Archive of ‘Faith’ category
Do you wish you could be a part of reaching millions with Christ’s love?
There are people who are doing just that in small ways. I would like to introduce you to these people. August edition of Small Seeds is brought to you by Gospel of Asia and myGFA.
Clara | Turned her love of sewing and her 18th birthday into a campaign for sewing machines for 19 women in Asia. Clara’s “Not Just a Hobby” campaign meant survival for those women who benefited from her generous heart. And, the best birthday gift of all is giving to someone in need. Read Clara’s story here.
Claire’s Church | Goal to raise $11,000 for church building in Asia. By the way, Claire is only 7-years-old! Churches not only provide a place of worship, but also is a symbol to the community of security and permanence. Read Claire’s story here.
Walker/Sali Wedding | Goal to raise $1,800 to fully fund five missionaries for one year. Although James and Rue set up a traditional gift registry, they found it in their hearts to prayerfully ask for a donation to help others too in lieu of gifts. Read their story here.
What I want you to know today:
97% of these unreached people live in an area called the 10/40 window. Yet, every $20 in the Western church, only 1¢ goes towards sharing the Good News in the area of greatest need. The 10/40 window also holds less than 1% of all Gospel literature and Christian broadcasting.
Image courtesy of GFA
Why reach out? Because God reached out to us. It’s that Simple. It is our privilege as believers to share the Gospel with others.
How do we reach out? Over 85% of Asian countries do not allow Western missionaries to share the Gospel. However, thousands of national missionaries are committed to reaching their own people, no matter the costs.
What can you do? These missionaries need support from Christians around the world to share the love of Christ. GFA sends 100% of the money donated for work on the mission field to the designated project campaign. Nothing is taken out for administrative costs in the West.
What’s your role in missions? I often ask myself this question. Not everyone can, or are called, to serve in the field. My mission? Bringing the Word of God to South Asia with Bibles. Can you imagine being a Christian but not having a Bible to study the Word of God?
Do you love Christ? Do you long to make a difference? Even the smallest contribution can make a huge difference in someone’s life today. That is the concept behind Small Seeds. Do something small today, and grow in compassion and faith in a big way.
START TODAY | Join the Small Seeds campaign, read about the above campaigns and join, or start your own campaign today!
Learn more about the great Unreached here.
*I am a Gospel for Asia blogger. I do not get paid for my endorsement; this is something I am passionate about writing. All information and stats are sourced from GFA.
My favorite picture of Ron before ALS changed his life
My step-father, Ron McCormick died from ALS on July 4, 2011.
For 10 years he endured this terrible disease that is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. For many years we, as a family raised money for ALS research and participated as a team in the Walk to Defeat ALS in Colorado and Missouri, and attended candlelight vigils, but never thought about dumping ice water on our head!
This #IceBucketChallenge makes me smile. Seeing so many people getting involved with an organization that is committed to finding a cure for ALS is inspiring.
As of yesterday, (8/21/14) the ALSA has received $41.8 million in donations, as opposed to $2.1 million raised during this same time in 2013 (July 29 to August 21). ~ALS Association
There are haters out there, bashing this Challenge. Forget those people!
Anything that gets this much attention for ALS is a good thing. The more attention we bring to ALS, the better chance we have to find a cure, because cures are not cheap, people!
The following is an excerpt of a post I wrote for Ron on his 62nd birthday.
* * * * *
Ron in 2003
Ron McCormick turns 62 years old today. It’s a birthday to celebrate. He should eat lots of sugar-loaded cake. He should open presents from loved ones. He should kick up his heels, dance a little, maybe on a table. But he can’t because he was diagnosed with a fatal disease called ALS.
Ron is now completely paralyzed. He has lived with the disease for almost 9 years. Typical life expectancy is 3-5 years after diagnosis. So he has lived far beyond the “norm”. But he is tired. He is weary.
Ron in 2010
Ron has been on a ventilator for more years than I can remember (since 2003). He can’t eat. He can’t drink. He can’t swallow. He has a feeding tube. His throat has to be suctioned out continually. He can’t sit up on his own. He can’t talk. He only “talks” using a special computer. My mom and his caregivers try to read his lips but over the years that has become almost impossible. He can’t walk. He can’t hug his grandchildren. He can’t work on rebuilding his Monte Carlo. He needs 24/7 care, even though the state of Missouri doesn’t feel he “needs” it and will not pay for that kind of care. My mother is left to “fend for herself”, using whatever or whoever she can as a caregiver. Many of these people, although good-hearted, are not qualified to be this type of caregiver and they learn as they go (just as she has). With all this she also works a full-time job and takes care of Ron’s young grand kids.
* * * * *
This is why I give to the ALSA.
IT’S NOT ABOUT THE ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE…IT’S ABOUT FINDING A CURE. If dumping a bucket of ice-cold water on your head is the thing you are compelled to do for ALS, then go for it! I will watch your video, and applaud you. But also give money because that is really the point.
If you are like me, the idea of dumping ice-cold water on your head gives you chills, well, ALS will take your check without the ice water! Either way the ALS wins!
Because it’s time we found a cure!
Ron’s Story | What is ALS | ALSA | Walk to Defeat ALS
It’s the 75th Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz! Pop some popcorn, mix in some M&M’s, turn out the lights and have a movie night! Because, “There’s no place like home.”
Um, great minds think alike, I think. Thanks Ann Voskamp. Need some spiritual healing? Click on over to Ann’s blog this weekend.
Photo courtesy of GFA. Verse added by me, courtesy of Isaiah.
Sarah Bessey reminded me of something very important. Not that I really forgot, but sometimes we ‘turn off’ the evil in the world because our heart can’t take it. Remember what is worth fighting for, and what is not. What makes a difference, and what does not.
May you have a blessed weekend. May you look up and around and see that there is beauty around you. May you guard your heart against the evil in this world. May you pray for those who are fighting their own battle against evil.
Dear elected officials,
It is with a heavy heart that I am writing this letter. I had high hopes for you. I had hoped that you would make good on your campaign promises. I believed you when you said you would change this country; make it better, greater, safer, stronger.
You said you could fix the health care system with ObamaCare. In order to do this the insured had to become uninsured to then become reinsured under the new health care reform. I would like you to know that it is the end of July, my husband and I have yet to receive our insurance cards under the new plan. I have spent almost nine hours of phones calls, mailing forms, taking forms to an office, sitting on hold to get YOUR new and improved plan. When I can buy a house easier and faster than health insurance, there is something wrong. Did you sign up for the same plan you forced me to? Of course, you didn’t.
You promised us safer communities for our children. Over the July 4th weekend 67 people were shot in Chicago alone. Eleven people died in one weekend! That is in Chicago, not Iraq. What are you doing for the children of this city? What are you doing to help the law enforcement combat the crime there? You post signs with #BringBackOurGirls, but where’s your #SaveChicagoChildren? Don’t you own a home there, President Obama? This is your town, right?
South American children are being exploited, abused and dying crossing the border into the U.S. You are housing these children at an estimated cost of $2.28 billion, while not allowing journalist to report the condition of the camps. You Tweet comments and hold up protest signs as if these children are not human beings. What these children need more than anything is compassion from the American people, not to be used as pawns in your political games. By allowing these children to stay in the U.S. you are a willing accomplices to more deaths. Mixed in with these children are dangerous gang members. Can you tell the difference?
You asked us, the people, to tighten our belts. You told us we must make sacrifices. You said there will be tough choices in the future. But, I ask, what sacrifices have you made? You have added to our national debt, closed government while still taking a paycheck, and taken expensive vacations on the taxpayer’s dime. Mr. President, you have taken 141 days vacation since taking office. “The typical U.S. worker at a private company gets 10 days of paid vacation and six paid holidays per year.” Do the math. Although, I believe everyone, especially you, needs down-time, you are oblivious to the cost of your expensive trips. We paid for that trip to Maui, Martha’s Vineyard and elsewhere. You owe the American people a thank you note.
You have broken your promises time and time again. The American people are tired of being thrown under the bus. We are tired of being lied to. For the good of this country, and my family, I must make some tough choices come election year. Unless you change your self-serving ways you will be asked to clean out your office. Go stand in the unemployment line that you helped create. Meet the people you should have been working for. Look into the faces of the struggling American families you promised to help. Ask them how they like the change in this country; the change in their lives.
Don’t wait until it’s too late.
American Registered Voter
I jumped ahead on Saturday to Ephesians 6…because my heart needed it. Did your heart need it too?
So, let’s finish out the summer Bible study finishing with Ephesians 5.
This is the post I have put off writing.
“As the church submits to Christ, you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.” Ephesians 5:24
That one word: Submit. It can cause feminist everywhere to run screaming to burn their bras in protest. I am woman. Hear me roar!
Not exactly a word we would use to describe a modern women. And certainly not what society tells women that we should be doing. Especially when so many women are the head of the household, bringing home the bacon, and are getting the job done every.single.day.
The definition of submit is this: To yield or surrender (oneself) to the will or authority of another; To subject to a condition or process; To commit (something) to the consideration or judgment of another.
Some argue this instruction from Paul to submit to their husband is an antiquated ideal for women. I think it means more than the Webster definition of the word.
Christian author and actress, Candace Cameron Bure made headlines, and backlash, by saying she submits to her husband, Val Bure. I think she explained it well when she said, “The definition that I’m using with the word submissive is the biblical definition of that. So, it is meekness; it is not weakness. … It’s strength under control. It is bridled strength.”
This Biblical instruction does not say wives are valued less than their husband, nor does it say wives shouldn’t have their own thoughts, opinions, or desires. Paul gives instruction to both husbands and wives on how to treat each other with love and respect because “As a man leaves his father and mother and is joined as one with his wife, and the two are united as one.” 
Interestingly, Paul says more to husbands on how to treat their wife than anything else in Ephesians 5.
 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her  to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.  He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.  In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself.  No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.  And we are members of his body.
Marriage is a delicate balance of give and take, respect and submission, love and care, one but separate, equal but different.
Husbands and wives, above all else, should walk in love with one another.
Related post: Marriage Is…
I had a post ready for today. It is thoughts on our summer bible reading of Ephesians 5. I can’t post that today.
My heart is heavy.
I can’t post that when planes are shot down. When Hamas is raging war against Israel. When ISIS is persecuting Christians, forcing them from their homeland they have had for the past 2000 years. When girls are kidnapped from schools. When children are dying to cross the border. When war rages in Ukraine.
That’s heavy stuff.
So. What’s a girl to do when it feels like the world is falling apart?
When the chaos of the world crushes my heart.
When injustice reins and hope has been drowned out.
When I feel helpless and hopeless.
When I sit safe at home.
When there is nothing I can do but Tweet information and support for fellow Christians being killed for our faith.
When governments, the U.N. turn a blind eye.
When hashtags don’t help.
When evil runs wild, and good is hard see.
My heart needs protection. I desperately need it.
I need to put on the Armor of God, as Paul instructs us to do in Ephesians 6.
 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.  For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.  Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.  For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.  In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.  Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Ephesians 6:10-18
Today, I will ‘put on all of God’s armor’.
Today, I will ‘pray for all believers everywhere’.
Today, I will ‘hold up my shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil’.
Today, I will ‘take the sword of the Spirit’ and ‘stand firm against all strategies of the devil‘.
Background photo by StockVault, text added using Ribbet
We all make mistakes.
It’s a pitfall of being human.
There are minor mistakes that we make when we are children and teenagers that we like to call “learning experiences”. The consequences aren’t very high. We learn from those mistakes and move on with our life. No harm done.
Then there are mistakes we make that take a lifetime to get over. Mistakes that have major consequences for ourselves or others. Mistakes that hurt others unintentionally, or intentionally. These mistakes have great impact and we have to live with it for the rest of our lives. And, sometimes we blame ourselves for another’s mistakes. As if we could have prevented their mistake.
Whatever the mistake, great or small, sometimes it takes time to forgive ourselves, even when we have already been forgiven. We may beat ourselves up over the situation. Dwelling on it. Playing the event out in our head, over and over. The mistake consumes us. Before long, we begin to believe that mistake defines us. We continue to punish ourselves for it.
We can’t let it go.
Forgiving others is easier than forgiving ourselves. Why is that?
The big question is how do we accept the mistakes we have made in the past? How do we stop punishing ourselves and let it go already? Where do we find hope and forgiveness?
The answer has been here all along. Forgiveness is a gift from God through Jesus Christ. God’s love is never defined by our past mistakes. He loves us no matter the mistakes. He gave us a way to let it go.
Repent from the heart and the slate is wiped clean. Simple.
Look what He did for a murderer named Moses. He turned Moses into a great and compassionate leader who lead the Israelites out of slavery. Paul, Matthew, David. The Bible is full of people who made mistakes but were forgiven anyway.
If He forgave those guys, He can do the same for you. Oh, wait. He already has.
Paul said, “I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” Philippians 3:13 (NLT).
Paul let it go.
Have you let it go? Or, have you been manipulated and controlled by your past mistakes?
Take Paul’s advice. Forget the past and look forward to the future. Give it all to God. Confess your sins, wrongdoings, mistakes.
He has already forgiven you. Now, it’s time to forgive yourself.
LINKING UP with Holley Gerth Coffee for Your Heart, because she rocks! Please click on over and read more ladies who rock with encouragement.
That’s a little encouragement for your weekend from (in)courage.
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Everyone judges, it’s one of the many down-sides of human nature. Christians are not immune to passing judgement, nor being judged. What about those in a leadership role within the Church? Are they leading the charge?
Recently two teenage girls I know attended church services with a female relative. The girls were told their summer sundresses were “not appropriate for church”. They were asked to cover up or go home.
The girls chose to go home. (And, for the record, the sundresses were not revealing.)
The church member who asked them to leave missed a golden opportunity to deliver a message if grace. Instead they sent a stronger message of nonacceptance. They said, “You’re not good enough to be here. You don’t belong.”
I read somewhere that the number one reason ‘people of faith’ say they don’t “believe in organized religion” or don’t attend church on a regular basis is simply one word: HYPOCRISY.
It’s the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ mentality that turns them away from the church.
Paul wrote in his letter in Ephesians 4:
(11) Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the Church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. (12) Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church. (13) This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in The Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
(14) Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever it sounds like the truth.
(15) Instead, we will speak the truth in love growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does it’s own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
Thanks for laying it all out there, Paul.
Does the church have all the answers, all the time? I don’t think so.
Aren’t we all “like immature children”? Yes.
Then isn’t the church made up of imperfect people who are still growing in Christ? Absolutely.
In Ephesians 4:2, Paul is yelling at me, “Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”
Nobody is perfect.
As Christians, we can’t afford to judge others. It’s not our job. It’s not our right. It’s not in our power.
What do we do when Christians disappoint us? Show grace.
Show grace because they are still growing in faith too. They are on their own faith-walk and imperfect, as we are.
LINKING UP | Holley Gerth Coffee for your Heart
Do you ever feel like the internet is full of negativity with people just looking for a fight?
Name calling, misunderstood comments, yelling IN ALL.CAPS.Oh.my.gosh. (There really shouldn’t be a caps lock button on a keyboard.)
In the middle of all the negativity and fighting…there are people in the blogashere committed to the encouragement of others.
There ARE people spreading compassion for humanity and the love of Christ with every tweet. At the very least, their tweets will make you smile, or nod in agreement.
And, to prove it, here are some of my favorite tweets from the last few weeks.
“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something sometime in your life.” Winston Churchill @AQuotePage
“God loves us. We must not be afraid to love him.” Pope Francis @Unknown
“The first principle of success is desire – knowing what you want. Desire is the planting of your seeds.” Robert Collier @BoatingBonnieC
“If the girl says, ‘I hate drama’, there is a 99% chance she is a huge drama queen.” @JulienneTiarks
“Common sense is not so common.” Voltaire @WordsOfHumans
“Your life is only as chaotic as you allow it to become.” @LindseyBBridges
“Some people are easier to love when you don’t have to be around them.” Irvine Welsh @AQuotesPage
“Expect that your friends talk about you in the same way they do about everyone else in their lives.” @incourage
“Your words matter.” @JeffGoins
“You are confined only by the walls you build yourself.” @EpicWomen
I am going to call them my Small Seeds Tribe.
I tweet encouragement @got2havefaithco too.