Wait for Him

John 6:16-21

New Living Translation (NLT)

16 That evening Jesus’ disciples went down to the shore to wait for him. 17 But as darkness fell and Jesus still hadn’t come back, they got into the boat and headed across the lake toward Capernaum. 18 Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough. 19 They had rowed three or four miles[a] when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified, 20 but he called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. I am here![b]” 21 Then they were eager to let him in the boat, and immediately they arrived at their destination!

Patience is often missing from my fruit bowl. I prefer things in life to be done quickly. I don’t like to invest a lot of time in completing a task. I don’t like waiting around for people. I don’t like taking long road trips at night. I like to reach my destination immediately.

The disciples had just witnessed a miracle: Jesus fed 5,000 men! Afterwards, the Lord “slipped away …by himself” (verse 15) because He knew the people wanted Him to rule and reign based on their expectations of a king. So the 12 sat along the shore of the Sea of Galilee to wait for Him.

But it started to get dark.

So they decided to leave, without Him.

IMG_6986They hopped into the boat and began their journey across the sea. Rowing against gusting winds and surging waves, they endured a violent storm that suddenly emerged. After several miles of striving to reach their destination alone they looked out and saw Jesus- walking on the water! The men were terrified. Jesus spoke. Their fear ceased. The Lord climbed into the boat and they arrived at their destination immediately.

Apparently, patience was missing from the disciples’ fruit bowl too. They were probably tired from a long workday. After all, they had been busy serving people fish and bread and cleaning up all the leftovers. They had a long commute to get to their next place of ministry. It was getting dark. They didn’t have lights on their boat. They didn’t have GPS. They had to row for several miles to get to their hotel. They wanted to order room service. They needed to check ESPN/Facebook/email before going to bed.

So they came to a logical conclusion: let’s just go….without Jesus.

We do the same thing.

We watch the crowd receive a miraculous abundance of fish and bread. We serve others as Jesus teaches about the Kingdom of God. Afterwards, we sit at the seashore and wait for the Savior to arrive. We’re tired. We’re ready to get to our destination, NOW. We just want to relax and rest. But it gets dark. So we decide to get in the boat by ourselves. We row, and row, and row. Suddenly, we are overcome by hurricane force winds and waves. We are terrified. Perhaps we should just keep our head down and think about how to go around the storm? Perhaps we should just muster up more strength to row against the harsh conditions? Perhaps we should just throw the rest of our boat mates overboard to lighten the load? Or, perhaps we should just stop… ….and look up.

What’s that? It’s Jesus! Walking on the water. He’s coming towards us! He’s getting in the boat. He commands fear to leave. He is with us.

 

 

My fellow disciple,

Wait for Him.

Don’t get in the boat unless He is with you.

Don’t be afraid…you’ll reach your destination.

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I have Autism

Our daughter delivered the following speech to fellow homeschoolers at a Gavel Club meeting last week. We received such encouraging feedback that I asked her permission to post her words here:

“Autism isn’t something you should be afraid of because there are lots of people with it all over the world. Today, one out of every one hundred and fifty people are affected by autism. The only reason I know about this is because I have autism. Autism doesn’t make your life miserable, but it is a challenge to overcome. I have had autism all my life and today I am going to tell you a little about how autism works.

ASD stands for Autism Spectrum Disorder. First of all, what is autism? “Autism is a life-long disability that prevents individual from properly understanding what they see, hear and sense.” What are the characteristics of autism? “Language is slow and the use of words is without attachment to the normal meaning. Those who are able to use language effectively may still use unusual metaphors or speak in a formal and monotone voice.”

Typically, people with autism are concrete thinkers. That means we take everything you say in a literal manner. For example, when my mom used to say “your killing me,” I thought I was actually killing her with what I was doing. In the movie about the life of Temple Grandin, when someone was talking to her about animal husbandry, she saw in her brain two cows getting married.

Another challenge is communication. People with autism hate to stand in front of a crowd, and for this occasion, giving a speech. None like making eye contact, especially for a long period of time, which for me is two seconds. No one knows why this is difficult for the autistic person, but it is. People with Autism also have a hard time making friendships. They aren’t outgoing or are social people. They usually stand off the side and might not say anything or do anything. For many of them, autistic people are very lonely and friendless in teen years and childhood. They enjoy spending time by themselves. I usually feel it easier to be by myself because it is easier to talk to myself and I don’t have to worry if nobody understands me. If you kept up with how often I would socialize, it is very rare, especially in a single day. After school I would spend hours outside enjoying myself.

 

One huge advantage to having autism is either hardly feeling any pain or feeling it tremendously. I hardly take pain seriously. When I get hurt I usually find a way to bring me happiness. For example, a year ago I was stung by a yellow jacked and sure it hurt a little, but the fun part of all this was that the jacket’s butt was still attached to my arm. People with autism also don’t have very much compassion upon others who would get hurt. Autistic people do take pain differently but that doesn’t mean they don’t care. We do care but sometimes we all need to just man up.

Another easy way to find out someone with autism is that they don’t like physical touch unless if they ask for it. None of them like cuddling and some don’t even like hugging. For a while, I remember not wanting to hug anybody other than family. One word I use to describe my space is “my bubble.” Lots of times I needed my bubble and sometimes I would be ok to get out of it.

Memory is a huge challenge for the majority of autistic people. About 60% to 70% of all autistic people have trouble with memory. Most of them can remember words, but not huge sentences that have three of more different ideas or commands. One example is when your mom tells you to wash and shred the lettuce, peel and cut the carrots, dice the tomatoes and set the plates out for lunch. We cannot think that much. For us autistic people, we can only have a couple of thoughts in our brain at once. If you tried to pack all those things in at once, we won’t remember all of it.

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I remember my whole life being ashamed of having autism. Every time I looked in a mirror I was so ashamed of what God had done to me. I remember saying to myself “I am not a masterpiece.” One day, that all changed. I was outside talking to God and out of nowhere I feel like Paul by being stunned by a bright light. In the midst of the light I head a voice saying, “Malorie, I love you. I didn’t give you autism to make you feel ashamed or not to have friends. I made for you a purpose, on purpose. You are unique and special.” After that, I didn’t feel a bit of shame. I believe God wanted me to make this speech and I’m glad he revealed to me the joy of autism a year ago. I am happy and no longer sad when I hear the word autism. Autism isn’t something that makes a person weird or crazy. We are different, and different is good.”

-MJB

Just drunk!

Acts 2:1-13

On the day of Pentecost[a] all the believers were meeting together in one place.Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages,[b] as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.

At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem.When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.

They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, 10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!” 12 They stood there amazed and perplexed. “What can this mean?” they asked each other.

13 But others in the crowd ridiculed them, saying, “They’re just drunk, that’s all!”

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He told the disciples to wait in the city until the Holy Spirit came (Luke 24:49). Only then would they be FILLED with the power to do what He commanded: make disciples.

All the believers obeyed.

They waited.

Then a sound came from heaven.

The house was filled.

Flames of fire settled on everyone.

Everyone was FILLED with the Holy Spirit.

Everyone.

Prior to Pentecost, these believers had confessed and believed that Jesus Christ was Lord. They were baptized with water. But they needed to be baptized with fire (Luke 3:16, Joel 2:28-29).

After Pentecost, todays believers must also confess, believe and be baptized with water. Through the spectacular unmerited gift of grace, their spirit and soul will live eternally with God. But Jesus promised another gift! Abundant life. When they are baptized with fire, the Holy Spirit will fill their life – to the FULL!

Being FILLED with the Holy Spirit enables believers to obey God’s commands. We can love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. We can love our neighbor as we love ourselves. We can make disciples that do the same.

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Unfortunately, I see too many believers who are sober. They need to be drunk- in the

Spirit! When a believer relinquishes control and is baptized with fire, things get a little crazy in their life- and their city. Flames of fire will burn over their heads and draw others to witness the supernatural power of Jesus Christ in their lives. People will come running to see & hear the Word of God being spoken! Some will be amazed, perplexed and ask questions. And some will criticize and falsely accuse them of being intoxicated at 9 o’clock in the morning (But who cares what the crowd says. The crowd criticized and falsely accused Jesus too).

Are you a believer? Have you confessed that Jesus Christ is Lord? Wonderful! You will inherit eternal life.

Are you a believer who confessed, believed, was baptized and is meeting with other believers; devoting yourself to the apostles teaching, prayer, chatting and eating -together? Fantastic!

Have you been FILLED with the Holy Spirit?

No?

Well just keep waiting….and while you wait: ask, seek and knock (Matthew 7:7). God will fulFILL His promise. Then go- make disciples.

Like a lion

1 Peter 5:5-8 New International Version (NIV)

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.”[a]

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

IMG_0334Recently, while watching a BBC documentary with our son, I cringed as a scene between predator and prey unfolded before us. A wolf lunged at a herd of caribou, which immediately fled the impending danger. Amidst the chaos of the chase, a young caribou was separated from his mother and became isolated from the herd. For more than a mile, he outran the enemy. Cheering the juvenile on, our son yelled “VICTORY!” as the youngling gained some distance from the hungry wolf. A moment later, however, he tripped over a stone and stumbled to the ground. The fall proved fatal. “Stupid wolf!” our son cried, as he was overtaken by emotion.

Like that young caribou, we all like sheep have run astray (Isaiah 53:6). We leave the protection of our Shepherd and the safety of the sheepfold. By relying on our own strength, we attempt to flee from danger. We become exhausted. We stumble. We fall. We are overcome. We cry, “stupid wolf!” – blaming the enemy for our suffering. But the truth is, sometimes our instinct (sin nature), compels us to run away from God instead of to Him. Pride prevents us from clothing ourselves with humility. We rebel against God, and He opposes us.

Stupid God?

Uh. NO.

Stubborn sheep.

But I have good news!!! Stupid sheep can know the truth, and be set free from stubbornness. As a recovering stubborn sheep, allow me to share a few things that I’ve learned in the sheepfold:

  • God cares for His sheep (Isaiah 40:11).
  • When we are young sheep, we must submit to older sheep – for we have much to learn from their example in the faith. (1 Peter 1:5)
  • We are safer in the sheepfold than when we isolate ourselves. Isolated sheep are easy prey. (Ezekial 34:5)
  • When we are afraid, yet choose to run into the mighty hands of God, we can cast all our anxiety on Him. (1 Peter 5:6-7)
  • We have an enemy, who walks about like a lion, seeking to devour us. But we don’t need to be afraid because our God IS A LION (see Revelation 5:5)
  • We must be alert and watch out for the wolf in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15)
  • When we seek God for rescue no evil will conquer us, we won’t trip on a stone, and we will crush fierce lions under our feet! (Psalm 91).

God-breathed

2 Timothy 3:16-17 New International Version (NIV)

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

Just as God breathed life into man’s body in the garden, God breathed life into the men that wrote each verse, chapter and book recorded in the canon of Scripture. Ordinary men were equipped by the power of the Holy Spirit to write an extraordinary love letter to the world.

Woven through the life stories of men, women and children throughout Scripture we learn who God is and who mankind is in relationship to Him. We discover love, grace, mercy and forgiveness. We realize the ramifications of sin. We are introduced to the Savior. We are warned about an enemy.

IMG_2961Each day as we study, the Holy Spirit breathes life and the words on the page become the Word written on our heart. Miraculously, we begin to receive instruction, rebuke, and correction. Through this supernatural training in humility and submission, our lives are transformed by the renewing of our mind. We are made righteous. We are equipped as a servant of God. We are able to do every good work.

If we don’t know the Word (Jesus) by studying the word (Scripture), we are not equipped to do any work. A student who is fully trained will become like their teacher (Luke 6:40). But a student who refuses to be trained, rejects the Teacher and becomes like the one they follow; Satan (John 8:44).

Reading a verse fragment a few times a week on a Bible app or Facebook post with a pretty background picture won’t thoroughly equip you. Would you give your child a handful of goldfish for the week and expect him to be sustained physically? NO! The child would be hungry and eventually, he’d starve to death because of the lack of nourishment. A child cannot live on goldfish alone. He needs the Word of God.

IMG_4461Dear child, if you’ve become malnourished, you cannot serve God. Sure, you may be able to sustain yourself and work for a little while, but the signs of starvation will eventually emerge. You may not notice it – but the people around you will. Your wife may say she feels unloved because you’re too tired to lay your life down for her. Your husband may say that he feels disrespected because you’re too busy to spend time serving him. Your kids may repeatedly disobey you because you’re too preoccupied to deal with their foolishness. The people you lead in the church may keep falling back into the same cycle of sin because you’re unequipped to shepherd their broken soul.

But don’t give up! There is still HOPE. The Good News is still the Good News. You can have abundant life. You can love your wife. You can submit to your husband. You can train your kids. You can lead others in the church. You can do every good work.

All you have to do is choose whom you will serve. God’s mercy is new every morning. Set that alarm on your smart phone to wake up 5, 15, 30 minutes earlier tomorrow. Grab your bible, pen, journal and a cup of strong coffee. Saturate your mind in Scripture. Then…do what it says.

You may feel ordinary, but Scripture will train you to be an extraordinary man or woman of God. God breathed life into your body when He saved you. God will breathe life into your soul when you study His love letter to the world.

 

Jealous of You

Psalm 19:12-14 New Living Translation (NLT)

12 How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
    Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant from deliberate sins!
    Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt
    and innocent of great sin.

14 May the words of my mouth
    and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

I have been jealous of you- my fellow bloggers. Not because you post much more frequently than I do. Not because you are actually writers (I’m just a girl with a pen, journal and laptop who talks with her fingertips). I’ve been jealous of the approval and affirmation you’ve received from others.

I know. It’s disgusting. It’s foolish. But its been lurking in my heart.

IMG_4389I’ve been blogging for more than a decade. Scratch that. I’ve been “blogging” since I was a kid. In the 80’s I just didn’t share my thoughts with the world. They remained locked up in my diary. In the early 90’s they were kept on printed paper, courtesy of my cool typewriter. In the 21st century they ‘got mail’ as I began sending paragraphs of my life lessons to family and friends electronically. I don’t remember when or how I was introduced to this online journal called a blog. But for whatever reason, I decided to join the community. I created a homeschool blog and wrote about…you guessed it, homeschooling! In 2010 I shut that site down and launched a marriage blog in conjunction with our ministry founded that same year…posting about, yep- marriage. That blog was also shut down and replaced with this one. Now I’m just a blogger who shares a journey of trusting God in life, marriage, parenting, homeschooling and ministry. Morning after morning I sit in our comfy office chair with a cup of coffee (cream, no sugar), bible and composition book. Some days the pages remain blank. Other days the words flow from my heart faster than the pen can release its ink on the paper.

God has given me the ability to read His Word with understanding.

God has given me the ability to share how Truth has radically changed my life.

God has given me the ability to arrange words into grammatically correct sentences in order to communicate the Good News to others.

But sometimes I forget all that…

I forget that I blog to please God. I forget that He called me to share my story with others. I forget that the praises of men will pass away, but “well done, good and faithful servant” will be eternal.

I may never have a multitude of people follow/subscribe to my blog.

I may never have a multitude of people like/share/comment on Facebook.

I may never have a multitude of people like/re-tweet on Twitter.

Jesus had a multitude of followers, but only a handful of friends. Only 12 became His disciples. He wasn’t concerned with being popular. He wasn’t concerned with receiving praise from men. He was about His Father’s business. Everything He did was to glorify His Father in heaven.

When I compare my blog feedback with others, I’m not like Jesus.

When I become jealous of others, I’m not like Jesus.

When I think I’m a failure based on opinions, I’m not like Jesus.

When I seek praise from others, I’m not like Jesus.

When I expect affirmation for my obedience, I’m not like Jesus.

Lord,

Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
Keep your servant from deliberate sins!
    Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt
    and innocent of great sin.

May the words of my blogs
    and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Amen