Saturday, February 18, 2017

Witholding Nothing


http://www.freeimages.com/photo/studying-ahead-1421056
How do you feel about tests?  I know there's a few people out there who like tests but I'm not one of them. My palms get sweaty; my heart races a mile a minute and then the panic sets in. Have I studied enough?  Did I study the right stuff?  Will I remember what I studied?
Life often can be a series of tests, written and otherwise:  driver's tests, college exams, medical tests, aptitude tests and even God tests us.
Abraham was one of many that God would put to the test. 
Abraham had a dream.  A promise from God that He would make Abraham’s descendants as numerous as the stars in the heaven.  Abraham waited and waited for this dream to be fulfilled.  Days and years and decades passed but it wasn’t until his old age that God finally satisfied this dream in the gift of Isaac, his son. And then one day God asked Abraham to give up the very thing he loved most in this world.
It was a test.  This test wasn’t in written form but it was a test all the same. 
When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it.  Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice.  At that moment the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, “Abraham!  Abraham!”
“Yes,”  Abraham replied.  “Here I am!”
“Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said.  “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God.  You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” (Genesis 22.9-12)
God is a jealous God.  He desires full, complete, and total surrender from those who follow Him.  Each of us who claim to follow will have an “Abraham moment” at some point in our life.  Where God will ask us to lay on the altar the thing we hold most dear. God wants to see if what we say, is what we really believe. Are we true followers or just fans. Do we love Him more than anything else?
God created an Abraham moment for me with a dream I had held close to my heart for years. One day He asked me, “Kristi, will you follow me if I never let you go to the mission field?”
There was no middle ground with God. He is an all or nothing God and He wanted all of me. 
His way seemed so hard and my dream felt honorable and right.  How could He ask me to give it up?   But I felt much like Peter did when Jesus asked him if he would leave like all the others, “Lord, to whom would I go? You have the words that give eternal life.” (John 6.68) How could I do anything less than surrender my dream to Him.
What happens so often, with these tests, is that often God is just waiting for us to surrender it.  And then He returns our dreams and hopes back to us in ways we never would have imagined or even hoped.  These new dreams are bigger, brighter and more beautiful.
There is fear in letting go, giving up, and surrendering to God’s ways but that didn’t stop Abraham from being obedient and neither should it stop us!
Are you a true follower or just a fan?  If you claim to follow Him, God will someday put you to the test.  What will your answer be?

Kristi

Sunday, January 1, 2017

One Word


A few years ago, I gave up making New Year’s resolutions.  I was sick of the guilt.  Instead, I chose to pick one word to focus on and allow God to develop in my life.  It’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done and it has literally changed my life.  

Who new one word could be so powerful?

This past year my word was DARE. 
I’ve never been a daring person.  Fear, for much of my life, has been the driving force.  Fear of failure. Fear of what people might think of me.  Fear of the future.  Fear of what God would ask me to do.  Fear for my children.  Fear of the unknown.  On and on it goes about anything and everything. 
Sometimes fear lies in wait below the surface of my life and I taste its rancid lingering effects but other times it screams its way onto center stage; lurking around every corner, waiting for me in every room and stalking me in the middle of the night.
So picking this word DARE in January, was a big step for me and I confess the old familiar fear sent shock waves through my body as I wondered what God would ask me to do. 
But the amazing thing was the fear did not stay, instead it was immediately followed with an excitement as I began to wonder, “What would God ask me to do and where would I go?”   And somehow I knew without a shadow of a doubt my life would be completely different come January 2017.  I had no idea what or how but I knew my life was radically going to change and the miracle?  I wasn’t afraid!
My daily prayer became, “Lord, I dare to go where you want me to go.  I dare to do what you ask me to do.  I dare to say what you want me to say.  I dare to be who you want me to be.”  
From the moment I started praying that prayer God began to reveal His plan for me.  He used a pastor in the Dominican Republic who didn’t speak my language and knew nothing about me, to give me a message, “God has had you in the background but He’s moving you to the front.  He has big plans for you!”
He had a friend from elementary school reach out to me and invite me to go to India with him to help train women in discipleship.  He had numerous friends confirm the joy and passion they saw in my life for those around the world and opened wide the doors of ministry for me to travel this year to encourage and speak truth into the lives of women around the globe.
As the year progressed God made it clear He was calling me to expand my ministry to women worldwide.  What I have been doing for years in my church community has been a training ground for what He is now calling me to do around the world. 
I have recently been accepted with EFCA Reach Global as a missionary.  In February, I am resigning my position as women’s ministry director of the Knapp Street Campus of Ada Bible Church (after almost 10 years) and moving into a ministry that will enable me to disciple women- teaching them how to share the gospel, study the Bible and lead others to Christ in countries all over the world.  There is no doubt that this is what God has been preparing me for all along.
I confess, this change feels a lot like standing on the edge of a cliff. There are times when I wonder, “What am I doing??  – I’m leaving a good paying job that I love, where God is using me and stepping out into who knows what??”  But I am no longer allowing fear rule my life!  I truly believe . . .  The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear.  What can mere people do to me?  Psalm 118.6
So here’s my challenge for you:   What’s the word God wants to develop in your life?  Take some time to think and pray, choose your word and then step out in faith and watch what God does!   You’ll never be the same again.  I'd love to know your word of the year!  Please reply to this blog and let me know.
If you are interested in partnering with me, I would love to have a conversation with you.  Please feel free to email me at kristi.huseby@efca.org
 Kristi

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Boomerang Effect of Generosity

Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.  Luke 6.38 (NLT)

http://www.freeimages.com/photo/regali-2-1223820

Generosity does not come naturally to me.  I’m stingy.  I want to be generous but find myself to be tightfisted.   Hoarding the gifts God has given me.  

Knowing I needed a change of heart, I made a simple promise:  if God would point out a need, I would give. 

It wasn’t but a few days later when God gave me an opportunity to keep my promise.  I was standing in line at the grocery store and a woman in front of me was struggling to use her bridge card.  

I felt God prompting me to buy her groceries and I’m ashamed to admit what ensued.  I stood in line and did battle with God.  The argument seemed to stretch on for hours but in actuality was only a minute until I finally decided to obey. 

As I turned to walk out, the joy I felt took my breath away!  My gift came back to me pressed down, shaken together and running over . . .   

How selfish our hearts can be and what joys we’ve missed out on when we allow stinginess to invade our souls. Why do we quibble over a few measly dollars when our Heavenly Father has given us a gift that all the words in the world cannot describe?   

Jesus says our gifts of generosity have a way of boomeranging back on us. The return on our investment is directly related to how much we give.  Give lavishly.  Receive lavishly.  For every follower of Jesus, generosity is meant to be a way of life, not a seasonal practice!  

The miracle of generosity is that we get so much more than we give!  

Lord, we confess we are a tight-fisted, stingy people.  Your love was meant to be shared but instead we hoard it and refuse to share.  And our hearts grow smaller because of it.  We want your love filling our lives and spilling over into others.  We want to be Your generous people.  We can’t do this on our own.  Show us how.  Amen.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Island of "What If?"


 
Islands seem so romantic.  The gentle sea breezes and the soothing sound of the waves crashing on shore.  The breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. The peace-no hustle and bustle of the mainland. 
And yet, an island can also hold us captive.  If we have no way of getting off, we might not be in a 5’x5’ cell but we’re prisoners just the same.  Stuck, going round and round but never accomplishing anything. When the storms come, we’re sitting ducks with no place to run. Isolated and alone.
Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to an Island.  It wasn’t the kind with gentle breezes and the soothing sound of waves.  Oh no, this Island was one of my own making.  It was the Island of “What If?”  Have you ever been there?  What if I don’t get that job?  What if my children grow up to be drug addicts and alcoholics?  What if I’m forgotten?  What if it’s cancer?  What if they don’t like me?  What if I fail?  What if God fails me?  Round and round we go on the Island of “What If’?”  Held captive, not in a 5’x5’ cell but a prisoner just the same. 
When we allow the “What If’s” to rule our lives, we run round and round never accomplishing anything.  We’re stuck and we wonder why.  (Yep, I've been there.)
“What If’s?” allow fear to run rampant in our lives and keep us from trusting the One who holds us in the palm of His hand. (Our lives are in His hands and He keeps our feet from stumbling.  Psalm 66.9) 
“What If’s?” isolate us. 
“What If’s?” keep the focus on us. 
What If’s?” hinder us from knowing our God.  (But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things.  I, the Lord, have spoken!  Jeremiah 9.24)
“What If’s?” hold us captive and hamper us from embracing the beautiful plan God has for us.  (“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.  “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29.11)
But there is HOPE!  We no longer have to live on the Island of “What If?”; this Island of shifting sand and endless anxiety!  God wants to lift us up out of this muck and mire and place our feet on solid ground.  (I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and mire and He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. Psalm 40.1-2)
Today is the day to leave the Island of “What If?”!   Call out to Him, put Your hand in the hand of the One who loves you (. . . Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.  For apart from Me you can do nothing.  John 15.5) and experience FREEDOM, it’s what Jesus gave his life for!  

Kristi  

Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Personal Psalm

I thought a fitting way for me to follow up my previous blog is to share with you a practice I recently learned that has been a wonderful addition to my time spent with God in the chair. 

While I was copying down the Psalms, I found a study (She Reads Truth) that encouraged me to write out my own Psalms to God.  I absolutely love the practice!

The idea is to take the first couple of words from a Psalm and then finish it with your own thoughts. 
I encourage you to try it out.  It’s a beautiful way to express your thoughts to God. 

Here’s one of my attempts at penning my own Psalm to God.
 
 
Lord I seek . . .
               Wisdom as I continue to pursue this new path you are leading me on.
               As I meet with individuals and point them to you.
               As I interact with cherished family members.

Rescue and deliver me . . .
For You are a great God, your power is Sovereign.  You know all things even the things I have yet to think.  You are not limited by time and space or by the behavior and choices of others or of me.  You are good all the time and Your ways are perfect.

For you have . . .
               Proven Your faithfulness to me time and time again. 
Shown me that Your timing is perfect.
Given me faith to trust even when I can’t see.

Deliver me . . .
From doubts that I am not up for the task that you are calling me to and that in some way you will hang me out on a limb and not come through for me.
From my fears of inadequacy and self-doubt.
From worrying about what others might think.

Forgive me . . .
               For letting my fears become bigger than You.
               For doubting Your plan.
               For being self-centered.
               For not living in Awe of You and for choosing to live in Awe of what You have created.
               For making You little.
               For questioning Your ways.
               For doubting You are good. 

Nevertheless . . .
               I will trust You. 
               I will step out in faith.
               I will walk to the end of the limb.
               I will be bold and confident in Your Word
               I will choose to give my anxiety to You.
               I will not worry. 

You are . . .
               My Rock that will not be shaken no matter what may come my way.
               My Fortress where I can take refuge and live unafraid.
               My Redeemer who has bought me back and I no longer have to live as a fearful slave.
               My Steadfast Hope that remains strong and true and doesn’t disappoint.
               My Light as I journey through the darkness of this world.
               My Lover and I rest within the safety of Your arms. 

Save me . . .
From myself!  My heart is dark, my sin subtle. 
I’m blind to my own failings and short-comings. 
I’m self-focused and self-absorbed. 
I love Your ways and then go my own way. 
I’m forgetful of Your grace. 
I hold onto things I need to let go of and let go of things I should be holding onto. 

For You rescued . . .
               The Israelites from their enemies.
               Peter from jail and set him free.
               Time and time again you have rescued Your children. 

But I will . . .
               Rest in Your perfect ways.  Knowing . . .  it is Your time,
Your plan and Your will I want most of all!
               Wait for You.
               Remain steadfast in You, refusing to run ahead or lag behind. 

I will proclaim . . .
               Your good deeds in my life!
               Your miraculous ways.
               Your faithful character.
               Your abiding love.
                              "O love that will not let me go
                              I rest my weary soul in Thee." 

I will sing praise because . . .
               You are good ALL THE TIME. 
               You are my Creator.
               You hear my cries.
               You love me with an everlasting love.
               You rejoice over me with singing.   

As long as I have breath I will praise YOU!
 
 
Kristi