Please and Thank You

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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.
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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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Baptisms

Reblogged from As Seen Through the Eyes of Faith.

I so appreciate my bloggy friends and what they write to inspire and bless us. A couple of weeks ago I shared a great post—What must I do to be saved?—from Raymond Gary Candy at As Seen Through the Eyes of Faith. Today’s post, Baptisms – The First Steps with Christ,  is a great followup.

Once again Raymond, thank you for blessing us with your writing!

Baptisms

The First Steps with Christ-

Someone might say, “I’ve just accepted Jesus Christ and been born again. What do I do next?”

If you have recently asked Christ into your heart and confessed Him as Lord of your life, then you are no doubt feeling a great joy and thankfulness to the Lord for washing away all of your sins, saving your soul, and giving you a new life in Christ.

I’m sure that you are feeling a great love for God because of His mercy and grace that He has bestowed upon you.

“We love him, because he first loved us.” (1John 4:19)

You have been, as Jesus said, “born again”, and as such you are like a new born infant in the eyes of God.

And just like a new born baby, you have been washed (in the cleansing blood of Christ), swaddled (in the fresh linen of the righteousness of God in Christ), and all God asks of you for now is to be nurtured by Him (through prayer and reading His word), grow, and do as He asks.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (John 14:23)

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

Read the rest here.

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The Potter’s Clay

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There is no one who calls on Your name,
Who arouses himself to take hold of You;
For You have hidden Your face from us
And have delivered us into the power of our iniquities.

But now, O Lord, You are our Father,
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all of us are the work of Your hand. —Isaiah 64:7-8

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Valley of Vision

This wonderful devotional was written by Joni Eareckson Tada and included in her Pearls of Great Price book. Joni has always been an inspiration to me, and I hope you are touched by this as much as I am.

Valley of Vision

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Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools. 

—Psalm 84:5-6

In the days of the conquest of Canaan, the Valley of Baca was known as a dry, waterless place where only balsam trees could grow. Some have called it “a place of weeping.” However, when we trust God during dry, parched times, we can turn our valley of weeping into a refreshing “place of springs.” 

My favorite Puritan prayer about valleys has seen me through many a dry place in my spiritual journey:

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision… Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision. Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine; Let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty,Thy glory in my valley.[1]

Psalm 23:4 says, “… though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” We fear no harm in the valley because death can only cast its shadow on us. Evil has no grip on us. Truly, we find God’s brightest glory in our darkest valleys. 

Lord, You are the Great Shepherd who leads me through every dark valley. I trust You to turn my valley of weeping into a place of refreshment and encouragement.

www.joniandfriends.org

[1] Arthur Bennett, The Valley of Vision… A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, The Banner of Truth Trust, Pennsylvania, PA, 1997, Preface.

Copyright © 2006. Pearls of Great Price by Joni Eareckson Tada. Published in print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan

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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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The Story of Joy and Sorrow

Reblogged from Lynn Mosher: Encouraging the Heart-Uplifting the Soul.

This wonderful post from my bloggy friend, Lynn Mosher, goes along with my JOY and FAITH themes this year. Lynn has a special way of making a story come alive, and I know you’ll appreciate this as much as I do.

Thank you, Lynn, for allowing me to share this with my readers.

The Story of Joy and Sorrow

Photo credit: Lynn Mosher

Photo credit: Lynn Mosher

Once upon a time, twin sisters, Joy and Sorrow, lived in the same house with their Father, whose name was Comfort.

Joy skipped along her way enjoying every moment, savoring the sights and sounds of her everyday life, as her heart overflowed with praise and thanksgiving to her Father.

Sorrow, on the other hand, was somewhat defiant, rebelling against her Father, grumbling because of the pain in her life.

Nevertheless, they both experienced the same trials and heartaches, and yet, they each went about their day singing a different tune.

Read the rest here.

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FAITH for God’s Promises

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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

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Waiting with Faith

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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

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

…..

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