Sunday, November 29, 2015

"Five Missionaries"

I am making this post by collecting several excepts from various sources to condense the accounts and events in the life of 5 missionaries and their influence upon our lives and the telling of their story. Yet it is more than a story I think, but it is the Christian life.

For some time now, my most frequent prayer for myself is for Grace that I might believe.  I say that because I have the life of Demas in Scripture always before me, to tell me it is possible that someday I could determine it is just not worth the effort and my faith would wain.  You see, I use to believe in Santa Clause, but I would not die for Santa Clause, the most he would get from me would be some cookies under the tree.  Santa Clause does not have effectual Grace to give me, Christ does, therefore, my hope and trust is by Grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, upon Scripture alone.

I realize I may never stand on a foreign land to proclaim the Gospel, but the surrender of my life and the burning desire to serve and love Christ should be no less than the one standing on the banks of some foreign river or near some isolated tribe.  It is a matter of the heart and not the work of the hands, though the hands will follow the heart. Let these things rest upon your mind as you read the following accounts.

In the dense rain-forests of Ecuador, on the Pacific side of the Andes Mountains, lives a tribe of Indians who call themselves the Huaorani, but whose neighbors called them "savages". For many generations they had been completely isolated from the outside world, and had disposed to kill any stranger on sight, and were feared by all, even by their head-hunting neighbors, the Jivaro tribe  

Then you have Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Nate Saint, Peter Fleming, and Roger Youderian. Jim was impetuous but focused. Both a college wrestler and a writer, his good looks and physical strength were matched by a deep introspection. Ed McCully, president of his college class, played football and won his senior oratory contest. Everyone expected him to go on to law school, but something stronger called him, called him to the jungles of the Amazon.

Nate Saint was born into an artist's family. He loved the technical and mechanical aspects of life and wanted to use his interest and skills for a purpose with dimensions that would honor God and outlast the temporal. Flying support for missionaries was a way to fulfill both of his desires.

Pete was the youngest of the group, but in some ways the group's sage.

Roger was the guy you sent to do the job when it took dogged determination and a completely willing heart to get it done.

Here were five common young men whose unifying distinction was not their inherited abilities or acquired skills, but their commitment to seek God's will and to carry out his purposes for their lives. They were aware of the risk they were taking, but they could have had no idea of the impact their lives would someday have.

As told by the attackers: On January 8th 1956, Nampa ran across the beach toward the two men in the river, spearing the larger man in the river through the torso. Nampa's mother, grabbed the foreigner's arms from behind so Nampa could spear him again.

Gikita says he recognized Nate Saint from the many flights he had made over their village and speared him first. A second foreigner ran to help him, and Gikita speared him, too (this was most likely Ed).

Mincaye said the third man on the beach ran to the airplane, partially climbed inside, and picked up something like he was going to eat it. Mincaye asked why he would do this, and as he mimicked his action, I could see he must have been picking up the microphone to report the attack.

Nimonga speared him from the back, and he fell out of the plane onto the ground. When they showed me how he speared him, I knew the man must have been Roger, because that is the angle of the spear that is protruding from Roger's body as it is being towed behind the canoe in the rescue party pictures.

During the attack, the "smaller" of the two cowodi (their word for foreigner) who had been crossing to greet the women rushed to a log on the far side of the river and began calling to the attackers in phrases that Kimo and Gikita say they understood to be "We just came to meet you. We are not going to hurt you. Why are you killing us?" (This was probably Pete, who, though he was tall, was the thinner of the two men in the river when the spearing started. He also knew the language the best.)

Mincaye and Kimo said they heard singing and saw what seems to be angels along the ridge above the Beach. Dyuwi verified hearing the strange music, though he describes what he saw more like lights, moving around and shining, a sky full of fireflies with a light that is brighter and doesn't blink.

Apparently all the participants saw this bright multitude in the sky and felt they should be scared, because they knew it was something supernatural. Their only familiarity with the spiritual world was one of fear. (Dawa said that this supernatural experience was what drew her to God when she later heard of him from Dayuma.)

In subsequent months they heard the message that the Son of God had come down from heaven to reconcile men with God, and to die in order to bring about reconciliation, they recognized that the message of the missionaries was the basis of what they had seen enacted in the lives of the missionaries. They believed the Gospel preached because they had seen the Gospel lived.

Jim Elliot said to his wife Betty: “If that’s the way God wants it to be, I’m ready to die for the salvation of the Aucas.”

In Jim Elliot's diary this entry had been made. (Leviticus 17:10) He who consumes blood will ever have the face of God set against him.

“So with me. If I would save my life blood, and forbear to pour it out as a sacrifice, thus opposing the example of my Lord, then must I know the flint of the face of God set against my purpose.  Father, take my life, yea, my blood if Thou wilt, and consume it with Thine enveloping fire.  I would not save it, for it is not mine to save.  Have it Lord, have it all. Pour out my life as an oblation for the world. Blood is only of value as it flows before Thine altar.”

In the fall of 1958 Rachel Saint and Betty Elliot and her toddler, Valerie, hung their hammocks among the Waorani people. While Valerie played with the children of her father’s murderers, Rachel became acquainted with the murderers of her brother and Betty became acquainted with the murderers of their husband: Gikita, Kimo, Nimonga, Dyuwi, Minkayi, and Tona.

Nine years later, the first copies of the Gospel of Mark in Waorani were dedicated at what the Waorani called “God’s Speaking House.” Kimo prayed, “Father God, You are alive. This is Your day and all of us have come to worship You. They brought us copies of Your Carving, enough for everybody. We accept it, saying, ‘This is the truth.’ We want all of your carving.”

Sunday, November 15, 2015

"Of Nature and Grace"

"All men, indeed, desire what is good, and strive for what is good in their words and deeds.  For this reason the appearance of good deceives many.

Nature is crafty and attracts many, ensnaring and deceiving them while ever seeking itself. But grace walks in simplicity, turns away from all appearance of evil, offers no deceits, and does all purely for God in whom she rest as her end.

Nature is not willing to die, or to be kept down, or to be overcome.  Nor will it subdue itself or be made subject.  Grace, on the contrary, strives for mortification of self.  She resists sensuality, seeks to be in subjection, longs to be conquered, has no wish to use her own liberty, loves to be held under discipline, and does not desire to rule over anyone, but wishes rather to live, to stand, and to be always under God for Whose sake she is willing to bow humbly to every human creature.

Nature works for its own interest and looks to the profit it can reap from another.  Grace does not consider what is useful and advantageous to herself, but rather what is profitable to many.  Nature likes to receive honor and reverence, but grace faithfully attributes all honor and glory to God. Nature fears shame and contempt. but grace is happy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus.  Nature loves ease and physical rest.  Grace, however, cannot be idle and embraces labor willingly.  Nature seeks to possess what is rare and beautiful, abhorring things that are cheap and coarse. Grace, on the contrary, delights in simple, humble things, not despising those that are rough, nor refusing to be clothed in old garments.

Nature had regard for temporal wealth and rejoices in earthly gains.  It is say over a loss and irritated by a slight, injurious word.  But grace looks to eternal things and does not cling to those which are temporal, being neither disturbed at loss nor angered by hard words, because she has placed her treasure and joy in heaven where noting is lost. . . .

Nature is inclined toward creatures, toward its own flesh, toward vanities, and toward running about. But grace draws near to God and to virtue, renounces creatures, hates the desires of the flesh, restrains her wanderings and blushes at being seen in public.

Nature likes to have some external comfort in which it can take sensual delight, but grace seeks consolation only in God, to find her delight in the highest Good, above all visible things.

Nature does everything for it own gain and interest. It can do nothing without pay and hopes for its good deeds to receive their equal or better, or else praise and favor. It is very desirous of having its deeds and gifts highly regarded. Grace, however, seeks nothing temporal, nor does she ask recompense but God alone. Of temporal necessities she asks no more than will serve to obtain eternity. . . .

Nature turns all things back to self. It fights and argues for self. Grace brings all things back to God in Whom they have their source. To herself she ascribes no good, nor is she arrogant or presumptuous. She is not contentious. She does not prefer her own opinion to the opinion of others but in every matter of sense and thought submits herself to eternal wisdom and the divine judgment.

Nature has a relish for knowing secrets and hearing news. It wishes to appear abroad and to have many sense experiences. It wishes to be known and to do things for which it will be praised and admired. But grace does not care to hear news or curious matters, because all this arises from the old corruption of man, since there is nothing new, nothing lasting on earth. Grace teaches, therefore, restraint of the senses, avoidance of vain self-satisfaction and show, the humble hiding of deeds worthy of praise and admiration, and the seeking in every thing and in every knowledge the fruit of usefulness, the praise and honor of God. She will not have herself or hers exalted, but desires that God Who bestows all simply  out of love should be blessed in His gifts.

This grace is a supernatural light, a certain special gift of God, the proper mark of the elect and the pledge of everlasting salvation. It raises man up from earthly things to love the things of heaven. It makes a spiritual man of a carnal one. . . ." ~ Thomas Kimpis 1380-1471. From his work "Imitation of Christ"

Are we walking in this Grace?

May the Grace of God be upon each of you,