Let me introduce you to one of my heroines in the faith, Jackie Pullinger.
As Christians we know the drill; we are to pray, read the Bible and die – daily.
Some days we excel in all three and other days we fail miserably. Remember when we were children who played up when the teacher left the room or how we scurried to do our chores when we saw our parents pull up in the driveway?
Jesus, the One who loves us more than we love Him is unseen yet sees our heart and our motives. By giving Him the start of each new day in prayer we assure ourselves that He has everything under control, we remind ourselves that He is watching over us and we may hear His voice as clear as a bell answering our questions.
Recently as I sat before Him I began to cry.
I cry often, many times in church during worship, during prayer and sometimes I break out in public as if my heart aches for what I see.
Over the years I have chided myself over it as it happens so often and this time I just said, ‘Lord, why am I crying?’, “These are my tears, Ginnie” flashed back at me in a gentle whisper, “My tears, your eyes.” Suddenly a scramble of words tumble across my mind – BE YE HOLY EVEN AS I AM HOLY, Oh God, am I clean before you? what have I been watching, what have I been saying? we are His hands and His feet, use me Lord, use my hands, use my mouth, use my eyes- how often over these many years have I prayed this way and He is here – listening and it is so profound to know that He answers! I sit still in silence, I don’t move, I want Him to say more yet I can’t bare the profoundness of this moment.
I cry His tears
in sorrow, in praise, in worship, in compassion, in intercession
I cry His tears
I repeat this over and over and I go and tell my husband, my church, my daughter and I tell you all, He is there, He listens, He watches, He waits and He uses us to continue to minister in the world today.
This Christmas, take time to reflect on Jesus, take time to remember why He came, take time to prepare yourself to be used by Him.
In all of this, I just ant you to concentrate on the poster, Äre You Blessed?’ Living in India, I am daily reminded that indeed I am.
On the day we left for India, I turned to Bill and said, “It’s OK, we can exhale now.”
It seems we have been holding our breath for more than 27 years; that is how long we have had India in our hearts and it comes as no surprise to our loved ones that we now live here. Joanna was only a few weeks old when India was whispered into our ear: Bill heard it first, as if it had echoed off the wall while playing with 4-year old Dean and kept the matter a secret. He would then come home during his lunch break and we would spend the time together in prayer and fasting. I remember the day, about a week later, when I announced that we were being called to India. His jaw dropped and he got rather agitated, wanting me to be more specific (for those of you in the family loop, this was the start of ‘The Bill’). We were sitting on opposite sides of the room and there was a magazine on the table, The Australian Evangel. Bill picked it up, opened it to a page unseen by me then quickly put it down. I picked it up, opened it and burst into tears! In my typical, wearing-my-heart-on-my-sleeve-manner, I blurted out that we were going to India. I had just seen a photo of a girl in a sari and the words, Calcutta Mission of Mercy. Instantly I remembered a prayer I had made two years prior, “God, I’ll give You my life – just don’t make me a missionary! You know, those types that wear socks with their sandals and the women with head to toe clothing and their hair tied up in buns!”
In those days, if you were going to India, you were going as a missionary. Try as we might, we never became your typical missionary; we came over many times and lent a hand here and there and today we are here on a working visa.
Nine days ago, that baby girl of ours,Joanna, rang to say that Matthew had just proposed! They expect to marry in March and we expect to be there!
Somehow, I know it doesn’t phase her that we are here.
I remember in the early years of my Christian walk being able to ‘see’ certain things in people that others were oblivious to. I would come straight out to Bill and say things like, “That pastor is real dodgy and his wife takes too much interest in money.” Bill, being ever wise, would tell me not to judge but to go and pray about it – first he would chastise me severely for even having such thoughts about the pastor – ‘touch not my anointed ones’ (1 Chron 16:22) he would quote.
When I leaned over at a conference and whispered to him that the guest speaker was more than likely homosexual Bill got really, really mad and wondered what he would do with this contentious wife.
It took some years but I finally understood that what I had was actually a gift of discernment (1 Cor 12:10) and rather than sharing what I ‘see’, I am to take it to the Lord in intercession.
This leads me to sharing today’s entry from Oswald Chamber’s where I first read about how I should respond.
By the way, the pastor in question resigned within a year after decimating the congregation and ‘cooking the books’. He withdrew from ministry.
15 years later, the guest speaker came out of the closet – leaving his wife,his children and his ministry.
May we continue in the fear of the Lord and in His amazing grace.
An intellectual conception of God may be found in a bad vicious character. The knowledge and vision of God is dependent entirely on a pure heart. Character determines the revelation of God to the individual. The pure in heart see God.
Oswald Chambers, Biblical Ethics, 125 R
How many of us know the story of Daniel in the lion’s den?
Although we may not know many Bible stories, most of us remember the punchline to this one:a man gets thrown into a den of lions but miraculously survives. (Daniel 6:1-28)
How can this be possible?
Did you know that Daniel was friends with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego; the three guys who got thrown into a fiery furnace yet did not burn? (Daniel 3: 1-30) Whoa! That’s another story of the incomparable power of God.
What these men all had in common was that they loved God more than they loved their own lives.
Having been taken captive out of Jerusalem by the Babylonians and found to be a cut above their fellow Israelites (Daniel 1:4),they enter the service of King Nebuchadnezzar.
At the palace, they refuse to eat the king’s rich food and drink his wine, as instructed (Daniel 1:8-16). They don’t go berserk at the buffet table or allow the wine to loosen their inhibitions. By dining simply and soberly, they keep themselves alert and they also stick to their regime of praying to God – despite decrees forbidding this.
While everybody else bows down to the king and to his idols, these disciplined men keep their faith – despite the consequences.
Compromise never enters the equation.
While reading the Book of Daniel and these accounts of fellow eternity seekers, I wept in awe at the power of God to sustain His people in times of need. It didn’t matter to them whether they lived or died, either way they refused to compromise (Daniel 3:17-18).
Let us take these stories beyond the Sunday School room and allow them to strengthen our faith and to mold our character. Let us not eat of this world’s ‘rich food’ but discipline our lives by pursuing holiness.
The pure in heart see God. (Mathew 5:8, Psalm 73)
I got so excited when I saw this blog today, it strikes a chord in my heart: Christianity in India needs a holy inspired jolt! I left a comment of encouragement to keep this guy going, he is onto something, and I plan to visit his church this weekend! Please join me in praying for this young pastor of Delhi Bible Fellowship, Gurgaon (you can google it) 🙂