Missions & Missionaries

Kisses From Katie

Kisses From Katie ~ A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie Davis with Beth Clark

Hannah and Elizabeth were assigned to read this book for a book discussion group. They are big readers but this book gave them a lot to think about! I am about halfway through. I think you ought to find a copy at the library though it is absolutely worth buying. Be prepared to be stretched!

We have recently had missions and missionaries on our minds. Please pray for those you know serving in missions abroad. I know there are a lot of missions within the US, but today, let God impress upon you a certain country or region of the world and intercede on behalf of the people who live there. Pray for those who have responded to the call to serve in a foreign land. And find a copy of this book! If you know of other inspirational stories involving missions, please share the title and the author as we would love any recommendations!

Welcome to Delaware by Watermark

Well it’s been a cold December
and the leaves have fallen true,
and I do believe I’m still in love with you.
Yea my scenery keeps changing,
and sometimes it’s hard to view.
But you’ve let me see so much since I’ve known you.
But I headed to what seemed like nowhere
You told me to come,
you told me you’d meet me here.

You were here to say
“Welcome to Delaware”
I know you’ve traveled far.
And it’s a lot colder here than what you’re used to.
And I know that in the winter time,
things aren’t what they used to be.
So all you really have here now is Me…

So I settled here, and that is that.
For you to show me who I am,
You had to take me to a place I’d never been.

And all the things I dreaded most
about the things unseen,
have now become the sweetest part of me.
Though I headed to what seemed like nowhere
I knew you would come
I know you would meet me here.

You were here to say
“Welcome to Delaware”
I know you’ve traveled far.
And it’s a lot colder here than what you’re used to.
And I know that in the winter time,
things aren’t what they used to be.
So all you really have here now is Me….

I have always loved this song. The melody is simple and soothing (if you can find it–you might have to actually buy the CD, I don’t know, but the CD is great so it wouldn’t be a waste! I love the perspective. I hope you love it too! Liz

Keeping It Real

When was the last time you had an honest heart-to-heart conversation with someone you trusted? My prayer is that you have a person (or two) with whom you can share a deep burden and be real about how things are going in your life. Sometimes I get caught up in what I want my life to look like or what I think it ought to look like that I occasionally misrepresent my reality by not sharing my struggles. And sometimes it is easier to not reveal the struggles and stresses in my heart. But if I only mention my “woohoo moments” then people who don’t know me well have no idea that I have many moments when I blow it or they are unaware of things that I am “in limbo” on.

Where is the balance?

It is hard to know what to share, how much to share, with whom to share, and when to share it. I certainly can’t share everything all the time. I don’t know that it’s wise and it would take all of my day! But I do know that a part of being in and creating a sense of community is sharing my struggles as well as my joys. We are imperfect people living amongst imperfect people in an imperfect world. We each have recurring struggles and sins — sins we cannot seem to shake. Some of those sins are even addictions. Sometimes it’s downright ugly. Usually so.

Some of the power of a stronghold is released when it is brought out into the light. Confession brings embarrassment and shame at times but it also can foster accountability. Some struggles are evident but the secret ones are probably the most damaging. So be careful to not invest all your energy on spiffying up your outward appearance. Allow God full access to transform your heart. Be willing to be humbled by confession–it doesn’t always need to be to a person–sometimes a confession is only meant for God. But consider allowing a trustworthy someone else know one of your most difficult struggles. You may find a great prayer warrior and your friendship will likely move to a deeper level. But you don’t know until you try.

If we want people to “be real” with us we often need to “be real” first. Do you have a friend you can be honest with about the ugly parts of your life? I pray you do or you will soon. Always ask God for discernment on what to share and when to share it. And be prepared to hear some real stuff. This is real life. We each experience real struggles. We all need real hope and forgiveness. I am so thankful for God’s hope and forgiveness in Jesus and our privilege to live together in community with one another ~ sometimes we are called to listen and sometimes we are called to share but I also believe we are called to “be real”.

God’s Promptings

I wish I could tell you I always responded to the nudges I get from God, but I don’t. Sometimes I am too dense, too tired, too vulnerable, too distracted, too impatient, too independent, too wrapped up in my life and my crazy situations to pay attention to what God is showing me or asking me to do.

I can get as crabby as I want with my kids or my husband for not responding to me ~ aren’t I queen of their world? But I act so similarly when it is God requesting me to incline my ear to Him or use my hands to serve one of His beloved in my midst.

Have you had a situation when you responded to a prompt from God, not having any clue what the impact would be only to hear from someone that it was exactly what they needed at that exact moment to encourage them? Isn’t that just like God? He weaves together two lives, even if only for a moment, to bring encouragement, cheer, confirmation, and the reminder of “I see you, my sweet child, I know you are struggling. Please trust Me as I work out all the details. In time, My love. In My time, My love.

As you still yourself before the Lord with your plans for the day, invite Him to interrupt your schedule and when He asks something of you, be sure to respond! I know He knows we are only human, but if we are regularly too dense, too tired, too vulnerable, too distracted, too impatient, too independent, too wrapped up in our “own” lives and crazy situations to pay attention to what God is showing us or asking us to do then we are clearly missing the point!

If you have a story to share about God prompting you, you responding, and how someone else was encouraged in the faith, please share it! It is such a testimony to God knowing even the tiniest details of our concerns and responding to them!

Fishing: Intention & The Big Picture

(part 5 of 5)

Don generally fishes with a “catch & release” mentality. He enjoys being outdoors and kayaking around in the summer sun with birds chirping and wildlife soaring and scurrying around. On a regular day his time is spent in meetings and meeting deadlines and so this slow pace, with no official expectation, other than to get away from regular duties and enjoy nature, is a great way to relax.

On the contrary, when satan uses his lures and bait, he is fishing for keeps. If he can get us hooked on any number of things that can wreak havoc on our lives he is accomplishing what he has set out to do. And we, sinners that we are, willingly succumb to the temptations that the world has to offer. Even if we get snagged in a serious way, caught and transported across the world in foreign waters and a long way from “home”, God longs to negotiate our release. It requires a recognition of our sinful nature and a heart surrendered to Him.

Why did Jesus ask for fisherman to be fishers of men?

Let’s take another look at God’s Word:

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. [Matthew 4:18-22 NIV]

Living beside the Sea of Galilee meant their daily sustenance involved a lot of fish so it was essential to know how to fish successfully! Jesus called four people who had similar experiences and two sets of brothers. Interesting. Living and working side by side requires an awful lot of patience and respect and negotiation — even if we aren’t fishing. These four had some common experiences and likely had learned to relate well to one another and were a source of encouragement and support while fishing on the water. All those are important for discipling “on land”.

An awareness of the climate, weather, access points, and location are all things fisherman learn. Fisherman also know their equipment and keep it in good repair. They are always open to learning and have a lot of patience. A good fisherman knows there isn’t any point trying to fish in a hurry. It usually takes a lot of time.

I am so thankful for what God is teaching me. He is so relevant even in areas where I can hardly relate. I am really not a big fan of fishing but I am a big fan of spending time with Don. Who knew I would “catch” all this about fishing just by tagging along?

And where are you? What principles are you “catching” from your environment? And what ideas are others catching from you? I pray we are all sharing Biblical principles in our uniquely gifted ways!

Fishing: Lures & Bait

(part 4 of 5)

Lures and bait have the same job to do and they are both useful depending on what kind of fish you are going for as well as what is happening with the weather and how deep the water is. While a fisherman might seem to favor an approach, it is important for them to switch up what they use depending on the climate and circumstances.

I am not a big fan of using the “lure & bait” analogy when I am talking about sharing the Gospel. I wouldn’t want to be accused of “bait & switch” or be thought of as a trickster when sharing what God can do. There is something about luring and baiting that feels sinister to me. I think satan uses lures and bait all the time to hook us on things that distract us from God’s Word and His desires. I don’t think satan is a catch & release guy like my husband, Don, is. Satan would love to keep us on his line for our lifetime.

And for a similar reason, I haven’t been a big fan of the idea of being “hooked on Jesus”. Have you seen colorful construction paper fish with big smiles next to a big hook on the bulletin board at church? That isn’t reality for the fish: it isn’t a happy time. I think my mind never really resolved that part of the analogy. And I don’t know that God meant for it to go that far anyway. Usually being “hooked on” something isn’t a good thing (unless you are hooked on phonics)!

But let’s talk about the fish ~ they are hungry and they are attracted to shiny things. And if you watch any environmental videos you know there is a problem with fish and other wildlife eating trash from our oceans and rivers. It is very disturbing. They are vulnerable. They lack discernment. They are being duped. They are getting caught by things that are not good for them.

I have been in that very same place. Have you?

Do you see people around you taking the bait of a dangerous offer? I find it is often easy to see it when I have been in the very same place and recall being lured into a compromising activity. Once the bait is accepted there seems to be increased offerings and when there is a deep hunger, anything looks like good food.

If you see someone “taking the bait”, you are, at the very least, called to pray for them. I don’t believe God brings things to our attention and expects we will do nothing. The challenge is often what we should do. Prayer is a great way to start. Watch & pray. If you are praying and seeking God on the matter, I believe He will let you know if more is required of you.

For further consideration:
John Bevere wrote a great book: The Bait of Satan. It is definitely worth reading, particularly if you have ever gone through a time when you have been deeply offended by the behavior of another.