Archive for Guest Post

{Guest Post} Lessons for the Living at the Bedside of the Dying

 

 

I’m excited to share with you a guest post from my friend Sarah Hudson. We had the joy of spending several days together this summer as she and her family were on deputation.  Over years of corresponding, we’ve become iron-sharpening-iron friends, and I’m so thankful for her tender mom-in-ministry heart. She’s guest posted for us before.

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She shared with me some thoughts she journaled as she processed the death of a member of their church in Vienna. She graciously offered to share them with you, and I hope her words challenge and convict you (as it did me!) to seriously consider how are days, hours, and moments are spent.

 

Here’s Sarah:

As the chestnuts fall here on the sidewalks near the Vienna woods, I am astounded that autumn has come around so quickly.  It’s time for blazing foliage horizons, vineyards slimming down to mere stripes on the hillside, and cosy slippers by living room fireplaces.


A year.  How quickly each one passes.  

Even in October, there are tired-brained moments when I must pause to think as I scribble “2014.”

 Time—-so fleeting, so elusive—is marked by these years that are scarcely here before they’ve gone.


My monthly calendar pages turn before I even get used to the picture hanging in my kitchen.  Our church’s monthly communion seems to happen every week. Our days seem to be measured by turning off and setting alarms, with the in-betweens growing a bit blurry.


Yesterday as we stood at Manfred’s bedside, I realized that his day was divided—-not by hourly intervals or even minutes—-but rather into labored three second intervals of breathing.  His chest was rising in effort, then falling in exhaustion, taking about three seconds.

 A breath. Three more seconds passed, repeating the intervals through the evening and the dark night as Christa loving hovered and prayed over this dear husband who had led her to Christ several years ago.

Each minute stretched into about 20 breaths rising and falling in a cadence of gratitude.

Each breath was cause for praise. Each hour a milestone. This afternoon, we slipped into his room for the final 3 second interval. Christa hovered and prayed. Tears coursed down our cheeks.  For Manfred, time in Heaven had just begun and eternity lies open-ended.


Time seems cheap to those of us who are living.  Three seconds are wasted without a single thought, without a wisp of praise. Hours pass in boredom or worthless pursuits. We “survive” our schedules without doing much true living. 

There are lessons for the living found with the dying. Lessons about living a legacy and dying in tenderness. Lessons about preparing in today’s trivial for tomorrow’s trials. Lessons about passing the torch of serving others in the body of Christ.

It was 8 months ago that Manfred was traveling in Israel.  Twelve weeks ago, he painted an apartment for a couple in our church.  About six weeks ago, he celebrated his 61st birthday with friends in his backyard—without a clue that eternity was on his doorstep.  Twenty seven days ago, he entered the hospital for some tests.  Today he entered eternity.


How can I begin to harvest my 3 second intervals?  How can I wake up to the precious gift of every hour, every day, every week, every month, every year?


The children in Vienna are gathering their chestnuts for decorations and crafts. May I gather with them a new awareness of autumn, the passing of 3 seconds, and eternity at my doorstep.

Oh, teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

Guest Post: You Are What You Think

I’m guest posting over at Overcomer Outreach today, the new ministry started by my friend Janelle of Comfy in the Kitchen fame :) and I’m talking about the fact that what we think about becomes who we are in a post entitled “You Are What You Think.”

Before you head over there, some back story:

Janelle started Overcomer Outreach because she was burdened to encourage the women all around us who are hurting and hiding deep heartache. She wanted a site where they could find hope, help, and a listening ear. I love that she’s made an online home for this.

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I’m a face to face hospitality girl, and I can tell you that I’ve had streams of women sit at my table and share deep, deep heartache that you’d never guess was going on under the surface, from their outside, beautiful faces.

I’ve offered tea and encouragement to women who are honestly heartbroken. It’s the least we can do when the Lord has comforted us with His wonderful, never changing love. Christ’s love is the message we want to get across. “Nothing you can do will separate you from God’s love. No law keeping, no law breaking. No goodness, no badness. God loves you as He loves His own Son. We are joint heirs and totally accepted in the beloved.”

Sometimes when we go through trials, for whatever reason, we feel like we are alone. Worse, we think we are the only one to deal with this problem, and we try to hide it. Being alone makes us more prone to the Devil’s attacks and lies. Although having an “in real life” Christian friend or mentor to hug you is the best option, the truth is that many times hurting women are alone with no support.

 

I’ve seen this over and over again in the ministry. Pastor’s wives who don’t have one person they feel they can be completely honest with about their struggles. Ministry families who are struggling in their marriage, their children, or even with past guilt from sin, who put on brave faces, but are withering inside. It shouldn’t be this way.

Overcomer Outreach is a safe place for asking questions and getting support. The site has private FB groups for those struggling with guilt from abortion, and groups for those healing from s*xual abuse, eating disorders and more.

Janelle writes:

At OvercomerOutreach.com you will find a group of authors with compassionate hearts seeking to encourage you through the strength of God.

This amazing group of women is comprised of Licensed Professional Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, Christian Life Coaches, Business Owners, Published Authors, Professional Speakers, Professional Bloggers, Bible Study Leaders, Pastor’s Wives, Moms, and Wives…

 

“Many of us have been through some of the trials you may be bearing, which is why 2 Corinthians 1:4 is a verse we continue to cling to when we think of why we’re here. Don’t, for one second think, “this is a group of perfect Christians”, because there is no such thing. We are Christians because we believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ , humbled and fully knowing we need a Savior.

Many of us have been right there in your shoes…believe it or not.

Yes, your shoes…

We pray to speak to the woman who have had an abortion, affairs, drug addiction (you fill in the blank) and our prayer is to use God’s word and truth to give her freedom. We pray for her to finally be released from bondage, from the lies she tells herself, and from the condemnation of the enemy that she is not worthy to go forward in her walk with the Lord and in her ministry.

We pray to speak to the oppressed, ill, victimized, tormented, abused, and bullied…we want to share God’s truth and love with you… and encourage you. We want to walk beside you to let you know…

You will get through this…”

Join me over there to talk about what you are feeding your mind.

Guest Post: “Keep Your Eyes on Jesus” by Hopie

Today, I’m thankful to share my blog with my 11 year old, Hope.

She came to me last night with something she’d written. She zapped it to me via google drive because kids are tech savvy like that now-a-days.

I’ve always kept a journal and my kids are “writers”, too.

I still cringe when I read some of the shallow things I recorded in high school journals, but it’s a reminder of where I’ve been and how the grace of God has changed me.

Donald Whitney, in his extremely helpful book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life says,

“The simple discipline of recording the events of the day and noting my reactions to them causes me to examine myself much more thoroughly than I would otherwise.”

and

“Edmund S. Morgan cites an entry from the journal of a godly young man during an illness from which he dies in the late 1600s. In it the young man evaluates whether he had shown sufficient love to others. Then says Morgan,

“The fact that many Puritans kept diaries of this kind helps to explain their pursuit of social virtue: diaries were the reckoning books in which they checked the assets and liabilities of their souls in faith. When they opened these books, they set down lapses of morality with appropriate expressions of repentance and balanced them against the evidences of faith.”

I’ve personally benefitted from reading the journals of long-ago Christians like Jonathan Edwards, David Brainerd, Charles Spurgeon, Matthew Henry and others.

Not only does journaling help you solidify what you are learning, it  reminds you of all of the former blessings of God. I love paging through to recount His watch care in our life, His provision and leading, and the many, many answers to prayer that we’ve had as a family. I’m glad that I wrote it down because sometimes we forget!

And I wholeheartedly agree with Augustine who said, “I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write.”

So, without further ado, here’s a devotional thought from Hopie:

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Have you ever been on a balance beam? If you have, then you know how hard it is to keep your balance.

Well, last year I went to gymnastics and the very first day I went on the balance beam. While I was on it I fell to the left then the teacher, whose name was Lindsey, told me to look at the end of the beam so I wouldn’t fall off. I did and I got across.

When I was driving home I was thinking about the balance beam and thought, “That balance beam is just like my Christian walk with God.”

Life is like a long balance beam. On both sides are sin, so you have to look away from the sin and look to Jesus at the end. He will help you cross the beam. If you don’t look at the end (Jesus) then you will fall into all the sins of the world.

That’s why you have to look to God our Savior.

Favorite Things and What I’m Up To Right Now

It’s been a while since I posted my favorite things from around the web and a family update, so let’s remedy that, shall we? :)

The cranberry harvest is almost over. We’ve enjoyed visiting grandpa’s bogs and watching the process.

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Some crafty pursuits included painting this burlap runner with cranberry stripes for my fall table,

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pretty-ing up the house with fall leaves and throw blankets for the impending cooold weather, IMG_4404

and simple reminders to Give Thanks in all things.

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I’ve been working on this adorable chunky crocheted infinity ribbed cowl from Purl Bee. Its perfect for a forgetful, glued-to-the-pattern novice crocheter, like me. And, it’s ah-dorable!

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I’m gathering ideas for our annual Dolls’ Christmas tea party, so I’ve been scouring Pinterest for cute winter themed ideas. My board is here, but look at these adorable snow globes from Pink Pistachio. Love, love , love this tutorial. They look super easy to make {bonus!} and they are just magical. They are most likely going to be our centerpiece of choice.

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Photo @ Pinkpistachio.com

 

I’m really enjoying several books right now. I’m re-reading Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss. I love her faith, transparency and her obvious inner fight against her flesh.

I’ve currently read The Church Planting Wife: Help and Hope for Her Heart on the recommendation of a friend and she was right. One of the most encouraging, challenging books for ministry women out there. I love it when books treat women as people who want to change and not as people who are ruled by emotions. I love depth and theology and this books delivers both. It’s also like chatting with a good friend, style-wise.

I’ve been re-reading Contentment: A Godly Woman’s Adornment (On-the-Go Devotionals). Lydia Brownback is meaty and theologically sound. She cuts right to the chase and through all the veneers and gets to the heart. I love that.

You must read this article by Tim Challies entitled The Art and Science of the Humblebrag. Honestly, this article was as insightful as some of the character observations by Mark Twain or Charles Dickens. He nailed this one, with humor, at that.

Moms of little ones, did you catch this post on How to Handle Public Temper Tantrums? It was full of wisdom. And this post on Patient vs. Permissive Parenting Part 1 and Part 2 was well worth the read.

This thought provoking post “Friend or Faux” about online friendships by Darcy resonated with me. Let’s just say it: Online life is often so fake and obnoxious.  It can be so shallow. I want friendships where I can discuss ideas and encourage someone, not just “tweet know” people. It’s like living for a quick nod or glance from someone for who knows what reason. It’s a flash in the pan.  You can’t know thousands of people well. You just can’t. I want to have deep, meaningful relationships with a few. I want to sit with you over coffee. Okay, maybe I just want coffee, but you all know what I mean, right? lol

If you want a feast for the creative soul, visit Karen Andreola’s blog. She is not just a soothing soul, but a wealth of information on the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling.

Here’s a quote from a recent post entitled Mother Culture in Snips and Snatches that resonated with me, describing herself, the ever creative “Lady of the House”—

She has more ideas than she ever gets to. She has learned to live this way. It’s fine, really. It’s fine to entertain relaxing notions about what you might do with any spare time to do it. A little daydreaming is how the domestic artist uses her tired-time wisely. And when an idea grows larger and stays with her awhile, revisiting her while she washes dishes, folds towels, sweeps the steps; she will somehow make a little time for it.

Favorite quote:

“You are where you are for such a time as this — not to make an impression — but to make a difference.” Ann Voskamp

Favorite times: When Peter calls the kids to join him for prayer and devotions each night. It makes my heart thankful, that we can teach these kids God’s word and ways and pass along all of His good promises to the next generation.

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That’s it for me. What about you? What are you loving right now? Feel free to share in the comments, and have I thanked you for commenting? I feel as though I know many of you because of your comments and insights. Thanks for that!

 

Book Giveaway and Guest Post: “Coping with Long-Term Illness When It Feels Like A Death Sentence.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about illness lately and how life can change in a moment. As I type, my mother in law is still very ill, recovering from a serious stroke and dealing with debilitating headaches that won’t give her any relief.

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for those with long term illness, perhaps because of my nieces and nephew Bailey, Noah and Addy who all had/have special needs.

When my sister’s first child was diagnosed with Campomelic Dysplasia, I remember reading two things: Not by Chance: Learning to Trust a Sovereign God and the book of Job. I wanted to know why God allowed bad things to happen to good people. I mean, why was my sister’s baby going to die when they wanted children so badly and were serving God with their lives? These were the good people. And why were other babies perfectly healthy only to be born to negligent mothers or worse, moms who would choose to abort them? I needed answers.

Elizabeth Johnson is guest posting today and talking about her new book Touching the Hem. It is a thoroughly Biblical study on life-altering, long-term illness.

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If you are in ministry, you need to read this book. It will help you to comfort someone later on and assure them that God has not forgotten them!

If you have long-term illness, you need to read this book. It will give you hope on days when you feel like your life has taken an unexpected, unplanned  detour and you are suddenly along for a ride you never wanted.

Elizabeth has graciously allowed me to give away one free copy of this book. Please comment on this post to win. Tell me one way you plan to bless those who are ill or dealing with long term illness. Easy Peasy! :)

Here’s Elizabeth:

Being diagnosed with a long-term illness (or life-changing injury) may feel like a death sentence. You may feel like your social life is over, like you can’t make any meaningful contributions to society, like you can’t do anything anymore.

But it’s not a death sentence! Your life is not over. You’re simply being redirected.

So maybe you have to quit that job, shift your priorities, and figure out a new normal. Maybe you can no longer volunteer everywhere, or even leave home very easily. But you can still contribute. You can still make a difference.

How?

–> Stop focusing on what you used to do, and learn what you can do right now. Look for ways to minister where you are right now.

Remember, you were wonderfully fashioned by the Creator of the universe, and no physical affliction can negate that. He knows your limitations. He knows your weaknesses. And yet He can use you, not just despite, but even because of those limitations.

So take advantage of your unexpected down-time by learning a new hobby, something you can do by yourself in the comfort of your own home. And pray about using that hobby as a ministry! For instance, I discovered card-making after my own diagnosis, and started sending them to others who needed encouragement. It gives me a way to feel useful, and at the same time it provides great encouragement to others.

–> Maintain an active prayer life. Pray for others, and ask others to pray for you.

Even the most disabled person can have a fruitful ministry of intercession! You may be blind, deaf, paralyzed, bed-ridden, or disabled in some other way: but you can still pray. You can bring the needs of others before the throne of grace. In fact, some of the greatest prayer warriors are often those who are house-bound or bed-ridden, because they have so much alone time – so much time to spend communing with the One who never leaves nor forsakes us.

And ask others to pray for you: let them know specifically how to pray for you, so they can help carry your burdens before God’s throne. You see, we are commanded to bear each other’s burdens… and if you refuse to let anyone bear your burdens, then you are actually withholding that blessing from them! Not to mention, God may do mighty things through their prayers for you!

–> Stay in God’s Word. Read and meditate on it daily.

If you can’t read it yourself, then listen to Scripture on cd or online. Get it in your mind. The more familiar you become with Scripture, the easier it will be to remember in times of trouble. The psalmist recognized this, when he declared, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).

Post favorite Scripture verses around your house, where you’ll see them frequently. Post a verse card on the mirror, to meditate on while you brush your teeth. If you usually wash dishes, put an index card with a favorite verse right by the sink. If you drive, put a verse card on your steering wheel or dashboard. Use this method to help you memorize God’s Word: the more you see it, the easier it will be to remember. And knowing those verses can be such a comfort when you are too sick to actually read.

–> Keep a journal of God’s provisions and blessings.

If your body feels miserable, your spirit will feel miserable. But you can take steps to fight that misery! Keeping a blessings book, or thankfulness list, is a simple way to stay focused on the positive: on what you do have, rather than what you’ve lost.

Take a minute each evening to write down just a few ways you saw God’s provision, faithfulness, love, or mercy during the day. Do it for a week, and it will start to become a habit. Do it for a month, and you’ll find yourself noticing God’s blessings more than your limitations.

A journal like that also provides a great reminder when you have a flare-up or just an extra-bad day. If you feel down in the dumps, or whiny, or just plain blah!, you can look back at a written record of God’s provision for you personally. That’s a great way to start feeling better!

Your body may be worn out, run down, and broken.

But your spirit doesn’t have to follow suit!

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With just a little effort, you can have true peace in your spirit, despite your physical turmoil. You can find purpose, in learning to minister right where you are. You can find joy, in staying focused on Giver and Sustainer of life.

 

 

Elizabeth Johnson

Find more practical suggestions for dealing with illness in Elizabeth Johnson’s new book, Touching the Hem: a Biblical Response to Physical Suffering, which she wrote out of her own personal experience with chronic illness. For more about the book, visit www.touchingthehembook.com.

If you have any questions or comments, Elizabeth would love to hear from you! Email her at elizabethj@touchingthehembook.com, or find her on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Leave your comment below to enter to win an autographed copy of Touching the Hem.

The giveaway ends June 25th, 12 PM EST. Winner will be chosen randomly using our handy-dandy wooden bowl drawing. Winner will be contacted via email. Continental US only.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I received a free copy of this book for review purposes. 

Thoughts on Complaining {from my teenage daughter}

Today I have a guest post from my second daughter, Emily, who has been doing a personal study on complaining. She wrote this for a teenage audience and I asked if I could share it with you. Maybe you have a teen daughter that would benefit from the thoughts of another teenage girl trying to follow God?

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I don’t know about you, but I’m a big complainer. 

If my mascara runs onto my cheek, I complain.

If McDonalds is out of Honey Mustard sauce, or I don’t look just the way I want, I complain.

Before this study, complaining didn’t seem like that big of a deal to me. I mean, yeah, I knew I wasn’t supposed to complain, but I never really thought about how big this sin really is.

In Numbers 11:1, it says that when God heard the Israelites complaining, He sent fire down and it consumed them.

That seems like a big deal to me—God consuming people with fire, just because they complained. I’m glad that doesn’t happen to me every time I complain, or I’d be dead many times over.

There are some things I say that I don’t realize are complaints—until someone points them out to me. Little things like, “Ugh! My phone’s out of battery again,” or “My hair never works for me,” are everyday complaints that we throw out there without thinking, when, in fact, we are so blessed to live in a place where we CAN say things like “My phone’s out of battery.”

I’m sure you’ve all heard the quote “Someone else is happier with less than you have.” That is so true. God has blessed us with so much. How dare we complain when a little thing like wet smelly laundry gets in our way?!

Philippians 2:14 says “Do all things without murmuring…” That’s pretty straightforward. It doesn’t say do MOST things, it says ALL things.

Jesus died on the cross for every single one of our sins. That means that He died for every one of our complaints. I think that if we double check ourselves before we say anything, we would be much better off. If we think to ourselves, “Is what I’m about to say going to edify the people listening (Ephesians 4:29)?” we’d keep ourselves in check.

Another verse on being content is Philippians 4:11. It was written by Paul the apostle. He was in jail, writing to the Philippian believers. He wrote, “…I have learned in whatsoever state I am, to be content.” That’s humbling. I’m pretty sure none of you reading this are in jail, but even if you are, they are nothing like the jails back in Bible times. They were dark, cold, damp places that probably had rodents running around in them. And Paul was content.

Wow. Now that smelly laundry pile doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Or the shoes being a bit snug. Or the tooth paste falling into the sink instead of the toothbrush.

The definition of the word content means to be satisfied with what one is or has. It also means not wanting more or anything else.

By saying he was content, Paul was saying he was satisfied with being in jail. Don’t get me wrong, Paul was no idiot. He was saying that if God wanted him in jail, he was perfectly happy there. There was nothing he’d rather have and nowhere he’d rather be, if he was in God’s will.

So, what’s the solution for a complainer?

If we stop thinking about ourselves and the things we don’t have, and start thinking about the people around you and the many, many things that God has blessed you with, it’s much harder to complain. If we change the thought “Ugh, my phone’s out of battery again” to “Thank the Lord I have a phone” it edifies the people around you and ultimately brings glory to God.

The Home Life of a Fully Thriving Child {Guest Post}

Today I am over at Kara’s blog with part 2 of our “Raising Thriving Children” series.

Yesterday we talked about raising a  Fully Thriving Child.

In today’s post, “The Home Life of A Fully Thriving Child“, I’m sharing what a normal, healthy home environment looks like, incase perhaps, you didn’t grow up with “normal” or “healthy” but want to make sure that your home is a place where kids can thrive. Join me? here

 

Guest Post- Raising a Fully Thriving Child

Today, I am guest posting at my friend Kara’s blog. She is on her way to a blogging conference, so I am posting for her today and tomorrow. :)

The topic of conversation? Raising a Fully Thriving Child.

What does the end result look like? How do you get there? Today we’ll talk about the goals and tomorrow we’ll talk about making your home atmosphere optimal for thriving children.

So join me, and I’ll share my goals for raising thriving children.

Children need time alone with their own thoughts.

Choosing Joy During the Ho-Ho-Holidays {even when you’re stressed}

 

Tis the season to be stressed out.

Really, that is how I feel when I see Christmas decor in Walmart well before October has even come or gone. My insides shake and worry rises in my heart.

Today, I am guest posting at my friend Elizabeth’s blog where I am sharing my 5 point simple checklist to rein in my thoughts during times of stress. Join me?

Have We Lost Something? Missionary Wives Speak.

Do you ever wonder if we have lost something as American Christians?

Have we lost perspective? Focus? Are our eyes on the right goals?

We live in the wealthiest country in the whole world in a continual state of relative ease and comfort.

One of my favorite pictures of my friend Toni Hafler teaching children in Zambia.

Being a Christian in America doesn’t cost us anything. Not really. Sure, we might get disapproving looks from friends and family, but “looks” don’t really count as sacrifice, do they?

Not when you hear of Christians in Sudan who are being gunned down because they hold to the name of Jesus. Little girls. Walking to Sunday School. Or of North Korean Christians who are persecuted more than in any other country.

Do we care enough about the gospel to suffer? Or are we so soft that we consider sitting in an un-airconditioned building suffering?

Do we really care about Christ? Yes, I know we use His name. But what is He worth to us?

We drive to church in air conditioned cars, arrive carrying hundreds of dollars of electronics on our person, and sit in our climate controlled buildings. We get ancy when the pastor goes overtime, because, you know, we have things to do! We are busy. We come to church to “worship”, but only on our very slim timetables, thank you very much.

I am afraid that we have lost something.

I think we’ve lost our first love and turned our eyes onto something else:  ease, excess and entertainment.

We’ve been anesthetized by the luxe of our country. And I fear we don’t even know it. (click to tweet this)

I asked a few missionary wives what they thought. I wanted to see through their eyes, fearing my own vision might be blurred.

I wanted to know what they see when they re-enter the United States. I was surprised by some of their answers. (Reverse Culture Shock, they called it.)

I hope their answers will prove to be helpful to you as they were for me, and might help us all to re-examine our own spiritual state.

Sweet Toni and her happy little girl, in their cottage where they stayed for a 6 month intensive Swahili language program in Limuru, Kenya.

Question 1. What do you notice upon re-entry into the US that shocks you most? 

“How easy life is here…there seems to be a gadget/gizmo for almost anything you would even dream of needing.” Heidi Seawright, Cambodia

“Being overwhelmed by choices. Standing in the cereal aisle, frozen, and overwhelmed at how many brands there were. I finally just reached for Raisin Bran.” -anon.

“Materialism, that everyone is constantly using some form of media {iphone, computer, cell} – Joy F., Indonesia

“We saw how busy people are–even with good things (sports, music lessons, church activities)–so that time together as a family is really unusual. Our American children might be really well-rounded, but possibly at the expense of losing their hearts.

Even though people seemed busier, some people seemed less
interested in regular church services (especially Sunday PM and
Wednesday pm). Church bodies seem to be together so little for
corporate worship, prayer, and Bible study.  Dinners and activities
were still well-attended, though.”– Susan Knipe, South Africa

“Immodesty, religious freedoms lost, disrespect towards adults, a love for the latest, love of the world and it’s entertainment. A seeming indifference to sin. A poor knowledge of scripture and knowing how to apply its truths.

Ladies having to keep up with the fashions, pedicures, etc. but not having time for serving in the church. No time for Bible reading.  The constant running of kids to their next activity.

I am surprised that in a country where we know how to read and we have so much out there to help us in our spiritual walk that still few read for that purpose. In Africa my friends there would read if they knew how and if they could get their hands on a good book.

Many times Americans can sound ungrateful for what they have in life. It really stands out to me when we are fresh back from Africa. I’m not saying the places we served didn’t have these issues. What stood out to me was how quick the decline was from our furlough to furlough.”–Toni Hafler, Zambia

“Nearly everything seems to be obtained instantly. Even memory making things are pre-packaged so you don’t have to put much work into things–for 4th of July I saw packaged cookies at the Wal-mart with sugar cookies, frosting, and sprinkles all ready to be decorated.” Heidi Seawright, Cambodia

“Everyone is interacting with phones/ipads/computers/TVs all the time! Even 2 year olds on the flights yesterday were glued to their screens!”

“What surprised me on my first visit back to the States after moving to Argentina was the cleanliness, comforts and all the conveniences.

I was floored by all the stores that catered to the shopper and how everything is available 24/7. And what’s more, everyone expects that kind of service! I don’t know about other countries, but that doesn’t happen here. –Jennifer Smith, Argentina

“Apathy – not using the overabundance of resources God has given, specifically spiritual. ”  Amy Greenwood, Buenos Aires

“We noticed people’s obsession with their pets!”

“My first shock was how many people are so disconnected from everyone around them. Cell phones in everybody’s hands. Go to a restaurant, and people even sitting at the table together are on their phones instead of talking. This really shocked me.” -Althea N., Brazil

” It did amaze me at how many people I saw one furlough looking, acting, listening to and reading things that we both thought were wrong. We’d then to go back on another furlough and they are using whatever translation, listening to “christian” rock and their girls are wearing things that do not make them look different from the world. It’s not just one family, but even whole churches. It’s very discouraging.” -anon

“It really saddened me and actually bewildered me, how many [ladies] were not modest in general. I have often wondered what caused them to change in this area. I have not had the courage to ask anybody.” anon

 

These types of responses make me think: Am I living a life of ease and complaining about it? Am I apathetic? Discontent? Using what I have for God’s glory or to indulge my own flesh.

In other words, Is Jesus Christ really all I am seeking? Is He enough?

What about you? What are your thoughts?

PART TWO  Here

LINKED TO COURTNEY

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