Saturday, June 14, 2014

Want the Fire of God? Be Careful What You Ask For...

During my teen years I used to always pray for the fire of God in my life, for an all consuming passion to overtake me. The truth is that at the time, I didn't really know what I was asking for. Often times we think the fire of God is an emotional drive to evangelize, or a passion that is visible when you look into someone's eyes. This may be symptoms of someone who has been touched by the fire of God, but this is not what we are praying for. What exactly are we praying for, then, if not this? We are praying for a refiner's fire.
"He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord as in days gone by, as in former years." Malachi 3:3-4.
When we pray for that fire, we are praying for testing and refining that is painful, not just an emotional high. It is a transformation from the inside out. It takes time. It's not something that God just gives you. It takes time to develop righteousness and be refined. It's a stripping away of everything that you love more than God, which is a lot more than you think. It's not a tingling feeling, but a refiners fire that burns away every other lover but Jesus. It's a breaking away of the flesh. 
So do we know what we are asking for when we ask for the fire of God? God will give it, but it is a long, painful process, but oh so worth it! 
"So watch yourselves, that you do not forget the covenant of the LORD your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a graven image in the form of anything against which the LORD your God has commanded you. For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God." Deuteronomy 4:23-24. 
He is jealous for you, beloved. Pray for that fire. Pray for it every day. Know that the deeper relationship you will have with Jesus is worth the fire you will walk through.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Let's Just Do Life Together

As this summer starts to speed on, faster than I thought it would, I'm learning some interesting things about people and about God. I think I very often get stars in my eyes and I desire to do extraordinary things. But often the things that make the difference are in the mundane, and in the flow of life.
When I was at Elim I was so busy all the time. I loved every minute of it and I loved the people that were around me. But very often I wished I had more time to invest in those friendships. I know that that was a season in my life. Sometimes life is busy and there's not too much you can do about it. But when I came home I was afraid that the lack of business would drive me crazy. Who would I hang out with? What could I do in my free time? How will I stay productive? All these questions raced through my mind, but I forget one important question: In what way can I do life well?
You see, it's not about the big things you can do. It's about the little things. God has been showing me that it's so important to just live life with people; to share in their joy, their work, and their sorrow. As I've been home that's what I've been trying to do with my family. I live life with them. I try to help around the house as best I can, and I try to enjoy the time I have with them. Why? Because I know that very soon I'll be on the opposite side of the world and this will be hard for them, and for me if I didn't take the time to make those memories with them.
I also am realizing God has put friends around me. Friends that I have had for so long that I forget how special they are sometimes. I've enjoyed living life with them too and doing spontaneous romps through the forest and crazy junior high-ish sleepovers. Once again it's those little moments that seem so simple and ordinary, but there is something extraordinary about them. They are little gifts from God to never be ignored.
Living life together. This is something God is showing me He enjoys doing. Very often I go for a walk with God through my field. I remember this one time I sat on a hill and watched the sun go down. I didn't say much at all and I almost felt guilty. I mean, after all I was going on a walk with God and I had nothing to say. But it was then that I heard God say, "Kelsey, I enjoy just being with you. You don't need to say anything. We can just be together and enjoy each other. Sometimes silence is more beautiful than words." It was then that I realized I organize my time with God too much. Yes, I need to have time to study the Bible and to worship, but more than that, God just wants to live life with me. He doesn't desire a schedule, but a relationship. He enjoys it when I share the little details of my day with Him. He likes it when I tell Him everything He already knows. He wants me to tell Him about all that is concerning me and all that is exciting me. He desires to share my life with me. He wants to take a part in everything. I think I might just let Him.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Books You Should Definitely Read!

I just finished reading the Canadian West Series by Janette Oke, and it was so encouraging to me. I read the first book ages ago and always told myself that I would read the rest of the series, but I just never seemed to have the time. Since I've been home from college I've had a lot of free time, so I thought, why not! I should just read the whole series.
I was in for a surprise. I thought that these were Christian romances. The first book is definitely that in a lot of ways, but as I got further along into the series, I realized this was actually a missionary story in a way.
The series is about a girl and her husband, who is part of the West Mounted Police and he gets posted it different remote places to watch over the people. So the whole story is her traveling from place to place and learning how to adjust to different cultures. Then she starts sharing her faith with people, and it's amazing! Some times I forgot that this was a fiction, because her struggles just seemed so realistic.  After living in a remote place she would then have to get used to society again. I was just realizing that this is the life of a missionary. Things are hard, and things don't always go the way you want, but God gives you the grace to love people and to be present where you are.
Adjusting from place to place and learning to love different people I'm sure is a real struggle. I appreciate how these books are real about the struggles. Being someone who feels called to many places, I could relate with this story. Sometimes I'll be surrounded in a community of people, sometimes I won't be accepted and I'll be alone a lot, and other times I'll live in American society trying to remember how to eat my food with a fork and dress like a normal person -- not a mountain woman. I think these will all be very real experiences I will have, and these books portray this struggle.
A quick side note: these books aren't all about the struggles, but there are joys and little humorous things that happen in the midst of all the rough times. I had a chuckle quite a few times!
Two words: read them.