For Parents of Missionaries

Jim Elliot was a missionary in Ecuador in the 1950’s. He felt God’s call to seek and save the lost. He was passionate about missions and longed to be on the mission field. He felt that God wanted to use him in a powerful way. And He did.

 

Like many young missionaries, he was discouraged from going to the mission field. When friends and family could no longer convince him to avoid the dangers of jungle life in South America, many well-meaning brothers and sisters in the US pointed to the great need for preaching the Gospel near home. Nevertheless, he was unshaken in his commitment to serve the Lord in South America.

 

In a letter to his parents, he wrote the following words:

 

“I do not wonder that you were saddened at the word of my going to South America. This is nothing else than what the Lord Jesus warned us of when He told the disciples that they must become so infatuated with the kingdom and following Him that all other allegiances must become as though they were not. And He never excluded the family tie. In fact, those loves which we regard as closest, He told us must become as hate in comparison with our desires to uphold His cause.

 

“Grieve not, then, if your sons seem to desert you, but rejoice, rather, seeing the will of God done gladly. Remember how the Psalmist described children? He said that they were as a heritage from the Lord, and that every man should be happy who had his quiver full of them. And what is a quiver full of but arrows? And what are arrows for but to shoot? So, with the strong arms of prayer, draw the bowstring back and let the arrows fly – all of them, straight at the Enemy’s hosts.

 

“Surely those who know the great passionate heart of Jehovah must deny their own loves to share in the expression of His” (page 132, Shadow of the Almighty: The Life & Testament of Jim Elliot by Elisabeth Elliot).

 

I am thankful for parents who train their children up in the Lord in such a way that they choose to serve Him in foreign lands. I am thankful for the parents who in quiet prayer let go of their children and allow them to serve as Christ’s ambassadors far from home. I pray for those parents who will some day have to decide if having their children close to home is worth more than having spiritual grandchildren all over the world.

 

Parents of missionaries, join with us, your children in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ! Strengthen us with your prayers. Support us with words of encouragement. Send us with your blessing so that we might be a blessing to others.

Jesus, Our Rosetta Stone

Step back for a moment and contemplate God’s point of view. A spirit unbound by time and space, God had borrowed material objects now and then – a burning bush, a pillar of fire – to make an obvious point on planet Earth. Each time, God adopted the object in order to convey a message and then moved on. In Jesus, something new happened: God became one of the planet’s creatures, an event unparalleled, unheard-of, unique in the fullest sense of the word.

 

The God who fills the universe imploded to become a peasant baby who, like every infant who has ever lived, had to learn to walk and talk and dress himself. In the incarnation, God’s Son deliberately “handicapped” himself, exchanging omniscience for a brain that learned Aramaic phoneme y phoneme, omnipresence for two legs and an occasional donkey. Instead of overseeing a hundred billion galaxies at once, he looked out on a narrow alley in Nazareth, a pile of rocks in the Judean desert, or a crowded street of Jerusalem.

 

Because of Jesus we need never question God’s desire for intimacy. Does God really want close contact with us? Jesus gave up Heaven for it. In person he reestablished the original link between God and human beings, between seen and unseen worlds.

 

In a fine analogy, H. Richard Niehubr likened the revelation of God in Christ to the Rosetta stone. Before its discovery scholars could only guess at the meaning of Egyptian hieroglyphics. One unforgettable day they uncovered a dark stone that rendered the same text in three different languages. By comparing the translations side by side, they mastered hieroglyphics and could now see clearly into a world they had known only in a fog.

 

Niebuhr goes on to say that Jesus allows us to “reconstruct our faith.” We can trust God because we trust Jesus. If we doubt God, or find him incomprehensible, unknowable, the very best cure is to gaze steadily at Jesus, the Rosetta stone of faith.

Philip Yancey
Reaching for the Invisible God (135-39)

Living the Moment to the Fullest

I have been a little anxious lately, a little impatient. Well, possibly more than just a little impatient! These words of Henri Nouwen are a great remember to live the moment to the fullest:

 

Patience is a hard discipline. It is not just waiting until something happens over which we have no control: the arrival of the bus, the end of the rain, the return of a friend, the resolution of a conflict. Patience is not a waiting passivity until someone else does something. Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later and somewhere else. Let’s be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand.

 

Let us live the moment to the fullest!

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year I’m thankful for . . .

 

The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the church, my family, my friends, vanilla lattes and mochachinos, chicken and cheese enchiladas (my mom makes the best!), ceviche, a cappella singing, jazz, swing and salsa music, yerba mate, los panas, Caribbean beaches, language acquisition, all-night flights, paying for excess baggage, dodging thieves in Caracas, the overcrowded subway, trials and temptations.

 

I am thankful for the good and the bad because all of these things are a part of the life that God has blessed me with! Either way, there won’t be any crime or overbooked flights in heaven. God’s blessings, provision and providence remind us of His goodness! The negative things in our lives remind us of our need for Him!

 

Today I am sad because I am far away from my family, 5,460 miles to be exact. But I am also thankful because I will have lunch today with Christian friends and family from four different countries in Buenos Aires where I will begin working this coming year. Jesus has been faithful to His promise in Mark 10:29-30.

 

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.

 

Happy Thanksgiving, lots of love from South America and happy eating!

The Joy of Working With God

“Most men are not satisfied with the permanent output of their lives. Nothing can wholly satisfy the life of Christ within his followers except the adoption of Christ’s purpose toward the world He came to redeem. Fame, pleasure and riches are but husks and ashes in contrast with the boundless and abiding joy of working with God for the fulfillment of his eternal plans. The men who are putting everything into Christ’s undertaking are getting out of life its sweetest and most priceless rewards.”

J. Campbell White

The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards

Here are a few Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards that I really liked.

Being sensible that I am unable to do any thing without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him, by his grace, to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.

Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.

1. Resolved, That I will do whatsoever I think to be most to the glory of God, and my own good, profit, and pleasure, in the whole of my duration; without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved, to do whatever I think to be my duty, and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved, so to do, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many soever, and how great soever.

6. Resolved, To live with all my might, while I do live.

7. Resolved, Never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.

8. Resolved, To act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings, as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God. Vid. July 30.

28. Resolved, To study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly, and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive, myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.

33. Resolved, To do always what I can towards making, maintaining, and preserving peace, when it can be done without an overbalancing detriment in other respects. Dec. 26, 1722.

43. Resolved, Never, henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God’s; agreeably to what is to be found in Saturday, Jan. 12th. Jan. 12, 1723.

52. I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, That I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age. July 8, 1723.

57. Resolved, When I fear misfortunes and adversity, to examine whether I have done my duty, and resolve to do it and let the event be just as Providence orders it. I will, as far as I can, be concerned about nothing but my duty and my sin. June 9, and July 13, 1723.

69. Resolved, Always to do that, which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it. Aug. 11, 1723.

70. Let there be something of benevolence in all that I speak. Aug. 17, 1723.

For the entire list of the The Resolutions, click here.

The Mosaic

A mosaic consists of thousands of little stones. Some are blue, some are green, some are yellow, some are gold. When we bring our faces close to the mosaic, we can admire the beauty of each stone. But as we step back from it, we can see that all these little stones reveal to us a beautiful picture, telling a story none of these stones can tell by itself.

That is what our life in community is about. Each of us is like a little stone, but together we reveal the face of God to the world. Nobody can say: “I make God visible.” But others who see us together can say: “They make God visible.” Community is where humility and glory touch.

 

— Henri Nouwen