Help Me Find Nayon a Compassion Sponsor

Girl-with-baloons-Prov-19-with-logo-289x144

I’ve written before about how I was inspired to help hold up the sky by sponsoring a child through Compassion.

Today, I want to give you a chance to do the same thing.

I’m participating this month in Compassion’s Speak Up for a Child project, and I’m trying to find a sponsor for just one child:  Nayon.

Nayon Babu is 5 years old, and he lives in Bangladesh. Nayon helps at home by running errands. His father sometimes works as a laborer and his mother maintains the home. There are two children in Nayon’s family.

Nayon likes to run and play group games. He attends Bible class regularly and is in preschool.

In Nayon’s region of Bangladesh, most homes are made of mud with dirt floors and tin roofs. The most common languages are Santal and Bangla, and the diet usually consists of fish, rice, potatoes, and lentils. Most adults in this region work as day laborers and earn about $36 a month. Children in this region are vulnerable to exploitation.

This video gives you a glimpse of a day in the life of a child in Bangladesh:

If you choose to sponsor Nayon, your spoonsorship gift of $38 a month will help provide Nayon with Bible teaching, Bible story books, nutritious food, medical treatment, hygiene and health education, sports, special celebrations, picnics, tuition, tutoring, uniforms, and shoes through his church based center. Your letters will also encourage Nayon and let him know that he is prayed for.

So, will you help me do this thing? Let’s find Nayon his sponsor.

You can help by praying for Nayon.

You can help by sharing this post.

Or you could sponsor Nayon. If you want to become Nayon’s sponor, please shoot me an e-mail or comment below.

And remember that Nayon is only one of many children still waiting for their sponsors. You can find your child by visiting Compassion today.

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Let Your Thankfulness Show

I’m reposting this from my archives because I need the reminder today. Thankfulness is a way of life–and it should show:

cc image courtesy of Nossirom via www.sxc.hu

cc image courtesy of Nossirom via www.sxc.hu

I braved the grocery store today with two children in tow.  Today being two days before Thanksgiving.  And I survived.

Somebody needs to give me some serious mom points.  Just kidding.  Mostly.

Anyway, the store was a seriously crazy place today.  Traffic jam in the baking aisle kind of crazy.  Watch your small children so they don’t get run over kind of crazy.  The kind of crazy that normally would have me pulling my hair out and one step short of murdering the kids before I got done.

Yet today we managed.  We got the shopping done, and there was no screaming involved.  I’m telling you, this is a Red-Sea parting kind of miracle here.

Apparently other people noticed too.  I was in the middle of helping the kids count out 40 apples (don’t ask) when a man walked up to me.

“You know,” he said, “People watching is fun.  There’s all kinds of people in here looking all stressed out and angry, and here you are happy and just doing your thing.  I think that’s great.”

Please note two things: 1)This occurred 5 minutes into our shopping trip.  My stamina had not yet been tested.  2)  I’m pretty sure he had been drinking. Consider the source before you ask me if you can borrow the keys to the invisible jet.

Today in the midst of the crazy shopping, I kept noticing these red-shirted islands of calm.  Here and there were store employees cheerfully assisting stressed out customers.  They steered wheelchairs.  They stopped traffic so customers on scooters could navigate crowded aisles.  They happily dropped what they were doing to help me find what may have been the last can of pumpkin in the entire store.  They pointed people to the shortest checkout lanes, and calmly chatted with customers as they rang up endless piles of groceries.

If we have Jesus in us, shouldn’t we be the same way?

Faith looks like something.  Having Jesus should impact every part of our lives–even crazy-making trips to the grocery store.  We have the Spirit of the Living God inside us, and that makes a difference.  Love, peace, joy–these things are fruits.  They aren’t qualities we strive for, but the natural result of having God with us.  Being connected to Christ transforms us, and it should be visible to the world around us.

It’s appropriate to talk about all this Thanksgiving week because thankfulness should be our default setting as children of God.  When God has blessed us so greatly, how can we not be thankful?  God had every right to leave us in our sin, but he didn’t.  He gave us mercy.  He could have stopped with just pardoning us and sparing us punishment, but he went beyond that.  God gave us himself, restoring our relationship with him through the cross.  Our natural response to such a great gift should be thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving, I think, has the power to transform us.  Thanksgiving insulates us against discontent.  Cultivating thankfulness helps us rejoice in what we do have, rather than lamenting what we do not.  And there is a sense in which thanksgiving opens us to receive God’s blessings.  Perhaps Paul commands us to pray at all times with thanksgiving because thankfulness reminds us of who we really are:  recipients of God’s great favor.  It is when we come before God with hands open that we begin to understand the power of God.

Believe me, I am far from perfect in this.  I have been the crazy mom at the grocery store, and I probably will be again.  Thankfully, bad moments don’t necessarily make bad mothers.  Chief among the things I am thankful for is God’s lavish grace.  But this Thanksgiving, I want to celebrate the power of having Jesus in me.  By God’s great mercy, the same power that raised Christ from the dead is alive in me.

And I want it to show.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Like this post?  Subscribe to get updates by e-mail.

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Choosing Good to Create Good

8bc72ed7

 

The emotional undertow started tugging at my ankles while I was mopping the kitchen.

Yesterday’s confrontation with a coworker played through my head, and my emotions went along with the wave. Anger. Hurt. Powerless. Trapped.

My thoughts tugged at me, tempting me to sink deeper beneath the surface. Why didn’t you speak up for yourself? You’re such a coward. And what’s her problem, anyway? You were right. You ought to go back in there tomorrow and make sure your boss knows what happened.

It was a familiar cycle: rehearse it all in my head, chewing over the hurt and offense like a cow chewing on the cud. Let my emotions spin me up and over while my thoughts churned, stirring up the anger and driving the hurt down.

I slapped the mop into the wringer. “Not today.” I whispered. “God, she was wrong. What she did hurt and what she said wasn’t true. But I choose to forgive. Help me choose good.”

We are sinful people living in a world with other sinful people. When our broken edges rub up against other people’s jagged edges, we get hurt. Sin hurts. It hurts those who commit it, and it hurts those who are impacted by it. On this side of heaven we will get wounded by sin, but when it happens we have a choice: return evil for evil or overcome evil with good (Romans 12:17-21).

If we are redeemed, then the Spirit of the Living God dwells within our hearts. His light shines in us, and we bring that light with us wherever we go—our homes, our churches, our work. We will be hurt by sin, but we get to choose how we respond. Will we respond with the world’s cycle of getting revenge and giving cold shoulders? Or will we respond by drawing on God’s supply of unlimited grace? We get to choose forgiveness over bitterness, blessing over accusation, and justice over revenge. We can choose to be both just and kind, remembering that there is no one God does not desire to redeem. When we choose to do good, all of heaven’s power joins with us in the battle. We don’t just do good—we create it.

We create goodness by letting God’s goodness be displayed in us. In those moments of decision, we can draw on his power and strength to choose what is right. Returning wrong for wrong doesn’t fix situations—it only adds to the mess. We will never overcome evil with evil, but we can overcome evil with good.

This post is part of the Share Your Story Link-Up at The High Calling



Mail chimp form

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Blogging for Compassion: Children of God

running boy unsplash

One of my favorite gospel truths is that we are children of God.

Through Christ we are sons, not slaves. We don’t have to beg God for his favor; we boldly come before the throne of grace. We are accepted, adopted, and set free. We see God face to face, and we call him Father.

As children of God:

  • God lavishes his love on us (1 John 3:1)
  • We have fellowship with the Father ( 1 John 1:3)
  • Christ’s blood purifies us from all sin (1 John 1:7)
  • The kingdom belongs to us (1 John 1:7)
  • We are led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:4)
  • We are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Roans 8:7)
  • We live in freedom and glory (Romans 8:21)
  • We are clothed with Christ (Galatians 3:26)
  • The Spirit lives in our hearts (Galatians 4:6)
  • God disciplines us as his sons and daughters Hebrews12:6-8)
  • We are not condemned (Romans 8:1)
  • We call God “Father” and do not fear him (Romans 8:25; 2 Corinthians 6:18)
  • We are destined to be conformed to Christ’s image (Romans 8:29)
  • We are rescued from the kingdom of darkness and brought into the kingdom of Jesus, God’s beloved son (Colossians 1:13).

The miracle of the gospel is this: while we were still lost in our sin, God longed to adopt us as sons. Jesus came to seek and save those who were lost–bringing all the children home to the Father. The same God who sees a sparrow fall passionately seeks his children, drawing our hearts to Jesus so all his sons and daughters can come home. Like the father in the parable, God never stops watching the road. And he always runs to welcome his children home.

There are 600 million children worldwide living in poverty.  And every one of those 600 million children is precious to the Father. We can help. When you sponsor a child through Compassion, your sponsorship helps provide food, clean water, health care, and education for a child living in poverty. Because Compassion is a distinctly church based program, your sponsored child also gets to know the embrace of a loving church community–and is encouraged by your letters and prayers. Sponsorship helps these precious ones know that they too can become children of God.

Children are waiting for sponsors. Will you become a sponsor today?



Mail chimp form

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

My Quiet Place Through the Holidays

I’m thrilled to have my sweet friend Katy Kauffman guest posting on the blog today. Christmas is just around the corner–and so are the stress and hectic schedule that seem to come with it. Katy has some suggestions to help us get our hearts ready and to celebrate Christ’s birth. Be sure to check out her Bible reading plan!

By Katy Kauffman

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI already want to decorate for Christmas. After all, the mall is decorated with garlands and white twinkle lights,  Hobby Lobby has been selling their Christmas decorations since July, and my favorite Christmas shop just opened! Rush, rush, rush—that seems to be the theme of shops and malls that want to benefit from selling Christmas goodies early. Rush, rush, and rush can also be the motto for how we celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. I love all the parties and food and festivities, but in the middle of all the hectic busyness, I need some quiet. Somewhere to get away and just celebrate with God the things I am thankful for, the reason why we celebrate these holidays in the first place.

So where can I find the “quiet” I need for my soul to stay sound and balanced? Where do you find your “quiet”? In time alone with God. It may be hard with the family’s busy schedule and our daily duties. But there’s something special about the joy and peace we find when we make time to be with God. The beauty of His Word captivates our hearts, the promises of Scripture give us hope, and talking with Him and listening to Him in prayer calm our inner turmoil and remind us of what really matters. There’s beauty and charm in the sights and sounds of Christmas, but there’s also beauty in sitting before God and learning from Him and His Word. The truths we learn and the love we experience prepare our hearts for traffic jams, noisy crowds, busy schedules, and opportunities to reach out to those around us. The holiday season is one of the best times to minister to people we might not see or be around the rest of the year. It’s the perfect time to show the Love of God which came down to earth two thousand years ago.

What passage of Scripture quiets your heart before God and helps you to hear His voice and sense His peace? In your holiday schedule, I recommend reading the passages below. There is one passage to read each week, starting this Sunday and going through New Years. Print this post, and stick it in your Bible or prayer journal. When you have a few minutes of “quiet,” pull it out and read the designated passage for that week. May God’s truths warm your heart and strengthen you this holiday season, and point you to the One who is the Giver of every perfect gift, God Almighty who gave His Son for us.

November 9th: Matthew 6:25-34 – How to handle stress and worrying

November 16th: Colossians 3:12-17 – How to treat those around us

November 23rd: Romans 8:28-39 – What our reality is with God

November 30th: 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 – How to share God’s love with those around us

December 7th: Psalm 91:1-16 – Who our safe place is

December 14th: Romans 12:9-21 – How to be good and do good when it matters the most

December 21st: Isaiah 9:6-7 – Where to keep our focus—on Jesus!

December 28th: Deuteronomy 30:15-20 – An example of what our choice is in the New Year and always

© Copyright 2014 by Katy Kauffman

katy headshot Katy Kauffman is the author of 2 Timothy: Winning the Victory, a Bible study on how to win the spiritual battles of life and ministry. She is a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies and a graduate of Luther Rice Seminary. Her heart’s desire is for people to know and love God, understand the richness of His Word, and fulfill His plan for their lives. She makes her home in a cozy suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.

 

 

 

Important Links

Katy’s Blog: http://lighthousebiblestudies.com/katy-kauffman-blogkaty cover

Katy’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KatyKauffmanAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KatyKauffman28

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/katykauffman

Katy’s book on Amazon, available as an e-book or a paperback:

http://www.amazon.com/Katy-Kauffman/e/B00FIT3YQA/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

 

 


facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

The Difference Mercy Makes

distant sailboat unsplashYour theology is only as good as your character.

Believing the right thing–yeah, you get some points for that. But knowing the answers only gets you so far. Theology isn’t just for dusty books and ivory towers. It’s more than late night wrangling over cold coffee and those conversations where you sharpen your debate skills as much as your knowledge of the word.

Theology–what we believe about God–is only as good as what we do about God. If we believe Jesus is Lord, that belief should impact our character.

Paul knew this.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship (Romans 12:1)

Therefore–in light of everything Paul has said in the first eleven chapters of Romans–because of God’s mercy, we are called to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to God. Romans is an intensely theological book, yet Paul doesn’t close without reminding the Romans of what that theology is supposed to look like: Loving your enemies. Respecting authority. Living in harmony with others. Pursuing peace. In the closing chapters of Romans, Paul reminds us that the gospel is not just something we speak but something we live.

Living the gospel means presenting ourselves before the Lord as a living sacrifice. Presenting our bodies is a way of saying that we give God our full self. No compartments; no masks; nothing withheld–just the gift of our total surrender to the Lord who gave himself for us. This is our worship–our theology lived out in the mess and the complexity of daily life. That’s where we wrestle with the hard questions of what truth looks like for me, right now, in this situation, with these people, in this room. It’s loving our enemies when we can write their names beneath the verse. Choosing peace when everything in us desires to fight for what is ours. Willingly laying aside our rights to seek harmony in the body. That’s where it gets real. And that’s where we worship.

And why–why do we choose this path of sacrifice and surrender? Because of God’s mercy. God has shown us mercy. Instead of judgment, he gave us Jesus. Instead of demanding our blood he spilled His. We deserved justice. God gave us mercy, In thanksgiving we offer ourselves to him.

Mercy undergirds our worship. Our position before the Father should be one of grateful adoration. That gratitude spills over into how we live. We show others mercy because God has shown us mercy. We love our enemies because while we were still God’s enemies God loved us. We are patient with the weak because God has shown patience with our weakness. Out  of his great mercy God sacrificed his own son, and now we offer ourselves as living sacrifices before him. We put our theology into practice, and it gets attention.

When they ask why, you know the answer. Because God has shown me mercy. How could I give him any less than everything?

That’s the difference mercy makes.

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

When Fear Keeps You From Freedom

I’m posting today at 5 Minutes for Faith

This sweet girl is Summer, our new fur baby.

summer2 summer 1

 

About two weeks ago we adopted Summer from a local shelter. Before we brought her home, the kids and I went to our local pet store to load up on treats, toys, food, and a new crate. We’ve got a lovely new bed for her, a stuffed duck that squeaks, an assortment of balls, and a toy raccoon. She’s not using any of those things, though.

Summer is afraid to come inside the house.

Before she came home with us, Summer had lived almost all of her life at the shelter. They were good to her, but she had no experience with things like tile floors, carpet, swinging screen doors, or noisy washing machines. She fears what she doesn’t know. She loves being with us and playing with the kids in the yard, but she refuses to come in the house. When we head inside, Summer stands at the door and whines.

We’ve given her a home, but Summer still lives like she’s back at the shelter.

Sometimes I do the same thing.

Read the full post at 5 Minutes for Faith



Mail chimp form

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Peace: The Promise and the Command

cloudy sky from unsplash

Our nine year old likes to sit on the couch and watch the evening news with her daddy. Some days I’m not so sure that’s a good idea. Diseases that were a world away are suddenly knocking at our door. Headlines blare about serial killers and beheadings. Armed men threaten our country and encourage others to join their crusade. You don’t have to look far to find a reason to fear.

But Jesus came to bring us peace.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

Jesus gives us peace. In the New Testament, peace is more than just the absence of conflict. Peace is the blessing and wholeness we only find in the presence of God. When Jesus gives peace, it isn’t the kind of peace the world gives–transitory, fleeting. It’s not peace that is held by military might or a king’s command. No–our Prince of Peace brought us peace in the truest form. Gospel peace is reconciliation between God and man.  It is holiness and harmony, the blessings of living justified, sanctified, and made righteous before the Lord. It is peace that is established by the Savior, not circumstances. When the world goes crazy, we have peace in Him.

It’s a promise, but it’s also a command. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

We have a choice: fear or faith. Whose voice do you key in on?  Whose words ring loudest in your ear? In that moment of crisis, who do you choose to believe? Will you believe those who tell us destruction is inevitable, that we need to protect ourselves, bar our doors, and prepare for the coming calamity? Or will you listen to the voice of the Savior who was and is and is to come?

When fear knocks at the door, we have a choice. We can choose to believe that it’s all up to us. We can believe that it falls on our shoulders to fix the problem and keep our families safe. Or we can believe that our sovereign God reigns and his kingdom cannot be shaken. We fix our eyes on Jesus, knowing that our future is safe in his nail-scarred hands. God is good. Nothing separates us from his love; nothing takes us out of his hands, and he is with us.

We have peace when we choose to believe that God is who he says he is. We put our faith in him, and the peace of God rides sentry duty around our hearts. He gives us a peace that transcends circumstances; the kind of peace that lets us slumber in the midst of the storm.

Today, choose peace. Choose to believe. The Prince of Peace has given us peace, and he never leaves us alone.



Mail chimp form

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

When Faith Feels Like a Declaration

sheep unsplashFaith is hardest in the dark.

We think we know what faith means when we’re in the meadow–warm sun; clean water; green grass. Trust seems easy in those level places.

But that’s not always where we get to walk.

Some days we stand on the edge of the valley, looking down into darkness. The valley of the shadow of death. It’s a strange word in Hebrew–a compound word formed by “shadow” and “death.” Sometimes it’s used to describe the realm of the dead (Job 10:22).  It describes that place of fear where the threat is real. It’s the place where you can’t see the next step; the place where you’re not sure what lurks in the shadows. It’s a place of want:  green grass doesn’t grow in the darkness. Standing there on the edge of the valley, you can feel the weight of doubt on your shoulders.

What lies in your valley? Is it truly the valley of death, with tests and needles and waiting rooms and a thousand unknowns lining the path ahead?

Or perhaps you face the valley of the unknown. You shuffle your feet slowly, not sure if the next step is leading you out or hurtling you over a cliff. Darkness blocks your vision, and you fear what you can’t see.

Maybe you walk the valley of depression. You know the light is there–you’ve felt it before and you know others see it. But the sun’s warmth feels like a distant memory and you’re not sure you believe you’ll ever see it again.

You stand looking down into the darkness as the sun slips below the horizon, and the enemy’s taunts ring in your ears. The Shepherd? He can’t protect you here. He’s gone. You’ve wandered outside his reach. Listen to that howling. The wolves are circling, little sheep. Be afraid. This valley belongs to me.

That’s when faith becomes a declaration. It’s not a bedtime prayer or a children’s sermon–it’s a shout of defiance. It’s Gandalf in the cavern’s of Moriah, shouting “You will not pass!” It’s David standing before Goliath, sling in hand. It’s Esther with her hand on the throne-room door. It’s Peter standing before the council vowing to obey God rather than men.Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will not be afraid for you are with me. 

You are with me.  I will not be afraid. At first it’s a whisper, then a plea. But your voice gets stronger. It becomes a chant, a cheer, a shout, a roar. A declaration. You say it as you walk, believing without seeing. And though the darkness surrounds you, your declaration becomes truth. You walk through the valley and you are not afraid, because the Shepherd is with you.

And that’s when your realize he was there all along.



Mail chimp form

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

God Can Handle Your Anger

anger

Anger is one of those emotions we think we’re not supposed to feel. We can be frustrated, annoyed, or exasperated. That’s okay. But anger–raw, honest anger–is something we don’t like to admit to. It’s not socially acceptable.

Especially when you’re mad at God. Because–let’s face it–sometimes we are. We grapple with the questions of why one lives and another dies. We wonder what to do when the angel doesn’t come. We wind up in that painful place where we want to shake our fist at heaven and demand answers for our hurt.  Yet it’s easy to shy away from the rawness of our anger. It’s not nice. It’s not polite. You’re not supposed to talk to God like that.  But if the Psalms teach us anything, it’s that God never flinches from honest prayer.

By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
    when we remembered Zion.
There on the poplars
    we hung our harps, 
for there our captors asked us for songs,    
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
    they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
How can we sing the songs of the Lord
    while in a foreign land?
Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
    happy is the one who repays you
    according to what you have done to us.
 Happy is the one who seizes your infants
    and dashes them against the rocks.

 (Psalm 137:1,4,8-9)

Psalm 137 is not on anyone’s top-ten list of “Most Frequently Preached Psalms.”  It’s a song of bitterness and regret sung by a people in exile—a people who long for the same fate to be meted out against their captors that they saw befall their children.

The rawness of their anguish is hard to read, but it’s in the Bible for a reason.  What Psalm 137 and the other lament psalms teach us is that we can be honest before God.  God is neither surprised by nor threatened by our anger.  When we find ourselves consumed by an anguished and angry soul, the best thing we can do is pour out our anger before God.  He can take it.

We live in a messy, sin-stained world.  Being on the front lines of the battle means we get hit by the shrapnel. It hurts, and sometimes anger is our gut-level response to the pain. Anger at ourselves.  Anger at our families. Anger at our churches. Anger at God.

If you find yourself in that place, the worst thing you can do is hide it.  Like water on rocks, anger has a way of wearing us down and seeping through the weak places.  The solution is not to hide our anger but to let it be healed in him.  We can’t do that unless we admit that the anger is there.  Pour it out in your journal.  Lie on the floor and shake your fist at God.  Lay it bare before him—all the anger, all the blame, all the hurt you’ve choked down and left unspoken.

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
    before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
 I will bow down toward your holy temple
    and will praise your name
    for your unfailing love and your faithfulness,
for you have so exalted your solemn decree
    that it surpasses your fame.
When I called, you answered me (Psalm 138:1-3).

Then be silent and wait.  The God who refuses to abandon us in the storm whispers peace to us in the silence.  For every Psalm 137 there is a Psalm 138.  Our God will accomplish his purposes for you.  His love is everlasting and he does not forsake the works of his hands.
Wait on the Lord.  His grace turns anger into praise.



Mail chimp form

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather