Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Boldly and without hindrance he preached and taught...

After 7 days here and several trips to town in our Lori-car, Peter and I decided to walk today. It's a beautiful walk first on dirt roads with birds and flowers, then dirt trails with people and noise. About a mile in, we began encountering curious faces. We were greeted by a group of students. We spoke cordially and continued on our way. They followed close behind. I became uncomfortable (my Dad always says, "be aware of your surroundings donna" - i am Dad)... I paused to pretend I wanted to take a picture... they should pass on by... they didn't. They asked if we would take a “nap” with them. What? I asked why we would take a “nap” in the morning? They looked baffled; so did we. Finally Peter deciphered the confusion and said, “Do you want us to take a picture of you?” --- they looked relieved and with bright smiles exclaimed, “Yes, a snap...” We all laughed uproariously! How many times do we think we understand something when in fact we are confused? I love God's reminders to me that I do not understand what I sometimes think I do.

Photos were taken, more laughter was shared. Then they asked the normal questions, “Where are you from? Why are you here?” We answered. Then they asked something new --- “Will you please give us something we can show to others to prove we have shared time together?” Ah... there it was, almost always here, someone will ask for “something”. Peter pulled from his pocket an old, expired Walmart gift card. Bless his heart, he likely felt sentimental in some way regarding the card --- but his heart quickly releases “things” when it comes to people – i've learned this about him. They were thrilled to have the card as we explained what Walmart is --- they said, “Your supermarket at home?” we smiled and nodded. 

They asked more questions --- about why we lived here now.
I shared with them our ministry name --- Kweli Moyo. They quickly deciphered it's meaning in their Swahili language. “Moyo means heart”. “Yes”, I said, “but what of Kweli?” They talked among themselves finally concluding, “Kweli means truth”. “Well done! You are right. We are hear to help grow hearts that are truthful. And how can a heart become more truthful?” The baffled look came again. And I shared, “In the Bible we are told that all our hearts are deceitful; our hearts will trick us. My 'heart' might cause my mind to think thoughts that are not true at all. When we believe untrue things we live a very sad, confused, lonely life. But the Bible is filled with God's Truth for us. So, to have a 'Kweli Moyo' we must look to God and the Bible to help us know what is right and true and good”.
They were taking it in, I felt Abba near.
We talked a bit more.
A man on a bike, a street boy sniffing blue, more students --- all had stopped to hear what was being said. When too large a crowd gathers, and you're in the center of it --- it becomes quite uncomfortable. We gave cordial goodbyes and continued our walk. They headed back to where they had come from. The street boy shouted at us with garbled words, the others continued on their way.

Walking with Peter is a joy to my heart. 

We made our way to the Post office but just as we were about to walk inside the man on the bike appeared again. In a quiet, timid way he said, “When you were speaking to the children, I heard your words. You spoke of a heart that is true and God's Word. I was on my way to Marsabit (a town FAR north of here) and after you walked on, I continued on my way. But then I knew, I needed to know more about how a heart can actually become truthful and good.” Oh Lord... this man needs You – don't let me fail you now...

Two weeks ago in church here, another man had stood and quietly read scripture i'd never settled on before. He read from Acts 28:30-31. It's was our first Sunday here after our move, we needed deep encouragement --- God gave it to us with these words...
“For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.”
We were awed at the clarity and closeness of the words.
Oh Lord, you called us to rent a home for two years here in Kitale. We are eager to welcome all who come to see us. Thank you for letting us see here that Paul did the same – he surely must have felt some of the same things we now feel. Oh help us Lord --- we don't feel like a “Paul”, but we want to be able to boldly and without hindrance teach and preach about your Kingdom and your Son...

With this man on the bike before me ------ I heard the words roll through me again ---- teach him about my Son donna, teach him about the One who loves him... it's why you are here daughter.
Timothy holding his stool which he gave to Peter to sit on -- street boys on the steps.

So with Peter near I asked if we could sit to talk.
He agreed.
We sat on the steps outside a business we had frequented – I knew the men inside were friends and would be watchful over us.
I leaned into Peter and whispered softly, “Pray son, pray as I share, ok?” He smiled and nodded.

And so I began by asking, “What do you want to know?”
He had many questions. I worked to respond in ways that would not get lost in language translations. He spoke English --- but not proficiently.
I prayed as we talked --- “Lord help me. Put Your Words on this tongue of mine. You know what is needed most...

We learned his name was Timothy Too (pronounced Taw).
He knew of God as the Creator.
He knew little of Jesus.
Oh Lord, Jesus is the way, the TRUTH, and the LIFE ---- help me introduce him...
And so I shared of God's great love.
God made you Timothy so He could love you and so you could love Him...”
I shared of how most people struggle to accept and believe that they are truly loved.
We talked of the Old Testament --- he knew a bit about it.
Then we talked of the New Testament --- he knew less.
We talked of Jesus and his willingness to leave his home in Heaven and come live in a troubled world. He came to help us understand God and bring answers for the confused; He taught about God's love. He never sinned. We sin. He loved us anyway --- but He wanted to show us a better way to live.
Timothy said, “i've tried to go to church, i've visited many different ones in many different towns. I know I need something that I do not have. But when I sit in this church they say one thing, and then I sit in another church and they say something different. This church criticizes that church and that church criticizes the others. So I came to believe no one really knows anything and God is too far away.”
I understood ---- I ached as we talked --- we people have done such a terrible job of living out the love of our Savior.
But my good God was pursuing this Timothy ---- he was at least still willing to ask...

He asked, “So what is the procedure to knowing this Savior?” I smiled and answered, “God's Word says, “If you believe in your heart, and confess with your mouth... you will be saved.”
But Timothy --- you must truly believe. You can not simply say you believe and speak words with your mouth. Your heart must be Kweli Moyo --- it must be truthful. Believe truly and with your tongue confess, invite Jesus to be your Savior, and He will be with you always, you will become His child.”
He smiled. I smiled. Peter smiled.
By this time we had another crowd of street boys sitting all around Peter. It was becoming noisy --- and distracting.
Timothy looked away.
I prayed silently for him.
Oh God --- is this to be a time of harvest or a time of planting. You decide – give me your words.

I told Timothy we had to be going soon, my dear husband was coming to pick us and we did not need to be late. But if he wanted to pray with us now and invite Jesus into his heart, we could do so together. He looked away. Then I offered, or “if you would like for me to pray for you that God will continue to send others to you that will speak Truth, and give you more chances to understand and receive God's gift of Salvation, then I would do so”. He smiled and said, “My heart is not truthful yet, but if you will pray for me now, I will think on all you've said and see what God will do.”
Oh Lord... a seed has been planted ---- may it settle on good soil inside of Timothy.

We prayed.
The street boys wanted food.
We kindly said our goodbyes.
We walked on to the Post Office.

And I rolled the words again through myself --- “Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.”

. whether it's for planting, tending, or harvesting ----- may I without hindrance and with loving boldness attend to the portion that is placed before me. Abba presides over it all and ONLY Abba grows beautiful things out of the dust.

©2013 Donna Taylor/Reaching for the Robe

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The One who is the Stairway between Heaven and earth...

Reading --- the Holy Words ---- this morning i find these mesmerizing words...
John said them.
The disciple considered to be the disciple of love --- the one not martyred. The one who lived a long life after Christ's suffering and ascension penned them. 
In the days when he first met the Lamb that would 3 years later be sacrificed before his very eyes ----- John was introduced to Jesus with these words -----

51 Then he (Jesus) said, I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.[a]” John 1:51 NLT --- parenthesis added by me

Wait --- i've never read it that way before... i've never read specific words that speak of my Savior as "the One who is the stairway between Heaven and earth"... 
So i dig in ---
and i take note of the footnote ----
for as i pull out my other translations --- none of them speak specifically in John 1:51 of my Christ as "the stairway". So i know --- the footnote might hold a treasure for me. The footnote reads ---
  1. 1:51 Greek going up and down on the Son of Man; see Gen 28:10-17. “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself. 
So i flip through the pages to Genesis 28:10-17 and read of Jacob's dream at Bethel and in verse 12 it says, "As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to Heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway." (and there's another footnote leading me back to John 1:51) Riches are found in the footnotes.

 A new way to see my Savior ---- He is the One who is the stairway between heaven and earth...

i pause and digest it --- i allow myself the treat of "seeing".

In my pursuit of Abba --- wanting more of Him, daily facing my need for more of HIM and less of what use to seem so important --- i choose to read different translations of His Holy Words. Some, can be quickly discerned as unsound translations and so i peacefully lay them down. But for the many translations written by highly educated men and women that are sound and accurate--- i indulge myself in taking in Truth.
And as i read the words written, in efforts to bring greater understanding ---- i am hungry to grasp new insights. New, deep, upright, enlightening ways to get a glimpse of the Faithful One.
Imagine -- it's The Holy of Holies ---- bringing Himself to me/us through black ink on white paper and letting more of His light shine inside. It's a hunger i have. One i've not always felt.

I use to crave warm cookies with a tall glass of milk.
Physically yes ------- but i'll be transparent enough to admit --- even Spiritually --- i wanted "milk" and cookies as well (only what "tasted" good and comforted)... What a patient Father we have.

But, milk was only used to grow me to a place of needing more.

My dear mother gave me milk as a child. But then there came a day when milk would not fill my growling stomach. So she eased me into more solid foods.
This is true for each and every person walking today. No one began by grinding young gums on meat.

The One who loves us and cares for us even more than our mothers ---- allows us to begin our growing with His Spiritual milk as well. But then, there should come a day when that "milk" leaves us with a growling, aching  longing for more.
More of Him. No longer satisfied on milk alone.

Funny --- my physical body has begun to decide it no longer wants milk. Two days ago i indulged in the most luscious ice cream cone (yes, here in Kenya :). Two days later --- my insides still ache a bit because of it. My body does not want milk now. It craves healthy foods --- fresh foods --- no longer will cookies and milk sit well inside me.

Likewise, my Abba has taken me to a Spiritual place where "milk" no longer satisfies or sits well inside me. There's nothing wrong with "milk". It's just that it does not feed me as it use to. i must have Life Giving --- protein rich "meat" now.
When "milk" was my diet, i would read the scriptures and feel a daftness concerning the fact that meat was even an option in the days ahead.
"I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready." 1 Corinthians 3:2

Then in Hebrews i read ---
 "In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." Hebrews 5:12-14

i meditate on verse 14. For in honesty, i do not view myself as "mature" ---- rather, it seems to me the more i seek, and learn of the One True Father ---- i feel more childlike than ever before. 

The more we know, the more we become aware of all we do not know. 

The closer i step to Abba the more i feel like a well-cared-for daughter -- small, immature.
When i bow in deep prayer --- i become a tiny girl approaching the Throne where all that is before me are the white robes of my Abba --- and He allows me, His daughter to run round His great legs twirling in His Robes. My filth never dirties Him ---- and He never holds me at a distance, because of my human-rags. He draws me to Him. He powerfully attends to all the matters of the earth below ---as He allows His daughter to run through and hold onto His Robes. 
Maturity ?---- no i don't feel mature at all.
Loved, yes.
But milk no longer satisfies this daughter.

The author of Hebrews pens, "In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers...".

Oh God ---- milk no longer sustains me, it actually makes me ache inside if that is all i'm given. i crave solid food. i seek more. BUT, i do not think myself mature. i sense my child-likeness. Still may i not indulge myself in the many years of milk and refuse to step into the place of teaching.

So --- You God, You and i will know when i stand to teach ---- i'm only Your daughter, the one who can no longer bear the aching emptiness of milk alone --- who stands to share of the meat sacrificially given by the Lamb.

Sometimes in life, when i sit with an aching sister or Steve sits with a growling brother ---- you give us eyes to see ----- they've just been "nursing" too long on milk alone. They are gnawing on things that never "fill" them in the ways YOU desire for them to be filled. 
Sometimes they're gnawing on each other ---  because of their great need of "meat" from Your table.They want more of something --- 
-----but they've forgotten about or carelessly overlooked the "meat" you offer them.

Babies begin on milk ----- then they need more.
So it is with your children.

Help us to belly up to the table "You have prepared for us", push milk to the side, and receive the life-giving marinated "meat" served up for us in Your Word. 
The Lamb gave ALL so we could do so.
 --- He is our stairway between Heaven and earth...
Truly we are the much-loved-children-of-the-Most-High-God.

©2013 Donna Taylor/Reaching for the Robe 

Monday, July 8, 2013

He knows the plans He has...

Every morning for 20 days now i've sat in our “office” here in Nairobi. “Office” is perhaps not the correct term. It's a lovely table sitting outdoors, sheltered by a brown umbrella and resting on carefully laid stones surrounded by lush green. It's a sitting area just feet from our room.

The Ha-Da-Da ibis flies over every morning and the hawk like Kites fly over head most all day long. Just miles outside the wild bustle and smothering fumes of Nairobi town, it's quite amazing how God has provided this oasis for this tired daughter.
Steve and i would have never chosen to be here and rest for this length of time. After all, there is much to do, we need to “get at it”. Right?
But before we can do another thing, we must have a safe, solid vehicle carrying us from here to there. We've paid drivers and asked for help from friends here as much as is permissable. But if we are going to serve here, we need to be able to be the ones offering help, not asking for it. And so our good God has chosen that while we wait for fund transfers and servicing and security systems to be installed in the vehicle He has chosen for us ---- we can do little more than ------ rest.
For the month prior to this big move – we worked, thought and prepared at a wild pace. In four short weeks, we moved out of our home of 31 years, closed on its sell, moved in with my sister and brother, planned final details and gave our daughter in marriage, then packed for four days, gave countless “farewells”, and flew to a new country. We've been running with the “hares” wishing for more “turtle time”. But, consistently we've trusted our Abba ---- perhaps He knew if we had too much time to ponder, we would become too timid. After all my Steve has waited for almost 13 years, and we've been diligently working to get to this place for over 2 years. So --- there is no murmuring or complaining over the quick pace of the past month; rather just at telling of it's intensity.

While God authored the timing of the weeks before our departure, we see his authorship of our days since we've arrived in Kenya as well.

This time of God-imposed-rest has given me time to visit many “rooms” inside myself ---- reorder them, cry over the ones that hold precious memories, but most of all, to be attentive to Abba's presence in each corner. To pause and “see” how He is rearranging things and allowing Him to re-clean what had become dusty.

As i sit here in my morning office, my eyes turn to the right and ponder the stone path the leads from where i sit to a lovely row of cottages at its far end. This pathway has caught my eyes dozens of times. Why? Well, it's a neat, clean, well trimmed pathway that curves back and forth slightly, just enough to be pleasing to the eye. The stones are laid carefully with attention to keeping the path level. The greenery surrounding the path is beautiful. At the other end of the path are chairs, inviting rest in flower-laden gardens.
Along the pathway there are attractive African-ish pots painted in green and yellow.

BUT, in the midst of all the careful landscaping and pleasant allure of the path ---- there are 3 black, ugly, “decorative” pots in the shape of large hand-grenades.

They do not belong on the beautiful path.
Oddly enough --- i find it is the 3 ugly, black grenades that have continually grabbed my attention. They are a curiosity. Why are they there? What were the gardeners thinking when they placed those three ill-fitting atrocities in the midst of the pleasant pathway?

This morning my eyes were once again pulled in the direction of the path.

Talking with God again, i thanked him for much. i had already begun my day by “reminding” Him of all the many loves in my heart who i daily hand to Him and thank Him for His care over them. He, Jehovah, can do all that is needed in their lives, i can do little more than love them. So as i began another day of watching for, listening to, sitting with, and praising Him ------ i whispered --- of my curiosity over the ill-placed grenades on the pretty winding path. (His Word says we can talk with Him about anything right?) :)
And instantly, almost like a gentle ocean wave lapping across my feet, i could see something that had been a mystery until that moment.

The two pretty decorative pots at the beginning of the pathway spoke of the sweetness we feel when we first come to know our Savior. In those first few days of feeling His nearness and knowing He has saved us, we are doubly blessed. We enjoy a season of “honeymoon” with the One who has given all for us as we first feel the depth of His true love.
Then time passes.
Still covered and still loved, however something usually happens that shatters our tranquil place of peace --- something akin to a grenade exploding. Something we thought we might be protected from still comes. Wounds from a friend. Betrayal of someone we counted on. Financial pressure or physical decline; requirements of life, we once again face times of distress ---- and we can begin to wonder ---- where did my Savior go?
It's a part of the path.
The One who Redeemed us and counts us among His kids has not left us or deserted us ---- but instead He is growing us, teaching us, peeling away things that must go and introducing us to things that will better serve us on our journey to a better place. But to our human-selves it can feel like a grenade has exploded.

It is then, if we cling to Him and trust His goodness------ we will find ourselves at a new curve on the path He is guiding us down. And another lovely decorative pot is found. Something we would not have been wise enough to even know to ask for. Something good and right and filled with blessings --- but not something our “old” selves would have sought after. We enjoy this portion of the path, it has hints of our honeymoon moments when all was well. But it's richer. We “know” our Lover better because we have endured hardship and felt His nearness. He has not left us when we stumbled or felt distress; we can speak of His faithfulness with a confidence that only comes with experience. We have stories laced with Him, and we know what it feels like to be carried through storms in His arms.

We enjoy the sections of peacefulness on the path.

Then we round another curve and another grenade is waiting. Another hit comes, another disappointment, another wounding, and we pause. We look at the “grenade” and wonder ---- why? What good could come from this ugly black thing being allowed on my path. Why Lord? Why must this painful black thing be allowed on my path?
And then we remember.
We've encountered dark “decorations” before. We endured. We learned and grew in different ways, we gained depth and courage, faith and hope when we journeyed past other bombs in our lives. We remember – we are not alone. The One who died for us will most certainly carry us through ----- and even more, He will prove His Greatness. He will use this painful impact to increase good inside of us. Only GOD can do that.
The enemy of our Lord will set off bombs in our lives to try and destroy us. After all, he is the one who seeks to kill, steal, and destroy.
But not our Yahweh.
El Shaddai holds our very lives in His hands as if we were most rare treasure. HE takes what was intended to harm us, touches it, and uses it for good in our lives and the lives of those around us.
The “grenade” goes off, we stumble over the impact. But our Father is there, very present, weeping if we weep but not feeling weak when we do. He is confident and certain of the plans He has for us. He knows exactly what He can do with the "explosion" --- He sees the possibilities even in the darkest sections of the lowest valley portions of our path. Nothing is beyond Him, nothing is a mystery to Him, nothing surprises Him. He knows the destination of the path we walk on, He will not be thwarted from carrying us through.

Everything along the path 
can be used by Him to transform us ----- 
from what we were ----- 
to what He sees in us.
Saul to Paul.
Simon the fisherman to Peter the Rock.
Hungry street boy to anointed minister.
Self-centered child to devoted mother.
Materialistic hoarder to generous giver.
Frightened hider to bold warrior.

He knows the plans He has for us ---- and they are not to harm us. But to give us a Hope and a Future. We read it clear in Jeremiah...

This pretty path beside me with the African pots and the black grenades ----- ends in front of an enchanting cottage. But just before it ends ---- there are two green and yellow pots on either side of the path. How interesting that the pathway begins and ends with pretty pots on either side. No grenades in those two places.
My time has not come to leave this world yet. But i suspect that for those who have walked the path and been transformed by the goodness of God on it --- even when explosions along the way had brought them to their knees --- i suspect in those last breathing moments, when they step off the path and into the place of promise ---- they will feel peaceful beauty on either side.

My first day in this temporary office, i had been tempted to ask the hotel management, “Why do you have the ugly black grenades on the pretty pathway leading to the cottages?”
Now, i'm oddly appreciative of their placement.
They're still not pleasant to look at, but my eyes have been opened to see a simple truth they represent as we travel our paths ---- this side of Heaven.

Years ago, i heard a minister preach on "The Rogue Wind". He said, "Everyone will experience a 'rogue' wind in their lives. If you're not in the middle of one right now, then either one is on the way or one has just subsided." i was horrified over his words. What young mother wants to hear those kind of words.
His message concluded with wise words, "It's not a matter of 'if' you will encounter rogue winds. It's a matter of how you will cope when the winds come. Will you run to the Savior and find refuge in Him or will you try and endure the storm on your own. If you choose the former, you will be blessed even in the hard storms. If you choose the latter, you will fall."
Now --- all these years later -----  i know his words to be truthful.
Rogue winds come --- grenades explode ---- no one gets through this world without pain.
No one.
But in our Savior --- we can find refuge --- no matter how hard the winds blow or how damaging the explosion. It's an inalterable truth ---

The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away ------ blessed be the name of the Lord.

May the grenades and the winds ------ only draw us into His lap ---- and allow God's Holy transformations to be accomplished.

©2013 Donna Taylor/Reaching for the Robe

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Who is wise and understanding among you?...

flying over Nairobi and Kibera - just before landing

It was early morning when we arrived. A new day ahead.
Our feet had left our much loved American soil over 24 hours ago.
When i stepped onto the jet-way in Atlanta, GA, -------- i paused. i swallowed hard. All that was deeply familiar and wonderfully comfortable was being stepped away from in that moment.
It was worth a pause.
...and tears.
Years would pass by before my feet would settle on this home-land again. But peace and perseverance walked me down the corridor to the plane door, and i knew, all would be well. Amazingly, the "well" part had absolutely nothing to do with anything "i" had organized or planned; nothing "i" had done. On the contrary, those closest to me knew well the fragmented remains of my attempts to prepare for our departure.

The farewells felt like they drained the blood from my heart. Yet still, my heart pumped blood through my veins --- i was still alive. i forced myself to think of the many who had been brave enough to say farewell centuries ago, knowing their goodbye would not be lightened by email or phone or skype or internet. Courage comes when we remember what others have done before us --- and how much good has flowed from their surrender.

So, i pretended i sat beside Corrie Ten Boom on the flight ---- and she had much to say. My surrender felt small as i imagined hers. And there it was --- good fruit still flowing from the obedience of a lady long gone. And deep within i listened as she said...

"Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open."

"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God."

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength."

"You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have."

"Don't bother to give God instructions, just report for duty."

What wisdom. Beautiful scarred wisdom. Wisdom from scars because it flowed from the place of deep wounds that took time to heal. Wisdom birthed from the heart of a known God into the soul of a longing daughter.
and i stand now ---- a longing daughter.
More hungry than ever for words of wisdom ---- not wisdom that men think they can impart, but wisdom that flows through Heaven's touch.
We can't just order wisdom on Amazon or search for it on our Kindle store.
Wisdom is given by ONE and received by any who will seek it ----.

So, if we want to become carriers of God's wisdom, we must be willing to walk through the valley with Christ. If other travelers walk too closely, they might begin to think their knowledge will carry us through.

God and God alone ---- gives us wisdom.

What a blessed lady i was as i sat in that far-too-small-and-confining airplane seat. Beside me (perhaps sitting in dear Corrie's lap) was my much-loved Steve. If there's ever been a woman who walked beside a loving husband, it is me. And in the seat just diagonal from me, across the aisle, sat one son. Tall and good and gentle of heart but strong to his core, the youngest from within me sat poised; looking forward.

What will matter most ahead Lord?
i have a notion of all that matters so very much to me --- just stepped away from --- oh the ache.
But God, give me strength from You for this day, and prepare me for the tomorrows.
If You Lord, if You sat beside me instead of Corrie Ten Boom or Steve, and if You leaned over to me and asked, "What do you need most tomorrow?" How would i reply?
Am i even wise enough to begin to know what the right answer would be?
One thing --- what is the one thing you need most donna?

So i pondered it ----- long ----- over many miles ----- winging across the blue.
i remembered in your scripture, you came to a young king and you offered him ANYTHING. So i leaned into his answer, and i remember how it pleased You. The One who could give anything to him, You were most pleased with young Solomon's response...
 “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number.  So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (1 Kings 3:7-9)
And so, the answer came --- rolling from words penned around 550 B.C.
The ability to distinguish between right and wrong.
A knowing that comes from GOD --- not from men.

The next words recorded ---
"The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this"... (v. 10)

Long ago i heard a blessed sermon from a wonderful country Preacher. His message? God's Word is Living. It is alive. It is not old and dusty and long gone by. It is breathing and living today. And from that sermon on, i've practiced taking the inked words and Living inside them. If Abba's Word is alive for you and me ---- then we can live in it even today. And so, words written over 2500 years ago can roll into my soul like this:
"Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant a missionary and a teacher in place of the many before me. But i am only a child in so many ways and i do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to minister to your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to minister to this great people of yours?"

Ah yes...
But, some with stiff, proper necks might call it presumptuous, improper, or even blasphemous to speak God's Holy Bible into our cracked clay vessels of today. So would the Pharisees and teachers of the law during the days Jesus walked among them.
No matter, for of this i am most confident.
If Jesus did not come to show us that our Father is personal among us, that Abba wants us near Him, and His Word is meant to help us, not hurt us, and that HE would give all for that purpose, then why ever would we "Lean on, trust in, have confidence in the Lord with all our heart and mind...?" Why wouldn't we just "rely on our own insight and understanding"...?
No -- our Lord calls US to walk through His Holy Word and Live there ---- even today.
What blessed children we are.

It all rolled through my soul with megaphones attached to it.
“Trying to do the Lord's work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting, and tedious of all work. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you.” Corrie's words still minister even though she breathed her last over 30 years ago.

If i long for Jesus to draw near those who stand in front of me ---- i must walk myself through the Words Abba chose to place before us between the covers of Genesis and Revelation.

Yes, it was early in the morning when our flight landed in Nairobi. A new day was beginning. And what i knew i most needed ---- was HIM, His Wisdom, His help, His hand.
Wisdom flowing from above ---- and from those like Corrie Ten Boom who have grown wise in His hands.

We loaded bags into one puzzle-packed van. All 10 bags arrived. God's care over us. Thank you again Lord.
We road through the morning streets of Nairobi, the ground underneath us is where He has called us. (keep your strength for today donna, don't worry over tomorrow..)
Traffic was already lively. There were many stops as both cars and people wove in front of us. It looked a bit like a spider web under construction.
(don't be afraid to trust an unknown future to your known God donna...)

Then hanging on a poll staring at me from the road side, on a dirty street surrounded by green plants covered in diesel and dust, choking life from them --- was this poster ---

I asked our driver, "these posters i keep seeing, offering help with family affairs, lost loves, manly power, etc. what are these? help me understand." He said, "Ah, those are advertisements for a witchdoctor... they don't actually call themselves that, but in truth it is what they are. People who are having problems in personal relationships, will go to them and receive potions or have curses placed on interfering parties, etc. and they pay big money for it too.."
it's the very thing you've called us here for --- to minister to marriages (lost loves) and families (family affairs), to encourage fathers to lead their homes and love their wives as Christ loves the Church (manly power), and help wives submit to their husband as they submit themselves to the One and Only God.

Boldly, right there on the many poles of this jam packed city, filled with some who are prosperous but many who are hurting and hungry ---- right there is the advertisement of your enemy.
He has the audacity to advertise his "services" here...
Oh God ---- be powerful in this place. Flow powerfully through Your servants here.  Help us to love deeply, speak truthfully, walk strongly, and let your River of Life flow steadily through us.

Yes Father, i need your Wisdom, your guidance, your help. Your Words need to be wrapped around me, i need to walk through your Word, sit a while in it, breathe it in. Pour it over me, may i ride on a river of Your Truths that will carry me to the places where You are needed, lies be defeated, You lifted up, Light shown in dark places, Your Kingdom come, You, Yahweh ----- You are needed.
Oh, Lord my God, You have made your servant a missionary, a teacher... But i am only a child... and i do not know how... Your servant is here among the people you have chosen... too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to minister... and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to minister to this great people of yours ---- if not YOU."

"Who is wise and understanding among you
Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in 
the humility that comes from wisdom." 
James 3:13

©2013 Donna Taylor/Reaching for the Robe