Last month, we launched a new Order of the FLAME community in Eastern Europe. FLAME stands for Faithful Leaders As Mission Evangelists and reflects the commitment of this covenant community of pastors to offer themselves as channels of God’s grace to all people. We gathered in Sibiu, Romania and joined leaders from Hungary, Macedonia, Moldova Romania, and Ukraine. It was a Holy Spirit inspired time for all of us.
Our Bible Study teacher, Ligia Istrate, focused on the Shalom of God. What a powerful topic for our world in this moment! She mentioned a passage that I am sure many of you are familiar with – Numbers 6:24-26.
The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you;
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
God gave this blessing to Moses and instructed him to teach it to Aaron and his sons. Through Moses, God was preparing the people to enter the promised land. This was the blessing they would use when they arrived. That’s interesting timing, because for the Israelites to settle in the promised land, they would have to come in contact – and likely conflict – with those who were already living in that land.
Think about that for a minute.
A blessing given with conflict on the horizon. A promise of God’s presence and peace in the face of struggle and strife.
During our Facebook Live prayer time each week we pray for all the places and contexts where people experience violence and conflict. There are many. And yet, those are the very places that God has promised his presence and peace. Those are the very moments when God has promised never to leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:8).
Tomorrow, those of us in the United States will celebrate Thanksgiving. When I think that even in the most challenging of moments, I can claim God’s promise of peace and presence, I am deeply grateful. And that is my prayer for you. I pray that you will feel God’s face shining upon you; that you would feel his presence and his grace; and that you would experience the deep and abiding peace that only he can give.
Thank you for your faithfulness to WME, for your prayers, and for your financial support – especially in these challenging days. We are grateful for all that you are and do.