Sharing Stories: Sitting with God and his questions (Reflection)

God asks some big questions of men & women in the Bible, and nowadays, too. The fact that he engages with us shows his care for us. I went to a conference a few years back called When Women Speak, and I learned some powerful things about how women respond to religion and let it change them. This ministry is engaging with the Bible, with women across culture and the world.

I wanted to share a woman’s reflections on “listening to God through the questions he asked of women in the Bible” (Cathy, from WWS). Read as she spends time with God on those questions.

Where are you?
I am here Lord,
speak to me.
I get lost sometimes in my busyness,
with my life,
So I don’t come to you.
Please, look for me
and keep asking me this question.
Do not let me get lost
and go far away from you,
because I can….

Where have you come from?
Please,
remind me often
where I have come from
so I won’t get lost
in my pride,
in my ministry,
in my thoughts…
You have right
to remind me of my sins
but you choose not to, Lord.
Why not Lord?
My brain,
my thoughts,
cannot grasp your ways.
Help me to remember
where
I have come from
so I won’t get lost in my daily life.
– Where are you going?
I don’t know, Lord.
I think I know where,
I have plans,
goals….
But then I am lost again.
How can I go with you, Lord?
If you remain in Me
and I in you
you will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing…(John 15)
Abide in Me….

Read the rest here.

Stories I thought you’d like (Mid June)

There’s lots of cool stuff on the Internet. Here’s some I found recently.


Christian Living

Blessed Are The PersecutedOpen Doors Live (Podcast) – Length: 22 mins

“James talks about a woman who spent 2 years in a metal shipping container for her faith. Mike shares some audio he recorded from an underground church in China. But they both ask the same question: Can Jesus be seen in my life, and is it a blessing to be persecuted?”

 

Insight

Patient Story – Tarryn Vallance – Royal Flying Doctor Service – Length: 3 mins read

I know Tarryn as a battler of a woman. She went through so much with her accident and her recovery. I met her on a beach mission and was so encouraged to see her attend 6 months after her near-death experience. She is a practicing nurse now.

 

Theology

Review: The Bible Project – Brilliant but Flawed – Richard Sweatman (Gospel Coalition Australia) – Length: 12 mins read

“What is lacking is any explanation of the cross as a propitiation, that is, a sacrifice that turned away the wrath of God against sinful humanity.”

 

Humour

“INTERROGATING ZUCKERBERG” — A Bad Lip Reading – Bad Lip Reading (Youtube) – Length: 5.47mins

“Tension mounted during Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional hearing…”

Meeting the Remarkable and the Faithful in the Middle East and the God that Drives Them

Whenever I travel I tend to visit people. Whether it has been to see local projects among the poor and afflicted, churches and their leaders, or artists working their trade, I have really valued spending time with people and learning from their experiences and perspective. I’m heading off now on a short trip to Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt with an Aussie team. We will be visiting Bible colleges and their different projects (including among refugees), all the while seeing the sights in these fascinating countries with long histories. We are going with the organisation Overseas Council Australia, and it’s director, Stuart Brooking.

Among all the visits, my main desire is to hear from the remarkable people who are serving the church, despite the many challenges. I feel I will be coming as a student to learn and be challenged by others’ wisdom and knowledge. I hope to encourage them in all they are doing. I want to let them know that the church at home will benefit from their stories and faithfulness. My hope is that in the weeks, months and years after this trip I will share many a story to bless and inform western Christians. I am especially looking forward to meeting students I have sponsored to study in Jordan.

Last year I fund-raised for work among Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Lebanon. I traveled there with Open Doors to visit a local church and to participate in a “Challenge Event”. I walked 63km in less than a day and raised $10,400 for the work being done there! I had a moving and worthwhile time. I have many a story from my time there that I haven’t yet shared and am eager to bring them to completion to share with you.

dfsa

A thank-you card I sent to supporters

This current trip to the Middle East was because of that positive experience. The people I met were like me in their profession of faith in Christ but also were wonderfully obedient to God and effective in ministry, while suffering many a trial to remain where they were. I am grateful for their witness of God’s work through them. I certainly was encouraged to be more faithful in prayer and obedience. No doubt this trip will have its own personal challenges and I hope to seek God in all of them. May all we experience be for God’s glory and not ours.

Pete

Featured pic: A selfie, with a view over Northern Beirut in Lebanon.

I have been supporting Bible students through Overseas Council Australia, whom I am going with. They provide counsel and financial support to strategic and worthy Bible colleges around the world, including the Middle East. Make sure you check them out here: Overseas Council.

Why I need to memorize Psalm 139 again

EDITORS NOTE: This blog was written before the Muskathlon trip in May, 2017. Therefore in it I ask for support and prayer. The trip is over, but if you feel like supporting Open Door’s ministry in Syria, go to https://www.opendoors.org.au/get-involved/projects-and-appeals/. Cheers!

 

God’s Word never ceases to be helpful and relevant to my life. I would say all believers would agree to a similar sentiment. We always have new temptations, new pains, old habits that aren’t dead yet. God’s Word, by His Spirit, answers our questions, and rebukes or encourages us in living for Him.

I have a story about memorizing Psalm 139 and finding it so relevant and comforting for me.

I was in Kigali, Rwanda. It was back in January 2012, and I had just realised I had missed my flight home. I was devastated. I thought I’d really messed up. The strong control I thought I had on my life turned out to be very fragile.

Well, I gathered myself and booked flights home for the next day, using the Internet on the foyer computers in my hotel. That night I fussed and pouted around for hours. I was a mess. I couldn’t sleep or stop stressing. And then I took out a Bible, I don’t know whether it was mine or the Gideons from my hotel drawer. I went straight to the Psalms, as tends to be my prerogative when I’m stressed out |-/.

Well I landed on Psalm 139 and found it a boon to my tortured mind. It’s written by King David about how God is all knowing and in control of all his life, and how that frees David to honour Him with his life.

Here’s some of it here, plus listen to the whole psalm being sung by clicking on the video:

 “You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.” (Psalm 139:1-6)

Youtube: Sons of Korah – Psalm 139 – Still with you

At the time I felt compelled to memorize the psalm to calm myself, and it did.

From then on it’s been my favourite psalm because of my experience and how God comforted me with it.

Now, as I head into the unknown with this trip with Open Doors, I feel I need a right perspective of life. God is my Lord, maker and heavenly Father. He knows all about my life and all I do which is good is thanks to Him. I am putting myself into other people’s (no doubt capable) hands and going into Lebanon, a “place of unrest”.

I think it’s time to again memorize Psalm 139 (and probably other passages), and this time I’ll be more equipped for any crisis before it happens! That is, if I trust in God to be with me.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Have you any more questions about the Muskathlon and Open Doors? Click here to be briefed on most of the trip details you need to know.