[gallery link="file" columns="2" orderby="rand"] Through the Journey internship God revealed to me a lot about Himself, myself, and His people. I accepted Christ fully into my life at the age of 14. I had grown up in the church and always know about Jesus and what he did for us, but at 14 I decided to ask him into my life. I had always heard and knew that I had received the Holy Spirit and I thought that was pretty cool. I didn't really know what it meant, but I still thought it was cool. This summer through the curriculum we discussed, personal revelation, and conformation from God I learned a lot more about what it means to have the Holy Living Spirit of God living and dwelling inside me and each and every other person who asked Jesus into their lives. It says in Romans 8 that the Spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead lives inside of us. That truth means that all the essence, power, and strength of God lives and abides in each and every one of us. He gives us all the fruits of his Spirit: all of God’s love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Before Christ we all lived fully in our flesh; living out our earthly desires and satisfying our sinful nature. “But when the kindness and love of God our savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” [Titus 3 4-7] “And This hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, which has been given to us” [Rom 5:5] So we have hope in Christ a hope that will never leave or forsake us. When we have Christ we crucify our fleshly desires and are filled with the Spirit. However, as humans we may stumble and fail. We live in a broken world that is bent on turning our focus away from God and onto earthly desires. So there is this constant battle between the flesh and the Spirit. The ways of the flesh are hostel to God and He wants to break us of these habits and desires. So we are in a constant process of sanctification. Through Christ we are made righteous in the eyes of God there is nothing we have done, will do, or are doing that God will not wash away and cleanse us from. When we try to stop sinning ourselves we just fail more and more, but when we rely on Christ and cry out to him and lift up our problems to him he will be faithful and give us the peace, patience, joy, love, and self-control to overcome all things and grow closer to him and live more abundantly in him. We are no longer slaves to sin but we are adopted into God’s family. We are heirs to the kingdom of heaven on earth and instead of being slaves to sin we are slaves to righteousness. When we seek God with all our hearts, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength he is always there and always faithful. Where the light is, darkness can not be. When we seek Christ he fills us with the light of his Spirit and it overflows and shines through you. In Christ we can have confidence in what we hope for and assurance in what we can not see this is true faith. We don’t have a spirit of fear and timidity but of confidence, love, and self control. Jesus says we are friends with God through him. We can boldly enter the Most Holy Place because Jesus has torn the curtain and given us direct access to him. We have the Holy Spirit to intercede for us with wordless groans. He is constantly interceding on our behalf to God and when we don’t know what to pray for he prays for us.
So be bold with your prayers because the Spirit of God lives in you! I learned a lot of these truths from the intentional time spent by the Invest staff; teaching me God’s word and spending time checking in on my spiritual progress. This was also one of the first times that I had been around a Christian community that honestly and completely sought God with all they had. Through their encouragement and example I was also able to seek God with more passion and intentionality than ever before. God continued to make Himself known to us throughout the trip. Everyday before I would go into the classrooms I would be afraid that I would have nothing to say or would freeze, but through prayer and petition to God he allowed the Holy Spirit to speak in and through me and allowed his Spirit to work in the hearts of those children. I did not consider myself a good speaker or confident communicator, but when I realized that if I got out of my own way and allowed the Spirit to speak through me, then He would give me the words to speak. God is always faithful to his name even when we are not and He will always glorify His name. Knowing that God is sovereign and in control of all things gave me such confidence. The exact order of words I spoke was not important, but if I was seeking God, He would be faithful and glorify his name, not glorify my name or make people praise me, but through the words He spoke through me the children in those classrooms could know, the Lord He is God!
When I relied on the Spirit to guide me in the orphanage, peace and comfort would come over the children. When I arrogantly would say “I got this I can do this” the kids would cry and cry, but when I cried out to God and asked Him for the peace, patience, and love He promised He would provide and sustain me and the children. When I was tired and sore from long nights in the community He would lift me up on wings like eagles and let me run and not grow weary. We may wear down physically, but God sustains us spiritually and gives us living water from a well that does not run dry.
In Kenya there are a lot of lost people and people who are confused about the gospel and are lead astray by corrupt leaders. We are there to spread the true and honest Gospel of Jesus and through that Gospel, people will believe and be lead in the right direction and turned from their crooked roads. That being said the Kenyans who truly love God and rely completely on Him to sustain them are a true motivation to me. A lot like in America, there are people who reverently seek God and those who claim to be Christians.
I want to leave you with a story that had a huge impact on me. We were in Kwambekenya visiting homes in the communities. We had to walk down streets filled with mud with our gumboots to get to this little house made of sticks and cow manurer. Inside the house was a man named Francis. Francis was about seventy years old and had lost both of his legs to cancer about five years ago. He was sitting there in his wheelchair with his sweet wife Lucy that took care of him. When we started talking to Francis we could tell immediately that this man was special. He was the most joyful person I have ever met. He was smiling, laughing, and telling us how much he loved Jesus and how he sustained him through all things. He encouraged us and when we asked him his favorite verse he pointed to [John 14: 6]. It says “ I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” Francis knew that once we are in Christ we are not at home in our earthly bodies. That his hope was in eternal life with Jesus and that was all that mattered. Jesus is the only true comfort, peace, joy, and love. Francis was so consumed with this truth that he couldn’t hold it in. When Christ is truly in us we can’t help but let Him shine through us because the joy and Good News of Christ is so amazing we have to tell people. Thats not an easy thing to do, the bible says plenty of times that we will suffer for the Word of God. It says that people will ridicule and persecute us. But James says for us to “ consider it a pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let your perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything.” [James 1: 2-5] So persevere, run the good race, fight the good fight. “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; character, hope, and hope does not put us to shame. God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, which has been given to us.” [Romans 5: 3-5]
So be bold for Christ, find all your desire and joy in Christ like Francis did. God has blessed me with both of my legs and with this blessing I am going to give everything I’ve got to seek God and allow Him to lead me to whereverHe wants to lead me to proclaim His name and spread the glory of Christ. Even if God decides to take away my legs, I will praise God with all I have, give Him the glory in all things, and share His love with all peoples. Because the Holy Spirit is in me He will proclaim His name and glorify it. My heart is desperate for God and desperate for Him to come through because if He doesn't, I’m lost. But He does show up! He does glorify his name! He is Faithful! He is sovereign! He is the name above all names! And He is, was, and is to come! Francis knew this and saw this in his life and is constantly seeking God and seeking the day he will finally be with him in Heaven. So let me ask you one last thing; how are your legs? How is your heart?