Esther Pavao
I am subscribed to get emails from the Rebelution website (Do Hard Things). This was the one I got this morning and it was so convicting, I had to share it. It's by Francis Chan. I don't know much about him now, but I think after this I'm going find out a little bit more.

"I think it’s time we stop asking ourselves the question: “Am I a good Christian?” We live in a time when the term “Christian” has been so diluted that millions of immoral but nice people genuinely consider themselves “good Christians.” We have reduced the idea of a good Christian to someone who believes in Jesus, loves his or her family, and attends church regularly. Others will label you a good Christian even though your life has no semblance to the way Christ spent His days on earth. Perhaps we should start asking the question: “Am I a good Christ?” In other words, do I look anything like Jesus? This question never even entered my mind until a friend of mine made a passing comment to me one day.

"Dan is a long time friend of mine. In fact, he’s the pastor who performed my wedding. He was talking to me about a pastor named Von. Von has been working with youth in the San Diego area for decades. Many of his students have gone on to become amazing missionaries and powerful servants of God. Dan described a trip to Tijuana, Mexico with Pastor Von. (Von has been ministering to the poor in the dumps of Tijuana for years). Dan didn’t speak of the awful living conditions of those who made their homes amidst the rubbish. What impacted Dan the most was the relationship he saw between Von and the people of this community. He spoke of the compassion, sacrifice, and love that he witnessed in Von’s words and actions as he held these malnourished and un-bathed children. Then he made the statement that sent me reeling:
“The day I spent with Von was the closest thing I’ve ever experienced to walking with Jesus.”
 "Dan explained that the whole experience was so eerie because he kept thinking to himself: “If Jesus were still walking on earth in the flesh, this is what it would feel like to walk alongside of Him!” After that discussion, I kept wondering if anyone had ever said that about me: “The day I spent with Francis was the closest thing I’ve ever experienced to walking with Jesus.” The answer was an obvious “no.” Would any honest person say that about you?

"What bothered me was not that I hadn’t “arrived,” but that I wasn’t even heading in the right direction. I hadn’t made it my goal to resemble Christ. I wasn’t striving to become the kind of person who could be mistaken for Jesus Christ. Isn’t it ironic that a man can be known as a successful pastor, speaker, and CHRISTian even if his life doesn’t resemble Christ’s?

                                                                     Francis Chan
Esther Pavao

I just finished one of the books for my passage: No Greater Love by Mother Teresa. It was really awesome. I love the way she puts everything into a very practical sphere. She doesn't make love a lofty ideal that no one can ever achieve. She sets down simple ways to love people and then while you're sitting marveling at how she did it, she gently closes the back door and leaves you with no option or even desire to do anything else.

It's definitely helped me to re-look at the way I treat people. It's helped me to remember that each person I encounter is Christ. It's very hard to be disrespectful or crabby when your mindset is, "This person in front of me is Jesus."

Anyway, that's just one little thing I learned I wanted to share.
Esther Pavao
I am reading Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur by Frank Houghton as part of my pre-passage list and I just wanted to share something that really affected me.

The author includes a few pages of Amy's journal which I will quote.

"October 10,
....Lord, teach me how to conquer pain to the uttermost henceforth, and grant this my earnest request. When my day's work is done, take me straight Home. Do not let me be ill and a burden or anxiety to anyone...Thou knowest there could be no joy if I knew I were tiring those whom I love best, or taking the from the children.

January 16,
...O forgive me, but I must ask it: take me quickly when my work is finished. Do not, I beseech Thee, let me be disabled by pain or inability and live on a burden to others."

Reading these, I was horrified that God had chosen to end her life with her in bed, unable to walk or do anything for herself, and having her die the one way she would have not wanted. It also brought to mind the way Joan of Arc died. She is quoted as saying that she would rather die a hundred times by the sword before fire, and she was burned at the stake.

Why is it that God so often asks of us the one thing we are afraid to give or the hardest things of us? They both were sent out and never saw home again, though they didn't know that they wouldn't when they left. It was eating away at me and it bothered me that God would ask so much of  these people who had given their entire lives to Him. It seems to me that He would have at least granted the one thing they had asked.

As I thought about it more, I remembered also, that Jesus died the one way He didn't want to die. God asked His own Son to do the hardest thing for Him too. And somehow, that helped me to remember that we are supposed to be patterning our lives after His. Maybe that's not the reason God had them live and die the way they did, but I know that their hearts were to be what He needed them to be and that however hard it was, they were both honored God would use them.

I think what it comes down to, is that He sees the whole picture and He knows the fruit of our suffering. The years Amy was in bed produced so many books that have touched thousands of lives. She continued to serve and take care of people even when she was down. And the work Joan of Arc started continued to bring an entire country together even after she was gone.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment, or better still, come talk to me about it when I get home. I plan on asking a few people what they think when I get home.