A Chosen Instrument…

musical

The other night, during Bible study, we had an incredibly, beautiful, epiphany moment, where God dropped a wonderful nugget from His Word straight into our souls. We were reading from the book of Acts and the Lord showed us something that had always been there, but now seemed to just fly off the page. A few simple words took on a much deeper and more profound meaning than ever before, even though this was something we had read many times in the past. As we read “…for he is a chosen instrument of mine…” (Acts 9:15) a very interesting conversation sprang up.

Have you ever thought about an instrument or how it operates? In order for it to work, someone has to blow into it, strum or pull something across the strings, press the keys, etc. It will not do what it was created to do by itself. Depending on how an instrument is played will determine what kind of sounds come from it and the kind of music it creates. Even though all instruments have the same purpose, they are not played exactly the same way and don’t sound the same. Each one has its own unique tone and sound. But although they are different, each one is capable of producing beautiful music. Individually, the music can be exciting and wonderful, but when you bring all the different kinds of instruments together, playing in perfect harmony and in one accord, they can make up the most spectacular orchestra and produce amazing and unbelievable symphonies.

This is where our thoughts went when we read this verse. In Acts chapter 9, the Lord is telling Ananias to go and heal Paul’s eyes and explaining how He intends to use him in the future. Verse 15 says “… ‘Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine to carry My Name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.’” When Jesus met Paul on the Damascus Road, his life was forever changed and he became a chosen instrument that the Lord would use in a very specific way to proclaim the Gospel to the Gentiles and to make the name of Jesus known throughout the nations.

If you are a follower of Christ, you are also a chosen instrument of God. You may not be the same kind of instrument as Paul of Tarsus, and the Lord will not use you the exact same way He used him, but you are chosen all the same and have the same purpose…to glorify God, to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to make His Name known throughout the nations. Each of us is a distinctive instrument, created to produce our own unique sound for God’s glory and gifted in specific ways, according to God’s will and purpose, so that we may magnify His Holy Name wherever He has planted us. If we were all trumpets or guitars or clarinets, this world would be a very boring and bland place. But in the Lord’s sovereignty, He has created each of us special and diverse so that no two people are exactly the same. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, according to His perfect plan, so that we can reflect His heart and character to the world around us. As we come together, in all our uniqueness and difference, one body, joined in harmony and working together in one accord for the single purpose of being the hands and feet of Christ, we become a beautiful symphony that displays the majesty and glory of God to mankind in such a way that the lost are pointed to the wonders of our Creator. Apart from Christ we cannot fully become all that He designed us to be, but in His Sovereign hands, we will fulfill the purpose for which we were created for.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9

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One Year Uganda-versary…

One year anniversaryTwo weeks ago, on the 11th of September, we celebrated our first year here in Uganda. It’s difficult for us to put into words all that we have experienced since we’ve arrived here, and to be completely honest, it would be hard to even know where to begin, but through it all, we have seen God’s Sovereign hand at work here among the Acholi people. God’s Word has been proclaimed in clarity and in truth and lives have been miraculously and eternally transformed by the power of God through the Gospel. We have been privileged to witness His magnificent grace and love manifest itself in the most amazing ways as He has continued to rescue, redeem, restore, and heal the lost and destitute among this hard to reach, nearly forgotten, people group. That He has allowed us to be here, and to be a part of it, brings us to our knees in humility and thanksgiving. We are constantly in awe and amazement that He would choose to use us, in any capacity, in-spite of our brokenness and failures.

This past year we’ve faced many challenges, difficulties, and disappointments, but through it all we have seen God at work. Even on our hardest days, when we have found ourselves on our knees, crying out in pain, we have been filled with peace knowing that no matter how hard things get, we are exactly where we are supposed to be. Through every trial and every heartbreak we have experienced, we have continued to walk victorious in Christ, not because of any great strength found in us, but because of how Great and Powerful and Able our Father in Heaven is. We have continued to walk, filled with joy, no matter what we have faced because we have placed every ounce of trust in our Father. We have intentionally focused on Christ and on heavenly things that have a lasting, eternal value. Through the Holy Spirit’s power we have resisted the distractions that have tempted us to look to the right or to the left and we have held on to the hope of the Cross and the purpose for which we have been called here…to share and demonstrate the Gospel.

When we realize what a great honor and privilege it is to be allowed to serve the One True Living God, the Creator of the Universe, our souls are filled with an unexplainable joy even when we are faced with insurmountable odds. The truth is, the enemy would love nothing more than to destroy the amazing and wonderful work the Lord is doing here at Abaana’s Hope, and he will use all manner of difficulties to cause us to give up and quit, or use us, if we aren’t careful and watchful, to cause others to give up and quit. The same is true for you, no matter where you live. If you are committed to making Jesus known throughout the world, determined to proclaim the Gospel to the lost and surrender all for the cause for Christ, the enemy will do everything within his power to distract, derail, and discourage you. He is determined for all of God’s children to give up and he will not stop or relent from his attacks. It’s up to us to stand firm in our faith, resist him and refuse to fall prey to his tactics. Every time we choose to focus on God’s faithfulness, mercy, kindness and compassion we are strengthened and encouraged to stay in the fight, to stand strong, and to refuse to give ground to the enemy. Our hope and prayer is that, no matter where you are, no matter how God has called you to serve or where He has planted you, that each of you will draw strength and encouragement as you focus on the great things our Lord has done!

We are forever grateful to each of you, our dearest friends and family, who have been the Lord’s hands and feet in our lives and have made it possible for us to serve here. With all of our hearts we thank you, for your faithful prayers, your steadfast love, and for your financial support as well as your commitment and dedication to being a part of God’s redemptive plan here in the bush of Africa.  Know that with every lifted prayer and every aspect of support you have given us, you have been a part of all God has done through us for the Acholi people here at Abaana’s Hope. May God continue to bless and use each of you for His glory and for His Kingdom’s sake!

“But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the Gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24