I love that, as Marianna prayed for me at the beginning of the break, God has definitely met me here this Christmas... and how beautiful that is - that not only did God send Jesus to be Immanuel - God with us - but He continues to meet us where we are through His Holy Spirit drawing us and guiding us into a closer relationship with the God of the universe who cares about us so personally...
And I love how our Father reminds us that we are not alone in this world. Our brothers and sisters in other countries have faced incredible persecution this Christmas season in their desire to celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world. This morning as I was watching the news on TV, I noticed in the newsfeed at the bottom of the screen that several churches in Nigeria have been bombed and 38 Christians killed in the past two days... while I am here, comfortable, surrounded by my wonderful family in this country that has been so blessed with religious freedom. What heart-breaking news that I so desperately needed to be reminded of this morning.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was LIFE, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it... He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor or the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth... And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made Him known."
John 1:1-5, 8-13, 14, 16-18
The Word came, and still his own have not known him...
Who will go and tell them?
Here I am! Send me... even though it won't be easy... even though there will be troubles and persecution.
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? ... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:37-39
Now, what does this mean for the way I live? There is still so much to be done... Barring a really, really bad interview with state BSU, I'll be in Recuay, Peru this summer, making disciples, serving the church in whatever way possible... Before then, professional block... after that, student teaching in the fall... and then what?
"When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, PRAY EARNESTLY to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into HIS harvest." -Matthew 9:36-38