Living in America has the very subtle & sneaky attempt to be blinded by glitz, glam, image, shiny, trendy and veneer. Whether we realize it or not, our culture bombards us with airbrushed faces, glimmery white teeth, body images that are almost physically impossible and lots more. If we aren’t careful, we can be seduced by image and forget that substance, character and integrity are very important.
With this in mind, I find it very interesting that the person who heralded Jesus’ arrival was the antithesis of image conscious – John the Baptist was very earthy and for that matter, so is Jesus. The Son of God, robed in splendor, glory and the ultimate glitz put on our skin, lived among us and was often mistaken for a mere man. May the Holy Spirit help us to reveal Jesus through our daily and earthy living 🙂
We all have challenges in our lives of varying sizes and strengths. Some challenges are relatively short & minor: getting the chicken unthawed in time to bake it for tonight’s dinner. Some challenges are massive: nightcare with Saving Moses. Regardless of your age, responsibilities, gender, season in life, etc, we all have challenges & it’s what we do with these challenges that’s important (not necessarily the challenges themselves).
So here are some helpful tips for dealing with challenges:
can do: keep in mind that God in you is bigger than any challenge;
try: don’t quit, give up or get discouraged; a baby step is better than no step & a misstep is better than a regress ,)
selective nutrition: feed the positive & starve the negative
timely inventory: it can be super helpful, from time to time, to take an inventory of your overall progress rather than focusing on the lack of slowness of progress
encouragement: encourage someone else in their dreams, goals & challenges – it’s good for you! 😀
What an amazing spectrum of experiences today. I’ve finished this day at our present nightcare facility, playing with one of our toddlers before he went to bed & enjoying our warm, safe & healthy haven for the babies of prostitutes while their moms work. Shortly before this wonderfully satisfying joy (we’ve been running for more than a year & have really acquired the trust of these moms to look after their babies), we negotiated the rent on a new nightcare facility in a new neighborhood & this is also super exciting!! We hope to be up & running there in about 2-3months 🙂
But here’s my struggle as I finish this day – we visited two brand new areas that desperately need nightcare & one of the areas we visited was really overwhelming for me. Even though we were there in the daytime, it was indescribably dark & felt very actively evil – the last face I saw before I left this area was a baby & if the truth be known, I’m having a rough time with all of this &I can’t seem to find words to go along with my feelings.
So friends, thank you SO MUCH for taking some time to read this & for being interested. I’m celebrating our successes & achievements while absorbing the opportunities that lie in front of us as well. Perhaps there is no one that is more “least of these” than the babies of prostitutes.
Sometimes I can get discouraged when I look at problems that seem to have no answers & sometimes I can get overwhelmed by some challenges that seem insurmountable. Ever feel the same? During my prayer time this morning, I was reminded about how God had a sheep waiting for Abraham when he was about to sacrifice Isaac. This story reminds me that God has solutions, provisions & wisdom waiting for me when various needs can become urgent. In the meantime, rather than fretting, getting stressed out & uptight about various problems, I can change my thinking to being grateful & appreciative that God has already provided answers & resources. When I’m thankful, I’m a better traveling companion with God during the journey of life rather than being stressed out 🙂
I’ve been talking with God recently about some situations for me that have been super difficult. We’ve had some interesting discussions & I’ve expressed some of my frustrations & disappointments to God. It’s been an interesting wrestling season of late & I’m not sure that I’ve totally turned the corner with some of my questions & uncertainties.
Nevertheless, I felt God really encouraging me a few days ago about His love for me. When I asked Him about His love in relation to some of the difficulties & struggles that I’m going through, He challenged me to know that His love for me isn’t based on circumstances or situations. Maybe you have also had this struggle – looking at the challenges in your life & asking God about His love in light of hardship & difficulty.
Just because we go through tough times, let’s never doubt His love for us – indeed, He causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him & remain true to His purposes in their lives. Be sure to doubt your difficulties before you doubt God’s love
I’ve been thinking about this year & the various achievements & shortcomings for Saving Moses – reflections. There have been some really cool developments – we made some great initial contacts for nightcare in Asia, we got a SUPER deal on some baby formula in Angola (over 40 metric tons for free if we would pay $5k for the transportation, an obvious no-brainer), some amazing progress with our media abilities, we’ve made some great potential relationships for the future, along with many other things. On the flip side, there have also been some disappointments – our India trip was frustrating & I found that one of the malnutrition clinics that we recently visited in Angola didn’t have any milk, due to some poor communication.
Truthfully, I always want everything with Saving Moses to be 100% positive, but my experiences this year are teaching me that this isn’t always going to be realistic. Furthermore, I’m finding that even though I want Saving Moses to be MASSIVELY effective, I need to be patient as we grow & continue to keep taking steps along the journey that will continue to help us be increasingly effective.
Something that you could do to help us grow is to be a fan on our facebook page 🙂
I’m currently sitting at a malnutrition center along w about 15-20 moms who have just received some medical care for their babies & who are now feeding them their afternoon meal. One little guy next to me is named Augusto & he’s about 16months old. He has a sister who is a little bit bigger than he is, but she’s 3months old. The differences are so stark it can be very unsettling. Thankfully, we are working on a system whereby we can keep a steady supply of formula available for these malnutrition clinics to the sole purpose of helping all of the babies who come in having such tremendous nutrition needs.
This trip has had it’s fair share of ups & downs but I think we’ve established some great relationships whereby we can make a steady supply of formula & hopefully expand to other provinces in Benguela as well. I also had the great privilege of meeting a Dr this morning who is 2nd in command to the Minister of Health for the Benguela province here in Angola. It looks possible that we could work toward a potential partnership with this agency & other partners to create a scheme to reduce infant mortality here. Saving Moses is doing very effective work here! Thanks for all of your prayers, encouragement & support!
Last night I took my kids to their 1st swim lesson of this season & it was an interesting experience. To begin, the lessons were delayed because someone puked in the pool & they had to clean it up – complete with the red bio-hazard bag & latex gloves. After this brief delay, my kids went to their respective levels / instructors. While I watched their lessons, at the beginning I wasn’t very happy because all of my kids seemed to be the last in their groups and I wanted to “protect” them. However, when the lessons were finished almost all of my kids were totally pumped about their lesson and about what they achieved.
So here’s my point: it’s important for us to let God use different people in our lives to help us to grow. If we only get ourselves around comfortable people, we can tend to get stagnant. But if we let ourselves get around people who challenge us or who are different, then often times God helps us to grow more and more into the person He designs us to be. Proverbs says that iron sharpens iron – let God bring some “iron” into your life 🙂
Ok, looking at Philippians over the last week or so has been an interesting excursion. From the feedback I’ve gotten from people in the “suggested exercises”, it seems like there’s lots of interest & enthusiasm for many different verses through this little book. But something I’ve been looking into are the verses at the end of chapter 1 & beginning of chapter 2 – specifically 1:21-2:4.
Fascinating interplay between Paul’s decisions, what he proposes to us & then how this reflect or contrast Jesus’ major choices. We talk about these things in Chapel on Tues & I think you’ll find it very challenging.
Some things to consider, for your suggested exercises:
Paul says in 1:21 that to live is Christ & to die is gain. What do you think this means?
How do you see yourself in light of the community of your co-workers? How do you see yourself in the community of your family? How do you see yourself in the community of your living arrangements (apt, house, neighborhood, condo, townhouse, . . . . )? How do you see yourself in light of the community of your church?
In Phil 2:2-4, what is the most difficult thing for you to do in this list? Take a moment to ask the Holy Spirit to help you with this area.