Tag Archives: Faith

Do Not Support Us. We Cannot Make A Difference. Part 1.

These are the days of Elijah, declaring the word of the Lord. . .

We cannot do this. I know I cannot do this. I look around at my messy apartment, the yoga DVDs that barely get used, and the fridge that should probably hold some healthier eating options. I have been meaning to change. I have been meaning to keep a clean house, work out more, and eat better. However, I find it hard to make a change in my own life. And then I wonder, if I cannot even change my own life for the better how do I expect to help change lives around the world.

James and I cannot make a difference. Our Squad cannot make a difference. Do not support us.

We cannot make a difference in this big wide world. When we go out to these 11 countries we will be as one rain drop in the ocean. I repeat one more time, WE cannot make a difference. And we are perfectly okay with that. When you support us, you are not really supporting us, you are supporting the work that He is doing.

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I have been fearful lately. I have been downtrodden. I have been asked some hard questions from those who have considered supporting us. And as we struggled to answer some of them we realized that these hard questions are good. However, I look back and worry that I did not answer them as well as I should have.

Our mighty God, in all of His loving wisdom, knows what I am feeling. During the past three weeks He has filled my days with Bible stories, scripture, and blogs that have lifted me up during the times I need it most.

So with confidence I can tell you that God will make a difference in this world through us and our team. As we go into these countries we do not go alone. One of the ways we will not be alone is that when we reach our destinations we will be meeting with churches and local organizations that are doing God’s great work and who will be continuing that great work when we leave. We will work with them to build, care for, love, and evangelize.

But more importantly, we go with God and with His Spirit. Jesus gave a command to his disciples back in the day, and I believe that command still stands for us now “ Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you always to the very end of the age. Amen.” Matthew 28:19-20

One of the great encouragements that God has given me lately is that we are learning from Elijah during Youth Group the last couple of weeks. The first story we discussed is when Elijah went up against 450 of Baal’s prophets. They built altars and cried out to their god/God to provide the fire.

Elijah was outnumbered and alone. He had no escape plan, no plan B. This was it and as he had people dump three rounds of water onto his altar he knew that he could not make a difference. Elijah, a mighty Bible character, was not going to make a difference. The rules stated that he could not set fire to his offering, and after having three rounds of water poured on his alter, he was not going to get that bad-boy started without a flame thrower. No one should support Elijah in this story. He was helpless.

However, the story tells us that Elijah was commanded by God to do this. So he did it. And guess what? Elijah might be helpless, but the God we serve is not. Our God sent down a mighty fire that consumed not only the offering but the whole altar.

HOW AMAZING! HOW AWESOME! ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?!?! 

I cannot make a difference. I cannot set a blaze that consumes. All I can do is carry my small candle and go.God will be the one to make the difference and I am excited to watch what He is doing for His people all over the world. James and I both truly feel that God has given us this opportunity, and when God commands He will truly do great things through us.

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A big thank you to everyone who has supported “us” (aka God’s work) so far!! If you have any hard questions you would like to ask us feel free to contact us and we will try to answer them! Please pray for us now as we prepare and keep us in your prayers as we go out to be God’s hands and feet. If you can, please prayerfully consider supporting the work we will be doing for these 11 months.

We are getting really excited to learn how to be God’s disciples in all the nations and we are looking forward to being more like Elijah, declaring the word of the Lord.

“Days Of Elijah”

These are the days of Elijah
Declaring the word of the Lord, yeah
And these are the days of Your servant, Moses
Righteousness being restored

These are the days of great trials
Of famine and darkness and sword
Still we are the voice in the desert crying
Prepare ye the way of the Lord!

Say, behold He comes, riding on the clouds
Shining like the sun, at the trumpet’s call
Lift your voice, (it’s) the year of Jubilee
Out of Zion’s hill, salvation comes

And these are the days of Ezekiel
The dry bones becoming as flesh
And these are the days of Your servant, David
Rebuilding the temple of praise

And these are the days of the harvest
The fields are all white in the world
And we are the laborers that are in Your vineyard
Declaring the Word of the Lord

Say, behold He comes, riding on the clouds
Shining like the sun at the trumpet’s call
Lift your voice, (it’s) the year of Jubilee
Out of Zion’s hill, salvation comes

Behold He comes, riding on the clouds
Shining like the sun at the trumpet’s call
Lift your voice, (it’s) the year of Jubilee
Out of Zion’s hill, salvation comes

There’s no God like Jehovah!
There’s no God like Jehovah!
There’s no God like Jehovah!
There’s no God like Jehovah!


The Gloves Are Coming Off

The gloves are coming off . . . because it is spring here in Fargo!

I know it is springtime in Fargo when I can step out of my apartment with a light jacket, strappy high heels, and no mittens. You know it is springtime in North Dakota when I smile at the beaming sun, think about ditching my coat, and as I start up my jeep I smile at the temp and think “What a beautiful warm day!” Now if some of you checked your dashboard thermometer and saw 32 degrees you would be grumbling. But in Fargo with the sun shining and no wind there are bound to be people out in shorts today.

For the first time in, well who knows how long, Fargo found spring a week before the calendar told us too. March 20 tells us it is spring, but last week the high of 70 forecasts already told us it was coming. It was a weird winter. The schools never saw a snow day, some kids never took out their sleds, and only a few snowmen found their way into being. However, even though the snow was scarce the usual sub-zero temperatures were readily available.

Temperature is relative . . . well, relatively. It can be measured, but 32 degrees to a Minnesota born and now North Dakota resident is a spring day and to some of my southern squad mates it is a no good, terrible, horrible, very bad winter day. (Oh, and of course 32 degrees in March feels very different than 32 degrees in October! brrr)

The Bible takes a stance on our temperature rating. The following verse is one that I have grown to love, mostly because of the exegesis and the story behind it. I have heard many different interpretations of Revelation 3:14-22. There was one that I learned in college that stuck with me and I hope that James and I will carry its meaning with us as we go out on our mission trip to 11 different countries and unite them under one Kingdom.

“14 And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.

15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

I have been told, time and time again, that God would like us to be on fire for Him or be turned off from Him. I have heard it said that this verse tells us that God would rather have us not believe in Him than to be a wavering Christian who does nothing, knows nothing, and has no passion for their faith. However, in college I learned a deeper meaning that has stuck with me.

There is wisdom in the saying “Learn from your mistakes”. But I love the saying, “Learn from the mistakes . . . preferably someone else’s!” This verse in Revelation shows us one of the Laodiceans mistakes, and I am trying to learn from it.

Laodicea was a wealthy trade town. The people there had every luxury they could dream of. Well, almost. When Laodicea looked to their left they saw a neighboring city that had natural hot springs. People would visit there to find healing and relaxation. “Can I get HOT-TUB!” Thought the Laodiceans (reference to “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there” commercial . . . anyone, anyone? I crack myself up).

When they looked to their right they saw a neighboring city that had naturally cool, refreshing water. People would visit there to be refreshed and rejuvenated in the fresh to freezing waters. And like a few of our Youth Group kids eager for the winter retreat the Laodiceans wanted to enjoy a Polar Plunge. They wanted that cold water as well.

My hubby’s ancestors must have lived in Laodicea (except this one was willing to work with plumbing, one of Jim-Dear’s least favorite jobs). They had their engineers and plumbers (not sure how they showed plumbers butt in their robes, but I’m sure they found a way) built a system of piping to bring the hot water and the cold water into their city so they could finally have it all.

However, hot water does not stay hot and cold water does not stay cold when it travels miles and miles. When these waters reached Laodicea they were stagnant, lukewarm, and good for nothing. No one even wanted to drink it. They would spit it out of their mouths.

“17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”

These words about hot, cold, and lukewarm were poignant to the Laodiceans and they made an impact on me. There are days were I look at my life and feel truly blessed. I feel rich beyond measure. It is amazing how God provides for us! I have a very wonderful and relaxing life.

Oh . . . hold that thought, a commercial! Wait, that thing is cool. I want that. I wonder if I could afford it. I need it! How long until my birthday. I’ll post a link to it on Facebook and tag James in it for a little hintidy-hint-hint. Oh . . . look all of my friends have been traveling! I want to go on a fun vacation. I wonder how much room I have on my credit card. I want to go someplace warm. I need to go on a vacation. Look how stressed I am!!

“18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. “

Gold and possessions will do nothing for me in the end. However if I am refined by the fire of God I will become more precious than gold. If I clothe myself in the spirit that God gives me my life will bring glory instead of shame. If I just let God heal my eyes I may finally be able to look at this world without envy, without want, without jealousy. The Laodiceans were blessed, yet they wanted more. I am blessed, very blessed, yet being content with what I have can be hard.

When we leave in September we will leave with light-weight Bibles packed in our bags. I hope we also leave with this verse, and many others, packed away in our hearts. We will learn firsthand how blessed we truly are and how many things we take for granted.

Not only will we learn this about our physical possessions, but we will also learn to be content with the talents and gifts that the Lord has given us. If I have a spiritual gift, I should not be jealous of one of my teammates’ spiritual gifts. I hope to encourage them in their gifts as I rejoice and grow in my own. As we get to know people around the world I pray that we can show them how God can bless them with gifts and riches that go beyond this life.

Oh, how I truly hope that we can show many people the joy that awaits them in God’s embrace. It may not always be easy, as the next verses in Revelation tells us that discipline is a big part of this process. However, it ends with us being conquerors, sitting around a throne. What a glorious thought.

“19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

Thank you to everyone who has supported us in some way. We have received items from our Amazon wish list, we have received your donations toward our $32,000 and some goal, and we have been feeling your prayers.

Please consider supporting this ministry as we go out and become better disciples. You can learn more at our World Race adventure here.


Earth Has No Sorrow That Heaven Can’t Heal

We have an enemy and he is very real.

I encountered this enemy last weekend and unfortunately I emerged with more wounds than victories, but still I emerged. It was last weekend while I was at a spiritual retreat that Satan decided to attack. We were filling the place with prayer 24/7 and I had signed up for my hour of time in our prayer chapel. I had my journal out and I was praying over the list of ladies who were there. My page filled with pictures and words for each one of God’s princesses as I hoped to get through each one.

I was blindsided. My pen stopped my mind wandered and my prayers became difficult. My mind was filled with reasons why I did not want to be there. I was overwhelmed with thoughts of why this weekend was useless, how I was useless, and how prayer is useless. I finished my hour in the chapel, left, and spent most of the day fighting back tears and depression. Later in chapel I was supposed to finish writing down how I had found healing through God. That morning we had contemplated struggles and problems in our lives and we were encouraged to see how God had healed us and helped us overcome. I had thought about my depression and anger. I had written these words down in the morning thinking that by afternoon I would have time to write down that I was now filled with God’s peace and joy. Now felt hypocritical as I stared at a blank page and all I could think about was that I was depressed and angry.

We will be attacked. Our squad, James, and I are going out into the world to bring God’s love and healing. We will be working with orphans, widows, prostitutes, and pimps. We will help the poor and the sick. We will join together with Christian brothers and sisters around the world to worship the one true God. And Satan will be there. We will be deceived, tricked, and wounded. We will be broken and we will be hurt.

As we go out on this journey we need your financial support, but more importantly we need prayer warriors. We cannot do this alone. Your prayers will carry us around the world and will protect us from the worst of the wounds. Satan can attack, but the victory has already been won and we are carrying the banner of the victor!! When he taunts us we get to yell “SCOREBOARD!!” as we are on the winning team.

(To learn more about the 11 months we will spend in 11 countries you can visit our blog for the World Race at JamesAndKristinFraser.theWorldRace.org)

After I realized I was being attacked last weekend I went outside, made some phone calls, received encouragement and prayers and then I went back to be supported by my spiritual sisters. I left that weekend feeling better, feeling stronger, and feeling the power of prayer.

I woke up this morning with “Come As You Are” stuck in my head. I think it is a great encouragement to know that even when we do fail, even when we still feel like a work in progress, God will take us as we are and heal us. It is a great encouragement to know that as we go out on this Kingdom journey that God is truly the one making the difference and healing the hurts. We can come as we are and find healing. We can go out as we are and bring healing. All in God’s name.


It’s Been A Long Time Since I Rock and Rolled.

It’s been a long time since I rock and rolled . . . .Been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time.

Yes, it has been a long time since I wrote on my blog. And yes “Rock n Roll” by Led Zeppelin is currently playing over my computer speakers right now. As I went to type in a title for this post the song popped into my head. Thanks dad.

But I figured it was time to pick up the keyboard and monitor again. When 6 people give you compliments on a blog you haven’t written on in months you know it is something you should not give up on. Thanks everyone who reads my blog and who encourages me. But on to the main point of this blog post today . . .

One compliment I received last month also came with an assignment. I was asked what would be the one thing I would like to say to today’s high school students. Particularly the ones from my old high school, or others that attend Christian high schools. So this, almost two months later . . . is what I would say.

Know your worth.

What something is worth, what value it holds, is a thought that I often find myself pondering over. I was recently launched into this thought while watching a movie with my hubby, Jim-Dear. It was one of our favorites. One of the scenes, however, struck me in a new way. I sat in silence for about 10 minutes after the movie was done and re-watched the scene in my mind and replayed how it had made me feel. The simple beauty of this scene was truly a short narrative on how we can place value on beauty, craftsmanship, and things that sparkle, but in the end, these objects are truly worthless unless someone is around to value them. They are only worth what enjoyment they can bring. The characters they . . . well I will let them speak for themselves . . . here is the clip.

(Note: the link I provided starts the clip after the part where they mention the King James Version term for a donkey. If you want to avoid that language then do not watch the clip from the beginning.)

http://youtu.be/eHbUFzTHUhI?t=25s

Ah yes, Zombieland. It is a truly a deep intellectual movie on the frail existence of humans and all we hold dear. As I watched this scene I felt my heart drop. They were destroying beautiful things. That snow globe was probably $45! Don’t they care about . . . about . . . about what? It is the end of the world. They are one of the few people left. What is a price tag to them? What things hold value? Tallahassee spends most of this movie desperately searching for a Twinkie. A common cheap snack becomes the most priceless thing in the world to him.

As humans we assign price tags to almost everything. In my econ 101 class in college things had worth depending on where they would fall on the supply and demand curve. In my marketing classes an object worth depended on how much hype its branding and commercials could bring to it. As Seen On TV product commercials taught me that items should be worth something and 99 cents.

I take a look at my wedding ring and wonder why we car so much about diamonds, silver, and gold. If we enjoy and cherish shiny objects so much, why is tinfoil still so cheap?

It is a complicated process deciding what something is worth. Is it rare? Is it “beautiful”? How much does it cost to make? How badly can I make you want it?

But what it really all comes down to is . . .we, as humans put a number on it. Some human got to decide what the clothes you are wearing are worth. Not only how much the fabric itself should cost, but also how much value the name on the tag holds.

It is really a silly system if you think about it. Someone creates a number. Someone prints some paper. You get to hand over some paper for an object. If you truly stop and think about it, it seems a bit ridiculous. The cash that we use and the credit cards that we swipe transfer these numbers that we call money. But, money is something we decided we wanted to place value in.

But what is OUR value? And who gets to decide? Believe me, many people will try to decide your value for you. You probably already know this. Your value to someone could depend on your clothes, your makeup, your hair, your smell, you intelligence, your athleticism, your humor, or your talents. Your value can change depending on who you hang out with or what you do with your weekends.

But isn’t that silly? As humans we enjoy putting a value on people as well as objects. But isn’t it silly. Why do I care what you think? Why do you get to put a value on me? Why am I never any good at placing a value on myself? Other people are not more “worthy” than you. They are just normal people too. We are all organs, muscle, skin, brains, and heart. At least that is all that we can see when we look at each other. So that is what we try to put a value on. But we are much more, aren’t we?

We are also a soul. That is what God sees. God not only sees our clothes, friends, talents, and hobbies, He sees our tue hearts, our thoughts, and our souls. God has put a value on every single one of our souls. We are priceless. We are worth everything to Him and that is what He gave in order to have us. He gave Himself. He gave Jesus. He suffered and died. An almighty, powerful God who could wipe us all out with a whisper and create a whole new universe in the next breathe thinks that you . . . YOU . . . are an amazing person and He wants to spend an eternity showing you your worth.

It is silly isn’t it. How often do we rip off the price tag God put on us, priceless, and instead believe the lies that the world tells us. We pick up the sticker that says clearance, 50% off. We put ourselves out on the rummage sale for only 50 cents, hoping that at that price someone will love us. We believe people when they walk buy and turn up their noses. They tell us we are the wrong color, the wrong shape, the wrong style. We hang our heads and believe that we are worthless. Silly.

But it happens. It is a lie that we will all battle the rest of our lives. Some days it will be easier than others to remember what our true worth is, but it will be hard.

In the end (the true end, the glorious one, not the one filled with zombies) all of this human silliness will fade away. Not all that glitters is gold. And even if it is gold who cares? It is just an expensive rock. God is our true prize and we are His amazing creation.

Know your worth. Not worthless, but priceless. Not lost, but saved. Not despised, but loved. We are not perfect, but we are accepted by the one who is. Enjoy the little things and remember not to get caught up in the price tag games that the world likes to play.


Parhelions and Prayer.

Parhelion
par·he·li·on
noun
  1. a bright spot in the sky appearing on either side of the sun, formed by refraction of sunlight through ice crystals high in the earth’s atmosphere.

Have you ever noticed that when you are having a bad day, a bad week, or a bad month (hence no recent blog posts) the things that make you the happiest, the activities that bring joy, the places that bring contentment, that they are the things that you tend to ignore and reject?

Sitting in a lump on the couch do you find yourself staring at your yoga mat or your running shoes and knowing that getting use out of either of those physical activities will boost your energy and help you shuck off the cloak of moodiness that you have bundled yourself in? Falling out of bed every morning do you pass up the Bible sitting on your nightstand to instead hurriedly get ready for the day, because you hit the snooze button five too many? Do you stare idly at IWasteSoMuchTime.com and hope to get some satisfaction out of the cleverness that others have created instead of going over to your blog and expressing your own wit and wisdom?

Okay, so maybe those are scenes pulled directly from my life, but maybe there are some scenarios of your own that you are thinking of now. I know that they days where I work out are better than the days that I don’t. I know that the days that start in my Bible and in prayer are more joyous and meaningful than the empty days when I go without. I know that the days where I write and blog and create and think are better than the days where I mindlessly par-ooze the internet.

I know all of these things, yet it is hard to convince myself to do them. The ‘blah’ in me has settled in and wants to make a home. The ‘brokenness’ in me is enjoying the lazy, sulking and it is doing all it can to convince me to accept this new blasé way of living.

But enough is enough, and eventually we have to start digging ourselves out. The last few days has found me back in prayer and back to my bible. Today I learned a valuable lesson about prayer and actively seeking.

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More Than A Mile.

“When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,” – Shakespeare, Sonnet 29

“No, you do NOT understand.” she snaps at his attempt at comfort. She is right, he has not walked a mile in her heels, but at a loss for words he had tried to soothe her anguish with the words “I understand.” For he did know something about pain and loneliness. He had experienced his version of it. Her exact feelings and circumstances? No, those he did not truly understand.

I once had a job that did not allow its employees to say “I understand.” Why? To avoid the situation above, to avoid a stressed customers snapped reply of “No you do NOT understand.” We were allowed to say “That situation can be frustrating.” “That is upsetting.” and other empathy statements, but we were to never “understand”. When a friend comes to us with a problem we empathize, we recall a similar situation, and we can feel similar hurts, but we do not truly understand. Every situation, every set of feelings, is going to be unique to the person who feels them.

That is why when we hurt, when we are upset, when we are depressed, when we are struggling, it is also easy to feel so terribly alone.

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Devastatingly Right.

Ever since I can remember, there was a newspaper clipping that hung from the side of my family’s fridge. It was most visible if one was standing by the stove or using the cutting board. The title read “Some Parents Adopt The Attitude, My Child Right or Wrong, With Devastating Results.” The article continued to discuss how parents tend to guard their precious angels a little too closely. They cannot seem to see their child as being in the wrong. When a report card shows an “F” they march into the school and demand to know how the teacher is teaching the class and why Mrs. Whatever cannot seem to help their child learn. When their child is sent to detention for going against a school policy, they go in and fight the policy, defending their child’s behavior until the very end.

It can be easy to skip the part of the failing grade that means it is time to teach the child better study habits. It can be easier to demand the school change its policy than to admit that your child should change their behavior. And even if the teacher or the policy is in the wrong, or maybe it is the coach or the director or another parent, even if they are in the wrong maybe it would be a good lesson to teach your child, and yourself, how sometimes we have to compromise and work with a system that is flawed. We may not agree with the policy, but sometimes that is how life works.

Insane

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