Often in the Bible we see so many dead things being used by God. For instance, the story of Lazarus in John 11, the widow's son in I Kings 17, and the ruler's daughter in Luke 8. In all of these passages we find the frailty of humanity revealed. Death comes to everyone. No one has ever found an escape from death.
Finding death in our lives is not a bad thing. In fact, this is how John felt as he stood before Jesus:
"And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death." Revelations 1:17-18
But in the world we live in today, the devil is looking to steal this sense of death and guilt from each and every person. We find in Turkey a sense of fatalism that has been integrated into this culture through its religion. This makes people ok with living for today and ok with dying tomorrow. But where is the sense of reality? For there is someone we all stand and fall before, and there is a need for guilt in our life. For it is at this place that we find healing.
"Guilt admitted is guilt forgiven."
We cannot suppress reality forever. But as Jesus talked to the woman at the well: “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” (John 4:16-18) We see this woman being asked to come to grips with reality - her sin. In this story, healing comes from honesty of "guilt admitted" because there Jesus forgives.
So we find that dying with Christ is living with Christ. For when He died, we died with Him; and when He was resurrected, we rose with Him. A new life is given to those who die with the Savior. We exchange our old life for a new life, and its a life worth living! But if I hold on to my old life, as one famous author said, "Guilt never sleeps."
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
This past week or so since we've been back in Istanbul has been filled with the details of starting a life in a new place - walking for hours searching for the right apartment, dealing with the financial details of getting a new apartment, contracts, deposits, starting an electricity account, getting a phone and internet connection, cleaning the new apartment until Roger's incredibly high cleanliness standards have been met, putting up curtains, getting furniture, figuring out how to put up a shower curtain, hauling all our stuff to the apartment and up 3 flights of stairs... Needless to day, it has been mentally, physically and emotionally draining. I never thought of myself as a homebody, but I have been craving a place to call our own! So, in a way, it has been fun to be able to do all this, knowing that this will be our home in a city we feel so at home in. And in the midst of all this, we have tried to take the time to remind ourselves why we are doing all this...
Tonight I met up with two very dear friends of mine, Burcu and Evrim, (see photo) for the first time since we've been back. I have known them since around easter time when I first met them at Burger King. It was SO refreshing to spend some time with them! As I walked along the main walking street, with my two Turkish friends on each side of me, arm in arm, I was so humbled to even be in their lives. I said to myself, They are why we are here! I don't know how long it will take before they come to the realization that there is a great God who loves them each so personally that He is jealous for their souls...But I am here for them, as long as it takes. If these two girls are the only girls that I meet - they are enough for me.
Today Roger and I were discussing the future and our call here and we both agreed that it is unwise to try to plan ahead too much and it would be foolish to compare ourselves with anyone else. Christ said, "What is that to thee? You follow Me." We KNOW that God has given us a love for Turkish people - so what else can we do but love them??
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Yesterday we arrived in Istanbul, and it was very clear to us that God cares for people. There was a part of me that proudly thought the work in Turkey would stop or slow down with our absence - but just the opposite has happened! Tonight at our wednesday night service, the room was packed with people. A new young girl came tonight, named Arshur, who has been studying the philosophies of Kant and Nietsche in her university. She said afterwards, "I didn't know that a church could be so living." I know that God has a special place for Turkish people, and for all of us. It says in I Peter 5:7 to "cast all your cares on Him, for He cares for you." I have sometimes wondered if God cares for me more than I could ever imagine - and tonight, it was clear to me that He does. Its a miracle Liz and I are here in Turkey. God has taken our cares this summer and given us Turkey as a missionfield. I think this is what happens when we cast our cares upon Him. I told the church in my introduction tonight that we care for people, whether they're poor, sick, needy, empty, lost, or guilty. The Bible says in Proverbs 25:27 that "those who tend to the poor will lack nothing." This is what the church is doing in Istanbul, and there is nothing we lack here. At the end of the month, the church will be moving to the top floor of the building, which has one of the most beautiful views of the Bosporus in the whole city, and its because we've put our cares on the Lord. This is the way the Lord wants us to live, and He explains it in Matthew 6:25-33 - Seek Him first!