ONE MOMENT AT A TIME

By Sarah Langness

One of the most significant moments in my walk with the Lord happened on a faded yellow movie-theater style chair in the Reusch Auditorium on the YMCA of the Rockies campus. The year was 2003 and I was enjoying the summer bliss following my freshman year of high school. The week at FLY was soon coming to a close; one of those weeks that seem so long on Monday but by Friday, you’re trying to find out how the days passed so quickly. I was gathered with other high school students listening to a message from a passage in Matthew 14:

“[Jesus] made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray . . . The boat was already a long distance from land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night, He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.’ 

Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ And He said, ‘Come!’ And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?'” – Matthew 14:22-31, NASB 

That night, the speaker challenged us to be like Peter. To follow Jesus. To get out of the boat. To get out of our comfort zone.

I don’t remember if she specifically said anything about doing “big” things for Jesus or “exciting” or “crazy” things for His name; but I’ll  never forget the prayer that I prayed. I committed my walk and my way to the Lord, promising that I would go wherever He sent me – even if it was in Africa.

Now, 11 years later, I sort of chuckle at that prayer. Well, maybe not chuckle. But I certainly shake my head. 

Because I guarantee you that I never would have prayed, “Lord, I’ll do whatever it is You want me to do, even live in Beulah, North Dakota.” Who would? I mean, in those moments, in those prayers, we’re thinking BIG stuff. Exciting stuff.  The kind of stuff that you read about in a Voice of the Martyr’s magazine or a Samaritan’s Purse Prayer Point bulletin insert. It’s the stuff that Katie Davis does in Uganda or the impact that Mother Theresa left. It’s the stuff that is seen, the stuff that is recognized and that fills us with a sense of awe and purpose.

I didn’t realize then – and have only begun to realize now – that following Jesus is done in the everyday, ordinary moments of life. That just because I’m “only” a stay-at-home mom and ministry wife doesn’t make what I do for the Kingdom any less significant. That following Jesus, getting out of the boat of our own comfort, is lots of little things.

It’s opening up my home and my heart to that new mom who feels alone.
It’s making a meal for that family who just experienced a loss.
It’s waking up countless times throughout the night to soothe a sick child.
It’s supporting my husband in his ministry even when it means he’s gone for the fourth night this week.
It’s considering the impact of my words before I speak them.
It’s setting aside my preferences to make time for others.
It’s holding my mouth shut when it really wants to spew that gossip or speak bad about someone.
It’s baking cookies for our bachelor neighbor – not just at Christmas.
It’s practicing patience when our little boy decides the bathtub is a scary place.
It’s not holding onto a hurtful grudge.
It’s redirecting funds in our budget to feed the hungry instead of buying myself another new pair of jeans.
It’s not being jealous of a close friendship between family members or friends.
It’s making my husband a chicken potpie even though I don’t really like potpies.

Serving the Lord in the everyday, ordinary moments of life probably won’t make ministry magazine headlines. In fact, it may even go unnoticed by the world. But following Jesus, serving Him, is done only for One. And it’s done one moment at a time.

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom who serve.” Colossians 3:23-24, NASB (emphasis mine) 

Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into joy of your master.” – Matthew 25:21, NASB (emphasis mine)

 

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Grandma Again!

By Velma Amundson

I’m a grandma again. Our son’s wife gave birth to a healthy baby girl Nov. 16th, a day after Josh’s birthday! Less than a week later we received a phone call from them asking for help. They were exhausted, and needed me. Of course, I went. As I walked that new baby (her name is Sakura), I couldn’t help but think about Mary and Joseph in a strange city with no one to help them. Were they exhausted by a newborn that didn’t want to sleep, or that was fussy? (I know, we never think of Jesus being that way, but He was fully human, and I’m sure He cried like any other newborn). I wondered, did someone notice this new mother and offer help? I know Josh and Lizz expressed how much they appreciated my help for the week that I was there. Then, of course, I went home.

As I’ve pondered the miracle of this birth, I think of the Bible verse from Psalms 139:13, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb”, and Jeremiah 1:5a “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” The Jeremiah verse is the calling of Jeremiah, but it fits for me here. I am satisfied that God knew Sakura before she was born, that he formed her in her mother’s womb, and that everything is ok because she is a child of God.

I don’t know the future. I don’t know what troubles or blessings that Sakura or any of us may face. But, I do know who holds the future and will care for my granddaughter as He has for me. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” The song, “Because He Lives”, says “Because I know He holds the future and life is worth the living just because He lives”.

I will leave her and the rest of us there, in God’s hands, knowing that whatever comes, He walks with us.

 

From Our WMF President Lynn Wellumson

At our worship service this past week  we began with the hymn “Come, Christians, Join to Sing” which includes phrases “Come, lift your hearts on high, Let praises fill the sky”, “Life shall not end the strain”, “Praise is His gracious choice”, and “Singing forevermore, Alleluia! Amen”.  We used a corporate confession of sins from the Ambassador Hymnal.  We acknowledged that we have sinned against God and are unworthy of His goodness and love.  Our confession of faith was the meaning of the second article from the Apostles Creed. Familiar phrases “I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten from the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the virgin Mary, is my Lord” assured us God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.   I John 1:9 was read for the declaration of grace: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”.  Time between Sunday School and church provided opportunity to check in with a man recently diagnosed with a treatable ailment, an elderly woman concerned for her grandson, a college student celebrating her birthday, and a young man seeking employment.

Outside, the weather graphically illustrated the point “though our sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow.”  The grueling wind chill kept many home .  We missed them, but trust they had opportunity through self-study of the Bible, TV, or radio to hear God’s Word.

Sunday, the day set aside for rest, gives us the opportunity to gather together around God’s Word for instruction, encouragement, and fellowship.

Hebrews 10:25:  “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Dreams

By Jonni Sliver

Rafael, Natally, Samara and Ana PaulaRight now the Miriam Children’s Home is sort of living up to its old image – we’ve got babies! Within the last two weeks of 2013 we received four little ones 6 months old and younger!

Samara arrived at 6 weeks of age, together with Bruna, her 15 year old mother. It is heart breaking to say that Samara’s case is the least difficult –  Bruna and Samara came to us because Bruna lived with her mother who was not only sick but contagious and it wasn’t safe for a tiny baby to be in the house with her. As soon as the grandma is well again Bruna and Samara will leave.

Natally (8 weeks old) came to us because her mother has severe mental illness and is a risk to her baby. Natally’s grandma was taking care of her, but social services were informed that the grandma was offering the baby to anyone who would take her, to be free from the responsibility.

Ana Paula (10 weeks old) was found in a crack house when the police raided it. Her teen-age parents were beating each other and the baby arrived here covered in their blood.

Rafael is a whole six months old. He was born with a problem with his intestine JONNI  - Rafael - dez. '13but his mother couldn’t bother to take care of him. The precious little guy was supposed to be taken to the clinic to have an enema every other day but when he came to us he hadn’t had one in ten days. His little tummy was rigid and he couldn’t eat. Rafael spent Christmas Eve with me and Sueli in the emergency room.

One of my favorite passages is in Psalm 139, where God reminds us of how very well He knows us. Verse 16 says that God began writing out His dreams for us before we were born. I look at these four incredible little people, and I am so excited for the dreams God has for them. I know He did not dream for them to be abandoned or neglected, but He did dream safe arms to receive them! He has allowed for us to hold them for Him, to bless them in His name!

And He dreams for these babies’ parents too – for teen-age moms, and for young people too lost in drugs to think of protecting their baby. He dreams of healing bodies and minds and setting prisoners of sin free.

I praise the Lord for the opportunity to be part of God’s plans for these young lives and I am so grateful that you are taking your part too! Bless you for your prayers!