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Archive for the ‘Women’s Missionary Council’ Category

~ Written by Erin Shuler

I wonder if God wishes we would all stay babies.

While preparing for my return to Uganda, I’ve been thinking a lot about how ready I am to be there and to love on the children (especially the babies!). I can’t wait to sit and hold them in my arms (Baby Fever, ha-ha).

I told my mom the other day, “I would be happy for the rest of my life if all I did was sit and hold babies!” For me, there is nothing like the feel of a baby in my arms. They have complete trust and faith in the one holding them. I don’t mind the dirty diapers, the messes, or the crying (which drives some people crazy). It is all far outweighed by the feeling of love that I get as they sleep in my arms, smile up at me, cuddle with me, and just be. I feel at peace with them resting in my arms.

I often have a hard time wrapping my mind around how God sees and loves me. Today the thought hit me, “Wow, I wonder if God thinks the same way about his children as I do about holding babies. Maybe God longs to hold us in his arms the same way I long to hold a baby in mine. Maybe he doesn’t mind all the chaos, the messes, the crying that we go through, if we are going through it with him. His love goes beyond our dirt. He wants us to rest in his capable hands and rely on him.”

I’m sure God doesn’t actually wish that we would stay babies, but I wonder if he doesn’t often miss some of the qualities that we have lost over time. How often do we place our lives in his hands? How often do we just lie in his arms and be?  

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~ Written by Cassie Harris

Our world of technology has made it impossible to wait. We’ve gotten so used to getting distracted by notifications, deals and calls, silence has almost become an oddity. We have entered into a generation of constantly being plugged in. In some ways, because technology is so instantaneous, it has taken precedence over prayer. Text messages, emails and status updates come before running to the Lord.

Recently, I was in a situation which I felt desperately needed to be shared with someone else in order to feel as if I was in more control than I really was. I went to text my best friend and remembered he was at work. I went to text my mom and realized my phone was dead. I went to update my Facebook status to hopefully get shallow but immediate affirmation and realized whatever I would write would be drastically dramatic and unwise.

So, I sat fuming over things out of my control and unable to do anything with my hands.

It was only then I remembered I could pray. As I calmed down, I became comfortable with the silence and let God do most of the talking.  

No technology was needed to hand my stress over to God. 

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~ Written by Viki Rife

Let’s be honest. We just can’t reach our full potential alone. Strength comes when we partner with others.

That is a foundational belief of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. We rejoice in the number of brothers and sisters whom God has brought into our circle throughout the world, and realize that we must learn to partner together. Cultural differences must not stand in the way of the mission God has given us. We need to work together to determine how our beliefs can strengthen us to reach out to a world in need.

That’s why you should feel a vested interest in what will happen in Bangkok, Thailand, next week. As delegates representing at least 19 countries meet together, their decisions will help set the stage for greater impact as we collaborate globally to make disciples for Christ.  
For some of the delegates, just getting to the meeting is a major challenge. Some of them come from war-torn countries; some are at risk of persecution. They need our prayers. It’s the best contribution we can make to bless these representatives and to help our Fellowship become effective around the world.

Please commit to spend least fifteen minutes in prayer at some point next week for the future of the international Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. Help the delegates know who “has their backs” by signing up in the prayer chain. Details can be found at http://charisalliance.org/english/prayer-chain.html.   

Thank you for your valuable contribution. 

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~ Written by Cindy Shuler

“So, what did you do this weekend?” The question was asked knowing that my husband and sons were at the annual men’s retreat with our church. I answered that a friend and I spent Saturday on a prayer retreat. 

Responses to my answer varied. Some said, “Oh, that’s nice.” Others gave me a look that said, “Really?” My daughter responded that she’d probably run out of things to pray for after two minutes. These responses didn’t really surprise me. After all, I would have reacted in much the same way until recently. 

Three years ago I was invited to spend an evening praying for our son. I accepted with fear and trepidation. It was the Christian thing to do. But inwardly I wondered how I could pray for an hour, let alone three! What would I say? What would the others think of me? Needless to say, I survived. It wasn’t that bad. Still, I was relieved when it was over. 

Now I laugh when I think about it. I’m amazed at how the Lord has changed my perspective. Prayer isn’t a duty. It’s a privilege, a conversation with our Abba Father. I now look forward to these times dedicated to seeking God’s face, to worshipping Him and to laying my requests before Him. It refreshes my soul. 

And sharing it with a friend is an added blessing. This particular day was enriched by time spent outdoors, surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation. We offered up praise and we worshipped. We prayed for one another, our families, our church and Women of Grace USA. At the end of the day, our hearts were lighter.  

How do you respond to the invitation to pray? How would our families, our churches, our ministries be affected if we devoted ourselves to prayer? Next time you have some free time, grab a friend or two and have a nice, long conversation with your Father. You’ll be glad you did. 

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~ Written by Gladys Deloe 

Bite your tongue! Are you serious? Shouldn’t the question be, “Is life without God worth the risk? That premise is almost as incredulous as a screen-saver I saw which said, “Without risk it is impossible to please God.” Really?  

“Risk” is defined as taking a gamble! It’s investing in an unknown; it’s a danger, hazard, peril or threat. The world says the antonym for risk is security, immunity; a guarantee or insurance. Right! I’ll have one guarantee for $500, please!  

Would a better question be “What’s the risk?” I urge you to search the Scriptures for evidence of the premise that a life of faith can co-exist with a life of risk. No…don’t do that! Instead, look up verses that promise you a risk-free faith! Do you really think that the Creator of the universe can’t take care of you at any time, in any place, and under any circumstance?  

In Deuteronomy 3:16 the Lord said, “Don’t be afraid of the nations on the other side of Jordan. The LORD your God will always be at your side and He will never abandon you.” 

And the risk is: __________________________ (You tell me.)

OK…that’s for a nation. Want some personal ones?  

How about Isaiah 8:11-19, “Do not fear anything except the Lord Almighty; He alone is the Holy One. If you fear Him, you need fear nothing else. He will keep you safe. …I will wait for the Lord to help me. …My only hope is in Him.” Don’t you love it? 

Or I Peter 3:12-14, “Who will harm you for doing good, but if you do, God will reward you for it. So don’t be afraid and don’t worry.” 

It’s the unbeliever who’s at risk. Trust me… No, trust Him! So, Girlfriend, start marking those “risk-free faith” verses!  

 

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~ Written by Cassie Harris

I grew up with a number of friends who hated their fathers. Even more so, these teenagers would tell me story after story of why they should never trust their fathers. Whether the stories were reality or falsehood; their concept of “father” was not a pleasing one. It certainly wasn’t a picture our God of the Bible would have desired anyone to paint in their minds. To these friends, “Father” meant villain, torturer, captor, and mom-beater. I understood why they didn’t like it when I referred to God Almighty as Father.

But Romans 8:15 says that that we “have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba, Father!'” Since I grew up in church, I’ve heard that scripture countless times. I remember being a curious 8-year-old hearing the Greek word Abba and getting a sense of unabashed excitement that even the Greeks had an endearing word for Daddy.

I love calling my father Daddy. When all I really wanted from my Dad was love and affirmation, I’d call him Papa. The fact that God was giving us the right to that same intimacy with Him blew my young heart away.

Recently, I ran across the Romans passage again and decided to look at the cross-references my Bible provided. The first Scripture provided was Mark 14:36, which quotes Jesus pleading in Gethsemane, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” A very humbling truth hit me square between the eyes seeing those passages side by side.

Yahweh God is asking me to approach Him with the same adoration with which I approach my earthly Daddy. But not only that, He’s asking for me to approach Him with the same trust, confidence, intimacy and transparency Jesus conveyed that heart-wrenching night in Gethsemane.

How many times have I taken that invitation from God and belittled it? How
many times have I unknowingly portraying God as both villain and master when truly He is most assuredly my greatest Confidante and zealous Abba? Oh, may my life purpose be one of searching the heart of God to know the gift of calling Him Abba!

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~ Written by Viki Rife

I was looking for something else when I came across an old book of Women’s Missionary Council (WMC) records that showed the various committees and board members over the years. As my eye ran down the pages, I was struck, not by the number of those names I recognized, but by how I knew these ladies:

Mrs. Taber- she taught French at the high school where I taught Spanish. She never treated me like the novice I was, and gently and lovingly asked questions that challenged me to grow spiritually.

Ada Etling- a woman who challenged me to never hold a baby without praying for the child’s growth in the Lord.

Naomi Henning and Isobel Fraser- both these women poured their prayers into my involvement with the girls’ ministry, SMM.

The list goes on and on.

I realized that some of the main women who invested in my slow and rather reluctant early development as a leader were listed on these pages. I never knew (or didn’t care) that they held official titles in the women’s ministry. All I knew was they showed an interest in me that, at the time, I felt was undeserved. They cared about me as a person. I can’t imagine how any of them could have seen any leadership potential in me, yet they treated me as someone they were interested in.

My appreciation for WMC/Women of Grace USA and its history grew enormously as I stood turning pages and reminiscing. The spirit of encouraging and investing in younger women was alive then, and I trust will continue to live in all of us as we invest in God’s kingdom.

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