"For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain"-Philippians 1:21My life on this earth, according to Paul is not only dedicated to serving Christ but it says that the definition and meaning of my life is to strive to be like the Son of God. It is a hard concept for my mind to overcome. When I started this TREK program I had to think of all of the things that I would have to give up, like time, comfort, a loving family, an awesome girlfriend and work/time to name a few. But in all actuality, do I even have the right to these things if my life is to serve Christ. If the path for my life, laid out by the Lord of Lords, directs me one way or another, and my life as Paul says is to serve Jesus...do I even have rights? Following Jesus=laying down our "rights". Now I am not saying that it is bad to have a girlfriend or a loving family, but what Jesus wants has to come first in our lives, because all that we have is His.
I have been reading a lot from the letters written by Paul in the Bible and also an awesome book Back to Jerusalem by Paul Hattaway within the last week. Both of these awesome literature's speak and talk about examples when people have been bold in faith and have laid down not only comforts in life but also their own lives! Racing through my head is the question, am I that dedicated on the WORD that I would right now lay down my life for my God? Or even, am I that bold in faith that I would be put in a situation where my life was on the line for the sake of the gospel? Now I have talked a little about the first part of this verse at the top found in Philippians 1:21 but look at the end "...and to die is gain". When I die, I can be firm in the belief that I am going to enter into eternity with my LORD and Savior...but then why am I contemplating if I would give up my life for His namesake? This book by Paul H. talks about a missions movement in which is within the church in China, it talks about leaders and the torture and jail time that they have faced because of their faith. It has talked about our brothers and sisters that have laid their lives in means of spreading the good news of Jesus, but you know what else it talks about, it talks about people coming to faith, it talks about miracles, visions, supernatural healings, a bond of believers, church unity and an advance in the Kingdom of God, AMEN!
So as I am reading this book and also some of the letters written by Paul I am surrounded by texts of boldness and the laying down of human rights that I would feel obligated to have. This has kicked me in the pants and reminded me what my life is and why I am here in Ukraine. Whether it is serving at the New Hope Center, or at one of the orphanages, or teaching english or even walking through the market, I am carry the truth to eternal life and why should I try to hold it in, what should I feel afraid of?
If I say, “I will not mention him,
or speak any more in his name,”
there is in my heart as it were a burning fire
shut up in my bones,
and I am weary with holding it in,
and I cannot. - Jer 20:9
I should be weary and afraid to try to smother and trap this good news, I need to just spread it every where that I go and in everything that I do and not be afraid of the consequences. The news of Jesus is offensive to people, not everyone is going to agree with it, but it NEEDS to be proclaimed.
So I am not here in Ukraine looking for persecution or looking for trouble, but I am here for one purpose and that is to advance the Kingdom of Heaven and that is what I am going to do. Thank you for all of your prayers and support for me while I am here and I welcome you to join me in praying for the advance of Jesus Christ's name here in Zaporozhye through the current missionaries and my team and I. Pray for boldness and a firm remembrance of the powerful name that I carry with me everywhere that I go. Please remember our friend Natascha who has shown a deep interest in Jesus and for the other relationships that we are building amongst the Ukrainian people.
Blessings from Ukraine!
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