Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Making a list and checking it twice...

For the first time in forever (cue Frozen song) we have updated our blog! We plan to do this more frequently now that we are returning to Nepal on June 15th.

Can you recall the final details before a big trip for work or for vacation? At least for us, those final days are spent tying up loose ends and checking off the checklist items (and even writing new things that we just completed onto the checklist in order to check them
off)! As someone who likes to plan, I try to make everything work out just perfectly and create a smooth and enjoyable trip. Of course, under my own power, I am sometimes frustrated or disappointed with unmet expectations and new twists and turns. Moving abroad seems to amplify these twists and turns especially on the mountain roads of Nepal! When I think about the master creation that I have put together and how I try to carry it to completion without mistakes, I frequently and understandably lose confidence that it will all go smoothly. That reminds me of the apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Philippi that demonstrates how we can be confident that the work Christ is doing in our lives will be brought to completion. Thankfully, our becoming more Christ-like does not depend on our works and checklists and attention to detail. Thankfully, we can be certain that His perfect love, complete sovereignty, and unending grace continues until completion and is without mistakes! Also, thankfully, when we make our final departure plans, we can pray for direction, wisdom, and patience (for when a landslide is blocking the road to the hospital). Please continue to pray for our family as we head back to Nepal in less than 2 weeks! We are excited about figuring out what living in Nepal is gonna look like again! Thank you for all of your support and prayers! We will miss all of you so please keep in touch! Send us an email if you are interested in joining our email update newsletters at js@momosandmountains.com.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Divide and Conquer

With our hearts heavy and our minds occupied with all of the senseless violence going on in the US and around the world, the phrase "Divide and Conquer" keeps coming to mind.  Not as my new strategy of facing the world but of how evil and hate seem to be operating.

I keep thinking about all the things in the world that divide us and put us into separate groups.  Some of these things are mostly a good thing.  Our different uniques races, cultural backgrounds, and even individual personalities in particular should be a good thing if we believe that we are all created in the image of God.  All of our differences, should reflect the different aspects of a loving and God.  In a society, people tend to divide themselves into different professions and trades and that is easy to see how this can be good.  Even in sports, our different allegiances can provide good entertainment and healthy competition.  The list could go on and on...

But when sin enters in to all of these differences, the Evil one uses it to cause unhealthy division.  It brings superiority, fear, selfishness, vengeance, hatred, gossip, and violence into our diversity. We soon start to allow our differences, our political views, our choice of media, our skin color, and our prideful flesh dictate how we view the world and how we interact with others.  Hate and Evil will Divide us in order to Conquer us.  Such a simple strategy that all of us succumb to in one form or another.  As I attempt to look inside my own life/thoughts/actions/desires, I can see where there are areas that I need to change.  This is probably one reason why the recent violence around the world grieves us so strongly.  I expect that deep down, we all realize that we do not love others perfectly.

If you are familiar with the Tower of Babel story in the Bible, it may seem that God himself created some of the basic differences such as language and culture in our world.  If so, I think you are correct. His purpose was not to cause divisiveness in how we interact with each other and how we treat each other and most importantly how we show love to each other.  I believe that He created these differences so that when we come together, in full diversity, while fulfilling our common purpose in the world to worship Him, God will receive His greatest glory.

Let us not allow our sin to Divide and Conquer our diversity.  Let us come together in realization that even though we are different, we can look towards the absolute truths of this world that are unifying for us all.

1. We are all human.

2. We are all created in the image of God.

3. God loves us unconditionally.

4. We are called to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind.

5. We are called to love our neighbor. (Doing #5 is part of #4!)

6.  We were created to worship God and bring Him glory.

7.  If we are a part of God's family, we are to love and bring blessing to others from our neighborhoods all the way to the ends of the earth.

8.  We are all sinful.

9.  Our sin separates us from a Holy God.

10.  By the grace of God, through the life and sacrifice of His son, the penalty for our sin is covered if we believe Jesus is the Lord and Savior of our lives.  Thus our relationship with God is restored.

Now of course this isn't a complete list and I am completely unqualified to even attempt such a thing but as I look at my own life, I need to make sure to remind myself daily of these truths.  I am saddened and angry with all of the unhealthy division I see in and around me.  I need to realize that I am not here to choose sides and I am not here to be right.  I most certainly must examine my own pride and LOVE EVERYONE, not just those who look, think, and act like me because that usually means I only love myself.

I pray that we all can come together to mourn for those in mourning and support those who need lifting up.  Let us come up with practical and loving ways to address the inequality in our society and around the world while keeping our absolute truths in mind.  Let us remember where love comes from and remember the hope we have in the promises of the future.