Saturday, March 19, 2011

For the sake of the Gospel

Reading in Ephesians 3 this morning, the first verse struck me. When the Holy Spirit is teaching me something, He often has me read it and read it and read it again (insert hardheadedness here). Paul is in prison, and he reveals the reason for his circumstances: "for the sake of you Gentiles." The apostle suffered time and time again so that the Gospel could be advanced. Yet, Paul makes more of the great mystery of Christ through the Gospel than he does of his situation. He humbles himself, saying he is the least of all saints in verse 8, and he points to God's glory in In the following few verses. Oh, how I long to make less of me and more of Him. There are so many times when I promote myself through pride, selfishness and indifference. But God is worthy of all of our praise all the time. No other name is worthy...only His!!!!!!

As we prepare to leave Guatemala City this morning, my heart is overflowing with gratitude to our Lord Jesus Christ for what He as allowed us to witness and participate in. We have joined with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ daily to lift Him up, and He has blessed in ways that I cannot describe. Honestly, there are so many snapshots running through my head that I cannot stop on just one. So, there will be more posts next week about specific events that God has used to bring Himself glory here!

On Wednesday night I shared a portion of my testimony of God's grace in my life. Clearly, I bring nothing of value to Him, and He does NOT need me. But I am desperately in need of Him. The Holy Spirit gave me the words to share, and I had no idea why or for whom the message was delivered. God often gives us commands without reasons and demands obedience. Those of us who like to be in control don't like that too much and often ask for explanations. But, I digress with my pride!!! It wasn't until yesterday after our women's meeting that I found the reason for the words.

A woman kept trying to talk to me and made her desires known to several other people. She told Greg that she wanted to talk to me and needed him to translate. She told Hannah too. Then, she found another team member and insisted on speaking with me. That wasn't enough for her, and she came to me and explained that she HAD to talk to me afterwards. She kept trying to get closer to me and couldn't wait for Patty to finish translating so we could really talk. I was getting a little uncomfortable here. Ever had a stalker? That's what it felt like....

But this woman, Lilliana, wanted to give glory to God for the testimony shared on Wednesday. God used it to speak to her heart. Through various circumstances, she ended up homeless and was told that she belonged to the street because she had no father. We encouraged one another with Ephesians 1:23 where Christ fulfills "all in all." There were many tears as we shared our stories and saw how God has weaved His great grace through our lives in similar ways.

Then, God overwhelmed me with His perfect love. A woman who struggles to make a living and feed her kids had just bared her sould and darkest moments to me. As she daily dwells in the pain of the past and survival for the future, she reached for her wrist. With a look of pure joy, Lilliana took off her silver bracelet with a pink heart and gave it to me. With tears streaming down all of our faces, God lavished His grace upon us. He reminded us of our unworthiness and highlighted His great grace (which is His glory beginning)!!! So, when you see my new bracelet, think of God's beautiful sacrifice for all of us. I know I will..... And I'll remember why we live this life...for the sake of the Gospel.


Amy said...

Wow. That is a powerful post and a beautiful story. I can't wait to see that bracelet. Praying for you now.

LaRessie said...

that was a beautiful bracelet. I knew not what you were talking about back in the corner of the room.. but I could feel the power of the Holy Spirit. It was a BEAUTIFUL moment from my sight. I wanted to take picture... I did in my mind. I could feel the LOVE and the Presence of GOD... It was AMAZING! Although you wouldn't share with us.. you said we had to read your blog ;) I knew that it was a precious moment. It was FOR the SAKE OF THE GOSPEL! I LOVE YOU and miss you my sister!