A High Calling

Dear friends,

I know it has been quite a while since writing something and I apologize for that. One question I have gotten a lot since graduating high school is, “what are you going to do after graduation?” This question has rolled around in my head quite a bit. I’m majoring in nursing, but what do I want to do with that? Something crucial that I had to remember was that I am a Christian who has been given the opportunity to use my gifts through nursing. Many times in life people ditch their faith by the way side to promote their own career. Don’t get me wrong, a successful career is not sinful, but is it higher than your faith?

Over that past year I have felt a burden to join the mission field. I struggled with the question, “How do I know God is calling me to missions?” I’ve been on two life changing missions trips. One to Guatemala for six weeks and just this past month to Utah and Montana where we administered 1 Corinthians 13 love through our actions. In radically different ways yet in very similar ways, all three locations needed Christ.

I often prayed earnestly and thought deeply about whether God was calling me to missions for fear of stepping out in a direction that might be contrary to God’s will, believing I needed to see some “miracles” or “signs.” After my first mission trip (the loooong one to Guatemala), my decision making process changed radically. I realized that I was approaching the question of calling from the completely wrong direction. Until that time I had assumed that God was not calling me to go on mission until I heard him saying “Go.” Now I believe that he is calling me to mission unless I hear him saying “No.”

Every Christian has been called to participate in God’s mission to reconcile the world to himself. We don’t all need to be called to a remote part of Africa, or a persecuted country like Chine. After all, if we were all called to the same place, how could we reach all the nations with the good news of Jesus Christ? Among Jesus’ final words to his disciples is the Great Commission, in which he announces that the mission of the Church is to make disciples of all nations:

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:18-20).

I have come to realize that taking the commands and promises of Scripture seriously means recognizing that we are living out an everyday, everywhere mission. Whether you’re a student,, plumber, business executive, stay-at-home mom, or active missionary, we are all called to make disciples of Jesus right where we are. Participating in God’s mission does not require us to get on a plane or cross an ocean. We can begin making disciples today in our homes, schools, workplaces, and communities. We don’t have to limit our selves to one specific nation. Where the doors are open, by all means go through. But let’s not forget whether we are called to the foreign mission field or the home front, together we are entrusted with the same mission, empowered by the same Spirit, and graced by the same promise that the mission will succeed.

In Christ Always,
||Hannah||

 

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Keep Fighting

Dear Friends,

I come before you today worn out and exhausted: Mentally, emotionally, and physically. There are some days that I feel as if life is impossible. That I will not be able to finish the fight. I am reminded of the promise that “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worth patience” (James 1:3). Through that trials and the hardships I am brought through, keeping the faith and striving for a close relationship with God will have its reward.

Faith is the decision to love even when you don’t feel God’s presence. Faith is built through the decision to love, no matter the circumstances. The more you choose to love, the greater your faith will grow. No matter how much pain, trials, or temptations you’ve been through, keep faith.  Don’t waste energy on despair, hopelessness, or depression. Instead, put it into bolstering your faith. When you feel you can’t go on, or like you’ll never make a difference, just draw on your faith. When you feel oppression so thick it steals the air, breathe faith. A world of peace depends on the love we bring into it. No one can ever rob us of our ability to love.

It’s easier said than done, coming from a position where I don’t feel adequate or adept enough to speak on such a matter as I am myself struggling, but it’s a great reminder for me that keeping my focus on Christ will have its rewards. It will endure. It will prosper. It will last. It will be the defining part of who I am.

I have come to realize that I must look beyond my hopeless situation to my hopeful God. He fulfills hope in any situation. No circumstances are beyond the reach of God’s hope. No matter how hopeless the situation seems, choose to believe that God can still change it if he chooses to do so.  In Luke 18:27, Jesus declares:

“What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

Stay connected with Christ through prayer. Keep knocking on God’s door through prayer. Never give up. I remember Jesus’ words from Matthew 7:7-9: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” If you remember what God has done for you in the past, He will surprise you for your future. Remembering what God had done before in my life helps me stay hopeful about what God may do for me in the future, in His timing. Remembering some key answered prayers from your own past can help give you a fresh dose of hope right now about something on which you’re still waiting for God’s answer. Trusting God to surprise you with hope in the midst of a situation that seems hopeless will lead you to blessings of joy and peace. I pray that whenever trials arise, that you turn to Christ. Lean on Him for strength, for perseverance, for hope.  Romans 15:13 says,

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

In Christ Always,
||Hannah||

 

Life’s Valleys

Hello friends. There always comes a time in life where we are hit square in the face with tribulation and pain. We think it is hopeless, we believe there’s no way out of the slump, we constantly ask the question ‘why.’

God never asks us to go through valleys alone. In life, we all like the mountaintop experiences better than the valleys. But the never ending truth is, we’re going to go through valleys. It’s inevitable. You’ve observed that, haven’t you? John 16:33 says that “in the world ye shall have tribulation.” But the verse doesn’t end there. On no, it gives a wonderful and beautiful promise. It says,

but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

He wants us to fully understand that His peace will allow us to remain stable in the turbulent world that is around us. His peace has overcome the world! Be encouraged that the valleys are temporary — there is an end. And valleys have a purpose. God never wastes our pain. Just because we don’t see or feel God at work in our lives doesn’t mean that He isn’t. God is always at work behind the scenes, arranging circumstances as He sees fit, and orchestrating events as He needs them to bring about His great plan. I love the passage in 1 Peter where the apostle Peter says this:

There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world” (1 Peter 1:6b-7, NLT).

God is a good, good Father who loves us and works all things for our benefit. He loves us so much that absolutely nothing can get in the way of His love for us. Nothing you’ve done in the past, no character flaw you think you have, no choices you’ve made – nothing. “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, more depth, more any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:28-29, KJV).

While it’s hard to hold on when your world might be turning upside-down, don’t doubt the sovereignty of God. If you don’t understand what God is up to, that’s okay — you’re not supposed to! I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to serve a God who was small enough to be fully understood by me. Whatever tough circumstances you might be facing right now, you are definitely not alone and you don’t have to go through it alone. Lean on Christ for comfort and reassurance and lean on other believers for prayer, strength, and grace to get through the next day. Just do the next right thing, trusting God that He is in control. I will end with another beautiful promise from 2 Corinthians chapter 4 verses 8-9:

“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;”

In Christ Always,
||Hannah||

 

Ordinary or Out There 

Lordship changes our lifestyle, and our lifestyle reflects who is Lord.

Who is Lord in your life? If lordship doesn’t impact our lifestyle, is it really lordship? In Esther 3 we see the example of Mordecai daring to live like God was his king. Rather than obeying King Xerxes and “going with the flow,” he refused to bow to the rulers of this world and compromise his faith. We see an example of not just a Jew by name, but a Jew through and through, standing up for his faith and his King, regardless of culture and where he lived.

Globally, Christians face persecution and martyrdom at a heartbreaking rate yet, here in the United States people are clamoring for tolerance of all people but Christians.

Christians standing up for their faith should make us want to be the Mordecai in our family, at our school, or in our workplace. Don’t be content with being a nominal Christian, being absorbed into the 21st century culture. It starts with wanting your life to reflect a life that looks like Christ. God’s ways are right and true regardless of the culture or creed. Take a stand, fight for what is true. Christ will reward those who seek after His name.

 

In Christ Always,
||Hannah E. Evans||

My Chains are Gone

“My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace.”

Unending love — What a promise!

A good friend of mine shared the song, “Amazing Grace” with me, reminding me that through all of our dangers, toils, and snares God’s love is and will always be there. In the midst of sin and in the midst of pain and suffering, the grace of God toward His children will never be exhausted.

My friends, God loves you. God loves you because He has chosen to do so. He loves you when you don’t feel loved, and He loves you when no one else loves you. Others may abandon you, ridicule you, and ignore you, but God will love you.

Always. No matter what.

— Max Lucado

Pain is a natural part of life, and you can’t escape it. There will always be broken relationships, missed opportunities, and tough seasons of life. When they do come, you can either become bitter or hopeful.

THE CHOICE IS YOURS.

In the midst of a depressing onslaught, Jeremiah says in Lamentations 3:21, “Yet hope returns …”

How can you have hope even in your darkest days? Always remember the Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue. You can always count on that!

When kindness comes grudgingly, remember His kindness to us and pray to Him to make you more kind. When patience is scarce, thank the Creator for His and ask Him to make you more patient. When it is hard to forgive, don’t list all the times you’ve been given grief; rather, list all the times you’ve been given grace and pray to become more forgiving. God allows us to receive first so we can give later. Drink deeply from heaven’s endless love, and in doing so, you will discover a love worth giving.

In Christ Always,
||Hannah||

Obedience — Live for Christ No Matter the Cost

My Dear Friends,

How often do you find yourself at a fork in the road? When you are torn between two things, town between decisions you must make, friends you must confront, or situations that you cannot be avoided? There are many times when our ways seem to be the right decisions, that somehow my way would be better than God’s. While I may not have outrightly said that, my actions still very well exhibit it. No matter how much our decision might have “seemed right” at the point, the outcome of disobedience never yields good fruit.

The result of disobedience is not reward, rather it always is always accompanied with hard consequences. We must not lose faith, however. God always has a reason for asking certain things, and His ways are always best. As Isaiah 55:8 says, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ saith the LORD.”

God always has a reason for asking.

As humans we are always trying to justify how our course of action is better than God’s; just like we all do when we are trying to find some way out of obedience. His way might appear too hard or too complicated but here is where the problem lies. Every one of these things is a focus on ourselves rather than God. I know better, I can figure it out on my own.

This is where a true heart of obedience doesn’t look for excuses. Rather, its disposition is: No matter how difficult it is, no matter how little sense it makes to me, I will do anything You ask of me because I love You and I know You do as well. We must never forget that God sees the whole picture. This is not just in our lives, but in the lives of every person who has ever lived, is living, or will ever live. In contrast to God’s Omnipotence, we see only the teeny tiniest fraction of what is happening in the here and now. When we look back through history, we can certainly see countless evidences that there is nothing outside of His control. We must never forget that despite the innumerable sins committed and all of the tragedies, deaths, and disasters, God still displays His love, faithfulness, grace, and sovereignty, and works “all things together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

Remember that no matter what our obedience might cost us, it is nothing compared to the prize that awaits us in eternity. When we choose to disobey, we are depriving ourselves of something that could be an incredible testimony that displays God’s sovereignty and glory. Who is our ultimate example of obedience? Christ. Hebrews 5:8-9 says, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Nevertheless, Jesus’ obedience to His Father was not easy. Going to the Cross was most certainly the most painful, difficult, humiliating, and humbling experience anyone has ever had to endure. Jesus, the only perfect person who has ever lived, literally became sin for us and died in our place. Because of that obedience, He paid the debt for our freedom from sin and death.

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him. and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth: And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

So, how can we live by biblical obedience in our lives? 1 John 5:2 says it, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.” When we grow in our love for Him is by spending time with Him in His Word and in prayer our obedience to Him will not become a duty, rather it will be a delight! Grow also in your dependance in Him. Remember that living in full obedience to Christ our Savior is impossible in our own strength. We have to trust Him for the moment-by-moment grace that enables us to do what He asks of us.

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

My friends, it is my prayer that if God is asking you to do something, don’t struggle with the decisions, simply submit to Him. Don’t depend on your feelings. I get it, it is hard not depending on feelings, but if you simply obey God He will give you the grace and the strength to do so. Living in obedience to Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior is always worth it. The joy that is beyond the grave is beyond compare to anything of this world even if it means forfeiting our lives. He is enough because we get Him. Please remember that living for His glory is the highest honor we could ever have. I will leave you with a quote from Elisabeth Elliot:

“God is God. Because He is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to.”

In Christ Always,
||Hannah||

Trusting God through His silence

There comes time in our lives when we trust Him, where we obey him in a decision we must make, or a situation we must avoid. It can be hard trusting His overall plan when the results don’t go as planned, or when we can’t hear God’s voice through the circumstance. God’s providence is present in every  chapter and season of our lives, even when we can’t clearly see  it. Although there are times when God seems silent, don’t interpret that to mean He’s not involved or doesn’t  care about what’s happening  to us. God cares deeply and He is very present, actively working out every detail to bring forth His best plans for you and me. Our lives are securely held in His hands of God our Father, who loves us and wants the very best for us.

Heavenly Father, sometimes it’s hard to see how You are actively working in my circumstances. Honestly, it doesn’t always appear to be good. There are times when I need You most and I sense silence instead of guidance. Help me to trust You completely, especially in terms of uncertainty. To believe that You have my best interest in mind. To remember that Your love for me wraps around every situation I’m wrestling with. And to trust that because I am Your child and I’m desiring to seek Your will, my life is securely positioned in Your providential plan.

In Jesus’ name.
||Amen||