Friday, September 19, 2008

Red Letters - Part 3

So much happening right now! Glad to have a chance to talk about the last 3 chapters of Red Letters by Tom Davis.
Chapter 8 is entitled The Most Important Things -
Tom challenges us to consider what is on our list of the top 5 things that matter most to us. He then asks us to consider what may be on God's top 5 list and to see if they look similar! He speculates that God may be concerned about:

28 million children who die from curable diseases each year?

17 million children who die from malnutrition and starvation each year?

33% of the world's population that is malnurished?

20% of the world's population that has no access to safe water?

10 million children who are involved in the sex industry?

100 million children who live on the street?

200 child laborers?

If I am honest my Top 5 revolve around matters in my own kingdom, much more than God's Kingdom! By my time allotment, it would seem that my comfort and my well-being rank fairly high on the list. Of course, I am doing a lot of "good" things with my time and talents, but does my heart truly beat for the same things God's heart beats for? May it become so!
Tom then goes on to reference a scene from the movie Schindler's List. I saw this clip in church once and it really impacted me.

I think this speaks SO powerfully to how we spend our time and money. The way I look at my possessions has changed radically in the past year - and I have a long way to go. But I now view every purchase through the lens of "What could this money do to feed a starving child? To provide clean water? Do I really NEED to purchase this item? Am I building God's Kingdom or my own?

Tom goes on to talk about how doing nothing is harmful in itself. That silence really isn't "safe".

The last part of the chapter is about "Living Bigger Than Yourself". This is the longing of my heart. God has done so much for me and He has transformed my life. I know that I need to continue to be transformed, but I also need to understand that I was transformed for a purpose greater than myself - it is to be LIVED OUT by serving others. He asks what our personal legacy will be and what will be the legacy of our generation.

Chapter 9 is called Snapshots of Hope and is full of great stories of people who are living a faith that bleeds. He says "These people aren't millionaires. They aren't rock stars. They're just ordinary people who understand the importance of bringing hope to the hopeless." God has been driving this point home to me. HE USES ORDINARY PEOPLE!
I am ready to get OUT OF MY CHAIR!

Chapter 10 is "How to Bleed". In this chapter and in the "Additional Resources" Tom gives all kinds of nuts and bolts way to live out what he has challenged us to. Much of this can be found on his website as well.

I am so thankful that God is using ordinary people such as Tom Davis to do EXTRAORDINARY things for His Kingdom and for the hurting people of this world!
I am different for having read this book!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The life of Moses - bring it on!

My local BSF class started today and I couldn't be more excited! Last year the kids stayed home with my mom because Becca was too young to attend. This year I am taking both the younger two and I've heard so many wonderful things about the children's program! I am so excited for them to learn about Moses along with me.

During the lecture portion this morning, the teacher gave an overview of Moses' life. This statement really stuck out to me -
"God has power to deliver his people from every kind of bondage and oppression" WOW! Do I believe that? And what part does God want me to play in helping his children be delivered?

She pointed out four character qualities that were evident in Moses


She said that without these characteristics we will not become GREAT LEADERS.

I am asking myself "Am I willing to let God make me a person of prayer, courage, humility and faith?

Of course, the Beth Moore "Believing God" study, that I am toward the end of, compliments all of this so miraculously.

Sometimes I am discouraged that I still don't know exactly where God wants me to serve - and then times like today I reminded again that it is a process and I know all THIS is preparation ground! Most importantly I am seeing so clearly that while I may benefit from what the Lord is teaching me, that is not the final purpose. The work the Lord is doing in me is for the purpose of BRINGING THAT HOPE TO THOSE THAT HAVE NONE - TO BE A VOICE FOR THOSE WHO AREN'T BEING HEARD!

Lord, please make me teachable so that others will find freedom!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


My heart is heavy this week as I continue to keep up with the blogs of some missionaries in Haiti! They were already reeling from Fay, Gustav and Hannah, when Ike brought more rain this week. I don't think any of us can fully fathom what it must be like there. It is a huge struggle for people to survive, let alone thrive, BEFORE all these storms came through. MANY people have NO access to food or clean water - going on 6 days now!

Here is the link for the blog of Licia from the Rescue Center. Please take a moment to look at the pictures and hear the stories, but only if it will stir your heart to pray! There is a paypal link on their blog if you decide to help them financially!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Red Letters - Part 2

FINALLY! I have a few moments of peace and quiet to finish writing about this wonderful book! Here is the link to my post about the first half of the book.

Chapter 6 is entitled "The Sanctity of Life". Tom spends time on two passages of Scripture - Matthew 25:41-45 and Jeremiah 29:11-14. In the Matthew passage God tells us that He IS that hungry, thristy, homeless, sick and imprisoned person. He doesn't just care for them He IS them. This is something I am still amazed by and again am realizing that it will be hard to "See God" as I so often ask and live my life "not seeing" the people He indwells!
The Jeremiah passage is special to me because it is the verse we claimed over Rebecca at her dedication before our church family. Verse 11 says the Lord has "plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for". These words from Tom really pierced my heart when I read them.
"Does the Jeremiah passage apply to everyone or just to those of us who live in weathly countries? Does it pack the same kind of meaning to people in developing countries; do they get to look forward to a hope and a future? Does it apply to the infant who was just infected with HIV through her mother's breast milk?"
I agree with Tom's conclusion that God makes that promise to every person and He desires to use US to embody that promise to a person in need. When we adopted Rebecca I felt like I had done my part in helping God in fulfulling this promise for her. Now I am realizing that it is MUCH more than that - there are many more that I need to help.

Chapter 7 is "Justice". God is obviously trying to open my eyes to the idea of JUSTICE. I can't wait to write about Gary Haugen's book about the International Justice Mission. Tom mentioned how his 7 year old has a strong sense of justice. I also have a 7 year old and this is very true. The phrase I am hearing a lot lately is "that's not fair". When did I grow out of it? When did I decide that I am entitled to a secure, comfortable life, but too bad for the rest of them? Although I would never say that out loud - I sense that God is shining a spotlight into my soul and helping me see that I don't see all His people as equals as having the same hopes and dreams. As Tom says
"Jesus believed that each person living on the planet has the right to be free, to live with dignity, to be safe, to receive care for their sickness or disease, and to be loved by the community".
Do I really live like I believe that statement? OUCH! It hurts to even write it out - although I may not be doing anything to actively oppress someone, by doing nothing I am an accomplice! Tom again quotes Mother Teresa,
"When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you or I wanted to give that person what he or she needed. We have refused to be instruments of love in the hands of God to give the poor a piece of bread, to offer them a dress with which to ward off the cold. It has happened because we did not recognize Christ when, once more, he appeared under the guise of pain, identified with a man numb from the cold, dying of hunger, when he came in a lonely human being, a lost child in search of a home."
That quote is just ringing through my head and heart!
I thought I would blog the whole second half today, but I am just deciding to stop here for today. I sense I need to pause here awhile for myself and let this sink in to an even deeper level!