I've already managed to memorize Philippians 1:21 (it was quite a short and easy verse) so it's time to move on.
The Lord has been doing a lot in my heart lately, to show me that I don't have the same heart for the nations that I once did. Back when we lived in Myrtle Beach we took a few missions classes, and were discipled by a couple who have an amazing heart for and focus on the nations. At that time we became very burdened for the unreached people groups, and peoples of all countries. We were constantly talking about other nations, praying for other nations, and evaluating how we fit in to that greater picture of what God is doing. Lately my focus seems to have gotten more stuck on my specific area, New Orleans. Which is perhaps easy to do, when faced with constant devastation here. Just last weekend 8 people were all shot in 1 incident. The murder rate has seemed increased as of late, and there have been many heart breaking murders that involved small children. This all breaks my heart. But it shouldn't take my focus off the rest of the world. I'm still called to be a witness in my Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).
Sometimes I think that for the most part, Americans have had a chance to hear the Gospel, and those who don't believe have just chosen to reject it, and that it is so much more important to focus on those who have not had a chance to hear yet (the unreached people groups). And then other times I feel that Americans have only heard a watered down version of the Gospel, and that they need to hear the real Truth. I don't have the answer, this is just the questions that I struggle with, the sides that I'm torn between. However, in this I am confident... that as of now, God has me placed in New Orleans. For exactly how long, for exactly what purpose... I don't know, but this is where He has me.
All that said, I've been trying to nurture my heart for the nations. This week I'm finding God drawing me to Genesis 12, to His promise to Abram (which is later repeated again and again)...
Genesis 12:2-3 (I know, I made it harder on myself this week with 2 verses, but there are key points that I want to focus on in each) "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
First point: Abram was blessed to be a blessing to others
Second point: All people on earth will be blessed through Abram
Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, died, or rose again God was already promising to reach all of the peoples (or families, or nations... depending on your translation) through Abram. Long before Jesus was rejected by his own people, before the Gentiles were grafted in, God's heart for all peoples was clear. God's heart hasn't changed, He is still at working, drawing peoples of all nations to Himself, so that at the throne, every tribe, tongue and nation will be present (Revelation 7:9). God's job (His work using us) isn't done until all of these people have had a chance to hear (Matthew 24:14) the Gospel.
Lord, make my heart more like yours... give me joy in what you delight in, give me sadness in what saddens you. Help me to see your big picture, use me for your big picture. Lord, I thank you that you are so big, that you have always been, will always be, and control all things... that you have been at work, since the beginning of time, weaving this great story to which we already know the ending of, and I just thank you for including me in that.