Sunday, January 23, 2005

Rebecca's Journey - 57

Greetings, Friends!

It's a sunny day in Belgium - and warm for January. Judy and Annie are here now. Jessica Camenisch, the daughter of some long-standing friends from Lexington, KY, is also here for three months to help with Rebecca's care. She is a joy to us all. Once again the Lord has provided such a lovely young woman with a servant's heart. They make a good team. I leave on Sunday for North America for 3 weeks, so Rebecca is in good hands in my absence.

Judy returns to the US on March 14th. Jessica will head home on March 31st. This year Annie will have two surgeries that will require her to be back in France for two 8-week periods, one in the spring and the other in autumn.

Please be praying with us for those whom God will call to help care for Rebecca as this year proceeds.

From Rebecca: "Last night I was unable to sleep. I kept singing, over & over, 'There is a Redeemer, Jesus, God's own Son; precious Lamb of God, Messiah, Holy One.' I struggled to stop singing, and tried to sleep. Surely I needed my rest. Suddenly I realized that the Holy Spirit was singing in me, and the Lord was calling me to a time with Himself. I sang and sang and sang, meditating on our Redeemer.

One of my favorite parts of the movie 'The Passion' was the poignant line as Jesus fell under the weight of the cross en route to Golgotha, and His mother rushed to help Him. He said: 'No, I must do this. I'm making all things new.' O how many times I've needed a Redeemer, One to make my situation new.

This past week I've been reading in John 4 where Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well. What a mess her life was! How desperately she needed a Redeemer! The amazing thing to me was that Jesus used all the bad things in her life, and made good of them. Because of her 'position' in the village, everyone knew her. She particularly knew the men, who in that culture were the leaders of the village. Later in the chapter it says that she went back and told all the men about what had happened to her. Jesus redeemed the sinful life - He made good out of her past, using even it for His glory and the advancement of His Kingdom. It says that many believed because of her words. Then Jesus stayed on in the village, and many more believed because of His own words. This 'sinful women' had become an evangelist. Such a Redeemer!

And I thought of our own situation. In the natural, what a mess! But Jesus is a Redeemer. I've been struck particularly this week with the reality that, because of all we've been through, Father seems to be making a platform from which we can share His goodness and His love. It is amazing to me to realize that this quadriplegic is becoming an evangelist. Such a Redeemer!

I once heard a simple definition of Redeemer: one who makes good. As I was awake last night I prayed for many of you. I prayed that this week, whatever your situation, you would find the Redeemer. He died to make all things new, and it is His delight to do it. He longs to take our broken places and make such good of them for His Kingdom's glory and our joy."

With love from us both,

Paul & Rebecca

Friday, January 14, 2005

Rebecca's Journey - 56

Greetings Friends!

We trust you had a good holiday season, and send our (belated) wishes for a very Happy New Year.

All our children were home for Christmas. Josie arrived Christmas Day and completed the family gathering. What a lovely way to celebrate the Father's great gift of His Son by being together with our loved ones.

Rebecca has done well through the holidays, maintaining good strength through all the festivities. We've seen marked improvement in the areas for which many prayed on New Year's Day. Our deep appreciation for your continued pray for her!

Rebecca: "Greetings dear friends! We trust this New Year has begun well for you. It is hard to believe, but this is, for many of us, the 4th New Years together. As I've said before, there are no words to express what your faithfulness to us has meant. Just last week I was having a low moment, and I said to the Lord: 'I rest myself on the prayers of my friends.' What a gift!

As you remember, I always ask the Lord at the beginning of the New Year for a word for the year. So as 2005 dawned, I turned my ear toward Him: 'What is Your word for me?' I was reading Ephesians 1 & 2 where Paul speaks so much about God's grace, and how, in the age to come, He will show the glories of His grace. As I read it, the Lord reminded me of the dark season after my surgeries in London, and of that night in the hospital when He spoke and said: 'Prove My grace!' O, I thought, that's what I shall do this year, 2005. I will prove Your grace. The next day I received an e-mail from Joseph Holbrook. In it he said: 'Five is the Biblical number for grace; we pray that 2005 will be a year full of grace for you.'

For Christmas my children gave me a new Bible. It's the New King James version. I had felt it was time for me to change Bibles, but you know how hard it is to make that transition after so many years in a familiar one. I began by reading all my favorite passages. Today I arrived at II Cor. 12:9: 'And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' This Bible has helps that give insight into the Scriptures. They gave deeper explanations of the word 'grace'. For 'His grace is sufficient', it says: 'God's grace becomes His enablement to achieve His plan, endure hardship, or access Him… Grace is the supernatural ability, or miraculous facility to sustain, endure, or maintain our call - for all that He is enabling us to become in Christ.'

I think I shall have this typed so that I can keep it as a Bible marker for this year. Isn't that the cry of our hearts - that we would be able to have the miraculous faculty to endure and maintain our call, to become all that He wants us to become in the coming year, to be pleasing to Him, and to know Him better.

We look forward to all that He will unfold in the year ahead."

With love from us both,

Paul & Rebecca