We have received many New Year greetings and wishes. This one, however, caught my attention: “May you follow the pathway of God even closer in 2019!”
Following God more closely is precisely what I desire.
In Acts chapter 9, we read about God getting Saul’s attention by knocking him off his horse. Saul was very busy doing what he thought was “right”—but the fact was that he was totally out of line with God’s plans and purposes for him.
Then in Acts chapter 10, we read about God getting Peter’s attention by giving him a thrice-repeated vision just before visitors knocked on the door to invite him to the home of a Gentile, Cornelius. Peter also was very busy doing what he thought God expected of him (and he might not have been quite as far out of line as Saul was). Even so, God had different plans and He needed Peter to get on HIS agenda.
I have been painfully aware in the past several months of being very busy doing . . . ahem . . . doing what? Usually, the things that I assume I am supposed to be doing. However, am I truly, fully on GOD’s agenda, or just on my own?
As we start 2019, I resolve to take more time to listen more keenly for God’s intentions for my every day. I am also asking Him to do whatever it takes to put me and keep me on HIS track.
I pray we will all follow the pathway of God even closer in 2019.
Many blessings for a wonderful year!
We trust you had a wonderful Christmas! We certainly did. This December also brought a special gift of a retreat with the DOVE Africa missionaries. I cannot help but be encouraged, challenged and grateful—all at once!Encouraged by the stories of how God has protected, provided for and directed these men and women who are serving in very difficult areas around East Africa.
Challenged by the need that is still so great: whole villages and people groups who are yet to have a viable witness of Christ or reproducing church in their midst.
Grateful for the commitment of those who have chosen to serve God sacrificially rather than advance their own careers or financial futures. And, very grateful for those of you who give to support their work. Thank you!
Security concerns forbid us from saying very much on social media, but be assured that God is doing wonders through this team! You can read several testimonies here and here (lead story on each newsletter). The DMA missionaries are a gift to us and the Kingdom!
We had a rich and rewarding walk through the Bible over the last two weeks. To top it off, we read the book of Hebrews in our Sunday service. Written to a Jewish ‘audience,’ Hebrews really helps make sense of how to understand the Old Testament. It is a shadow or copy of The Fulfillment: Jesus Christ, whose once-for-all sacrifice is superior and all-sufficient.
The theme that resonated so loudly to me in this year’s reading was that God’s promises are conditional on our obedience. Don’t get me wrong: His love is never conditional, His faithfulness is not dependent on any other factors, and His Word never changes.
But when it comes to God’s promised blessings, the outcome is primarily up to us. I have no problem with claiming promises, but let’s take up our responsibility to obey His commands right along with it.
“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands” (I Jn 2:3).
Thank you for helping to support DOVE Missions Africa in the Read-a-Thon this year. We reached almost 70% of our $1,000 target; the door for giving is still wide open!
Mary* was not having a very good day, to say the least. Having been left by her husband weeks ago—without a job or source of income—she has been struggling to feed her three children, the youngest being five months old.
Mary had worked last week as a househelp. Today when she arrived at the same house, hoping for a day’s work and payment at the end of it, she found the house locked. She was told by neighbors that the family had moved; no “forwarding address” and no telephone number were available.
Now Mary was walking back home. She did not even have the twenty cents (shillings) she needed to pay for a bus. All she was thinking about during her five-mile trek was the best way she could go about taking her life. The outlook was too bleak. But, her walk took her past DOVE, and she heard the Bible being read in Swahili over the loudspeakers.
Mary entered the tent and sat down to listen to the reading. When one of our ladies called her out for a time of sharing, Mary was able to weep out much of the stress. Then she made the decision to accept Christ as her Savior. We sent her away with a bag of food, and expect to see her back within a day or two for more prayer and Bible reading.
This is the power of God’s Word!
*not her real name
Try saying that. Now say it again. Again. It’s funny—of all the lists of names and places in the Old Testament that look so complicated to pronounce, the word that usually trips me up during our oral Bible reading is that one!
We are more than half way through the Bible, but not quite half way up to our fund raising target of $1,000. During the two-week Read-a-Thon, participants seek sponsors and bring donations for DOVE Missions Africa (DMA). Missionaries of DMA are serving among least-reached people groups in seven East Africa locations, and of course the need for support is ongoing.
We invite you to help us reach the fund-raising goal even as we expect to complete the reading goal on Sunday November 18. You can donate using the tab on the right column or the information below.1
Today, I learned that if I really want to encourage someone who puts up a front of being “okay,” it is important to press in. That is what Elisha did when he met the Shunammite woman. She seemed to have it all together—no needs—but he insisted there must be some way he could be a blessing to her. And indeed, he was. So however satisfied someone seems, I want to more diligently through any possible façade and find a way to truly express God’s love!
Have a wonderful weekend.
1 Checks can be made payable to DOVE International and sent to 11 Toll Gate Rd, Lititz, PA 17543
Curses. We kind of know what they are.
In the back of my mind, I know well the maxim, especially in the Old Testament, that blessings follow obedience and curses follow disobedience. I am also aware of the many “if” conditions that accompany most of the biblical blessings and promises we like to recite and claim. But, reading Deuteronomy 27-29 aloud today really drove home the terrifying devastation that results from disobedience. I actually was feeling embarrassed to keep reading these verses through the public address system! Being so accustomed to guarding my tongue and trying to speak positively, that was quite a contrast. Lord, have mercy!
Oh—the tremendous, glorious gift of Jesus, who carried the curse for us!
Today’s trivia: Joshua held a Read-a-Thon (of the entire Law of Moses) when the Israelites renewed the covenant at Mount Ebal. (I guess Read-a-Thon was not our original idea, after all.)
I hope you will enjoy following our daily journey through God’s written Word.
Word for word through Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers has the potential to be a tedious read. But, on the contrary, this was an exciting day of our Bible Read-a-Thon.
After the children of Israel escaped from ruthless slavery under the hand of the Pharaoh who “did not know Joseph,” God gave Moses instructions about how to set up the Tent of Meeting, Tabernacle and priesthood. Exodus chapters 25-31 set out the details of God’s instructions, and chapters 33-39, in precisely the same detail, explain how these instructions were followed.
Chapter 29 explains what will happen if the conditions are met:
“There I will meet you and speak to you. . . and the place will be consecrated by my glory.”
Then chapter 40 tells what did happen when the conditions were met:
“Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.”
Do you, as I do, long to see such a display of God’s glory? Do you yearn for the day when we will not be able to enter “church”–or will be knocked flat on our faces–because of the majestic force of His presence?
If yes, then one crucial question remains. Am I ready to sacrifice as Moses did, spending 40 days on a mountain without food, to seek God’s instructions? And then, am I willing to obey them to the letter? Am I ready to pay that price?