“But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me.  So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.  “If my people would only listen to me, if Israel would only follow my ways,” Psalm 81:11-13

When you were a child, were there times when you were receiving directions on how to do things correctly, or at least better, that you listened and then when left alone you returned to doing them ‘your’ way?  Perhaps I am the only one to have done that, but reading the above verses it seems that I am in good company.  Stubborn; there are five definitions to this word in the dictionary.  (1) Unreasonably obstinate; obstinately unmoving: a stubborn child.  (2) Fixed or set in purpose or opinion; resolute: a stubborn opponent of foreign aid.  (3) Obstinately maintained, as a course of action: a stubborn resistance.  (4) Difficult to manage or suppress: a stubborn horse; a stubborn pain.  (5) Hard, tough, or stiff, as stone or wood; difficult to shape or work.  The Haitian word for stubborn is “tet di.”  

When you drive into villages in Haiti and see the houses with the tall flagpole that is adorned with their multi-colored banners; those are owned by a stubborn person whose eyes, ears, mind, heart and body are owned by the devil.  Their stubbornness continues to separate them from the love of Christ.  They continue to reject the Holy Spirit.  Our Triune God continues to reach out to them through the lives of young Haitian missionaries who you are helping to support.  The Holy Spirit continues to nudge those lives trapped in the lies of the vodou priest to turn into the Light and accept the Savior of this world.  I close today with the words to the hymn ‘Just as I am’ which was written by Charlotte Elliott in 1836.

“Just as I am, without one plea but that Thy blood was shed for me and that Thou bidd'st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.  Just as I am and waiting not to rid my soul of one dark blot, to Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.  Just as I am, though tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt, fightings and fears within, without, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.  Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind; sight, riches, healing of the mind, yea, all I need, in Thee to find, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.  Just as I am, Thou wilt receive, wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve; because Thy promise I believe, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.  Just as I am; Thy love unknown has broken every barrier down. now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.”

Dear Heavenly Father, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown.  Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  Amen. 

May God be with you…Jay