23 September 2006
The various thoughts that skitted through my mind while in Greece reflected these seemingly ecclectic ideas...
"In Thee O Lord I have taken refuge, let me never be ashamed..."
What does it mean to have a place of refuge? What does it mean to hide away in the Lord? A refuge is such a strong image, and such a balm on the heart and soul. What would it mean to have a place of refuge?
On the wall of Lost Coin's office is this quote...
"Intercessory prayer is spiritual definance of what is in the way of what God has promised. Intercession visualizes an alternative future to the one apparently fated by the momentum of current forces. Prayer infuses the air of a time yet to be into the suffocating atmosphere of the present."
Walter Wink from The Powers that Be
As I think through this quote, I am compelled and pushed to pray, to engage, to participate. So, on Monday nights a few of us from the Russian trip to Athens have dedicated to pray during the outreach of Lost Coin.
When I tried to think through the hurts of the many 'abandoned' we worked with in Athens, these verses kept coming to mind...
"Scorn has broken my heart
and left me helpless;
I looked for sympathy, but there was none,
for comforters, but I found none."
So what can be done for a broken and scorned heart? Who can be comforters? What does it mean to be a comforter and bearer of sympathy? Is it possible in the Holy Spirit that I can be one of these?
And in the end I am called back to the reminder...
"I will praise God's name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving.
This will please the Lord more than an ox,
more than a bull with its horns and hoofs."
So what will be the next step in this adventure of obedience? I wonder...
12 September 2006
"...to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison,
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness." Isaiah 42:6-7
I have always treasured these words, and felt that somehow someday God would lead me into His work of freeing the captives.
When in Greece our team ministered with Lost Coin, who reach out to women trapped in prostitution. Even though prositution is legal in Greece, the majority of these women were kidnapped and traffiked into the trade. However they got to this point, they now have little recourse but to live lives in the dungeon.
God promises to free the captive and release those who sit in darkness from the dungeon! And through His miracles and daily events, He is doing just that!
I was priviledged to participate alongside courageous men and women who fight for truth and light. My prayer is that more and more will rise up to fight with them for His glory. I have been challenged to read, pray, inform and fight.
Who knows what the next step might hold?
It is the little things that sneak up on you it seems.
The bountiful dinner with a refugee family, the laughter amidst different languages, the satisfaction of feeding over 400 individuals for a day, seeing God's hand in the midst of battle...these are the things that sneak up on me.
I can't say that I went to Greece with the expectation of seeing God work any more than I see Him work here in Russia. I didn't expect to be met in any specific way by Him, but just to be continually upheld in His presence.
And yet. And yet - I was surprised.
For those of you who have left their home environments for any other place for a short time, you know how often surrealistic it seems. The sky is brighter, the sun is warmer (well let's face it, if you leave Russia then the sun is indeed warmer!) and everything takes on a special glow. I knew that might happen in Greece. Yet I was surprised and calmed to realize that it was just like any other place with its pluses and minuses.
And yet. And yet - I was surprised.
My eyes were opened.
"The poor and needy search for water,
but there is none;
their tongues are parched with thirst.
But I the Lord will answer them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
I will make rivers flow on barren heights,
and spring within the valleys.
I will turn the desert into pools of water,
and the parched ground into springs.
...so that people may see and know,
may consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
that the Holy One of Israel has created it." Isaiah 41:17-20
I saw that God was working among those who are thirsty and parched, and that He was in the process of making rivers flow to them. What an amazing miracle! What a joy to behold! And how very amazing to be a participant!
We spent many hours with refugees and with prostitutes, both serving their needs and praying for their eternal lives. We spent hours encouraging those who work alongside the poor and needy daily. We spent time walking the streets and taking in the atmosphere. I can honestly say that this trip was a turning point in my life, and I was not even expecting it.
Isn't it amazing to see the little things sneak up on you?