Monday, July 25, 2011

(day thirty-two) tea & biscuits

Every opportunity I've had to spend some time in another country, I'm overwhelmed by their kindness and generosity. I'm not saying people are not hospitable here (because i have definitely been blessed by so many), but i have encountered and been deeply moved by their heart of giving. One vivid picture I have is when I was in very poor part of Northern India. Someone had said that a woman wanted us to stop by her house on the way home. Well, the house was more like a few boards stuck together with pieces of old dingy material covering the door and window. Two of us squeezed in there with her family of 3 and settled on the earthy floor. Instead of this woman (who obviously has nothing by our standards) apologizing for it being cramped or dirty, she is tripping over herself to prepare us tea and biscuits. Over and over we found ourselves in a similar situation to this. Watching human beings living in these rough conditions day after day with an over abundance of service, love, and gratitude as suddenly you feel unworthy to be in the presence of such a saint. The crazy thing is, most of these people don't even know who Jesus is... it's just a way of life for them.

Culture shock is stepping back into an environment where this isn't the norm. Where making lots of money to live in debt and above our means IS. It's a harsh reality, but once you step outside this boarder and cross an ocean your eyes begin to adjust to the tiny percentile we are living in and the large mass of poverty and need we shield from our vision. I'm betting that if we truly waited around for God to provide for our needs we'd have a lot less crap in our attic.

Here are some truths that I've learned the past couple of years: God is the God of the impossible, God is the ultimate provider and has unlimited resources, God does care about all of His creation, God hates sin not those who sin, God hates what has happened to His creation because of sin, God is redeeming and restoring us back to His original intention for us, God is near to the broken-hearted and troubled, God blesses those who give freely and rejoice in Him, God deeply cares for all His creation and delights in us stewarding it all well, and He loves loves loves when we give Him the glory for everything!

So, I'm not judging or coming down on anyone (if so, i'm included in that) rather giving us a picture of what the world looks like from His perspective. It's easy to imagine what the world might look like from space with all the pictures we now have. But we can't even begin to fathom what God's perspective must be like. He can see all, know all and love all at the same time! And instead of His eyes watching how much we give away or hold on to, He sees our heart. Is our heart giving freely while celebrating His goodness and provision for ourselves and the world? Or do our hearts let go of only what we can afford while fearing our needs may not be met the way we think they should?

One of my mentors and good friends always encourages people to give in the area that they are lacking. So if you are having trouble with your finances, find ways in which to give money to others. The easier it is for you to let go, the better position you are (open-handed) to receive from the heavenly realm. It's this whole upside-down kingdom that we live in. If you are lacking in love, find ways to love others selflessly and watch as God blows you away with His unfathomable love.

Just a few days ago while visiting Nashville I was approached by a homeless man asking for change. Now, first of all if God is calling us to give to the poor... it's up to the holy spirit on guiding that person on how to use it. It's good to be in-tune with the HS in a situation like this. We must let go, again, of our control and let God do all the work. I usually end up praying for the person and giving them a little money making sure they know who my provider is... but this case was a little different. I felt as though the Lord was asking me to give him money, but to make him promise to give half of it away. I thought this was a little weird at first, but then it all made sense. Before I knew it I was preaching to the guy about giving joyfully and freely even when we don't have our own needs met and waiting on the Lord to take care of us. I have no earthly idea what the end of the story was, but I do know that the man walked away skipping so excited about finding someone to help and love on! I truly believe God will begin to reveal himself to this man and those he assists in a beautiful way!

Imagine a world for a second where believers truly lived in this freedom, sacrificially giving of their time, money, and resources. I know plenty of people like this that don't know Jesus, but how much more does God delight in this way of life when we give Him all the glory and trust He'll take care of the rest! How much more will people see that we don't just care about their "fire insurance" but we deeply care about the process of sanctification. We are all on this journey together, some just haven't had a revelation of His transforming love yet... and what better person to share this love than you.

B90: (1 Chron. 29- 2 Chron. 14:15) At the very start of Ch. 29 David is mobilizing Solomon to do all of the great work God has chosen him to do for His own glory. Then down in vs.5 asks the question..."who then will offer willingly, consecrating himself today to the Lord?" Then it says all the leaders, commanders, and officers gave freewill offerings of money, service and valuables. "Then the people REJOICED because they had given willingly for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the Lord, David the king also rejoiced greatly." Ch 29:9 Then David continues to give all of the glory as He declares His goodness in the next several verses.

Then He asks, "But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you." Ch 29: 14. Wow! So packed full of goodies i'll let you unwrap this one for yourself. "I know my God, that you test the uprightness, in the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen our people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you."

"If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land." 2 Chron 7:14 As we seek him with our whole hearts humbly, and as His love begins to free us from the chains of our sin... He will forgive us and heal our land. What an opportunity we also have to stand in the gap for those who do not yet know our King interceding for their own land to be healed and hearts to be free! Amen!!!

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