors.  God provides resources in our area to learn sign language and forgives my pride in being tentative to ask for such help.  He promises that whatever tomorrow holds, decisions that need to be made or doctors to visit that if we are yoked to Him, He will make a way.  And for the days that all of that goodness does not "feel" like enough, there is grace and forgiveness.

As Toby begins to learn songs like "Jesus Loves Me," go to worship and listen to devotions all in a language that is new to him I pray that the Holy Spirit work in him understanding and faith.  I hope that Toby will one day give praise and say indeed God is good!
Waiting for lunch to cook.

Clinging tight to his suitcase and ready to go.

Giving hugs to his social workers at Jonah House on Gotcha Day.

Enjoying a rainy day with Daddy.

Fun at the National Musem of Taiwan.

Ruth and Chris at the Chaing Kai-shek Memorial.

Taipei 101

91st floor observation deck of Taipei 101.

Hanging out at Peace Park.

All smiles on this gorgous day.