Encouraging Biblical Missions

“Some are missionaries,

some are moochinaries,

some are vacationaries,

and some are stationaries.”

 

David Livingstone, William Carey, Adoniram Judson, C.T. Studd, William Grenfell, Hudson Taylor, John Paton, Jim Elliott, George Muller…the list could go on and on. We could cite the names of Christian men whom God used in the past to bring His word to people ignorant of His love. We admire how God performed miracles to open the eyes of the sinners through the lives of these men, yet they lived in the years gone. Yes, there are still Godly men who yield themselves to God’s calling to step out from beyond their comfort zones, share the Truth and start churches, and I could name a few of them. Oh, but a few! Hardly have I heard of Christian young men who are ready and willing to be of service to the King in becoming a missionary. Perhaps God has already given many of them the burden for sharing the Word in a strange land. But why do we see and hear of only a few?

 

Is it because in their childhood they were not introduced to the fact that there are people who do not know of God’s saving grace? Yes, men like Adoniram Judson and David Livingstone knew when they were but little boys that they would become missionaries. However, George Muller never had an interest in missions when he was young, and much less in God, but after he believed that Christ’s sufficient work on Calvary was enough to save him from his sins, he became burdened for people who knew nothing of what he believed, and he prayed that God would use him as a missionary. Well, he hardly set foot on some heathen land, but God called him to work with the orphan children of Bristol’s streets, thus giving them an opportunity to know of God’s love.

 

Is it because they do not feel capable enough to start the work on their own? In our AVPI class Biblical Missions, we learnt that God calls and enables them to the ministry. Perhaps the feeling of not being capable enough to do it is another side of being too comfortable in our present situation. When God calls them, He sees them as ready to do His business. As for being on their own, Apostle Paul, on his first missionary journey, called a friend to accompany him, but on his later journeys, he traveled alone. Well, not alone; God was with him. So you see, God calls, He enables, and He is with them every step of the way for His Spirit indwells every believer.

 

Is it because they need to be affiliated with a certain church, Bible college, or even with the government? Well, the Bible gives no particular instruction on starting mission churches. The important things that a Christian man, called to become a missionary, is supposed to know: 1) the rule of the church, and 2) the ruin of the church. To rule a church is not to exercise lordship over the members; to rule is to feed, guide, and sometimes, rebuke the flock God has appointed them to. There are also strict guidelines for men who are to rule God’s people, as it is said in I Timothy 3, some of which are: they are to be blameless, the husband of one wife, sober, apt to teach, one that ruleth well his own house, etc. As for the ruin of the church, they need to know of apostacy of the church, the apostate people, and corruption in the church and what a believer must do, so that they will be guarded from the deceiving wiles of the devil.

 

Whatever the reasons may be, if God is leading certain Christian men to go and serve him, remember: there is no better place to be than in the center of His will. We need to be praying for those men whose hearts God touched. For those who know that the Lord has called them but still hesitant on how to do it, pray that they would begin preparing themselves for the ministry, and for those already serving Him at home and abroad, pray that God will mightily use them for the glory of His name.

 

For all of us Christians, our mission field does not have to be on foreign soil; when we exit our door, there lies the mission field. You might be a young person, but God can use you. You may think you’ve become too old, but it’s never too late for you to serve God. You might reason that you’re uneducated, but the Lord will enable you for the task. And you might think it necessary to be supported by the government, church, or school; well, why don’t you give God the opportunity to show his greatness by provision? You see, there is no reason whatsoever for any Christian to shirk from what God wants us to do. We all are given the word of reconciliation, and to be given that means that we are entrusted in the ministry of reconciliation. In other words, it is our duty as ambassadors for Christ to plead with the unbelieving sinners to be reconciled to God. We all need to plead with them in Christ’s stead. That is the Great Commission of an ambassador for Christ.

 

To Be Willing With a Perfect Heart

Too much time has passed since I posted an article here in Encouragement Corner. Writing down what’s on my mind seems to come naturally for me, but writing to encourage, to follow the verse that made me start this blog–“…and encouraged them to the service of the house of the Lord…”-[2 Chronicles 35:2b]–has not been so easy. Praise the Lord, we have the Bible where all the encouragement we need comes from! As I was reading through 1 Chronicles 29, the Holy Spirit drew my attention to a reminder that may add kindling to the waning fire in a Christian’s life.

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1 CHRONICLES 29:1-9

1Furthermore David the king said unto all the congregation, Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for the LORD God.

2Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for things to be made of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and the brass for things of brass, the iron for things of iron, and wood for things of wood; onyx stones, and stones to be set, glistering stones, and of divers colours, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance.

3Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house.

4Even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal:

5The gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for all manner of work to be made by the hands of artificers. And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the LORD?

6Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king`s work, offered willingly,

7And gave for the service of the house of God of gold five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron.

8And they with whom precious stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of the LORD, by the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite.

9Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.

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How many times have we heard, or even said, “To thee only, Lord, will I serve!” Yet more often than not, our attention have turned to some other thing, and we grieve the Holy Spirit. Only afterwards do we realize it was not with a perfect heart that we offered our service to God.

In the first verse, Solomon was chosen for the work of building the house of God. As Christians, we all are bidden to work for Christ until He comes for us in the Rapture of the saints. We are to edify, encourage and exhort fellow believers in the Lord. We are to bring lost souls into the fold of God. Solomon was young and tender, and the work was great, yet he was able to finish the task given to him. We also are tasked with a great work; yea, the harvest is plenteous and the laborers are few. Will we be able to finish with joy and rejoicing at Jesus’ feet?

We can only imagine how grand the temple that Solomon built was! Just think of the gold, silver, brass, and all kinds of precious gems that you would have seen had you been an Israelite living during that time! Much preparation must have been done for the work of such a glorious edifice, and only right for it was built as the palace “not for man, but for the LORD God.” In verse two, the gold for things of gold was prepared for the building of the house of God, and thus with the silver, brass, iron, wood, and precious stones. If our lives should represent the things used such as gold and silver, are we as Christians prepared and ready to work for the things of Christ?

If we are prepared, the next thing is to set our affection to the house of God. “Set you affection on things above, not on things on the earth…” Verse three indicates that the manifestation of having set our affection to the work that Christ has for us is, giving over and above what we have prepared. In the previous paragraph, our lives were prepared to do what God would want us to do. Giving over and above what we have prepared is giving our talents to serve Him. It may also be to let our family be an instrument to be used of God. Have we truly set our affection on things above?

As I was reading this passage of Scripture, the one thing that really made me stop and meditate upon was in verse five: “And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the LORD?” Was I willing? Did I truly consecrate my service unto the Lord? Those were the questions that got a hold of my mind, and those are the same that you might even ask to yourself. That day, I read the verse and thought on it; the next day, I read the same passage and meditated on it some more. This went on for quite some time, for I knew I could not continue my Bible reading without settling it with my Lord. Not until He opened my eyes (they were probably stubbornly closed all that time) and showed me that preparation of my life to serve Him and setting my affection on the things of Christ was essential before I ever be truly willing to consecrate my service unto the Lord. If all these were done in us–the preparation and the setting of affection–we would have no doubt regarding our willingness to do the work unto the Lord.

The result of preparing to be used of God is being able to set our affection on things above. The effect of those two things then is, the willingness to serve. Following that is now the act of offering willingly our service to God. It ought not be the half-hearted obedience of what He would have us to do, but would be with a perfect heart. King Saul was rebuked, “…Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice…” because of his half-obedience to God’s commandment. He was actually not prepared; he came from the tribe of Benjamin, a tribe not chosen to be the one in which the ruling king would come from; he was not trained to lead a great, but stubborn, people. His heart’s affection was not even for God, during that time that he was rebuked; he chose to leave the best of the spoils of war alive, instead of killing everyone and everything, the act which would have had eliminated a nation that would cause Israel to sin. He was not willing to obey, yet he desired to serve the Lord by offering a sacrifice. Thus, the ending of his story was not a joyful one: God chose another man to lead his people Israel. Perhaps his life would have concluded in a different way, had he obeyed. I do not know how God would have done things if Saul had obeyed. But I know that it was written for our learning, and I know that all things work together in God’s hands.

Back in track, you can now probably guess what the outcome of offering willingly to the Lord would be. Verse nine–“Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.” We ourselves would rejoice and be glad if with a perfect heart we offered willingly to the Lord. Since David is a type of Christ, our Lord would rejoice with all the host of heaven if we willingly served Him, with all sincerity and truth. Let us then be willing and serve the Lord with a perfect heart. May this be an eye-opener, a reminder, or even a part of the blade of the sword of the Lord to all of us.

“And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the LORD?”

HIDDEN JEWELS: When God Moves In

Does it interest you to have a look at old papers and read them? When I was tidying up the bookshelves at our house, I saw a box filled with old papers. Well, because I enjoy looking at old papers and reading things written several years ago, I took those papers out to see what was said in them. Most of them were my dad’s notes from his classes at Bible-Literalist Institutes, some were sermon notes, others were prayer bulletins dated thirteen to fourteen years ago, and there were a few articles of encouragement written to ladies. The precious little pile of written encouragement to ladies caught my eye, so I took to reading them. I was very much blessed and challenged with them, and I can’t see why I should not share this to others. The following is written as it is in the old copy.

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SERMON OF THE WEEK ON THE WEB: When God Moves In

Luke 6:46 KJV
And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

As I read this verse, three things immediately come to mind—inconsistency, disobedience, and religious talk. How guilty God’s people are of all three! Ladies, our heavenly Father wants more than just our words; He wants our works. If you say you are a Christian, then your behavior must support that statement! And if it does, praise the Lord! This world desperately needs more reliable examples out of God’s people. Yes, Jesus Christ wants each of us to live a consistent Christian life, a life of steadiness. How are you doing so far? Though you might prefer to ignore the matter, your Saviour will call your attention to any and all inconsistencies in your life! The fact that this question rests on the pages of the Bible proves that the Lord wants us to THINK about this matter and come to a suitable conclusion. Could it be that you are to blame for making a few false professions? Do you claim Christ as Lord without following Him? Do you acknowledge God’s authority but fail to obey it?

Proverbs 26:23 KJV
Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.

Silver dross looks like the real thing but it isn’t! An insincere heart disguises itself behind lips that burn with religious talk. Countless Christians pay verbal tribute to the Lord, bearing witness before their local congregation and even a few lost people only to return home to their own way of doing things! We call God a lot of good names; we speak well of God’s Word and His works and sometimes even his workers. And this we do while employing impressive language mingled with emotion for impact. Yes, we’re really good at putting our lips in motion but we are extremely deficient in bringing the rest of our body under subjection! Somehow our actions lag way behind our warm and fuzzy spiritual chitchat. Are you to be counted among the hypocritical, dear lady? Will you be so foolish as to choose an irregular reputation for yourself?

Ezekiel 33:31-32 KJV
And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after covetousness. [32] And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.

No matter the time period, it seems there has always been a difference between what folks hear in God’s house and what they do! Oh, they’ll come to church to worship and hear instruction and even ‘amen’ the preacher—but they’ll do nothing with the preaching! Many do not care for the subject of holiness personally; it isn’t real to them. Ladies, God expects us to fully obey the instruction of His Word, not merely attending church services out of casual curiosity or to appease Him. How much zeal and affection is behind your Christianity? Do you find in your heart a sincere desire to act upon God’s will, or is the gospel message just another pretty love song to you and church is just another pleasant weekly hobby? True subjection
to Christ is evidenced in immediate obedience and consistent obedience, not in a hearty Amen! or a vigorous nodding of the head. Your talk doesn’t validate your walk; your walk validates your talk. Every time we hear from the Lord, we should act upon His Word—without dragging our feet. What steps could you take to help insure that you don’t just hear God’s Word, but you also put it into practice?

Titus 1:16 KJV
They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

People can be very religious yet still lack a real relationship with God. Many profess to know God, yet on a daily basis they deny and reject Him in their actions and attitudes. In the heat of the moment, all scriptural lessons, principles, and commands are often abandoned. And their scriptural unruliness is exposed little by little. Ladies, if we aren’t careful, we’ll become “split personalities” as we swear allegiance to one set of principles while living by another! Unfortunately, few consider the penalty they are facing for their inconsistent testimony. Are you prepared to answer to God for the way you are living as a Christian?

Hebrews 2:2-3 KJV
For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

Even little children can tell you that you get into trouble for not being conscientious; have we adults forgotten this simple fact?? (Think about that while you are disciplining your children for not obeying your commands!) Ladies, let the Scriptures remind you today that if you choose to drift on through life neglecting to apply the truth you will suffer greatly. Christians who persistently snub God’s Word and God’s way will not escape His chastening hand! There are consequences for every transgression and God is stricter on those who know better but have done nothing with it. Are you embracing what God has offered, or are you neglecting it? Why call YE Him Lord and do not the things that He says?? Whatever the reason is, you better hope God approves of it.

Ye call me MASTER and OBEY me not.
Ye call me LIGHT and SEE me not.
Ye call me WAY and WALK me not.
Ye call me LIFE and DESIRE me not.
Ye call me WISE and FOLLOW me not.
YE call me RICH and ASK me not.
Ye call me FAIR and LOVE me not.
Ye call me ETERNAL and SEEK me not.
Ye call me GRACIOUS and TRUST me not.
Ye call me NOBLE and SERVE me not.
Ye call me MIGHTY and HONOR me not.
Ye call me JUST and FEAR me not.
If I CONDEMN you, BLAME me not!

Anonymous

*This was written to ladies, but there’s no reason why the men shouldn’t read them! It was penned to encourage us in the service of the Lord!

HIDDEN JEWELS: A Great Woman

Does it interest you to have a look at old papers and read them? When I was tidying up the bookshelves at our house, I saw a box filled with old papers. Well, because I enjoy looking at old papers and reading things written several years ago, I took those papers out to see what was said in them. Most of them were my dad’s notes from his classes at Bible-Literalist Institutes, some were sermon notes, others were prayer bulletins dated thirteen to fourteen years ago, and there were a few articles of encouragement written to ladies. The precious little pile of written encouragement to ladies caught my eye, so I took to reading them. I was very much blessed and challenged with them, and I can’t see why I should not share this to others. The following is written as it is in the old copy.

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What a privilege and honor it would be, to be called a great woman by God. There was such a woman in the Bible. In II Kings 4:8 it says, “And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman;…” After reading verses 8-37, I could see some of the reasons why she was called a great woman. So I wanted to share some of those things about this Shunamite, and may it be an encouragement to us women today.

In verse 8, this woman was considerate and very hospitable. She offered a meal to Elisha as often as he passed through, and that must have been quite a few times because the story says he passed by continually. In verse 9, she had discernment. She knew what it was to be holy. She apparently had a good relationship with God herself, for she was able to perceive that Elisha was a holy man of God. In verse 10, she first of all was meek, humble, and submissive to her own husband, notice she says, “…I pray thee…”, when asking about making the chamber for Elisha. Also in this verse, she was very giving, for she was willing to sacrifice time and expense to make a little chamber for Elisha, so he could be able to rest and study, (after she had fed him). This woman is really starting to make me look bad! In verse 13, she was a woman who was content with what she had. She didn’t make requests of what she wanted, even after Elisha offered to speak to the King on her behalf, she refused. The good thing about being content, is that God looks at us and delights in giving (the contented person) the desires of their heart, because in verse 16 this woman was surprised when Elisha told her she would have a son. In verse 20, she knew how to comfort, for she holds her son on her lap until he dies. She was a good and loving mother. You can also see she was a woman who could control her emotions, because in verse 21, after her son dies, she calmly lays him (notice now) on Elisha’s bed! She doesn’t start crying and falling apart (which I have to admit that would be hard for me not to do). This woman also had faith, for she knew Elisha could give her son back to her, so that is why in verse 30 she would not leave him until he came back home with her. In the last part of the story about this woman, I see how she was a very thankful woman. In verse 37, after Elisha had brought her son back to life, the first thing she did was to show her heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Elisha by falling at his feet. My question now is, could us women, be as this woman, and be called Great?

*Rose

Patterns

Do you use patterns? I use them all the time. I use them when I make dresses, skirts, or blouses. It is one of the most important factors when sewing because it is keeps everything aligned, cut to the same length, and it makes sure that the fabric will not be wasted. When I play musical instruments, I notice that there are patterns. The most basic is the “Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti” pattern which repeats itself over and over again. Of course, there are other ones; chords, arpeggios, runs, etc.—these make the music interesting to hear.

Where else can we see patterns? The King James Bible 1611 has God-inspired patterns also. Take a look into the book of Psalms and you’ll easily find at least one. There are more throughout the Scriptures; seek, and ye shall find. 🙂

What else? Have you looked at people? Don’t you think they are patterns? The only thing is that sometimes there are broken patterns, wasted patterns, good patterns, and beautiful patterns. If the fabric were to choose which pattern it would use, what would it be? If we were to choose the pattern we would follow, who would it be?

Broken and wasted patterns

There have been times when I sew that I tried to use a pattern that had been somehow torn or crumpled. However, when I would cut it, the lines would not be straight neither would it be the exact measurement I wanted it to be. Since the outcome was not very satisfactory to me, I would have to think of a creative way make it do so I could use it.

People are patterns; it just depends on what kind of pattern they are to one another. The broken patterns are the ones who would do just about anything they want with no limits and having not a care in the world for the consequences. Some of them you’ll see outright; others are subtle but just as broken as the other. The wasted patterns are those who started right but sadly, ended up just like the former pattern. These are the patterns unable to make the lives of others another good pattern for generations to follow. A word of counsel: the fabric cut with the wrong pattern can still be remedied, but the life that follows broken and wasted patterns will never be resolved, unless it seeks for God’s mercy and grace.

Good and beautiful patterns

There were also times when I would rip up the seams of a perfectly beautiful dress only because it did not fit me anymore. Besides, I ripped them up in order to make them patterns for other dresses that would suit me better. And there were times when I would overlap good patterns and observe that the results were of good quality.

Do you know of a person that would make a wonderful pattern? I know several people to whom I can look on for an example. They love the Lord and desire to serve Him, striving to be a pattern of good works to the brethren. Whenever I see these patterns, it makes me want to keep on their example and make my life another beautiful pattern for others to follow.

We don’t necessarily have to rip up a person to make them our pattern. I think you know what I mean. 🙂 Just look into their lives and see how they allow God to work on them. And we don’t have to follow just one; overlapping them or bringing them together to make one beautiful pattern may work. If you follow only one pattern, there may come a time that they would break and be wasted. However, if the one pattern that you are following is the only good one, then I guess you may emulate their pattern. Just remember, the Holy Spirit must be your guide in choosing your patterns; follow them only if they follow God’s Word.

“In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works…”—Titus 2:7

“I won’t be young forever!”

I’ve seen children dreaming of grand birthday parties, and I’m sure you’ve seen them too. Little lasses fancy princess themed parties, with tiaras, gowns, and glittering slippers. Little lads imagine that they’re one of the Marvel heroes, Lightning McQueen, or a soldier in the Army, Air Force, or Navy. With chocolate cake and bright balloons, with jolly games and wonderful gifts, they will consider it complete.

I’ve seen wives and mothers past the age of forty, trying to look younger than they are, and I’m sure you’ve seen them too. Their faces have fine lines that tell of the times that they worried for their husbands and their children. Their hands declare how much work she has done, scrubbing soiled clothes, cutting up vegetables, smoothing a feverish forehead, etc. Her hair, which her children have brushed, smoothed, or played with, will become streaked with gray. If you look at them, you will see how much they have cared for their families.

And they remind me that I won’t be young forever! I will become an aged woman when the time comes. In Titus 2, aged women are to teach the young women ‘to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, obedient to their own husbands’. That’s not a very long list of lessons, but it will cover a lot of practical things in life that will be manifested by spiritual things. Not all aged women are qualified to teach these things, because during their younger days, they had not been sober, loving, discreet, chaste, and keepers at home. But thanks be to God, there are also the aged women who can be teachers of these ‘good things’. They are the ones whose behavior is ‘as becometh to holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine’. They are to teach these to the young women ‘that the word of God be not blasphemed’.

As a young woman, there are a lot of things that I need to know. First, I must learn to be sober. Being sober, or serious, in life is a hard thing to do. If not for the wisdom that comes from God and his word, everything I do might have been just going along with the flow of the world. I also need to learn to love my husband and my children. I don’t have a husband now (there will come a day for that) and I certainly don’t have children, so this is where the example of the aged women steps in, and I study from them. Besides this, I must learn to be discreet and chaste. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find a good example in this regard. To be a keeper at home, my mother is my teacher. And to be obedient and submissive to my own husband, I obey my father. All these I need to learn so that the word of God will not be blasphemed, and that I would be ready to teach when the time comes.

Many have told me, “You’re young and talented. Take a chance and show the world what you have. Have fun; you’re still young, and you won’t be young forever.”

‘tis true. I won’t be young forever. Some may say I have talent, but it’s not mine. It belongs to the God who made me. And because it is His, all I do should be for Him alone.

Besides, I have my fun. 🙂 I have fun washing dishes and hanging laundry. I have fun cutting and sewing up dresses. I have fun caring for my siblings and changing diapers. I have fun trying to bake with little sisters wanting to ‘help’. I have fun teaching ABC’s and checking schoolwork. Some may call it work, and I guess it is work, but it’s wonderful to know that these little things that I do is actually fun when I serve

Jesus, and Others, and You

—What a wonderful way to spell JOY!”

18, 19, 20, 21,—25, —–31,——38,——45,——52……

Time flies. I might as well prepare myself to teach younger women…with a happy face and a joyous heart. 🙂

Lots of Big???

Time and time again, I stop, think, and ask myself,
“Am I doing the right thing?”

It’s a question almost all of us would just love to ignore, but can’t help it, for in the corner of our minds, a bell, however small, keeps ringing,
“Are you on the right track?
Are your steps following the Saviour?
Are your eyes still fixed heavenward?”

Added to those are the ones I’ve written on my Bible:
Does it please God?
Would I like the Lord to find me doing it when he returns?
Can I ask His blessing on what I’m doing?
Does it violate my conscience?
Would it cause a weak Christian to stumble?
Would it cause an unsaved person to reject the Gospel?

And here’s more:
Am I making others sin and disobey God?
Am I being a good ensample to the flock?
How’s our walk with God?

How many times have I disobeyed and defied God’s Word! I just praise and thank the Lord for his great mercies and abundant grace! It is only because of Him I am not consumed. “For every time that I have failed, each time I stumbled and sin prevailed, You picked me up and set my feet on solid ground.” I just pray that I would be able to keep my eyes steadfast on my Saviour.

I only wrote my thoughts, which are but a few; nonetheless, I hope it would be a blessing.

Stepping on His Footsteps

Quiet strolls at a quiet beach during quiet mornings and quiet afternoons are wonderful times for quiet thinking. 🙂 Just this afternoon, I was walking with my dad and JJ, my brother, along a beautiful beach. There were few people around so it was quiet…sort of. 🙂 The sand was soft, making it hard to walk. At first, I walked beside my dad. (My brother was somewhere around us, skipping, running, walking, searching for nice rocks, etc.) I realized that walking on sand that had not been trodden on was making it hard for me to keep up with my dad’s quick pace. So I fell behind and walked on my dad’s footsteps. Sure enough, it was waaaayyyy easier for me to step onto his footsteps rather than make my own. Once, I dawdled, admiring the scenery. The next minute, my dad was already ten meters away from me. I had to hurry up, or else the sand that he stepped on would get too soft again that I would not be able to walk as easily like I did before. When I finally caught up, I kept my eyes down, focusing on the marks his feet made, so I could tread on them. While I did so, I fell to quiet thinking.

When I walked beside my dad, trying to make my own steps, I had a hard time doing so. Sometimes, or rather, most of the times, we try to walk beside God, or even ahead of Him, trying to make our own way and not letting Him do it. There’s this path our Heavenly Father is making for us, but sadly, we forget to step on it. And you know what will happen: we’ll have a hard time doing so.

Then, when I followed my dad, stepping on his footsteps, walking was easy. Follow God; step on the path He’s made. When we obey God’s Word, when we walk in His light, when we stand on His promises, life is easy. Well, maybe not so easy, but we’ll always have the comfort that the Holy Spirit is there to guide us. We’ll never know how much we’re blessed, not until we follow His leading. But there’s yet another lesson.

When I lagged behind because I stopped to admire the surroundings, my dad’s footprints were disappearing because of the soft sand. I could not see them well enough to know if it was his steps. This can be described as: unfaithfulness. When we stop to look around and see what is in the world, we’ll lose track of the path God made for us. I almost lost track of my my dad’s footsteps. But when I caught up, I kept myself focused on every step he made. I pray that before we become sluggish and dawdle around, we’ll remember to focus on the path of God’s will, keeping our eyes on Jesus Christ.

Follow God; step on the path He’s made.

…quiet thinking… 🙂

Bloom Where God Planted You

As I sat near my bedroom window, watching the birds flitting about, and thinking of a good topic for my English speech, I happened to look at our backyard fence. It appeared to be more like a bush instead of a fence, because of various types of vines that had clambered their way up. Then my mind shifted from the fence to the vines, and I recalled that one time there used to be a squash vine amongst them.

We were quite surprised to find the squash vine placed with what seemed to be useless vines. Going around to our neighbors, we asked if any of them planted squash near our fence. However, no one did and nobody knew who planted it. Then, one neighbor said, “Perhaps God planted it”.

~~~

We sometimes call our family “The Most Traveled Family in the World”. Although often stated as a joke since we have not the facts and figures to prove the title we call ourselves, it is no falsehood for we do travel a lot. We’ve journeyed to various places in the Philippines, as far as General Santos, Cotabato in the south, to the east, Borongan, Samar, west, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, and up to Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.  For distances as far as Manila, Cavite, and Batangas, we have trips almost two to three times a week.

In addition to all those traveling, we have also changed addresses of our dwelling places. In fact, in all my seventeen years, we have moved from house to house for almost ten times! There were even times when we had to stay at one place for a week and go to another place the week after. But you know, in all those packing and unpacking, and restless traveling, I was learning things of great value.

One thing I learnt was flexibility. Being in a military family, we experienced having calls and sudden decisions to be made. Anytime, in at least ten minutes, we should’ve been able to pack clothes and other necessities, and ready to go. (This was one cause why we were homeschooled; it was easy to take our schoolwork with us.)

Next to flexibility, another character that was built in me was contentment.  I remember wishing I could have a pet, but I knew that due to our frequent trips, it would be impossible. So, I gave up wishing, and made myself happy having our good watchdog around. Such small things, but if you’re happy and satisfied with small things, you will be content with big things. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”  Content to sleep on the floor of the car, content to eat whatever is given, yes, it was happy contentment in all things.

While these are good traits to have, the most important lesson I learnt was to bloom wherever God planted me. We moved houses, had different neighbors, saw different cultures, but in everything that had happened, God saw it fit to use us in every place He put us in. I have thus learnt that God will choose to put us in places where He wants us to serve Him, and we must rely on His leading for our life and simply do our best for our Lord Jesus Christ.

~~~

“Perhaps God planted it.” Yes, I believe God planted it. No one knew who planted it, no one watered it, no one cared to tend to it, but still it grew and its flowers bloomed. In time, the flowers turned to fruit, and we were able to enjoy it in many meals and even share with our neighbors. The squash vine bloomed where God planted it and God used it to feed families and be a blessing. In a way, we are like this vine–planted, watered, and tended by God. Should we not do our best for Him in any place He puts us, just like this squash that bloomed?