In other news, everyone's favorite Molly and the talented Blest with Sons have thought-provoking posts about discernment: sometimes, what you think is exactly right, ain't. Oh, how we need the Holy Spirit to help us know when to shut up, when to warn, when to wait, and when to rethink our own perspectives! There's a time for ALL of those things, and more, but it takes discernment (har!) to know when to exercise which action. You all KNOW that I heartily believe in calling a spade a spade--not calling that which is evil, 'good', and that which is good, 'evil.' But with that responsibility comes a temptation to judge unrighteously. Boy, God doesn't like that a whole lot.
Dave Black included this picture in one of his recent posts, and it stole my heart and went straight to my desktop wallpaper.
We've had lots of interest in our Bible memory program in Ethiopia, and some of you have asked us for the specific passages a person has to memorize before he or she can get a Bible in Amharic. Here they are: Psalms 1 and 23 (whole chapters), 1 Corinthians 13 (whole chapter), John 3:1-21, John 14:1-21, Romans 8:28-39, James 1:2-6, and 12-25, and Philippians 4:4-8. How many have completed the program, you ask? Between August and December, 2005, in the Burji district alone 800 young people (between age 7 and 18) completed it; then we opened the program to include adults and set a deadline of Sept. 10, 2006 (which is the end of their calendar year). We were told in May that 1,132 had completed it by then. We're expecting between 2000 and 2500 will have completed it by the September deadline. Each person is required to recite the verses to a church elder. In the Alaba District the numbers are much smaller because the Christian population is much smaller; this area is 99 percent Muslim, and especially the rural congregations are under severe persecution. Recently the church has had to take some of the young people who have come to Christ and put them into hiding to prevent their being murdered (as other young people have already been), so the situation is serious. For this reason, we have extended the deadline for the rural areas to Sept. 10, 2007. So far, we have distributed 450 in the Alaba district. It is a great joy to see these young people when they receive their very own Bibles.
Lord, I never want to take your Word, or my freedom, for granted.