Jacob The Centurion

Jacob, a man in Ghana, heard about With This Ring’s mission and came to visit me during our trip. He was determined to bring help to his village.

 

He reminded me of the centurion from Matthew 8.

 

The centurion begged Jesus to heal his dying son. He had so much faith in Jesus and His ability to heal, that Jesus announced that he had not found anyone in Israel with so great a faith as this centurion. Then, Jesus healed the centurion’s son.

 

Now, I’m not comparing myself to Jesus here at all! But as I remember the centurion’s faith, I think of Jacob. He brought me pictures of children that are sick and riddled with parasites from the water they have to drink—and then he arranged our trip to his home.

 

As we visited Jacob’s village, I wasn’t’ sure how we’d be able to help. We did our survey work in the hopes that we could somehow get a well dug there. All the while, Jacob’s faith never wavered. As we met the children and saw the murky water they drank, Jacob encouraged us that God was going to take care of things “just as he believed it would.”

 

And now, God has provided! You have made radical gifts in your faithfulness so that the drilling of the first well is scheduled in Jacob’s village within the next 60 days.  It is amazing to see God’s provision through your efforts and Jacob’s faith.

 

I am now constantly reminded how God is always faithful even when we see only the obstacles. Has God been radically faithful in your life? I would love to hear your story of God demonstrating his faithfulness.

The Lovely One

As a recap:

I’m heading to Africa and want to take gifts to those we meet. God impresses upon me to take necklaces, even my most precious ones, and He wants me to give them with a joyful heart. But who will get my favorite one?

In the late days of my trip I met a terribly disfigured woman. After hearing of her plight with Elephantitis, I knew what I had to do.

I pulled out a pink silk bag. I explained that inside was my favorite necklace and that I had been saving it for someone special. I had saved it for the most beautiful woman in Africa. With a smile on my face and tears in my eyes I gently took the necklace out of the bag, and fastened it around her neck.

It looked beautiful on her smooth brown skin. I told her how God thinks she is beautiful inside and out and I leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. She was moved by the genuine love God gave me for her. I watched as the expression on her face changed to one of hope and confidence.

She truly was the most beautiful woman I have ever encountered. She had a rare beauty all her own, and God was able to show me what she looked like through His eyes.

Sometimes we are so busy looking for sparkling gems that we overlook hidden treasures. Sometimes deep under the surface lies a diamond so rare and unique that it can only be seen by those who are willing to get dirty while trying to find it. I will always be blessed by the beauty that I found in what, for a moment, I considered unlovely!

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Proverbs 31:30 

Who have you overlooked, or passed by, who was a hidden treasure? Are you willing to get a little dirty to discover their inner beauty?

A Rare Beauty

As I prepared for my trip to Africa, I decided to take necklaces as gifts to the people we would meet. God even prompted me to give away the most valuable necklace I owned. Then He asked me to take it a step further—He asked me to give it away joyfully! I tucked it in my suitcase and saved that necklace for just the right situation.

Then I met her. A woman with a gentle spirit and deep strength. As I first approached her I could sense that there was something different about her. It was as I got close that I could see that she had Elephantitis.

My only previous exposure to the condition was in pictures or movies—never in person. Her face was badly disfigured, and she kept her head down when she spoke. She had been like this since she was a young girl and her condition was getting worse all the time.

One of my companions began to minister to her. He told her that God was much more concerned with the condition of her inner beauty than her outer appearance. We told her that God looks on the matters of the heart and that He sees her as lovely. She was moved by our kindness and acceptance—we were moved by her courage and faith. I was reminded of 1 Peter 3:3

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

When have you seen the internal beauty in someone surpass their outward appearance? How do you interact with that person?

Not the BEST ONE God!

As I prepared for my trip to Africa, I decided to take necklaces as gifts to the people we met. Instead of purchasing them, I had friends donate some and I took some pieces from my abundant necklace collection.

Well I was all ready…until God told me to give the very BEST one away. I knew exactly which he meant. A choker—small flowers made out of semi-precious stones, held together with a blue chain of stones above and below; colors of vibrant pinks, blues and silver. I bought it about seven years ago, and it was not only stunning, but I reminded myself that it was costly as well.

Then with a stroke of luck—I couldn’t find the necklace. I had looked through everything, in everything and around everything. I admit that I started to think that I wasn’t going to have to give it away! It seemed a little strange that God would prompt me to give something away, and then make me look so hard for it.

Then it hit me.

God wanted me to WANT to give it away. This made things much more difficult for me. I went searching again and finally found the necklace. I reluctantly put it in a little pink silk bag and stored it with the other necklaces. Then I remembered this scripture:

 

 Let each one give as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to do without) a cheerful giver whose heart is in his giving.   

2 Corinthians 9:7 Amplified Bible (paraphrased) 

Has God ever prompted you to go to a new level of giving that left you forcing yourself to do it?