Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas - the reason?

It is
Christmas Morning.
The tiny fairytale town I live in is so quiet this morning, on Ebenezer's walk I heard the rush of the creek that runs beside the town.
It is
Christmas Morning.
Spending time contemplating the 'reason for the season' I found I could not remain in 'Christmas'.


Without the Cross, the birth of Christ is a mute point, a mother's story, a sweet refrain.
Without the Resurrection, the Cross is only a painful murder.
Without the Return of Christ for his Bride we are stuck in this evil world.

So I REJOICE this morning and wait in anticipation for His returning to recapture His Bride, the Church. I trim my lantern. I wait with baited breath for God, the great three in one to return. I will dedicate extreme service without complaint and expect no explanation from the Great God who needs not give any.

And the church bells toll.

your mutating missionary
and ebenezer

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Break

Run to Him when your heart is weary
Run to Him when it is torn
Run to Him when the world is heavy
Run to Him when it is worn

"My dear, dear friends! I love you so much. I do want the very best for you. You make me feel such joy, fill me with such pride. Don’t waver. Stay on track, steady in God.

Pray About Everything

I urge Euodia and Syntyche to iron out their differences and make up. God doesn’t want his children holding grudges.
And, oh, yes, Syzygus, since you’re right there to help them work things out, do your best with them. These women worked for the Message hand in hand with Clement and me, and with the other veterans—worked as hard as any of us. Remember, their names are also in the Book of Life.
4-5 Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!
6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies."  
Philippians  4: 1-9 the Message via BibleGateway

I will be back before Christmas.
I now: Let my petitions and praises shape my worries into prayers, letting God know my concerns. I seek a sense of God's wholeness, I seek to know everything is coming together for good, I seek to settle down in Him. Christ come and displace the worry that is at the center of my life. 

Meditating on things "true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious - the best, not the worst; the beautiful not the ugly; things to praise, not to curse."

Seeking to ABIDE in the vine. Seeking to hide a thankful heart within.

your mutating missionary

& ebenezer

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The gift of silence?

She sat at the black linoleum topped steel kitchen table, looked up from her bible and surrounding commentaries and whispered: Oh '#4daughter', if you could only learn the gift of silence, what a joy that would be.

I am told I was a talkative child. I really don't remember that. It took me a long time to talk to begin with. However, upon expressing myself (from what I hear), I didn't stop. Known as a cheerful child, my favorite three things to do: tell stories, visit with neighbors, twirl for hours in my mom's blue-silk- circular-skirt that came just to my feet. Thankfully as an adult I try to measure my words. I do not always succeed, but I try.

My family has undergone some huge pain during the last 20 years (whose hasn't). Right now, I sit across an ocean and watch from afar pain being dealt with again. I sit in silence.

Could it be my mother's lesson of 'silence is a gift' sunk in?

Granted the communication between the family and myself is good. But, I have no answers. I only know who does.

My family knows Truth. Yes, I am a blessed woman - both my immediate family and my extended family are believers. He lives within them. They are children of God.

God calls me to pray for the struggles others are going through. Sometimes (not often), He even nudges me to confront those around me. But, when it is concerning my own loved ones the most beneficial gift I can give is prayer and my silence. Silent listening, silent love. Why?

Because God is usually working out something within those loved ones around me in ways that I can't or never could understand. If they are on a road to destruction, are seeking counsel from healthy loving counselors, are continuing down that road... Well, God has something He wants them to learn. By my coming in and trying to stop the lesson, trying to stop the pain, trying to fix the problem... I just get in the way of God's hand to teach my loved ones something that is deeper and more important than anything/anyone in this temporal world we live in.

Sometimes sitting back and praying while watching tragedy on the horizon is the most important work we can do. If a family must go through the darkest of times, in the loneliest of places, in the saddest of corners, that family, when believers, will come through knowing Him in ways they never would have before. No relationship is more important than that relationship. And whatever it takes for someone to find themselves in Him and Him alone - well that is His goal.  Trying to stop the pain that would force someone to get there. Well, that is just not my job.

Silence. The gift of silence. Do you need to give that gift to someone you know that is struggling in a hard situation today?

Today I make a conscious decision to listen in silence and pray.

Because He IS the I AM,
i am
your mutating missionary

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Does anyone else struggle with Exodus 3?

"Some of us always want to be illuminated saints with golden halos and the flush of inspiration, and to have the saints of God dealing with us all the time. A gilt-edged saint is no good, he is abnormal, unfit for daily life, and altogether unlike God. We are here as men and women, not as half-fledged angels, to do the work of the world, and to do it with an infinitely greater power to stand the turmoil because we have been born from above." Oswald Chambers

Of course "I am woman, hear me roar" doesn't exactly come to mind when I read this quote. Instead of, "I am woman..." it is more like "But who am I God that I should go...? Ex 3:11

I often feel as if I am standing in front of the burning bush hearing God call my name and then questioning what He is calling me to do. I think... surely you can't mean me. Do that? I am really not so good at that... I am really not so good in relationship... I am really not so good as - blah blah blah.

I wonder how many of us do this. Does He just want to smack us silly? We get so wrapped around the axle about who we are, forgetting the only important reality: who HE IS! I have to say I struggle with this regularly.

I sat yesterday with my language tutor. We shared about our time away from each other. We laughed in German... honestly we did. There is a different laugh when we laugh in a different language. One laughs from a different viewpoint.

Think about God's viewpoint and His laugh. Here He is the Great I AM assigning a task to said woman. We all know He could just as easily give the task to the tall standing tree outside my bedroom window. The tree possibly would do a better job than I. And yet, He beckons me with His presence to follow through. To trust Him. To step out in my inabilities and know that He goes before me. Until we give up there is availability for Him to work. Until we give up.

And giving up is very appealing during the moments when we just don't know. I struggle with the giving up. Why? Because the constant culture crunch can get to me.

If I don't sit in His presence regularly, it gets me down. If I haven't taken my shoes off on the Holy Ground in His intimacy - I am sunk.

Am I any different than you? I think not. We are all to "do the work of the world, and to do it with an infinitely greater power to stand the turmoil, because we have been born from above."OC

Let me not forget that my hope is in the Lord - that fact that HE said He will be with me. Remembering my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ - He is my holiness -
"My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand" Hymn

May we remember this

Because He IS the I AM,
i am
your mutating missionary
and ebenezer

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Be still and know that I am God... Ps. 46:10

Snow began falling last Saturday morning and ended in the late afternoon on Sunday. I had heard we could have some snow, but I really didn't expect to get so much. It was a winter wonderland when I awoke on Sunday. I live on a massive hill here on the mountain and I didn't have it cleared in time to go to church on Sunday morning. So, my plans of traveling to Switzerland were hindered by apprehension of driving in snow, and my plans for Sunday were hindered by the roads not being cleared enough to back out of my parking spot and not be concerned about slamming into the ancient stone wall that lines my tiny thoroughfare.

I stayed home. I walked Ebenezer, of course. But I stayed home.

I left on Monday and did some errands, only to return to snow still on my parking lot and snow bedecked trees, bushes, and housetops/eaves and lawns.

It was a surprise for us all. Down in the valley below, the snow was gone by sometime on Sunday, but here it is lasting longer. And the surprise?

The date.

It was October 27th. This is not usual even for this area. Snow coming before November? It just is not usual. But did I enjoy the stop?

YES! I did.

These were all taken late on Sunday and early on Monday! Whew! So fun ;-)

So, what did I do?

I painted. This is my first acrylic painting. I have always wanted to try it but never had the wherewithal or gumption to do it.  The picture was taken in Slovenia a few years ago. I simply gave my rendition of the magic that God so beautifully shared on that day.

Like I said, it is my first so... be gentle :/

I am still not back to the swing of the in and out daily going since the last girl from Texas left Sunday before last.

But, I was thinking how good God is to stop everything here on this mountain for just a few days. And it reminded me of how God so often stops me and pulls me up short. He brings me to my wits' end. He forces me into edges of myself that I would not look at if it were not for Him pushing me there. It isn't necessarily warm and fuzzy. Sometimes it is downright cold and icy. But it is where He wants me to go to hear his still small voice.

I want to hear. I want to be in the midst of the storm and see and smell and taste the warmth of Him, the warmth of His strength. Not mine - His! The beauty of Himself. Be still and know...

What more could we ask for?

your mutating missionary
and ebenezer

Thursday, October 25, 2012

He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End

Upon hearing that title my mind jumped in several directions.
Isn’t that what our USA culture cries out for?
Isn’t that what we are known for in the world. How many times have I heard from more than one national here on foreign soil, ‘You Americans have EVERYTHING.”

But do we?

The title caught me, but the writing kept me. Mary DeMuth's new book Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus is not a particularly easy read, at least from my perspective. I am just a simple missionary in a land that has cast our EVERYTHING aside for tolerance and personal gain.
In reading only 27 pages into the book, I read:

“I wonder how much of my Christian life has become trying to do things in my own wimpy strength. Of thinking I can live the Christian life just fine on my own. Of worrying about what this untamed, holy God would demand of me, so I take care of my daily living without His input. Of making vows to protect myself when that is clearly not my job, nor am I very good at it. Of creating my own spiritual list, not even bothering to consult the One who made me.”

This hit me head on. As I said, I am only a simple missionary, living the day in day out life of walking a walk and speaking a speech that is filled with my need to hand it all over to my Everything. Everything at all times to my Everything. How do I do that? Obediently, that is how. Mary's book encapsulates that in her no-nonsense less than 200 page read.
The book touched me in a place that is real and honest and true. It vanquishes some well-meant thoughts that have been touted by many a well-meaning speaker or writer. It helped give a fresh breath to words that I have known to be true, but struggled with. It reminded me of the truth that:

He created us for adventure, not ease…”

I entered into this missionary adventure only to find that He desires to be my ‘Everything’ on this adventure, not just in the beginning, nor only in the middle, but until the very end.

Mary DeMuth’s book “Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to be More Like Jesus” embodies this for every Christian, walking down every road of life. Whether I am the wide-eyed innocent school girl confused about the next step, the newly wed mother with many questions, the married woman in a difficult marriage, the destroyed woman in the failed marriage, the single mom trying to rear children in a fallen world, the 2nd Grade Teacher, or the Teacher Trainer, or the Sunday School Teacher, or the Bible Study participant, or the Bible Study leader, or the 50 year old woman called to share Him full-time in a foreign land in a foreign language…this book challenged and encouraged me in my life.
I believe it will both challenge and encourage yours.

your mutating missionary
and ebenezer

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Prayer, Prayer Walking, Prayer

Prayer is such a powerful part of the daily life of a Christian.  RIGHT?

“Lord, teach us to pray.” Luke 11:

Are we asking to be taught how to pray on a daily basis? Are we seeking that intimacy with Him regularly? Do we pray without ceasing? Not just in one or two or three ways, but seeking to find new ways to be intimate with Him regularly?

These are some questions I have been asking myself of late.

I had some very wonderful women from the USA come to visit me recently. The question of prayer and ways to pray came up during their stay. It sent me into a pondering mode. Why do we pray?

Oswald Chambers asks the question: What’s the Good of Prayer? in the devotional book My Utmost for His Highest.
“It is not part of the life of a natural man to pray. We hear it said that a man will suffer in his life if he does not pray: I question it. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished, not by food, but by prayer. When a man is born from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him, and he can either starve that life or nourish it. Prayer is the way the life of God is nourished. Our ordinary views of prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer as a means of getting things for ourselves: the Bible idea of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.
“Ask, and you shall receive.” We grouse before God, we are apologetic or apathetic, but we ask very few things. Yet what a splendid audacity a childlike child has! Our Lord says – “Except ye…become as little children.” Ask, and God will do. Give Jesus Christ a chance, give Him elbow room, and no man will ever do this unless he is at his wits’ end. When a man is at his wits’ end it is not a cowardly thing to pray, it is the only way e can get into touch with Reality. Be yourself before God and present your problems, the things you know you have come to your wits’ end over. As long as you are self-sufficient, you do not need to ask God for anything.
It is not so true that “prayer changes things” as that prayer changes me and I change things. God has so constituted things that prayer on the basis of Redemption alters the way in which a man looks at things. Prayer is not a question of altering things externally, but of working wonders in a man’s disposition.” quote by Oswald Chambers

When questioned why Prayer Walking? I really had no ‘in the moment’ answer. I could have said so many things, but I wanted to say the right things.  It stumped me.
Many missionaries I know ‘Prayer Walk’ including me. We do it because we have found it to be powerful in our lives and missions. But, why?

Do we believe it is some magical incantation that we are doing to produce something for our ministries? No
Do we believe it makes us better Christians than those that do not? No
Than why?

I think that it has a lot to do with what Oswald Chambers says here.

We do it because we have come to our wits’ end.

We have no way of touching the hearts around us. We have no ability to enter into the lives of those that we desire to share Christ with. We are foreigners in foreign lands and we are outsiders.  An automatic leeriness exists as we enter the streets, the churches, and the shops. We are unknown.
We have Someone to share. We have Someone to love. We have Someone that desires to love those we walk around. But we have no way to enter.

When I walk around a town and pray for those I see before me I realize these things:
1.     This person might not have one single person in his/her life that has prayed for them before. Perhaps no one that knows Jesus and can share Him.
2.     This building that I am entering might not have held a believer within its four walls for years. The dearth of believers is deafening.
3.     This street is a street that has lost feet passing over it daily.
4.     These truths change me.
5.     These truths give me the awareness of the urgency to share the Lord with those around me.
6.     These truths give me more courage to step out beyond myself and share.

One might say, "That is good for a missionary to do, but it is not necessary in my world, in my life. I can sit and pray in my home and be just as productive."

I question that. God says Go and Share. The great commission is not written for commissioned missionaries only. You know the ones that have that 'M' word stamped on their visas. The great commission is written for every one of us that has received Him into our lives. How we do the sharing may be different for everyone. But sharing we must.

I believe that prayer walking whether in my neighborhood in the USA, or in the small villages and large cities of Germany is one more way to come away with a burning for the lost in the world. It gives me an urgency to share Him with others. And it gets me out among the lost. Not behind the safe church walls, or the privacy of my home. But in the cold-hard-real-world, a world that is dying daily. Prayer walking reminds me that I have the opportunity to be a part of the adventure of this life with Christ.

I am at my wits’ end. I don’t have the power, the ability, or the creativity to open hearts. I prayer walk because I desire to be used by God in the world around me.
I desire Him to change me.

“When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:17-20

Do we believe it?

Your mutating missionary
and ebenezer

Monday, October 15, 2012

A book for everyone!


Today is the day Everything (the book) What you give and what you gain to become like Jesus by Mary deMuth hits the bookshelves.


I began reading the book a few months ago when Mary sent it to me on a PDF file. She graciously chose me to be one of many helpers in reading, commenting, sharing, and praying for the book's release.

The book met me in places I cannot fully understand even yet. It is one of those books that doesn't get read in one sitting. At least for me. I read the first few paragraphs and had to sit on it a while. Then I read a few chapters and had to sit and ponder for a while.

What does it mean to have everything met within the Jesus of Nazareth, the one and only Son of God? What does it mean to follow Him? What does it mean when we are fallen? Why would He be so gracious as to tell us we do not have to pick ourselves up by our own bootstraps? What do I have to give up? What do I gain?

What does submission look like? What does obedience look like? Why does it sometimes hurt so much to be walking down this road called Christianity?

Mary did a great job of posing questions and encouraging looking at things through a different lens. She has walked a road of pain and has watched God come in and strongly support. In trusting Him, in both loss and gain, she has gained.

I encourage you to buy the book. Read it. Take some time. Ponder, answer the thoughtful questions, and give God praise.

Because He IS the I AM
i am
your mutating missionary

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The handwriting on the wall! October 12, 539 BC "MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN." God numbered, weighed, failed, and divided King Belshazzar's kingdom. Hummm politics...

October 12, 539 BC.

Many years before this date King Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple of God in Jerusalem, gold and silver cups after defeating the Israelites. King Neb brought them back to his palace and stored them with all of the other 'loot' he had taken from other kingdoms he had conquered. And there they had stayed until this one fateful night.

Fast forward to 539 BC. Babylonian Empire had dominated the New East since 626 BC.

Herodotus, the Greek historian, reports:
"A battle was fought at a short distance from the city, in which the Babylonians were defeated by the Persia king, whereupon they withdrew within their defenses. Here they shut themselves up and made light of this siege, having laid in a store of provisions for many years in preparation against this attack." Herodotus 
There is a very full account of this battle and the ending results of this 'party' in Daniel 5.

Have you heard of the saying: "He saw the handwriting on the wall"? It is often referred to in a situation where someone acted out in something and they realize they didn't do the right thing. As a consequence of their actions something bad is bound to happen.

Scripture tells us that even though there had been a siege and trouble was brewing, the then King of Babylon Belshazzar decided to PaaaaarTY!!! He called for those very 'forgotten about' gold and silver cups to be 'fetched' and used to party.

As they were drinking from the cups a human hand appeared and began writing on the wall.

Of course this sent the whole ball room into panic. King Belshazzar became pale with fear. He called for all of his astrologers and fortune-tellers to come and tell him what the writing meant. They could not.

His queen came in and calmed him down saying that there was a Jewish guy named Daniel who could interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve difficult problems. Daniel was called and asked to solve the writing. He was told if he could do this he would receive purple robes of royal honor and given a gold chain to wear around his neck. He was also promised the third highest rule over the kingdom.

This was all promised to him from a man who 'thought' he was in control!

But Daniel answered with a resounding 'No Thank You Very Much!!!!' you can keep your gifts and give them to someone else. He did interpret the writing and told the king:

"This is the message that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN. This is what these words mean: Mene means 'numbered' - God has numbered the days of your reign and has brought it to an end. Tekel means 'weighed' - you have been weighed on the balances and have failed the test. Parsin  means 'divided' - your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians" 
That very night the Medo-Persian army diverted the waters of the Euphrates River that flowed thought the city of Babylon. With the water in the riverbed reduced, the army was able to enter the city under cover of darkness. They captured Babylon and killed Belshazzar before his defenders knew what had happened (Daniel 5:30)."

God sees! He doesn't let anything escape Him.

I sat across a wonderfully intelligent and politically active German woman yesterday in France. We had never met before. I was standing outside at a little coffee shop waiting for a Texas friend visiting me here. The coffee shop was full except for 2 empty seats at a 4 seat table. I asked this sweet couple if I could sit in the empty chair at the table they were sitting (don't worry, here that is a common thing to do). Then my friend arrived and sat as well. My friend and this sweet woman got into a discussion about politics and I was asked to join in.

This is not a topic a really desire to debate. I don't for several reasons. I have my views, I think about things, I vote. One reason I don't want to talk about politics is ... it just gets me frustrated.  The one thing I know is that God has things in His hands.

This particular story in the bible is a great story to calm me about politics. God will come in and stop something in His timing. He has proven that to me through this story. He has confirmed that to me because of Herodotus writing about this actual account/story in his ancient Historical books.

What is more fascinating to me?

That at 3:15 am this morning I woke up and felt compelled to pray for this woman. This new friend that I have made. I prayed. Then I began to read. And what did I read.

I read this historic account of this particular day in October 12, 539 as is recorded by a Greek Historian Herodotus the actual date of the battle and party where this King Belshazzar was given his doomed words.

And that date was 2,551 years ago today.

I think I can trust God with politics today. I will do my part. I will trust Him.

He will take care of what He thinks is important to take care of.

your mutating missionary
and ebenezer

Because He IS, i am.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Verse of the Day

                                                                                                            © R Hays
“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36 NASBx


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cultivating Good Relationships / Romans 14 from the Message

Romans 14

The Message (MSG)

Cultivating Good Relationships 

"1 Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with—even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.
“As I live and breathe,” God says,
    “every knee will bow before me;
Every tongue will tell the honest truth
    that I and only I am God.”
So tend to your knitting. You’ve got your hands full just taking care of your own life before God.
13-14 Forget about deciding what’s right for each other. Here’s what you need to be concerned about: that you don’t get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is. I’m convinced—Jesus convinced me!—that everything as it is in itself is holy. We, of course, by the way we treat it or talk about it, can contaminate it.

19-21 So let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault. You’re certainly not going to permit an argument over what is served or not served at supper to wreck God’s work among you, are you? I said it before and I’ll say it again: All food is good, but it can turn bad if you use it badly, if you use it to trip others up and send them sprawling. When you sit down to a meal, your primary concern should not be to feed your own face but to share the life of Jesus. So be sensitive and courteous to the others who are eating. Don’t eat or say or do things that might interfere with the free exchange of love." parts of Romans 14 from the Message

Monday, September 17, 2012

Finished with "Everything"

Finishing something always makes me feel like a bird flying free.

While walking down this road called Everything Book Launch Team I enjoyed all sorts of aha! moments.

I have shared some on this blog. I have shared some on Facebook. I have shared a bunch with friends! I am sitting on it for a day and will write more about it.

But right now I am just excited about the book. I am excited to see something like this in print.
I talked to a friend in the USA on skype this morning. She was up late, I was up early!
She had just visited with Mary DeMuth. Her words, "the woman is a genius in her writing types... I loved what the book says in the first two chapters... I can't wait to buy it in October..." and I couldn't help but share a few words of encouragement that came from the end of the book. What a blessing!

I know I will be using this book for years to come. To encourage myself and others and also to keep me on the straight and narrow. I love books like this.  I can see this one being one I read every year - just to remind me of the truth that Jesus is My EVERYTHING!

Check it out.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Phil 4:4-9

In the moments of confusion:
In the times of distress:
When all looks dark and dim:
think about pure, lovely, admirable
Take a ride in the mountains, walk along a stream, sit in a park, take in the smile of a child, a puppy playing with abandon, a mother nursing her child.

Slip under the seen into the unseen for a moment. Catch the sunrise/sunset or a star bedecked heaven.

What is true?
What is noble?
What is right?

Sometimes it is not so easy to find. But when I start with the basics I come quickly full circle into these pure and refreshing joys.

When everything is a battle - stop.
Find the core and the essence that is our strength.
Rejoice in Him.

I am reminded we are not alone in this battle until we wall ourselves off and isolate.

God is for us - not against us.
He even reminds us through this little section of His word - REJOICE in the Lord!

Tonight, Ebenezer and I came up on a hedgehog during our walk. The grasses had been recently cut and the little guy was wandering in the openness of the field. Ebenezer's tail went straight into the air, his nose flared, his head was so high and poised in full attention. He was a beautiful sight to see. And the little guy? He sat up a bit on his legs and froze for just a minute - then scampered to safety. Ebenezer didn't move, he simply enjoyed the scene. 

I'm in the midst of some attack. Why? Because I will have some women coming to minister to some of the people here where I live. They come to share about God and who God is in their own lives. They come to serve and to be a blessing. We are all feeling the attack and God reminded me two days ago to Praise Him, to Rejoice, and to find the good and the lovely - to be excited about the admirable things that are being prepared for Him.

I fight fear regularly...
Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say Rejoice.
Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say Rejoice.
and again I say Rejoice.
and again I say Rejoice.

mutating missionary

and ebenezer

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"He (God) relates to us in us-shaped ways." by: Mary DeMuth

He does.
He really does.

Friday last week: Concluded intensive language session B2
Friday last week: Invited the entire class over to my house for an Abschluss Fest.
Friday last week: packed to leave for Inductive Bible Study Course in Switzerland

Friday night last week:
Covered my head with my blankets and cried out in fear, "God how am I going to be able to do an Intensive Inductive Bible Study in German? There is so much I don't know about this language. - How can you possibly be able to use me? This is impossible"

Throwing my feet off of the side of the bed, they hit the floor and pace. My head swims, my dog sleeps, my heart pounds. Where do I go from here?

I tick off the list of things that are pressing in:
  • Travel tomorrow to an unknown place with unknown people
  • Group of women from Texas come in 5 weeks to stay and mission for 2 weeks (continual preparations)
  • Start new classes in German
  • Get phone fixed
  • Continue German tutoring
  • Call the massive list of people I need to call
  • Contact pastors from all the churches I am desiring to work with/confirm flyers
  • Design Flyers
  • Finish Everything Book
  • Write/send out newsletter
  • Wash car/clean house/walk dog/walk me/feed dog/feed me/breath
  • time with God??????
sleep comes with Bible reading

Saturday morning - Sunday evening

I don't know how, I don't know really... don't know how.

I understood almost everything said and done the entire weekend.
Exhausted? YES!
But God knows I have a need to be encouraged. He encouraged by allowing me to dance around in an intensive Inductive Bible Study of Galations IN GERMAN.

Being reminded this as well as so many other truths:
"But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise."  Galatians 3:23-29 NASV

We live by Grace
He is our Everything
He is all I Need
I am an heir to the promise

God knows that when I am spinning out of control - allowing me to swim in His word refreshes and restores me.
And this time, I am refreshed and restored in German.
Miracles Never Cease!

He relates to me in me-shaped ways... He relates to me in written words... He relates to me.
How did He relate to you this past weekend?
How did He relate to you?

Your Mutating Missionary
and Ebenezer

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"If we obey God it is going to cost other people more than it costs us..." Chambers

“If we obey God it is going to cost other people more than it costs us, and that is where the sting comes in. We can disobey God if we choose, and it will bring immediate relief to the situation, but shall be a grief to our Lord. Whereas if we obey God, He will look after those who have been pressed into the consequences of our obedience. We have simply to obey and leave all consequences with Him." Oswald Chambers

I read this quote recently from the book I am reading by Mary DeMuth, entitled Everything

If you have read this blog for any length of time, you know that I consider Oswald Chambers one of my most long-standing mentors. I have been reading My Utmost for His Highest for over 25 years. I read it almost on a daily basis. It goes well with my Bible Study coffee time.

I call this devotional book My Utmost for His Highest by the author's first name, Oswald

I remember when I was going through a particularly dark time in my past and I lost Oswald. I searched everywhere for him. I was so sad when I couldn't put my hands on him. It was a few weeks before I finally gave up on finding him again. Of course, as God is the finder of lost things, I finally asked him where Oswald might be. That afternoon I vacuumed under my bed. Viola! Mysteriously where I had looked before and not seen, I saw with new eyes. He was there, a bit dusty, but there.  I dusted him off and have not let him out of my sight often since that time.

Upon reading this quote in Mary's book I thought,Thank you God that other people have gleaned so much from one of my favorites. It makes me feel like I am in a family of sorts. We are sharing the same information, being strengthened by the same encouragement.  We are in Your family.

I re-read the quote and put it aside for a while...

Fast forward to Sunday.

I was overwhelmed by the need to talk to my mom. If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I do not have a phone right now in my apartment. I have a cell phone, unfortunately it is too expensive to call on that.  I have skype, unfortunately my mom can't seem to make skype work on her computer. So we resort to e-mails.

I sent this last Sunday, mom was fast asleep in Texas:
 Date: Sun, 19 Aug 2012 10:37:43 +0200
Subject: I love you...
From: ...@googlemail.com

I love you... 

 “insert quote”
Oswald Chambers

I miss you – I don’t have a phone – I am sorry.

I love you.


My mom is 83 years old. She came from a very large German Mennonite family. She was gifted with a double cousin family... (that is where two sisters married two brothers).   Neat ... right :-)
That means at Grandma's and Grandpa's family reunions, these cousins were there. We were a tight knit group. 

As of just a few weeks ago the last two members of the double/cousin family passed away. My mom faces the fact that she (one of the older of the family) and her sister (the youngest of the family) are the only two of their generation still alive. It is grieving to us all, but especially to my mom. I think there is a question she asks, Why am I still here?

She wants to gather all her chicks around her at this stage of her life...

And her baby girl is half-way-across-the world! 

She wrote back within a few hours:
 "I am so happy to hear from you, __!!!  Itt's Sunday morning , I'm dressed for church and planned to email both you and C. this a.m. because I haven't heard from you and knew you have no phone.  What's going on with that?  I am so sorry. I know that is a hardship for you .
The word from O.C. is so true.  And so relieving.  What a treasure!"
 I thank you mom for reaching out to be so courageous.

mom's hands, 
the most personal part of our bodies
wipe tears away
share memories of love stories
comfort sick
cradle babies/grandbabies
bake the pie, the cake
hold the Word
our hands 
just might 
give us
a picture into our souls

I am blessed. My mom is not perfect. I am not perfect. But I am thankful for a mother that at age 83 still is able to praise God when a truth is shared.

How blessed I am to have a mother that I can share such powerful words with. I know that she hurts in my being so far away, but she receives it.

And I am thankful. However, it was done by God to allow her to have this peace - I am thankful.

I love you mom!

mutating missionary
and ebenezer

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I'm reading a book entitled Everything. By: Mary DeMuth.
It will be released to the public in October.

It is written by a woman that came to the mission field before I did. She's now back in the states and has been writing and writing and writing since then. Her 'writing' voice has changed a bit during these years. I have been privileged to watch from afar. 

A few weeks ago, I was accepted on her book launching team. Now as we all know, I am a bit technologically challenged. First, I constantly deal with a foreign language. And second, I have no sons or daughter here to explain the fine print! :-)

But, I was accepted. After the acceptance, I was allowed to download the book to read and comment on. I was asked to gather quotes and to come up with fresh ideas on ways to get the news out about the book. And I began to do just that. It has been a powerful read.

But, I wasn't expecting the book to be this kind of book. I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but not this.

At present, this book meets me in actively aware of my inability.

  • I am in an intensive German language course every morning from Monday - Friday. Every day this teacher assigns enough homework to split my head open. 
  • Every day I am called by someone that needs some kind of counsel in some type of way. 
  • And daily I am aware that in about 2 weeks I will begin an Intensive Bible Study in Switzerland - IN THE GERMAN language! 

"God doesn’t call us to bootstrap. He calls us to take off our boots because we stand on holy ground before Him."   Everything by: Mary DeMuth

In the book this quote wasn't hidden in-between the lines. It was up front and personal... but it hit me in my gut.
 Since my return from the 14-month stay in USA (required by law every 5 years...argh) -
  • I have been on this breakneck-speed-hurry-to-recapture the German language BETTER than I held it when I left in January 2011.  
  • I also returned trying to pick up with relationships where the relationships had been left off. I knew it would be different (in my head). And so sad that it really is different. (pastor's have left churches I had begun contacts with / people have changed churches / people have moved away/ etc. etc. etc.) 
  • I break into a new phase of ministry by having a group of women coming in October  to help ... All of this is going on right now and I am on the 'perfectionism' treadmill trying to be ALL that I can be... I am an American, RIGHT!

But God is ripping my boots off. He has me on the floor again.
Whispering deep within my soul, the God of the Universe calls:
 "you can't do this... MM ... you can't do this ...  only I can!"

All study, preparation, mission mindedness, bible reading, memorization, active or inactive relationship building and even prayer is obliged to step away in the wonder of the fact that it is God's hand.

I can do nothing.

And what amazes me: every time God reminds me of this and I truly take a back seat (not a cockpit co-pilot - helping God out seat) a tight little Audi 2-door/ maybe in Yellow, stuck in the trunk, seat. He maneuvers so quickly ... I mean like Autobahn speed and beyond.

Ohhhh praising God. The God who IS, as He reminds me to take off my boots.

He is Present!

Praising Him In These Moments of mystery!

Because He IS the I AM, i am
your mutating missionary
joined by faithful side-kick