Dear Sisters in the Lord,
Who is our God? He is a consuming fire. He is love, and light. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. Who are we? We are His children, servants, bride, and body. We are His priests, branches, and sheep. We are His possession. We are not our own. How then should we live? We should not live for ourselves. What does this imply, what does it mean? When we make decisions, what are we making them for? Are we reviewing all we know from Godâ€™s word and His work in our lives up to now as a source of counsel for the decision we are about to make? Are we taking God into consideration? Do we want to do His will, walk in His way, in His time, and for His purpose? Are we listening to the Spirit of our God who is dwelling in us? Are we receiving godly counsel and learning from the faithful brethren? Or do we do things and make decisions without even considering the Lord — our Lord — the ruler of the heavens and the earth?
After we have done something, whatever it is, review the episode in the light of the Scriptures and under the Holy Spiritâ€™s scrutiny right then. Do this at the end of the day anyway, though you may not remember many of the events of the day by that time. Listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit at all times; He will convict you of any sin or error in judgment you have made. He is faithful to lead us into all truth even if we are not. He will lead us to confess our sins, to Himself and to the brethren, so that we will be cleansed and forgiven. I thank the Lord. When I go to a brother of sister and confess what the Lord has burdened my heart about there is great peace. Bless His holy name.
I have just been considering our lives here in Sierra Leone, my own life in particular. I am eternally bound to the Lord of glory. The Holy Spirit unites me to my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, and to you my sisters and brothers who are in Christ. He loves me with an everlasting love, of which I am immeasurably thankful. When I am down, it is His encouragement and consolation that I seek. They can be found in the Lord, in the Scriptures, and in faithful brethrenâ€™s words. Prayer will find its answer in Godâ€™s will. Thank you for praying for me, for us. We are standing firm in the faith. Keep praying.
There are some discouragements here. The response to the gospel is minimal. The local people whom we are working among do not see themselves as sinners, nor do they desire a godly lifestyle, though we are teaching these truths to them. We do not seem to be having much impact on their minds or their lives. The gospel is going forth, discipleship is continuing on, love and good deeds are given out.
There are sorrows that accompany the work. We are told that the people are using and abusing us. They misuse our gifts of money; feign poverty, sickness, and destitution to get something free. They covet anything from the white man. We do not want to encourage these things or throw the Lordâ€™s money away. There are some who truly need assistance. Wisdom through the guidance the Spirit of God will make the way plain.
So, back to the original thoughts in this letter, how then should we live? The Lord does not want us to drift or become dull. Like David I cry out to the Lord for grace and mercy to do His will in His way, in His time, and for His purpose. The Word of God does encourage me. But to have those very words that have found a place in my desire, in my very practical life is what I want to see. I want to be like the Lord Jesus, and this is a great desire indeed; the outcome of its fulfillment is deep, and extensive.
Remember what the Lord Jesus experienced, His sorrows, His seeking for someone to pity Him, His loneliness, and the confrontations He met. Be holy, for I the Lord God, am holy. Imagine, that God is working in us to will and to do His good pleasure. He will not stop. He will complete His work and His purpose in our lives. Each of us is to bring glory to the Lord from our own unique facet of that full spectrum. All will shine on Him, by Him, through Him and thus to Him. Praise the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Godâ€™s Son in whom He is well pleased. Hear Him. He wants us to encourage one another in the Lord, encourage each other to love and good deeds, not to give up or faint along the way. Like Paul will we all say at the end, â€œI have kept the faith, fought the good fight, and endured to the end.â€? We who do these things will receive our reward; God is faithful, He does not lie, and He does not change. What can we do?
Read His Word daily, pray, obey His will (it is written on our hearts from His Word), walk in the Spirit, know Him and how much He loves you. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love the brethren and fellowship with them.
Love Him with all your heart. Guard your heart. What goes on in your heart? Out of your heart flow the issues of your life. What issues are important to you? The Lord wants you to be concerned with His concerns. His thoughts and ways are not ours, but He wants to transform us by His Word to be like Him in thought and deed. This is Christianity. It is altogether new, old things have passed away, our old lifestyle as well as the limitations of Godâ€™s people living under the law. We now have the power of God available through His Spirit. The possibilities are boundless. Godliness is offered to all who will humble themselves and serve Him in sincerity and truth. This is accomplished through a close walk with the Holy Spirit who dwells in us and by a sound understanding of His Word.
Love the Lord with all your soul. Our soul is that which knows and relates to others, and that which is the center of our being. The book of Esther teaches us to let the Holy Spirit be the counselor and guide to all our decisions. This is Mordecai in the story, while Haman is the flesh wanting to influence our decisions. Well, there is a book my husband is writing about Esther and it will go deep into all these types (If you are interested in knowing more about these teachings in Esther, let me know). Yes, we are to love the Lord our God with all our soul. If we will love the Lord with all our soul then we will go to Him for counsel, we will honor Him as the King of our lives.
Love the Lord with all your mind. Here are the collection of all our thoughts and thought processes. We must fill our minds with whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, whatever is of good report, and whatever is excellent. God is the judge of what these things are. He has taught us in His Word, and His Spirit will give us understanding. Study to show yourself approved by God. Be a workman who does not need to be ashamed. Divide the Word of truth correctly. Fill your mind with these things, not foolish talk, ungodly sights, or sounds. Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
Love the Lord with all your strength. God has made each of us and we are all different. Our strengths vary in character, muscles, and of will power. The Lord is our strength. He will help us to do His will. We just submit to Him, depend upon Him and come to Him in prayer. But there is still something in us that must do these things. We are not puppets on strings that God pulls up and down. We have a choice to make. Let us love God with all these choices. Love God with all the strength you have and He will increase your strength to obey Him. As you obey Him, do it with all your might. There are two sides to the coin. Choose to submit to Him, and when you do His will, do it with all your might.
Love, Patti, along with Steve and the children
P.S. Please send this to any sisters you think would be interested.