Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Journey to Cuba, part 3: Keeping the Vision Alive

Hola! Mi familia y amigas.  Como esta usted?  Estoy muy bien!

As you can see my Spanish is improving.  Not sure all of that is correct gramatically (conjegating verbs is HARD!), but I didn't have to look anything up.  Now I need a keyboard that can add the accents.

Our vision to visit Cuba is ponderously slow at times.  We still are unsure HOW or with WHOM to go.  But it seems that our government is egging us on as they keep removing political obstacles.

And it seems each time I get discouraged about never getting there (yeah, patience is a virtue that I don't seem to have much of), God sends me some encouragement.

Lately it has been in the form of sermons preached at Faith Bible Church.  Pastor Tom has been leading us to see how God worked in Old Testament saints.  On May 24 it was Caleb.  Here are 3 points he told us:

1.  To trust God wholly is to totally distrust self.  God is our overwhelming majority; not me and God.

2.  When one has witnessed the arm of the Lord, he is no fool to venture great things in His name.  The God who used Caleb to overcome the "giants" of the promised land is the same God who uses us to accomplish great things.

3.  Courageous enterprises rarely succeed until someone steps forward to lead.  Chuck Swindoll says, "True faith is believing the Lord against all odds and obeying Him even if things backfire."

Caleb, it seems (a truth I had not seen before) was 85 when he defeated those living on his promised land.  85!!  Hm, at 60 I should have more spunk, that's for sure.

Pastor Tom said, "...there will never be a lack of voices willing to point out the obstacles. The problem with courageous, obedient people is that they hear the voice of the Spirit of God, and they believe it to the core of their being. But they are graciously surrounded by realists who say, “But did you think about the implications of that?” And they usually package their hesitation, we’ll put it that way; I’m looking for a better word, but that’ll do; in spiritually cloaked language, like, “You’re going to embarrass God with that,” or “God didn’t really say that,” or, you know “Do you really understand the implications, you know, we just need to slow things down a little bit.” I’m pretty sure if somebody would’ve said [to] Caleb that day, “You know, we really need to slow things down a little bit,” he’d go, “Hey, at eighty-five, there’s not a lot of time to slow things down a little bit.” "

And if all of this had not encouraged my soul, Pastor Tom ended with this prayer:

Lord, I have no idea who You you plan to speak to from the story of Caleb today, no idea what challenges lay before most of my friends and brothers and sisters, and what questions are raised. I don’t know what You stirred in their hearts to do for Your glory and Your fame. But they know, and You know. I would ask that You would use the encouragement of one who refused to let the dream die, refused to look at the obstacles as barriers, and saw them simply as opportunities for You to get great glory by showing up big on their behalf. That You would give your people courage to follow You fully and completely in order that Your name might be more famous. Because when people like us are seen as doing great things for You, it’s obvious it’s not us. It’s all of You, and therefore, You get the glory. We thank You for that in Jesus name. Amen.