If you want a good illustration of “eager expectation” (George’s favorite definition of hope… an eager expectation that God is going to do something good in your life today), just look at Murray (my parents dog) when my mom says “are you ready to go on a WALK Murray?” or when my mom starts cutting up his dog food. Now that’s eager expectation.
Deadline is on for finances for the plane tickets to Africa. So anyway, we had some prayer last night. And then I got home and couldn’t sleep hardly at all and spent a lot of time in prayer. And then when I woke up, I’d just had a dream where I was praying in my dream (among some other good stuff)…and anytime you’re praying in your SLEEP obviously, the Spirit is with you, and I prayed some more and God gave me a vision almost immediately of a bible scene and started relating it to the present situation. Sweet
So I call up Jasmine to share the dream, because she was one of the main characters, and I felt like I needed to warn her about something from the dream before she encountered that distraction in the flesh. Well, dream totally ministered to her, and some of the details that hadn’t really “made sense” to me made perfect sense when she started explaining some context of circumstances she was dealing with that I didn’t know about.
And then I called up Darren to tell him about this vision and dream because part of it pertained to him also. And after I tell him the whole dream he says that’s funny because he’d been praying last night for dreams and visions for the team, but God hadn’t given him anything, nada, zilch. And the dream and vision both totally encouraged him as well, as spiritual gifts are intended–to exhort and edify the body of Christ. I tend to be very wary of use of spiritual gifts as they can be a little iffy seeming to me at times, but wow, seeing them correctly applied, wow, that’s way different.
And then twice this morning I just opened my bible and it landed on exactly the scriptures from the dream & vision and made things even clearer.
And the other crazy thing was, relating to the dream but not in the dream God had kind of spoken a few words to me for Darren as well that didn’t really make a whole lot of sense to me. Okay, so there’s something on Darren’s calendar this morning that doesn’t belong there, that’s not from God, and he needs to take it off and spend the time in the prayer closet. Obviously I don’t know what was on his calendar and had a couple guesses about potential distractions to pray specifically against, but nothing concrete or “that’s the thing”. But within a minute of me telling him what I felt like the Lord was speaking to me, the Lord brought to light what the distraction on his calendar was–calling people about the prayer dinner. And the thing was, like the dream said, it wasn’t like a bad thing he was distracted with, in fact it was a good thing, it just wasn’t what he was supposed to be focused on at the time.
So it was just crazy how God was totally weaving all the details together so carefully, and how it all fits together, and just that God is calling us to the prayer closet and saying “this battle will be won or lost in the prayer closet, go pray”.
So at this week’s prayer meeting Mwela (who you may remember is from the Congo) had a big praise report on the specific items we’ve been praying for him. He had his interview with the immigration department last week and they didn’t have any problems with his asylum application, so he will be getting finalized immigration papers next week on the 5th, so he’ll be able to start working legally and not just taking English classes. And its hard to say which is bigger praise report, but he ALSO had a praise report that his family (that he hasn’t talked to in two years) including wife and kids were finally located, safe and sound, at a refugee camp in Zambia. He hopes to bring them here by around November, so we still some big prayer requests to keep praying for.
As for Shamim, she also had praises again. Last week it was that her son’s grades were up in school and he has been more applying himself since we prayed for that. This week it was that one of her friends from Africa (I think from the refugee camp in Kenya?) is scheduled to come to San Diego on the next flight of refugees next month.
Other than that, we’ve been having a lot of people showing up who are either signed up for the BWO trip to Africa or who are strongly considering putting in an application. We had a record 21 people this week, beating our first week in La Mesa which had our previous record of 17, so God’s doing something crazy I’m sure. But its cool that that many people are going out of their way to spend time praying during the week. Maybe Pastor Benjamin’s vision of their house being filled with people praying will yet happen ;-).
Before putting away my really old journal pile that I was dismembering portions of, I decided to just sit down and read the one from right when I first came to know Jesus. The journal started the day after I gave my life to Christ.
As I read over it, some parts of it make me laugh (“tides and offerings”…is that something like “good tidings”?). Other parts make me cry. But all in all, what a work God was doing in me. But even right then, people around me could see a change in me. “Its like a completely different Jess. You sound like you’re really happy, happier than I remember” said Chris. And I saw a lot of changes in my own attitudes. That and there were the little things, the prayers, that looking back God quite faithful to answer.
Three years ago when I bought my car…they didn’t have any cars in stock that didn’t have the “sport package” which I didn’t want, but I needed the car, so I was like, okay, fine, sell me the sport package…well, came in handy when I had to go pick up this gross disgusting box of bloody raw meat on Friday night for the Missions Conference we had on Saturday (we cooked Ugandan food for the conference). The box leaked…somehow by some miracle, did not leak all over all the junk in the truck…just stayed right where it was and made a mess on the trunk liner…which being plastic I can take out and hose off. Oh imagine how gross that would be if it had leaked all over the carpet layer in the trunk instead of the sport package plastic trunk liner? Oh the near disasters that weren’t.
Oh and the people who helped us cook the food…totally did that, not expecting any compensation, just because they had servants heart…well, we had a bunch of leftover food, and it turns out the guy who was a refugee from the Congo and the lady from Uganda who’s husband was brutally murdered…the ones who helped us with the food…well, turns out they have large families they live with, and obviously like no money…so we were totally able to bless them with the leftovers–and not just food, but the kind of food they like. Some of it was really good…some of it, I didn’t care much for, personally.
At church tonight this guy from our church was singing his testimony to oldies songs and then sang a few more oldies songs “sister act” style with christianized lyrics…totally a fun night at church. This guy got saved by Dion (!!!) Yeah, like Dion and the Belmonts, the oldies group. Crazy, right? Course even more crazy is A. Dion is a Christian. B. Dion didn’t die with Buddy Holly et. al. because he was poor so he took the bus instead of getting on that chartered plane with the rest of them. Funny how that works sometimes…
When HSE2 got back from their wilderness trip, everyone in their class was just…glowing. Positively glowing countenance. And tonight (after pastor Benjamin’s prayer night), I got to feel that glow for myself…and its just like, I finally got it…its one thing to say “we just spent a week in the presence of the Lord and that’s why we’re glowing” and another to feel what its like to sit in that presence yourself. I get it…and it just makes me hunger for more of it…makes me want to get to go on that HSE2 wilderness trip (yeah, despite all of HSE1 wilderness trip…) and get a whole *week* of what we got for one night tonight.
On my way into the building at work this afternoon I ran into one of the custodians who was mopping the floor outside the bathrooms. He asked how I was doing so I stopped to talk to him for a couple minutes.
There was a big fan blocking the door to one of the restrooms and he pointed out to me how he’d just waxed the floor in there and how shiny the floor was now and how people like using clean restrooms. You could see the pride on his face about how he’d worked hard to make that bathroom floor shine.
The furniture-moving guy (handiman essentially) was showing me once a few weeks ago how he’d (in thought of the people who would be using the conference room) rewired the lights so that the lights closest to and farthest from the projector screen were wired separate so that you could turn off only the lights near the screen but not all the lights in the room so that it would be easier to see the screen. The other day he was showing me how he was using the laser-level to get the wipe-off boards hung perfectly level across the whole wall.
But how often do we step back and think about the fact that someone took pride in making that restroom clean and inviting, or that someone else rewired the lights to make the conference room a more pleasant environment to work in? Nah, we so often sit there and focus on how our trash didn’t get emptied because there’s only one guy doing all the cleaning who “they” (management) wouldn’t “let” come back tomorrow (overtime) to empty the trashes.
Sometimes I find the “least of them” at work to be some of the most fascinating, because they just show you a perspective you don’t see from lofty people in the company. For the most part, its a very consistent attitude I’ve seen…they are here because its their job, so they try and do their job well–even though they probably won’t get any praise and glory for their job well done.
We could talk all morning about humility, but it is perhaps meaningless until you see it in practice. I have a lot of respect for those guys, they work hard, and they try real hard to just do what they do well even if what they do doesn’t sound all that impressive.
I have to say, when I got home yesterday, if I wasn’t so exhausted that I went straight to bed without eating (dinner? second dinner?) at get this–8:00pm, I probably would have posted about one particular thought that was grabbing at me as I drove home–I wish I could bottle up the memory of what it feels like to have spent the previous day and a half(ish) doing nothing but serving the Lord–it was just so…satisfying…and like at the point where you’re so attuned to the voice of God that the voice that says “be content with materialism, and your job, and with ‘just ok’, and don’t strive for more…” just entirely shuts itself out.
And if I could just bottle up what it feels like–and preserve that memory so that when I some time later start slipping back into the conundrums of day to day life that I could pull out the memory like a scratch-and-sniff sticker and get just a whiff of the betterness and be thrown back into the memory of just how more satisfying serving the Lord rather than fleshly desires was–because I KNOW if I every time I forgot, I could just open up my memory to what it was really like to serve, I would never want any alternative. Just a whiff of it would be enough to take me back–“back in your to your fire, to your throne, to your feet again…oh bring me back… distractions slip into my day… my flesh, my spirit is betrayed… I had such a fire in me… my soul longs to live for You”