Saturday, December 26, 2009

I found this on a friend's Facebook quote section. I feel this way as we rapidly approach 2010.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others"
~Marianne Williamson

Thursday, December 03, 2009

7 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Philadelphia.

This is the message from the one who is holy and true,
the one who has the key of David.
What he opens, no one can close;
and what he closes, no one can open:[c]

8 “I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me."

Revelation 3:7-8

Last night at prayer meeting Miguel read these 2 verses.He said he'd been writing an article for the denom magazine, and felt like these words are for the church in Spain.

He talked about He Who opens doors, and how we have to walk through them.

Doors in Spain are fascinating objects. Some are ugly beyond all recognition, and others are made of beautiful pine wood, stained to perfection. I love walking through the old streets of Granada, and wondering what goes on behind all the doors I walk past.

But this verse struck me even more as Andrew and I have and important door to walk through. In just a few days time, we will return to Atlanta and have one last Christmas with Andrew's mom. This is a difficult door to walk through. It is one that I begged the key to be thrown away, as I know it will not be easy. It feels a little like one of the three doors the Wanderers find themselves in front of in Moria. Sam, Frodo, and the Felllowship of the Ring find three passageways, and Gandalf doesn't know quite where to go. Each one looks more menacing than the other. And the door they take only gives them the highest pain in the story, the loss of Gandalf.

But our current door, to return to the US for Christmas, this is the door opened by the He Who has the Key. We must march on, in ultimate faith, knowing that even if there is pain, death, and sorrow ahead, Victory is the the Final Goal.

And I am reminded of this...

But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.

Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

May we walk through this door in Victory.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of "no answer." It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent gaze. As though he shook his head, like, "Peace, child, you don't understand."
- CS Lewis

Friday, September 04, 2009

Preach the Gospel, use words when necessary.

Today was one of those days. Today, Andrew and I and the pastor and his wife, a couple of the deacons and two other men from our church attended a funeral. Today, we preached the gospel, using words when needed.

Santa Fe, is the original Santa Fe for which all other cities called thusly are named for. It is a small village about 4 miles outside of Granada. It was the original encampment of the Catholic Kings, Isabel and Fernindad, when they took Granada from the Moslems.
There is no evangelical church there. Many have tried and all except for the gypsies (who are considered an ethnic group outside of Spanish culture) have failed.

But God still wants Santa Fe. So, once upon a time, oh, let’s say a couple of decades ago, a Christian who lived in Santa Fe began to witness. He witnessed as much as he could, to one man in particular, Antonio. Antonio resisted for years. The Christian died, and Antonio kept living.

Until, one day this summer, Antonio was told he was dying of cancer. AS soon as he heard, he told his daughters, “Bring me an evangelical pastor.” They went scrambling and found the widow of the Christian. The widows name is Rosa. Panicked, she called the church.

Since our pastor was on vacation, two of the deacons, Mariene and Paco went to visit Antonio in the hospital. They witnessed to him, and that day, July 10th, he came to the Lord. 10 days later, at his request, he was baptized in his home in front of his family. Miguel, our pastor, performed it.
For two months, the Miguel and Paco continued to visit Antonio. He grew in his faith, speaking at length with Paco about suffering and pain. Yesterday, Antonio went to be with the Lord.

Before Antonio died, he made his wishes known to his two daughters, both in their late 20s, that they wouldn’t have a mass nor ring bells for his death. That he wanted the pastor to do his funeral. An evangelical funeral in a town that has resisted the Good news.

So a handful of us from the church went. We went to the funeral home, and greeting everyone. The daughters were beside themselves with grief. The body of Antonio was yellow, worn out and death was visible. They don’t cremate here, just keep the body in the fridge, and to view it, you see it in through glass as they just keep the air cool.

Before they loaded the body into the hearse, Miguel stopped the process and said we would pray. As I stood there and listened, it was incredible. It was a clear, powerful prayer, declaring that Antonio was in God’s presence because of His faith and praising God for it. I could barely breath. You could almost feel the earth tremble. The crowd was so hushed; you could hear a pin drop.

We drove the short way to the cemetery. They entomb the bodies here, as land is very expensive. So as the body was lifted to its slot, the Pastor prayed, Paco read scripture and then shared a few words.

As Paco read the scripture, you could feel everyone listening intently. You see, no one had ever been at a funeral like this before. There was no hysterics, no passion, no rosary, no Hail Mary’s. Instead there were these words…

50I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."[g]
55"Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?"[h] 56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV emphasis mine)

Finally, as they painstakingly closed up the tomb with brick and concrete and then finally flowers, Timoteo from our church sang a song. A song in Spanish, this song talks about the first time we will have in God’s presence and the joy to see Jesus face to face. People cried as they listened to the words.

We said our condolences and left. Throughout the entire time, you could feel what Miguel called, Spiritual tension. Unseen to use, spiritual battles were being fought and today, we saw a powerful victory. Andrew and I went to stand next to the pastors and deacons during this battle, and we felt it keenly.

Pray for Santa Fe, and the believers that life in it. Pray that through death, God will give live to a dry desert that needs the Living Water. Praise Him that today’s funeral celebrated eternal life and not death. Pray for those of us, that preached the Gospel today with our presence, and when it was necessary, we used words. Pray protection over us. Often, when we and the people we work with, enter these types of situations, the enemy tries to rob the joy of the victory. Pray that His victory will prevail and we will someday see more fruit in a little town called Santa Fe.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

African Angels

I've been convinced for a lot of my life that my angel is African. I have a couple of stories that have happened to me this last month that has convinced me even more.

Andrew left Spain on May 1st to head back to the US. I stayed back to finish out one more week of work, pay the bills, wrap up the the last minute details.

The wednesday before I was supposed to leave, I went to the gym to try and work out some last minute stress. My gym is a rather Rocky Balboa type gym, and we tend to have Africans that come to work out, but they usually keep to themselves, or talk to the guys and not usually me.

I felt like doing weights and I walked over to the lat pull down machine. I was making the weights lighter, when this ginormous African, leaned over and said, "Don't do that, you are a strong woman."

I blinked, and obeyed, and he was right. I could do it. He talked with me briefly, and then went away. Strangely enough, he had two small boys with him. Most of the Africans in our neighborhood usually are alone.

As I left Spain that Saturday, a friend of mine hugged me tight and said, "Be Strong." and the African's words echoed in my head along with Sambucs for the days to come.

Still in the US, we were traveling back to Atlanta from time in Chicago, and our plane was drastically overbooked. Andrew went up to the counter and talked to a very attractive black man. He wasn't African...but...

A few minutes later, He called Andrew's name, and handed us first class tickets. I noticed he never really seemed to talk to anyone else, he obviously was the bossman.

I'll write more later on our Africans=Angels in disguise.