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Archive for July, 2009

weak strength

from my devo this morning (Walk with God, by Chris Tiegreen)

If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!” Proverbs 24:10

IN WORD: Paul struggled with a thorn in his flesh.  Three times he asked God to remove it, but the now-familiar answer was clear: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).  Paul heard straight from God’s mouth how to persevere in a trial.  It is God’s strength that carries us through.

Jesus assured us that we would have trouble in this world (John 16:33).  How negligent would our Father be if He knew this and did not prepare us for the tough times!  We are not designed to cruise through this life with ease.  We are built for endurance by the God who has planned an eternity for us.  He knows trouble will come.  He simply must prepare us to handle it in grace and His strength.

Newly manufactured products are often given a stress test.  An extreme amount of pressure is applied to them – more than they will experience in regular use – so that their strength can be verified.  God does the same for us, as painful as it is.  But there’s a difference.  He’s not testing us for our strength.  He is testing us for our inclination to depend on His strength.  His power is the only power that can carry us through.

We would agree with the proverb above.  We do falter in times of trouble, and our strength is small.  But we have learned a secret.  Small strength allows room for God’s power.  It sends us in search of a Sustainer and a Deliverer, and there is no more worthwhile search.  We will find Him if we are under no illusions about our own self-sufficiency.

IN DEED: Are you going through a trial?  It is more than a lesson in tolerance.  It is for your endurance and it is a lesson in dependence.  Know your weakness.  Know your potential for faltering.  Then know the power of your God.  Blessed is the person who can say, “How small is my strength!”  with the knowledge that there is a greater strength available.  And blessed is the Giver of sufficient grace. Where we are weak, He is strong.

amen.  blessings to you today.  you have been prayed for.  My you be strong in Him.

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Listen, if you live in the Houston area, you still have time to get tickets to Travis Cottrell’s Live Jesus Saves tour!!!!  Tonight, 7:00 pm, at Jersey Village Baptist Church!  Tickets still available!  $10.  such a bargain, for one of the greatest worship leaders of our time.  I’m just saying.  Go to jvbc.org for more details.  Or traviscottrell.com  You will NOT want to miss this!  I promise!

OH!!!  And I’m about to go pick up my girl!!!  Your prayers have been MOST appreciated!  What a great day this is!  Saturday blessings to you!!!

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Yesterday started off with a nice cooling storm. We woke up around 7 and went to our quiet time. Breakfast was an interesting pasta dish with butter covered bread and summer sausage. Morning celebration is always fun, we greet the campers with high-fives and big smiles, getting them in return is the best. We sing silly songs and watch as the campers do fun activities. We were assigned our English groups and we were all looking forward to meeting them. I was extra excited because my team was the terrific turtles. As the groups of English classes began to fill up and the kids took a seat, I was already really happy about how things looked. My students were eager to learn about Michelle and I and they were very eager to learn English and about our country. Then as the classes ended the American team got a break. We all sat around talking or just walking and even some took this opportunity to take a quick nap. As the students were leaving their church group Bible studies and heading to the river, we were assigned as “lifeguards.” It’s funny because they didn’t even ask if we could swim or yet alone save a life if needed. The afternoon seemed to pass a lot quicker with the kids being here and having times to just relax. I enjoyed getting to know people within and outside of our team. The one thing that I remember about yesterday was the excitement the Ukrainians had with taking pictures. You’d be standing around talking and they’d just run up screaming flashing their cameras. That pretty much made my day. The day continued to pass very quickly. We had our afternoon English class later in the day and that was when my group really opened up. They wanted to ask so many questions, it was so fun! They asked about the number of stars we had on our flag in America, they asked if we liked to eat fast food (that’s like fine dining here). I loved it. Then it was time for REC. I think this is Chris Curran’s favorite time because he can get into his competitive side, which is always funny. The nightly worship came next. Again we greet the kids in two lines with high-fives and screams of excitement, the kids love it! The worship time is wonderful, even though there is a huge language barrier, seeing kids worship to ONE God in any language is a great site to see. My favorite part of the night was next, the Fl!P party. For all you Student Lifers, it’s similar to late night. Lots of cheers, dancing, REC team gets on stage, and more! The night is pretty much over after the FL!P party and the showers and rooms fill quickly. We just thank God for this awesome opportunity and this time that we get to be here serving Him and lifting His name higher. WE all are so thankful for the prayers. Mom thanks for praying the cold weather on us. Instead of 178, it’s only 100. We are eager to finish our call here and head home!

Sara Mattingly
American Team 3

Don’t you know this mom is eager for her to finish her call there and head home, too?!!  Praise the Lord, it sounds like they are doing so well, and I thank you so very much for praying!  Truly, may God bless you extra special for praying for my girl!  Have a remarkably exceptional day!
“Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always ‘me first,’ doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of the truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end.” (Corinthians 13: 1-4-7, The Message)

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Seriously, thank you for your kind words, prayers, and support in Sara’s trip – the great news is that they are safely there, and already enjoying the adventure!  Their camp begins Sunday, so continued prayers would be greatly appreciated.

If you are interested in following their trip, the blog address is http://www.radoogacamp3.blogspot.com.  Again, this mom’s heart is so thankful for you.  My peace, and joy in her adventure is in part due to your prayers.  I thank you deeply.

have a great weekend.

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pray?

Hi.  It is the evening before my precious daughter flies away.  far far away.  Would you mind praying?  Would you pray for the students she will be working with in Ukraine?  Would you ask God to watch over and protect this group from our church, making them effective, life-changing ambassadors of Christ?  Would you please ask Him to allow each in the group to grow in spiritual depth and wisdom?  Would you thank Him for missionary opportunities in such areas, and for those not only willing to go, but called to go?  May it be a spiritual marker in each of these lives – for those serving, and those who are served.  Also, may I ask you to pray that Sara is in wonderful health the whole trip – this will be her first international trip, and will require much of her.  She is technically still recuperating from her illness a couple months ago.  May God truly be her Strength, and her Supply.

I thank you so much.  This mom’s heart is secure in believing my God for all this.  I just would love to know you had prayed for her too.  God bless you and yours.

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max. part 2

My Success is About Him

by Max Lucado

With success comes a problem. Just ask Nadab, Elah, and Omri. Or interview Ahab, Ahaziah, or Jehoram. Ask these men to describe the problem of success. I would, you might be thinking,if I knew who they were. My point, exactly. These are men we should know. They were kings of Israel. They ascended to the throne…but something about the throne brought them down. Their legacies are stained with blood spilling and idol worship. They failed at success. They forgot both the source and purpose of their success.

You won’t be offered a throne, but you might be offered a corner office, a scholarship, an award, a new contract, a pay raise. You won’t be given a kingdom to oversee, but you might be given a home or employees or students or money or resources. You will, to one degree or another, succeed.

And when you do, you might be tempted to forget who helped you do so. Success sabotages the memories of the successful. Kings of the mountain forget who carried them up the trail.

The man who begged for help in medical school ten years ago is too busy to worship today. Back when the family struggled to make ends meet, they leaned on God for daily bread. Now that there is an extra car in the garage and a jingle in the pocket, they haven’t spoken to him in a while. In the early days of the church, the founding members spent hours in prayer. Today the church is large, well attended, well funded. Who needs to pray?

Success begets amnesia. Doesn’t have to, however. God offers spiritual ginseng to help your memory. His prescription is simply, “Know the purpose of success.” Why did God help you succeed? So you can make him known.

Why are you good at what you do? For your comfort? For your retirement? For your self-esteem? No. Deem these as bonuses, not as the reason. Why are you good at what you do? For God’s sake. Your success is not about what you do. It’s all about him—his present and future glory.


It's Not About Me
From
It’s Not About Me
© (Thomas Nelson, 2007),
Max Lucado

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My Struggles are About Him

by Max Lucado

What about your struggles? Is there any chance, any possibility, that you have been selected to struggle for God’s glory? Have you “been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Philippians 1:29)?

Here is a clue. Do your prayers seem to be unanswered? What you request and what you receive aren’t matching up? Don’t think God is not listening. Indeed he is. He may have higher plans.

Here is another. Are people strengthened by your struggles? A friend of mine can answer yes. His cancer was consuming more than his body; it was eating away at his faith. Unanswered petitions perplexed him. Well-meaning Christians confused him. “If you have faith,” they said, “you will be healed.”

No healing came. Just more chemo, nausea, and questions. He assumed the fault was a small faith. I suggested another answer. “It’s not about you,” I told him. “Your hospital room is a showcase for your Maker. Your faith in the face of suffering cranks up the volume of God’s song.”

Oh, that you could have seen the relief on his face. To know that he hadn’t failed God and God hadn’t failed him—this made all the difference. Seeing his sickness in the scope of God’s sovereign plan gave his condition a sense of dignity. He accepted his cancer as an assignment from heaven: a missionary to the cancer ward.

A week later I saw him again. “I reflected God,” he said, smiling through a thin face, “to the nurse, the doctors, my friends. Who knows who needed to see God, but I did my best to make him seen.”

Bingo. His cancer paraded the power of Jesus down the Main Street of his world.

God will use whatever he wants to display his glory. Heavens and stars. History and nations. People and problems.

Rather than begrudge your problem, explore it. Ponder it. And most of all, use it. Use it to the glory of God.

Through your problems and mine, may God be seen.


From
It’s Not About Me
© (Thomas Nelson, 2007),
Max Lucado


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