Creation and Rest or Rest and Creation?

This is my last week before I go back to school. During the past month, I’ve had an amazing time of rest. It’s been wonderful to have time to go to AMH’s chapel on some mornings, (when I was up early enough to get there). This week I’ve been to two of the 7:30 a.m. meetings, and today I even led chapel–kind of a recap of what I’ve been learning this week.

On Sunday Dr. G shared about Mary and Martha, and how Mary had made the better choice. Though he also shared, “The most difficult thing we have to do is live a spiritual life in a physical body,” which I’ve been thinking about as I try to get up earlier this week to spend time sitting at the feet of Jesus. Yesterday Elizabeth read Psalm 8—how God created us just a little lower than the angels, and also how we need to look from God’s bigger perspective. Keith recently shared an insight from Watchman Nee’s book Sit, Walk, Stand. I’ve also been reading Job this week, so all these things started coming together.

I used scripture from Job 38. This comes after Job has gone through tremendous suffering, and he and his three friends have had a lengthy discussion about it. God finally intervenes and asks him some serious questions about where Job was during creation.

Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
2 “Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?
8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb?…

It goes on for most of the next four chapters. He does pause twice to hear from Job. These are some of the stumbling responses Job makes:

Job's Response

Job knew his place. He admited that he didn’t know anything about how the world was created. Job wasn’t there. Only God was there. God didn’t need Job’s help to create.

The following picture shows the things God created on each of the days of creation.

creation

Yes, notice people were created last, after everything else! In Sit, Walk, Stand, Watchman Nee explains that God’s plan for people is for them to sit and rest in what God has done for them. This was the plan from the very beginning.

What does it really mean to sit down? When we walk or stand we bear on our legs all the weight of our own body, but when we sit down our entire weight, no matter how heavy we are, rests upon the chair or couch on which we sit. We grow weary when we walk or stand, but we feel rested when we have sat down for a while.

To sit down is simply to rest our whole weight – our load, ourselves, our future, everything – upon the Lord. We let Him bear the responsibility and cease to carry it ourselves.

In the creation God worked from the first to the sixth day and rested on the seventh. We may truthfully say that for those first six days He was very busy. Then, the task He had set Himself completed, He ceased to work. The seventh day became the Sabbath of God; it was God’s rest.

But what of Adam? Where did he stand in relation to that rest of God? Adam, we are told, was created on the sixth day. Clearly, then, he had no part in those first six days of work, for he came into being only at their end. God’s seventh day was, in fact, Adam’s first. Whereas God worked six days and then enjoyed His Sabbath rest, Adam began his life with the Sabbath; for God works before He rests, while man must first enter into God’s rest, and then alone can he work. Moreover it was because God’s work of creation was truly complete that Adam’s life could begin with rest. And here is the Gospel: that God has gone one stage further and has completed also the work of salvation, and that we need do nothing whatever to merit it, but can enter by faith directly into the values of His finished work.

Many people in scripture, recognized God’s work and our place in it, like the Psalmist here.

Psalm902.jpg

So, it’s important for us to start with REST. Here are some things to remember, some of which were shared at chapel this morning:

  1. Like Adam, Job, and others before us, we need to remember it is the Lord who created everything. He worked first, so we can rest.
  2. See yourself seated with Christ in the heavenly places. (Read Eph. 2:6.)
  3. Trust that nothing will happen without the knowledge and working it for good of your faithful Savior. (Read Romans 8:28)
  4. “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matt. 11:29
  5. Rest Less – When we become restless, we need to REST, so we become LESS. When God becomes more, we become less and able to rest. (Dr. G)
  6. Favorite verse to meditate on: “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 (Elizabeth)

Because we rest in God, we can become creators. We need creativity and innovation in our broken world.

A friend came to my house a few weeks ago and helped me create chicken curry with foods I already had in my house and spices from my cupboard, some of which I had not dared to try before she came over. She empowered me to be creative with the food, and as a result of her sharing, I tried this the following week:

Tomatoes, Okra, and Ginger

I cooked these fresh ingredients. Yes, that’s OKRA–the first time I had ever bought it.

Finished Dish

It was delicious, and no slime!

Today, I have more appreciation for all the beautiful fruits, vegetables, and herbs available in this world, things I had never seen in our small Iowa town, but this delicious produce is available here in Bahrain. I’ve become more creative and willing to give these foods a try, thanks to my friend’s creative encouragement and help!

Another example is the amazing work of the Circle project, now called Circles Without Borders, by Dr. Mary and others. (Last week, Keith wrote about it here.)  What a wonderful way to use our creativity and serve at the same time. Here’s something new being created for Circles Without Borders:

Circles

You’ll have to wait to see what this will become!

Yes, we can take charge of things that need creative solutions. In fact, God commanded us in the garden to care for creation. Psalm 8:6 says, “You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority.” We can and must come up with creative solutions for everyday problems and ways to make the world a better place. We have a contribution to make, but don’t forget to start with REST.

BeFunky_REST.jpg

Here are my slides for you to look through. Feel free to use any slides you like! (The pictures were either taken by me or found on Morguefile.com and edited, so I have the license to share them.)

Posted in AMH

Circles Without Borders

The mission of the American Mission Hospital is: “We are here to serve the people in Bahrain in the Spirit of Christ who went about doing good to all who came to him.” Compassion is one of the ways the Spirit of Christ is shown to those who come for medical care.

One of the ways compassion is shared is through the Chaplain’s Fund that provides assistance to those who cannot afford medical care. It is a great joy to see the relief on a patient’s face when they discover there is help available.

Dr. Mary, one of our anesthesiologists, had a vision for how to raise funds for the Chaplain’s Fund. She is a craft project lover and she saw a woman wearing a pair of earrings made from discarded IV bottle pull rings. She asked how they were made. Earlier this year she gathered volunteers from the staff at AMH to begin to make the earrings.

Dr. Mary is a firm believer in recycling, innovation, and using the talents of people. All these values were incorporated into what is now called, “Circles without Borders.”

The first step in making the earrings is to gather ring-pull tabs from IV bottles.

Pulling the tab

Then trim the extra plastic off the ring so they are ready for the next step.

Pull tabs with rings

Next, nylon thread is crocheted around the plastic rings.

Circles sewing

Almost finished…

Almost finished

The nylon strings are trimmed off and melted to prevent unraveling, and then earring wires are attached.

Finally, you have a beautiful earring!

Finished Earing

Here’s Dr. Mary with the finished products.

Dr. Mary with a box full of completed earrings

The earrings are sold at AMH events and to staff at the hospital. Chaplain Keith has also distributed them at churches in the United States. Many people have the opportunity to share in the Spirit of Christ who reaches out to people with compassion and healing. This is a project “without borders.”

Posted in AMH

The Power of Place

AMH at dusk
The American Mission Hospital has a track record. For over one hundred ten years it has provided excellent health care with compassion and understanding. That history gives this place a power of location. People know how to find AMH, and they know what they will find when they come here for care.

American Mission Hospital is located in the heart of the busy capital of Manama, Bahrain. It is very interesting that the address of the American Mission Hospital is:

PO Box 1,

Isa Al Kabeer Avenue,

Block 307, Manama

The Kingdom of Bahrain

It is an interesting historic fact that the American Mission Hospital has the unique distinction of carrying the PO Box 1 address, so any mail in anybody’s name with PO Box 1, The Kingdom of Bahrain, will get here. In addition, any mail with just the name  ‘American Mission Hospital’ on the envelope will also be delivered here.

We are easy to find.  We have been around a long time.  People know where we are and why we are here.

The hospital is on Isa Al Kabeer Avenue. Sheikh Isa was the late King, and the hospital is on the road named after him.  “Isa” is “Jesus” in Arabic and “Al Kabeer”  means “great.”

Isa Al Kabeer

It is a beautiful coincidence that the American Mission Hospital stands on ‘Jesus the Great’ Avenue here in Manama.  Read the words of the mission statement of this beautiful place:

“We are here to serve the people in Bahrain in the Spirit of Christ who went about doing good to all who came to him.”

It does matter where you are located in space, time, and spirit.

Posted in AMH

AMH Personnel Have Audience with the King

We received a note with a link to a news article from the Chief Executive of the American Mission Hospital in Manama. He told about having an audience with His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa this week regarding the work of the AMH in Bahrain.

Keith and I are so blessed and humbled to have a chance to work in this mission that has such a rich history of doing good in Bahrain.

Read more about the hospital personnel’s meeting with His Majesty here on this post on the Bahrain News Agency.