hot topic: ebola

Puking blood, bleeding through the eyes, ears and other areas, coughing, fever, headache and some delirium – these are all symptoms of a person who could have the ebola virus.  As I’ve read up on the current outbreak, here are a few important things to note:

  • there’s no known medical cure nor vaccination
  • the current strain is killing between 50-60% of those who catch it
  • it’s spread through bodily fluid (blood, saliva, etc)
  • the World Health Organization thinks that this outbreak could kill 20,000 people before they can get it under control
  • it’s presently in these African nations:  Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria & Congo (DRC)
  • two US healthcare providers with the ebola virus were medically evacuated from Africa & have recovered & been released
  • this outbreak probably started with the orginal victim in December 2013 – a two year old in Guinea  #SavingMoses

Please be praying for Africa with this outbreak.  While I know that there are many deadly diseases that are dramtically more common than ebola, let’s pray nevertheless for protection for the healthcare workers who are on the front lines fighting this awful virus and let’s pray that the leadership for each country will have wisdom in how they communicate and the decisions that they make for their citizens.

 

hot topic: Israel, Gaza, Palestine & Hamas

If you’ve been watching the news of late, you’ve probably heard about the recent escalation of tension between Israel & Palestine.  Over the last month or so, the hostilities in this region have become increasingly deadly to the point that Israel is considering the use of ground forces to move into the Gaza strip.  Regardless of your political opinions or persuasions, let’s join together & pray for peace in this region.  Indeed, all of the Middle East seems to be in a state of tremendous upheaval & in desperate need of prayer.  Please join me with a few quick actions:

  1. pray that the leaders in Israel & Palestine will have wisdom
  2. pray for the general population to say “yes” to peace & “no” to violence
  3. pray that each person may have the grace & power to forgive others for the pain that they’re experiencing
  4. pass along this blog to your friends to increase the awareness & prayer level for this very strategic area in our world

hot topic: Meriam Ibrahim

_75747908_75742756 I’ve been keeping up a little bit here & there about Meriam Ibrahim, a young woman in Sudan who was sentenced in May to hang for renouncing Islam, as she had married a Christian man.  Earlier this year, she delivered a baby while in prison, awaiting her execution.  Thankfully, the Sudanese government agreed to release Mrs Ibrahim and when she tried to fly out of Sudan yesterday, she was detained along with her husband and two children.  The Sudanese gov’t is saying that she doesn’t have the proper paperwork & it seems that no one has heard from her since being detained yesterday.

My point in bringing Mrs Ibrahim to your attention is to ask you to pray for her & her family – for protection, for favor & safety.  As a follower of Jesus, she’s  part of our family & it’s super important to keep each other in our prayers!

hot topic: Father’s Day

This weekend in America, we celebrate Father’s Day.  It’s a day when we honor our fathers & express our appreciation for their sacrifices & input in our lives.  Not everyone, however, grew up with warm fuzzies for their dads & there are many people who don’t like their dads & many who don’t even know who their dads are or were.  So sometimes, we’re conflicted with the premise of honoring our dads & acknowleding the reality of who they are or are not.  Holidays like Fathers Day, Mothers Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc when we’re around our family, can be a little tricky.  So perhaps these ideas can be helpful:

  • honoring our parents is important based on the Ten Commandments;  even if you have parents who are dishonorable, choosing to honor them is the high road & ultimately a more healthy decision than dishonor (an internal decision versus an external achievement)
  • all humans are flawed, full stop
  • remember that ultimately God is your Heavenly Father & that you’re fearfully & wonderfully made in the image of your Heavenly Father
  • Help:  holidays that have tricky family navigation challenges for us will often cause us to pray and ask God for help – which is always good;  doing life without God’s Help isn’t good 🙂

happy Father’s Day!

hot topic: unanswered prayer

In my journey with Jesus, I’ve had some frustrations about praying.  When I read John 14:13-14,  “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it”, Jesus’ words make me think that God will do what I ask, when I ask in Jesus’ name.  However, this hasn’t always been my experience.  I’ve asked God for many things in Jesus’ name and it seems like nothing has happened.  Ever had a similar experience?

So here are a few thoughts that might be helpful with unanswered prayer.  Perhaps our prayers don’t get the answers we want for some of these “reasons”:

  • motives:  we ask with selfish motives – James 4:3,  “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
  • methods:  greater glory for God – in John 11:4, we read that Jesus told His disciples that Lazarus’ sickness would end with great glory for God;  Lazarus’ sisters (Martha & Mary) wanted Lazarus to be healed rather than die, but Jesus had resurrection rather than healing for Lazarus.  We must always remember that God’s ways are higher than our ways (Is 55:8)
  • unbelief:  in Matt 13:58, it says that Jesus didn’t do many miracles in His hometown because of their unbelief;  faith is an important ingredient for praying
  • schedule:  God has a different schedule and timeline than what we think.  In John 7:6, Jesus told His brothers, ““My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune.'”  There are lots of occassions in the Bible where our timing is out of synch with God
  • maturity:  getting our way on our schedule isn’t always the optimum path God has for our development and intimacy with God.  In James 1:2-4 it says, ‘Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces cendurance. And let aendurance have its perfect result, so that you may be bperfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

It seems to me that God always answers prayer but maybe not always in the ways or timing that we want 🙂

Don’t Freak Out!!

“LET GO!!!!!”  When I was younger, I went paragliding in China & had virtually no instruction for the paragliding adventure.  Whatever training the paragliding “company” did was in Mandarin & my Mandarin skills don’t have any paragliding vocabulary.  Needless to say, I wasn’t prepared for this undertaking, which of course didn’t stop me – smile.  I strapped into the harness thing, proceeded to jump off the mountain and I had this TOTALLY SHOCKING experience, which I later learned was a thermal.  I caught a wind gust that was like rocket thrusting me straight up!  My mind said, “LET GO!!” and then I thought about my options: let go & fall or hold on & keep going up.  I decided that I preferred the lifting experience over the falling experience, so I held on.  Let’s make the same kind of decision about Jesus when we get in a crisis.  Hold on to Jesus & He will lift us up!

ps – I had an amazing ride with my paragliding experience 🙂

after Christmas

I wanted to write up a quick post yesterday but I had more work than time – sorry!

I’m particularly fond of the few days immediately following Christmas because they feel like an exhale to me.  The days leading up to Christmas can sometimes be a frenzied collection of meal preparation, last minute wrapping, gifts, holiday bustle and manic hustle.  But the days after Christmas seem to be more peaceful to me.  Everything seems to get more calm, peaceful and manageable.  Let me encourage you to take some time in these days to pause, reflect and rejuvenate.  Drink deeply of God’s presence and nestle into God’s unlimited love for you.  Jesus was born for us out of no other motivation than genuine love 🙂

On a quickie side note, please remember to pray for South Sudan – they’ve had close to 2 weeks of intense conflict and thousands have been killed there in the last 10 days.