But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go?"

And God said, "I will be with you."

But Moses said, "Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else."

Then the LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?"

Exodus 3:11,12 Exodus 4:13 & Exodus 4:2

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Often in the time between when we've signed up for a mission trip and actual go time, Satan can really begin to do a number on us about our abilities and worthiness to go and be effective.  Especially if this is your first trip to an impoverished continent such as Africa, these fears can be overwhelming.  Over the next few months will discuss ways to pinpoint the talents and gifts you have that God chose uniquely for this trip.  Each of us were called to be a member of this team because we each contribute something unique that God intends to bless the children of Uganda and Kenya with through our time in country.  Begin to pray and ask God to reveal what part He wants you to play on our team.  Will you be involved in leading Children's Worship?  Sports Activities, Crafts, Bible Lessons, Intercessory Prayer or an array of other needed positions.  What has the Lord given you, what's in your hand?

In the months to come we'll decipher these unique abilities, but first, let's discuss what we all have in common.  One of our greatest blessings, placed in our hands so that we may bless others, is the prosperity we all enjoy as American citizens.  Because of the faith of the Founding Fathers and the generations that followed who placed this country in the hands of God and asked for His continual guidance in its formation and growth, we enjoy a bountiful blessing.  We live in the most affluent country on the globe.  Our poverty line is 25 times higher than most countries middle classes.  While we have of late began to reject God and exclude Him from our Nation's government, businesses and schools, and are seeing a rapid decline in that blessing as a result, we still, nonetheless, are better off than most of the world.  It is a result of this blessing - the excess in our free time, our budgets, and our lifestyles, that we are capable of helping others in need.  God has placed our prosperity in our hands.

Often times the residual effect of a trip like the one we'll take, is a lingering sense of guilt and disillusionment upon return to the States.  The poverty and disparaging sights we will encounter are difficult to reconcile with the luxury and waste associated with American culture.  The best way for us to prepare you not to be bound in confusion with this next August, is to set you on a journey of gratitude before the Lord now.  No where in the Word does our Father ever ask His children to feel guilty.  Ever.  Guilt is a bi product of believing the lies of the enemy.  God's blessings are never a curse.

Begin to cast off the Spirit of Poverty in your lives over the next few months so that you are walking in freedom and thankfulness.  The Spirit of Poverty is not only the thoughts and wrong attitudes that lead us into debt and laziness, it is also the voice of false humility.  To be thankful for what the Lord has given you is to have a spirit of gratitude.  When people compliment your blessings don't act falsely humble with, "Oh, it's not that nice, I got it off the clearance rack."  Just say "Thank you."  When you pull up beside a nicer car than yours, don't think, "They're probably in debt up to their eyeballs and don't give to charity to afford that!"  Just say "Thank You" to God that you have a safe vehicle, that's more than most of the world has.  God's blessings are for your good.

Understanding that everything you have comes from the Lord and walking in gratitude, conversing with Him contiuously about your blessings, postures you in position to hear Him when He asks you to do something with those blessings for others.  If you're walking in guilt and believing the lie that to serve the poor you must throw away all your blessings, you're listening to satan and therefore can't hear the Lord.  Your blessings are given to you so that you may bless others as well.

All Christians are called to be generous with their giving.  All Christians are called to serve orphans, widows, and the poor.  But the means by which God calls us are all different.  A very small percentage of us are called to full time missions; to literally sell everything we own, move to an area, and serve sacrificially.  The rest of us are called to, one, flourish where we've been planted so that we can support those who've been called permanently, and two, go and provide short term mission care as the Lord directs.  If we all sold everything we had and moved to Africa, there'd be an overcrowded continent with a bunch of poor, formerly affluent people, and no one left behind to support us in our work.  God was able to establish Katie Davis in Uganda so quickly because He had already established her family and support system in an affluent lifestyle.  A finacial blessing they were willing to share because their hearts understood where it came from.  On the flip side, if we all lived like paupers in our culture, giving away everything, we would neither be relevant enough to bring others to the Lord, or desirious of working harder to flourish.  God owns 10% and asks for us to find balance between what we use and give of the remaining 90%.  The Lord blesses those who bless others.

Begin walking in a lifestyle of gratitude before the Lord.  If there are areas of your life that the Lord would like you to downsize or shave off excess, He will let you know these things out of a spirit of conviction and love.  It will be a joy to sacrifice so you can give more.  But to hear Him ask these things, you have to be listening and responding to Him and not believing the Spirit of Poverty hard at work to fill you with crippling guilt.  Prosperity is a gift from the Lord, placed in your hand to bless you.