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Book Reviews Ministry

Lessons from the East by Bob Roberts Jr. – It’s time to improve our church outreach ministry!

I’ve not done book reviews in a long time. But since I’ve been wanting our church to improve our community outreach and strengthen the bonds among our church members, the desire for change has been chasing me. I want so much. I want a tight knit church family. I want a welcoming atmosphere for members and visitors. I want our community to know who we are and have a favorable opinion of us. I want to influence those around us.

I want it all! {Mom of Many}I want it all.

Mark, my DH would say to me, “How’s it feel to want?”

I am never satisfied unless I’m moving forward, seeing results, and/or seeing victory on the horizon. I want more!

When I was approached to do a book review on Lessons from the East, I was curious after I read the synopsis. I accepted because it was along the line of what I’ve been searching out. Church polity. Ministry outreach. Church unity. The Great Commission. It’s all linked.

Yet, in many churches the links have been broken or are rusted.

Lessons from the East Book Review {Mom of Many}Bob Roberts Jr. in the book Lessons from the East shares with us his approach. Some will think it’s “out there” because it’s pretty radical – different from what we are doing (or maybe I should say, “not doing”).

He suggests that we here in the western world focus too much on the wrong things: self promotion, numbers (competition among churches), our Sunday morning presentation, separation, etc. We take these things and place such a high importance on them that they overshadow our real purpose – to glorify God to the world.

His radical way of reaching out to people needs to be investigated and much of what he says evaluated and implemented here in our home churches. He formed a world wide group of ministers who want to reach their area like those in the East – befriend all men and bridge the gap that has become so wide that we no longer have any influence.

We need to do something! Regardless of how we agree or disagree with Mr. Roberts, we know our outreach ministries are not impacting our communities like they should.

We need change and we need it now.

I don’t agree 100% with his opinions or methods, but that is the beauty of what he suggests. True believers with differing opinions are still in the same fold and should not isolate themselves or shun others who are different out of fear. Nor should we fear those of other faiths. How do we let God’s light shine through us if we hide away in our church buildings afraid of being “tainted”? If our faith is solid, which it should be, then who or what is there to fear?

Let’s befriend all men and allow God to love them through us.

I recommend this book – not because I agree with Mr. Roberts 100% but because we need to take a fresh look at how we are ministering to those around us and what our true purpose is. It’s time for change – not in doctrine but in its practical application.

Val @ Mom of ManyParenting Tips {Mom of Many}

 

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Adoption Family Parenting tips Things I've Learned

Do you ever wake up discouraged, Mom? Parenting Tip #34

Keep a clear head in crisis {Mom of Many)There was a time about 10 years ago that I couldn’t shake the morning blues.

I’d wake up discouraged even before the day started.

Before I explain how I overcame them, you need to know something. My foundation is not made of concrete or brick – rather, it’s made of rock – The Rock. Since I claim Christ as my Rock, everything that happens to me, in me, and around me is in His control.

Existing. Discouraged. Defeated.

Just trying to get through the day? Yep. That was me.

For believers, there is a solution.

Every night before I went to bed for about two weeks I prayed that in the morning, God would give me an uplifted spirit ready for the day’s challenges – no more dreading the day – no more morning blues.

The fog was lifted the first morning.

The dark clouds that hung over my head were completely gone. Whoa. Months of sadness gone just like that. I didn’t do anything different other than ask God to do it for me.

Are you a discouraged Mom? {Mom of Many}

Duh. Why didn’t I ask Him before?

The cloud was gone. No more morning blues. I’d never thought of it. I had just prayed that things would get better, but they didn’t and I was stuck in discouragement because I’d not thought to ask him to change ME. My thoughts. My outlook.

We can’t always control our circumstances, especially when you’re a mom and all of your circumstances revolve around little sinners who are not led by the Spirit and have no concept of tomorrow, or have any idea of the effects of their actions on others.

I’ve since asked for help in other type of circumstances with 100% success. Good stuff.

Val @ Mom of Many

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Ministry Musings Spiritual Truths Things I've Learned

Ladies, YOU need to hear this… Listen up!

Hey ladies, my valuable, worthy ladies who love God and put yourself out there every day for others. Yes, I mean you.

Melody2 by Jesse Therrien from freeimages freesxc

I have something to tell you, something you NEED to hear. I’ve gotten so many letters, texts, Facebook messages, phone calls, and frustrated, “I need to talk to you,” face to face encounters that I have to address this. Urgh.

There is something you may not know and I’m going to tell you right now.

So listen up.

You are valuable.

You are loved.

You are who you are because God made you that way. That makes you special… special to God… special to me.

Yes, I mean you.

I see you day to day putting yourself aside and working for others, dropping by a vase of flowers for a sick older lady, changing diapers in the church nursery, going out to work to help support the family, caring your grandchildren, sacrificing for your children, washing dishes after a fellowship in your church, raising an adopted child by yourself, taking your kids to sports practice, blogging tutorials for strangers on how to save a dime, tutoring the student who just doesn’t get it, caring for a sick husband, encouraging others to keep going…

You do so much for others that I couldn’t possibly list it all. And yet, you are discouraged, feeling unloved and disrespected.

To quote a phrase in the Bible, because it is so simple yet profound, “These things ought not so to be.”

It makes me angry (yes, I can be angry and sin not) to see the women around me live discouraged, defeated lives because of how they are regarded by those around them.

It ends now.

Every woman who belongs to Christ (if you’re not sure, go here) must claim their position in Him, realize their value, and act like it!

No more questioning. No more letting people walk all over you. No more wondering if you can be used.

NO MORE!

You are not alone.

When you met Christ, you not only were forgiven, but you became brand new. You became His child, valuable and complete.

Did you hear that? You are complete in Him. He VALUED you enough to hang on that cross – FOR YOU.

So how is it that we wonder if we are enough? How is it that we question our value?

Um, no.

Right now you are going to realize you are valuable, complete in Him and to be regarded as such. No more are you going to accept the notion that you are not as good or capable or usable as that woman you think is better than you (or that woman that thinks she is better than you and lets you know it).

If someone tries to make you feel small, you just stand tall and tell yourself, “I am a daughter of the Most High God, I am valued, I am complete in Him.” Notice I said, “tries.” No one can put you in your place but God, and if you belong to Him, you are already placed in His hand and He is in your heart.

Repeat after me, “I got this.”

Photo by Stephen Davies freeimages

I don’t mean, “I got this,” as in “I’m perfect,” I mean, “I got this, I’m complete, I’m valued by God, I don’t need your approval, I don’t need you to put me in my place. I’m good where I’m at, in my God’s hand, loved and valued.”

Stop comparing yourself to other women. Stop trying to compete. Just be whom God made you. Accept who you are. Realize your value. Stand up and say, “I got this.”

Being submissive doesn’t mean we are a little mouse that walks around afraid to speak. If you’re not sure this is true, go read in the Scriptures about how all the women that served God were strong, confident women with purpose.

Being a good woman doesn’t mean you stand by while others smack you around with their words or actions. Others will not respect you if you don’t respect yourself. Stand up and say, “I got this.”

One friend recently said, “I’ve decided I will just stay in my room when they are home.”

Um. No.

You are not going to hide. You are not going to step aside and let them devalue you, take advantage of your insecurities or let them make you feel unloved. You are the daughter of a king. You step up and say,

“I got this.”

You are going to claim your position in Christ, say to yourself, “I belong to the King,” and take your place as a valued child. You are going to set your boundaries and claim your spot. It is your home. They are visitors. They will respect and cherish you or they will go.

I have a family of 5 living in our home and my 87 year old mother. None of them treat me like I am worthless. None of them push me around. None of them disrespect me. In fact, it is just the opposite. I have loved every moment my daughter’s family has been in our home for the past 5 months. I have gained much by having my mother in our home. We help each other, we laugh, we enjoy, we respect each other. When they move out in the next few days I will feel a loss. When my mother goes home to glory, I will feel a void.

If this is not the case with those around you, then you need to reevaluate your relationships, disconnect from those who do not value you and find some who do. Pray for a girlfriend who will uplift you and support you. Find someone who can encourage you and walk with you. Set your boundaries with everyone in your life and make it clear you know whom you, to whom you belong are and who you are not. And then tell yourself, “I got this.”

You are a daughter of the King.

You are valuable.

You are loved.

You are who you are because God made you that way.

That makes you special… special to God… special to me.

And yes, I mean you.

Blessings to you,

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Spiritual Truths

The Obscurest Believer

Matthew 18:10 “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”

John Wesley Commentary comments on this verse:  See that ye despise not one of these little ones – As if they were beneath your notice.  Be careful to receive and not to offend, the very weakest believer in Christ: for as inconsiderable as some of these may appear to thee, the very angels of God have a peculiar charge over them: even those of the highest order, who continually appear at the throne of the Most High.”

Barnes NT Commentary says:  “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones,” etc. That is, one who has become like little children – or, a Christian. Jesus then proceeds to state the reason why we should not despise his feeblest and obscurest follower. That reason is drawn from the care which God exercises over them. The first instance of that care is, that in heaven their angels do always behold his face. He does not mean, I suppose, to state that every good man has his guardian angel, as many of the Jews believed; but that the angels were, in general, the guards of his followers, and aided them, and watched over them (Heb 1:14). 
 
“Do always behold the face of my Father,” etc. This is taken from the practice of earthly courts. To be admitted to the presence of a king; to be permitted to see his face continually; to have free access at all times, was deemed a mark of peculiar favour, (1Kings 10:8; Es 1:14) and was esteemed a security for his protection. So, says our Saviour, we should not despise the obscurest Christians, for they are ministered to by the highest and noblest of beings; beings who are always enjoying the favour and friendship of God.

C.H. Spurgeon’s Commentary on Matthew says:  Those who are servants to poor saints and little children are allowed free entrance to the King: what must he think of his little ones themselves? Nay, this is not all. Jesus himself cares for the poorest and neediest. Yes, he came to save that which was lost. How dare we then be proud, and despise a child because of its youth, or a man because of his poverty, or his want of intelligence? The angels and the angels’ Lord care for the most despised of our race; shall not we?

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Spiritual Truths Things I've Learned

Can You Be Counted On?

In June, Pastor Ron used Timothy and Epaphroditus as examples of servants who could be counted on. (Philippians 2:19 – 3o)  Use this list to evaluate yourself in the area of Christian service.

The signs of a faithful servant:

1) Have a natural care for other believers.

2) Have a genuine selfless care for the cause of Christ (2:4 & 5).

3) Develop/have a tested proven track record of faithful service.

4) Have a willingness to partner with others in ministry.

5) Have a willingness to stand in the gap.

If you have all the attributes of a faithful servant, what type of a worker are you?

Four Types of Workers

1) A worker that someone has to go find to work

2) A worker that someone has to tell what to do

3) A worker that comes and asks what needs to be done

4) A worker that sees something that needs to be done and goes and does it

Which type are YOU?

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Musings Spiritual Truths Things I've Learned

Brow Beating Believers

The path I have chosen with God’s direction has been enlightening. I have learned many things, especially the past few years. After 20+ years of dealing with “interesting children,” I’ve seen my share and then some of children tied up in a world of sinfulness. Not only have they sinned in record measures, but they have been sinned against in ways that would cause even the most experienced sinner to blush. I’m talking about the kids who were adopted out of families that did not regard them as precious jewels the way Christ does. They were broken as small children and grew up with that reflected in their behavior and thought processes. Nearly all of my children who were violated as small children by their birth families have fallen into great vast pits upon leaving our home and striking out on their own. Yes, you can sit back and judge them – or you can have great compassion for a fellow human being who experienced the worst the world has to offer and is trying to make sense of it. Sure, they could have leaned on the One who created them and could have trusted and obeyed Him, but for some reason their view was so darkened they were not able to look up at the light at that point in their lives. It is not for me to judge, though I have tried to reason the “why” of it all.

We tried to make up for all the “bad stuff” that they had experienced prior to coming into our home. It was certainly our intention to do so, but for some reason we were not enough. We gave them a safe home that had proper education, both spiritually and mentally, love and concern along with the discipline to train them in the right way to live. Did it “take?” No, not for the ones who were resistant to such things. But it was planted in their heads. That’s the key.  We’re beginning to see that for some of them, when the time is right and they’ve discovered that the world has nothing for them, they know where to look when they decide to seek God and all He has for them.

It’s obvious to everyone what a parent’s stand ought to be in the midst of their children’s life’s journey. They support the good decisions and don’t support the bad ones. They seek the best for the child. When sinned against, they are to be willing to forgive if the child is genuinely repentant. That doesn’t mean the parents have to support them when they aren’t living right, but they pray for them and give godly advice when asked. They don’t brow beat them or slander their name. They sit quietly by and wait for the child to see the light and welcome them back when they do. They do their best to advise them and try to teach them to keep their paths straight. If the child gets off the right path, the parent does not go off with them. They continue on, waiting for their child to return. If the child is living at home, the parent is to grab them and put them back on the right path in any way God directs them to do so. I’ve told my adult children that they have the right to choose whatever path they want to walk down, but to not expect me to go down with them, for I too have a responsibility to walk with God in the way He directs me.

But what is the responsibility of those who are not family, those who the child has sinned against? If they are believers, then their responsibility is the same. The only exception is deferring to the parent for discipline. Compassion ought to rule. We are in God’s family. Too often I have seen my children offend or sin against another believer and receive the same amount of offence right back. If we consider ourselves mature believers, then we ought to return love and compassion, not seek to “make them pay.”  We ought to consider what is the best for that child, not recompense for our offended pride. Brow beating someone into submission out of our so called spiritual standing as authority is not love. The desire to capitalize on their sin is as bad as the original sin we were considering. It is prideful arrogance – showing we care more for our hurt feelings than the offender’s welfare and spiritual needs. To not offer forgiveness and reconcilliation when there has been repentance is to curse the love of God. If the love of God dwells in us, we will love others. If it does not, we will allow our selfish desires to walk all over those we consider less than us. It is then at that point that we become the offender and turn God’s attention off the sinner and on to ourselves. That is not a place I would ever want to be.

John 8:7  “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” 

Galatians 6:1  “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

Matthew 18:6 “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

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Missions Spiritual Truths

Are You in Bootcamp?

I’ve been receiving edevotions from Christian Womanhood and ran across one that made me think. You can sign up here if you’re interested in receiving them. Today’s devotion compared the Christian life with bootcamp. Here’s an excerpt:

“He loves us enough to stretch us farther than we think we can grow in wisdom and knowledge, grace and truth. He tests us each and every day, revealing our weaknesses, challenging our decision to live for Christ, testing our sincerity.

 He does all of this out of love, knowing that “…our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (II Corinthians 4:17).  He wants us to graduate from boot camp as mature, confident soldiers, able to stand before the Lord at the Judgment Seat and hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:23b).
 
My neighbor knew for a long time that he wanted to be in the Army. He knew when he signed up that boot camp was not going to be fun. He anticipated the fact that the officers were going to be very tough and that life was going to be difficult for a while. He knew all of this, yet he looked forward to joining the Army. He wanted to be a soldier.  If you are serious about serving God, you will pay a price to serve Him. Just like boot camp separates the men from the boys, Jesus Christ will bring trials into your life to make sure you really, really, want to be used by Him.”
 
She went on to say that by choice we are in God’s army and that our trials here on Earth are a sort of bootcamp that prepare us for our service to our Lord in Heaven. Not many make the choice, but the ones that do, stand out as true servants of God. As I look back on the past 20+ years, I see many hard times that some have said we “brought on ourselves.” I guess I have to agree with them. We did bring it on ourselves – by enlisting in God’s army and following our High Commander’s orders. If my son, who’s going to Afghanistan, experiences battle and is injured, would you say to him, “He brought it on himself?” Of course not! You will honor him as someone who put himself in harm’s way for the good of his country. He will have counted the cost. Our personal cost was great in our service for our King, but they were worth it – He was worth it. We didn’t know how much pain and heartache we’d encounter in His service when we signed up, but that doesn’t negate our offering to the One who made the ultimate sacrifice for us. What are you doing that shows you enlisted in His army?  James 2:18 “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”
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Musings Things I've Learned

How Can One Stay Warm?

As I am sitting here thinking about my good friend Loretta, I’m wondering why it is that I can be so free and open with her. I’ve come to the conclusion that she is one of my “safe” friends. She listens, she comments and then she makes it clear that she is compassionate and supportive regarding my situation. She doesn’t hesitate to remind me of Scripture and/or reality as she sees it (in case I’m NOT seeing it) but she does it in a “I’m your friend no matter what” type of way. I will never fear to open an email from her. I will never have my heart turn over if I see her name on the caller ID. If I received a letter from her I would be anxious to open it. I have a few friends like that. I hope that you, my reader, can say you have some friends like that too. If we are acquainted, I hope I am one of those friends in your life. Through this latest set of trials, I have strengthened my resolve that when I’m on the other end I’ll exhibit the same type of “safe” friendship. As my friends go on this journey with me through my blog, I’m finding many just like me.

I’ve been getting emails like this, “This was encouraging to me. I parent the way I do for my children, not other people.  I noticed you wrote it on the 18th – that was an especially tough day between me and my most “challenging” child. Thanks for sharing. Love you.” It’s emails like that that “float my boat.” They make me think that what I have gone through may one day be used to encourage others. You are not privy to them because they have been sending them in private emails, but you do need to know that there are others out there that are struggling just like we are.

You are not the only one. I am not the only one.

Oh, sure, we come off as individuals who are strong and have it all together. Well, we are strong and we do have “it” all together, but sometimes we can’t remember where we put “it.” Today was one of those days. So, guess what I did? I got on my email and shipped off an email crying out to the Lord via my friend. I know it sounds silly, but godly, loving people can be mouthpieces for God. Sometimes we forget that God works through us. US! We who love God and walk with Him are used of God to help others get through this world – because this world is tough!

I am weak, but He makes me strong. I lack wisdom, but He makes me wise. I am speechless, but He gives me His words. I am empty but each day He fills me up. I am self-centered but He lends me his compassion and I can keep it only if I give it away. I am flawed but through Christ I am made perfect. I am impatient but He makes me longsuffering by reminding me where He brought me out of – you know that mirey clay? Well, we were all down there sinking into the pit at one time and He threw us a life line.  But now I have the responsibility to pull others out as well. It’s our calling – both as Christians and as women. We need to be compassionate and caring to others. If we’re not then what good are we? WHAT GOOD ARE WE?

I know we’ve been taught to present a good face in public, but if we never tell others about our failings and shortcomings, then how are we going to be encouraging to others? If you know that I lose it once in a while and falter in my faith, and cry out to God out of fear, then maybe you can too and not feel like you have failed. Remember, Prov. 24:16a “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again.” Yes! Just men fall! And they do it seven times! Wow. So, am I saying that even the most put together, confident, eloquent person that we see in the front extolling the virtues of a godly life even has bad days or even weeks? YES! Do they fall? YES! The difference between them and others is they get back up again and go on to continue serving and fellowshipping with God and others. So the difference is whether we get up again – not how perfect we are perceived to be by others!  Let’s help others get back up again rather than just kicking them as we walk by. It seems I’ve been spending an awful lot of time down on the ground lately. How about you? It’s refreshing to look up and see a helping hand that looks like Christ’s.

Ecc. 4:9 “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?”

This world is too cold to go it alone.

Categories
Musings

Job’s Friends – Part 4

Continued from 2.7.09 posting, Job’s Friends Part 3.

We’ve been told that we are too easy on our kids, too hard on them, too watchful and that we need to watch them closer. We’ve been told we are too controlling by some but are blamed when they do something wrong when they’re with others. We’ve been told we need to give them room to breathe, that we have to let them have some freedom to make their own decisions, but when they make their own decisions and mess up, it’s our fault. We’ve been told to not use the Bible for a “punishment” like assigning verses to write out or memorize, and we’ve been told it should be used for correction. We’ve been told we’re wrong for treating them all as individuals, for a parent should always treat all their kids the same.  Yet, the same people were nice to some of our kids and rejected others.  We’ve been told by some people that they admire what we’ve done for the Lord in adopting so many tough kids and the same day we were told by someone else that we should never be in the ministry with the kind of kids we adopted because we were such a bad example of a ministry family.  It seems we are to be a perfect family in the eyes of church members, someone they can all look up to – but according to the church members who we were closest to, the ones who loved our family, we were the perfect example of a family who loved others with Christ’s love – especially the children that were hard to love.

We’ve been told that as Christians we should reach out to those in the world and offer Christ as the solution, to be active in our community and disciple and care for the poor. But then we are told out of the same mouth that we should have never adopted these “types of children” if we wanted to be in full-time ministry because they are trouble makers and make us look bad. We are told to be forgiving and compassionate but then hear from the same person how rotten one or more of our kids are and how they deserve to pay for what they’ve done. My kids have been lied to, put down, criticized, verbally abused, held to a higher standard than others, called names, and singled out and made an example. Yet, the same people walk around ignoring their own kids’ bad behavior and lift them up as greater than sliced bread. Those that were hardest on our kids have a past of being kind and forgiving to their own. Somehow, it just doesn’t seem right to me.

I’ve come to the conclusion that people just don’t understand. They haven’t lived the life we have, nor do they love our kids like we do. Even though my children are terrible sinners, God loves them and so do I. Should they pay for their mistakes? Should they suffer because of bad decisions? Yes and no. Yes, sin is awful and we must repent and go to God and others to make it right. But we also need to remember that God at one time picked US up out of the mirey clay and set US on a rock. We weren’t such a great bargain either. Yet, He loves us and manages our life so that He can be glorified and also seeks our good at the same time. As parents, we have consistently brought discipline into our kids’ life to teach them to do right, but we never should bring discipline into their life to hurt them, to show who’s boss or to make them “pay.” We ought to always operate in a way that pushes them toward the Savior, not toward anger and bitterness.

I’ve recently been in a situation where I now can understand the Scripture that tells a us not to punish in a way that creates bitterness. “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”  Eph. 6:4  Many of our children came into our home with bitterness, and others developed it over time through circumstances we couldn’t control. It is our job, even if they sin in their bitterness, to not cause them reason to embrace it even more than they have already. These are kids. They’ve been hurt by adults in their life. They didn’t choose it. They didn’t deserve it, yet it happened. Let’s not make it worse by confirming to them that all adults are cruel and not to be trusted. We have an excellent opportunity to show these kids that God really does love and that He can love them through us.

Mt 18:23 “Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”  to be continued…

Categories
Musings

Job’s Friends – Part 3

Continued from 2.7.09 posting, Job’s Friends Part 2.

Then there are the other ones – the ones who think they know and judge us as unworthy because obviously we have failed – just look at the children. They don’t accept genetics, physical and mental disabilities, prior experiences or hurts as being a factor in any of their behavior or their slow spiritual growth. After all, the Bible is accessible to everyone – they are without excuse. The children just need to be taught the Word and they’ll be fine. If they’re not, then it must be the parent’s fault. They don’t realize how far they’ve come nor have the ability to consider how far they will go in the future. They only see a small snapshot in the child’s life that isn’t so great. We have a sardonic saying around our house, “Just give them the Bible.” I don’t mean to make light of the fact that the Word is all sufficient and all we need. It is my standard. It is what I base my very being on. But I also know that people are flesh and blood. I know that our thought processes are a product of our past, our experiences, the influences around us, etc. Not all of us arrived to understanding at the same point in life or in the same way. Spiritual growth for everyone happens at different rates and through different means. I’m sure not once these “Job’s Friends” ever considered that it might have been their unloving attitude toward these children that caused them to reject our faith and practice and go to the world to seek acceptance. For after all – the world WILL accept them, only to turn around try to destroy them.

In contrast, while speaking to a director of a children’s home today, I received some heart-felt encouragement. Just before hanging up, he said, “Sister, you have nothing to hang your head about, you have done all you can in teaching him how to live for God.” Now, this man just met me over the phone today for the first time. Why is it he can offer such words of encouragement, but my “Job’s friends” can’t? We as Christians need to learn how to be compassionate and encouraging, lifting up instead of putting down. This man has seen many families despair over their children’s choices and knows these parents have been faithful and true. Another director told me that he has asked others where the largest group of children come from that are placed in their children’s homes. The answer? Pastor’s adopted kids. So, that tells me two things…there are other pastor’s families out there that adopt AND that many of their children have behavior difficulties that become too great for them once they get older. So we’re not alone in this ministry, and our experiences aren’t that different from other ministry families. Even if every ministry family failed to bring an adopted child to the point in their life where they loved and served God with their life, at least they cared enough to try. God doesn’t call us to perfection, but obedience – He’ll take care of the results. Someone said once that if we’re not part of the cure, we’re part of the problem. I think he was right. To be continued….