We've completed our 8 weeks!! In some aspects we feel that the time has flown by - but in others (especially regarding the relationships we've formed) we feel as if we've been here forever! The time here has helped us feel at least a little more prepared as we venture out to serve the Lord in Madagascar.
What's been challenging us this week? Take a look...
1. Romans 11:33-36 - "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments,and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen." What a joy to know that we can not fully understand God! Does anyone really want to serve someone who you can fully understand? That would mean our minds are bigger than our God!! This week, we were reminded to find peace and rest even in what look like the uncertainties of His plan.
2. Romans 11:12 - "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." - Such a straightforward, seemingly simple verse - however as you truly look at that first phrase - "be joyful in hope" - it's not quite that simple to live out. If I am hoping for something then that would imply that I don't have it yet. How often am I joyful during the waiting?
3. Romans 14 After looking at this passage and a few others, I've decided to just let Scripture interpret Scripture. My own personal applications are just that - applications. If I believe the Word is holy and perfect, then I should never try to add to it. Which means I also can not judge others for how they apply Scripture to their own life. If I am causing a Christian brother/sister or a lost person to stumble by my actions, dress, or lifestyle then I should change it while in their presence. The ONLY thing that is okay for someone to "stumble over" is Jesus. If the action/lifestyle choice is a direct reflection of my Lord - then and only then should it remain unchanged.
4. Romans 15:5-6 - "May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." This my friends is my prayer - my prayer for the kingdom of God, for the entire team in Sub Sahara Africa, for our team in Madagascar, and for my family. Would you join us in praying this scripture? Our endurance and encouragement comes from the Father. Pray that we would have one mind and one voice to which we can best glorify our Father. One mind and one voice - meaning united in the vision - the vision being glorifying our Creator.
5. Isaiah 30:10-11 - "Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!" - I've had this verse marked for a while as a prayer for the Mahafaly people. That they would not feel this way and they would desire to know the truth. Yesterday morning as I was reading it the Holy Spirit convicted me of the times that this has been my cry. Times that I have only sought what was pleasant - illusions of things that were not true. Oh, how He humbled my heart!! My desire is to only seek what is right - the Holy One of Israel.