Lead Them to The Rock

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There is a place in Uganda that the locals call “The Rock” which you can see in the picture above. To the locals, this place is where they take visitors to trek to the top. At the top of this mountain, you can see a sight of Uganda that is unlike any other. Each time I have made the journey to the top, the view still takes my breath away. I remember looking out onto the country of Uganda and praying for the culture that they might come to see God. This moment, as well as many others, I will never forget.

Today, as I was reflecting on New Years Eve and reading about various resolutions, reflections and anticipations people had for the new year, I began to wonder what this year and the year to come meant to me. But God….

You see that’s how God works, He takes something that is ordinary and turns it into a moment that is extraordinary.

As I began reflecting on the past year and looking forward into the year to come, God whispered to my heart something that stopped my thoughts immediately.

He said, “Lead them to the Rock”….

When I look back on the past year, I can say that my husband and I journeyed together with the purpose to accomplish that very goal. To lead others to Christ. However, if I am honest, it is so much easier travelling to another country and spreading the Gospel than to openly discuss Christ here in America’s public arena. To me, third world countries feel like home. I feel at home when I am placed in a culture where joy, a smile and family are rich and the material possessions of this world are scarce.

Upon returning from our journey this Summer, Christ began working in the lives of my husband and I. We both felt that God wanted to do more in and through us in our local community and ministry in the church. As God continues to speak, we are walking out and obeying His words as we look forward to 2017.

As this year comes to a close, God’s commission for me seems simple but speaks volumes to my heart.

“Lead them to The Rock”.

As a daughter in Christ, my main mission should be to spread the Gospel of Christ. As I ponder all the many missions that are going to be set in place the next couple of days, I wonder how many people, followers of Christ, will choose to make the Gospel their main mission. It is so easy to see others making resolutions to lose weight, be less stressed, find joy, get organized etc. and feel the need to make a resolution of our own. However, is that God’s intention for your new year?

How many of us have stopped to ask God what He would have us do this new year? I am not saying that resolutions are always a bad thing but if their centered on “self” and not Christ, what is the goal?

In the book of Numbers, the people of Israel had a similar celebration to commemorate the new year. In ch. 29 verse 2 it states,

“Present a burnt offering to the Lord, an odor pleasing to him…”

Upon anticipating the new year to come, God’s command was for them to present an offering to Him. There is so much to be said about that today in every celebration.

As followers of Christ and in preparation for the New Year, our focus should be not on what we can offer the world by bettering ourselves but what we can offer Christ. This New Year our goal should be that of Christ and not of the things that can benefit ourselves.

In a time where resolutions are running rampant, let’s choose to take God’s commandment to the Israelite people to heart. Let us offer ourselves as a offering for Christ and make it our goal this year to “lead others to The Rock”.

Leading others to Christ should be our main mission each and every New Year. We often forget that when God ascended to Heaven that was His final commission to us, to lead others to Him.

So in this New Year, as I imagine myself standing on “The Rock” in Uganda, I am looking out onto the calendar year of 2017 and praying….

Lord, I choose to take what You have whispered to my heart and put it into practice. I am not going to make a resolution but I am going to offer myself as an offering to You. I will lead “them” to The Rock, which is You. For Your commission in Mark should still be our mission today. May my offering in this new year be a pleasing aroma to You.

Will you join me in the mission?

Let us lead them to The Rock in this new year…..

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Embracing and Assisting the Gospel

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What does it mean to truly decide to follow Jesus?

In listening to this song written by United, I find myself reflecting on what it means to truly follow Jesus, deciding to follow Him.

Often, we go through life relying on God but fail to truly decide to follow Jesus.

To follow Jesus, we need to understand what a Jesus follower is:

dis·ci·ple: One who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another (thefreedictionary.com)

I love the way the definition breaks apart a disciple as someone who “embraces” and “assists” teachings. Embracing the teachings of Christ is different than simply reading them.

Recently, God has been speaking to me regarding what writings I embrace as truth. When I say writings, I am talking about books displaying an author’s depiction of the Gospel.

Now I’m not saying that reading spiritually based books is bad because I am the first one to say that I LOVE reading Christian authors. I have many books sitting on my nightstand that I am “in the process” of reading. However, there is a difference between reading books about God and reading God’s Word.

This is the key message that God has been whispering to my heart for the past few days. As a growing Christian and disciple of Jesus Christ, my job is to not only read about God but embrace His teachings and assist Him in the mission of growing The Church. If I simply read another growing Christian’s perspective of their faith walk but fail to study and apply the teachings of Christ into my own life, how can I truly call myself a disciple?

I tend to see a book in a bookstore, read the back and buy it; not thinking about all the other books I have partially read but not finished at home. It’s what they call an “impulse buy”. The last few days I have realized how many impulse buys I have when it comes to faith-based books.

This is where God spoke to my heart. How often do I simply pick up the Word of God and study it without picking up a faith-based book without studying what God says about His truths?

So after realizing my own wrong, I decided that this new year I am going to focus on reading and studying God’s Word; His mighty, life-changing, and alive Truth. I am going to lay down the thoughts of others and pick up the Book that both began and finished it all. Now I’m not saying for everyone to stop using devotionals because devotionals are a great way to guide your daily quiet times with the Lord. I am saying that we need to treasure God’s Word more than we treasure the spiritual words of others. We need to revere the Word in desperation of finding God.

So back to where I started. Disciples are meant to both embrace and assist in spreading the Word of God. We need to embrace God’s teachings which we can only do by approaching God’s Word with boldness, knowing that He will meet us where we are. (Ephesians 3:12) Also, we need to assist in the spreading of the Word of God. Not only does He call us to read His teachings but also “go and make disciples of all nationsMatt. 28:19.

Being a disciple is a life-long devotion to the One who devoted His life for us. We are not made to follow Christ but should be willing and desire to follow Him.

So, my goal in 2014 is not to be filled with the words of others but to seek the Creator whose words hold the power to change and rearrange our worldly desires.

Let His words change your perspective so that we may embrace His teachings and assist others in knowing the power of the Gospel.

Let’s be true disciples.

A Sovereign Secret

Sovereign:

The only word I can use to express 2013. I cannot explain the amount of thanks and praise I have in my heart for how God has used me throughout this past year. I can now only look forward to the ways He will use me in a mighty way in 2014.

As I look ahead, I see how God is putting my puzzle of a life together for His glory. He seems to put pieces together just as He should in His perfect time. You see, I have found this past year that His hands are constantly placing all things together for His purpose. There were times when I questioned if He was even at work only to find that as I remained still, His hands were truly working all things together for my good! (Romans 8:28)

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In January of 2013, I heard God’s voice calling me to take a journey with Him unlike any other I have ever dreamt of. He led me on a journey with Him to the nations – Uganda, Africa. What a journey it was preparing, planning and seeking God through those seven months of anticipation. Finally, the day came when I stepped out of the plane and onto the soil of a land so far from home but that quickly gripped my heart. Even as I write, tears are streaming down my face as I reflect on those two weeks when God took hold of my heart and led it on a journey with Him to “love the least of these” and the people of Uganda. I am humbled when I see how God took what I thought were ashes and made them beautiful through the work He displayed in my life. Never think that anything is too hard, too far gone or too high for God to use! God can take your dreams and turn them into impossible possibilities.

Now as I sit here, the day after Christmas and reflect upon the past year and ending the year with the celebration of his humble coming, I see just how much God sees in all of us. Deep down in all of us is a dream, a gift given by God. He has given each of us a desire that when found, can change the world. What a wonderful way to end each year by pondering on His wonderful Love for us, through His birth in a lowly place. His ability to take a heap of straw and turn it into a blazing fire of Love for each one of us. Holy is the Lord God Almighty.

As I celebrate, I can only worship God in knowing that His plans for my future are far beyond any dream I can dream up for my life. As a new year begins so does a new journey with my Jesus.

After leaving Uganda, I felt God telling me that He was not finished with me yet and that even though the experience was so wonderful, I would step foot on the Ugandan clay soil again.

So, this January I will start preparing, anticipating and seeking God through another journey to Uganda with Jesus from July 1-31st. On this journey, I will focus on the place that gripped my heart the most on my July journey, SMILE Africa. What an amazing story of redemption and ministry this compound encompasses from the heart of a God fearing daughter of Christ, Pastor Ruth. For this reason, God is leading me back to both minister to others and for them to minister to me. My heart is so full of joy in just anticipating this journey. Also, I have a non-profit project in the making!! KUMBATIA Project is coming soon!! The mission will be “Embracing the least of these with the love of Christ”(Matthew 5:4). I cannot say how excited I am about this!!

Now this is where YOU, my brothers and sisters in Christ come in. On my last journey, many of you prayed, fasted and encouraged me along the way. As I came back and shared, the power of Jesus was so strong and that power was through the power of my prayer warriors that never ceased praying for my journey. For this reason, I am asking you starting the first day of this New Year, to PRAY. Pray that God will lead, guide and direct me on this new journey with Him back to the place that Jesus spoke to and through me; on the dirt roads of Uganda. God tells us in His word to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and that is just what I am asking you to do. For these next seven months, pray that God will do something miraculous and mighty in and through me as I venture back. I am asking for warriors, I am asking for seekers of the Faith. I pray that you will pray without ceasing and without doubts that God will do a work not only in my journey, but also your own. I pray that as you pray, God will show you miraculous and wonderful things this New Year. I pray that chains will be broken through the power of prayer! God holds the power to our freedom and I pray you find freedom this year in 2014. Let us rise together and “come boldly unto the throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16) with confidence!

I can’t wait to see what God is going to do in and through us as we stand boldly together and pray without ceasing.

Thank you prayer warriors,

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline”

2 Timothy 1:7.

P.S. Stay tuned for more exciting details to come! As He continues to speak, I will listen and He is not finished yet 🙂