When You're Sick

There was a real breakthrough just a half hour ago for me that I must share.

I have been sick since Sunday with just a nasty-won't-go-away virus. This morning as my head is spinning and throbbing and I'm coughing up a lung and just want to lay down and curl up in a ball, my kids are in the background not obeying in doing the regular things we do every morning. I already want to "give up" (whatever that means since there's no calling in sick for parenting) but I know that there's more to this than just the average feeling sick and facing a rough day with the kids. See, at noon today I'm to be at a CEF meeting with local pastors as a few faithful followers of Jesus are pressing out to bring the gospel to the public schools through Good News Clubs and such.

I have been, in weeks past, praying for how God would let me participate in reaching outside my home with the gospel. I want to reach out and let my boys see that outreach and learn to follow Jesus in reaching out to others. Then recently I overheard a woman at my church say something about Child Evangelism Fellowship. My ears immediately perked up since I remembered going to a Good News Club when I was six. I inquired about what she had mentioned and found out that in my area of the greater Phoenix metropolis (the west valley) there are NO Good News Clubs or outreaches and that there were some folks from CEF trying to gather support from local churches to start bringing the Good News to our public schools. This led to me volunteering to share just a bit at the meeting with the pastors today about my experience as a child with the Good News Club.

So I know that this cold that's making me just want to curl up in a ball and sleep is some evidence of the spiritual struggle which is taking place to prevent me from ministering the gospel to my children and training them up as Jesus commands me, AND to keep me from participating in God's work of bringing the Good News to kids in public schools.

So I prayed. My prayer was weak, "Lord, I don't know what to do, should I stay home or should I go? I can't even get it together with my own kids this morning...help me Lord." I read the daily devotional from Jon Courson hoping to hear from the Lord, but as I read it the enemy started twisting God's word, "A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health. (Proverbs 13:17) See, you're a wicked messenger! If you were faithful you'd be healthy!" AHHHH! WHAT A LIAR! But I started to fall for it in my weakened state. Instead I turned to one more place... to a sister for prayer. I called her and shared with her how I felt and what was happening and just asked for her to pray for me and give me wisdom if she had some to share. Wow! Did God ever show up in the meeting on a phone of two women.

While we were praying and as this woman of God shared with me that over the years of ministering the gospel to children, whether it be her own or at Sunday school or through CEF...whenever she'd reach out she always had to take a stand, it was never easy. She shared that there was always something. But she would pray through it all and say, "Lord, You are my strength," and go forward. She prayed for me and I just sobbed, "Thank you Jesus." She made me thirst again for walking by faith and praying in faith which I have grown weak in. She made me desperate and desirous of following Jesus no matter the cost.

After we finished praying I new that God was allowing me to be tested and that it was my choice. He had encouraged me in praying and was saying to me, "I'm not telling you to stay home cause you're sick, nor am I telling you to go even though you're sick, I'm calling you to take a step of faith. Do what you do based on what you know is true- what I say is true!"

I opened up Proverbs 13:17 and read it again, "A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health." And I saw it anew! This is what God says is true: A FAITHFUL AMBASSADOR IS HEALTH! He doesn't say if your faithful you'll be healthy or if you're faithful you'll be sick, He just says a faithful ambassador is health. He doesn't say a lack of sickness is health... A FAITHFUL AMBASSADOR IS HEALTH!! "Just be faithful in being an ambassador Sheila," that's what He's saying to me!

I wanted to share all this cause as moms, as people following Jesus period, we all face days of being sick. Whether it be a bad cold that's got you down or cancer. But there is a definition of health that is God's and it is one that can define us whether we are sick or well and that is BEING A FAITHFUL AMBASSADOR.

Whether I'm sick or well, I am healthy if I'm faithful to be an ambassador of Christ Jesus to the souls around me, first to my own children and husband and then to others too.

If you read this would you pray for me? I'm praying for all moms this morning, that God would inspire our hearts to simply be faithful as His ambassadors. He doesn't call us to be fancy or perfectionists or even to be free from all sickness, He just calls us to be faithful to be His ambassadors. Ambassadors of truth, grace and mercy. Ambassadors of His good news!

"Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God." 2 Corinthians 5:20

A banner cry for me

"'God so used a stick of wood' can be a banner cry for each of us,' wrote Francis Schaeffer...Though we are limited in talent, physical energy, and psychological strength, we are not less than a stick of wood. But as the rod of Moses had to become the rod of God, so that which is me must become the me of God. Then I can become useful in God's hands." From the Tim Sweetman article No Little People

"...so that which is me must become the me of God." WOW!!! I think, in part, God has been stretching my heart a lot to see the overwhelming need for the poor, the orphan, the widow, the oppressed on top of the need for helping my husband and nurturing my children so that I would realize how totally powerless I am to do any of these things, and then not to stop there, but to realize that it's my very understanding of being as helpless as a stick of wood which makes me ready to give God all the glory for becoming the "me of God" in His hands.

"Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant..." 2 Corinthians 3:5-6

Don't get stuck in the paralyzation of analyzation

While I'm taking a break from blogging I've been just praying A LOT about several things on my heart:

  • My marriage

  • My husband's soul

  • My children's souls

  • Child training- how and what it means

  • Wanting to reach out WITH my kids so they see an example and learn to serve others in Jesus' name

  • What part God would grant me to participate in the "causes" He cares about

It's always the case that as I hear the Spirit stir my heart towards a certain direction and I begin to take a step towards that direction- even if that step is just praying about it and desiring to move in it- the enemy is always quick to shoot a thought of accusation, condemnation and doubt.

I've seen this before, you'd think I recognize the pattern by now and not get all stalled out with His every LIE, but I do, only this time I'm not gonna get stuck in the paralyzation of analyzation.

You know what that is, don't you? You have this thing, or person, or direction or decision laid on your heart and you're sure it's from the Lord. You begin praying about it, searching the scriptures, thinking about it, and boom, outta nowhere some sentence someone spoke on a radio commercial or a line you read in a blog somewhere gets SHOT your direction in an accusing tone. Suddenly, something you heard or read that didn't mean a thing to you before now sounds like a prosecuting attorney condemning you on the stand before the judge and jury. So you stop. You don't move forward in praying or anything, all you can do is worry and wonder and argue with that voice in your head, trying to work it out and figure out how to get past this accusation.

Well, maybe that doesn't happen to you, maybe I'm the only crazy one, but it does happen to me, A LOT it seems.

Recently my heart has been stirred to not use my husband's spiritual state, or my lack of making money, or ANYTHING as an excuse to not, "...open her hand to the poor and reaches out hands to the needy," (Proverbs 31:20) but just to step out by faith in doing the good that God would allow me to do by His power.

God's already shown me He's at work in my husband's heart and that whether I make money or not is no matter- God is the one who gives me the provision, whether I work for it or my husband does, it's still God who's providing for me. But then it hit me, that accusing thought from the deceptive Prosecution, "You're not really reaching out to anyone, your just donating. That isn't enough! That's not what Jesus wants you to do. You think giving a measly ______ a month is going count as some kind of participation in God's work? Your kids aren't going to learn anything from that...." On and on the accusations come. And I could easily get paralyzed by trying to analyze my Accusers statements, and trying to figure out a good argument back. But the still, quiet and peaceful voice of the Spirit says, "Come now. I've prepared a table before you in the presence of your enemies. Come, sit, eat and talk to me while they have to be quiet and listen. Defy their voices in My presence. Let them sit there and squirm while I, the King of all, listen to you."

Oh my! And so I come and in an instant (which is I guess is the only way you can describe being exposed to the eternal in this time-ruled place) I know that no matter if I stood amongst crowds of widows, homeless, orphans, poor, and oppressed and spoke words of life and healing, witnessed thousands saved, and was able to do it all with my boys as we touched and ministered to their needs my presence, my part, my acts, would amount to nothing more than a few loaves and some fish. Cause if God isn't healing, touching, saving, clothing, feeding, rescuing, delivering, serving, IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT I DO.

So if I never get to do anything with my boys in a BIG, seen, way, and God's assignment to me is to pray, to give up those moments of paralyzation for talking to Him about these people He loves, if His part for me is to write a check, or donate water to a homeless ministry, or stop at the local nursing home to smile and hug some widows and widowers... if I can do these things then I will by His grace. And I'll trust that He's able to take what I offer, which is never enough no matter how big or little I think it is, and make it feed souls!

Oh Lord my God! You know me! Nothing is hidden from You! I hate it that when You look at me I see my wretchedness, but I'm glad cause it makes me realize how gracious and merciful You are. I hate it that in Your holy light I see that I'm still a man-pleaser. I still value things based on how "seen" it is. I still have this thought that being out there touching the poor and lost is me doing more than getting on my knees in my house where no one sees except You and I touch no one...except YOU! I hate my own thoughts Lord! And I love Yours, cause You say, "It doesn't matter what you do Sheila- if you don't touch Me it won't meet the need." Only You Lord can do this overwhelming work. Yet You don't want me to use what I can or can't do as an excuse for doing nothing. You want me to get on my knees and do what is before me, reaching out in Christ's love in the capacity that I can and seek Your face for Your will to be done in me and in my children and in any soul I reach out to. Help us, Your people, to not get stuck in analyzing. Help us to give, even if it's a check, while praying for Your hand to touch the lives that check is intended for. And help us to reach out and touch those who are around us, the widows, the children...the poor in our lives while praying for Your hand to touch them.

Timothy Moms: Telling Parables to My Kids

Reading The Story about Ping to my kids last week it hit me, "I'm doing what Jesus did...telling parables to explain God's word and ways to my kids."
It was an ah-ha moment.

"Look at them," God said.

As my heart continues to be stirred to reach out to others in Jesus' name, prayerfully and trusting God to do a work I am powerless to do, God's reminding me of something.

Tap, tap, tap, on the shoulder.

"Turn around. Look at them."

"See that man. He's poor, without the help I've provided for him if you don't help him."

"See those two boys. They're orphans without the mother I've provided for them."

"I'm using YOU Sheila, right now, to minister to the poor and the orphans by being a help and a mother.

Wouldn't you be a help and a mother to someone else out there? If you would, then be a help and a mother to these three here.

And if there's anything in you that does not think these three souls count as taking up the cause of the poor and the fatherless, then it's because you think they owe you something.

If you thought of them as poor and fatherless, which they would be if I did not provide them you, then you would not think they owed you anything and you would give to them with the same zeal you think you would give to the homeless man or the orphaned child.

If you only think those people out there count as taking up the cause of the poor, the widow and the orphan, and fail to see the souls I've entrusted to your care, it's because you're looking for the approval of man.

No man approves of you when you help the man I've given you. No man applauds your generosity when you nurture and train the children I've entrusted to you. That does not mean you cannot reach out to those out there- I want you to. It means your heart will be right in it, a total offering to Me, if you first learn to serve Me through the three souls I've given you to help and mother right now."

UNABLE TO SPEAK ME, trembling, saying, "Yes my Lord, You see me. Nothing is hidden from You," in my heart.

Taking a blog break

I'll be off the computer for at least the next week, maybe two, just depends. I'll look forward to reading all your lovely posts when I get back. Just need to spend more time doing the really important things. I'm sure by the time I get back I'll have 5 million blog posts brewing in my mind.

Feel free to browse my archives if you'd like! :)

See ya soon!


A lesson from 2 Chronicles 26:6

I'm reading straight through the Bible and am currently in 2 Chronicles 26. This morning an odd verse really grabbed me. 2 Chronicles 26:6. It says:

He (Uzziah) went out and made war against the Philistines and broke through the wall of Gath and the wall of Jabneh and the wall of Ashdod, and he built cities in the territory of Ashdod and elsewhere among the Philistines.

What got me was the part that says, "...and he built cities in the territory of Ashdod and elsewhere among the Philistines."

I don't want to just make war against sin and the enemy's camps and walls in my life and in the lives of my children and others I love, I want TO BUILD cities in that very territory where the enemy once was established.

I immediately thought of two specific areas in my life and in my family that the enemy still seems to have a wall of Jabneh and Ashdod so to speak. Areas where our fleshly nature still walks in its natural, sinful ways. I want to go make war against those areas, trusting in my God who delivers me, and I want to build a totally new "city on a hill" (Matthew 5:14) there where the ways of my God rule and are lived out.

My meditations on being a builder continue. Everywhere I look, read, listen... daily, God is teaching me what it looks like to be a builder of His kingdom, for me specifically.

What about you? Are you concerned with the battle against sin and the building of God's kingdom there where sin once ruled? What areas of your life come to mind?

Let us be like Uzziah who not only made war against the enemies of God (our sinful nature and the works of the Devil) but also built cities in those very places!

China's Christians aren't lukewarm- they can't be!

Last night as I watched China's athletes come out for a gymnist competition I looked at their faces and had to fight back the tears because I heard, "They cannot be a Christian without loosing everything!"

The choice is very clear there. The cost is very evident. There's no lukewarmness there like there is here. We too must make a clear choice. For us too- we cannot be Christians without "loosing" everything, for Jesus said, "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:33)

In honor of Christ. In honor of those great witness who've gone before us and who live and die far away from us right now, let us check ourselves to be sure we are loosing EVERYTHING to follow Christ. Let us not hold tightly to anything in exchange for knowing Jesus!

Up all night with abdominal pain...hmmm

Okay, so here i sit at my computer at 3:37 am Arizona time. I take the time to post thought out posts of what comes to my heart, that'd be my meditations. But right now it's confession time.

I'm laying in bed, sleeping nicely when my black lab Bailey comes to let me know she needs out to potty. I irritatingly push her off the bed and roll over on my back only to feel a sharp pain shoot up my abdomen on the left side. I think, gas, who knows...lay there for a minute expecting it to pass and fall back to sleep. No doin! After a half hour of trying to get a comfortable position and ignore the increasing pain in my side I decide to get up. I let the dog out and then what? I plop on the couch and say, "Ok Father, you've got me up at 2:30 am... with gas?!!!! What's going on!? I'm listening." I sit there for a bit and hear nothing. So I mosey on in to the computer room and log on to my homepage. There I read a great devotional from Jon Courson about how when we pray and things don't happen like we think they should or would to trust that God is not withholding any good thing from us who love Him. If it seems to be witholdin' it's because it aint no good! I thought, "True Lord. If you don't tell me why I'm up right now and what's going on, I'll trust You."

Then I proceeded to read through all the blogs with new posts on my bloglines which i rarely have the time to do in daylight hours. I truly was encouraged and blessed by the souls out there who seek the Lord and write about it. I left some comments, finished the long list of blogs and now here I am...writing about what I'm doing at 3:45 am.

I think about how one of my favorite Bible teachers said in a sermon I listened to once that when we wake up in the night not to assume that it's the pizza or the dog or whatever, but to listen for God's voice. I need to do that right now! So I'm off to say like Samuel, "Here I am Lord."

Confession- I've been listening to my stomach, my dog, my homepage devo, my fellow bloggers...everything but the Lord!

A message to you from the captive church

This is a quote from Richard Wurmbrand, the founder of the Voice of the Martyrs, he himself a martyr (though he didn't die in captivity, he suffered greatly and was a great witness of Christ, and that's really what it means to be a martyr- be a witness). He wrote these words in the jarring book, Tortured for Christ (you can get a free copy at this link)- listen for China's voice amongst this today:

As a member of the Underground Church who has survived and escaped, I have brought you a message, an appeal, a plea from my brethren whom I have left behind.

They have sent me to deliver this message to you. Miraculously I have survived to deliver it.

I have told you of the urgency of bringing Christ to the Communist world and other captive nations. I have told you of the urgency of helping the families of Christian martyrs. I have told you of practical ways you can help the Underground Church fulfill its mission of spreading the gospel.

When I was beaten on the bottom of the feet, my tongue cried. Why did my tongue cry? It was not beaten. It cried because the tongue and feet are both part of the same body. And you as free Christians are part of the same Body of Christ that is now beaten in prisons in restricted nations, that even now gives martyrs for Christ. Can you not feel our pain?

The Early Church in all of its beauty, sacrifice, and dedication has come alive again in these countries.

While our Lord Jesus Christ agonized in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter, James, and John were a mere stone's throw away from the greatest drama of history- but they were dead asleep. How much of your own Christian concern and giving is directed toward the relief of the martyr church? Ask your pastors and church leaders what is being done in your name to help your brothers and sisters in restricted nations around the world.

In these countries, the drama, bravery, and martyrdom of the Early Church are happening all over again- now- and the free Church sleeps.

Our brethren there, alone and without help, are waging the greatest, most courageous battle of the twentieth century, equal to the heroism, courage, and dedication of the Early Church. And the free Church sleeps on, oblivious of their struggle and agony, just as Peter, James and John slept in the moment of their Savior's agony.

Will you also sleep while your brethren in Christ suffer and fight for the gospel?

Will you hear our message: "Remember us, help us"?

"Don't abandon us!"

Now I have delivered the message from the faithful, martyred Church- from your brothers and sisters suffering in the bonds of atheistic communism, and under attack across the world from Indonesia to Africa. Don't abandon them.

Please take a minute right now to pray for the believers in China and other captive nations.

God's "causes"

I had just posted a response to the question on today's Cafe Chat about what cause or passion I have- what Christ burden's my heart for. Then I wrote a lengthy email to a dear sister about how God is stirring my heart and my husband's heart for the cause of the orphan.

Afterward I thought, "Is 'cause' the right word? Am I just donating to a 'cause' or am moved by Christ's heart?"

So I went and did a quick word search on the word "cause" at Crosswalk. I just used the NIV at first and then dug a little deeper from there. Here's what I found:
  • There are specific causes God specifically talks about that HIS heart cares about.
  • The word "cause" really means to execute right judgement, or justice. In other words to do what's right concerning this people group or situation.
  • God calls His people to take up the causes He takes up.
  • God tells His people to "learn to do what's right." And surely that is because we think this or that is right. But He tells us what's right. He tells us SPECIFICALLY what "right" He wants us to be concerned with as His people.
  • God does not want us to wait on our government, or our "rulers" for these causes He's concerned with to be defended. He says they- the rulers- DO NOT DEFEND HIS CAUSES.

Here's the verses which popped up with the word search in the NIV for "cause":

  • He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. - Deut.10:18
  • Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. - Psalm 82:3
  • ...learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. -Isaiah 1:17
  • Your rulers are rebels, companions of thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow's case does not come before them.- Isaiah 1:23

I found this VERRRRRY interesting. It's stirring me to pray and look at these things specifically. As a Christian I could easily think of a lot of things that I think a good Christian should do. But God says, "These are the good, right things I want you as Christian to be about doing":

  • Doing what's right by the fatherless. Do I know any fatherless? Do I know about any fatherless? What can I do to partake in this cause which God defends?

  • Doing what's right by the widow. Do I know any widows? What can I do to take up this cause of God's.

  • Loving the alien. Oooh. This one just hit me. I live in a "border state" where illegal aliens are rampant. How can I be sure to show them love and not expect the "rulers" to do so? These verses says God provides them food and clothing- shouldn't I?

  • Doing what's right by the weak. Who do I know that is "weak"? A little further digging into the verse in Psalms reveals that this is speaking of those who are poor, or low, needy or weaker than me.

  • Maintain the rights of the poor and the oppressed. A little digging into those words reveals God is talking about personally doing what's right and standing for what's right for those who are afflicted or wretched (makes me think of those with disease, even shameful diseases like HIV) and for those who are hungry, even impoverishing themselves (I think of those who are hungry because they worship idols and those who are spiritually hungry because they...worship idols).

  • If you don't know what to do LEARN! Learn to do what's right- what I do! (God talking there, not me :)

  • Encourage the oppressed! Makes me think of writing letters to Christians who are imprisoned for the gospel in foreign places. But there are those all around me who are oppressed. Am I encouraging to them?

  • DON'T DEPEND ON THE GOVERNMENT TO DO THESE THINGS! YOU DO THEM!!! It really grabs me that God is talking to His people in all these things that we tend to look for the government to set up programs and systems for. But God says, "No! YOU do it!!"

Wow! That was a swift kick in the britches study! Lord, it encourages me and convicts me. Be my teacher as I seek to LEARN to do what is right.

Prayer for China

(This is Shuang Shuying- a 76 year old beloved of Jesus imprisoned in China while walking next to the Olympic site with her house-church-leader son)

Father God, as I listened today to the message about David and Saul, about how Saul was dead yet even though he had persecuted and tried to kill David, David wept and truly loved Saul.

It made me think of the Christians in China and so many other places, who truly love their "Saul"- the people who govern over them. They desire to do no harm, only to spread the love of Christ and even to serve those who rule over them as though they served Christ Himself and yet their "Saul" continues to crazily chase and persecute them.

Father I pray you would strengthen the hearts of believers in China and other hostile places. I pray your love would so overflow their hearts that what the enemy is meaning for evil against Your people would only be used for good. I pray the very puppets in the enemy's hand who persecute Your people would be able to see Jesus! Reveal Jesus to them Father and draw them into Your kingdom.

Be the hiding place and the strong tower of refuge for Your people to run to while their "Saul" chases them. Send Your salvation rampantly throughout China LORD, and throughout the nations where Your people suffer for Your name's sake.

This looks good!!!! I've gotta see it.

Thanks to Sunny at A Damsel No Longer in Distress for sharing this trailer.

On your way to church today remember

Today in China many lovers of Jesus are risking imprisonment, torture, loss of home, job, income, reputation, etc. to get together with each other and pray, read God's word, sing to the Lord and enjoy fellowship in the Spirit together.

Whether you've already been to worship with your friends at church this morning or you're on your way, please remember your brothers and sisters in China.

When you close your eyes to sing that song which pierces your heart and causes you to overflow in worship remember that your sister and brother in China are courageously singing unto the Lord knowing that at anytime the governing authorities could break down their doors and begin imposing punishment for their "illegal" activity.

"Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body." Hebrews 13:3
Related links:

Remember. And...I want to be a "Rebelutionary" Mom


Today is the first day of the Olympics in China. Until the Olympics are over I resolve to post something each day to bring awareness and stir someone (mostly myself) up to prayer concerning China, it's government, and it's people.

"Remember Jesus Christ...for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!" - 2 Timothy 2:8a, 9

In China those words I just typed out are ILLEGAL! But no matter how a government tries to bind up the word of God with it's human laws, THE WORD OF GOD IS NOT BOUND!!!!

In China it is illegal to print, speak, sing, or share in anyway the Word of God in your own home, with a child, on the street as you walk, or in a housechurch meeting. The only place China says the word of God can be spoken is in one of the state TSPM Churches...and even there the government monitors what is spoken and preached.

The nations may rage. China can impose all the laws it wants to, but the word of God is not bound. Yet people who are the vessels through which the FREE word of God is delivered are bound...as though they were criminals.

In my flesh I want to get angry about this. I mean, how can a "modern", advanced, intellectual, wealthy society think that it's okay to throw someone in prison for freely sharing these words, "For God so loved the world (even China) that He gave His only Son. That whoever (even China) would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it." (John 3:16-17) But the gentle, yet almighty Spirit of God reminds me that getting angry makes no difference- prayer does!
Please take the time to today to pray and remember our brothers and sisters in China who are treated as criminals for sharing the FREE word of God with bound-up souls.

I want to be a Rebelutionary Mom.

I began reading the book Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris yesterday, and I want to be, in fact, I am a Rebelutionary Mom by the grace of God. I'm sure I'll have this book finished by today and the impact it's dose of courage is bringing me will not be finished I pray for a lifetime.

I was grabbed by the Rebelutionary Blog the first time I read a post they wrote on what a real woman is. When I realized it was written by teens I was blown away! Why? Because I too have this unconscious judgement that teenagers shouldn't be so....wise! The article spurred me on to finding out more about these guys and I ran into a world-wide movement that I was completely unaware of. I was so encouraged and challenged by what I was reading on their blog that I decided to order their book "Do Hard Things."
Opening it and reading the dedication page, I was moved:
To our parents, Gregg and Sono Harris

This book is the message of your lives.

Our triumph is your triumph. We love you.

It's just the dedication page and they've already got me!!!!

It opened up a message the Lord has been stirring in my heart for sometime now, "Be what you want your kids to be." I want to be the kind of mom to my sons who leaves a message that burns in my heart (chiefly knowing Christ and bringing others to know Him) impressed in their hearts.

This book isn't just for teens. It really is a challenge to parents too. It's a challenge to invest your life in the spiritual labor of building up another soul for the kingdom of God...beginning with your own children.

I don't care especially that my sons write a book or start a website, that they are famous or successful at all by this world's standards. I DO care that they not let fear and this world's philosophy keep them bound by lies and floating like dead fish in the downward stream of comfortable living. I want them to BELIEVE they've been redeemed by Jesus and BELIEVE that He's created them new, despite their flesh which they must still contend with, and STAND on that belief as they do GOD things- partnering with God in changing lives and building up HIS kingdom.

It really begins with me. True, if I refuse to take up this challenge to do the hard thing of training my children in the ways of the Lord, trusting that I'm doing it in HIS strength and that He's partnering with me to build up His kingdom, God will still be sure to find someone who will believe in Him and build up the souls of my sons for His glory. But I'LL miss out on being the one God partnered with to do such a humanly impossible thing.

So pray for CHINA. Remember, make yourself aware that there's more going on the world than just what's going on in your little world. And pray!!!

And BE A REBELUTIONARY MOM! Train your kids to do hard things for God's glory by His grace.

We're builders: Part 6- About our Father's business

Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" - Luke 2:49

As I've been meditating on Psalm 127 it hit me: This means we are to be about our Father's business.

Let me explain.

I'm a real simpleton in thinking. I need the Spirit to explain things to me a lot! Like a child I find myself asking my Father things like, "What does that mean!?" ALL THE TIME!!

As I wrote in my 5th installment of We're Builders, I realized that Psalm 127 teaches me to trust God and not be anxious about how my kids are going to turn out, or if they'll know the Lord because I can't do anything to ensure how they'll turn out or if they'll know the Lord UNLESS God is doing a work in their lives. I can't "build the house" unless the Lord is building the house.

But I've continued asking my Father questions about this passage this past week. One of the questions is, "What's my role then!? If I can't build unless Your building, how can I be sure Your building and what am I suppose to be doing?"

Maybe to many of you wise women of the Word this answer is more obvious, but to my pea-brain it's not. In the everyday interactions of life how am I suppose to be about building up my house for God's glory through training and raising my children if it's all dependent upon whether God is building, training and raising them in their hearts and spirits? Am I suppose to try and dig deep into the heart issues of my 3 and 5 year old or am I to not concern myself with that at all since it's only God who can truly "build" them? These are my questions.

Like I said it hit me the other day. I'm not sure where I was, maybe in the shower, but I heard, "It's being about your Father's business Sheila." In that split second I got it! I understood a bit of the mystery of how God empowers and allows mere men (and women) to do HIS work.

Think about that, God partners with man. It's HIS work, He is the strength, apart from Him it will not be accomplished, but He choose to let those who trust Him participate in His divine work. Wow! And, Oh my goodness!!!!

And the other thing He spoke to my heart in that moment was, "It's more than being used. I used a donkey. I've used hard-hearted Pharaoh. I used King Nebuchadnezzar. Being used by Me is not the key or point. I can use anything, I even use the devil to ultimately prove the faith of my children and to work all things for good for those who love Me and are called by Me for My purposes. Don't just desire to be used by Me Sheila, desire to KNOW ME! Knowing Me is the point."

God is working with a very weak human here and He's doing it to prove His might. He's also alluring me to leave being used for being known and knowing Him.

Being builders as women means being intimate with God, knowing Him, and participating in His divine work- doing our Father's business of building up lives for His glory. As we make homes wherever we are, serving and loving those in our lives, as we train and teach and labor in prayer for those God's entrusted to our care as our own children (whether they are ours or not- they belong to the Lord) leading them to Christ, we participate in a divine work. A work that could not be done apart from God, and a work God chooses to do THROUGH us!

What a calling! What a privilege! What a responsibility! To be about our Father's business!

Oh Daddy! Help me! Give me wisdom and cover me with Your mercy and grace. If You aren't revealing Yourself to my children and to others who are in my life nothing I say or do will mean a thing. But since You've called me to this I'm trusting that You are "behind the scenes." I trust You are digging into the deep issues of the heart with my children and husband and I'll leave those things to You. Help me to do my part in loving and serving them, and in training the children.

Hebrews Thirteen Three: China

The Olympics begin in China in 7 days. All eyes will be on the China we can see on t.v. and it's the China, China wants us to see. But there's more than meets the eye.

Recently, the Lord began turning my heart towards praying for the people who make my clothes. Now almost every time I put on something or buy something I check to see where it's made and I'd say at least 90 % of the time it's made in China. It's made me realize that there are human hands, and human hearts, with a need for forgiveness and salvation, love and mercy, behind the comforts I take for granted everyday. It's turned my heart towards China even more. I mean somewhere in China is a woman or man, maybe even a child, using skill, craft and labor to make something I use to cover my body. This is the China we don't see on t.v. There are no ceremonies or games for sewing.

When there has been a brief light shed on the Chinese men and women who labor for our supply, it's shameful. In light of human rights we would look upon the working conditions of some of these places and say, "That's not fair!" Maybe it's not, but that's not the perspective I'm taking here. Mine is one that skips right past the middle-man of world-governing powers, over issues such as labor laws, and goes straight to the Creator, Lover and Redeemer of souls. What I want to remember and speak out for is prayer and thanksgiving, intercession and evangelism.

Prayer. I want to pray that if there be any Christians who labor to make my clothes and things I use everyday, and they are treated harshly or not cared for rightly, that the message of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 7:20-24 would be revealed to these dear brothers and sisters, " Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. Were you a slave when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. So, brothers,in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God." (ESV). I pray that they would know they are not slaves of men, but they serve the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray they would be lights in the dark places they labor to those who truly are slaves in their souls. I pray that the message of the gospel would spread and create a workforce of worshipers of Jesus who are truly free.

Thanksgiving. I give thanks for what I wear. I don't know how to sew, and I certainly couldn't afford to make my own clothes even if I did. But I can afford to buy something at a store which was made by hands in China. I thank God for these who serve me in such a way.

Intercession. I pray to the God who establishes leaders and governments, who stirs the hearts of bosses and people in authority. Father, I lift up the souls who made the garments I wear. You know who they are. Send out your ministering angels and your workers in the field to them. Reveal Jesus to them. Show them the One who truly makes them free.

Evangelism. Lord of the harvest, send Your workers into the fields of those who labor behind the scenes in China. Send men and women out from house churches and neighborhoods to the hands who made my clothes. Encourage the hearts of those who spread Your Gospel in China. May they see right past the attempts of government to stop the spread of Your word as You have said, "The gates of hell will not prevail against..." them.

I encourage you to go to the China Aid website or the Voice of the Martyrs website and get a Pray for China bracelet and educate yourself about what's really going on in China. Please remember, as the Spirit urges us to:

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. - Hebrews 13:3

Father, I pray for boldness. I pray that You would stir the hearts of Chinese leaders to favor Your people in China.

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