"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains,
to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."
Last night, at the Sunday evening service, we were challenged from 1 Peter 2 to "Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king."
Both of these thoughts are complimentary ideas to contemplate this Independence Day... freedom carries with it a huge responsibility... politically and socially... but even more importantly, the liberty that Christ has won for me should compel me to treat others, specifically (according to 1 Peter) the earthly authorities God has placed over me, whether we think they deserve that honor or not. As we were looking at these verses last night, we were reminded that the "king" at the time Peter penned these words, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, was the Roman emperor, Nero.
Seems to me, these are timely thoughts as we are entering, once again, another election season...
And speaking of earthly authorities... it has been a joy this year to meet, on several different occasions, the American ambassador to our adopted homeland, Niger. She truly seems to love people and seeks to build relationships. Our kiddos were certainly impressed with her as they spoke with her last weekend, at the 4th of July celebrations held at the American International School Rec Center on Saturday.
Hope you enjoy the photos!
this week's gratitude list
(#s 1256 - 1284)
that I am a citizen of the United States
that I am a citizen of Heaven
reading Randy Alcorn's book, Heaven
a vibrant, energetic, friendly and personable ambassador to Niger
our kids' designing and building a float for the parade - an activity that engaged and amused all week long
big bro and big sis... good sports with all this parade silliness and fun
our very own little "Miss Liberty!"
picnics by the river
grilled dogs smothered in homemade chili and shredded cheese
chocolate raspberry mousse pie... delicious, and all the adaptations to make it work in Niger actually worked!
softball, kickball and apple pie on the fourth
catching up with friends I haven't seen for awhile
meditating on what it means to honor everyone - regardless of my feelings about any particular someone
the Holy Spirit's enabling power... for to esteem and venerate others does not come naturally nor easily
finally finding Zarma making sense
continued progress with the literacy class
an almost finished office building
19 days until they arrive
realizing that that it is OK that I'm not having much of a summer vacation, because I know I'm right where God wants me and serving as He wants me to serve
little girls... and bigger girls... wanting to exercise with a favorite "auntie"
summer nights watching movies, laughing and enjoying friends
this amazing place God has placed us - even when decent veggies are next to impossible to find in town
sleeping with the AC on... makes it feel like vacation
icy water in the cooler
reading my Bible on the back terrace, cool breeze rising from the river, butterscotch danishes baking in the oven - and kid giggles when they find that treat for breakfast