Tag Archives: Genesis

maranatha, the great missionary, Day 16

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“Listen to me, you islands, hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name, He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. He said to me, ‘You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.’ And now the Lord says – he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord and my God has been my strength – he says: ‘It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’” Isaiah 49. 1-3, 5-6

Israel was born to be a nation of missionaries. As seen God’s promise to patriarch, “Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him” (Gen 18.18), God chose this people to be his shining light to the world. A people set apart by God to emulate his character, to reveal his blessings, to proclaim his truth and love the world. But they failed. Rather than emulating his heart, they took the Law and followed the letter while missing the point. They became so consumed in their own sin and rebellion that they ended up looking just like the world.

Enter Jesus. The Creator God become incarnate flesh, Yeshua was set apart before conception to be God’s holy servant, perfect in obedience and love. He is the Light of the World, shining God’s truth and character to Jew and Gentile.

Ultimately, the nation of Israel shows us one thing: we all need Jesus. We are all equally/completely broken; it is so easy for me to take God’s calling made clear in the scriptures and turn it into some pious act of discipline to become proud, “following” the letter and missing the point. Jesus came as the Great Missionary, gathering for himself a people from every part of the world to call to his heart. From Nazareth all the way to Kenai, Alaska. And even farther…


 

 

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maranatha: perfect timing, Day 6

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“I’m declaring war between you and the woman, between your offspring and hers. He’ll wound your head, you’ll wound his heel.” Gen 3:15 (MSG)

This brings it back even farther than yesterday. Titled the “proto evangelium” in super-theological circles, this is the very first taste of the Gospel we see in written form. At the very moment of the first sin, God reveals His ultimate plan. There will be pain and suffering, but there will also be hope and complete victory. The amazing thing is, even in this little verse we see that Jesus himself takes the pain we both caused and deserved from our sin to rescue us. We rebelled, we acted in pride, and he is the one who is wounded.

“The fact is, it was our pains he carried – our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us… it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him – our sins! He took the punishment that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed.” Is 53.4-5 (MSG)

Anticipation: Day 6, Perfect Timing

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I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.                   Genesis 3:15

Enter the scene in Genesis. Everything is falling apart. Separation has pierced its way through every existing relationship. The crunch of one potent bite still echoes in the garden, ringing of brokenness and shame. And then God walks in.

You can hear the strings start to pick up in the background; a clashing musical soundtrack to what’s about to unfold. He said, she said, “the devil made me do it!” Who’s to blame, who’s gonna pay? What, oh what have we done?

And as the hammer falls and expressions drop, God slips in a back-handed promise. Jesus. Born in the pain and discord His humanity inherited, Jesus fights back. Raised on the front lines of the war of the worlds, the God-man takes our share of the blows, but then emerges from the battle that this one moment of choice demanded victorious.

Here, in this world-altering moment, we see the promise of another.

Wangki Mairin: Wrapping Paper

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For the past three months I have been working to develop a Bible curriculum for the children along the Rio Coco. It has been a stretching, and very humbling, experience; sitting around a table with men older than my Dad, sometimes I’m amazed that they’d want the input of a 19-year-old girl who doesn’t have as much life experience or anywhere near so much cultural knowledge. Right now we’re working on boiling down the life of Abraham into two concise stories to teach Biblical principles to five and six year olds. They say that you always learn more by teaching, and God is certainly using this process of meditating on His Word to instruct me in a personal way.

When I stop and think about all that God has taught me though my time in Waspam, one of the first things that comes to mind is the issue of surrender. Four days after GCBI graduation, I flew off to a whole new life. New language, new culture, new food, new climate, new lifestyle, new friends, new schedule, new environment. God asked me to give everything to Him, and, by His grace, I guess I did. But His desire for surrender didn’t stop there. He has put so many things in my path, moments when I am forced to recognize how my own desires sharply contrast with His desires. Moments when I must choose to die to myself, take up the cross He’s set before me and bear it well. For His glory and my benefit.

Three separate times I prepared a Bible study to do with different friends here. I was excited at the opportunity to use the gifts and knowledge God gave me at GCBI. But even stronger than my excitement was my fear. I was terrified. Here I was faced with a real opportunity, but I was afraid and unwilling to put in the effort and vulnerability such an opportunity would require. So each time I would spend the morning in the Word, preparing  the Bible study, and asking the Holy Spirit to prepare my heart.

“God, I don’t want to do this, but I can see how Your hand might be in it. I want to do Your will more than anything, so change my heart. Give me a willing attitude as I faithfully obey.”

Laying my sinful perspective at His feet, I felt my heart change, and readily finished my preparations. But each time, the same thing happened: no one showed. I was confused; why would God bring me to the point where I’m wanting and waiting to obey, only to keep it from happening?

This year has been crazy for my mom. She has sat front-row-and-center on the worst roller coaster ride her health has ever seen, and I’ve watched the coaster from long distance. Every time her health rapidly declined, I fell to my knees.

“God, do you want me to go back to Alaska? I know that You brought me here to Waspam on purpose, and I love it here. I don’t want to go, but I can see how Your hand might be in this. I want to do what You want. You will, Father. I’m all Yours, whatever comes.”

Each time I sat at my computer, mentally calculating airline costs, formulating travel plans. And as soon as the moment came when I was fully ready and willing to go back, God made it clear He wanted to me stay in Nicaragua!

I couldn’t help but wonder what God was doing. It’s like God was asking for something from me, asking me to give myself over to what He had planned. But then as soon as I placed it in His hands, He would open the box and the contents had changed. It didn’t hold a trip to the emergency room in Seattle, instead it was 2 more months in Nicaragua, just like before.

I can imagine Abraham was just as confused. God promised him that Isaac would be the father to a great people, and, in turn, produce a blessing for the whole world. But then God tells him to kill his son. “What, Lord? How could you ask this of me? Of course I don’t want to kill my son; I would die first. But I can see Your hand in this, You’ve commanded me to do so…”

I picture Abraham praying as he gathers the wood together, “Oh God, change my heart. Give me a willing attitude as I faithfully obey.”

So, with Isaac’s hand in his, Abraham climbs the mountain, with every step choosing to die to himself, clinging to his faith that God knows best. With every step Abraham’s heart becomes more and more willing to do God’s bidding; willfully blocking out every tempting voice inside his head, Abraham lifts the knife over his precious son. He’s laid his beloved gift in the hands of God, heart willing and open to God’s desires, and in that exact moment, God opens the box. It’s empty. God doesn’t want Isaac’s life.

I see Abraham sitting on top of that mountain, holding his son in his arms, tearfully asking God, “I don’t understand. Why would you ask me for my son, only to give him back again? What on earth could possibly come from all this?” And, in my mind’s eye, I see God holding Abraham’s gift, not looking at the empty box but the beautiful wrapping paper. On it I see written in flowing script one single word in many different colors: surrender. God responds to Abraham’s questions with this one statement: “Now I know that you truly fear God” (Gen 22:12, NLT)

This was the gift God wanted from Abraham, his complete surrender. I always thought that when God presented me with an opportunity, He wanted the gift, the action, the speech, the song, the prayer, and that the only way I could give this gift was through a surrendered heart. But now I’m starting to see that maybe God isn’t so crazy about the gift itself. An eternal God can’t be too surprised by a gift from a 19-year-old girl, however grand it may be to me. God doesn’t care about the gift, He wants the wrapping paper. He wants my surrender, that’s my truest gift to Him.

“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!” Psalm 139:6