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These Verses, From a Most Personal Perspective

Pivotal people, pivotal places, and pivotal portions of Scripture…each commands a place of  priority in the life of a pilgrim.

Preparation to give a devotional for our organization’s biannual Worldwide Day of Prayer, provoked personal reflection on the dramatic impact of a pivotal portion of Scripture, These Verses from Matthew 28:18-20.

Jesus said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have taught you.  And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

These Verses from Jesus permeate the core my spiritual DNA. These Verses shape the course of my entire life. Three personal cameos illuminate their significance:

Cameo #1: As a third grade student, at a mission’s conference in our small country church, I listened for the first time to a woman speak personally about her life serving God in Africa. That night, as a nine-year-old little girl, I believed that God wanted me to be a missionary - my embryonic encounter with These Verses.

Cameo #2: At Mississippi State University, I encountered a group of students who had a smile on their face, a song in their heart, and a spring in their step. These students also heard These Verses, and they marched to the beat of different drum. I joined their ranks, and responded to the clarion call: Come Help Change the World.  

Cameo #3: Larry’s proposal to me one November night on a swing in my parents’ yard left no doubt, Will you go with me in helping to reach the world for Christ?  

These Verses transported me to live in four countries with four cultures, and four languages.  

These Verses carried me to live behind The Iron Curtain and to see the fall of that Iron Curtain.   These verses carried me to minister in 20 countries, with 40 languages across eleven time zones - for His Kingdom and the growth of His church.

Within the context of These Verses, I experienced life as I gave birth to our son in a communist hospital; I experienced death as I stood beside my dear friend and co-laborer at the grave of her fourteen-year-old daughter, the victim of a terrorist’s bomb.

These Verses ushered me to sit among presidents, prime ministers, ambassadors, and generals in elegant settings where they heard of the King of Kings; and These Verses took me to sit beside a street urchin in a dirty Romanian train station to tell him of the love of Jesus.  

These Verses led me to take my place both in an orderly line at a lavish buffet, and to take my place in a ration line to buy meat and bread.

Practically speaking, These Verses resulted in                                                                         Grinding meat in my kitchen to make hamburgers with meat purchased on the local black market Grinding peanuts to provide my family with peanut butter                                                     Grinding eggshells to come up with Vitamin D needed in my pregnancy T

These Verses necessitated                                                                                                        stitches in Polish,                                                                                                                                          broken arms in German,                                                                                                              MRI           MRI in Hungarian.

These Verses gave me  a front row seat to witness the power of The Gospel at work in                   Dorm rooms                                                                                                                                   Hospital rooms                                                                                                                             Classrooms                                                                                                                               Auditoriums                                                                                                                           Playgrounds                                                                                                                                   Sports arenas                                                                                                                                     Park benches                                                                                                                           Vegetable stands                                                                                                                         Refugee camps                                                                                                                                   Over the Internet                                                                                                                                     In parliaments

I observed the power of These Verses at work when the temperature was so hot I could hardly breathe, and so cold my breath froze as it entered my lungs.

I watched the supernatural power of These Verses overtake an entire city; I watched the supernatural power of These Verses overtake a single soul.

And,                                                                                                                                                   Under the banner of These Verses, I have discovered the greatness of God. He Who said, And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age has overwhelmingly kept His Commitment. Furthermore,                                                                                                                                           In the context of trekking to the ends of the earth with These Verses to change the world, I have seen These Verses change me.

Living with eternal intentionality: What verses has God used in your life to make you the person you are today?