Wheels For The World

I first heard about this ministry I think a couple years back when I watched an episode of Joni and Friends that featured it. Since then I’ve learned more about the ministry and have really come to admire and love what these people are doing. This week my husband and I decided to start supporting them financially.

The day after signing up to support them I got an out of state phone call that I at first thought was a telemarketer. When I answered it was a woman from Joni and Friends. I assumed she was about to ask a question about our donation or something when she totally surprised me by saying, “At Joni and Friends we meet every morning for prayer and I was calling to ask how we could pray for you.” It was so kind and so unexpected it took me a moment to think of anything to say! She told me, “If you ever need prayer call anytime and we will pray for you.”

If you’re looking for a ministry that does good in Jesus name for the glory of God, from everything I’ve seen, this is it!

They are also looking for people to help collect no longer used wheel chairs and crutches. If you can’t support them financially they have a whole list of things they need help with on their website. Check it out!

 

http://www.joniandfriends.org/wheels-for-the-world/

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Will you keep me accountable?

I’ve listened to this sermon by Randy Alcorn twice recently and it is both extremely encouraging and convicting. I listened to it one afternoon on my own and then yesterday while driving my husband and I listened to it and then spent a long time discussing it.

As a woman whose job description is “homemaker” when I see a need it’s difficult for me to raise money to meet it. The best way for me to be able to meet the needs of others is to find ways to save money and then pass along what I save to meet those needs.

I’ve been thinking about one area of my life that I want to change and that I have been trying to change and thinking about changing for months. The problem is I haven’t changed. Here’s what I want to do- I’m boycotting Starbucks. No, it has nothing to do with homosexuality or guns or lack of christmas trees on cups.

You see, I’ve received a few different letters from our sponsor child S who lives in Ghana. In each letter he has asked for pray that his dad will be able to get the funds to help start up his own business so that he can have consistent work. Each time I read that I hear in my head James 2:16 “And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?”

For several months now I’ve been thinking that if I stopped buying my medium, iced coffee, with heavy whipping cream and sugar free vanilla syrup- no classic, every week, it would add up to quite a bit of money by the end of the year and I could use that money to go towards being the answer to S’s prayer. It’s quite convicting when I look at it that way.

The problem is when I’ve been out doing errands with the kids and it’s hot and I have more to do when I get home I become focused on how sweet and cold that drink is and I conveniently forget about the needs of S. I am a steward of God’s money, it does not belong to me and yet in this area I have not been a faithful steward. I’m confessing this fault to you my friends and readers and reaching out for public accountability. Will you please be my accountability and help me to give up this one petty thing to help provide for S’s need? I’ve tried to change without talking to others about it but my efforts have failed. I realize though that when we shed light on something hidden, even if it’s something like a poor purchasing decision, the lure of that temptation goes away.

I’ll be able to see in the future that I wrote this post on August 6, 2017 and next year I’ll be able to come back and tell you if I was faithful and if I was able to give to the needs of S’s family.

I highly recommend the above video. I’ve never read the book The Treasure Principle but I feel that this hour covers the topic of christian giving and christian finances pretty well.

Challenge: Think about how you spend your money and ask yourself if you are being the best steward of God’s money that you can be.

Switching gears… this morning I read these words by the prophet Isaiah and I encourage you to meditate on them while you worship the Lord this Sunday morning.

 

Isaiah 12King James Version (KJV)

12 And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.

2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.

3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

4 And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.

5 Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.

6 Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.

Those are some awesome truths to meditate on. God is my comfort, God is not angry towards me, God is my salvation, I can trust God, God is my strength and song and I need not be afraid. With JOY, joy my brothers and sisters, drink deeply of The Living Water. Exalt the name of God, tell others about Him! Sing and cry and shout for all He has done and because He is near!

New Gospel Tracts!

I’ve passed out a variety of gospel tracts of the years and most recently I’ve passed out tracts by Ray Comfort. With every tract I’ve used though there has been something in it that has made me slightly uncomfortable with passing it out. In some situations I feel that Ray Comforts tracts are great but for just passing out at the grocery store I don’t want something silly looking and I don’t want tracts that tell horrifying stories to make a point. If you’re  familiar with his tracts you’ll probably know what I mean. I’m not putting his tracts down I’m just saying it’s about context and most his tracts I don’t feel fit the context of ‘mom giving out tracts at T.J Maxx.’

I recently was made aware of matthias media and these tracts by a sister in Christ;

https://www.matthiasmedia.com.au/2wtl/resources.html

It’s called “two ways to live”. I like that the tract is very God centered because if you read enough gospel tracts you can be left with the feeling that a lot of them are man centered. I like this tract because I would say the focus of the tract is ‘God is God’ and not ‘quick! say this prayer so you can get out of hell!’ I’m certainly not against tracts that use the fear of hell to bring people to repentance, the Bible does that! I’m just seeing a need to tell the whole story- the whole story of God because the good news is the good news about God.

They are wordy- so honestly I don’t know how many will actually get read. That’s an issue that’s difficult to find an answer to. On one hand we live in a society with a crazy short attention span who generally doesn’t read but stares at quick images on screens. On the other hand, the Bible is 66 books that tells the story of God and although the gospel can be shared in just minutes with words a child can understand I want to avoid reducing the gospel to something it is not. Does that make sense?

This week I got to pass the first one out. In the morning I put one in the diaper bag and headed out with the kids to a story time at a state park. On the way there I heard on the radio someone talking about the missionary Hudson Taylor and how prayer was a major part of his evangelism. The voice on the radio encouraged the listener to pray for those they are trying to reach with the gospel. I turned off the radio and prayed for the person who God knew would receive this gospel tract.

At the state park I never did come across what felt like a good opportunity to give one out. This is where the story gets kind of funny.. That afternoon I was in the backyard watching the kids play in the kiddie pool when all of a sudden I started thinking about avocados. I couldn’t stop thinking about avocados- like I felt like I was going to cry if I couldn’t eat an avocado! Now, this is not very much like me at all. I actually make fun of my husband when he starts thinking about a food like that and won’t stop thinking about it until he gets it. I also really don’t like grocery shopping so it’s easy for me to be a stickler about only going once a week. Not this day though! I had to have avocados! I pulled my loudly protesting children away from the water, dressed them and drove all the way to town on a mission to get those delicious fruits to go with our dinner.

At the stop light I saw a woman holding a sign. It was 100 degrees out and there was no shade around her. “You thought this trip was about avocados huh?” I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit in my head. I bought a cold drink at the store and came back to where the woman was standing. She was at the edge of a dirt parking lot with nothing in it. She was alone and the area was highly visible so I felt it was safe to stop and talk to her. Her clothes were soaked through with sweat and her sign stated that she was out there for help and not to be made fun of. She told me about her situation which I won’t take the time to go into here- long story short there was really nothing I could do to help her. I gave her the drink and a gospel track and encouraged her to talk to Jesus and told her that He loved her. Nothing much, that was it.

I got another opportunity yesterday to give one out. At the grocery store they were short on baggers and the poor girl at the check out was moving as fast as she could to both check out the items and bag them. I gave her a small tip along with the tract (explaining what it was) and thanked her for helping me. She looked surprised and smiled real big and said, “thank you so much!’

If you’re looking for a new tract or want to start passing out tracts for the first time- check these out!

A couple more videos on the topic of mormonism…

This week I have been totally drawn into listening to testimonies of people who came out of the fundamental mormon church and the mormon church (FLDS and LDS).

In my post yesterday I shared a video by Brian Mackert the author of the book I read titled, Illegitimate How a Loving God Rescued a Son of Polygamy. I also shared an interview with his sister Rena who is not a Christian. Last night and today I watched this interview with Mary, another of Brian’s siblings who is a believer. In the book Brian tells about how she had come to know Jesus before he did and how she had tried to share the gospel with him at one point. She seems like such a sweet lady and from what Brian wrote about her and from what she says in the video she really seems to be one of those people who is truly not bitter over the past.

After watching the interview with her I saw this video (below) made by the same producer that did the interview. It’s really worth a watch if you have the time. If you want to know what the mormon church teaches and how the Bible both contradicts and condemns it’s teaching this video will do a good job at filling you in.

On another note..

It was 5 years ago today that I found out I was pregnant with my daughter E! How has that much time gone by already!? It’s my mother in law’s birthday which is why I always remember the date. 5 years ago today I called her and said, “how about for your birthday another grand baby?” It had taken a year and 3 months to get pregnant with E after her brother Titus passed away so it was a very emotional pregnancy announcement!

Today my in laws are coming over for dinner along with my sister in law and her children so we’re gong to celebrate the life of a Godly woman and I’ll also be celebrating the joy of being given a daughter! At the moment it smells amazing in here because my husband is baking a sugar free cheese cake. God is good!

 

Jesus standing between the dead and the living

In my Bible reading plan I am reading in the book of Numbers. Yesterday morning I read about the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and their followers and the subsequent murmuring of Israel against Moses. The wrath of God put a plague upon the people. Here’s what happened,

“And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censor, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun. And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.” Num. 16:46-48

There are so many parallels in this story with the gospel and Jesus’ atonement I don’t even know where to begin listing them all.

Here is a doodle of mine in my journal.

Aaron “made atonement for the people” he “stood between the dead and the living” and “the plague was stayed”.

In my drawing on the left is humanity. “…dead in trespasses and sin” Eph. 2:1

In the middle is the cross of Jesus the Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14). Jesus made atonement for the sins of the people. Hebrews 10:12 “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God” Heb. 10:12. “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2

On the right is the Living God Who through the atonement provided by the sacrifice of Jesus we are reconciled and made alive unto. Romans 6:13. Colossians 2:13 “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses.”

Eph. 5:2 ..”hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour.”

We all have a plague- sin. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom. 6:23

The symptom of this sickness is death but Jesus our Great High Priest has overcome both sin and death and offers life everlasting. “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” 2 Tim. 1:10

Trust Jesus today!

“let your conversation be..”

“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ..” Phil. 1:27a

Wednesday my friend from church and I recited the Bible verses we are working on memorizing over the phone to each other. She is memorizing Philippians. When she said the above verse it struck me as, “Wow. That’s such a tall order.” It really was sobering to think of what a far reaching command that it.

The NAS that she was quoting from translated conversation as conduct and becometh as worthy. It’s sobering to look over every aspect of my life an think, does this honor the gospel? Does this bring glory to God and what He has done for me? Is this worthy to be in the life of someone who follows Christ?

What about my interactions with my children and husband this past week? Has those interactions ‘become’ the gospel? What about my thought life? Have the things my mind has been dwelling on been worthy of the gospel?

Have my time investments become the gospel? Have my words to others become the gospel?

I looked up become in the Merriam Webster dictionary and I think the second definition using the word as a verb best convey’s the meaning of the word in this verse.

:to be suitable to

  • seriousness becoming the occasion; especially : to be becoming to- her clothes became her

Like a piece of clothing fits a person well or becomes them I need to filter what I allow in my life and in my head and what comes out of my mouth with the question, does this fit into the life of a follower of Christ? Not merely does this look good for the sake of looking good but does this fit what I say I believe about God?

Does this become the gospel? Does this point to the reality of the good news that Christ came to save and redeem sinners?

Some questions worth mulling over.

Reviewing my personal 2017 goals

I think March might be the month that New Year resolutions start to be forgotten. I’m not basing that off of anything that’s just my guess.

My new year resolutions/ things I wanted to work on this year were:

For my health- bring my A1C down from 5.9 to 5.5
pass out gospel tracts
memorize scripture
read the Bible through chronologically
1. I had my first A1C (a measure of average blood sugar over a 3 month time) of 2017 done this year and it was 5.6. My hard work is paying off and I hope to see that 5.5 three months from now.
2. I ordered some of Ray Comfort’s ‘Why Christianity?’ tracts/ booklets and God has been helping me to pass them out. I need to still be really diligent about this and not let it stop as the year progresses. Every single tract is difficult for me to pass out and I have to ask God for help with every single one. It still makes me nervous to ask someone, “can I give you one of these?”
3. My specific goal that I set is to memorize the first 3 1/2 chapters of Colossians. I’m on Chapter 2 verse 10. Progress has been slow but I am making progress. I need to start calling my friend again who we had decided to keep each other accountable and recite the scriptures we are working on to each other once during the week. We are both very busy moms and it has proven more difficult than we thought to find the time and a time that works for both of us.
4. This is a goal I started a little later in the year, towards the end of January so I may not actually finish until the beginning of 2018. I read the beginning of Genesis, then Job, then completed Genesis and Exodus and now I am in Leviticus. I’ve worked hard and was able to keep this up even while on vacation.

What goals did you set at the beginning of the year and are you meeting them?

Passing Out Gospel Tracts

I am by no means an expert in this area. I’m just working to be more obedient to God’s command to share the good news. Passing out gospel tracts is just one way to reach people with God’s Word. Gospel tracts provide a way to leave someone who I have talked to maybe 2 minutes with something much deeper that I pray they will read. I try to think of it as scattering seeds of the gospel and praying for God to give the increase. If you’ve never passed out tracts before I thought it may be helpful for me to share a few specific times lately that I have given them to people so you can see what it looks like.

At the zoo after showing the woman behind the glass my zoo pass and exchanging a couple dollar bills for quarters, I placed a tract in the little opening under the glass and asked her, “Can I give you one of these?” She read the title, ‘Why Christianity’ and picked it up saying, “Yes ma’am you can!”

After making small talk about my kids with the cashier at Wal-Mart and thanking him for helping me bag my groceries, I took a tract from my pocket and asked him if I could give him one. He took it and with a big smile I said thank you and told him to enjoy the rest of his night.

At this dentist after paying my bill (on time!) I offered a tract to the woman at the desk. She looked at it kind of awkwardly for a moment but then said sure and took it. I always make sure when I have been back to greet her warmly and make sure I don’t owe any money.

I very rarely just leave tracts laying around. I don’t think they will get read. Here’s an example of a time I did. After thanking our waitress at a restaurant for her service, I made an effort to stack the dishes making sure things were nicely picked up. My husband left a generous tip and I put a gospel tract in the envelope thing that you leave your receipt in on the table.

At the park after our kids played together I went and got a tract out of my van and went back over to the children’s mom. I commented to her how helpful her oldest daughter was to me helping me with my baby and commended her for doing a good job raising her children. I told her I was headed out and asked her if I could leave her with a gospel tract. She took it.

After paying at the hardware store I asked the cashier if I could give him a tract. He cheerfully accepted it.

Same thing, at Walgreens I asked the cashier if I could give him one holding it out. “Ummm… Ummm..” he said. I smiled. “Okay…” he responded taking it slowly. “Thank You!” I told him.

I gave the bagger at Kroger a tip and a tract and told her how much I appreciate her helping me.

Hope these few examples can encourage you! I still struggle with passing out each and every tract. It is really not that hard though to keep a couple in my pocket and offer them to the people I come in contact with.

Moved to tears by a little boy’s prayer

After my son Titus died in my grief I was grasping for something to hold to and to somehow find meaning in his life and death. Growing up my step dad sponsored a boy who lived in Uganda. Growing up I would be excited to get letters in the mail from him but also saddened and sobered by how difficult his life appeared to be. He wrote to us of war and terrible things that he saw. I remember coloring pictures to send to him. My step dad really loved “I” and he had a dream of going to visit him when he graduated high school. The time came and the money was not there to travel. Shortly after we got a letter telling us that “I” had contracted malaria and died right after graduating high school. It was devasting and we felt like we had lost someone dear to us. I remember my step dad being really sad and sending money to “I’s” mother to support her after the loss of her son.

Growing up knowing about Compassion International is why the ministry came to mind after Titus died. I got on their website my soul shattered, my eyes continually puffy with tears. While scrolling through the photos of children I asked God to lead me to the child He wanted us to sponsor. When I saw “S” who lives in Ghana his round cheeks, full lips and round eyes, reminded me of the boy I had just said good bye to who had very full lips, round cheeks and big eyes.  When I went to confirm and give my credit card information I saw that when clicking on the profile of a little girl ‘K’ who lives in Uganda I had accidentally hit the button to sponsor her. I didn’t know how to remove her from our account so I showed my husband who said something like, “We can’t remove her, God wants us to sponsor her.” She made me think of the boy we sponsored growing up who had lived in Uganda and it made me feel like I was getting to sponsor a child in his memory.

Having two sponsor children has been an amazing blessing to us. I don’t get to buy birthday presents for my son but I get to send birthday presents to them. I don’t get to see my baby grow up but I get to see them grow up through photos and letters. I can’t talk to Titus but I do write my sponsor children letters and tell them Bible stories and tell them how proud I am of them like I would tell my son if I could.

What motivated me to write about Compassion today is a letter I got from “S” in the mail. His prayer request and his prayer for me moved me to tears and I am certainly not one of those cries at the drop of hat type people. His letter was dated December 3rd and he asked for pray for peaceful elections for his country. It crushed me that a child so young lives in a world where political unrest is a real burden in his life. I looked up the elections in Ghana and saw that it took place less than a couple weeks after he wrote his letter so it must have been weighing on his mind. What really got me though was the sentence, “S says he prays that all you have given him that God would return it unto you.” **tears, tears, tears!***  He isn’t old enough to write on his own yet so a Compassion worker was writing for him. S drew us a very nice picture of a cup though!

We had sent S (and K as well) and his family a gift on Titus birthday in May last year and we received in the mail yesterday a full page photo of him holding and surrounded by the things that were bought with the gift. A new pair of shoes, a shirt, corn and a bag of something that looked like rice. The letter from the compassion worker told us that the rest of the money had gone to expand S’s mother’s home business and told how thankful the family was for that. It humbled me to see the concrete floor S was standing on. Last year for Titus’ birthday money was used to purchase cement to lay a floor and make the families home more secure. Compassion had sent us a photo of the bags of cement with S’s stunningly beautiful mother standing in front holding a baby on her hip. I feel that Compassion does a very good job of spending money wisely and there is a lot of accountability and openness about how the money is being spent.

By far what makes Compassion stand out from other ministries is the relationships you can form with your sponsor children. Who knows what the future will bring? Maybe when my children are in high school we will go visit our sponsor children.

If you are looking for a Christian ministry to support financially I really recommend looking into Compassion International. Their slogan is, ‘releasing children from poverty in Jesus name.’ This ministry is something I feel really passionate about. When Casting Crowns did a concert in our town and an email came to me from Compassion looking for volunteers to hand out information at the concert I signed up right away!

Compassion asks that people don’t put online the children’s name or photos for privacy and safety is why I referred to the children by their initial.

https://www.compassion.com

what I’m working on..

I haven’t been writing lately although as I go about my day I usually think of so many things I want to write about! It’s a busy season having a 1 year old and a 3 year old. Both ages are requiring a lot of attention and to quote the people I meet in town, “I have my hands full!”

I had written at the beginning of the year how I want to work on scripture memory. I was working on a verse a week and saying it to a woman at our church either on Sunday or if I saw her some other time in the week. One of my sisters in Christ was telling me this past Sunday that she has a goal to memorize the book of Philippians and asked if I would want to join her and keep each other accountable. I’ve wanted to for a long time to memorize Colossians but have stopped and forgotten what I started. We decided we were going to call each other and say our verse that we are working on which we did yesterday afternoon. As of this morning I have memorized the first 7 verses of chapter 1. I’m excited! I would love to be able to say all 4 of the chapters of Colossians. I love the “big picture” of eternity in Colossians and the poetic language.

I’m also working on passing out gospel tracts again. It’s something I haven’t down for a long time but is so important! I ordered some of Ray Comfort’s “Why Christianity” tract/ small booklet and this week God has helped me to pass out 5 of them. The first time I attempted to pass one out was when I brought the kids to the zoo Saturday. I was so nervous I was shaking and ended up leaving without passing any out. It’s so silly really, what am I so nervous about? Some one might say, “No thanks?” Read it and then give it back because they don’t agree with what it says? With each track I did pass out this week, with prayer, it has gotten easier. It’s really not that hard to say to the cashier who I’ve been making small talk with, “Can I give you a gospel track?”

I’m also working on praying more. I have this urgency in my spirit that God is wanting me to pray. I’ve felt like that for a while now and the men in our church have been teaching on prayer which has really been motivating me to start obeying and practicing it. At the encouragement of a brother in the Lord sharing what he does, yesterday I wrote up a prayer list of people and things to pray about for each day of the week. I think it’s going to help me be more focused and disciplined in prayer.

In my job as a mom of little ones, behavior and obedience are the main issues I’m working on with my kids right now. T.J learned to climb up on the kitchen table yesterday and teaching him not to do that took a lot of time yesterday! We’ll see what he does when he gets up.. he’s persistent, I wouldn’t doubt it if he tries right away to see if the rule still applies today!

I had started working on a list of family rules. I put them up in our kitchen and as I was going through out our days I was trying to edit the list to better fit our family and our needs. Some of the rules I wrote out I was finding were too broad and others too specific. While searching around the internet for other’s ideas I found “21 Rules” by Greg Harris. (Father  of the author Joshua Harris.) These were the rules that he wrote up for his family when his kids were young. (I don’t have time to include a link but if you google Greg Harris 21 rules it will come up)

I’ve had them up on our fridge for I think a week or so now and they are really changing our family in a positive way! First they are changing our family because they are changing me! I have to make sure if I’m teaching these rules that I have to follow them closer than anyone! A few challenging one’s for me that I am working on are, “when someone is sad we comfort them.” If my kids are whiny my natural response is to want them to just get over it. Now I’m working on stopping and taking the time to offer a hug or a solution to the problem in their world. (fixing the broke toy or whatever.) It’s also been a really big change for me to consistently clean up one thing before going onto another. I can be a scatter brain and the trail of random stuff I leave behind me shows that. I’ve had to really get organized and make sure everything actually has a place so that when I want the kids to clean up they know exactly where stuff goes and it’s easy to put it away. This has meant getting rid of a lot of stuff as well. I’ve also been working on speaking to my family with a respectful voice. AKA not yelling when I’m irritated.

As for my marriage challenge, there are 6 more days in January. (Including today.) This challenge has proved more challenging than I thought it would be but has also reaped some good fruit. Mostly I’ve realized how little I had been working to do nice things for my husband and how the all consuming task of motherhood has pushed things aside marriage wise. Before having kids you hear how it’s easy to neglect your spouse while parenting but until you’re in the thick of it it’s hard to know how true that is. Maybe (no promises!) at the end of the month I’ll write a “ways to bless your husband” post with different things I’ve come up with this month. It’s hard to come up with the creativity to do something different every day!

There’s more I want to share with you but it will have to wait for another day as it’s nearing 7:00 and I have to hurry to get dressed before my kids wake up!

Thanks for reading!