Esther Pavao
I posted this about three years ago, and found it this morning. Recently, I've been going through my older blog posts and found that some of the fire I had for Christ when I was younger has faded somewhat. I think my zeal for God waxes and wanes, and I wish that weren't true, but I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing. Zeal is often compared to fire, and it's an apt description. A flame on a matchstick may be brighter than a burning coal, but you can bet that coal will burn more sharply. That coal has been burning much longer and the heat has gone to its core. Though it appears cold and dead, its entire being is hot and with a little fanning and maybe some kindling, will burst into flame again. The matchstick will burn brightly, maybe catch something else, and then it is blown out or burns out on its own.

I've been thinking about what it means to be in this world, but not of  this world because of a project some of us young people have been working on. It was a discussion topic we were supposed to think about, research on, and pray about. I talked about it with a few people. How can you be born here on this planet, live here, and yet, not be "of" here? These are a series of thoughts that I came up with (with some help).

We Are Missionaries To Earth
For Christians, I think that living on earth is like being a missionary. When you are a missionary, you live in the country, learn their language, dress like them, eat like them, follow some of their customs, and yet, you are different. You are a different race and people can easily see you're not one of them, regardless of the language you speak or the clothes you wear.

We're not natives of earth. We're a different race, a different people. We're only here for a short time and while we're here, we may dress like Americans, speak English, and eat American food. We live in houses like all other Americans, but we are not Americans.The difference should be obvious.

Being A Missionary
When I was in Mexico, everyone could easily see that I was not Mexican. My light skin and hair set me apart, and when I spoke, my language separated me even further. I wore the same clothes as them, and this time when I go back, I'll even somewhat speak the same language as them. I ate what they ate, I followed their customs, even when they didn't make sense to me, and yet I stood out as totally different. In our daily lives, when we come into contact with people, the difference should be obvious. The way we speak, our values, and our behavior should instantly set us apart.

Our Example
When Jesus was on Earth, he attracted people to Him wherever He went. Every city, every house, he had a huge crowd of people who could see He was different. Before He taught, he already had people following Him. When He opened His mouth and spoke, people knew He was different. If we are followers of Christ, should it not be the same for us? If we are patterning our lives after His, shouldn't we be set apart on sight? Shouldn't we be in this world, as He was, and yet make it clear that we are only passing through? We shouldn't have any ties to this world. He told us that He had no place to rest His head. (Matt 8:20) He seriously was just passing through. He didn't allow Himself any ties to this world at all, not even a bed. How much more free would we be if weren't bound by earthly things?

(I'm not saying "Let's all sleep outside on the ground!", but try telling me that if you had to pick up and go right this minute, there wouldn't be several things that you would have to consider first.)

What Do You See?
I cannot remember where I heard or read this, but I remember a story. When Queen Elizabeth I was a little girl, she was misbehaving and her nanny, frustrated beyond measure, dragged her in front of a mirror and made her look inside. "What do you see? I see the future queen of England. Now start acting like it!"

I don't know if this is a true story, but I can imagine this little girl, feeling the weight of her lot in life and living underneath that weight. People will watch every move she makes, every word that comes out of her mouth will be judged and picked apart. Every person she talks to will be a judgment on her character. Every decision she makes as queen will impact an entire country of people. She will be the most liked and disliked person in the country. That's a lot of weight for a little girl to carry.

Take the time to look in the mirror. What do you see? You see a follower of God. Every word that comes of your mouth, everything you do, everywhere you go, you are being watched and judged. If we lived our lives that way, knowing what we are and acting accordingly, there would be a lot less carelessness in our treatment of people.

I used to laugh at those WWJD bracelets and bumper stickers, but in all honesty, "What Would Jesus Do?" If we are patterning our lives after His, wouldn't it be a good idea to ask ourselves what He would do in every situation and with every person we come into contact with?

 My closing thought is this: living in the world, and not being of it requires a constant reminder of who and what we are. Whether you need to remind yourself every morning when you look in the mirror or whatever, know you're not of this world and act accordingly.
Esther Pavao
I had the most amazing experience. On Friday, Tipharah called me and invited me to come over and listen to her baby's heartbeat. Shiphchah (her midwife while Ari is gone) came over and soon found the heartbeat. As the sound filled the room, the small, very fast beat, I couldn't help but wonder whether it would be a boy or girl, what he or she would be like. Would it play an instrument like Paul? Would he play soccer with Eli? Or would she dance with Tipharah? Or love to sing like I do, or whatever else.

Will he get Paul's curly hair? Tipharah's amazing eyes? Will she be chubby and cute? 

It was then that I realized that no matter what this baby did or looked like or acted like, I knew I loved it, no matter what. An undeniable, unconditional, powerful love.

I thought I could imagine God smiling and saying, "Now you finally know how much I love you. No matter what you do, or what you look like, or where you go, I love you even more than you love that unborn baby."

It amazed me. That baby didn't have to do anything to earn my love, and yet, it has it. Likewise, I never had to do anything to earn God's love.
Esther Pavao
My life has been very hectic recently. With working at the Coffee shop and HLA, planning two mission trips to Mexico, and all the drama that my family is experiencing, I've been wondering why I put myself through it. Most of the stress in my life is self-inflicted. No one asked me to plan a mission trip and if I felt too stressed, there are a few things I could drop without too much trouble. In spite of that, there are a few more things I'm trying to take up. Go figure.

However, I've found that I enjoy living this way. No, not the stress part of it, not the headaches or lack of sleep that I can't seem to catch up on. The part I enjoy is knowing that I can't do it. Ok, I know that sounds weird, hear me out. I can't do it alone. I am living in God's grace every minute of every day. I know I am living every day asking for His grace and receiving it. There's no way I could live my life in my own strength. I've come to the mindset of, "God, you know I can't do this, so if You want it to happen, You will make it happen." And you know what? He does! Every time I find I'm at the end of myself, He meets me there.

What a wonderful way to live! How crazy and yet wonderful. I love it. It makes God very real and near to me. I wouldn't trade it for a normal schedule, for less to do, or even sleep. I love each crazy minute because I know my God will see me through. I couldn't ask for more than that.
Esther Pavao
A friend of mine sent me to this verse last night, and I wanted to remind us all that
"...we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28