Do you see this woman?
Next week Baptists from all around the world will be gathering in Durban, South Africa for the Baptist World Congress. I am excited both to be part of the team representing our Union but also to meet brothers and sisters in Christ and listen to what the Lord is doing around the world through our movement. As I prepare to go, and as I participate in the Congress, I want to invite you to pray with me that we might see as God sees.
A few years ago I was asked to preach on John 7:36-50 by Finchampstead Baptist Church in the Southern Counties Baptist Association. I am continually moved as I prepare to preach that there are always new insights in every passage - the Bible truly conveys the living Word! On this occasion I was particular struck by verse 44, where Jesus says to his host Simon the Pharisee,
"Do you see this woman?"
How profound a question is that? So often we look at people and situations, but do we really see them? Do we really see them as Jesus sees them? I have this sense that I need to be praying that I will see as God sees, and my prayer for us as leaders and churches is that we will be seeing as God sees. As I was praying this morning on this theme, I saw the connection with the Isaiah passage that the Lord is laying on our hearts, "See,I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up do you not perceive it?" May we have the eyes and hearts to see and perceive what the Lord is doing and responsive lives to follow him.
Since I last shared on this blog I have been praying that my food would be to do the Lord's will and to finish his work and I have reflected a lot on the nourishing nature of food. It seems to me that we are nourished in our discipleship and grow when we are being obedient to him. I am going to be continuing to pray that our food would be to do his will and finish his work.
I continue to be encouraged and inspired by all the conversations, emails, photos and messages that you are sharing in response to the beacons of prayer call. I wanted to let you know that many of these stories will be shared through the Baptist Times online so that you can be encouraged and inspired as well!
Finally I want to say a huge thank you to Chris Duffett for his amazing painting for the Beacons of Prayer. We are so blessed to have artists and creative people like Chris who can convey God's truth with prophetic insight and power. Part of our renewed culture is to inspire others and Chris certainly embodies this in so many ways!