Today is the third anniversary of Jordan's entrance into heaven. I remember quite clearly wondering on this day last year, when the Lord led me to the long prayed for dresser for Jessie's room and told me He was thinking of me, what He had in mind for this year.
How gracious of the Lord to allow me to be about the business of His kingdom, teaching a discipleship seminar in Thailand, and encouraging women to go deeper in their relationship with Him.
In the first session this morning I shared Jordan's story. It's essentially the same story I have been sharing the last three years with Christian Women's Clubs.
In the second session i acknowledged my suffering and theirs but told them I wanted to shift the focus from ourselves to what Jesus suffered on our behalf. I explained in great, gory detail, all He endured leading up to and in the crucifixion. The betrayal of a close friend; false accusations; an illegal trial at the hands of powerful and corrupt religious leaders; the humiliation of being stripped naked; the mockery He endured; the agony of the scourging; a crown of thorns as sharp as nails being smashed onto His head; the shame and indignity of being spat upon by hundreds of Roman soldiers; carrying a massive cross beam up the hill to Golgotha and stumbling under its weight; having huge spikes driven through His hands then being jostled as He is hoisted and dropped into the slot of the vertical pole; His arms being pulled from their sockets and his elbows popping out of joint; another spike driven through His feet; the constant rubbing of his raw and bloody back against the rough post as he raised Himself up to catch a breath and then collapsed again under the strain.
I told them how His heart began to fail, how fluid filled the lining of His heart and lungs; how He felt His Father's presence leave Him for the first and only time in all eternity; how He cried out, "It is finished."
I told them the sky turned black, the earth shook and the rocks split in two as creation itself cried out for its Creator.
I doubt any of them had ever heard what was involved in the crucifixion and the women winced and shuddered as I spoke. This was highly unusual as the Thai people are very uncomfortable showing deep emotions in public. It is common for them to laugh at seemingly inappropriate times to show their discomfort. Apparently, because Thai, like all Oriental languages, is tonal, the tone they make when they laugh conveys different meanings to other Thais.
Just before we broke for lunch the women went around the room and thanked me for coming and sharing my life and heart with them and for teaching them about the power and necessity of prayer. I took a picture of them and they presented me with a lovely wall hanging. I was very touched and trust the Lord did as deep a work in them as He has in me.
My translator said she was having a difficult time translating the events of the crucifixion because she was so moved by the suffering the Lord endured on her behalf.
Two of the staff members took me to dinner last night. One is from a church in Florida that gives tremendously to Tamar Center and the other is from Holland and has been with the Center since they opened eight years ago.
Afterward they drove me through the side streets of Pattaya where the bars are packed one right after the other in one endless stream of neon and brown flesh.
Most of the girls come from the poverty stricken Northern region in the delusional hope "the foreigners" will marry them and rescue them from a life of poverty. It is estimated there are over 20,000 of these girls. The men come mostly from Europe, primarily from the morally bankrupt country of Germany, but elsewhere as well.
Before I came I pictured these girls as being victimized, which of course, they are. What I wasn't prepared for is the competition and jealousies with which they fight over the men because they so far outnumber them. I watched them primp and adjust their revealing clothes, gavotte and strut. They sit in clusters outside the bars, drinking and chatting, all the while scoping and hoping "the foreigners" will choose them for the night.
The men, of course, are very popular. Even the least attractive ones, because they have money, or at least the girls think they do.
Then there are the "she-boys." The young men who have become women. Eve, my Dutch guide on this tour of horrors, pointed them out to me. All I saw, or thought I saw, were beautiful young girls so naturally I asked how she knew they were boys. Were being the operative word. "They have an Adam's apple," she explained matter of factly, "and they hang out in certain places."
I was left trying to understand the appeal of a girl who used to be a boy, but all I could do was despair over people's desperate need for the Lord and the depths of depravity to which they will descend without Him.
The world is so grossly corrupt even with Christians in it--I don't even want to think about how it will spiral even deeper into darkness when the Lord raptures His church and the salt and light that hold evil at bay are removed.
I am as aware as I've ever been that we have a spiritual obligation to shine the light of the hope of the Gospel into the darkest corners of the earth before it is too late.
Please continue to pray for me as I pray for each of you, that we will all fulfill the call of God on our lives and reach those in our sphere of influence with the costly and beautiful gift of salvation.
In the words of the great Derek Prince, "We are challenged to seek God with greater intensity and fervency than ever before. The prophecies and promises of God's word are never an excuse to cease praying. On the contrary, they are intended to provoke us to pray with increased earnestness and understanding. God reveals to us the purposes He is working out, not that we may be passive spectators on the sidelines of history, but that we may personally identify ourselves with His purposes and thus become actively involved in their fulfillment." Preach it Derek!