December 2, 2010

Time for a little rambling

"Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well-pleased." -Hebrews13:12-16

These verses have been jumping up off the pages to me this week.

Jesus suffered.  Why then do I shrink from suffering? Why do I try so hard to avoid it, even when Jesus is clearly saying, "Walk this way" and it may mean suffering?

The Word says to go forth. Why then do I stay within the comforts of the camp, when He says to go without?

Bearing reproach? No, I want people to think good of me. Not reproach me, or us.

"We have no continuing city...". Why do I hold tight to my hometown? Homeland? My city is in Heaven.

We are to do good. To do good. Not to "just be" as I have sometimes heard. "God wants you to just be." Be what? Holy, maybe. Then do something with that. Reminds me of something I just read on another blog - "how are you doing good when you stay inside your homes and read your Bible?"

I don't ever mean to offend here on this blog - to make anyone feel condemned for not going. This is a missions blog. Our blog and we do missions. That's why I talk about it all the time. Because that's what Tony and I talk about all the time. I like talking about it. It's my passion. It's Tony's passion. My intention is only ever to encourage others to do missions, not to condemn. The thing is, I am American. I understand the American mind, the fears, how American Christians think. I understand that people are afraid. I understand that they think, "But I don't speak the language." I understand when they say, "But the house... the car... the kids. How would we do that?".  It's never my intention to guilt-trip anyone. There is healthy guilt, however; it's called conviction. The kind where God speaks. That's the Holy Spirit's job. He "pricks the conscience." I know, He does it to me all the time.

We need encouraging. The American church needs encouraging to do missions. The culture influences the church. How can we think we are not influenced by our culture that says "God is Money and Money is god?. And things. And safety. And retirement. And having all our ducks in a row? So, I hope no one ever takes the things I say as condemning or finger-pointing, that is never my intention. What I write here is me thinking out loud; what God is speaking to me.

"See that ye refuse not him that speaketh." -Hebrews12:25

The reason Tony and I feel compelled to go is in great part because we feel trapped in the illusion of the American Dream. "The American Nightmare", as a friend of mine puts it. A delusion thought up in hell to keep Christians complacent and comfortable and distracted, she says. Well... that is how we feel. And we don't even follow the American Dream (to the great dismay of my family, I think). But we are trapped in it, nonetheless. Work, home, school, dinner, kids, baths, rest, sleep, next day all over again. No one is knocking at our door asking for help. No one is begging in the streets as we walk whiz on by at 55 mph. No one needs anything. We are "the needy"! HA! That would be funny if it weren't utterly ridiculous. Poor Tony and Chris, they have nothing. Look at the cars they drive - they don't even own a house! Can't they get it together and make something of themselves? Poor things, can't even afford a vacation. Sad. Just sad...

I know some people think that of us. They don't have to say it. I can see it in their eyes, hear it in the other things they say, in what they don't say. We have people actively trying to talk us out of moving to Argentina right now. Yes, we do. It is so... I don't even know the words. Frustrating? Hurtful? No, more than that. A tragedy. There are people dying of starvation right now in Argentina. Children. There are people who will never hear the gospel because we are sitting here on our hands in our comfortable living room in front of our big screen TV.

We have no idea what it's going to look like. We have no support. I can count on one hand the people who have come up to us and said, "Good for you. We are with you." out of the hundreds that we have told. It's a lonely road. It is. Then the devil comes and says, "Forgeeeet it. It's hopeless... See? No one cares. See how they look at you. You are crazy. This is crazy. It'll never happen. Forget it. There is no way." And on and on.

Last night Tony woke me up because he was mumbling and moaning and talking in his sleep. I shook him to wake him out of what was obviously a nightmare. This morning he said that, in his dream, Satan came to attack him. He woke me because he was praying and rebuking him in the name of Jesus, in his sleep!

That's good news. :) Good news, indeed. When the devil is after you, be assured you're doing something right. If he's not, be assured you are no threat to him or the kingdom of darkness.

"I am he.. and have the keys of hell and of death." - Rev. 1:18

"I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:
And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.
I am the LORD, and there is none else.
That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else" -Isaiah 45:2-3,5-6

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