To conclude the mini midweek blog series we started a couple of weeks ago, we wanted to share with you this very helpful short video from Desiring God of Jerry Bridges shedding light on the fear of the Lord and what role it should play in the life of the believer. If you would like to study more, you may also wish to check out Mr. Bridges’ book, Joy of Fearing God: The Fear of the Lord is a Life-Giving Fountain.
The Geographic Positioning System was developed to fix with pinpoint accuracy the position of a target or destination. Signals sent to a satellite are deflected back and forth in a matter of seconds, giving the sender coordinates that answer the question of location.
One of the first to benefit from this was our military, much to the terror of our enemies. But it wasn’t long until the average person used this tool in his or her own car. It now even functions in a cell phone. I can give you my address, and when you enter it into your smartphone, it will guide you to my door; theoretically, at least.
You may have discovered that there are variables involved. All systems are not alike, and the directions you receive may be slightly faulty :-). It doesn’t hurt to leave some extra time, just in case (just sayin’).
Personally, I have had friends use their phone or GPS to get to my home. We have watched them pull up to our driveway, stop, look, and after a pause, proceed. You see, there is a circular turn area just in front of our driveway. To the right of that circle is a street that leads to some other houses. The driver isn’t sure, though if he would only listen to his wife, his uncertainty would certainly disappear :-).
I can hear the conversation.
Wife: “Honey, I think you need to turn right here.”
Husband: “What’s the address?”
Wife: “But they said we need to turn in by the white fence.”
Husband: “Nope, this is it. I’m sure of it!”
In spite of modern technology, the human equation comes into play.
This is the point. If you are going to hit your target, you must take accurate aim. If you are to arrive at your destination, you must have adequate directions. You must know where you are going. You must set your sights, point your vehicle, in that direction. On a trip, you may, and most likely will, need to make mid-course corrections, but your goal, your destination, your focus remain unchanged.
This is even more important when it comes to living a Christ-centered life and building a Christ-centered home. You must take aim and press toward the mark “for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14). The prize, the goal is Christ Himself. We look “unto Jesus the Author and Perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:2). And as we look to Him, “we all with unveiled face, gazing at the reflection Christ’s glory are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. This comes from the Spirit of The Lord” (2Cor. 3:18). Set your GPS. Stay on course. Let nothing deter you from this pursuit.
For the glory of Christ,
We have 3 significant things to update you on this week:
1. The Team in Ecuador has had another outstanding week. Here are a few highlights:
The team has spent most of the week in the town of Esmeraldas near the coast. They have had a wonderful time working with the children there in a variety of settings (children’s programs, working with the schools, and visiting an orphanage). Praise the Lord that three children were saved!
And, they also found a little time for some rest and relaxation at the beach!
To continue the mini midweek blog series we started last week, we wanted to share with you this powerful and beautiful video testimony from Desiring God of the power of the gospel to solidify and sustain a marriage relationship even in the midst of unthinkable tragedy, hardship, and disability.
P.S. You can get a free download of the book referenced in the video, This Momentary Marriage by John Piper, here.
“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
– C.S. Lewis.
I have the tea part down, but I am working on the reading – reading deeper and longer books. The book I have recently been reading is Living the Cross Centered Life, by C.J. Mahaney. The book poses the question, “Do we adequately understand the deepest reasons behind the cross?”
What comes to your mind when you think of the cross? Wood, jewelry, a religious symbol? My Pastor, Dave Teruel, preached on this subject a few Sundays ago. He said, “The gospel will cause me to embrace or reject the stigma that comes with the cross of Christ.” The cross says to me that I could not save myself or bear the weight of my sin. Are you favorable toward the stigma of the cross, the stigma that comes in our society? The love of the world can compete with the cross. Do we love this cross on which Christ died, on which He was nailed, for which He took the stigma?
Sometimes I fear we are like Peter and are embarrassed at the cross and our association with it. We all have been challenged in our lives in this area. If we do not come to understand the meaning behind Gethsemane and Calvary, it will only be superficial, vague, and fleeting to us. “The Gospel message is not just visual in a symbol, but it is truth” (C.J. Mahaney). Romans 10:17 says, “So then, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”
We will bear fruit if we stand firm in the cross of Christ. Our lives should be centered on the cross – on Christ, not the world’s ideas, not the stigma it places on it.
Give Me Jesus
Take the world, but give me Jesus,
All its joys are but a name;
But His love abideth ever,
Through eternal years the same.
Oh, the height and depth of mercy!
Oh the length and breadth of love!
Oh, the fullness of redemption,
Pledge of endless life above!
Take the world, but give me Jesus,
In His cross my trust shall be;
‘Till with clearer, brighter vision,
Face to face my Lord I see.
– Frances J. Crosby
Micah and the Global Encounters team have had a great first week in Ecuador! Daniel will join them today.
They taught at a church in Quito on Sunday.
They then plunged into children’s programs for the rest of the week.
Many fun memories were made. Please pray that the children will remember the things that they learned and that the Lord would nurture the seeds of the gospel that were sown that many might come to salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Micah made some new friends, like Andreas who gave Micah “a running hug that lasted a long time.” Kids like this make it tough to say goodbye, but new adventures await.
Since Daniel is taking a break from blogging for the next three weeks while he is in Ecuador, we wanted to take the opportunity to digress just a bit and share with you a variety of videos created by others we highly respect that we have found helpful as we pursue faithfulness to the gospel in all areas of life.
We plan to send these posts your way on Wednesdays and provide you with an update on the team in Ecuador each Friday. If you are interested in keeping up with the team throughout the week, but sure to stay tuned to out our Facebook and Google+ pages where we’ll be posting pictures and short status updates.
What Does It Mean to Be Complementarian?
Desiring God provides this valuable video by Mary Kassian helping us see beyond the stereotypical breakdown of ‘jobs’ when examining the roles of men and women to the deeper biblical significance – the living picture of the gospel as reflected in the relationship of Christ and His Church. It is certainly well worth two minutes of your time.
Leading a Christ-centered life and having a Christ-centered home are great Biblical aspirations, but life and circumstances sometimes seem to get in the way. Both of my adult sons have been planning a mission trip to Ecuador. Micah was scheduled to leave the country on July 13 and lead the team. Daniel would follow one week later, and he and Micah would work together leading the remaining two weeks. Micah works as a political consultant in Texas and has been back and forth between Kentucky and Texas recently. Search was made for his all-important passport, and, after some days of concern, it was found and sent to Texas. As departure date approached, the package did not arrive in Texas. A check on the USPS tracking number showed it was undeliverable. With departure day now a few days away, signs of panic were creeping in.
Months of preparation and money spent on tickets and accommodations were now on the line. From our perspective, there was one hope: that the Postal Service would return the package to us so that it could be overnighted to Micah. But undeliverable letters often take a week or weeks to get back to the sender. Things were not looking good.
We stopped to pray and also rehearsed the typical “coulda, woulda, shoulda”. We prayed hoping that our God, by His providence, would do the unusual and unlikely. But what if He did not? What if Micah, the leader of the team, had to stay behind? What if all the prayers, preparation, and money had led to this?
We often feel that God must do certain things or act in a certain way. We take part of the Scriptures regarding prayer, and build our case for the desired outcome. What we want is right and good and must be the will of God, right? But the truth is that God is not obligated to us, and our limited perspective is not able to give us the whole picture. We are dust and He is sovereign. Case closed.
We spent our days doing our jobs, praying, and waiting on God, then submitting to His will, whatever that would be.
On Wednesday evening, Daniel was visiting with some friends and rehearsing the situation with them. One friend said: “Why don’t you have someone check with the post office that received it in Texas to see if they still have it.” DUH!!! Daniel texted Micah, WHO WAS PREPARING TO FLY TO ECUADOR. Micah called His friend and boss, asking him to check with the local post office the next morning. Thursday morning, Micah flew to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida where he and the team would gather to leave for Ecuador on Saturday. When Micah’s friend went to the post office, the package was there waiting to be picked up. He was able to get it and overnight it to Ft. Lauderdale. On Friday morning, Micah had his passport in His hand.
As I write this blog, Micah and the team are in Ecuador, having arrived just hours ago. We give thanks to our God Who does all things well and Whose “mercies endure forever”. But make no mistake. Our God is faithful, NO MATTER WHAT. He always does all things well. This we learn as we seek to live a Christ-centered life.
I have enjoyed writing to you, my readers, on a weekly basis. Making a commitment at the beginning of this year to blog once a week was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Hopefully it has been encouraging to you. I know it has been good for me in the discipline of study and personal growth. I have learned so much – not to mention that it has given me the opportunity to develop my skill as a writer and communicator. You are very kind and patient to read my weekly ramblings. I do not claim to always get it right, and your feedback and personal insights have helped as we all grow in the grace of our Lord together.
Taking a break from Blogging
I wanted to let you know that I will be taking a break from writing for the next three weeks due to my upcoming trip to Ecuador. I want to have the ability to focus completely on the work that the team and I will be doing as we engage the gospel in that country and support the local churches we have been working with for the last five years. I would, however, covet your prayers as we go. Pray for the team, as they will be teaching a total of 800-1000 kids from each camp we will be conducting the three weeks we are there. The entire leadership team – including my brother, Micah, Elizabeth Fox, Ashlyn Ours, and myself – would ask you specifically to pray that we would be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading and walk in humility as servant leaders. If you would like to keep up with our trip you can do so by following our trip blog at globalencounter.com or viewing up to date photos on Global Encounter’s Facebook page.
God’s Provision: What was lost is now found!
Before I close, I would like to share one short testimony of the provision of the Lord that I hope will encourage you. The last couple of days have been quite stressful because my brother’s [Micah Cavanaugh’s] passport was lost in the mail. It was a big deal since he flies out of the country this Saturday. It’s a long story and time will not allow me to relay all the details. Needless to say, much time has been spent on the phone and the brain has never been so racked in an effort to discover a solution to the problem. You eventually come to a point where you realize that you are completely helpless and there is nothing more you can do to fix the problem. But do you know what? That is a perfectly wonderful place to be. It means that you have to trust our sovereign God to do His will [Proverbs 3:5 & 6]. Yes, we as humans are an integral part of the working out of that will, but sometimes our God tells us to be still and know that He is God [Psalm 46:10]. And that was all we could do. Oh, did I mention that we found his passport? We did. Through a Spirit lead idea of a close friend, we checked Thursday morning with the post office branch near Micah’s address and guess what? They had it! Yes, I did a happy dance. It was the best birthday gift ever [by the way, it was my birthday on Thursday].
Even if the Lord had not allowed us to find the passport, He is still faithful and sovereign. The real issue is that He wanted us to put our eyes upon Him. To step back and say, “You are in control, God, and whatever happens it will be good.” So until next time, keep pursuing the one who knows all things and know that you will never be able to fathom all His wondrous deeds [Inspired by words from Sovereign Grace Music].
Appreciate your prayers,
I sat on my screened-in porch reading and sipping tea – a rare still moment early in the morning before the busy day begins. Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to live in a place where I would have a screened-in porch. The Lord remembers all those secret desires of our hearts and, at the right time, He is gracious to fulfill those desires.
We rent a farmhouse on beautiful property and, as I looked up, a young deer passed in front of my porch – a beautiful creature probably heading to the near-by pond. It is not as if I have never seen a deer before. But I marvel at how my heart leaps every time I see the beautiful creatures God has created.
‘I never grow tired of looking at your creation, Lord, your majesty.’ Psalm 104:24 says, “O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your riches.”
The Lord turned my thoughts into a devotional for the day: ‘Lord, may this “leap” in my heart spill over to everything you have created and given to me – friends, family, life, the Word of God, salvation, etc.’ Psalm 42:1 says, “As the deer pants for flowing streams, so my soul for you, O God.”
Creation sings the Father’s song
He calls the sun to wake the dawn
And run the course of day
Till evening comes in crimson rays
His fingerprints in flakes of snow
His breath upon this spinning globe
He charts the eagle’s flight
Commands the newborn baby’s cry
Hallelujah! Let all creation stand and sing
“Hallelujah!” Fill the earth with songs of worship
Tell the wonders of creation’s King
Creation gazed upon His face
The ageless One in time’s embrace
Unveiled the Father’s plan
Of reconciling God and man
A second Adam walked the earth
Whose blameless life would break the curse
Whose death would set us free
To live with Him eternally
Creation longs for His return
When Christ shall reign upon the earth
The bitter wars that rage
Are birth pains of a coming age
When He renews the land and sky
All heaven will sing and earth reply
With one resplendent theme
The glory of our God and King
[Copyright © 2008 Keith & Kristyn Getty & Stuart Townend]
“Oh magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.”