Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010
Cole, Sandy and I got caught in the rain tonight! It was so fun!! The raindrops were so big and as we were running down the street to the hotel near by, I opened my arms and as I lifted my head to the sky this huge raindrop came and hit me on the forehead!! There is something about getting caught in a sudden storm that makes me soo happy :) I love being caught off guard by things that happen in nature. It seems like there have been so many thunder storms here lately. When we were in the hotel there was one point when there was a huge crash of thunder and at the same time the hotel lights flickered off and on again. Sandy was like, "I think we were just hit!" There is something about being hit by the unexpected and finding joy in it. Like earlier that night. We were all walking to dinner and the sky in front of us exploded in brilliant light and color! We all just stood there for like 15 minutes exclaiming about how beautiful it was as the Thais just walked around us not even glancing up. At one point all the colors of the rainbow were seen across the expanse of the sky and there was no rain. It was like, "God, what are You doing?"
Later that evening, we went to our apartment and spent some time in prayer and worship and reading from 1 John. It was like, ya...this is what real fellowship is like. It was real, raw and healing. We got to expose and share some of our personal struggles and where we are at with God and receive His love. One of the things we talked about is how when we grow up with feeling a lack of love, this orphan spirit is created in us that causes us to not fully trust that the love of God is enough. We spent some time in repentance and letting Jesus restore us. It was beautiful. We got to talking afterwards about how this is what real community is. It is when we can be real and exposed and there is no fear of shame or withholding of love. If the church doesn't do this, they are misrepresenting Jesus. He said He is the Light and that those who walk in the light have fellowship with Him. In the light, there is exposure and freedom.
As I think back to the events of just a few nights ago, I can't help but smile at the ways that God just loves to take me off guard with His presence. There can be a lot of darkness here. But God's voice is thundering across the nation, His tears of laughter and love and compassion are falling down, to catch us at the most unexpected moments. He is washing this land of Thailand, cleansing it. And then through a sunset, His glory is revealed. I love my God! I love the people that He has put around me right now and that I get to share life with. I love that it is in the unexpected events that take place every day that He catches me in His intense love and I get to be touched and experience His presence just like the followers of Jesus did, over 2 thousand years ago. So get ready, for the unexpected...
Children are the future and hope of a nation. When children are empowered and learn that they have a voice, the nations tremble. Children bring an innocence and hope that quenches the darkness. The praises of children silence the enemy. That is why he hates them so much. That is why he seeks to thrwart their destinies through wicked schemes. He has no mercy. He wants only to destroy. Children are the weapon of a nation and either they can be used and manipulated or valued and honored. Here in Bangkok, my heart cries out on behalf of the children. During the clashes in May, they were being used in the camps of the red shirts, being propped up onto tires that blockade a street, becoming human shields, weapons of war. The weapons of war that God calls these children to be are weapons of justice and mercy. These past 6 months here in Bangkok, I have had the amazing opportunity to work with the children at Nightlight. There is a bright hope and future for these children. Their mothers are making decisions of hope and life and these children are going to reap a great inheritance and become the leaders of their nation. When these children grasp the truth of who they are as children of the most High God, they become dangerous. They start asking for things that human reason says can't happen. They ask for the impossible.
A few days ago, before leaving for our kids center, I was thinking about the kids and this desire, this ache rose up within me and all I could do was pray, "God, pour out your Spirit on these children." "You have got to do it...I can't. I want them to see You." That morning, when I got to the room where the kids were, I saw there were only 3 older children and a few babies. One of them was a girl I will call Min. She is 5 years old. This little girl has the gift of dance. As soon as I walked in, she and another girl Gi were insistently asking if I could turn on the Thai children's worship music so they could dance. Soon they were twirling around with streamers in hand. It was beautiful. Afterwards I pulled out a Bible story book, sat cross legged on the ground, with the three kids sitting around me. After just a short time it was just me and Min. She was enthralled with the stories of Jesus. In my broken Thai I was telling her about the boy who didn't want to live with his dad but go away to party, about the men who were in the lake and they didn't get any fish until Jesus wanted to use their boat and sit and talk to the people and then their boats were full of fish, to the final story of the little boy who gave Jesus 5 pieces of bread and 2 fish. After reading the story about how there weren't enough fish and bread but when Jesus prayed, God made enough for everyone, Min asked me if she could ask Jesus for clothes, and shoes and a purse and makeup and God would give them to her too? I smiled and at the same time my mind was thinking that that is not exactly how it works but then again...He says ask, doesn't He? :) She was laying across my lap at this point and after closing her eyes she said, "Jesus, I want ...." naming each thing. And then she turned to me and asked,
"When is He going to give me those things?"
"I don't know, why don't you ask Him."
(Closing her eyes..."day 18, what day is today?"
"Today is the 14th."
(She counted on her fingers.)
She then closed her eyes again and I asked her to ask Jesus to take her somewhere. She said something about water and swimming. :) "Can you see Jesus?" I asked. She shook her head in a negative. So I just waited...every now and then she would open her eyes and look at me and tell me what she was talking with Jesus about, there was more about the clothes and makeup.
After a lil while I led her in asking, "Jesus, can you take me to heaven."
I was just holding her, and praying quietly over her. Suddenly she opened her eyes and a big giddy smile had crossed her face. "I saw Jesus." she said. "And what did He say?" I asked. "I am a good girl," she said. :) I can't tell you how much joy this brought me. It was her who made the connection between the five loaves and fishes and her own life and the Holy Spirit did the rest. I love how much faith children have. I love the life that they carry. I love that they ask for the impossible. Will you? Today, many children are being exploited and used and yet God is raising up an army of worshipers, an army of children of faith. They are in every nation. When I was in Cambodia I saw this sign that read, "Please protect our national treasures." Children are treasures. Let us do all we can, wherever we are, to value and give voice to the children of our nation. They really are powerful in bringing the Kingdom of God.
Psalm 8:1-2 "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! You have set Your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouths of babes and infants, You have established strength because of Your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger." (ESV)
Thank you Katie for the photo of the worshipping children. :)
This was my second trip to Koh Samet. The first time I saw them I was caught in the awe of the show. I saw them again on this second visit and as I stood there watching them twirl those rods high up into the air and gaze as the hoola hoop size circles ignited with fire swung around their waists, a theme started rising in my heart. Koh Samet is an island about a 2 ½ hour drive south of Bangkok. It is a resort and retreat beach where people can rent a room, jump in the clear water during the day and enjoy sitting out on the beach at the many restaurants that line the shore at night. It is a beautiful place to be. During the evenings, there are several restaurants that have “fire shows” on the sand just a few feet away from where the people are sitting. These shows are directed by one man and several of his younger apprentices. As I stood there on the beach that night and watched these young boys, some of them near 8-10 years old, I like all the other spectators was in awe at the skill and precision at which they performed. And while standing there, I started to have these thoughts and ideas. Ideas of what it means to be a carrier of fire. These boys are young yet they are skilled. They are following the lead of one man. I started thinking about how this correlates to one man, Jesus and His followers. What does it look like to be a carrier of His fire today?
This is a theme that has been playing over in my mind since I came back to Bangkok. I see God's fire as being His presence. It is something that is dangerous, powerful and awe inspiriting. It brings warmth and ignites passion inside people. More than anything else I want to be someone who is skilled at handling the presence of God. The presence of God, His Spirit is a very powerful thing. Many people today are hungry to see a manifestation of the presence of God. They want to see some miracle or sign. They want to see a healing or a deliverance. Many times these things are the outflow that comes when the presence of God comes. Before I came to Thailand, I had the opportunity even in my home church and with my friends, to experience and see the power of God through healing, deliverance and salvation. Here in Thailand I see it as well. And yet I cannot be focusing on these things. I must be focusing on God's presence. If I focus on amazing things that I see, I will only get to taste a little of what God has planned. He wants me to be a carrier of His fire, to experience His presence in such a way that I let Him decide what the manifestation of His glory will be. As I watch the boys keep an eye on their instructor, and follow his lead, I am reminded of how important it is for me to keep my eyes on Jesus. He is the Master Instructor and One who will know where and how to move, what the next steps will be and how it will all work out. So when I think about carrying God's presence I think about keeping my eyes on Jesus and I also think about passion and purity. There has got to be a love and excitement for being able to be a part of carrying such a wonderful thing as God's power. The Bible says that we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the power belongs to God and not to us. --2 Corinthians 4:7-8 A few days ago I was reading in the book of Hebrews and it talks about the Israelites and how they went to "a physical mountain to a place of flaming fire..." (Heb. 12) and it was a frightening thing and how now we as believers are called to go into heavenly places to encounter the presence of God. We encounter this "all consuming fire" as we learn to walk and encounter God in the secret place and throughout the day. It is through prayer, listening to Him, watching for Him, receiving from Him, worshipping Him, that we are ignited with His presence, His fire. Something I noticed about these boys who were carriers of fire is that they were confident and even proud in what they were doing. God has called us to be confident and glory in we are as His children. We carry His glory.
So today, as you encounter places of darkness in your own life, in the lives of others or around you, know that you, are God's child, His child of fire, and that you carry the real, tangible presence of His glory wherever you go. May God richly bless you!