Treasure What You Have by Sonya

It is so easy to take for granted what you have and forgot to be thankful over the big and small things! I find we overlook the things and we have a hard time with being content. After being in Ghana, Africa this summer I realized how much we have and how little they have and how to be thankful for our everyday things. ​

God is so good that He gives us more than we need each and every day and treasuring that as a gift from Him is so important. Seeing the people in Africa truly have a heart of gratitude of what they have and be so thankful for what God has provided each day opened my eyes to being so thankful and not complain about what we don’t have.  When I looked around at the villages we served in and noticing that these kids had no toys to play with but the rocks and sticks on the ground and they were completely content and joyful. It made me think, are we that joy filled to treasure what God gives us, not asking for more, but being thankful for what we have each day? The people in Ghana were thankful every day for the one meal, for the same clothes on their backs that they wear over and over again and their mud hut that didn’t have air conditioning or electricity in their 100 degree temperatures.  It was a wakeup call for me to make me realize to appreciate the big and small things and not take things for granted. ​

Jesus said to him, “if you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and come, follow me.” Matthew 19:21. This verse sums it up to let go of the earthly things and treasure what is important and what we have which is Jesus and our treasure in heaven. Wow treasure in heaven, that is the greatest gift we should be thankful for and not allowing the things of this world to distract us from that.  God showed me that in Ghana where the people in this one village lived that out and fully trusted God for their everyday needs! They don’t have medicine close by if they get sick and easy access to transportation or food, but they had Jesus and to them they have everything. Do we find our treasure in Jesus alone?  Because He is the only one worth everything to us and to have our treasure in heaven should be our greatest gift. I have this plaque in my home that reads, “Every day is a gift from God that is why it is called the present.” God is our treasure and our Gift and that is all we will ever need! AMEN!!!!

 

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The Testing of Our Faith by Kenika

 

‘God wants you to understand that it is a life of faith, not a life of sentimental enjoyment of His blessings. Faith by its very nature must be tried, and the real trial of faith is not that we find it difficult to trust God, but that God’s character has to be cleared in our own minds.  Faith in the Bible is faith in God against everything that contradicts Him – I will remain true to God’s character whatever He may do. ‘Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him’ – this is the most sublime utterance of faith in the whole of the Bible.” 

(Excerpt from My Utmost for His Highest-Oswald Chambers Scripture Reference Matthew 17:20)

In life there are highs and lows that are completely unavoidable. Whether you’re the richest, most influential person in the world, or the poorest of the poor.  The smartest person in the room, or the least educated in your community.  Peaks and valleys will always be the guiding trajectory in our lives.  Even if we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and have acknowledged our own sin, depravity and desperate need of Him, life isn’t guaranteed to get better as a result.   Eternity certainly promises to be better, but not necessarily life on earth.  Wouldn’t that be a much better sell when we evangelize to unbelievers? “Come to Jesus, you’ll be rich!” “Give Jesus a chance, you won’t have any problems ever again!” “I’m offering you Jesus, a ‘get out of trouble free card’!” But we do a huge disservice to people when we don’t tell them what faith really is.  I read the excerpt above and made the conclusion that I couldn’t have said it better myself! Especially the part about what faith in God really is. That it’s not just for enjoyment of His blessings, but for the “Yet will I trust Him” kind of seasons we will inevitably go through.

It’s easy to love God when everything is going right, we all know that.  But remaining true to God no matter what He does or doesn’t do, is a struggle for a lot of people.  It’s hard to get excited about the thought that He has the power “slay” us through punishment or even take our life, but still having to trust Him.  However, instead of embracing a sense of hopeless, we should see that as an opportunity for sovereign hopefulness. What I mean by that is whether things are going better than they ever have before, or if you can’t see your way out, real faith in God says, “I trust you no matter what.” He’s so good, and He’s so God, that we let Him have His way regardless. He’s so omniscient, He’s so powerful, that we let go and allow Him to show us His plan. It sounds very romantic right? But super difficult in application. The best thing for us to do is to quiet ourselves in His presence, stop telling Him what He needs to do for us and allow our hearts to be ministered to with what He is to us.  Let us change our prayers from “Give me this, help me with that, change this” to “Yet will I trust you.”  It’s only then that the testing of our faith can allow God the opportunity to reveal Himself to us, which is far better than anything we could ever think to ask for anyway.

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The Great Divide by Trish

 

It’s amazing to me that just by human nature we gravitate to what is familiar, common, “safe” to us and in doing so we build our network of friends, associates and community around such. In essence, we build our world with a pretty picket fence that only lets certain people in.

Yet we are told to love our neighbor as ourselves. The Bible doesn’t give prerequisites or qualifying credentials for what “neighbors” we are to love. Love your neighbor means just that…whoever you are around!

I was taught from an early age to love people, all people. To look beyond what may be different and celebrate the heart of a person. I was also taught that just by being biracial I would encounter people who could not get past what they saw as different but for that not to stop me from being me, or allow it to hinder my vitality for life. I was no less than anyone else just because I may have been the only little brown girl in my class or neighborhood. I was taught to celebrate the best of the worlds I came from and honor the fact that I was a designer’s original. No one was like me and for that reason, I had something to celebrate and honor.

Coming from that mindset I have very little tolerance for those who exclude themselves from people because of differences such as race, economic status, political views, religion or dare I say it, sexual orientation. I know what the Bible says and I’m not suggesting we compromise values to appease people. However, I do struggle with those who are called to love as Christ loves us and yet sometimes the most hateful things are spewed from those who call themselves Christ followers.

I’m not interested in your bank account, I’m interested in your soul and where your destiny lies. I don’t have to vote the same way as you to have respect for you as a person. I don’t celebrate cliques but rather honor community. I don’t want to change your life, I just want to introduce you to a love that will fulfill you!

I’m not persuaded to reduce my convictions to be your friend. However, I will love you and walk with you in this life and hopefully show you a love more powerful than the things that we don’t agree on. I’m not suggesting we engage in dysfunction or stay in toxic relationships for the sake of love. I do believe in boundaries, but I also know I don’t have to agree with you to love you.

The only way that this love walk can be mastered is when I acknowledge my need for Christ. I’m flawed, broken and in need of love that looks beyond my many imperfections. To me that is what makes grace truly amazing. I get to be an extension of the same love shown to me to someone else.

When we look at the life of Christ, He could be found among those who were considered outcast and the overlooked. When He chose His disciples, He didn’t take a vote on who was most popular or, in today’s culture, who had the most social media followers. He looked at the heart of the person and His presence in their life caused them to turn this world upside down with a revolutionary movement that is in motion to this day!

His love has come to conquer all. His love has come to heal the brokenhearted. His love has come to restore the faith of the hopeless and helpless. His love has come to bridge the great divide.

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Be On A Mission For God by Sonya

“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Mathew 28:19

God is calling my husband and I to go back to Africa. We were in South Africa ten years ago and part of our hearts are still there and have a passion for the work God is doing in Africa. So, we are going to Ghana and serving on the west side of Africa towards the north end now in the last two weeks of June. We are so excited to do God’s mission there and preparing our hearts for how God will work in us and through us. God is really working in my heart and showing me what being on a mission for God looks like. It starts with being a servant and having a humble heart to serve God wherever. Can’t wait to serve the people in Africa and see the world through their eyes and open my heart to see God in a new way. Our hearts have to be open to how God is nudging us and we don’t want to miss out on His calling for our lives.

Being on a mission for God could look like going to Africa or overseas but God can use you anywhere and in your family and workplaces and in your communities. He is on the move and ready to take us as long as we are obedient and in tune to His Spirit. Our eyes need to be open to the needs around us and hearts ready to move and be passionate for the things of God. God is really moving my heart for the people in Africa and I can’t wait to see what God is already doing there, to be moved and for my eyes to be opened to what He has in store. Also, I can’t wait to be the “light” for God and letting people see Jesus in a new way. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good works, and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Letting your light shine in all places, you are showing people God’s glory and reflecting His love. Showing God’s love and spreading God’s word is being on a mission for God. Be that positive difference maker in the world. Don’t hold back and get out of your comfort zone and be that light today! “For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” Acts 13:47

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