Archive for September, 2019

Who Cares About the Missionary?

I just attended a meeting where Dr. Carl Boonstra is the member of the church hosting the meeting. It was announced that Dr. Boonstra is donating his library, and all the pastors attending the meeting could have as many of his books as they wanted. Because my husband and I are traveling in a motorhome…and he knows I love books…he instructed me that I could have one book. I went to the area and started searching for my one perfect book. As I began reading that book, I realized that I had picked up a gem. The book is an old one entitled, Who Cares About the Missionary?

The following missionary story is one of the stories I read in the book. This is very sad, but I’m afraid it’s an example of many churches today.

A young missionary went off to the Far East to minister. His home church supported him financially and promised to pray for him. He had kept them informed of his activities through letters and tapes, but unknown to the missionary, only the chairman of the mission’s committee ever read or listened to read his letters or listened to his tapes. This missionary had a difficult time learning the language. There was great opposition from the government and non-Christian forces in his area. Then, at only twenty-seven years of age, his wife contracted blackwater fever. She lived only a short time, leaving him with three young children.

He finished his first term of service, anticipating that day when he would return to his home church, to be accepted and comforted by those who loved and cared, those who had been interested enough to send him out. When the time finally came, he walked into the midweek service without prior announcement. He saw only strangers, and since he had arrived just on time for the service to start, he sat in one of the back pews. No one welcomed him. He smiled at the pastor, but there was no response. The prayer period was held. There was concern for the Sunday school picnic…the new building program…the women’s coming trip to a regional conference. There was no mention of missionaries, no pleading for souls, no apparent concern for the lost.

Following the service, the brokenhearted missionary stood at the back of the church. Most people did not recognize him. The few who did merely exchanged a hurried, “Hello. How are you?” As the pastor finally approached him, the missionary cried out, “Now I understand. This is the reason.” “What do you mean?” questioned the pastor.

“Those years on the field…the difficulties…the pain…the lack of results. This is the reason.” He went on to confess his supreme disappointment that he had been forgotten, but most of all that he had not been prayed for.

Perhaps the pastor understood what he meant, but there was not further time to discuss it, for the pastor had to excuse himself to meet with the board concerning new cribs for the nursery.

How many missionaries have discovered this type of response, even in their home churches? Oh, the checks arrived every month. You see, it isn’t difficult to write a check once every four weeks. But that is the extent of their involvement.

Ask any missionary you meet, “What is your greatest need?” Almost every missionary will reply, “We need prayer partners.” Finances are necessary…equipment is important…travel expenses must be met…but without adequate prayer backing, a missionary will be a failure.

Jesus Christ’s perspective toward women was completely opposed to His Middle Eastern culture. Women were often treated as property. A wife couldn’t divorce her husband, but a husband could divorce his wife for any reason. Women were viewed as inferior to men. Jewish rabbis began every temple meeting with the words, “Blessed art thou, O Lord, for thou has not made me a woman.”

Remember when the religious leaders caught the woman in the act of adultery. They were hoping to get Jesus to verbally go against their law. “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. What do you think?” If Jesus gave the woman mercy, it meant He overlooked adultery and their law. If He told these leaders to stone her, then everything He had been teaching about mercy and forgiveness would be of none effect.

Jesus bent down and began writing with his finger on the ground. He stood up saying, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. One by one they walked away, “beginning with the oldest” until it was only Jesus left with the woman. Jesus then asked her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? The Woman said, “No man, Lord,” Jesus then told her, “Neither do I condemn thee…Go and sin no more.”

Jesus did not come to judge but to seek and save the lost. Praise the Lord, He changes us like He changed that woman.

I love when Jesus said, “I must needs to through Samaria”. He knew exactly who He would encounter there. Jesus knew that this Samaritan woman, considered inferior with a bad reputation, would be at the well at that particular time.

Being weary from His journey, Jesus appeared and spoke to her, “Give Me a drink?” Not only was He not suppose to speak to her because He was a Jew, and she was a Samaritan, but men weren’t suppose to speak to women without their husbands being present.

Jesus knew all about the law…but He also knew that this woman needed spiritual water more than He needed physical water.

F. B. Meyer said, “I used to think that God’s gifts were on shelves one above the other and that the taller we grew in Christian character the more easily we could reach them. I now find that God’s gifts are on shelves one beneath the other and that it is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower.” Remember, it was Mary Magdalene—who was content to kneel at Jesus’ feet—who was also honored to be the first to see the Lord after His resurrection and share that good news with others (John 20:17).

Submission is the putting of oneself under the authority of another. It is an act of humility, something that both men and women in our churches should practice. Although Paul taught that women ought to submit to the authority of men in the church, this must never be an excuse to promote the idea that women are inferior and are not as valuable as men. Christ submitted to the Father, yet He is equal to the Father in worth and essence. Therefore, submission is about order, not value!

During Jesus time, most of the pagan religions had women priests, yet there is not a single example in Scripture of a woman being ordained as a priest, pastor, or elder. Even though in Jesus culture and time women were not valued, that was not Jesus’ idea of women.

Today marketing and television portray it attractive to exalt women as leaders over men. Religious leaders are ordaining women to the ministry. Even though this is where our culture is going, there is a great problem with this concept in Scripture. If we are going to reject these politically correct teachings of the world, we must also teach women the clear teachings of Christ about women’s role as leaders.

Jesus spoke with women (John 8:10–11), He served women (John 2:1–11), He healed women (Mark 5:21–43), and He praised women (Luke 21:1–4).

Ways to promote and encourage women to be leaders in our churches

• Encourage other women by teaching them the principles of God’s Word. Titus 2:3-5 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
• Equip them to study the Bible for themselves.
• Lead them to read good books and have those books available for them.
• Take your women to Ladies Seminars and conferences where they can grow spiritually.
• Pray for the women of your church.
• Provide childcare so that moms can attend Bible studies and events.
• Protect women and children within your church from abusive situations. Partner with ministries that serve women who are facing crisis pregnancies or are victims of sex trafficking or domestic abuse.
• In your church, “adopt” a widow or single mom to care for. Help her with lawn care, snow removal, and home maintenance projects.
• Invite a single woman to join your family for dinner.
• Host a brunch where single moms or widows can give and receive encouragement.
• When you talk about abortion, speak with love and grace. The post-abortive woman needs to know forgiveness is possible at the cross.
• Actively seek out women to teach or lead in biblically appropriate situations.
• When serving in your church, value your sisters in Christ…their intellect… their gifts…and their talents.
• Thank your pastor’s wife for her help and sacrifice.
• Write a note encouraging a mom who is faithfully serving the church by caring for her family.
• Give honor to women by publicly recognizing their contributions to the church.

Am I Really Hearing God’s Voice?

Have you ever wondered, “How do I know if I am really hearing God’s voice?

A young man had been to Wednesday night Bible Study. The Pastor had shared about listening to God and obeying the Lord’s voice. The young man couldn’t help but wonder, “Does God still speak to people?” After service he went out with some friends for coffee and pie and they discussed the message. Several different ones talked about how God had led them in different ways.

It was about ten o’clock when the young man started driving home. Sitting in his car, he just began to pray, “God…If you still speak to people speak to me. I will listen. I will do my best to obey.” As he drove down the main street of his town, he had the strangest thought to stop and buy a gallon of milk. He shook his head and said out loud, God is that you?” He didn’t get a reply and started on toward home. But again, the thought, buy a gallon of milk.

The young man thought about Samuel and how he didn’t recognize the voice of God, and how little Samuel ran to Eli. “Okay, God, in case that is you, I will buy the milk.” It didn’t seem like too hard a test of obedience.

He could always use the milk. He stopped and purchased the gallon of milk and started off toward home. As he passed Seventh Street, he again felt the urge, “Turn down that street. This is crazy he thought and drove on past the intersection. Again, he felt that he should turn down Seventh Street. At the next intersection, he turned back and headed down Seventh. Half-jokingly, he said out loud, “Okay, God, I will”.

He drove several blocks, when suddenly, he felt like he should stop. He pulled over to the curb and looked around. He was in semi commercial area of town. It wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t the worst of neighborhoods either the businesses were closed and most of the houses looked dark like the people were already in bed. Again, he sensed something, “Go and give the milk to the people in the house across the street.” The young man looked at the house. It was dark and it looked like the people were either gone or they were already asleep. He started to open the door and then sat back in the car seat.

“Lord, this is insane. Those people are asleep and if I wake them up, they are going to be mad and I will look stupid.” Again, he felt like he should go and give the milk. Finally, he opened the door, “Okay God, if this is you, I will go to the door and I will give them the milk If you want me to look like a crazy person, okay. I want to be obedient. I guess that will count for something but if they don’t answer right away, I am out of here. “He walked across the street and rang the bell. He could hear some noise inside. A man’s voice yelled out, “Who is it? What do you want?” Then the door opened before the young man could get away. The man was standing there in his jeans and T-shirt. He looked like he just got out of bed. He had a strange look on his face, and he didn’t seem too happy to have some stranger standing on his doorstep.

“What is it?” The young man thrust out the gallon of milk, “Here, I brought this to you. “The man took the milk and rushed down a hallway speaking loudly in Spanish. Then from down the hall came a woman carrying the milk toward the kitchen. The man was following her holding a baby. The baby was crying. The man had tears streaming down his face. The man began speaking and half crying, “We were just praying. We had some big bills this month and we ran out of money. We didn’t have any milk for our baby. I was just praying and asking God to show me how to get some milk.” His wife in the kitchen yelled out, “I asked Him to send an Angel with some. Are you an Angel?”

The young man reached into his wallet and pulled out all the money he had on him and put in the man’s hand. He turned and walked back toward his car and the tears were streaming down his face. He knew that God still answers prayers.

There have been days that I have been working around the house, and then suddenly a thought will come to me, “Stop what you are doing…pray for ______” I firmly believe that thought was the Holy Spirit telling me to pray for that person.

When I was attending Bible College, I had a dear friend who had been a missionary in the Congo. She related a story about a terrible time in her ministry. Here is story as she related it to me:

The rebels were outside our house. We had to hide under the bed to avoid bullets flying through the walls. When we heard the rebels stomping up the front steps, we ran out the back way and climbed over a fence to escape. Some months later, when my husband and I returned to the states, we related the incident to our pastor. As we talked with our pastor, we coincided the time…the pastor then told us that it was during that same time period, he stopped preaching in the middle of his sermon and told everyone to get on their knees. The pastor said he couldn’t explain why…but he instructed the congregation that they must pray for us.

Did God speak audibly to that pastor…no, but it was a sudden urging from the Holy Spirit that told that pastor to pray for those missionaries because they were in trouble.

When God lays people on our hearts, we must become still so that we can sense the Holy Spirit’s flow of thoughts in our spirits.

Habakkuk 2:1 I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.

Habakkuk knew that to hear God’s quiet voice, he had to first go to a quiet place and still his own thoughts and emotions.

Psalm 46:10 encourages us to be still and know that He is God. The average Christian’s life is so busy that he isn’t can focus his spirit on hearing God’s voice.

It’s in stillness, not busyness, that we can tune our spiritual ears to hear the voice of God. Although the Lord always speaks to us in that “STILL, small voice”, there are many times His voice is drowned out by all the noise around us.

The Bible also tells us that Jesus is God in the flesh. Therefore, if we want to hear the voice of God, we must study and know the teachings of Jesus.

John describes Jesus in 1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;

If we are going to hear the voice of God, we must have a personal relationship with Jesus.
In an ordinary conversation, we speak, then listen for the response of the other person. It’s the same with God! Once we’ve prepared our hearts to listen through prayer, we’re more likely to hear the voice of God when He speaks to us through His Word.