I want to give a brief testimony of something the Lord has been doing in my life lately. Through this new area of ministry our family has been called to, we have been told many times what wonderful people we are to do such things. We have also been told this numerous times in regards to the fact that we have adopted these needy children from Africa. This statement almost makes us laugh as in our minds it could not be further from the truth. Through both of these areas that God has called us to minister, he has used it to richly bless us and show us new areas of needed growth and change. For me personally, an area I have always struggled with is being able to love the unlovable, untouchable people in my life and in the world in general. Scripture is clear that we are to love God, and love our neighbor. Our neighbor includes EVERYONE, not just people that we desire to be neighborly to! Look at 1 John 4: 11-21 NKJV.
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love that has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us. If someone says “ I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.”
This passage has so many jewels! It commands us to love each other! It talks of God’s love being perfected in us. It specifically says that if we say we love God but don’t love our brother that we are liars! We must love our brother!
It is easy to love your sweet children, or beloved saints in your life. It can be easy to love the specific people God has laid on your heart in ministry. There can be many people in our lives who we find it easy to love. There are also people that are very difficult to love. This probably looks different to each one of us.The other day I was talking with one of our staff in Liberia after they had returned from ministry at one of the prisons. I was asking about some of the people that they had ministered to that day and specifically asked about the crimes some of the people had committed. One specific man that was mentioned was in prison for raping a 7 year old girl. Hearing this immediately gave me an ugly, unloving feeling in my heart. As I have been thinking over this conversation since then, I have been thoroughly convicted in this area. I have not been loving people like this. If fact, crimes of this nature are particularly disturbing and disgusting to me. So I am faced with an opportunity to ignore this conviction in my heart, or let God reveal my own ugliness to me and face up to it. It is time to let Him perfect His love in me. My first reaction to hearing about someone who has committed such a crime is to think they deserve what they get! Why should we be wasting our time and energy on someone like that. This is such a wrong attitude! In God’s eyes we are all as filthy rags, until He comes in and cleans up the mess. This last week God has not let me forget about this prisoner and He has also been revealing to me the many areas where I do not love and especially do not have unconditional love. I am praying for this man daily and praying for God’s conviction and restoration in his life. I pray for the child who was his victim that she too would find healing and eternal life through the life-saving blood of Jesus Christ. We are so honored and humbled that God is allowing us to be a part of what He is doing in Liberia. Our staff has such a strong burden and desire to minster to these prisoners. Their love has been a HUGE testimony to me in my own life. God is using this ministry that He has called us to, not just to minister to these neediest of people, but to lead us further toward being perfected in Him! It is painful and wonderful to have the Holy Spirit doing renovation in your heart.
(the picture is from one of the prisons in Margibi county. Mark is the one in the middle with his arms around the prisoners)

1 comment:

kristen said...

Great message we all an apply more to our lives. Thanks for sharing it, Love ya, kristen