Monday, April 4, 2011

Ezra 2 - Places and People

I'll be the first to admit that I did not expect to get so much out of a list of names! There was an awesome girl who read through these names in chapter 2 as though she were reading simple names like John, Sam, Phillip, etc. Seriously. I was impressed and tried doing it myself, but - if I'm honest - I need loads more practice.

Anyway - yes, when we get to scripture like Ezra 2, we have a tendency to skip over it...okay, I HAVE THE TENDENCY TO SKIP OVER IT. But as my teacher mentioned - don't neglect their importance.

And seriously - I love this. Yes - after 70 years of captivity, God sent a ton of people to go back home to rebuild the temple. And not just people - He sent individuals and named them one by one to their HOME!! It was a promise kept from long before!!

In class, we discussed how places are where redemption happens. God meets us where we are. That is what distinguishes JESUS from any other god around. When God meets us in a certain place, it becomes sacred. Not for the place itself to become an idol but for it to provide a marker...or a stone.

He also calls us individually to the place where we are!! YOU! ME! My Neighbor!! Examples of that are all over scripture, but we stuck with John 20 when Mary is looking for Jesus at the tomb. She was desperate to find Him... The conversation looks like this:

He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, Mary.”

Acts 9 shows how God called Paul (then Saul) by name:

As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

He called Mary and Saul BY NAME! He did the same for every individual going back home to rebuild their place! He has called you and me INDIVIDUALLY! And the question stands - are we listening??

I don't know if it's true for you, but I have a place(s). And if you do PLEASE TELL ME ABOUT IT in the comments!! I love listening to stories like this.

My Places:

  1. Bolivar, MO! Funny how I always say that I don't really want to go back - and maybe it's because it's the people who made it (most of whom I keep in touch with). But it is a very special place. It is where my faith grew exponentially and I saw my God do a great work in the most obvious ways in my life. He hit me with a ton of bricks there! And within Bolivar there are places - like Dunnegan Park, Woody-Gott Hall, Beasley Hall, the cross in the middle of campus, Brenda's Cafe! :O)
  2. Guatemala! Where do I even begin with this one? My heart truly longs for this place. And sometimes aches. (tears...) Here is a place that was introduced to me while I was in college. I've had the privilege of going back since and will hopefully will continue to go as much as I possibly can! My joy in finding hearts EVERYWHERE began in Guatemala, on one of those days that I was desperate for confirmation on something. The confirmation came through a heart shaped leaf flapping in the wind! I still have that leaf! And I've found many more hearts since reminding me of God's faithfulness in the midst of struggle. Within this place are individuals that I love VERY much! I love their hugs, their laughter, their personalities, their struggles, their JOY...Hearing their stories and their strength through Christ alone and their resilience to endure what life has thrown at them...I could go on forever! Driving into the campus makes my heart skip a beat!!
  3. The mountains in Korea! Gyeryongsan
  4. PRISON! They call me "Trouble" there (at least a couple classes did). I haven't been since becoming a teacher... Anyway, there are AMAZING stories of redemption! Even now, that I'm not so involved, I still hear stories of redemption from both the brothers and the leaders and I praise the Lord for using this brokenness to bring this incredible beauty!
  5. And most recently Austin, TX during the LiveSTRONG Half Marathon. Sharing it with Adela Cordova - someone I don't know if I'll ever see again in my life, and the Van Zandt's was truly special! He seriously MET me there on SOOOO many levels. I've been telling my family that I feel like I now have an emotional attachment to that race.
The coolest part about all this is that it really isn't about US!! When we are called to GO to the place where are called we are more than likely to come BACK home. And when we do we tell of the glory of God. The work that He does when He meets us where we are is something to be shouted from roof-tops!!

Even now, I have to remind myself that where I am is where God has me and He longs to bring redemption to individual people there right now! I want it too!!

So it's your turn! Share! Please!

No comments: