Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter 2014 Reflections from Prayer

By Charlotte Lowrie
Easter is a wondrous time of reflection, of giving thanks, and of self-examination. With this post, I'll share some insights from prayer for Easter and after-Easter celebrations.

The Lord reminds me often in prayer to, "Be watchful, for the end is near." Also, He says to strengthen one another in the faith, to pray for one another often, and to gather together with other believers. In addition, we are to lean on each other for strength. 

Give praise to God, and in all things to give thanks. Be watchful and do not be deceived by false teachers. If a teacher comes in, test the teaching according to the Scriptures. 

"Wait and watch for My return," the Lord says, "for it will be soon." "Be ready. Have oil enough for your lamps, else you'll be left outside in the dark."
And remember, "Do not fear, for I have already overcome satan and death."

Rejoice for the end is near! Come, Lord Jesus, come.

My prayers are with all of you around the world.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sharing Your Story

By Charlotte Lowrie
It is always a privilege to share the story of how the Lord Jesus has changed our lives. You are probably like me in wanting the other person or persons to immediately want the same transformation in their lives that we've had in our lives. But I was reminded recently that it's the Holy Spirit who does the heavy lifting with the other person, not me. 

I recently had the opportunity to share my story of conversion with a friend. When I finished, the friend countered that surely I couldn't believe that way, and he scoffed at some of my beliefs and at my faith. Instinctively, I wanted to "reason" with him and convince him to believe in Christ. But then I remembered that logic doesn't work. Only by faith can anyone come to the Lord. At the same time, I winced when I heard the derision in his voice.  As he talked, I could tell that he had consigned me to the category of "Creationists," with the implication that there was no hope for me intellectually.

After the conversation, the Lord reminded me that the goal in sharing my story is to give glory to the Lord Jesus. If the other person counters or laughs at my belief and faith, the Lord said, "Don't worry about what they will think of you." It's by sharing our stories that we grow in our ability to share. The Lord reminded me to, "Let Me worry about the other person's response." It is the Holy Spirit that does the work, not me. And I can't make the decision for someone else; they must decide for themselves.

It's never easy to be criticized or laughed at, and since that conversation, I could tell that the relationship between this person and me had changed for both of us. Now he thinks that he's enlightened and I am not. For me, I'm sad that he does not see the true light. The change in friendship isn't surprising. Rather, it reminds me of James 4:3-5 (ESV), "Do you know know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."

As for me, I'll continue sharing my story of how I came to believe in Christ. I learned from the conversation. And I think of Isaiah 55:11, that says, "so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." I also believe that my story will have an effect, either now or later, because it is a story of the Lord. I believe that our stories cannot fail to have an impact on those who hear them. So I encourage you to share your story to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Letting Go of the Past

By Charlotte Lowrie

As we begin the new year, our focus naturally turns to what we want to accomplish in the coming 12 months. After all, we have a blank slate as we begin 2014. But as we look forward, it can be hard to let go of the past. 

Holding onto the past has been a problem for me in years past, but a recent conversation with the Lord helped me realize how important it is to let go and move forward.

As the new year began, I was cleaning out old papers from a box when I found several old letters. Before discarding them, I read through them. After reading a few paragraphs, I was transported back to the mid-1960s. I remembered the challenges I faced in moving to Japan as a military wife with a young son. The process was complex, and I remember feeling that I didn't have the support I wanted from different people. While eventually the move details worked out well, I still felt hurt. And within a short amount of time, the memories had cast a fog over a perfectly beautiful day that began with joy and enthusiasm.

As I prayed about the old wounds, the Lord gave me the perspective I needed. He reminded me that the letters represented what was then, but I'm in the now. "Do not let the past take away your present joy."

"You can't move forward by looking back," He reminded me. "Look ahead, for ahead is where I am taking you. Rejoice in forgiveness; and let the transformation of forgiveness be there for you [at all times]." 

So as you begin this year, I pray that your focus will be on today and where the Lord is leading you now. I pray that you will let the past go. Learn what you can from it, and then turn to today and face your future with joy and confidence knowing that the Lord will guide you in His will this year and beyond.