Being Confident of This

Grace for the work-in-progress woman

Much Ado about Missions: Praying T.H.U.M.B.

We’ve reached  the third and final week of our Much Ado about Missions series – helping you develop a missions mindset in your home!  If you missed the Introduction to this series, you can view it here.  Also, if you need to catch up, you can find all of the posts listed under the weekly wrap-ups:  Week 1 (teaching missions in the home) or Week 2 (missions experiences for the whole family).

In our third week, we’re focusing on praying for the Nations.  I don’t know about you, but I often pray for unsaved friends and family members.  And since my husband is a pastor, I sometimes even remember to pray for the unsaved in our local community.  I also pray for our missionary friends and those we support.  However, one thing I very seldom remember to do is pray for the most unreached people groups of the world!

Today I’m going to share with you the T.H.U.M.B. method, borrowed (with permission) from some new missionary friends.  The T.H.U.M.B. method is unique because it focuses on praying for the largest unreached people groups according to specific prayer points based on the spiritual beliefs of those groups.

Much Ado about Missions, how tonpray for unreached people groups, praying for the lost using T.H.U.M.B. method

One important distinction to make is that unreached people groups aren’t simply unsaved people.  Unsaved people will always exist on earth until the end of time.  However, the Bible is clear that all nations must be reached with the gospel before Christ will return.  Unreached people groups are those who have literally no gospel presence.

It’s not just that they are unsaved, but that they also have absolutely no opportunity to learn of salvation! Whole generations of men, women, and children are being born, living, and dying without ever hearing of God’s provision in the form of Jesus.

As a follower of Christ, I would like to be more intentional about praying for these unreached peoples, that they might have the opportunity to hear the Good News for God’s glory!  My plan is to use the T.H.U.M.B. method and pray for one group each day of the week, Monday through Friday.  One apsect of T.H.U.M.B. that I love most is that it is so easy to remember!

Much Ado About Missions: Praying T.H.U.M.B., praying for unreached people groups, missions, the THUMB method of praying for the

T – Tribal groups – as you might imagine, these are people who live in remote locations, some only reachable by helicopter or boat or weeks of hiking.  They have their own languages, cultures, and spiritual beliefs.  Many tribal people live in fear of upsetting the spirits, beings they believe are responsible for the health of family members, the growth of crops, and so forth.  So, when bad things happen, it’s because the spirits are unhappy and must be appeased.  Often these beliefs lead to tragedies such as witch trials, ritualistic deaths, beatings and other brutality. These people live in oppressive spiritual darkness.

H – Hindus – Hindus worship many, many gods.  Therefore, one of the challenges missionaries and believers face in sharing the gospel with Hindus is differentiating between their gods and the One True God.  Sadly, Jesus can easily become just one more god that they add on.

U – Unbelievers in China – they cheated a little on this one to fit the acronym. 🙂  The unbelieving in China are over a billion strong!  One of the unique challenges faced by missionaries to this particular unreached people group is that because of the communist government, believers must be careful about how they share their faith.  China is not fully open to missionaries, so many believers enter as teachers, businessmen and women, and so forth. They work jobs while also trying to learn Chinese and develop discipling relationships with others.

M – Muslims – the Islam religion is spreading world-wide.  Muslims believe in only one god, Allah, but they believe that Jesus was merely a prophet, like so many other prophets.  The Islam faith rests on the pillars of Islam, many of which are based on “good works.” Like China, many parts of the Muslim world are still completely closed off to missionary presence.

B – Buddhists – There are various forms of Buddhism, but most Buddhists do not believe in a god or gods.  They do, however, follow the teachings of a man  named Buddha, who emphasized the need to understand self and the world in a more “enlightened” way.  While I don’t understand all of the Buddhist beliefs and practices, I do know that much of it is based on personal efforts.  Thus, the need for a Savior is a foreign concept.

For more information on the T.H.U.M.B. technique and its specific praying points, please visit Beyond the Bullingtons – the Bullington’s are nearing the end of their training to be church-planting missionaries with New Tribes Mission.

Much Ado About Missions: Praying T.H.U.M.B., praying for unreached people groups, missions, the THUMB method of praying for the

Why not make praying T.H.U.M.B. part of your daily or weekly prayer routine?  As your children, or even grandchildren, grow old enough to understand, you can teach them this acronym so that they might pray for the largest unreached people groups alongside you.

You might even consider praying for a different unreached group at a certain time of day, such as a mealtime or  bedtime.  The acronym is easy to remember, so why not connect it to an easy-to-remember time of day?  As I mentioned in the introduction to this series, nearly a third of the world’s total population remains unreached.  Praying is one way that we can all do our part!

How can you use the T.H.U.M.B. method in your home?

Jen : )

You may find me at any of these lovely blogs.

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Broken Yet Not Destroyed

It’s time for Five Minute Fridays with Lisa-Jo Baker at http://www.lisajobaker.com, when we write for five minutes (more or less) on a one-word prompt that she gives us.  No planning, no editing, no stress; just words.

 

This week’s word: Broken

He didn’t have a chance really.

A divorce early on, a father who left.

A mother forced to work way too much, and siblings who despised him.

Innocence stolen.

He was broken almost from the beginning.

She didn’t have a chance really.

Used and abused by those who are supposed to nurture.

Sold at a price way too cheap for a soul.

Years of love poured out, yet not strong enough to overcome.

She was broken almost from the beginning.

They didn’t have a chance really.

Two broken souls finding solace in one another’s embrace.

Trying to do what’s right for all the wrong reasons.

Saying “I do’s” with no foundation to build on.

A marriage broken almost from the beginning.

It didn’t have a chance really.

Knit together in its mother’s womb.

Ensconced in warm liquid.

A single choice made.

Its life broken even before the beginning.

Broken is everywhere.

Need is everywhere.

Despair is everywhere.

Pain is everywhere.

Grief is everywhere.

Evil is everywhere.

But what they don’t yet understand: God is everywhere.

And what they need to hear: they,

they are broken, but not destroyed.

Because He,

He gave them a chance.

Born in a stable, despised and rejected.

Trading Kingly rights for human weakness,

He became the need,

He became the despair,

He became the pain,

He became the grief,

He became the evil.

His body broken and poured out.

By His wounds they are healed.

Image

Go tell the Broken,

That they may receive Life.

*Disclaimer: I’ve received so many lovely comments from visitors about the ability to write this in just five minutes. However, this week’s post took more than five minutes total.  The first half literally poured out, but I struggled with the ending.  It was just so dark and so hopeless that I felt overwhelmed by burden for the people I thought of as I typed out the words.  So, I took a break to talk to the Lord and came back to it after He reminded me that He was broken, too, and for that reason alone, the darkness isn’t the end of the story!  I broke the five minute friday time-limit rules, but I kept them in spirit. Yes, there is grace for five-minute-friday writers, too. 🙂

If you’ve never tried your hand at a Five Minute Friday, why not start now?  This week we’re linking up at Lisa-Jo’s facebook page because yesterday her blog was Broken. 😉  https://www.facebook.com/lisajobaker

Jen 🙂

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Much Ado about Missions: 8 Resources for Teaching Missions

Much Ado about Missions: 8 Resources for Teaching Missions

Much Ado about Missions

As I mentioned in my last post, Global Missions has really been on my mind and heart recently, so I’ve joined forces with two amazing bloggers to do a series of posts on developing a missions mindset within the home.  This week our focus is on ways to teach or emphasize missions in our own homes.  Sarah from Love Notes and Angie from My Four Monkeys will be posting their ideas later this week!   I can’t wait to see what they come up with since they are both naturally creative. 🙂

When I began researching for materials on missions to use with our four children (ages 4 through 13) in the home, I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of options available! I’ve compiled a list of favorite finds to share with you all.

Best resources for teaching Missions

Best resources for teaching Missions

1.       Growing Up Wild dvds and websitehttp://thewildbrothers.com –is about a family of missionaries living in a tribe in Indonesian Guinea (check info. to confirm).  This dvd series is unique because the missionary children are the ones narrating and introducing topics rather than the adults.   The Wild brothers even have their own blog! So far, we have only watched the video clips available on the website, but we plan to purchase or borrow a dvd or two from this series.

2.        Caravan Friends websitehttp://caravanfriends.org/ – is about the peoples of Asia – a country in the most unreached sector of the world.  I love this website and so did my four children (ages four to thirteen)! It is colorful and aesthetically pleasing.  The characters they have created help teach children about different areas of Asia, and my children love them!  The videos were interesting to watch and after watching one only twice, my seven-year old was spouting off facts about the people groups there.  The stories are easy to read and not too long.  In fact, I had our seven-year old read several to his younger siblings and he was able.  The website also includes resources for parents and teachers such as: printables, coloring pages, suggested activities (seriously, check out the activities tab for some amazing ideas), etc.  This would be the perfect site for someone wanting to lead a class on Missions for children, for a free homeschool curriculum resource, or for Children’s Church, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, etc.
3.       Traiblazer Series of books by Dave and Neta Jacksonhttp://www.amazon.com/Trailblazers-Featuring-Livingstone-Christian-Trailblazer/dp/0764207296/ref=pd_sim_b_4 –  we just discovered this series of books and so far, the kiddos love them, even our thirteen-year-old son! 🙂  This series doesn’t solely focus on missionaries, but also on other Heroes of the Faith, such as Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther, etc.  Each biography is told from the point of a young, fictional narrator.  Right now we are nearly finished with the Samuel Morris story, and we have requests to read more of it nearly every day.  It’s one book that I have actually been tempted to read more of on my own, even!  Our four-year-old twins will usually only sit for one chapter at a time, but older children could easily read several chapters.  I was happy to find that amazon carries used copies of volumes that contain 5 stories each!  We bought several volumes for less than $20.  The volume pictured below features Harriet Tubman, but it also has 4 other biographies in it. 🙂

trailblazers

4.       Kids on Mission websitehttp://kidsonmission.org/ – this website is put out by the International Missions Board of  the Southern Baptist denomination.   This website offers a subscription that will provide you with a quarterly release on DVD.  However, according to the website, if you are willing to download the files from the internet, you can access them for free!  Under the prayer tab, there are even prayer requests from missionary kids themselves.

5.       New Tribes Missionhttp://usa.ntm.org/ – is the organization that my parents worked through as missionaries to Papua New Guinea (PNG).  On this site you can find individual missionary pages and newsletters, as well as general information.  While this website is designed for adults rather than children, I included it because they often upload new videos from various tribes around the world. I know my children enjoy seeing what it’s really like on the mission field or hearing about missions from tribal people themselves.  One note of caution:  not all stories are appropriate for all ages.  Be sure to preview the videos before showing them to your children.  Also, I forgot to mention that NTM publishes a magazine full of brief missionary stories that we often read to our children.  This resource, NTM@Work, is completely free.  All that is required of you is to go to the websitehttp://usa.ntm.org/may-2013-magazine  to sign up for it! 🙂

Go therefore verse

6.       Torchlighter DVD series – is very similar to the Trailblazer books in that it focuses on Heroes of the Faith, but in a dvd format rather than a book format.  We do not yet own any torchlighter dvds, but they are on the wish list. J  You can also find them on Amazon and perhaps on e-bay, as well. The animated features are about 30 minutes in length.  See here for an example: www.torchlighters.org
7.       Windows on the Worldhttp://www.exodusbooks.com/details.aspx?id=7073 – is a curriculum that focuses on specific people groups, and their culture and beliefs.  Some of the information is factual in nature, but there are also stories about the people who live there and ways for children to pray for that particular group.
8.       Missionary Stories with the Millershttp://www.amazon.com/books/dp/0962764345 – This book of short stories about real life events that missionaries have experienced was recommended to me by a friend.  I have not yet purchased a copy, but according to my friend, the stories are shorter in nature.  You can find this inexpensive resource on Amazon as well.

As I shared previously, I sometimes struggle with the question of “Am I doing enough?”  But I know that this is a good start, to teach my children of the great need. (It doesn’t hurt for me to learn more about the various people groups in need, either!)  Who knows?  We could be raising the next generation of missionaries right within our own homes!

The next post in the bloghop can be found over at  Love Notes . Sarah shared more about engaging our children’s hearts in missions in Missional M&Ms!

If you have a tried and true resource for teaching Missions at home, would you please share with us in the comments?  Thanks!

Jen 🙂

Also sharing this post with: Hive Resources

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Much Ado about Missions: Introduction

Much Ado about Missions

I’m very excited to introduce you to a bloghop series taking place here over the next few weeks – Much Ado about Missions! This series has been in the works for over a month now and I’ve been eagerly anticipating the kick-off!  Since I spent the majority of my growing up years as an MK (missionary kid), global missions is a subject close to my heart.  But lately, I’ve been plagued by questions of  Am I doing enough? and What else can I do?

I’m very blessed to have two other bloggers join me in this missions series, as we attempt to answer some of these questions.

           My sister Sarah, from Love Notes,  not only grew up on the mission field, she also elected to return to PNG  (Papua New Guinea) for a while during her single years.  Currently, she and her minister husband serve at a church in Ohio, as well as at the local city mission.  She is also mama to a step-daughter, an adopted child, and several foster children.

     My blog-savvy cousin Angie, from My Four Monkeys, is a homeschooling mama of four.  Angie writes all over the web for companies like Tommy Nelson and Alex Toys, as well as on her own blog.  She also serves faithfully in her local church, alongside her husband.

So what’s the big deal about global missions anyway?  We’re all called to be missionaries where we live, right?  We should be sharing the gospel in our homes, with our neighbors and co-workers, and so forth.

missions waiting for good news Source of info: The Joshua Project

The big deal is that nearly one-third of the world’s total population remains unreached, meaning these people have had little to no opportunity to hear the message of salvation!  They often live in fear of evil spirits or gods and sometimes even participate in horrors like witch-burnings and ritual killings out of those fears.  Some are trapped by societal boundaries of caste systems or governmental boundaries such as communism.

While we here in America are blessed to find churches on many street corners and  bibles not only in our own language, but also in a plethora of translations, our overseas friends are not.  Even driving down the highway, we often see crosses or billboards proclaiming God’s truth.  And with the rise of the Internet, the possibilities are further increased!  Those unsaved relatives, friends, and neighbors might not know Jesus personally, but most of them at least know of Him.

But for a tribal man, woman, or child in an unreached location, the gospel message is simply not present. By some estimates, the ratio of American churches to unreached people groups  is 140:1.  One hundred forty American churches for every one group of people still waiting to hear the Good News! Are you as surprised by that number as I am?  As a minister’s wife, I know the unsaved are with us here too, but the need for these unreached people groups is even more urgent yet often more easily ignored.  They have no neighbors who believe, no Bibles to read, no billboards, no Internet, no gospel tracts, no revivals, no churches, no outreach ministries… nothing to connect them with life-giving Good News!

We have a responsibility as Christ-followers  to reach out to the unsaved on all levels – within our families, our local communities, our countries, and yes, even our world! Let’s not forget our overseas brothers and sisters who are without hope.

go ye

We must be involved with global missions in some way (even if we can’t physically go ourselves), and we must teach our children the importance of reaching the unreached, whether they live nearby or  halfway around the world. Not to be “good” Christians or to pat ourselves on the back but because…

People.

 are.

 dying.  

without ever having even a single opportunity to hear of the Father’s great love for us, without a chance to experience true freedom.

Please take a moment to view this powerful message from the Joshua Project. I promise it will be worth your time! Be sure to watch it to the very end – the last few seconds are important.

So, what can we do?  We may not all be able to go at this point in time, so how can we reach out beyond what is comfortable to us? How can we foster a missions mindset in our homes?  I’ll be honest with you that I struggle with these questions.   What exactly does the Lord require of me and our family in regards to missions?

I don’t have all of the answers, even for myself.  My husband is a pastor and much of our “missions” work occurs right here in our neighborhood, but I am convinced that I must not forget that there is a world of dying, unreached people out there, as well.  I hope this series will answer at the least a few of those questions for us and for you, our readers.

We are excited to share with you some amazing materials and methods for teaching missions in your home or in your church, as well as ways to experience missions as a family, and even ways to pray specifically for the most unreached people groups of the world.

In addition to my own posts, I’ll be sharing links to the other bloggers’ posts both here on Being Confident of This and on the facebook page. I hope you’ll join us for the next few weeks as we explore the area of global missions! 

The first post, 8 Resources for Teaching Missions in the Home, is live now!

Jen 🙂

For more statistics on why the need is so great, read here:

http://writtenreality.com/209-million-is-a-very-big-number/

http://weheartnepal.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/life-in-the-fll-why-we-do-what-we-do-part-2/

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Bags of Hope

Image

Today we saw the fruits of months of labor for a new ministry at our church, a ministry called Bags of Hope.  These bags will be given out to parents of infants in the NICU at a nearby hospital.  The bags contain handmade blankets, bottled water, snacks, quarters, a journal, a new testament, and other encouraging materials.  They are meant to bring Hope and comfort to families who truly need it.

This ministry began in the heart of my friend, Kasandra Begley.  Kassy (as we call her) gave birth prematurely to a son, Logan, who spent 17 days in the NICU before he passed into the care of our Father God.  But that wasn’t the end of the story for Kassy.    She could have easily given up there that day, given in to the desire to die within, given in to the numbness that consumes those who are grieving monumental loss.

And perhaps she did, for a time, give up.  Goodness knows she still grieves and probably always will, who wouldn’t?  But she kept choosing to live, even if sometimes only barely, and she kept seeking something to fill that gap left behind by an infant son.

I met Kassy nearly a year ago when she began to attend our church with her boyfriend.  She was very quiet at first, yet friendly. After a time, I asked her if she would like to do a bible study with me, and to my surprise, she agreed! 🙂  We spent quite a few months going through The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, a chronological approach to the gospel.

I sensed that Kassy yearned for a relationship with our Heavenly Father, but something was standing in the way.  At times, I felt she was but a moment away from trusting in Him, only to experience a quick withdrawal.  I knew what was bothering her.  How could a loving God allow her to become pregnant, live through difficult circumstances, carry a baby, birth a baby, and watch him suffer for seventeen endless days before losing him?  How could He?

What does one say to a question like that?  I don’t know.  I don’t always understand the ways of the Father, but I believe He wants to bring good out of even the most despicable situations. So, that’s what I told her.

We continued to work through our study, right up to the suffering of Jesus, God’s one and only Son, as He willing surrendered His life for our sin.

while we were still sinners

It was then that Kassy loudly proclaimed, “Me and God have something in common!”  I was a little startled and not sure what she meant by the statement.  I prodded, “What do you mean?”  She excitedly explained that God was showing her that He had lost a Son, too, watched Him suffer physically, be beaten, scorned, and hung on a cross to die a slow and agonizing death.  God allowed His Son to die, not only for His Son’s glorification, but also for the good of all mankind.

And suddenly I realized where she was going with it.  God knew her pain, felt her loss, understood her life-draining sorrow.  He, too, lost a beloved child.  The hair on my arm stood on end as I literally felt this truth she was experiencing right before me.  It was a moment so powerful and beautiful that every fiber of my being stood at attention. I couldn’t move; I couldn’t speak.  The only thing I could do was furiously bat my lashes in an attempt to stem the floodgates.  She said, “Oh, man, I just got the chills!”  Me, too, Kassy, me, too.

That was the aha! moment for Kassy, the moment she realized God is accessible.  He’s not just some faraway deity who metes out punishment when necessary while apathetically ignoring our most desperate pleas. He knows pain is real, wounds are real. He doesn’t turn away from the raw and often ugly emotion that oozes forth from us in our most wretched moments.

No, instead He comforts us with a comfort only He can give, overwhelms us with His very presence, and lavishes love upon us even as we cry out, Why?  Why, Father, why?

I imagine Mary Magdalene felt a similar despair when she found her Savior’s tomb empty.  The words of the angels were of no comfort to her.  The Promised Messiah was dead; what hope was left?  She couldn’t even have the satisfaction of caring for his body. In her despair, she turned away.  In her despair, she failed to see Jesus before her.  In her despair, she questioned.

John 20

11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

And then He said her name.

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

When Mary saw it was her Messiah calling her, the questions faded away.  All that mattered was Him, standing there before her, Hope in the flesh. She left quickly to spread this comfort that she’d been given.

What it really comes down to is this: do you believe that He loves you? I don’t just mean that you say you believe it, or that you want to believe it, but do you truly believe – heart, soul, mind, and strength?  Because if you do, if I do, then we can let go of the whys and embrace the gift, the gift of total, unconditional love and acceptance for those who believe in and call on the name of  Jesus.  When we look at Him, the author and perfecter of our faith, when we truly see Him, Lord of Lords, Blessed Redeemer, those doubts, those questions, those fears, walls, wounds, and chains…..they all fade away into the background. 

So, after my friend Kassy accepted this gift, she began to grow and change.  I started to see the real Kassy, the one who isn’t shy or quiet at all,  the one who likes to laugh and often threatens others with bodily harm (but she doesn’t really mean it, ….well, most of the time). 😉  One day she approached my husband and I about this idea to crochet baby blankets for infants in the NICU.  She wanted to honor the memory of her son by doing something she enjoys, something that brings her peace.  She also knew that our twins spent some time in the NICU four years ago when they were born prematurely, so we understood the difficulty and fear many parents experience.  She thought the church might want to be involved as well.

After discussing what NICU parents might need during an extended stay, we developed a list of items to give along with the blankets.  Eventually we settled on a name – Bags of Hope!  And just like that a new ministry was born from the pain of her situation, beauty from ashes, joy from sorrow.

Isn’t He amazing? Isn’t His comfort amazing?  It is a comfort that we just can’t contain; we are compelled to share the comfort we have received with others.  We are compelled to tell them:

There.

is.

Hope.

There is Healing.  There is Joy. There is the Promise of a better tomorrow and a perfect everlasting.

What comfort have you received, my friends?  Are you still searching for it?  It’s there for the grasping – look to Jesus.  He’s waiting for you, calling for you. If you already have comfort, are you passing it along?  Our stories, our testimonies are powerful tools in the Father’s hands.

Praise be to God, for His name is Comforter.

Jen 🙂

Would you bless Kassy and Bags of Hope by liking the facebook page and helping us spread the word?  Click the graphic below.

bags of hope button 2

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He Who Has Ears, Let Him Hear

He who has ears

It’s time for another Five Minute Friday! 🙂  I’ve really loved participating in this challenge as it stretches me as a writer.  Writing for five minutes with little to no planning and no editing frees me to just write, just let the words come forth on their own.  No over-thinking, no second-guessing.  I’m enjoying that freedom quite a bit!

Five Minute Friday: Listen

As I said the word aloud, my husband immediately responded with “He who has ears, let him hear.”  It’s a phrase repeated often in the New Testament by Jesus himself as He preached and taught.  As soon as he said it, I knew I would have to look it up in my new keyword bible to gain a better perspective.

Of course, looking up Greek roots is probably totally breaking the five minute friday rules and spirit, but I felt compelled, because when I heard the word listen, I immediately thought – I haven’t been listening.  I’ve been ignoring. 

Then I thought of my children: how they frustrate me when I’m trying to get their attention and they act as if they haven’t heard.

I thought of how patient God is when I act like I haven’t heard.

So, I wanted to know more about this phrase: He who has ears, let him hear.

A quick search revealed that this phrase appears six times in the gospels and usually in the context of a teaching moment, whether with a large crowd or with his small band of followers, the disciples.

According to my NASB Hebrew-Greek keyword study bible, the Greek word akouo is  a verb used here meaning, “to hear” in various senses: one of those senses being hearing as an act of being informed and another being hearing as an act of learning.

In its primary sense, it means to hear as in to “perceive with the ears,” but other connotations include to listen, as in “to give ear to,” to pay attention to.  Even more, the word akouo also implicates “to give heed, to obey.”

Just as I expect my children to listen when they hear my voice, so God expects us to listen when we hear His voice.  Just as I expect my children to give ear to my words, so He expects me to give ear to His.  Furthermore, just as I expect my words to propel my children to action, so He expects His words to result in active obedience.

To hear is to listen; to listen, to learn; to learn, to obey.

Akouo.

He who has ears, let him hear!

Jen 🙂

Linking up at:

http://lisajobaker.com/five-minute-friday/

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Five Minute Friday: Fall

Oh how I wanted to skip this Five Minute Friday because I knew immediately what I needed to write about.  And it’s oh-so-personal and painful.  Like any painful thing, though, there can be beauty in the ending.  So, I pray you will find the beauty here.

Nothing can separate us from God's love, fall, sin, forgiveness

Fall.

Sometimes, when life circumstances or sin issues overcome us, we fall.

And so last Fall, I fell, and I fell hard.

After a long year of trying to sell our home, we spent the summer moving to a new town, with a culture all its own.  It’s a small country town, and I love the quiet of it, the friendly feel of it.  The summer was a whirlwind of remodeling and unpacking and general chaos.  So, when the long, quiet, isolated days of winter came, and I had little to do but sit with my thoughts, I began to mourn.

I mourned for the family and friends who used to live nearby.  I mourned for our YMCA with its child watch room.  I mourned for the fellowship of our previous church. I mourned for my work-out buddy. I mourned for the amazing children’s section of our old library, the convenience of grocery stores and Walmart, the trusted babyistters who lived nearby, and on and on.

At the same time, my marriage relationship was under a great deal of stress, so I was mourning the temporary loss of my best friend, as well.  And as I sit here and write this, tears fall because the pain of loss was so, so great.  It overwhelmed me.  I felt alone and abandoned, even by God.

And that’s when I fell.  I quit believing that He only allows things into my life that will be worked out for good.  I quit believing that He was by my side, mourning right along with me. I  failed to understand the purpose in His choice to remove almost every comfort from my life simultaneously.

Falling is hard.  It’s painful. It brings sadness and shame along with it.

But on the other side of falling, is being picked up.  Just like when my sweet little daughter falls and scrapes her leg. It hurts and we want the pain to go away, but there is also comfort there.  There are loving arms to envelope us, to chase the sadness away.

Sometimes we fight those arms and we fail to find comfort.  And that’s where I sat for a time.  I blamed God for so many things in my life, even my own sin (gasp! yes, it’s true).  But He never let go of me, even as I thrashed about and begged for release.

In a weird way, I’m glad I fell because it gave Him a chance to show me just how full His love is for me.  That even when I’m downright nasty and ugly to Him and sometimes even to those around me, He loves me anyway.

When you fall down, He picks you up.

Because He loves you anyway.

Praise the Lord!

Jen 🙂

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy this poem:

http://www.livenourished.net/five-minute-friday-fall/

or this article:

http://forfunreadinglist.blogspot.com/2013/06/keep-falling-from-being-failing.html

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