Thursday, March 30, 2017

The A to Z of Praying for Missionaries - Part 1

Sometimes when I can't sleep I will pray through the alphabet. I will begin with A and see how far I set before I fall asleep. I have various themes that I follow. I thought I should share with you the theme of praying for missionaries. This is part one.


One of my favourite quotes about missions and prayer is from James Fraser, a missionary to the Lisu people of southwest China.

"I will not labor the point. You will see from what I am saying that I am not asking you just to give 'help' in prayer as a sort of sideline, but I am trying to roll the main responsibility of this prayer warfare on you. I want you to take the burden of these people upon your shoulders. I want you to wrestle with God for them."

Do we have that kind of thoughts when we are praying for missions?

The A to Z praying for missionaries will help you to focus your prayers.

A is for attitudes - Attitudes impact so much of life. It impacts how we look at things, how we respond. Pray that attitudes will be Christ-like.

B is for balance - Pray that each one will live with balance in their lives. The ministry can be unending, there is always one more person you could meet with or another Bible study to write but  yet we need to have balance.

C is for children - It can be children living with them or children away from home. Pray for the children that they will love and serve God. Pray that they will feel called by God to be part of the ministry.

D is for discernment - So many decisions need to be made and discernment is required. Listening to God's voice and knowing what he wants us to do each day.

E is for encouragement - Pray that the missionaries will be encouraged. If it is times of not much fruit, it can be discouraging. The missionary might even wonder if it is worth being there. Pray that they will be encouraged to continue on in the work that God has called them to do.

F is for faith for finances - (I know that is a double letter.) Many missionaries are faith based meaning that they rely on giving from churches and individuals. Pray that they will have faith to trust God for finances.

G is for grace - Missionaries need grace. We need to understand anew the grace that God gives us. We need to know the depth of grace that God gives us. We need to be able to give grace to those around us.

My desire is that this will help you to focus your prayers.


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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Faith Promises - God finishes what he begun

If you have read my blog, for any amount of time you know that I have a list of unfinished projects. I have projects that I began eight years ago and some that I began last year but at this point they are all in some level of completion. I have one that I recently looked at and thought, am I really going to finish this? I have not finished all I have begun.

God promises to finish what he has begun.

God has begun a work in us and he has promised to finish that work. As we look through the Bible, we see the work that God has done and how he finished it. He began work at Creation. He finished that and it was good.

God worked in bringing the Israelites out of Egypt where they had been slaves. There was nothing that they were able to do to change their situation. They needed God to work. He worked and took them through some difficult times, the Red Sea in front of them and Pharaoh's army behind them, in the wilderness with no water, and enemies fighting them. God was working to show them who he is. God took them to the Promised Land.

God promises to finish what he has begun.

And I am sure of this, 
that he who began a good work in you 
will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 
Philippians 1:6 (ESV)

I love this promise that Paul writes in Philippians. It is such a good reminder to me. As I was thinking about this verse, there were a few things I discovered. 

1. God will finish what he has begun. God is not necessarily finishing what we begun. It is the work that he begun. I have enough of a challenge finishing my own projects, but if I had to finish someone else's it would be even harder. God has a plan and he is working his plan.

2. The completion is at the day of Jesus Christ. God's timetable is not our timetable. We want things now but God often has eternity in view as he is working. We will have complete rest and perfection at the coming of Christ. 

Because of this promise we can have confidence. We have a reminder that God is working in our lives and will finish what he has begun. That is a comfort to me.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

3.21 Down Syndrome Day

March 21 is Down Syndrome Day. It is the third month and the 21st day which corresponds with Down Syndrome which is 3 of the 21st chromosome.

Miss K, you are one of a kind. You might have a label but that label doesn't even begin to describe all that you are.

Some days I laugh at the funny things she says or the way she is thinking.

Some days I am frustrated as we work through something.

Some days she is a normal 12 year old.

Some days I see the delays.

Some days she amazes me at the things she has learned and does.

Some days I wonder if she will ever learn.

Everyday she is my daughter. Everyday I love her.

I am reminded of all that God has done in and through her life. God has a plan for her and he is working it out each day.

So today we celebrate God's goodness. We know that God's ways are perfect.

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Friday, March 10, 2017

February Review

Quick, write the review for February before the month is over. I think I have told myself that the past few days. Here it is the 10th of the month. Okay, we are not half way through March just one-third.

In February (looking back through my planner helps me to remember) I read 9 books. I can't believe I read that many. I think it might be a record. It was a mix of books. As I look at my list, I am not sure that a specific book sticks out as a favourite.

We had company over twice in February. I made beef stew and brownies which was perfect for a cold dark evening. The next time I made a chicken pasta dish and carrot cake. I should keep better records as I had taken carrot cupcakes to a gathering at those friends' house last year. They think the only think I can bake is carrot cake. (Not really.)

Miss K and I spent a weekend together at Mums and Daughters. It was cold but every activity includes hot chocolate. I am glad that I have the opportunity to do something like that with her.

I am able to spend time during the week with my husband and son. We have gone out to eat or out for coffee. I enjoy having that one to one time with them.

In February during half term Miss K went to a bike ride group. She made quite a bit of progress.

I think my total of decluttering items is 339. I am noticing a difference in the bedroom. It takes me just a few minutes and the room is neat and tidy. I love that feeling and so I am working towards that in some other areas. I am on the lookout for things to get rid of.

I am working on creating a weekly checklist and a monthly checklist. This just helps me to be able to look and see what I need to do.

That is a quick wrap up of February.

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Faith Promises - I will never leave you

Last week I wrote about Faith vs Fear. I have been thinking about that and thinking about the faith promises. What are the promises that we can cling to and hold onto so we can overcome the fears that creep into our lives?

With faith cling to the promise that God will not leave us.

For me one of the times that this was the promise that I needed to cling to was in the summer of 2013. We were in Singapore for training and while we were there I had some routine medical tests and as a result needed to have a biopsy. Trips back and forth to the hospital, tests, scans, visits with the doctor were filling my days. The fear was creeping in, was it . . .? No, it can't be . . . What if it is . . .? The questions and fears were flying through my head. Until surgery and really until the pathology reports were back a few days after surgery there were unknowns. I had to cling to truths that I did know and one of those truths was that no matter what happened God would be with me. God would never leave me.

We can cling to the promise that God has given us that he will never leave us. As his children, he has promised to never leave us.

This begins in Genesis when God created man in his image. The fellowship and relationship that God had with man was to spend time together. In Exodus after rescuing his people from slavery in Egypt God says, "And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst." Exodus 25:8 (ESV) God wants to be with us.

In Psalm 23 David writes, "for you are with me" (v 4). God is with his people. Isaiah 41:10, "fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God;".

In the New Testament God came to earth. Jesus continues the promise, "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:20 (ESV).

God has promised to be with us. Pause and think about it. God has promised to be with us. We have a God who is with us, a God who has come to us not a god we work and try and hope we can be good enough. We have a God who dwells with us.

That faith promise helped me to cast out the fears, not dwell on the what ifs but to keep trusting God. In the end it was just a cyst and nothing more serious. Even if it was more serious I know I can trust in the promise that God gives that he will never leave us.

"It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed" Deuteronomy 31:8 (ESV)

This promise gives courage as we face difficult times. This promise gives hope. This promise can drive away so many fears.

How does this help to cast away the fears you might have?

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Fear vs. Faith

Recently in the Sunday morning sermons we have been working through part of the gospel of Mark. Some time in the past at the top of the page in Mark 4 I wrote, "Faith vs. Fear".  Seeing those words and hearing these sermons again caused me to pause and think about that.

Just to give you a bit of the context at the end of Mark 4 Jesus and the disciples go to the over side of the lake and a great storm comes up. The disciples are afraid but Jesus is sleeping. Jesus calms the storm and asks the question, "Have you still no faith?" (v40)

Then chapter 5 begins with Jesus healing a man with a demon. After that we see Jairus coming to Jesus asking him to come as his daughter is near death but on the way a woman with a bleeding issues reaches out and touches Jesus. Then finally Jesus makes it to Jairus' house but in the eyes of those around it is too late as the little girl has already died but it is never too late for Jesus.

The disciples were afraid, they feared for their lives. If anyone should know how to handle a storm it should be the disciples. A number of them were fishermen. They should not be afraid but they were. The boat was filling with water; they knew they were going to perish.

What happens in our lives when we allow fears to control us.

Fear paralyzes us. We are unable to move forward and grow in our Christian life.

Fear robs us of life. Because of fear we might not do things that we could and should do.

Fear leaves us in chaos. There is no peace in our lives when we are afraid.

Jesus calms the storm and then asks them "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?" Are we afraid or are we living with faith?

When we life live with faith, we have freedom from worries and fears. When we have faith, we have peace in our hearts.

What are the fears in your life? It might be finances or health. Maybe you are lonely and fear being all alone. There are so many fears that can distract us and begin to control us. What is the faith that we need for each of those fears?

Faith is claiming God's promises.

What promises from God can we claim for our fears? Maybe the fear is health. One promise might be that God will never leave us. One promise might be that in heaven there is no pain or suffering. What are the promises that God gives us regarding our finances. God has promised to meet our needs. God has promised that he hears us when we call to him.

As I have faced something that could cause me to be fearful, I have paused and thought of the promises from God that counter that fear. I challenge you to do the same with the fears that you might have.

Today what promise do you cling to?

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Goal Setting

I know most people think about goal setting at the end of the year as they begin to think of the new year. Who thinks about it at the end of February?  If you only think about goals at the beginning of a new year, how successful will you be.

I have a list of big goals for the year but have broken it down into smaller goals for shorter periods of time. One of my goals for 2017 is to read 52 books that is more than last year. Included in that goal are some specific categories of books that I want to read. One category was classics. I wanted to read six classics this year. I have already read 5 so I might adjust that goal.

Goals require planning. Both planning in what the goal is but also how you will complete that goal. So going back to my book goal, I picked 52 because it is a book a week and is more than last year. I have time in my schedule to read. I take a book with me when I have to wait for school pick up. That is part of the plan to reach that goal.

Meeting goals requires keeping track of information. I have a page in my planner where I track the books that I have read. It helps me to see how I working toward the goal. I enjoy tracking monthly what I have done.

I recently read the messies manual by Sandra Felton. I decided that while at one time in my life I was a messy (I am admitting that for my mother who remembers my bedroom as a child. ) I am no longer a messy. There was a chapter in there about goal setting and she had three C's to reach your goals --  change, commitment, and control. Here are some of my thoughts as I think about these three C's.

Goals require you to change. It might be how you use your time or it time be what you do. My goal of losing weight will only happen when I change what I am currently doing. While it is simple, it really can change the way you act. Are you willing to put in what is required in order to change and reach the goal you have.

Goals require commitment. Some goals take time. In the instant age we don't always want to put in the time that is needed to reach the goal.

Control is what you do to reach that goal. Control deciding saying yes to some things that will help me reach that goal and saying no to things that don't help me reach that goal.

So here at almost the end of February it might be a good time to think about goals and what is being done to achieve those goals this year. What are your goals? Which of the C's is the hardest for you?

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