Follow me

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“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”  Matthew 16:24

I’ve never been a very good follower.  I like to do things my way, on my time, and under my stipulations.  It’s a selfish approach to life that admittedly brings me a false sense of security.  I think my way is faster, better, and certainly easier – why would I choose to live any other way?  I might be wrong, but I think most people lead their lives this way.  Sure, we may be great at following instructions from our boss at work, following the principles of our preferred politician, or even following the latest fashion trend of our favorite celebrity, but when it comes to our lives, we don’t want to follow anyone but ourselves.  It’s a worldly trend that has quite honestly caught on like wildfire, and I believe it has become one of Satan’s most deceitful tools His uses to draw us away from the Spirit-filled life Christ calls us to live.

Jesus tells us He came to this earth so that we might have life and have it to the full (John 10:10), but how do we experience this abundant life?  Jesus puts it plainly.  Follow me.  He speaks these words 20 times in the New Testament.  Follow me.  It seems simple enough, right?  However, in a world filled with “self” it becomes one of the hardest tasks we, as Christians, are called to do.  Think about it, we live in a self-motivated, self-assured, self-reliant, self-centered society that provides the path to self-righteousness or self-loathing.  This process of choosing self over God becomes the bottom line to all of our sin.  So, what can we, as followers of Jesus Christ, do about it?  I think the answer is found in dying.

STOP TRYING AND START DYING – this is a new quote I have put on my refrigerator.  You see, in my self-centered world, I have tried to follow Jesus on my terms, but I’ve learned I can’t “try” to be a better follower of Christ.  When I try and follow, it puts me in the driver’s seat.  I must die to myself in order to live for Christ.  Deny myself.  Pick up my many crosses and follow Him – His way.  It’s not a new concept.  Jesus told all, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me (Matthew 16:24).”

The very root of this word, “deny,” means to die to our own interests and desires.  It doesn’t come naturally.  We must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to do it.  As the Apostle Paul spoke to the church at Corinth about the resurrection of Christ and the ultimate resurrection of our souls, he told them “I die every day (1 Cor. 15:31).”  He went on to tell them “the body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body (42-44).”  I have learned I must die in order to truly live.

I have a critical tongue with my spouse.  DIE.

I lose control when my kids don’t obey.  DIE.

I’m jealous or envious of a friend.  DIE.

I am fearful of the future.  DIE.

I am overly sensitive.  DIE.

I am controlled by those around me.  DIE.  The list could go on and on.

By dying to myself and following Christ, I am no longer saying Jesus is top priority in my life – I am saying He is the ONLY priority in my life.  I allow the Holy-Spirit His rightful place at the driver’s seat of my heart, and I am no longer in control.  Is this hard to do?  Absolutely!  It’s a daily, sometimes hourly, decision to die and follow.  But, we aren’t alone.  As children of the Almighty Creator of the Universe, we are blessed with His strength and power to lead us, and lead us He will.  In Luke 11:13, Jesus says all we have to do is ask for the Holy Spirit, and He will give Him to us.  So, today, may each of us approach His throne with confidence, and ask Him for the amazing gift of His Spirit, in order that we may offer ourselves fully to Him.  “Follow me,” He says.  Yes, Lord Jesus, one death at a time.

Until next time, dying to live.   Katie

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Wake-Up Call

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“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:1-2

As summer draws to a close and a new school year begins, I find myself reevaluating my walk with Christ.  While I have enjoyed a break from the hustle and bustle of my children’s normal activities over the past couple of months, I have also found myself out of my normal routine with God.  Ashamedly, June and July brought little quiet time with my Father, and I have to say I have been missing Him terribly!  So, a few weeks ago, I revved myself up to refocus my attention back on Christ and checked out some books from my church’s library.  One book that has brought me to my knees and created a revival of sorts in my soul is “The Slumber of Christianity” – the title, in and of itself, caught my attention right off the shelf and the content didn’t disappoint.

In the book, Ted Dekker takes a close look at why Christians, in general, are settling for lives of mere contentment rather than living with genuine joyfulness, which our Creator intended for us to experience (1 Thess. 5:16).  Why are we, as Believers in our great Lord, living as if this earthly life is all there is?  If you are like me, it’s easy to rely heavily on the pleasures of this life to bring you happiness – unfortunately, that happiness is fleeting when you are faced with the reality of living in a fallen world.  The fact is, we weren’t created for this earth – we were created for Heaven (Ecc. 3:11).  How can we awaken from our slumber and create a passion for Heaven while we are living here on earth? 

My wake-up call has been to recognize with an open heart, mind, body and soul that the life I have created for myself here on earth IS NOT all there is – I have a much more superior life waiting for me in which I will spend eternity, and, if you are a Believer in Jesus Christ, so do you!  Think about it – if you viewed everything from this one truth, how would your life change – how would your day change?  The Apostle Paul tells us, not once, but twice to keep our hearts and minds set on our final destination.  He writes “since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:1-2).  The fact is our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), and we must become obsessed with our nationality! 

Dekker so eloquently writes, “We humans are naturally obsessive creatures.  We tend to fixate on objectives and dreams, and we are quite good at achieving whatever our minds conceive.  Why is this?  Because we were created in the image of a God who has a similar nature.  His ways are beyond our understanding because they aren’t bound by human reasoning and His obsession is not an entirely rational thing. We were designed to obsess after our Creator.  But our hearts have been corrupted, and the agent of evil, Satan himself, has successfully redirected our obsession away from God and His great reward for all those who love Him, by filling our minds solely with the things of this earth.  Christians have fallen asleep to the promise of the afterlife and no longer dream of that great day.  Their obsession for eternity is in slumber.  And being creatures created to obsess, many have redirected their obsessions to the pleasures of this world alone.”

I hope those words hit you like they did me!  Where is your obsession?  Is it your children, your spouse, your vacations, your food, your drink, your things, or is it your God?  I’m constantly trying to fixate my mind on the ultimate destination of my heavenly home and the eternal life which awaits.   I have to say, when I succeed with my thoughts, I am given peace, patience, and genuine joy.  I’ll close today with Dekker’s final words, “There is a truth that this life will quickly pass and the staggering reality of the life to come will be upon us.  There is also a truth that you were created for that life more than for this life.  Thinking on these matters alone will begin to change everything you do.”

Until next time, setting my eternal alarm clock to obsess after our Creator… Katie

Face to Face

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 “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.” 1 Corinthians 13:12a

Summer is finally in full swing, and it’s been a while since I have posted.  God has certainly been pricking my heart to write, but, to be honest, I didn’t know where to start or how to express what I have been feeling.  You see, over the past month, I have been emotionally overwhelmed with the reality of intense sadness and extreme loss as I witnessed two precious young women fight a long hard battle against the devastating disease of cancer and lose – Elliot Patterson Williams and Laura Gautney Black.

While, I didn’t have the privilege of personally knowing both women in their last months on this earth, I feel as if I have journeyed with them as I followed their Caring Bridge websites and read each post along the way.  Both women were wives, mothers, daughters and friends to many. Both women were passionately in love with Christ.  And both women had an unwavering faith throughout their battle with cancer – desperate to glorify God and draw others closer to Him.  Their faith, along with the faith of their families, has truly been life changing for me, and I am eternally grateful for the lessons I have learned over the past few months.  I have watched these women exemplify what it means to love our Lord unconditionally, to surrender everything to Him, to depend on Him alone, to trust His ways are higher than ours, and, most importantly, to appreciate every day we are given on this earth.  As the Psalmist wrote, “this is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (118:24).  Yes, life is a gift to be celebrated, and we each have a purpose to fulfill.  Today, God is calling out to you to act on His behalf – are you listening?  Thanks to Elliot and Laura, I feel my ears are more in tune to hearing His words.

Over the past few days, God has helped me realize that every day, we change.  Whether we acknowledge it or not, we change.  Each day we either grow upward towards our Heavenly Father or we decline downward, but we do not stay the same.  There is no steady state.  We either get better, or we get worse.  And just as Elliot and Laura fought against their flesh in their battles with cancer, we, too, are fighting against our flesh.  In fact, many of us are under attack, and we don’t even recognize it!  We complain about the unfairness of this life.  We struggle with hurt feelings and revenge.  We are consumed with jealousy and covetousness.  We hold onto unforgiveness and impatience.  We submit to self-righteousness and hypocrisy – all the while God shakes His head, desperate for us to “get it.”  So, through His amazing mercy and grace, He allows us to experience an Elliot or a Laura, and we are so lovingly slapped in the face with what is really important – Our walk with Christ and subsequent trust in Him and dependence on Him.  Jesus tells us in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they might have life and have it to the full.”  Are we the thief prohibiting the understanding of the abundant life Jesus called every Believer to experience?  I tend to think yes.  We must be on our guard and stand firm in the faith (1 Corinthians 16:13) as Elliot and Laura did if we want to experience victory in this earthly life!

Today, I rest, and hope others do as well, in knowing Elliot and Laura are basking in the unbelievable greatness of our God’s glory.  They see the completed picture.   They are no longer struggling with their flesh, as their steadfast faith has brought them home.  St. Augustine wrote, “Faith is believing what you do not see, the reward of faith is to see what you believe.”  Laura and Elliot have received their reward in full as they are face to face with our Creator and Savior.   The image gives me peace, and hope, and joy – I pray it gives their family and friends the same.  In the meantime, we continue to try and put the puzzle pieces of life together and fight off our fleshly desires, recognizing for “now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we (too) shall see face to face.  Now (we) know in part; then (we) shall know fully, even as (we are) fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).  Face to face with the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.  It’s overwhelming to imagine, but for those who believe and rely on Christ, it is a glimpse into our future – a future without the war against flesh – a future experiencing victory through faith.  Amen glorious Father.  Amen.

Until next time, kneeling before the magnificent throne of our Lord – thankful for two women who have opened my eyes to the precious gift of life and forever shaped my walk, and countless others, with the great I Am…Katie

A Cheap Imitation?

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“Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did…  Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.” 1 John 2:6,9

A couple of weeks ago, I had lunch with a dear friend of mine I hadn’t seen in years.  Over a bizarre series of events, God brought us back in contact with each other, and I couldn’t wait to catch up on all that was going on in her life.  As we visited, she began opening up about the struggles she was facing.  It was soon obvious to both of us that she was at a crossroad.  As a fellow believer in Christ, I asked her where her faith was in all that was going on and if she had prayed over these issues.  Her response was heartbreaking.  This is what she told me.

I don’t think I believe in religion anymore.   Over the past few years, I have seen more love in non-Christians than Christians.  In fact, most of the Christians I know are full of anger, hate and self-righteousness.  Honestly, I just don’t know if I believe in a Heaven where these self-proclaimed Christians are going to spend eternal life just because they believed in Jesus.  I’m beginning to question if I believe in Jesus at all anymore.

Wow.  I was speechless.  She proceeded to tell me of some of the encounters she had experienced with her Christian family and friends.  As I listened, I was shocked at what she shared, and quite honestly, sickened from the words and actions of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  God, in His infinite wisdom and impeccable timing, had brought this friend back into my life, and when she made these statements, I knew exactly why.  You might think it was for me to win her back to Christ (and eventually, I pray that it is), but as I sat there, I realized God was, once again, molding me in my Christian walk.  I began to question if I was showing the true face of Jesus to those around me?  Is love, acceptance and forgiveness what I lead with in my witness to others or do I come across as arrogant, close-minded and unloving as the Christians she had been encountering?  Was I, in fact, a cheap imitation of Christ?

As followers of Jesus, we are called to show the world around us glimpses of Heaven.  We are to strive to live differently, while at the same time, recognizing we too are sinners.  We are to celebrate being a child of God, while acknowledging so is everyone else.  We must concede that God loves each of us equally, and He is desperate for each of us to ultimately come home to Him.    Yes, I am called to hold those around me accountable, but I am also called to do this with love as my motivation – not my selfish, human inspired agenda!  As sinners saved by the precious blood of Christ, who are we to throw stones in the first place?  Remember the adulterous woman in the temple courts?  Jesus point blank asked “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7)   Yes, Jesus held people accountable.  Yes, He was angry at the sin He encountered.  Yes, He was frustrated with this fallen world.  But, His love overpowered any other emotion He was feeling, and Jesus tells us to do the same – “A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).  “Whoever claims to live in (Christ) must walk as Jesus did… anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness” (1 John 2:6,9).  Oh Lord, please don’t allow me to live in the darkness – help me to truly understand it is love that wins others to Christ!

I will be held accountable one day – for my words, my actions, and ultimately my servanthood to our Mighty King.  I pray on that day He will say the words of my mouth and meditations of my heart were pleasing in His sight (Psalm 19:14), but more importantly, I pray He will say He knew me because I looked like His Son – I loved like His Son – I exuded peace like His Son – I practiced patience like His Son – I forgave like His Son – I was gentle and kind like His Son.  This is  how He will recognize each of us.  This is how others around us will recognize Him.  As a family of believers, let us remember, we are always giving glimpses of His wonderful glory – today, may we grasp the power this responsibility gives us in leading others to Christ or away from Him.

Thank you Lord today, for faith, hope and love – help me to remember the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13), and help me to always lead with that.

Until next time, practicing my best imitation of our King… Katie

Making Friends With Your Problems

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1 Peter 1:6-7 “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

It has been a while since I have been able to post.  Truthfully, I haven’t been motivated to; instead, I have allowed myself to be consumed with my daily problems.  You see,  almost two weeks ago, my father had to undergo emergency open heart surgery – a quadruple bypass, to be exact.  Praise, honor and glory to God, all went extremely well; then, the tough work began – my father realizing the repercussions of his previous lifestyle choices and recognizing recovery would require more than just healing – it would require change. 

Medications, diet (dad was diagnosed as a diabetic after surgery), and exercise have become the topics among my family concerning my father.  It’s been frustrating.  It’s been exhausting.  It’s been depressing.  Now, you would think, as someone who loves the Word of the Lord, I would have been camped out there for the past couple of weeks searching for His guidance in this situation.  But, sadly, no.  Instead, I’ve tried to solve things myself – so much so, I have physically worn myself out.  Today, God said, “enough was enough.”  

This afternoon, I finally took the time to sit down and read His Word – to really “be still and know that He is God” (Psalm 46:10).  As a result, the faithfulness of His magnificent Presence began to show.  I started reading in the book of Psalms, meditating on the word’s David wrote thousands of years ago – “we wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.  In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name.  May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You” (Psalm 33:20-22)  I kept telling God, yes, I know You are my strength.  Yes, I trust in You.  But God, I’m overwhelmed, and quite honestly,  I feel angry over these problems I am having to face.  That was when the gentleness of the Holy Spirit prompted me to pick up one of my favorite daily devotional books, Jesus Calling.   At first, I was headed to today’s date, but something stopped me as I was flipping through the pages.  The words written were “make friends with the problems in your life.”  I read that sentence over and over.  I kept reading as the author wrote “every problem can teach you something, transforming you little by little into the masterpiece I (God) created you to be.”   Make friends with my problems – but God, what does that look like?  He answered. 

Embrace your problems as you would your friends.  Know that I have allowed these problems to come into your life for a reason.  Don’t allow the problems to frustrate you.  Allow them to focus your eyes on me.  Also, don’t let the problems exhaust you.  Your friends don’t exhaust you, they rejuvenate you.  If you trust me, allow me to guide you through this.  I will get you to the other side, and you will experience My presence and the amazing exhilaration of walking alongside Me.  Remember, though, you must turn to Me alone.  Trust that I will lead you to where I want you to go.  Finally, I know the problems you face can be depressing – acknowledge the sadness that accompanies living in a fallen world, but don’t let it overcome you.  For I have overcome the world, and one day you will experience the joy that comes from resting in that hope. 

Peter, the rock in which Christ built His church (Matthew 16:18), knew first-hand the power that comes as a result of making friends with your problems.  He wrote, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:6-7).  I don’t know what problems you are facing today – we all have them, and they certainly come in all kinds of trials – but, rest in knowing our Father desperately wants to hold your hand through them.  I have learned, sometimes, prayers aren’t enough when your problems seem insurmountable.  Sometimes, you must plant yourself at His feet and be transparent with what you are feeling – anger, resentment, bitterness, sadness – He can handle it.  Find peace, as I have today, in knowing once you allow Him to take over, the load will feel lighter, the end of the tunnel will be closer, and true transformation will take place.

Until next time, readjusting my eyes on Him… Katie

Past Perfect

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1 Corinthians 5:7-8 “Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast – as you really are.  For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.  Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.”

Over the past few months I have become fascinated with the feasts of the Old Testament.  Just a few years ago, this subject matter would have bored me to tears; however, lately, God has opened my eyes to the remarkable foreshadowing He gives us through these feasts in  the arrival of His One and Only Son, His subsequent death and resurrection, and finally the day when Jesus Christ will return.  Our great God has an incredible and intricate plan laid out specifically for us to recognize His Son, and the commandments of these celebrated feasts given to the Israelites in the Old Testament directly demonstrate His illustrious design to us in the 21st century. 

The feasts celebrated by His chosen people became and remain unique and unusual.  The term “feasts” in Hebrew literally means “appointed times.”  They are intended to be a time of meeting between God and man for “holy purposes,” and they certainly reveal a special story to us as Believers in Jesus Christ as our Messiah.  This week, as Easter approaches and we celebrate our risen Savior, I thought it would be the ideal time to revisit the symbolism in three of the seven feasts given in the pages of the Old Testament.

Friday, we celebrate the Passover.  As the Israelites were preparing to escape from their bondage in Egypt, God gave them their first festival – the Lord’s Passover.  It celebrated the protection the Lord gave His chosen people from the final destructive plague on the Egyptians before they set them free.  The Israelites were to sacrifice an unblemished lamb and put its blood on the sides and tops of the doorframes of their houses in order to be saved from the angel of death.  Then, they were to eat the meat of the lamb.  This is the Lord’s Passover (Exodus 12:4-14).  Today, we celebrate Jesus Christ as our Passover Lamb.  “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.  He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake” (1 Peter 1:18-20).  The celebration of the Passover began in the evening at dusk and continued until the next day at dusk.  Jesus Christ ate the Passover meal with His disciples, then, He was slaughtered as our Passover Lamb.

Saturday, we celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  The day after the Lord’s Passover, God established the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  This particular feast was one that truly caught my attention this year. Leaven, also known as yeast, symbolizes sin in the scriptures.  “Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast – as you really are.  For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.  Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth” 1 Corinthians 5:7-8.  Jesus’ time in the tomb fulfilled the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  He clearly represented the sinless bread of Heaven that didn’t rise on this day (as bread made without yeast doesn’t rise).  Jesus also tied the past perfectly together with our future as He tells us in John 6:51 “I am the living bread that came down from heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.  This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

Sunday, we celebrate the Feast of Firstfruits.  The resurrection of our sinless Savior is Biblically connected to the Feast of Firstfruits in its timing and spirit.  Jesus rose from the grave on this feast day which represented the beginning of the barley season.  Ceremonially at this feast, the first sheaf or firstfruits of the harvest is cut, and in a carefully prescribed and meticulous ceremony is presented to the Lord.  God’s subsequent acceptance of the firstfruits is a pledge on His part of a full harvest to come.   “Now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.  For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.  But each one in his own order:  Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming” 1 Corinthians 15:20-23.  We, as Believers, will be harvested at the appointed time of Christ’s second coming – it is what we are waiting in anticipation for!

Our precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was crucified as our unblemished Lamb on the day of the Passover.  His sinless body lay unrisen in the tomb on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and He was resurrected from the dead on the day of the Firstfruits celebration – could God have made it more plain?!  His hands began this elaborate, yet simplistic design 3500 years ago, and through the gift of His Holy Spirit (appropriately given at the Jewish Festival, Feast of Weeks or Pentecost), He allows us to connect the dots today.  Praise our great God this week for giving the Israelites these great celebrations which point us, as Believers, to our ultimate destination.  “Oh, my Strength, I watch for you; you, Oh God, are my fortress” (Psalm 59:9).

Until next week, celebrating the risen King… Katie

Incidently, if you are in  the Birmingham area and would be interested in experiencing our Messiah’s last supper, rich with Jewish roots and heritage, you can go to www.shalombirmingham.com for tickets and details.  It is to be held at the Cahaba Grand April 7th.  I’m anticipating it to be a wonderful experience of unity in the body of Christ!

Trust Issues

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Proverbs 3:5-6 to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” 

This past week, I had the opportunity to see the viral video, Kony2012.com.  You may have heard about this on the news or even seen the video yourself, but, if not, let me briefly explain its content.  Kony 2012 is a campaign by a San Diego-based charity called Invisible Children, and it was developed to bring global awareness of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony.  Kony, a self-proclaimed Christian, is the head of a guerrilla group called the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) which began in 1987.  The LRA began in Uganda, but has since moved to the Central African Republic, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.   Kony claims that success for the LRA would mean a theocracy for these areas with laws based on the Ten Commandments.  But, there is a problem in his view of a sovereign government ruled by our great God.  Kony has used and continues to use extreme violence and immoral activity to fight this war he has raged.  In fact, over the years, Kony and the LRA have kidnapped more than 60,000 children to use as fighters or sex slaves.  It is also reported the LRA forces each child to kill their own parents so they won’t have homes to return to.  Needless to say, the video is heart-wrenching, and it has forced me to think and pray a great deal this week about the immense amount of evil in our world today. 

For me, it is incredibly easy to turn a blind eye to areas where evil abounds.  I like to remain content and happy in my neighborhood “bubble” which keeps me safe and sound.  When my eyes are opened to the horrific acts which are occurring even as I write, my emotions are overcome with a profound feeling of helplessness, and quite honestly, it shakes my faith.  I begin to question God.  But, as I’ve learned, questions can be good – especially when you take them directly to His Throne and allow Him to guide you in His Word for answers.  One word God kept bringing to the forefront of my mind was “trust.”  Do you trust Me Katie?  Despite the evil in the world and the innocent lives being affected as a result, do you trust Me?  I wanted to answer wholeheartedly, “yes!”  But, I really wasn’t sure if I did, and I realized I needed to reevaluate my heart on this issue.

As Christians, trust in our Holy God is crucial in our relationship with Him.  Isaiah 26:4 tells us to “trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.”  Nahum 1:7 says “the Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.  He cares for those who trust in Him.”  And, we are also told in the familiar verses of Proverbs 3:5-6 to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”  Trust God.  Acknowledge God.  Seems simple enough – however, “trust” in its very nature, requires unanswered questions.  Therefore, in reality, our trust in our wonderful Heavenly Father is actually based on our acknowledgement of Him.  The word “acknowledge” in Proverbs 3:6 means “to know, to perceive and see, to find out and discern,” but it also means “to be made known or to be revealed.”  It’s not enough for us to read God’s Word and know His scriptures.  Our acknowledgement of God has to also be based on our observations of Him and His ways.  The more we observe Him, the more He will make Himself known.  In turn, our faith and trust will grow – allowing us to be content with our unanswered questions. 

So, yes, we will continue to experience evil in this fallen world – extreme, horrific evil – but, we serve a God who is good and trustworthy (2 Samuel 7:28).  Do I still have unanswered questions?  Absolutely!  But, I recognize my questions are based on what is seen and temporal.  I must continually adjust my eyes to the unseen (2 Corinthians 4:18).  In the meantime, I rest in the words of our Creator in Isaiah 55:9 – “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Amen, my powerful and mighty Father.  Amen.

Until next week, relying on His ways… Katie