Please and Thank You

Please-ThankYou-Arrows--AMP

A couple of weeks ago I encouraged you to try the Thank You Challenge 2015. I didn’t remember until recently how and when my own thank you lifestyle began, so I want to share that with you today.
 
Back in the late 90’s, I served as a counselor at Royal Family Kids camp, for abused and abandoned children. On the last night of camp when all counselors and administration staff gathered to pray, we counselors were surprised to receive a special gift. Although we didn’t know it, the camp administration team had been watching all of us counselors as we interacted with each of the children in our charge. They met each night to search the Scriptures and find just the right verse to describe each of us.
 
To my utter surprise, Hebrews 11:1 was given to me.
Heb11-1-FoggyMtnTop-sm--AMP

God called me to this ministry even though I felt totally unprepared and uneducated for the task. I tried to ignore God’s call on my heart but He kept showing me that He wanted me to go there. I resisted, until one night at a prayer meeting I heard Him whisper to my anguished heart, “I want you to do this for Me.”

How could I ignore that?

One of the little girls in my charge was a particularly tough case. This sweet little 8-year-old had been shuffled from one foster home to another. She was certain of only one thing: that she could expect abuse or negative treatment on a regular basis. Like so many of these abused children, she learned to bury her true emotions and instead developed a defensive posture, along with the frequent tendency to declare “No!” in response to any suggestions, fun or not. 

Her stubbornness was not easy for any of us to deal with. Whenever we were to start anything new, whether it was crafts, chapel, or even games, her standard response was “No!” She would literally crouch down and keep shouting this over and over again. I found myself praying almost constantly that entire week. My prayers would start, “Please, God…” and as the Lord helped me deal with each difficulty, they then became, “Thank you, God…” 

Our goal was to give these children a week of carefree fun, but her tantrums kept testing my patience and that of the camp directors. After a couple of days of this negative behavior, we had a discussion about sending her home early which greatly upset me. How could we take away this one week of fun from someone who rarely had the chance to do anything enjoyable? I pleaded with the directors to give her another chance and they agreed. 

That night I asked God what I could say or do to help her adjust better because I wanted her to enjoy her camping experience. He showed me that her life was full of commands. She was never asked about anything. He then gave me one word: choices. 

Even at camp she was expected to adhere to rules and a schedule, which in itself is not a bad thing, but difficult for her to deal with considering what the rest of her life was like. As I prayed about all of this, God showed me that if she was given some limited choices, her responses might be different. 

That week at camp was a mixture of faith and fear, trust and anxiety, exhilaration and fatigue. God heard my Please and Thank You prayers and honored them as I faced each new challenge. The completely awesome part of this whole story is that before camp week was over, my stubborn yet sweet little charge asked Jesus Christ into her heart. And not only that, but a few years later, I heard that she was a counselor-in-training there! 

Beloved, Please and Thank You are very powerful words. They bless the giver as much or maybe more than the receiver.

 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
—James 4:10

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought,
and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.

—G.K. Chesterton

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From the Great Omission to the Great Commission

By Anna Popescu
First published at Cataclysm Missions International on  March 1, 2015  

From the Great Omission to the Great Commission

But the eleven disciples went into Galilee,
to the mountain where Jesus had sent them.
When they saw him, they bowed down to him, but some doubted. 

Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, 

“All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.
Go, and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of
the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 
teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you.

Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

—Matthew 28:16-20, ASV

Do you believe you are not equipped to share the Gospel message? Perhaps you feel as if you would not be able to find the right words to say to someone about how Jesus Christ died for the sins of mankind. Maybe you’re somewhat shy and tend to keep things to yourself. Or you could simply be afraid.

Any of these could be true but none of them are valid reasons for not sharing your Christian faith with others who need to hear it. Place your complete trust that what Jesus told his disciples is true:

I have said these things to you, while still living with you.
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name,
he will teach you all things, and will remind you of all that I said to you.
Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you;
not as the world gives, give I to you.
Don’t let your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.
—John 14:25-27

Please pray about and ponder the impact you can have on people in need of a Savior as you watch this video of Jonathan Cahn preaching “From the Great Omission to the Great Commission.”

 

Jonathan Cahn is the founder of Hope of the World. According to the “About” page on their website, Hope of the World “is devoted to giving out the Word of God to all peoples – to fulfill the Biblical mandate & Great Commission of God – to bring salvation to the Jew, to the Gentile, & to all unreached peoples of every land. Our mission is to spread the Gospel of salvation through radio, television, & shortwave broadcast, literature, internet, recordings, Bible distribution & compassion projects to the needy around the world.”

Please visit Hope of the World to find out more.

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Reaching Muslims Through Jesus

By Anna Popescu
First published at Cataclysm Missions International on  Feb 12, 2015  

Reaching Muslims Through Jesus

Ex-Muslim Nabeel Qureshi


“Christians in Pakistan
is a private non-profit organisation. Christians in Pakistan is a news wire along with charity and preaching platform. We promote young Christian talent along with sharing news and photos from different churches in Pakistan.

We offer charitable services to the sidelined Christians in the country including providing education, distributing Biblical literature, donating Bibles etc. As the largest platform for the Christians in Pakistan we highlight the issues and news of Christian community in Pakistan. We also report international Christian news and events.

Our prime aim is to share the Love of God around the world and reach the unreached. By means of the internet, we aim to evangelise to as many as we can reach. We aim to promote rising Christian talent in Pakistan. We also aim to be the platform that facilitates Christian artists, pastors and others to publicise their work.”

– See more at: http://www.christiansinpakistan.com/what-we-do/#sthash.7x5EOyGK.dpuf

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What Must I Do to be Saved?

Reblogged from As Seen Through the Eyes of Faith.

My bloggy friend, Raymond Gary Candy, has a wonderful blog called As Seen Through the Eyes of Faith. He shared this great post there a couple of weeks ago, a good reminder for those of us who already know Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. However, this would be a good tool to use if you’re unsure about sharing your faith with unbelieving family and friends.

Thank you so much, Raymond, for the granting me the privilege of sharing this with my readers.

What must I do to be Saved?

RaymondCandyAsSeenThruTheEyesOfFaith--books-on-shelf

“And brought them out, and said, Sirs,what must I do to be saved?
(Acts 16:30)

“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi,we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” (John 3:1-2)

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee,Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

“Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” (John 3:4)

Read the rest here.

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FAITH for God’s Promises

FAITH-ElisabethElliot--AMP

God has never promised to solve our problems.
He has not promised to answer our questions …
He has promised to go with us.”
—Elisabeth Elliot

Anna-Coffee2

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Waiting with Faith

WaitingWithFAITH-AMP

Rick and I moved to northern Arizona more than ten years ago. Our move went smoothly but getting to the actual move was a wait of faith. We had already found and put a down payment on the house we wanted here and things seemed to be going well with our California house sale until we received two offers that we had to turn down.

The first offer contained unacceptable buyer contingencies and was not a problem to turn down. The second offer, however, was a huge surprise. We had literally just signed the contract to accept the buyers’ offer when our realtor received a call from them saying they had to back out of the deal. An accident had just occurred in which a vehicle drove right into their house! Obviously they had no choice but the timing was stunning to all of us.

Our realtor was frantic with worry but we kept on assuring her that the whole thing was in God’s timing. That amazed her.

Here in Arizona, our builder needed more earnest money to finish the items we had asked him to add, so we had to scramble to come up with those funds. I shared all of this in one of my online writers’ groups when I received a message that really cemented Rick’s and my attitude to trust God while we waited.

My writer friend wrote this about the word wait:TrustInGodsPerfectTiming-AMP

The root word for wait in Hebrew means to twist, to stretch. The original meaning was twisting and stretching fiber to make a strong rope. The idea in Hebrew is that waiting strengthens us by this twisting and stretching process.

The other side of the waiting process is that waiting is never considered a passive posture. While we are waiting, we are to be in prayer about the situation while at the same time continue to have faith that God is already working on a solution.

The wonderful and happy ending is that the third offer we received for our house was for more than we had been asking. If we were in awe of how God structured this whole thing, you can only imagine how this impacted our realtor. On the day of the move, we handed her the house keys after everything was loaded into the moving van. She said, “You were right all along. God did have everything under control!”

Rick and I do not know how God used this in her life but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that God used us and our trust in Him to show her how wonderfully He can work everything out.

Right now, I’m waiting for specific direction for something in my writing life. A few close friends and family are praying with me to know God’s will in this, and I am confident and trusting that He will show me what to do … in HIS timing. What that means to me is that even when I may feel like it’s taking too long to see the Lord’s will in this right now, that doesn’t mean He isn’t already working things out.

This is exactly the time for me to keep on praying while waiting and trusting. How about you, Beloved? 

 

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Stepping Out in Faith

Faith-MartinLutherKingJr--AMP

Faith is taking the first step
even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
—Martin Luther King, Jr.

…..

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Happy 2015! Do Not Dwell on the Past…

Is43-18-19-DryDesertTree--AMP 

Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up;
do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.
—Isaiah 43:18-19

Do you find yourself thinking about things you once were able to do but are not able to any longer? Are you dwelling on past mistakes or times that to you seemed to be better or easier than where you are right now?

I confess that I am guilty at times of dwelling in the past, remembering when it seemed effortless to do something as simple as laundry or taking an enjoyable walk without a lot of physical pain. However, I’ve found that these remember when thoughts only serve to fuel that monster called discontentment.

The dictionary defines being content as being satisfied or resigned to circumstances. Being satisfied means we feel fulfilled, but feeling resigned to our circumstances denotes a passive acceptance of our situation. These sound like opposites, but they are not. We can accept our physical limitations and still be satisfied, but it has to be a conscious decision to accept our situation as something God can use in our lives.

I haven’t been able to work at a job outside my home for about 15 years. I have always wanted to write, but never had the chance to do so—until I had to stop working. Now I’m thankful for this chance to do something that has always been on my heart, and in the process continue to glorify the Lord no matter what my circumstances.

It has taken some time, but I’m learning not to let my past dictate my future. Instead, I am acknowledging this new thing that God has fashioned in my life as He makes “a way in the desert” to use me in the lives of others.

For every wasteland in our lives, God gives us a stream of living water to help our way through that desert.

Those who are not able to scrub the kitchen floor can read a story to their children or grandchildren. If I can’t hammer a nail any longer, God has blessed me with the ability to write in a way that may help others in similar situations. Much has been taken from me, but God has replaced them with more meaningful things, which has brought me even closer to Him.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for a brand new year! We are so thankful that You are our Stream in the Desert, even though we sometimes have trouble remembering that. Help us to see that only with You can we ever be satisfied and filled with joy. Amen.

 

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Christingle [from Our Daily Bread]

Today’s post is from last year’s Christmas devotional by Our Daily Bread. I had never heard of a Christingle before and love the symbolism. Have you ever heard of this or maybe even celebrate Christmas this way?

 Christingle

By Bill Crowder 
December 25, 2013

In the Czech Republic and other places, the Christmas celebration includes “Christingles.” A Christingle is an orange, representing the world, with a candle placed in the top of it to symbolize Christ the light of the world. A red ribbon encircles the orange, symbolizing the blood of Jesus. Four toothpicks with dried fruits are placed through the ribbon into the sides of the orange, representing the fruits of the earth.

Read the rest here. 

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Mary: An Angelic Announcement [Repost from Grace to You]

Please enjoy this wonderful devotional from John MacArthur’s Grace to You blog.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014 

by John MacArthur

When we first meet Mary in Luke’s gospel, it is on the occasion when an archangel appeared to her suddenly and without fanfare to disclose to her God’s wonderful plan. Scripture says, simply, “The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary” (Luke 1:26–27).

Read the rest here.

 

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