|Posted by Alyssa on September 4, 2013 at 7:35 PM|
My time away was relaxing, refreshing, and frustrating. The first couple days were great. On Wednesday for my devotions I read Ephesians 6. The verse that struck me the most was, "Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power." I know that I have access to God's great power through the Holy Spirit, we all know that. But do we access it? I know I sure don't. I know it's there, I know He wants me to use it but I just forget, or am afraid He won't give it to me. Psalm 84:11, "For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless." Again, something I know but rarely bring to mind. This was a great reminder that we possess the ability to defend ourselves again spiritual attack.
Then on Thursday I began reading Philippians. I love this book. Paul was in jail and yet he took time to encourage the Philippians and let them know he was praying for them. What a great reminder that even in the midst of our own struggle we have no excuse to make our prayers all about us. Paul has such amazing perspective when he talks about being in jail. Instead of focusing on the fact that he is locked up, away from friends and family, and unable to preach like he had been, he tells the Philippians that because of his circumstance, the whole palace had the chance to hear the gospel. God never makes mistakes and He always places His people where they can be most effective. And because Paul was in jail, other Christians were incited to spread the gospel. Paul could rejoice, even in jail, because his focus was where it was supposed to be; on God and the spreading of His Word. He ends by asking the Philippians to pray that he would fearlessly preach the gospel. Paul was carefully not to let himself, or others, put him up on a pedestal of the "robotic evangelist".
Then on to Philippians 2. "Who being in VERY NATURE GOD, DID NOT consider EQUALITY with God something to be grasped, but MADE himself NOTHING, taking the very nature of a SERVANT, being MADE in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he HUMBLED himself and became obedient to DEATH-- even DEATH on a CROSS!" I will never fully understand the gravity of these verses. Here's a bit of what I wrote in response:
"Jesus had everything. He was everything. And He CHOSE to give it all up, for me. He was poor, He could have changed that. He wasn't handsome, he could have changed that. He was humble, He didn't have to be. He let them mock, beat, and kill Him, He could have stopped it all. He got sore feet, for us. He became a fetus, for us. He limited His power in every way, for us. He put Himself in danger, for us. He was mocked, for us. He ALLOWED Himself to be captured, for us. He was beaten, for us. He suffered, for us. He died, for us. He went to Hell, for us. He came back to Earth, for us. He sent His Holy Spirit, for us. EVERYTHING He's EVER done, or EVER will do, has ALL been for US."
The things that were reiterated in these passages are the same things He has been teaching in since before the beginning of this whole missions process. So, you're probably wondering, why did I open the post by saying that my time was frustrating? There were times that I felt God was ignoring me. I was crying out, asking for direction, for Him to definitively tell me what to do next. But He didn't answer. The saying, "God can't direct you unless you're moving" frequently came to mind and I felt Him saying, "I've BEEN leading you but you haven't been paying attention. You've been too scared. Scared I will change My mind, scared you will make the wrong decisions, scared of trusting Me. I told Abraham to go and he went. He didn't know where I was planning to take him; I did. I always have a plan. I do everything for a purpose. Start moving and I will guide you. I'm teaching you to trust Me so I'm not going to share My exact plans with you just yet. Trust Me."
So I am trusting in my God and I am on the move. I will be applying to Christian World Outreach (CWO) as an intermediate missionary (meaning I will be working under JAM and not CWO, officially) and I will begin raising support to return to South Africa as early as January of 2015. I ask that you would pray that I would learn to trust Him and be attentive to His leading and that the application and support raising process would go smoothly and speedily. =]