December 13th, 2016
Probably my last post from the Africa Mercy in Benin.
There are so many moments here on board that have the potential for greatness if we attempt to tune our ear to God’s voice. I am grateful that this round in Africa has been filled with growth for me. I’m past the sweeping perspective shift of my first field service in Madagascar. Now, I’m into the nitty-gritty of my faith, heart, and service. The ship is both literally and figuratively a petri-dish. Whatever you bring will quickly grow, for better or worse.
I’m so grateful for the pioneering vision of Don Stephens.
I’m so grateful for my privilege and corresponding responsibility.
(I’m one lucky girl! Globally, it’s a pretty small percentage of women who even get the opportunity to do what I’m doing.)
I’m grateful for this pressure-cooking, community.
I’m grateful for good leadership.
I’m grateful for heartbreak.
I’m grateful for our patients and translators.
I’m grateful for “ambassadors” of Mercy Ships in all areas.
I’m grateful for tough cases.
But most of all…
I’m so grateful for the word of God.
Without it, I couldn’t possibly make sense of the good, bad, and ugly.
Without it, I wouldn’t have grown through some of the toughest and best months of my life.
Without it, my words would lack power and friendly advice would be empty.
I am grateful for the Holy Spirit.
Coupled with the Holy Spirit, God’s word is like “fire in my bones.”
With them, I am uncharacteristically bold and confident.
With them, I speak life, not just positive vibes.
With them, I am inspired and creative.
With them, I am measured and convicted.
With them, I am different (all meanings apply).
With them, I know who and whose I am.
With them, I fear no thing.
Relationship with the Holy Spirit when the rubber meets the road is way better than the rush of any worship night or youth conference. Maybe it’s because “high” emotions aren’t my favorite thing, but really. I am more stirred thinking about the involvement of the Holy Spirit in my life than I am recalling any invigorating praise experiences. You can have the praise-breaks, shouts and goosebumps, give me the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit in my everyday life!
This goes out to all the believers who are new to life with the Holy Spirit:
Practice, practice, practice.
And by that I don’t mean you’re warming the bench or tuning your instrument before the performance.
What I mean is, put it into practice. Your new life starts NOW! The game is already full-swing. The concert is already started. You have been granted the privilege to harbor the Spirit of God inside you. Live like it! If you fumble or go sharp, it’s ok… that’s why you aren’t a solo-athlete or musician. The team/orchestra of believers around you are there to support you and get you up to speed. Look to your coach/conductor–He won’t steer you wrong. Trust me when I say that waiting until you feel ready or worthy is a losing battle.
There are people in need now,
obedient choices to make,
dark spots to purge from your life,
and hearts that need hope.
We are literally hiding your “light” under a basket by withholding due to insecurity. We are doing ourselves and others a disservice by delaying to live according to the Spirit.
Just to prove that I’m not just babbling, guess what I’m about to quote? Yup, the word of God. For your reading (and application) pleasure 🙂
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children
2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.
4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.
7 Therefore do not be partners with them.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light
9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)
10 and find out what pleases the Lord.
11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.
13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.
14 This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,
16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,
19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,
20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. 25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
Start putting these things into practice with me, and see if God doesn’t follow through on His word. Try it and see 🙂