Monday 20 February 2012

Be Still and Know

Prayer is so fruitful. If we did nothing else today, this time would not be wasted. Spending the first hour of the day in prayer gave us such an insight into God's way of doing things.

Being still is not as easy as it looks. But it is vital if we are to fulfil what he has called us to do. The reality of the situation for AfriCom is that we do not have regular provision for our basic needs, let alone the projects we feel called to do. With such a reality, it's easy to get drawn into plans, projects and strategies.

As we prayed as a team this morning, rather than answering our need for provision, God told us to be still and know that I am your God. The passages of scripture we received from our time of prayer all confirmed this message. When we brought God our needs, we felt guided to Matthew 6:31-32 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’, For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

So, rather than having a clear answer as to where the money for our ministry will come from, we had a sense of assurance that we just need to trust him. As we continued to pray, we felt led to openly confess our lack of trust and fear of failure that had crept in and was distracting us from the original calling.

What we know is that we need to have that stillness that only comes from being under the assurance of God and therefore trusting him enough to not fear about provision or needs.

Pastor Victor, one of the many gifted teachers at our church, gave a message on Sunday about setting our eyes on the eternal goal and not on our earthly needs. This fits our situation so well. If we trust God totally for our current needs (and thereby not let it consume us) and instead work towards the eternal, we will not panic when things fall apart around us.

Being still, as my colleague, Susana reminded us, is not about being passive. It's about that preparation that God is calling us to, to anticipate the move of God in our lives and to seek him first. Once again it falls back to the two commandments that Jesus taught us: firstly Love God, then Love others. So by praying for provision means that we are abandoning the core calling that God has placed on our lives. His command is to Love Him first, then Love others. Our needs don't even come into the picture. And they don't need to, because he's already told us not to worry about that, that's already sorted!

Wednesday 15 February 2012

How long have you been in missions?

This question is posed more often than you'd think. Over time, this sense of pride kicks in to those of us that call ourselves 'missionaries' that we've 'survived' the long-run. When people pose that question to me, I avoid a straight answer, because it's not as simple as that. We've only been in YWAM for just over two years now, does that make us 'new missionaries'?
Since becoming a Christian in my teens and gradually learning what it is to be a follower of Christ, I have also  begun to learn that we are all in missions all the time. When I worked as a sub-editor for a publication in rural Berkshire, I was in missions just as much as I am now, except the mission field just looked different, that's all. When I look back, I remember praying fervently for my colleagues and seeking opportunities to pray for them and share with them about Jesus. It just so happens that now my calling from God has led me away from a salary and I have to rely on those who partner with us to support us. It's harder, more humbling and very different, but no less missions than where either Becky or I were before.
On that note, we are very grateful for the financial and prayer support that we get and know that many people who give to us, do so sacrificially. May the Lord bless you, keep you and sustain you.
It might sound like a cliché to say that, we're all in missions together but I think in a way, it's true. It needs unpacking a bit; it's easier for me to see what my mission is now than where I was working before, but reflecting back, missions has been a key element to my walk with Jesus for the best part of 15 years now.
I would love to encourage everyone and anyone who serves Christ reading this to really seek to understand what your role is in missions. Where has God led you to work, to live and to socialise? Because that's your mission field, until God leads you elsewhere. The Great Commission is not just for the 'professional Christians', but for all who call themselves a follower of Christ. I know the few of us that are on the 'mission field' cannot do this by ourselves!

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Be my Valentine?

Back to firing from all cylinders, it's great to know that there is an army of friends praying for us in missions. Somehow, even though I haven't taken any time off work since my last blog post, I have renewed energy and vigour - this can only come from the Lord!

Added to that, my prayer life has significantly improved and I'm even spending more time reading my Bible ("you missionaries already read your Bible loads" I hear you say!)

Now to enjoy an evening with my valentine.

Thursday 9 February 2012

Second wind

Sometimes in missions we can face burnout. Sometimes we can feel like the world is upon us. Sometimes we just aren't sure of where we're going so we're like a sail that isn't anchored down in any way.

Since returning from England, there have been so many things to deal with and issues to sort out that I feel like my feet haven't touched the ground. We had a really busy time in the UK and I was hoping for a break when I returned to South Africa. No such luck. I feel like a sail that's blown here there and everywhere with no sense of grounding and direction. I feel there hasn't been time to catch-my-breath. Also, being struck down with food poisoning didn't help! Yet there is so much work that I still need to do and so much I need to step up to, to do what I'm called here to do. Yet I'm exhausted just thinking about.

Long drive
As I reflected on this during a drive home from a meeting on the other side of town today (about an hour away), the lack of radio in my car meant I had time to think! I really felt God giving me a second wind; that I should trust him during this time and just press in. That now isn't a time for sitting down and moaning, or whining, but now is a time for action. I believe that, though I'm tired, God will give me my second wind of energy -- just like you get when you're in a race and you feel exhausted in the first quarter and think "how am I ever going to finish", determination pushes you to jog/cycle/swim through that and then you get your second wind.

The person leading today's meeting brought a word of encouragement (and challenge) to us that fitted this nicely. He told us about God's miracles always being intertwined with the reality of the physical. God doesn't just clothe, heal, feed or bless for the sake of it. He works with people, in their circumstances and gave a (supernatural) helping hand, as they also did their part. The reflection was on the miracles that we see in the books of Kings, but could be applied to almost any miracle - from multiplying foods of various kinds to the parting of the Jordan - all were done in a context where men did the possible and God did the impossible.

I know that I know this, but do I really KNOW this?

Need to digest, sleep and look to get some quality quiet time in tomorrow. Then I can press on towards the higher goal.

Lord give me the energy, perseverance and wisdom to continue doing what You've called me to do.