Twenty more days now. Still seems a little weird that I've been doing this thing for seventy... well ok, it's actually been more than seventy days since I started but life is always happening and some things just needed a little more attention than the blog at times. Thank you for always understanding :)
I woke up again this morning with a heaviness on my heart. I'm sure part of it was because I dreamed that I was in Cambodia working with "Daughters"- an organization that helps rescue women from sex slavery and gives them fair-trade work, hope, life and love. I've worked with them on and off for many years now and have such a desire to be back in that part of the world one day serving and loving these people to a place of freedom and healing. In the dream something stood out to me... it was their smiles. These are the smiles of joy I remember seeing after they are rescued and given a proper opportunity to live outside those walls of slavery.
After expressing the sadness in my day with a good friend, she quickly called me. She's had a similar lifestyle to mine and we've both found it sometimes hard not to be overwhelmed with the world's great need. We both know it's more about being a child of God than "doing" for God, but we also know that out of our love and devotion for the Lord we desire to serve Him whenever wherever. The more we know His heart, the more ours breaks for what breaks His. And there are broken people all over the world... and yes, even in our backyard. There are endless opportunities to serve globally and I tend to get a little overwhelmed by that. But something my friend shared with me tonight that she recently heard from Heidi Baker made so much sense. Heidi said something like, "I don't have a plan other than being completely possessed with Jesus." She wants to eat, drink, breath Jesus... being totally saturated and consumed with all of who He is.
Now, if you are reading this you are probably thinking either, "wow, cool" or "wow...crazy". Haha. There have been times when I would've thought this sounded a little loco too. My thoughts were always..."well, how can you really relate to people if you are so strung out on Jesus?" But now I see things a little bit differently. When we are TOTALLY captivated by all of Him... then the majority of what we say, think, act, or do will be all about Him. Sure, some people might think you're overboard but I'm betting most of those people would be church folk. Yikes! Haha. Who knows? But we certainly do need more of the power of the trinity moving in and through us in and out of the church body. We should always want more!
Heidi also shared with the crowd some things God had been revealing to her over the years. She's pretty convinced that we should find the lowest, poorest, dirtiest people on this earth and love them. Why? Because Jesus did. Either He found them or they found Him... and He never turned His back. She was sharing how we need to have feasts for them and ask for nothing in return. So often we first think of the "right thing" to do... like not giving hand outs, making sure we get them working, or at least making sure they attend church with us. Rather, checking our hearts to see why we are even doing it? If it is for Jesus... then the simple act of loving and serving the lowly is more than likely blessing His heart tremendously and will in turn bless our souls. I know we all need more Jesus... wealthy or poor. But how cool would it be to see people of all budgets, colors, and denominations opening their homes up to the ones no one wants to be bothered by? What if we asked over the meanest of the mean, the poorest of the poor, the dirtiest, most broken, crippled, stinky, "undeserving" (in our minds) person... and set a feast before them laying out all our best china and spending hours on the meal? Wow. Kind of reminds me of what God does for us hey? "Come and dine with me... He says... and bring your friends too. I don't care what you've done... just come spend time in my presence feasting on what I have for you and you'll never be the same."
Rock our world Jesus! Let us be so consumed with your love that we are a constant outpouring of that to everyone we meet or pass on the street. Let our eyes be opened to the needs of others and let your name be lifted high above all names as we serve and love them. It's your power that saves them. It's your love that captivates them. Open the eyes of the blind tonight. Move in this town of Jonesboro, Ar. Move in my other home of Nashville, Tn tonight. Move in the people of the church all over America, break down the walls of denomination and segregation and let us love one another in unity!!! Spread this love among the earth, Oh God, and let our hearts bust open for you!!! Let nothing stand in our way to receive MORE of you Holy God! Amen.
On a more repentant note I've been thinking of how much I've thought I deserved recognition in the past... when God clearly tells me differently. If I'm being completely honest, part of my sadness today could be attributed to either not being recognized in the church or not having people support me with their confidence in what I do. Now that I'm writing that out, it sounds so selfish and prideful. I guess I've been searching for security in people when I really need to be seeking Him for all that. Realizing this and now having to admit it is hard... but I'm asking God to come into that place to forgive me and heal my heart. In fact, just today I had been thinking about the temptation to just run away to some random country where no one knows me at all so that I'm not faced with the option of desiring the "fame" (if you will). Instead, God has me here right now and I am going to seek to trust in Him alone for His confidence, recognition, and security. He calls us by name. We are His children. We can trust in Him. And this.... well, this is enough for me.
Even in today's reading I find it so intriguing how many times Jesus told those who witnessed miracles not to tell anyone. Like when Jesus heals two blind men in Ch. 9, or when He tells the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ in Ch 16. And also in Ch. 16 when Jesus asks "Who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter replies, "You are the Christ, the son of the living God." Then I find it so amazing that Jesus says, "For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven." This little section right here teaches me several things: 1) We don't need recognition from man to validate of human efforts 2) We don't have to force Jesus down people's throats when He didn't force himself done anyone's throat, in fact... He was more concerned with His father in heaven receiving all the glory and honor than Him gaining any human confidence in himself by others. 3) We now believe in Jesus not just because He was a good little prophet that did a lot of miracles and lived a sinless life (i mean, He was and He very much did) but because the Father validates Jesus has His son and as part of the trinity.... the whole God. Jesus IS the way, the truth, and the life ya'll.
B90: (Matthew 9:9- 19:30) Matthew is seriously just packed full of goodness. I think I've circled, underlined, and starred just about every passage several times. Sometimes I can't even read it because I got a little too carried away or my ink bled :( Oh well... I'm kind of partial to my scrappy little bible that's falling apart.
I don't know why I've never noticed this before... but Jesus and the disciples actually fed thousands with fish and loaves on two separate accounts. One time right after He had heard about the death of John the Baptist and was trying to withdraw from the crowds and probably mourn His loss. Instead He was followed and was faced with more overwhelming need. Even in His sorrow He healed and served, loved, believed and trusted. His compassion was so great that nothing would get in the way of Him taking care of the needs of others. And He asked for nothing in return.
In the second account He was having some sort of mini revival for 3 days healing all kinds of folk. Jesus actually said, "I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lets they faint on the way." (15:32) Wow... I want more of His heart for people in need. It's interesting that the disciples wondered where they were going to get more bread from after seeing the miracle the first time. Duh guys... come on. (Seriously tho, how often do I do this?) Regardless, the miracle was great, the people were satisfied and they all took home doggy bags.
God provides people. And this is something I'm having to remind myself again today. God provides. I may not have consistent prayer partners, I may not have all the money I need, and I may not even have a church to send me off into the field... and you know what? That's ok. He's going to take complete and perfect care of me, I have no doubt about that!!! It's trusting every single step of the way... and that can be very hard to do, but so rewarding! Please continue to pray for me as I journey to the nations and go where God is leading me to serve. Love you. Goodnight :)