Thursday, June 19, 2008

I'm a believer...not a trace of doubt in my mind

There's a Christian cliche that I've been told that we're not to use anymore because it no longer holds any meaning for people. It's "Jesus is the answer." Maybe it's outdated and has lost its relevance because nobody's asking the question, but it's the truth! Jesus IS the answer! He's everything we need, everything we ever wanted, everything we hoped for. Everything we ever felt we needed - but never got - from other people can be found in Jesus Christ.

He is the answer to all of our problems today (another true cliche). He heals us from the pain and wounds of the past. He can transform our lives, lifting us out of despair and hopelessness to a new life - right here on earth! It is Jesus who gives our lives meaning; it's in Him that we find our purpose. It's through Him that we can love and help and bless other people. As we walk with Him, He restores our broken relationships and reunites us with estranged family members. He provides us with everything we need to live - if we will seek His Kingdom above all else. Most of all, He is the love of our lives, our "soul-mate", the one we've been searching for all of our lives and in all the wrong places.

The other day as I was praying my heart was breaking for all the people I know who desperately need Jesus; who long to be known for who they are, to be loved and appreciated just as they are, to find meaning and to know their purpose in life, to find refuge and safety in this harsh self-centered world. I cried a few tears of frustration because it's really so simple: JESUS IS THE ANSWER! I know that each one of us must seek and discover Him for ourselves, but why is it so hard for us to believe?. I searched and sought down so many paths and in so many ways before I finally surrendered my life and came to believe in Jesus, and it was only out of desperation that I chose to do it. But for days after I finally did, I couldn't stop laughing out loud at myself. "It's so simple!" I kept exclaiming to myself. "It's so simple! All I had to do was believe!"

In the Gospel of John (NIV) Jesus uses the word "believe" more than 40 times. In John 6:29 Jesus says, "This is what God wants you to do: Believe in the one he has sent." Six verses later He says, "I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever be hungry again. Those who believe in me will never thirst." What Jesus means by never being hungry or thirsty again is that, if we do what God wants us to do and believe in His Son - the one he has sent - then we will be satified. We will feel fulfilled, and we will stop searching in all the wrong places to fill the emptiness and the longings in us. I know this because it's been my experience; my life was changed and my heart-hunger was filled the moment I gave my life to Him.

Only Jesus can fill the emptiness we feel inside; only Jesus can satisfy the longings that we have to be known and loved for who we are. Only Jesus can give our lives meaning and purpose. And only Jesus can save us from spending eternity without God. Do you want to live throughout eternity feeling lost and empty and unloved and unfulfilled? You don't have to. You can know satisfaction and fulfillment, love and meaning and purpose right here and now. Only believe! Jesus is the answer.

"Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in..." Revelation 3:20

Sunday, June 8, 2008

No greater love...

I thank God for His grace, and His love, and His patience with me as I continue to learn to let people in, to get to know me just as I am. It's taken me a year of living in community here at the Women of Hope house to get here, but it's beginning to happen.

I was so blessed on my birthday when each of the women shared what they appreciate me - it's a birthday tradition here and everyone who has a birthday here has to endure it. Well, that's how I used to feel about it - that it was something I had to endure, because I wasn't able to receive appreciation and love, or to truly believe the words that were spoken about me. This year I was tempted to go to that place of steeling myself to endure the words of appreciation as Elsie initiated the sharing, but the Holy Spirit convicted me that those thoughts and feelings were prideful, and that if I chose to go there I would be sinning against God and against my sisters. So I chose to humble myself and stay emotionally present instead, and I was incredibly blessed by the love that I received.

God has blessed me by bringing me here to the Women of Hope house and I am finally able to acknowledge and to receive that blessing. In a recent session with one of the women of the house, we were studying a chapter in The Purpose Driven Life which stated that the reason we are here on earth is to learn to love. I was convicted that it is also for this reason that God has placed me here in this community. I need to learn to love, to give love as well as to receive it. This has been an area of great wounding, fear and pain for me in my past life, but since I've given my life to Him, God has lavished His love on me and has been healing me through the power of the Cross of Jesus Christ. I pray that I might be "perfected" in love so that I would never again ignore or do harm to another person because of my pride, and that I might focus less on my own needs and desires and instead choose to lay down my life and my desires for the love of my brothers and my sisters.

The women who live at the house have been experiencing some struggles with addiction and other distractions as they draw closer to the Lord and His love. Please pray for an encounter with the living Christ for each one of them. It was the revealation that Jesus is alive and a personal experience of His love for me that transformed my life. And please pray for the leaders too, that we would have wisdom and discernment and will follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as we minister to each of the women who live here. The leadership team is Elsie, myself, Mun Hee and Winnie, a Church Army student who is doing a summer placement here with us. The women of the house are: Kelly, Andrea, Jen & baby Sierra, Sarah, and joining us soon, Camille.

Thanks for reading this, and for praying for us. May God bless you richly.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 ESV