30 December 2014

Top 14 Posts of 2014 (Part 2)

#5 Encountering Jesus ~ and His traumatic love

This was one of my personal favorite posts of the year... a lesson God's still teaching me... and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that others resonated with these thoughts as well!"

"...When I'm following Jesus - I can count on the fact that I'll never be walking in total darkness. That guarantee isn't there when I take off on my own and the guarantee isn't that it won't be dark or shadowy or obscure... just that the darkness won't be complete. But that when caveat can be huge. I will have light because we're talking about Jesus as the provider, the source, of that light. It is true because Jesus is true and never lies. Jesus cannot be less than Who He is. His very nature will never allow Him to do less than what He has promised. This truth depends on His desire and ability to act, and that is unquestionable as He's proven it so over and over and over and... It depends on the fact that He loves, that He IS... love ~ 

But, as RC Sproul wrote in The Holiness of God:  "No man was ever more loving than Jesus Christ. Yet even His love made people angry. His love was a perfect love, a transcendent and holy love, but His very love brought trauma to people. This kind of love is so majestic we can't stand it." The Pharisees run headlong into this reality in this Jesus encounter.

His love seeks always and only the best for its recipients. 

That means His love is often incomprehensible, confusing, painful, frustrating, and even terrifying...."

#4 Encountering Jesus ~ Divine Makeovers

The photo that went along with this post was part of what made it a favorite - of mine as well as of many readers! 

"Every time we come back from four years overseas, we see in an instant how people have changed (and know that people can see those same changes in us as well). Sometimes, it is just the effect of time passing and life moving on - more gray hair than before, more wrinkles, moving a little slower, weight gain/loss, additional children... Other times it goes much deeper - now-suddenly-to-us spouseless... or remarried to a different spouse. Other friends have walked away from Jesus and following the faith that united us. Some have come to know the Lord and we can relate on a level we never could before. Some have experienced deep sorrow or life-threatening illness or accident - and even though they are the same, they are unmistakably different as well. 

Ever had a friend who experienced a change and one result was that they became someone almost unrecognizable? One furlough we came home and my mom, who'd had short hair all of my life, had let her hair grow long - well below shoulder length. It was a beautiful gray and she took the time to curl and style it. It really was lovely, but she looked like someone who resembled my mom... not my real mom. I'd continually kick myself because instead of telling her how nice she looked, all I could do was sputter about how different it was. She just didn't look like the mother I remembered for 40ish years... she wasn't the person-on-the-outside I expected to see and it took some getting used to. I'd just about made it to that point when she cut her hair short again!

Imagine that same sort of change - but much more significant because it wasn't/isn't simply external, but was/is a change that affected/affects every aspect of who that person was/is.


That's what happened to this blind guy. 

His story is rapidly becoming another Scripture favorite. I guess it is okay to have lots of favorite places in God's Word?..."

#3 Trusting in the Sufficiency and Sovereignty of God

This post addresses some of the real and nitty gritty of not just missionary life, but life following Jesus...

"Two weeks ago, I started a series that I'm hoping will be both a challenge and encouragement to you, based off of a sermon by the senior pastor at my sending church. Before delving into my notes, however, I'd like to share a story of one of our scariest moments overseas... one of those times when our only hope was to trust in God, His sovereignty and particularly?  In His sufficiency.

The story centers around our precious Anna...

She was six years old, in her first full year of school at a local French language school, still young enough that we called her by her baby nickname (Anna-lu) and that she still cried when we dropped her off at school - before bravely trudging on in through the gate. Elsie Mae had recently joined the family... she was only a few weeks old... 

One afternoon, Anna came home from school's morning session telling us she didn't feel well. Over the course of our sieste that day, she continued to wilt. I was pretty sure she was running a fever and so we took her to the recording studio where Tim was working (and the air conditioner was running) to see if we could cool her down. She only ended up chilled and uncomfortable, curled up by her daddy's feet under the production desk, as far away from the AC as she could be.

I decided to take her to the doctor.

Once there, she promptly threw up all over the waiting room... which sent us to the front of the line. A blood test confirmed that she had malaria and our doctor immediately prescribed medication. I think it took three pharmacies to find it. Three days later, her prescription had run its course, but Anna wasn't acting as if she felt any better..."

#2 When a Colleague Fails

This was a convicting and hard post to write...

"How are we supposed to act when a colleague sins?

It happens, and I’m not talking about the respectable sins with which we all struggle. I’m talking about the big ones – the ones that result in missionaries sent home from the field or pastors asked to leave their churches…

What are we to do? How are we supposed to act?

I know what sorts of behaviors and attitudes surface most naturally in me.

I criticize. Blame. Ostracize. Shame.

I want to gossip – even though I usually manage to restrain myself. I convince myself I could NEVER sin that sin – at least not the same way nor as sordidly as my colleague did… I sigh as I wonder how the ministry will ever weather the repercussions.

I want to disqualify that person from ever being part of “my team,” again. I might thank God for protecting me from such a wretched mistake, possibly praying, “Thank You, God, that I am not like those those who are unrighteous, who steal, those who commit <that really bad sin>… and Lord, especially that I’m not like____________” filling in the blank with the name of my “fallen” colleague.

Jesus had some pretty strong words for such an attitude..."

#1 "The cold never bothered me anyways!"

It makes me smile that this was the most popular post this past year. But since the original goal of this online space was to keep people updated with our family and to let them feel like they "know" our kids, it is fitting...!

People always ask us how her adaptation to life in America is going... since prior to touching foot in this strange place last summer, she had no memories of her passport country.

She seems to be adjusting better than her older siblings... at least to weather related aspects... Don't you think?

Never would've suspected this.

Just a few months ago, all she really knew was life on the backside of the Sahara.

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