Challenging Update from Lara

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I have now been in my new location on the road for Jesus for several days. I believe the Lord will use this report not to just hopefully inspire you to pray for me and my ministry handicapped dogs included but to bring conviction and to challenge your hearts and lives as He is doing the very same thing with me.

I am about 40 minutes outside Miami which the Lord made clear is my next big destination as I near 4 years on the road for Him full-time before heading off for my next big destination up north.

I expected hot sunny weather, palm trees, coconuts, juicy oranges, peace and quiet, beauty, wonderful beaches, and a southern slow-paced life. I expected a lovely hotel where I could settle in before delightedly heading off for my ministry work at the hotel, on the beaches, and on the streets in Miami and surrounding areas.

This morning, I climbed up and stood on my bathroom sink as I sealed off the vent to stop the marijuana smoke from another hotel guest from continuing to fill up my bathroom. I removed all my stuff from the bathroom and sealed off the door as well. The smoke smell in the room from day one has diminished but has sometimes returned. I usually have almost no sense of smell, but the mildew smell from the hotel room comes and goes. I have a medical issue with smoke, but thankfully the various smells have been nothing more than uncomfortable and unappealing.

My immediate area is one of the most congested areas in which I have ever been. The number of stores is astonishing. The number of people is unreal. The traffic is incredible. The highway next to the hotel is one of the largest scariest and most well trafficked highways I have ever driven on. The weather is somewhat warm but has been windy and partly cloudy day by day. The beaches I have visited have been surrounded by some of the tallest and largest amount of condo buildings and hotels that I have ever seen.

The oranges are found in the stores just like anywhere in the country. I have seen no coconuts. The trees I have seen after driving for hours in different directions as I am led to check out the region look sad to me.

And I am reminded above all else of this verse:

“And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND ROSE UP TO PLAY.”” 1 Cor. 10:7

Why this verse? Because my heart grieves. For nearly 4 years on the road for Jesus, I have seen more commercialism and materialism and pleasure-seeking in America than imaginable. I have heard exceedingly few people professing Christians included want to talk about the Lord Jesus Christ. I have seen town after town and city after city consumed with self, pleasure, money, false gods, comfort, security, ease, vacations, climbing corporate ladders, worldly success, etc. I have seen a lack of love, care, kindness, generosity, and giving on a regular basis wherever I have gone including among churches and Christians. I am reminded of how I lived for years – until the Lord showed me in His Word I needed to repent and needed to learn to live my life as a Christ follower. Sold out to Jesus. Totally devoted to God almighty.

Friend, my flesh is ready to pack up my bags, pack up my dogs, and go somewhere else. Somewhere easy, comfortable, familiar. My family is about 18 hours away. I know nobody in this region. I love to walk but can barely cross the streets where I am.

But here is where the conviction comes. Not just for me. But perhaps for you also.

Will I go back to living for self and do what pleases me? Or will I deny self, take up my cross, and follow the Lord? He called me here to love and serve Him and to proclaim Him to this area of the country with my mouth and my Gospel tracts until He leads me on to my next location.

I think of the word sacrifice. I will have to make a sacrifice to stay where it is so uncomfortable and unfamiliar. But this is the way I see it. No sacrifice the Lord has EVER called me to make for Him could possibly come even remotely close to the sacrifice Jesus Christ made when He died on the cross to pay our sin penalty and was raised from the dead. So all who turn from our sins, believe in Him as Lord and in His death and resurrection, genuinely turning our lives over to God and His ways, are forgiven and given a forever relationship with God we could not otherwise have and receive the indwelling of His Holy Spirit.

My decision is this. I no longer live for self. I live for Jesus. And I will stay where I am and humble myself before God almighty and choose to be joyful and thankful and do what He has called me here to do. Until He leads me on to wherever He leads me next.

Is the Lord using my update to bring to your mind areas of your own life where you need to make some changes? Where you need to deny self, take up your cross, and follow Him? Where He is calling you to make sacrifices you have not yet made? To change your attitude and to be humble and joyful and thankful rather than to complain as I confess I have done concerning when the Lord leads me to places and opportunities that are not comfortable for me?

Friend, please forsake all for Christ. Sacrifice anything and everything He leads you to sacrifice. Be totally devoted to Jesus. No matter the cost to your flesh. That God may be glorified in and through your life each and every day and forevermore, oh yes! Amen!

Know how I feel right now besides tired? THANKFUL! JOYFUL! EXCITED to see what the Lord has in store for me as I continue fulfilling my life’s calling to love, worship, praise, adore, serve, and glorify Him and to help others around the world to do the same!

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” 2 Timothy 3:1-5

“Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23

“and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” 2 Cor. 5:15

 

 

 

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