Praying in the Tension

A little while ago we spoke about Fight Time. It is the idea that there comes a time when the bell rings and its go time. We spoke about how we fight from a place of victory in Christ and being sealed with the Holy Spirit. We also mentioned how the fight is a fight and it can be hard. Today I think we should pick back up on that idea of tension. Specifically, I think we should look at praying in the tension.

When the bell rings there is this initial excitement where we are ready to go and have the faith to move mountains. We are ready for whatever the world, the enemy, or our flesh throws at us. Like He-man we proclaim, “I have the power!” but the problem is that same excitement and proclamation of power does not last. Maybe after a week, two weeks, three weeks, or four weeks we start to get tired. We wonder why the victory is not yet won. We start to question what God said. We start to wonder if we missed something. Surely if God was speaking, He would have wrapped this up by now. Surely if God was in this it would be easier right?

Well no, not necessarily. The tension we feel between what God said and what we see could be part of the plan. It could be that God is using this tension for a purpose. Honestly, I don’t want to list possible reasons why because I don’t want you to limit God, but He can use the tension for His glory and purposes.

The Apostle Paul has some words of encouragement for us. Writing to the church in Philippi from prison he says, “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel” (Phil 1:12). Paul was in jail for doing exactly what God told him to do. He was following the path placed before him and it got him locked up. I am guessing that Paul had his moments of wrestling with the tension of following God’s call and being in jail. A few verses later after talking about how people are trying to make it worse for him, he says, “yes, and I will rejoice” (1:18b). There is tension there, but Paul was praying through and telling us to pray through the tension.

It is not easy, and I am going through it right now, but we have to keep coming back to the place of praying through the tension between what God has said and what we see. One the first Bible verses I ever learned was Numbers 23:19 which says “God is not a man that He should lie nor a son of man that He should repent. Has He not said, and will He not do, or has He not spoken, and will He not make it good?” the verse has always come back to me as a reminder that God is God and I am not. I cannot understand His ways, but I can trust Him.

I believe that one of the reasons God allows the tension is so that we will keep coming back to Him. The tension is hard, but it is necessary. For me, I can see part of the reason is for humility. It is humbling to ask for help. It is humbling to ask for support. It is humbling to not be able to accomplish the task on my own. So, I accept the tension. I don’t really want it but I accept it because I trust that God is good. If we are going to fight then we have to accept that God is good because He is the one leading the battle, and He is the source of strength. So, the tension is real but so is God. Pray in the tension. Pray to the God of peace. Use the tension to draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Just a thought,

Mike

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Fight Time

Growing up I loved watching wrestling and boxing. One of my favorite moments was when they announced the fight was going to start. It didn’t matter if it was a bell or an announcer saying something. The start was this magical moment when the story that had been building reached its climax and the fight would begin. My favorite wrestler was Sting (Steve Borden). He just carried himself in a great way. By the way, if Steve happens to see this feel free to pop over to the site and grab a mission’s t-shirt. Anyway, my point in telling you this is that we have similar things going on in our lives. For each of us, God is always building us up for something that he wants to do. For our family it is missions but for you, it might be something different. Either way, things have been building and growing or maybe they are still building and growing but there comes a moment when its go time.

The thing to remember is that you don’t go it alone. Ephesians 1:3 and 1:13 say that we are blessed in Christ and that we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. It’s a done deal. So yes, there is a go time, but we go from a place of being blessed and sealed. We don’t fight some wild fight out of anywhere. It has been building, growing, and waiting for the right time for you to move. Whatever God is doing in you and moving you to, you will have a fight time, but you fight with God for His mission.

That is amazing when we really think about it. We fight from a place of Christ’s victory. It is still scary, but it is awesome too. When we start to get scared because it doesn’t seem like things are going the right way, we have to remember three very important things. First is that Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. If you could see it then it wouldn’t be faith. Second, is Hebrews 11:6. I like the way the Message version reads – God cares enough to respond to those who seek him. Third is that failure is an option. If it wasn’t then it would not be a fight. I know that is not comforting to some, but it always makes me feel good. To know I could fail means I need to be that much more determined not too.

So, wherever you are at in the battle or whether the story is still building, it is going to be great in the end. Keep pushing into Christ. Keep fighting the good fight of faith. Keep pressing into Jesus. It might hurt and it might be scary, but God is so worth it.

Just a thought,

Mike

Missions

I usually don’t like to talk about what is going on in my own life, but I am going to make an exception today. As a family, we have been praying about missions for years but the question of where and when has alluded us. About a year about ago we knew that it was time to start the process of moving forward in this but again the where was unclear. Originally it started with a desire to serve in Western Europe and we were thinking Berlin. Through a series of events that only God could orchestrate it became clear that it was not Berlin or Germany but France. So, we started a process and as of a week ago, we were approved to be missionaries to France. We will be starting with a 4-month apprentice to Paris and then will be going back in Spring/Summer of 2020. We are over the moon excited and humbled.

I want to take just a minute to talk about missions and why it is so humbling. It is humbling to be involved in missions because God is allowing us to partner with Him. The mission is God’s missions. There is a term for it called Missio Dei which is Latin for The Mission of God. God is the originator of missions and was the first missionary in the Garden, then to Abraham, then Moses, and finally Jesus. Jesus said He came to seek and save the lost. It is His mission and that He asks us to serve in His plan is so humbling because we were the lost, He came to save. One of my favorite passages of Scripture when it comes to missions is John 4:4 which says, “He had to travel through Samaria.”

It is such an easy passage to read over but if we think about it is an amazing passage. Jews did not associate with or have anything to do with people of Samaria. They would avoid contact at all cost. While the trip Jesus was taking was faster to go through Samaria you always went around. You avoided them at all cost. You never had to go through Samaria. Jesus, on the other hand, said He had to go through there. Jesus had to proclaim the Gospel to these people. He had to. I could talk about this for a long time, but that verse answers the question when I wonder why missions. I have to.

It is not a question or should or would like to but have to. There are so many people who are hurting in the world around us and France is on that list. You can check out the Missions page to see more but the fact is Missions exists because there are people God loves and He wants them to receive His greatest gift. This causes us to respond.

Now I get it not everyone can be a missionary, but we are all called to do our part. Some go and dedicate their life to the call. Some stay and serve locally. Some serve locally and support those who go. Some do many things. The point is, we are all involved. We met a young lady a year or so ago who was going to Germany to do missions. We wanted to help but did not think would could. That changed when our perceptive changed. We realized we could not do as much as we wanted to do but we could do something. So, we signed on as monthly partners to do a little. You know what? It has made all the difference. Our amount is not big but when she announced she was fully funded we wept tears of joy with her. Its not about the money or the amount it is about being in it together. We are part of what she is doing, and I wish I would have gotten this sooner because it is an amazing feeling.

My question is simple what are you doing about missions? This is not a pledge drive question because we trust God’s got what we need (feel free to help though we won’t say no) but a question for your own fulfillment. If God wants us all to participate in missions with Him what are you doing and how can you serve Him? I encourage you, no I beg of you be involved in some way, with someone, with some service because the feeling is amazing. You will connect with God in amazing ways when you are involved in His mission. Maybe God is calling to you cross-cultural missions, maybe to serve in a food bank, maybe to give financially to someone, anything just ask Him and see where He leads you. It will be so great, and I am excited to see what God does in you.

Just a thought,

Mike