th (2)Have you ever flown the red eye before? The red eye is a flight that departs late at night and arrives early the next morning.

About eight years ago, our family was flying home from vacation and had to take the red eye.  Since I have a great deal of trouble sleeping on a plane and it was quiet because most of the people were asleep, I took the opportunity to have a quiet time.

I opened my Bible to the book of Acts and started reading chapter 1.  I felt the Lord tug at my heart when I came to verse 8,

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

I wrote it out in my journal, closed the Bible and began to ask the Lord what He wanted me to learn about this verse.  I noticed God said we would be His witnesses in four locations: Jerusalem, Judea, Samaira and the ends of the earth.  The word “or” wasn’t present in the verse anywhere so He wasn’t offering us the chance to choose which area we will be a witness.  He expects us to be a witness in all of them somehow, some way.

Well, the ends of the earth was pretty easy to understand.  It includes places far from home and more than likely far from development. While I’d been to a third world country physically, I knew I could fulfill that part of the command by covering countries in prayer, by supporting missionaries there financially, and even by writing books or blogs that might reach them. So what was my Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria?

Through prayer and meditation, realized Jerusalem was home to those He was speaking to, Judea was the area around their home, like my state of Georgia.  Samaria was far reaching from there, thus I equated that to the United States.  Since the word or isn’t present in the verse; however, the word and is present, we are to be a witness to all areas mentioned.  For us, the verse could read,

But you will receive power and when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in your home, and in your home state and nation, and to the ends of the earth.

That made sense to me.  I closed my journal and glanced over at my sleeping family.  I began thanking God for this new revelation to His word, for time away with my family and for each member of my family.  It was during my prayer time I clearly heard the Lord say to me,

 Remember your Jerusalem!”

He was fairly emphatic about it too.  Over and over He said it. Remember my family. As I turned that thought over and over in my mind over the next few days, I realize the Lord was almost warning me. So many people get wrapped up in other things at the exclusion of their family.  It doesn’t have to be bad things.  It could be work, volunteering, full time ministry, working out, and the list goes on and on. 

I had been working full time in ministry for about a year and the Lord was cautioning me not to forget my very first mission field He called me to was my family.  His words have been seared in my mind and I do all I can to put them first. My family is my priority. While sharing the Gospel is of primary importance, I don’t want to be trotting the globe sharing how great God is while neglecting my family. I do not want to be out rescuing other people’s children at the expense of my own. That’s not a very good witness. I’ve read accounts of missionaries and pastors who were known to the world as mighty women and men of God and strangers to their children, as well as fabulously successful men and women in the business world who didn’t know basic facts about their children.

What about you? Are you allowing something to take your focus away from your family? Even good things can become a distraction from your primary mission field. Ask the Lord to reveal if there’s an area in your life you need to adjust to better serve Him in your home.

Remember YOUR Jerusalem.

**Having said that, my son will leave in one week to study abroad for three months, so I will take next week off to spend time with him, helping him prepare.  I’ll meet you back here on May 13th.  Have a great week and do something special with your family.