Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Journey to Pentecost–from the foot of the cross

26 days until Pentecost… beginning now.


A number of years ago someone shared (on FB) one of Beth Moore’s blog posts  “Something on My Mind” and it has really stuck with me.

In Beth Moore’s words… “listen. GIVE GOD HIS GLORY! When He does something for you, don’t sit there and wonder if that may have been Him. GIVE HIM SOME GLORY!! Jump up and down about it. Get excited about it! I don’t know about you, but I want God to ENJOY doing some things for me. I want Him to think I’m fun to get a reaction out of. I want to dang well NOTICE. Can you imagine when we thank Him for something that He’s up there on His Throne shrugging His shoulders and saying, “I’m not sure what you’re talking about. I didn’t have anything to do with that”? Does Phil. 2:13 not say that God works in us to will and to act according to His good purpose? Ain’t no doubt, Girlfriend. It is GOD.

Beth Moore doesn’t speak (or write!) like I would, but I feel the same passion to give God the credit for what He has done.

Because God has done SO MUCH for me in the last couple of years and I want Him to feel it was worth it. And – to be brutally honest - I want Him to feel its worth doing more for me in the future.

With that in mind, I made a tentative stab at writing last December. I tried again in February.  And last week I thought this time I really must write. So I started writing this last Saturday.Its now Tuesday!

I never got farther than:

Most years I try to choose some sort of activity for Lent that will increase my consciousness of God’s work in my life. A few years ago, I blogged about my blessings.

This year I didn’t do anything. In fact, I felt like what with the transition back to Japan, I almost missed Easter!

At that point the weekend overtook me. A special weekend – the 50th anniversary of my baptism and the 37th of our landing in Japan. I decided to celebrate by attending a violin concert at Asunaro Church, the first church my husband and I trained in after language school.

2016-04-17 15.05.28

Enjoying the Music with Granddaughter

But really, the problem was that I didn’t know how to go on….

I kept coming back to this joke my husband often tells to illustrate cultural barriers:

Q. How did the first Newfie get to Toronto?

A. A bunch of Newfies were playing hockey on the frozen-over Gulf of St. Lawrence, and one guy got a breakaway.

What’s a Newfie? What’s a breakaway? There was a time when I would have also needed Toronto, St. Lawrence and hockey explained! (I was pretty ignorant when I left New England for Bible School in Saskatchewan as a just barely 17 year old.)

Perhaps I can illustrate the connection between the joke and my dilemma.

A really key experience for me occurred in the fall of 2014 as I was sitting (stark naked) in the bath at Kappa no Yu in Aomori City. The woman next to me asked me what I did for work.

Right here I’ve probably lost many of my readers – I imagine you’re wondering why I was sitting stark naked in the bath with this woman (to say nothing of the half dozen women with us.) But this detail is important to my feeling of wonder at the way God works.

My physical nakedness accentuated my feelings of vulnerability… and at that point in my life I felt very vulnerable! How could I say to her “I’m a missionary” when my life was in such confusion?!

However, I did say it and moved on quickly, “But this week I’ve been thinking about…  ‘

And sitting right there stark naked in the bath we talked about sin and grace and God. It was amazing. And it was God. God saying to me, “Don’t fret. You can still speak about what matters. They can’t take away your voice.”

That experience in the bath stuck with me through all the dark days of confusion that followed.

And in one of those little twists of circumstance – coincidences that I’m sure God takes pleasure in planning – on my first visit to Kappa no Yu after our return to Japan last month, again sitting stark naked in the bath, I had another opportunity to talk about what matters.

Yes, God has done amazing things for me – and I want to give him credit!

So I’ve decided to embark on a “Journey to Pentecost” – I will to try to write something every day for the next 4 weeks. For some readers my words may not make much more sense than my husband’s Newfie joke makes to me. But I hope that for some others my testimony will give a glimpse of God.

Through many danger, toils and snares

I have already come,

Tis grace has brought us safe this far

And grace will lead us home.    - John Newton

God’s Amazing Grace!

15John Elliot Family in Sapporo, Japan 1979

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