Friday, November 20, 2009

November 20, 2009

"So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" II Corinthians 5:16-21

One of the things that humbles me the most and gives me the greatest cause for thanksgiving is when God works through me to touch another person. There is nothing more exciting that to see God transform a life through me.

Here's a great story of how God used a Christian to reach a Muslim:
In 1993, Lt. Col. Gary Morsch joined the Army Reserves as a doctor to care not only for U.S. soldiers, but also for wounded civilians and prisoners of war. In 2005, as a part of the war in Iraq, he was called up to serve as the field doctor for a battalion near the Iranian border. In an article for Today's Christian, he shares a story of something that happened on the last day of his tour of duty:

The Saturday before I left Iraq was one of the most amazing days of my life. I was scheduled to see patients and make rounds at the POW camp, and I asked the chaplain to join me. I wanted to say goodbye to the prisoners. Many of these Muslims had become Christians, and they had been asking for a baptismal service.

The chaplain suddenly decided to conduct a simple service. The POWs gathered their water bottles, and we pulled a cot out of one of the tents, setting it in the middle of the compound. One by one, the POWs sat on the cot and leaned back while we poured water over their heads and baptized them in the name of Christ. We baptized about a dozen that day.

During the baptisms, we asked each man if he wished to take a Christian name. One man asked me to write down each of the apostles' names so he could choose one. Another prisoner, named Afshin, asked me to suggest a name. I suggested James, the brother of Jesus, and told him that my father and brother are named James. Since my family name was on my uniform, Afshin asked about Morsch as well.

The chaplain asked me to baptize Afshin. I asked my friend what name he wished to take. He said, "I wish to take the name James Afshin Morsch." With tears in my eyes, I poured water onto his head, baptizing my Muslim friend into the fellowship of Christ. After our baptismal service, James pulled me aside and told me it was an Iraqi tradition to give a good friend a gift. He slowly slipped a ring off his hand.

"This is my wedding ring," he said. "I haven't seen my wife in many years, and I probably will never see her again. I'd like to give it to you."

I was stunned.

"No, James, you must keep it," I eventually said. "Someday you will see your wife again."

"No, I want you to have it," he said, as he pressed the ring into my hand.

We hugged and said a tearful goodbye, and then I walked out of the POW compound. It was time to return home.

I left on a plane full of wounded soldiers. The airstrip was under attack even as we taxied for takeoff. But I was at peace. God had brought me to Iraq to serve soldiers, civilians, and the enemy. But I saw that those categories are meaningless before God. He loves them all, and calls us to serve them all.
I am an ambassador for Jesus in an alien world. You are too. What a joy! What a blessing! Thank you, Master for choosing us to represent you in this world! Manifest yourself through us in a spirit of thanksgiving!