Almost Home

Psalm 16:1 Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust
 This verse is what I want to say every morning. “Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust.” Trust has been my word over the field time, and now being here in Montana surrounded by my family in Christ I get freaked out at things that mean nothing. I start to second guess the Lord and what He says in the Bible. I have 4 days left in Montana. Four days left of being with these people. Before we all go back to life before we came to IGNITE. Only it won’t be the same because we are all so different now. I am blown away by the changes I see in ALL my classmates. The Lord seriously took all of us on the water and He told us to keep our eyes on Him. It didn’t matter about how big the waves were or the how big the problems that the enemy was trying to throw at us. We continued to have the Lord ALWAYS before us. In any situation it was always the Lord before us. Keep us safe Lord, as we go home we trust You with our future.

The lessons learned on the field, our experience we went through, and our friendships made will always be in our memories. The most important is that we have our stronger relationships with the Lord. We have grown closer too him and we will continue to grow closer.  

“Preserve me, O Lord, for in You I put my trust.” Psalms 16:1

The Temple

“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”I Corinthians 6:19-20 

We went to Angkor Wat a couple of weeks ago with the Potters Field team that came over to Cambodia. These temples were amazing! They were these huge buildings all made from stone, created over a thousand years ago. The design and the the detail in these temples were stunning. I loved taking in the uniqueness of the structure. What saddened me, and most of the people on the team was that these temples took years and years to build. Yet the people of Cambodia, in that day, built it for a god that doesn’t exist. A god that doesn’t hear their cries, that doesn’t come to their rescue, and a god that doesn’t love them. I love how the church of Christ is not the building, but the people. The body of Christ is all the people who are following the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. Our God loves us, He hears our cries, and He saves us from our enemies. As amazing the temples were in Siem Reap, our God wants us as temples to Him. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you.” The Holy Spirit is living in me, He is filling me with Him and guiding me in ways that I will know He is leading me. I need to be constantly taking care of the temple of God. If I don’t keep up the maintenance and more and more trash and filth get into it. The temple will start to fall apart and become unlivable for anyone. It will soon be looked at and awed of what it use to be but not what it is now. “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. I need to live in the world as one of God’s chosen people, knowing that I am just passing through. Yet taking care of everything that He has given me.

A: Read Romans 6 “Dead to Sin, Alive in God”

Daily Bread

Romans 14:3Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.

This was probably one of the most difficult chapters for me to read and understand this week. I for some reason had Romans 14:11 written down. I was going to write about it, yet I felt like it was out of context. Long story short I decided to read the entire Romans 14 chapter to really understand it. This verse is what stuck out to me. Talking about someone who eats and one that doesn’t eat. Eat what? Eat food? Eat pizza? There is a lot of food that people eat. Being in Cambodia I have eaten things I never imagined I would. In the earlier verses it was talking about people who eat meat, verse people who eat vegetables. You can understand why my mind was confused. It’s talking about food and people judging another for what they eat. What does that even mean, why would someone despise another for not eating? Or the other way around, it just didn’t click. The the Lord hit me with a verse, “But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” Matthew 4:4 The word of God is our daily bread. That is what I eat every morning. The word of God is what I live off of. This is probably one of the most difficult things that happen that we fall short on daily. Despising one another for believing in Jesus or for not believing in Jesus. How often does the Bible say that those who don’t believe are going to persecute those who do believe? “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:18-19 Not becoming Christ like. I know I fall short, my emotions always seem to be the first to take over my mouth. My flesh screams to hate the other person, to become jealous, and to ignore them. Then the Lord’s soothing voice is what comes after. I start to realize that I was in sin in my mind, for thinking all that evil. With out my daily bread from the lord to fill me up, my flesh starts to hunger for vengeance. “Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat,” I just know that being in the His word every morning is what truly satisfies me. That I couldn’t live my life in not eating the daily bread that the Lord provides. I need to remember that everyone that doesn’t have Jesus are literally starving for food, and it is not fair for me to be judging them. It’s not fair for me to get upset with them when they have not been getting the food that they truly need. They aren’t being filled with the word of God, they aren’t drinking the water of life. “But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14
A: To be reading and eating my daily bread both in the morning and at night. “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.”

Psalms 1:2

Jesus is The Same

Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

This is simple, pure, and completely true. I sometimes forget how small and childish I am. Then the Lord shows me this verse to remind me again. He is in control, not me. Today I was drawing with my kids. I stopped and just looked at them. My heart filled with love as their faces lit up to show me there drawings. My heart yearns to watch them grow up, and to see how the Lord is going to use each one. Every time I look at them I know that they are going to fall in love with the Lord. 

There’s this pain in my heart every time I think about leaving. Why can’t I stay and watch them all, and continue to teach them? What is going to happen to them? What am I going to do next? The future seems so far away yet then it’s at the door step knocking at every passing moment. With every second that passes it becomes the past. 

Lord has reminded me that the girl that hopped on the plane to Cambodia is definitely not the same girl who was in Guatemala. And absolutely not the same girl that was boarding the plane to Guatemala. My life seems different now, after living life in a different country. Yet, the one thing that hasn’t changed is Jesus. He is still the same, He still loves me, and still watches over me. I know more about Him, and the joy that He gives. I know more about His grace that He offers and about the trust I can have in Him. My trust in the Lord has grown these past couple of months. I know that the Lord is the same today as He was yesterday, I know that He is going to be the same tomorrow also. His love for me doesn’t change. I am resting in that promise, as the future looks mysterious. I know that Jesus is going to be by my side with every step that I take. 

The Faithful Wounds

Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Proverbs 27:6
It’s funny this verse has literally taken me forever to write. I had so many ideas that I wanted to put down, yet every time I went to write nothing came out. It wasn’t the lesson the Lord wanted me to get from this verse. He hadn’t taught anything to me yet, I was just going to write something and move on. Yet the Lord had a different plan. He wanted me to actually learn my lesson from this verse. Not just write it to get it done with. 
Now that I have finally sat down and I am 100% sure that the Lord taught me a lesson through this verse. I am ready to share it with you. Correction from a friend, when I elder or parent corrects me I am fine. I take it nicely and then I continue on my way, but change what I was at fault for. I can normally tell that they are there to help me out and that what they are saying is out of love. In those moments I learn from my mistake. 

This is where I go wrong. Correction from a friend. For some reason when a friend tells me I did something wrong, I want to defend myself. I start to get my armor on as a prepare for war against them. That’s not what the Lord wants. Why? Why is there I feeling that don’t have to listen to them? Or that they don’t know what they are talking about. It’s crazy I even have seen myself do it being here while in Cambodia. I want to prove my innocence, and let them know they are at fault for even saying something that ridiculous. Yet, that is not what the Lord wants me to do; that attitude that I have is not one of Christ. My friends knows me best then most adults in my life. I defend myself because it hurts coming from a friend. Coming from someone I trust and that I love, I don’t want to see my wrongs brought up by them. Yet, they are only helping me grow in my walk. Their correction is faithful, though it might hurt. It is better then just hearing what I want to hear. This is the question, now that I know where I am wrong in my attitude towards my friend how do I change it? I literally have learned my lesson in the past week. It’s God’s timing that I didn’t write this until now. 
A: when I am corrected by one of my friends, I will be aware in what my response to them is. 

Dry Bones

image“And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O Lord GOD, You know.””
Ezekiel 37:3 NKJV

This chapter made me burst out into tears. I had a very emotional devotional morning that morning. I began my morning crying out to the Lord on behalf of a friend. The path this friend has chosen kills me everyday. Yet, I keep giving it to the Lord. You know how everyone always talks about planting seeds? Well this seed in my friend seems to be drying up. I haven’t given up, I just feel useless from half way around the world. The Lord reminds me everyday that I am in Cambodia for a reason. All He wants me today is trust in Him. The Lord shows Ezekiel this valley of dry bones. The valley that just looks sad and hopeless. Filled with dry bones. Then the Lord asks “Can these bones live?” Ezekiel knows that he can’t make them alive, but he does know the Lord has the power too. His response to the Lord’s question is perfect… It is the one that we should all answer any question with. What is 2+2? “Oh Lord, You know.” It’s not the wrong answer.
My prayers recently have been giving up in my efforts. Giving up trying to save them. But it wasn’t until I read this chapter that I realized that I had the wrong attitude. My mind has been centered on if I could help them. If I could save them… But I can’t… It’s not me who saves them. I will never know if anyone I talk to will be saved or have a relationship with the Lord like I pray they do. Yet, I can lean on the fact that “Oh Lord, You know.” Even if it seems like their lives are dry and thirsty for water, no matter what they drink, they need a drink of the living water. And only the Lord knows when they will get to that point. When they finally realize that the Lord is all they need.

A: My prayers know will be prayed with confidence that only the Lord knows. And I will trust in Him. In every situation, I know the Lord knows the outcome.

A Teacher Who Smiles

image“But the LORD said, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?””
Jonah 4:10-11 NKJV

I catch myself frustrated with my students sometimes. Is it normal human behavior to loose your temper once in awhile? Of course… But that is the flesh side.
When I first started teaching, I had a teacher assistant that spoke English and Khmer. She honestly was the greatest! Then she left and I got a new one… Still she was really good… I had her for about 2 weeks… Then she left. Now I am teaching on my own… And the Lord is working on an area in my life that I never expected. These teachers helped translate what I was saying to the kids, that way they could understand better what I was teaching them. Now they don’t even listen at times. The other day I couldn’t take it, and I almost left the room crying… My eyes definitely teared up for sure. I was blinded by anger on this day. I was trying to teach, but it felt like herding cats.  They wouldn’t stop talking and I tried everything I was taught. Yet I couldn’t control my frustration. Nothing I did could make them stop talking, it was insane.
I was giving a practice test… Having them write the word when they hear it. One of the words that I chose was smile… as soon as I said “next word is Smile.” The Lord hit me… How can you teach these kids smile when you are not evening smiling? How can you show Me when all they can see is the anger coming from you? Smile Nicole, all they want or need is someone to care about them. Someone to say good job.
Some days I feel like Jonah “Lord why me? Why am I here? Me teaching them Elevator is not going to tell them about Jesus.” It’s not about the words that get them saved or even if I do see them get saved. It’s simply saying hey…. My actions and the way I love God is going to be watched. They are going to see that there was something different about this foreigner teacher. She was always smiling… Everything I do I want to be doing it for the Lord and not for my own intentions. Their time in school might be the only time in their lives that they can see Jesus. The rest of the time they might only see rudeness and hatred all too often. Maybe when they are older they might look back and say, “I want what that teacher had, she was always smiling and she was always kind.” But I have Jesus and I love these kids with my whole heart. In the end these kids are the little light in my life. They always turn my day around with their smiles and their little jokes. I wouldn’t ask for another class.

A: I will give each of my students a hug and I will pray when I start to feel stress and anger sneaking into my actions.