“I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me by his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith; in like manner as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and preserves it in union with Jesus Christ in the true faith; in which Christian Church He daily forgives abundantly all my sins, and the sins of all believers, and will raise up me and all the dead at the last day, and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true.” The Explanation of the Third Article of the Apostle’s Creed by Martin Luther.
A number of years ago there was a popular book called the ‘Forty days of Purpose’ by Rick Warren. This was a Bible study that many millions of people went through and I went through this book a number of times; with a group in Davie, FL and with a few close friends via E-mail while living in Haiti and it now stands in my bookcase only being referenced occasionally. The truly important part of this book in my mind was that our being here is not about me, it is about our Triune God. He is the one preparing us and providing opportunities to use the time, talents and treasures that He has provided to us; we are not calling the shots. I don’t know if Mr. Warren studied Martin Luther but he might have as the phrase Luther wrote in the 1500’s “the Holy Ghost has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me by his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith; in like manner as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth” certainly reminds us today what force is working through us.
The girl standing next to me in Messef has been called by the Holy Spirit to do His work. The Holy Spirit does not just choose the tall or short, the young or old, the rich or poor, the sick or healthy or the meek or the courageous; He calls us all. This child living in Ouanaminthe, you and I are all being daily called by the Holy Spirit to use the gifts that we have been given to do His work; bring one more soul to hear the news of a Savior who is Christ the Lord. Your gifts are different than her gifts and also different than mine. Thank you for letting the Holy Spirit move you to help prepare this child for her call. A wonderful way to close this devotion is by using the words to a Welsh hymn ‘Sent forth by God’s blessing’ which was written by Omer Westendorf (1917-1997).
“Sent forth by God's blessing, our true faith confessing, the people of God from this dwelling take leave. The supper is ended. Oh, now be extended the fruits of this service in all who believe. The fruit of Christ's teaching, receptive souls reaching, shall blossom in action for God and for all. His grace did invite us, his love shall unite us to work for God's kingdom and answer his call. With praise and thanksgiving to God ever-living the tasks of our everyday life we will face. Our faith ever sharing, in love ever caring, embracing the children of each tribe and race. With your feast you feed us, with your light now lead us, unite us as one in this life that we share. Then may all the living with praise and thanksgiving give honor to Christ and his name that we bear.”
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