Tuesday, November 29, 2011

To Be A Neighbor

My husband with sweet Gladyss. 

Matthew 25:40 says "He will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.' " What this is saying, is what ever I do for others, I am doing for Him. If I chose to ignore the need around us, if I choose to ignore the pain, the sadness, the sick and starving children, the orphans and widows, if I choose to ignore them... Ultimately, I am choosing to ignore Jesus. If I see someone hungry or naked, and I don't do something to help, I am turning away Jesus. In James 2, verse 15-17, its says "Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." God requires us to be followers with faith AND action.

I do not claim to have it right or to have all the answers, and I certainly don't claim to live this life fully the way God intended. I have a long way to go. I am growing everyday. But I stumble frequently, slip up from time to time. I am a sinner, but I am reaching out for Jesus, and He will take my hand. I don't consider myself an expert on all this, no where near, but I've got my eyes on Him, my eyes are on the goal, and he is calling all of us. He is calling us into faith and to action. We must stand up and move forward to expand the kingdom of God, to give Him His glory, and to live a life of service and submission to our Father! He calls each of us to carry our cross, to lay down our lives, to put away our own human desires, and pick up the desires of Jesus. To walk down that path He is directing us in.

I struggle with this daily, and I think a lot of us sometimes focus too much on the "american dream," with materialism, entertainment, pleasure, self indulgence, money, looks and glamour, etc. Our eyes need to be set on Jesus, not things of this world. When we become a lover and follower of Jesus Christ, there is a change in our hearts, and we begin to see how Jesus sees, how He saw when He was walking on this earth. Its not adequate to just tell someone, "Good luck, it'll all be fine", We are called to take action. To show LOVE. To be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ! He is beckoning us to move. He wants to love in and through YOU. 

From Romans 12, we can see some of the many gifts we may have and how we can serve. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Matthew 22 37-40: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love your neighbor as yourself. If I don't want myself starving, then I should not want my neighbor starving. I want to be clothed, fed, warm, healthy, loved, etc., then I also should want my neighbors to clothed, fed, warm, healthy, and loved.  Jesus said that whatever you do for the least of these, you have done for Him. If you read Luke 10, verses 25-37 about the good Samaritan, one of the experts in the law asks Jesus who exactly is considered his neighbor. To answer this man's question, Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan. In the story, a man is beaten and robbed, and left half dead on the side of the road. A priest and a levite passed by, seeing the man, and continued to walk on the other side of the road. But then a Samaritan man approaches the almost lifeless body, he stops with sympathy and compassion. The Samaritan cleans and bandages the beaten man, provides for him a place to stay while he is cared for. Jesus then asks the expert in law which man was like a neighbor to the beaten man. The answer is the Samaritan. Jesus is saying that a neighbor is anyone that needs mercy, compassion, or relief from suffering. A neighbor can be anyone that you come across. You are a neighbor when you care for others and display mercy. Jesus challenges us to "Go and do likewise."

If every Christian in the world looked like me, or looked like you, what would this world look like? Would anyone be bold enough to be Sunday school teachers, to be preachers, or to just stand up a give a testimony or are we too scared, to shy, or a little stubborn sometimes. Afraid of what people will think, scared you'll say something wrong? If all Christians looked like you or me, would anyone be bold enough to tell their friends, their brothers and sisters, their Dad, about the love of Jesus Christ, do we love Him enough, do we love them enough, to tell them, to save them, to introduce them to the Savior and Lord of all creation. If every Christian looked like me or you, would there be any missionaries, would the Good News eventually be forgotten because no one would share it or take it to the nations. Would children grow up, never knowing the name of Jesus, never feeling His embrace? Jesus lives on this earth in and through us. We are called into action, to be a light in this world, to be a neighbor, for Jesus to use us so that He can be a father to the fatherless, using our arms to embrace, our hands to care. What would this world look like? Would there be love and generosity or would we just be content with our comforts, selfishly obsessed with the things of the world? 

We are made to be brave, courageous, noble. And I can't do it on my own. You can't do it on your own. We can't do it alone. That is why He is with us, He is in us, He will give us the words to say, He will give us the strength to stand tall, the strength to keep going, and to pick each other up. He is our rock, our solid ground. We are meant to lay down our lives for the sake of Jesus, and lay down our lives for the brethren. To carry our cross. Every child, is a child of the King. Every child, He calls his own. God is present with us through the Holy Spirit living within us. He uses us! WE are His vessels. When His children are alone and abandoned, He uses YOU and ME to comfort them, to go to them, to take care of them, and to show them the love of the Father. He lives in us, and our hands are the Fathers hands, and He will use us to pick that child up. Defend the poor and the fatherless, Psalm 82:3. And God is a father to the fatherless through us! And if we're not doing it, who is? We are all called. Do we care the way Jesus cares? Are we willing to fight for what is His? Are we willing to be an advocate?

I trip and stumble sometimes. But I'm getting better at keeping my eyes on the goal, my eyes are on Him. Let us take off running in His will, down the path that he has laid out before us, and never look back!

Please watch this video. "Depraved Indifference"- Eric Ludy

It's been a while (Update)

Well, It has been a while since I've posted, so here is an update and summary of the last year and a half since the last trip to Kenya.

If you read the earlier posted, you know that while in Kenya in 2010, I got engaged to an amazing man named Tim Jarvis. We got married on June 4th, 2011. We were hoping to return to Kenya as our honeymoon and then go visit everyone from past trips but flights were just way to expensive and as you know, weddings aren't too cheap, and neither is living on your own. Welcome to the real world of bills, buying groceries, and no money! But I love it and couldn't be happier... actually... we could because... We are dying to go back to Kenya. Tim is currently a teacher at Maryville Christian School, and I am at LMU trying to wrap up my last year in Nursing. God willing, I will graduate in May!!! I am getting a little impatient as time is going by so slow, but I am ready to hop on a plane and get back to Kenya. Tim and I both feel led to missions. I mean, that is how God brought us together. I went to Kenya for 2 months in 2009 and staying with a beautiful family and volunteered in local school and worked with the children in the safe house. When I got back, I worked at an after school program for kids, where Tim came to visit (he used to work there) and that was the first time we met. So he started emailing me about my trip to Kenya. He said he always felt led to do mission work but wasn't sure of the direction God was calling him in. Some people from his church had been to Brazil which sparked his interest, but he didn't feel like it was quite where God wanted him. We started a email Bible study together, encouraging each other and praying for each other, soon enough we started dating. The following year he went to Kenya. We were both there but he was with a team, where Mom and I were in Kawangware working under another organization. But I did get to go work with his team in Maasai land in Lerujat for about 2 weeks which is where we got engaged. Well I'm getting a little off topic. So back to my point-We want to be used as a vessel, for Jesus to allow little ole' us to be used as His hands and feet. To show the left behind and forgotten orphans and children what love is, so that they may understand love, so that they can learn of the love of Jesus Christ- which is so much deeper and greater than ours could ever be. So this summer, we are working on going back to Kenya on an open ended flight... meaning we don't know when exactly we will come back. We are thinking of one day having an orphanage and a clinic, but we will see how it all unfolds once we get there. So we have a lot of work in front of us, God is continuing to open and close doors right before our eyes. He has been encouraging us and putting people in our lives that we are so thankful for. Waiting to see whats next.