Wednesday, April 30, 2008
We are all able to minister in many ways - young, old, married, single, healthy, bedridden, etc. We are living and breathing for a purpose and our purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Here is a service opportunity to consider in the next couple weeks to show someone the love of God.
Love a Mother or Grandmother...
-Look around to see if you can find an older lady (a shut - in, widowed, in a nursing home, a missionary wife that is away from her family, a neighbor).
Look at your calendar to plan a day near Mother's Day or just in the month of May to go visit an older lady and make her day special by showing her that someone cares.
Make or buy a card, bring flowers (artificial work too - if you aren't sure the person you are visiting can handle the smell of flowers), candy, give her a good book to read, give her a pretty craft that you just made or drawings that the kids made, perhaps you might even go all out and schedule some time to help her clean her house, decorate for summer, or even give her a beauty/hair make over. If the person is unsaved use this as a time to share the gospel message of salvation -even if you don't use words, your actions will speak. Take the time to just sit and talk - it is very important to people to know that you aren't in a rush and that you truly do care about them. Pray with them and pray for them.
Give them a hug and tell them that you love them!
Question: Does anyone know if you can post a sound recording onto blogger??? If you do please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how I can go about doing that because I would love to share some scripture verse songs on the blog. Thanks!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Have you ever considered the meaning of the word love the way God defines love?
Love is a sacrifice. Love is being willing to direct someone when the go astray and with loving words help them along the right pathway. Love is giving of yourself. But love is so much more than all that. We wonder how God could LOVE us so much to send His One and Only Son to earth to pay the price for our sins. Love is to obey. Christ obeyed His Father and took the sins of the world upon Himself suffered a cruel and painful death on the cross. He did that for US - so we wouldn't have die only if we accept His free gift of salvation. There is no other way to Heaven.
If you don't love God, you will not love others. If you are really in love with the Lord you will have a longing and a great desire to spend time with Him, to talk to others about Him, and to show Him love by following Him.
It is easy to say the words, "I love you" - but it is harder to show love when we don't mean what we say.
Missions requires love - a love for God and a love for others.
John 15 KJV
1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
6If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
9As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
10If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
11These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
12This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
15Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
16Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
17These things I command you, that ye love one another.
18If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
20Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
21But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.
22If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.
23He that hateth me hateth my Father also.
24If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.
25But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
26But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
27And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
Mark 10:30-31 KJV
"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."
Saturday, April 19, 2008
When I was young my mom helped me and my siblings make a missionary prayer book.
We would paste a photo/prayer card of the various missionaries our church supported or just of missionary friends that we knew personally and each night at family devotions would bring our missionary prayer book with us to help us remember all those missionaries.
We would also have assigned prayer nights - Mondays would be for the "Missionaries" , Tuesdays for our government leaders, Wednesday for our church leaders, Thursday would be for the unsaved, and Fridays we would pray specifically pray for our "Friends & Family" those that were sick, etc. - of course the list of who we prayed for when wasn't set in stone. We of course could pray for sick friends or family members on Monday or any other day of the week even though the "assigned" day was Friday. The prayer list was made to help us faithfully pray for those around us both here and around the world.
Perhaps this week you can help your child make their own missionary prayer book (or make one for yourself!). Be creative. Gather up photos and prayer cards of missionaries you know and that your church supports. Those of you that have a creative touch - find scrapbooking paper and stickers (e.g. globes, kids from other countries, Bibles, etc.) to put into your book. You could also look through old magazines or newspapers for "mission" themed pictures. If you can't find any good stickers in the craft stores - try searching for free clipart on google - print it out and glue it into your book. Have fun.
You can also type or write out a list of e-mails/addresses/birthdays of the missionaries - so you can use as a reference later in the year for correspondence. You might even want sign up to receive their prayer letter so you can know how to better pray for them and their family.
Set a time during the day/week to bring out those prayer books and pray for those missionaries together with your child(ren). Take that time to explain what missionaries do and as a child even though they are young they can be a missionary too - right where they live!
Here are a few other things that I have done:
-Written a different country name on every single day of my 12 month wall calendar to remind me to pray for those countries - whether or not I know of a missionary serving there or not. That God would soften hearts of the people there to accept His word and for those that He would call/has called to go take the salvation message to those people groups.
-Check out books from the library (or do research online) on those certain countries of which you are praying for that day/week. Type out a paper with facts/brief info. on that country and people group and start yourself a geography note book.
Here is something I thought of doing, but wasn't able as I couldn't find a paper map (the only ones I have are plastic):
Finding a large paper world map to post on the ceiling of my bedroom with photos of missionaries surrounding it, as a reminder to pray daily for each one and for the people in the countries they serve. You could of course adjust and post the map down on the wall and doing the same thing with taping up pictures of missionaries around the boarder of the map.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Here is a recipe from Brazil.
Cantaloupe With Whipping Cream
- 1 Medium Cantaloupe, split in four
- 1 Orange slice for garnish
- 1 Pint whipping cream, whipped by hand
Whip the whipping cream in a stainless steel bowl until, thick. Place the cantaloupe in a serving dish, top with the whipping cream. Garnish with the sliced orange and serve.
Anyone with a great tasting international recipe is more than welcomed to post it as a comment (I'll add it to the blog)!!!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
The author was given a book "simple looking lady offered me a storybook in my own language" - it happened to be the gospel of Luke. He read it and admired the life of Jesus, yet he wasn't ready to give his life to Christ and become a Christian. He was an educated person and felt shame of being Christian. Yet, God worked in his heart and brought him to Himself.
One interesting fact in his book that he mentioned was that it is estimated that 1.4 million Indian people live in the United States; of those more than 85 percent (1.2. million) are Hindus. Talk about a mission field right here - next door, at work, etc. You don't need to think about always going to a country far away - God might have a plan for you to serve Him in the USA!
Meaning of name:
Hinduism, from the Persian hindu (Sanskrit sindhu), literally "river." Means "of the Indus Valley" or simply "Indian." Hindus call their religion sanatama dharma,"eternal religion" or "eternal truth."
Date founded: Earliest forms date to 1500 BC or earlier
Place founded: India
Adherents: 900 million
Size rank: third largest in the world
Main location: India, also United Kingdom and United States
Saivism, Vaisnavism, Saktism
Vedas, Upanishads, Sutras, Bhagavad Gita
guru or sage
Place of worship
temple or home shrine
pantheism with polytheistic elements
in bondage to ignorance and illusion, but able to escape
Purpose of life:
to attain liberation (moksa) from the cycle of reincarnation
How to live:
order life according to the dharma
if karma unresolved, soul is born into a new body; if karma resolved, attain moksa (liberation)
Holi (Spring)Ramnavami (late March)Dusserah (early November)Diwali (mid-November)
Hinduism by the Numbers
-karmamarga - path of works and action
-jnanamarga - path of knowledge or philosophy
-bhaktimarga - path of devotion to God
-debt to God
-debt to sages and saints
-debt to ancestors
Four stages of life:
brahmacharga - school years - grow and learn
grhastha - marriage, family and career
vanaprastha - turn attention to spiritual things
sanrgasu - abandon world to seek spiritual things
Four purposes of life:
dharma - fulfill moral, social and religious duties
artha - attain financial and worldy success
kama - satisfy desires and drives in moderation
moksha - attain freedom from reincarnation
Seven sacred cities:
Kasi (Varanasi, Benares)
1. Ahimsa - do no harm
2. Satya - do not lie
3. Asteya - do not steal
4. Brahmacharya - do not overindulge
5. Aparigraha - do not be greedy
6. Saucha - be clean
7. Santosha - be content
8. Tapas - be self-disciplined
9. Svadhyaya - study
10. Ishvara Pranidhana - surrender to God
"Hinduism." Oxford Concise Dictionary of World Religions.
"Hinduism." Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Premium Service. 2004.
Huston Smith, The World's Religions.
Linda Johnsen, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Hinduism, pp. 222-24.
Probably the most well-known Hindu saying about religion is:
"Truth is one; sages call it by different names."
However, there are some beliefs common to nearly all forms of Hinduism that can be identified, and these basic beliefs are generally regarded as boundaries outside of which lies either heresy or non-Hindu religion.
These fundamental Hindu beliefs include:
- the authority of the Vedas (the oldest Indian sacred texts)
- the Brahmans (priests); the existence of an enduring soul that transmigrates from one body to another at death (reincarnation)
- the law of karma that determines one's destiny both in this life and the next.
Note that a specific belief about God or gods is not considered one of the essentials, which is a major difference between Hinduism and strictly monotheistic religions like Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Sikhism. Most Hindus are devoted followers of one of the principal gods Shiva, Vishnu or Shakti, and often others besides, yet all these are regarded as manifestations of a single Reality.
The ultimate goal of all Hindus is release (moksha) from the cycle of rebirth (samsara). For those of a devotional bent, this means being in God's presence, while those of a philosophical persuasion look forward to uniting with God as a drop of rain merges with the sea.
Since I've been on the topic of tracts and since I just got an e-mail this morning telling of Christian children attacked in India by Hindu extremists because they were passing out Bible tracts at school. I thought I'd post it on here so you can pray for those Christians around the world that are standing firm in the Lord.
Christians Attacked, Children Beaten for Distributing Bible Tracts -
" On April 2, pastors and members of the Manna Ministry in Krishnapuram, Andhra Pradesh, were beaten by a group of 20 Hindu extremists. "Believers were returning from an evangelistic outreach when their car was stopped by the attackers. One of the ministry's leaders, Pastor Gopal, sustained serious injuries. The militants also tore up the Christians' evangelistic tracts." Ask God to heal Pastor Gopal. Meanwhile, on March 17, school children from Toopran School in Telungana Village, Andhra Pradesh, were threatened and beaten by Hindu extremists while they were distributing Bible tracts in the school compound. "A group of Hindu extremists stopped the school children from further distribution of tracts. The extremists beat the children and threatened them." Pray believers in Telungana Village will be encouraged and protected. Pray that Indian Christians will continue to share the gospel with boldness despite increased persecution. Ask God to use their testimonies to draw nonbelievers into fellowship with Him."
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Gospel tracts have the amazing ability to deliver their message to many souls that the distributor of the tract will never even meet. Hudson Taylor, who was used of the Lord to reach countless souls in China, was one such soul. What a marvelous harvest was reaped from just one seed sown!
Seeking something to while away his time, Hudson Taylor turned over a basket of tracts in his father's library and selected one that looked interesting. While reading it he was struck with the phrase, "The finished work of Christ."
Immediately the words attracted his attention. "What was finished?" he asked himself. Reading further, the tract explained the finished work as "A full and perfect atonement and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. "
Then Hudson thought, "If the whole work was finished on the cross of Calvary, and the whole debt of sin paid, what is there left for me to do?"
Hudson was thus convinced, as the light of God's truth flashed into his soul by the Holy Spirit, "There was nothing to be done but to fall down on my knees and accept the Saviour and His salvation and praise Him forever."
Hudson Taylor was seventeen years old at the time. He then went on to faithfully serve His Saviour for many years in China.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
EVERYONE has time to write - there are no excuses (missionaries included)!!! God has given us 24 hours a day to serve Him. We can serve Him by encouraging other fellow believers in our church or on the mission field. There is not a single person in this world that cannot take the time out of their day to write a note saying, "I'm praying for you or I've prayed for you today, write a verse, or a thinking of you card or e-mail. We must prioritize our life. Being too busy can become an excuse for laziness. When we become too busy in the things of the world that we neglect time with the Lord and fellowship with His people - we must stop everything at once and refocus our goals so that we can be in sweet fellowship with the Lord and do His will.
What can you ask a missionary? Here are just a few things to get you going...
- Ask them questions related to daily living.
- Do not generalize about missions or missionaries.
- Ask about financial needs.
- Ask for specific prayer requests about their personal lives & families.
- Do not forget to ask about the missionary's spiritual life.
Remember, depression is a terrible tool the devil uses to discourage the people in the front line of evangelism.
-Take a minute to encourage someone today!
Write to a shut-in (perhaps a older missionary couple that had to come off the field because of health problems), a sick member of your church or in your neighborhood, a young mother dealing with challenges of raising a Christian family in this ungodly world, a thank you for all you do note to your Pastor and/or wife....the list goes on and on.
Monday, April 7, 2008
Take a moment to think about.... the last time you had dinner with a missionary family that is on furlough or deputation, the last time you called them up on the phone just to let them know that you are thinking and praying for them, when the last time you took the time to write an encouraging note to those far away from family and friends?
As Jim Elliot put it, " Missionaries are very human folks, just doing what they are asked. Simply a bunch of nobodies trying to exalt Somebody."
Getting to know a missionary is a great blessing, but yet how does one get to know missionaries?
Basically the list is this:
- Start receiving a missionary newsletter.
- Write personal letters (missionaries long for news of home)
- How about a phone call? (Call them up on b-days or just to encourage them)
- Be faithful in prayer. (Pray daily for the missionaries)
- Invite missionaries into our homes
- Visit missionaries at their field of work.
First, take a look at the list of missionaries that your church supports. Take notice of the following: the country they serve, take in consideration of the age of the missionary and their family, how long they have been serving and what their mission goals are for their future ministry. Now ask questions like, when will they be in the States and when will they be speaking at my church.
Second, grab a pen and paper and start writing a note to a missionary family (perhaps one that has children the same age as your own, or those serving in a country that you have an interest in learning more about, or whatever). Introduce yourself and tell them what church you are a part of, tell them that you are praying for them, give them little bits and pieces of interesting things going on in your family or city. Missionaries love to receive letters, but yet are also very busy so it may take them a while to reply to your note. BE PATIENT.
If you know that a missionary family is coming to speak at your church or visit in your area take the time to offer your home to them. Invite them over for a meal or perhaps even invite them to spend a restful night at your house. Don't use the excuse, "I don't know what to talk about"..... We are all humans that work in different workplaces for the Lord.
Pray not only for them, but also with them.
- I will post another section on this topic of corresponding with missionaries later this week.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Last night I was typing the web address for this site, but forgot to add blogspot.com so it looked like: pray-without-ceasing.com. I must say that the sites that I found on the search engine were quite interesting. I found a site on C. H. Spurgeon. To my amazement I found that he had preached a sermon in 1872 with the topic of "Pray Without Ceasing" using 1 Thessalonians 5:17 as his text. ("Pray without ceasing."—1 Thessalonians 5:17). Since this blog address is focused on 1 Thessalonians 5:17 I read through the sermon with great interest to see what he had to say on the topic of prayer without ceasing.
I believe that prayer is essential in all our lives. To become a strong Christian one must pray. To grow deeper in love with the Lord we must talk with Him and allow Him to speak to us. We must pray and seek His direction in all things.
Here are some notes I took from the sermon.
-The posture of prayer is of no great importance, for if it were necessary that we should pray on our knees we could not pray without ceasing, the posture would become painful and injurious. To what end has our Creator given us feet, if he desires us never to stand upon them? If he had meant us to be on our knees without ceasing, he would have fashioned the body differently, and would not have endowed us with such unnecessary length of limb.
- Praying on one's knees expresses humility, but that is not to say that you cannot pray while flat upon your face, pray while sitting, pray while standing, etc.
- "Pray without ceasing." It would be impossible for us to pray aloud constantly.
There would of course be no opportunity for preaching and hearing, for the exchange of friendly intercourse, for business, or for any other of the duties of life; while the din of so many voices would remind our neighbors rather of the worship of Baal than that of Zion.
-God did not design our throats, lungs, and tongues should be for ever at work.
-Audible language is not essential to prayer. We may speak a thousand words which seem to be prayer, and yet never pray; on the other hand, we may cry into God's ear most effectually, and yet never say a word.
-The place where you pray is not essential to prayer. If there were only certain holy places where prayer was acceptable, and we had to pray without ceasing, our churches ought to be extremely large, that we might always live in them, and they would have to comprise all the arrangements necessary for human habitations.
- If I am to pray without ceasing, then every second must be suitable for prayer, and there is not one unholy moment in the hour, nor one unaccepted hour in the day, nor one unhallowed day in the year. The Lord has not appointed a certain week for prayer, but all weeks should be weeks of prayer: neither has he said that one hour of the day is more acceptable than another.
Therefore I can pray while driving, while in the shower, while lying awake in the middle of the night, doing housework, while mowing the lawn, etc.
-It is good to set aside a certain time of the day to pray.
- Pray without ceasing means that you may pray without ceasing. There is no time when we may not pray. You have here permission given to come to the mercy-seat when you will, for the veil of the Most Holy place is rent in twain from the top to the bottom, and our access to the mercy-seat is undisputed and indisputable.
- Never abandon prayer!
"Never abandon prayer. Never for any cause or reason cease to pray. Imagine not that you must pray until you are saved, and may then leave off. For those whose sins are pardoned prayer is quite as needful as for those mourning under a sense of sin. "Pray without ceasing," for in order that you may persevere in grace you must persevere in prayer. Should you become experienced in grace and enriched with much spiritual knowledge, you must not dream of restraining prayer because of your gifts and graces. "Pray without ceasing," or else your flower will fade and your spiritual fruit will never ripen. Continue in prayer until the-last moment of your life.
"Long as they live must Christians pray,For only while they pray they live."
- Never give up praying!
Do not abandon the mercy-seat for any reason whatever. If it be a good thing that you have been asking for, and you are sure it is according to the divine will, if the vision tarry wait for it, pray, weep, entreat, wrestle, agonise till you get that which you are praying for.
- Loving is praying.
-Prayer is hard work. Satan tries to distract and discourage us in our prayer life.
- Spurgeon, believe that no man loves prayer until the Holy Spirit has taught him the sweetness and value of it. If you have ever prayed without ceasing you will pray without ceasing.
-Let us pray without ceasing; carry our swords in hand, wave that mighty weapon of all-prayer of which Bunyan speaks. Never sheathe it; it will cut through coats of mail. You need fear no foe if you can but pray. As you are tempted without ceasing, so pray without ceasing.
I hope that as you read these few notes that you were encouraged as much as I was. Praying is a spiritual battle as the devil trys all that it is in his power to keep us from talking with our Lord.