I am about to leave on a plane to go across the world and I am feeling a multitude of things. Throughout my time in Durham, I have constantly been stripped and built back up again. God has shown me what blind obedience looks like and what it really is like to hold your hands wide open to him and say, “Use me as you will Lord my life is yours.”
I have had to fight the depths of darkness in my mind and in the spiritual realms. I am beginning to see how it feels to be clothed in the armor of God and have to daily take up my metaphorical cross in the small victories over sin. He has given me strength that is not of this world that pushes me beyond limits of the flesh. He gives me perseverance to follow him and remember that his grace is made perfect in my weakness.
A cool way God used me this week in my tangle of anxiety was to bring someone to him! God did that. This week I’ve still been wrestling with a lot of old history that’s come to the surface. Feelings of being undesirable that have caused me to camp out alone – rethinking His supreme love for me – instead of coming to my community. But through my vulnerability I found rest. God’s gospel was spoken into me and the truth was renewed inside of me.
Back to the story. We went to Liberty and had once again prepared to teach the bible club to the kids there, but for the second day in a row, no kids came. I was frustrated after prayer walking over the community for kids to come and discouraged that God had said no to my request. Often I look at the no and focus on it instead of focusing on Gods goodness and sovereignty over the situation.
There ended up being four teenagers there and they didn’t seem to want to have anything to do with us, but we continually pursued them. I talked to the one girl and she seemed really shy but earnest and kind. Finally, I was just blunt after beating around the bush for so long. I asked if I could share why we were here and they said yes! So for the first time this summer I was finally able to share the good news! And beyond that, the girl seemed joyous to hear it. She told me she had never heard it before and get this: wanted to accept it! I was mind blown. This was literally my dream scenario and it happened when I could have least expected it. Circumstances that seemed terrible brought a girl into the body of Christ.
The enemy tried to take my joy explaining that she didn’t really know what she was doing and made me doubt my ability to lead her. Then my teammate spoke encouragement to me that I could do everything wrong in sharing the truth and he would work through it. Her heart was ready to accept it and that’s nothing I could take away from her instead I should rejoice in it. While I read Ephesians 2:1-10 to her, I could just see her smiling when I explained how blameless she was to God and how the Spirit now resided in her and she would get to spend eternity in perfection with the King of the Universe that chose her before the foundation of the earth.
So if you are reading this will you please pray for her continuing walk with the Lord that she learns next steps to the journey she has entered in with Jesus. It seemed too good to be true that she would actually accept the gospel, but the gospel is too good to be true. I can’t even use words to explain my graciousness that God used me to bring a newly adopted sister to be reborn into the Spirit and will hopefully one day walk in tune with Christ as I am learning to now.
As I continually grow by the Spirit I have to hold fast to prayer. Without prayer, I have found it so easily to fall away from truth and fall into whatever emotional state I am in at the time. Thanksgiving and worship roots me in his love that he has for me. I recount his promises to me as well as the blessings he has given. The frustration, sadness and annoyance suddenly melts away into the joy of my salvation.
Prayer is most definitely one of the most underrated aspects of Christian life. I’ve talked about what I learned before a bit, but this week we had a whole session on prayer and putting it into practice blows my mind. It is easy to forget what he has done for you in the past: all the prayers he answered, all the ways he’s moved in the midst of your present circumstances. Trusting God surpasses all circumstances in any situation or suffering.
You can’t have faith and have an easy life in which faith is not required.
“Remember.” Paul continually reminds us in Ephesians. Remember the gospel. A lot of times we think the gospel is a one and done deal, like oh I’m saved, I accepted him now I move on. No. The gospel is what should encompass every aspect of your being, your thoughts, actions, and motives. It is easy to forget. The gospel is the end and the beginning of our lives on Earth and for eternity. So when I find myself getting annoyed that we are covering Ephesians 2:1-10 for the 11th time (somewhat exaggerating, not much) I have to snap myself back to remembering that the width of knowledge is useless, but the depth to which I know the gospel is knowing his love surpasses all knowledge. I must constantly shift my mind toward eternal not temporal.
Our whole purpose in life is to bring God glory (Psalm 106:8) so if we are doing anything but that what’s the purpose. Literally, God made us as creations that would have free will with the purpose of it bringing him more glory as we worship him by choice and not because he demands us to (otherwise he would). We are not made to have a nice career, family or money (yes those things can serve God and bring his glory to them, but that’s not the point). If any of those things prohibits us from worshipping God when we put them ahead of him then they are useless.
All that will matter in heaven is him, his kingdom will come and everyone there will worship him as he deserves. I mean it’s hard to think eternal with our minds so clinging to the now and the flesh. But it will be so worth it, for him to say he’s proud you were a good and faithful servant. When I think of the glories of the Earth like Mount Everest or Hawaii. These beautiful places that have been shouting God’s glory since their creation, yet those places are deformed from sin. Even the most beautiful places are on a sinful earth and yet think of how beautiful they will be when they are restored to their perfection at the end of time. It’s cool to also realize the Earth has been rejoicing in God since creation and that when we worship we are joining in an ongoing worship that has been going on since the beginning of time.
Also something I really liked was that during the prayer session Chris Gayner told us to recite Jeremiah 29:11 which we all did because it’s a popular verse. Then he said to recite 29:12 and the room fell in silence.
“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will hear you.”
We should all be seeking and adorning God’s glory before asking him to prosper us.
Prayer is often unfulfilling for me because of how I misunderstood it. Prayer is not asking and then saying thanks when he responds. If nothing else prayer should be just thanksgiving. Prayer is how we spiritually nourish ourselves. Our relationship with our Father only grows when we not only speak to the lover of our souls, but listen to him. Before I elevate my problems to him I need to elevate his character. God knows what’s going on in my life before you tell him, but what he wants is us to have a confidence in him over delivery from our problems. He himself who is the same yesterday, today and forever is more important than a change in circumstances.
What a God.
So with all that jumble of thoughts being said, I gratefully ask for prayer over these next two weeks international if you feel urged.
- For me to serve my team with absolute humility.
- For us to serve the city we are going to visit in Central Asia, that we are protected as we rely on God to push us beyond our own capability.
- For me to abide in God’s everlasting love and continually be completely dependent on him.