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We could discuss what we have given up. We could compare stories of struggles. We could talk about our pains. If we are honest though, sometimes we realize how small these things really are. One second they dominate our mind, the next, they are a passing and minute pieces of reality. Our struggles are real. Our battles are fierce, but that does not mean they should be our focus. I am not saying you should just try to be “positive.” The bible says that Christ endured the cross because of the joy set before him. While in the garden, he prayed that the Father would remove this cup from him if there was any other way. Yet, he died for our sake. He was sweating blood in prayer. How bad are our struggles then? I haven’t even sweated blood. Yet despite this, Christ focused on a Hope that he knew was real. This allowed him to bear the unbearable. We are the joy set before him. We are his treasure and reward. His beloved bride. What if we loved God to the point of death. How much pain would that bring on, and how much comfort. Would we truly be alive? If we loved the one who is life.

I have been praying a lot about this trip. I have been praying that I would fall in love with God’s word and that it would draw me closer to him. While I was packing my things today, I looked at my old bibles. They are make up and falling apart. The look mutilated, and I realized I do love God’s word. I always have. I have been for years comparing myself to the standard that was set for me: reading the bible everyday. I have never been able to do this. However, I have to read it many times a week. Then, I was over come with sorrow. What about people who have never opened this book? How can they get by without this? For me, it has become a life line in the typhoon of life. Without it, I’d be blown away, or swept under by the currents.

In Japan, we pray for revival. We pray for transformation. We pray and intercede for this nation. When will people awaken? When will they see? When will God’s children stand as the Kings they are meant to be? When will they feel his love? We work for this. We pray for this. We cry out in the dark of night. Yet, we constantly run back to him. It is so easy to become discouraged. It is so natural for our hearts to focus on the brokenness. Yet, we know that God has a perfect plan. He is our primary focus. This comes from spending time with him and letting his word renew our hearts and minds. We can’t change anything if we are not in the word, and God changes everything when we are. Japan will not change unless the Japanese met the love of God. The word must be alive in us. The word is alive, but are we willing to let it live inside of us and over flow into the world around? I believe that if every believer knew God personally, this world would change so radically, because people who encounter God’s love change. A people who seek God find him and are transformed.

Every Christian is called to give up certain things, they are not the focus, but our giving them up is a relief. We are called to give up our lives. We lay them down, that it would be Christ living through us. With this we give up our rights. You are not your own. We give up our judgement of ourselves, for who are you to doubt another man’s servant? We give up the ways of the world. God calls us to live in a manner that seems foolish to the world. We give up our own wisdom. The wisdom of God is foolishness to man, who is perishing. We give up or pride and the thought that we really know something. Try telling God how great you are and how much of an expert you are. We give up our plans. God gives us back greater ones. We give up our right to say no to God. You can not say, “No Lord,” because the first word proves that the second is a lie. God is your Lord, or he isn’t. But for all the things we give up, we gain so much more. A home. A family. An inheritance. Eternity. Faith. Hope. Love. ect.

 

By the way, I leave for Japan in just over a week.