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When I think of the country we have served in for so many years, I have a thousand thoughts and memories that I wish I could clearly capture and convey. However, our language falls short. It is such a beautiful place filled with color, good smells, beautiful sunsets, and souls made in the image of our God.
Some of my first memories of the island of Bali are these beautiful little green baskets that are woven fresh every day. They are filled with an assortment of items—not the least of which is rich-smelling incense. The incense is lit and the baskets are placed in front of stores on the sidewalk, in front of and around temples, on motorcycle handle bars, on taxi dashboards, beside cash registers—everywhere you look you will see them. They are so plentiful that it is sometimes hard to avoid them as you are walking on the sidewalks. Each basket represents someone’s prayers offered up to a deity or spirit; each one represents a family, a person, a daughter or a son.
I am going to put myself out there. I think I have only mentioned this to my family so if you read this and think, “Nope, never done that!” you don’t have to let me know how weird I am! As I’m riding in a taxi or a bicycle cart or just walking down a road, when certain people catch my eye, I find myself thinking, “I wonder what their story is?” Then I pray for them and am in awe that the Lord God knows them intimately and has known them from before they were born. He knew when they took their first steps, and He knows their thoughts simultaneously to my own thoughts. It truly is amazing to me. I love that the Lord weaves together history and crosses our paths and intertwines our prayers. Sometimes my prayers are for the sweet women of Bali who are walking out early onto their beautiful beaches and placing their offerings to the gods of the sea.
Over the years the offerings have become a sober reminder that not all people enjoy the peace we as followers of Christ have through Jesus. Their concept of peace is dependent on their works and the balance between good and evil. Our true peace is through Christ’s work and the righteousness we receive because of our faith in Him.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:3–14)
May our response to this great treasure we have in Him be that we ask the Lord how we may be a part in reaching the unreached for His kingdom and that we would be diligent to pray for those who live without the peace we do.
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