When the Waves are All You See

When the Waves are All You See

The waves are lashing and high; whipping every which way. Stormy and daunting; they surround us. So dominant and frightening, that it is difficult to lift our gaze.  In the middle of a storm, we struggle to set our sights on what lay beyond.

Maybe fear or anxiety overtakes us. We may wonder if we have what is required to see things through. Maybe we don’t have the strength to get to the other side, where the peaceful seas rest. We feel reluctant but tempted to give in to tiredness and dread. And our strength is giving way.  We are desperate for a lifeline. We need help to see beyond the waves.

If we are to press through, to believe without seeing, we must lift our eyes. Above the waves. Above the stormy seas. Above our understanding.

We must look up.Continue reading

Darkness Dispelled

Darkness Dispelled

A guest post by Tracy Stella…

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.—Matthew 5:14-16 NIV

My cousins and I looked forward to family gatherings.  We didn’t care the reason for the reunion as long as we were able to run around, free like the wind.  We girls giggled and galloped, hair tangled and snarled, as it trailed behind us mid-air.  The boys, destined to find dirt, always ended the day looking a bit disheveled.

Country living often equated to cavorting among cousins.

One of our favorite pastimes happened as dusk hovered over the horizon. Many a summer evening, we carried empty jars in the hope of capturing fireflies.  Their amber blink mesmerized us as they winked our way.  It was their light that attracted us as the fireflies flickered in the sky like some sort of Morse code. Blink. Blink. Blink, Blink. Blink — Blink — Blink.

The source of their light was a mystery to us. Continue reading

Take Pity, Take Action, Take Territory for Christ

Take Pity, Take Action, Take Territory for Christ

Today we have a guest post by Tracy Stella…

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. … But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.—Luke 10:30, 33 NIV

The Samaritan stopped in his tracks to take pity on the man who lay naked and half dead along the roadside.  The Samaritan was busy like you and I often are.  He was on his way to a destination, and he didn’t plan on encountering a detour.  Yet, he didn’t delay.  He came to the aid of the man in need of assistance.

Imagine your reaction if you stumbled upon someone in such a state.  How would you have responded?  Would you have been like the Samaritan, or would you have been like the priest and the Levite who both passed by on the other side of the street?

They didn’t help.  They hid their eyes.

When we don’t look, we don’t see.  But that doesn’t mean the problem disappears.Continue reading

Can We Be Ordinary People Who Do Extraordinary Things?

Can We Be Ordinary People Who Do Extraordinary Things?

“They are treating us to dinner,” my translator informed me.  Five adults, four children, and a baby climbed into a truck. After a bumpy ride down the mountain, we were all relieved to arrive in front of a small convenience store.  The pastor’s wife handed each person one tapioca bread roll and a bottle of water.

Seriously? This is dinner?  I tried to conceal my disappointment.

During our dinner conversation, I learned that three of the four children were orphans adopted by the pastor and his wife.  The baby belonged to the remaining young girl.  They rescued her from a sexually abusive father, who had impregnated her.

Staring into the smiling faces of these innocent children, I felt the power of God’s love working through this lovely couple.  Clearly, they were living on very limited funds.  To assume physical, emotional and spiritual responsibility of raising five children seemed absolutely amazing.

Could I do something like that?  Could I be that selfless?  That courageous?  Or generous? Continue reading

Ambassadors of Hope

Ambassadors of Hope

The unbearable ache was like a tight fist crushing around my heart. Cowardly, I took refuge in a tiny infant room packed with adorable babies. As I tried to regain my composure, hot tears of shame poured down my cheeks. The beckoning stares and twisted limbs of young children squirming in stained cribs with soiled diapers awoke me from what I thought was a noble, yet romantic notion of working with orphans in a third world country. The heartbreaking reality of their living condition overwhelmed and frightened me.

I cried because I felt helpless and hopeless.

What could I possibly do when their needs are so great, and I am just one person?

I am not equipped with proper training or resources to make any difference?Continue reading