Godly Women Live Focused on Eternity

helen_roseveare_lgHelen Roseveare spent almost two decades dispensing medical care and eternal hope in the rainforests of Africa. In 1953, Dr. Roseveare left the material comforts of Great Britain for the Belgian Congo to serve as a medical missionary. For the first twelve years she built village hospitals, treated every illness and injury, loved the people, and told them about Jesus. Then in 1964 her circumstances turned from physically difficult to excruciating.

Political unrest marked the Congo in the early 1960’s. Although danger and instability were rampant, Dr. Roseveare chose to stay and continue her work. In 1964 violence escalated with the onset of a civil war. Dozens of missionaries were slaughtered and 200 Catholic priests and nuns were murdered. One Saturday afternoon in August, rebel forces entered Roseveare’s village. Some of them invaded her home. That night Roseveare was brutally beaten and raped. The rebels took her and a small group of other missionaries captive. For five long months she endured continued violence at the hands of her captors.

After her rescue in January 1965, Dr. Roseveare returned to England, but stayed less than a year. In 1966, she went back to the Congo to continue her work. The doctor spent the next seven years rebuilding hospitals, establishing a medical school, and training doctors and nurses to care for the Congolese people in the name of Jesus. (Brief bio)

Why did she return? Why did she leave the comforts and security of England for the uncertainty and potential suffering of the Congo?

Now or Forever?

Dr. Roseveare’s eternal perspective propelled her back. She could not remain in the United Kingdom when people in Africa had “never yet heard of our Lord Jesus Christ and of the redemption He wrought for them at Calvary.”

Even after her return to the west in 1973 she spoke and wrote to inspire other Christians to live in a way that reflected their certain hope in Christ’s return. Our costly redemption and the ongoing transformative work wrought in us by the Holy Spirit were more than enough incentive for Roseveare. In her book Living Holiness, she encourages readers to live holy lives, secure in Christ’s return, with a “longing in our hearts to be found watching and waiting to welcome Him.”

The following video is a brief interview with Dr. Roseveare. She talks about the sufficiency of God’s grace during times of suffering and why it’s vital believers “fall in love with Jesus.”

Our Struggle with the Temporary

I must admit, when I read about Christians like Helen Roseveare I feel like a hypocrite. Although I believe we must live our lives focused on the eternal, I still sometimes find myself living for the temporary. I still favor my comfort, my time, and my things too much. The temporary still has too much influence on my decisions and actions. I still often moan “Why me?” when trials and difficulties hit. And I still sometimes hesitate to talk about Jesus for fear of how someone else may react.

Many Christians get stuck in the demands of the here and now. Temporal activities pull us away from eternal matters. We pour our time and energy into the “delights” of this world and end up with little of lasting value. We often choose physical comfort over spiritual growth and refinement. But gaining the comforts of this world satisfies us only temporarily. Earthly pleasures all wear out and lose their appeal. And when the difficulties of life come, we are thrown off-balance.

Created for Eternity

No amount of worldly success, acclaim, or stuff will last any longer than my last breath. In the scope of eternity, it is all meaningless. But the things of God – the things that impact souls for Christ – will never rot, crumble, or fade away. We must look beyond the things of this world to find true meaning and relevance for life. God programmed us for eternity. He wired us to find fulfillment and excitement in the things that last beyond the physical. Living with an eternal perspective can generate an excitement and passion our faith has been missing. Let’s not wait any longer to live for forever! (Note: This post was excerpted from Kathy’s book “Fed Up with Flat Faith”)

Have you been living for the here and now or for eternity? What one change can you make today to focus more on the eternal?

For more about Dr. Roseveare and her return to the Congo see the movie about her life “Mama Luka Comes Home”

Mary: The Gift of Identity

Mary ChristmasMary’s life was just what any young Jewish girl in the first century could hope for. She was secure in a strong community and a loving family. She was engaged to a good, righteous man who could provide well for their future together.

Mary knew who she was and what the days ahead had in store. She was “a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph” (Luke 1:27).

Then Gabriel showed up.

God’s plan to save mankind had been put into motion. When His eternal purposes crashed into the physical realm, everything changed for Mary.

God chose Mary to be the mother of the Savior, to be the vessel He would use to bring His Son into the world.

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

Mary submitted herself to God’s will.

“I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38).

Mary’s obedience changed her future. Her submission to God’s plan changed her. It even changed how the world would see her. Then and today.

Mary willingly laid down her own plans for God’s plans. She set aside her own dreams for the future for God’s purposes for eternity. In the process, she offered God the girl she was, and received the woman God created her to be.

Mary’s view of herself and her future was not bad. It was simply far less than what God had determined for her. She saw herself with human eyes, with limited, temporal vision. Then God opened her eyes to His vision.

How do you see yourself? Maybe your identity is based solely on human plans and purposes. When we give ourselves wholly to God, He will begin to grow and shape us into the women He created us to be. Women who can carry out His God-sized purposes for our lives.

Why would we settle for less? Why would we want to be someone less?

Sisters, Jesus came that we might have life and have it to the full. Let’s give our human-sized view of ourselves to God this Christmas and accept the fullness of everything He’s designed us to be.

In what ways do you still cling to your own identity? How can you offer that fully to God today?

3 Reasons to Thank God in Times of Trouble

Thanksgiving to GodAre you in the midst of some trial or difficulty or heartache right now? If not, I know you’ve been there and you will be again.

The writer of Psalm 118 knew trouble. His life had not been easy. For example, verses 8-14 alone hint at betrayal and attack. He had learned that men – whether in lowly or exalted position – could not be fully trusted (Psalm 118:8-9). He had felt caught in a hopeless and dangerous situation with no way out.

But in the middle of those trials, he also experienced God’s personal intervention on his behalf. In Psalm 118:8-14, the psalmist testifies to God’s deliverance and expresses his gratitude. In this passage, we find 3 reasons to thank God when we face times of trouble:

  1. God is our refuge – When storms are raging all around us, we will always find safety in God’s presence. He is our shelter from the storm. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). From experience, the author of Psalm 118 had learned that people are not fully trustworthy, but God can always be trusted. He learned that he could not always depend on people, but he could depend on God in any and every situation. Like the psalmist, when we’re in the midst of trouble, let’s thank God that He is our refuge. When we hide ourselves in Him, He will be our shelter!
  2. God is our protector – When people and circumstances fight against us, we do not have to wonder or worry about victory. God Himself goes with His people and fights for them (Deuteronomy 30:3-4). When the psalmist was surrounded and swarmed by his enemies, victory came through the name of the LORD. Do you ever feel “swarmed by enemies?” Call on the name of the LORD. Thank Him that He is your protector!
  3. God is our strength – Verse 14 sums up this section of Psalm 118. “The LORD is my strength, and my song; He has become my salvation.” God saves! He will deliver us through trouble with the strength of His might. He is our reason to sing, so let us lift a song of praise and thanksgiving to the God who is our strength!

God is our refuge, our protector, and our strength! Thank Him today, especially in the midst of trouble.

How else can you thank God today? Express your gratitude in the comment section.


Jesus Is…

Who is Jesus?This month at Do Not Depart we’ve tackled a huge question: Who is Jesus? Although we will spend an eternity discovering the full answer, we have touched on a few vital truths.

Let’s recap what we’ve learned:

Jesus is the True SacrificeAli reminded us that Jesus was the final and full sacrifice for sin. “We can have hope because we have a loving Savior who gave himself to rob our sin. We no longer need to live under guilt and condemnation! We’re set free from the punishment of sin! And we’re able to approach the throne of grace confidently (Heb 4:16) any and every time we draw near to God.”

Jesus was fully humanLindsey showed us from Scripture that Jesus was 100% human. “Because Jesus was fully human, he understands fully what it’s like to be human… He understands our struggles…  our fears … and our feelings of abandonment when God seems distant.”

Jesus was fully God – Jesus was 100% human, but Scripture teaches He was also 100% God. (God’s able to do math like that!) Lisa laid out a list of reasons why we must accept the deity of Jesus. “Everything is different for us since Jesus is divine. Awakened to a higher purpose, we have a fuller joy now and a kingdom home with God forever.”

Jesus is our High Priest – Jesus is the only mediator between us and God the Father. He gives us access to God. I love how Caroline reminded us that because Jesus is our High Priest, “we can come to Him any time, any place, with anything on our hearts.”

Jesus is the Messiah – Jesus is the Promised One, the Deliverer, the Savior, the One God’s people had long waited for. I loved Patti’s conclusion: “Jesus our Messiah bore our every sin. He was anointed to make intercession for us with His very life, and save us from an eternity of separation from God. Jesus is the Anointed Savior Who was promised from the beginning – our Messiah and our hope!”

We could say so much more about Jesus! But instead of me rambling on, I ‘d like to share some words from the Nicene Creed, crafted by some of the early church fathers at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD.

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God,
begotten of his Father before all worlds,
God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made,
being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made;
who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven,
and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man;
and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered and was buried; and the third day he rose again
according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of the Father;
and he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead;
whose kingdom shall have no end.

Jesus – who is our Savior, our Sacrifice, our High Priest, and our God – is coming again as King!

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.  1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, NIV


Who Is Jesus?

Who is Jesus?Recently, I came across a book my grandmother gave me in 1966 about Jesus and His disciples. It includes a one-page description and an artist rendering of Jesus and each of the twelve. The full-color drawings are beautiful. They just aren’t necessarily accurate. For instance, “Jesus” is portrayed with light brown hair and blue eyes.

In giving Jesus these specific physical characteristics, the artist separated Jesus from His Jewish heritage. Maybe that’s how the artist pictured Him. Perhaps the artist was swayed by his audience’s expectations. But a Jew with blue eyes and light hair would have been very unusual in ancient Palestine. A blue-eyed, light-haired Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible.

After seeing that drawing, I started to wonder about other ways we might have “altered” Jesus into a Savior of our own making. Is our understanding of Jesus accurate? Or has it been morphed by our own worldviews and preconceptions?

Jesus bookJoin us this month at Do Not Depart as we explore the Jesus of the Bible. Our goal is to delve into the truth of God’s Word to better understand Jesus. My prayer for us is that God will correct any misconceptions. That He would expand and explode our view of the Savior. That we would be humbled and fall on our faces in worship.

Have you ever believed something about Jesus that God later corrected? What was it? How did He show you the truth?