Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Confessions of a Prayer Warrior

“I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.” John 17:11(NIV)

This passage is from a prayer Jesus prayed at the last supper. He was praying for His disciples and other followers yet to come. He prayed that we, His followers, would be one just like He and the Father were one.

Becoming one with other believers is not always easy, especially if those believers live in a strange land, speak a strange tongue, and have different customs, languages, and even skin color from you. When my parents served as missionaries in Nigeria, they and the other missionaries worked at becoming one with the people among whom they lived and ministered.

When I was eight years old, I made a profession of faith in Jesus and wanted to be baptized. Being a doctor, my father felt he should not be the one to baptize me, but desired instead to have me baptized by a minister. Though there were other missionary ministers he could have asked, he chose to ask Reverend Asaju, the hospital chaplain. Here is the man’s response as written in a thank you note to my parents which they still posses.

In a letter dated, 11/12/67 from Rev. Asaju , the chaplain of the Baptist Hospital Ogbomosho.  Address: Ogbomosho Baptist Hospital, Ogbomosho Nigeria, Po. Box 15.

Dear Dr. & Mrs. T. K. Edwards,

            The occasion of yesterday afternoon was one of those I will never forget in my life for the meaning it has for me and for the cause of Christ in this land.

            Your daughter was the first American Baptist Missionary I had the privilege to baptize. The most important thing about it is this – that oneness in Christ you preach is practicalized. That is you prove to us that you do not say by mouth that you love the Nigerians but you demonstrate it. May the love of Christ continue to flow through you to many more in this land as you dedicate your lives for the service of our Lord, Amen.

                                                                                                I am,

                                                                                                     Sincerely Yours,



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cheery Countenance

You Want Me to Do What?

When my youngest son was in the fifth grade, he attended a Christian school. One day he surprised me with this request, “Oh Mom! My teacher has started having the kids do morning devotions. She said we could get our parents to come and do the devotions with us. So, I signed you up for tomorrow. I told my class that you would teach us all about Revelation. We are reading it right now, so I told my class you had studied it in your Bible Study and you know everything!”

Wow! What a task…but what confidence from my child. So, the next morning I would be expected to teach a class of fifth graders “everything” about the book of Revelation – in twenty minutes. And I had less than twenty four hours to prepare. The very idea made me laugh and still makes me laugh today! How does a mother answer such a request? Well, here’s what I did.

First, I explained that the Revelation was the hardest book in the Bible to understand. I also told the class that actually no one knows for sure what everything in Revelation means – great Christian scholars throughout history have studied it and held differing opinions.

Nevertheless, I had studied it for two years through a Precepts Bible study, and I did have some understanding but it would take too long to explain it all. So instead, I was going to give them a demonstration of how a person goes about studying parts of the Bible that are hard to understand. I explained that the place to go for answers when confused about a passage in the Bible was other scriptures. I told them it was okay and even helpful to see what their friends and teachers think, but what really mattered was what God had to say. God’s thoughts are recorded in the scriptures; the Bible is His word, so the best thing to do when trying to figure out what God meant is to read more of His words.

Then I gave the children a little exercise. I told them Revelation was like the huge puzzle my family works every summer while on vacation. But when my family works puzzles, we have a box with a picture on it. We can see what the puzzle is supposed to look like. However, when trying to figure out Revelation we don’t have a picture to look at, making it a very difficult task. Still, some of the puzzle pieces can be figured out.

I told them we would solve a tiny piece of the puzzle in class so they could see how it is done. Then I had my son read Revelation 1:16, “And in His right hand he held seven stars and out of His mouth came a sharp two edged sword.” (NASB) I explained that the person described in this verse is Jesus. We talked a little about whether the sword coming out of His mouth was a real sword or a symbolic one. I explained the terms, “tangible” and “intangible”. By a show of hands, about half of the class thought the sword was tangible and the other half thought it was intangible. Then, after reminding them that the place to look to understand scripture was other scripture, I had my son read Hebrews 4:12, “The word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than a two-edged sword.”(NASB) I asked them what they now thought the sword coming out of Jesus’ mouth was. One of the kids raised her hand and said she thought it was the word of God. I agreed, saying that I too thought it was God’s word. Then I asked again if the sword described in Revelation 1:16 was a tangible or an intangible sword. They all agreed it was intangible.

Next I had my son read Revelation 2:16, “Repent therefore; or else I am coming quickly and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.”(NASB) and Revelation 19:15, “And from His mouth comes a two-edged sword. So that it may smite the nations…” (NASB) I asked them one more time if this sword was tangible or intangible. They were stumped!

So I explained the terms finite and infinite and the fact that our knowledge is finite - or limited, but God’s is infinite - or without limits. I concluded by saying that even though we have trouble understanding this, God doesn’t. But what we can say for certain is that the two edged sword coming out of Jesus’ mouth is the word of God. Yet, it is somehow also a powerful weapon; so powerful in fact that it can smite the nations!

I don’t know about the kids but the experience was loads of fun for me!