Tuesday, March 6, 2012

On My Heart Today (Part 2)

Read Part 1 here.

Besides having to learn about finances the hard way, I am also the type that has to learn how to relinquish control to God.  God has gifted me with the ability to plan and execute my plans so it is often difficult for me to know when to let God do the work. I'm always trying to steer things to a certain conclusion; a conclusion that I feel is a good conclusion!  It is difficult to simply let go and understand that God who is all knowing and who creates perfection can do far better than I can.   I suspect my issues stem from having a lack of security in childhood and having to be financially reliant on myself for so  long. But God in his loving kindness and mercy has often let me have my way. Then when all unfolds, I sometimes have to conclude that my plan was not really so great after all. It is at those times, that have had to humbly say "Okay God, I made a terrible  mess of things.  What is your plan for me?"

A related issue is that often I've not known exactly what God wants me to do in the longer term. I  pray and ask for guidance and leading in all things, and I keep putting one foot in front of the other in the meantime.  I have learned and am continuing to learn, to have faith and trust in God, each step of the way, and, as the song says "one day at a time".

A young mother lights her new jiko stove.

One of the scriptures that has meant a lot to me over the years is this one:

  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 
 Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

His plan for me and for you may include worldly success, and it may not, but whatever it is, it is good, and he will be right there beside us.  Even though we may go through trials and tribulations and not understand it all now, some day we will know, what God meant for us to learn and why we had to go through what we did.  He promises us that "all things work together for good to them that love God, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Rom. 8:28).  When times get rough, as they sometimes do, I often say out loud, "ALL" things work together for good and then I keep reminding myself of that.

Sometimes I've asked myself what is our purpose here on earth? What are we to be doing here on this earth? I've concluded that once we are saved and as we go through the sanctification process we are also to do our part of reaching the lost for Christ.  That part is the simple part in some ways. We all know whether we are doing it or not.
The harder part for most of us is what do we do the rest of the time?
I believe that all we have belongs to God and all that I do should be with thoughts of his Kingdom.  If we keep our mind on these thoughts it becomes so much easier to fill the rest of our time, ministering to the needs of the hurting world, in tangible and practical ways; especially to those that are of the family of God that really need our help. We also can minister to those that are not yet saved. I also believe that ministering to others doesn't require us to give a gospel message before we administer the helps. God gives men and women a free will to accept him or reject him. If we only administer helps after giving a gospel message we create resentment on the part of the receiver. They learn to think of the "game" they must play in order to receive helps. On the other hand, if we simply minister to others because they have a need and because we love them as God loves us, I believe the Holy Spirit draws them and shows them that we are Christians because of our love.

If we love God as he loves us, we will want to do good works because he has called us to do good works. In fact, he has prepared in advance what it is he wants us to do.

  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. ... For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 
Ephesians 1: 3, 4, 5, 9,10

If you don't know yet what it is God has called you to do, just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Ask God to open doors for you and begin to follow up on those areas where you may feel a special calling or leading.

That is how I came to work with widows and orphans in Africa, now expanded to help others like people in need of medical help and farmers in need of seeds. Until I started working with widows and orphans, I didn't know that God says that pure and undefiled religion is to visit widows and orphans and to care for them in their distress. (James1:27)  Perhaps I had heard the verses before but never really paid attention to them because I didn't have a point of reference.
Ministering to medical needs in rural areas of Kenya.

I believe that God called me to a work with widows and the orphans when I was still a child in Sunday School.  I had actually forgotten about this childhood dream but God did not.  He made a way for it to happen without my planning or thinking about  it.  It has meant all the difference in the world to me.

I can't express in words how grateful I've been to be able to play a  part in God's plan in a hurting world.  I have been blessed to be a blessing and know the meaning of the verse "it is more blessed to give, than to receive" (Acts 20:35).  I truly would want to do so much more but can only do what I am able at any point in time. If and when, God sees fit, I know he can change this in a heart beat but I have to leave all that to him. It isn't in my nature to be patient about such things. I weekly, and sometimes even daily, need to seek his help in being patient.

Helping a woman from the slums start her own business.

If you too feel a call to Africa and are looking for a way to help would you consider joining with me?
I would ask you to consider supporting Missions of Hope.
You can find out more here 
 Or you can write me.

We are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works.
Ephesians 2:10


Kay L. Davies said...

Beautifully said, Penny, and I know you are doing what God intended you to do. I'm grateful to know you.
Hugs, K

Linda said...

Ah, Penny, bless your heart. God has given you His joy and His dreams for you, and you are willing! A willing heart is of utmost beauty! God will direct your steps, one at a time.


momto8 said...

God bless you! and thank you for all you do for others. A woman in my Bible study helps the missions in Uganda...she just sent $600 to the priest there. we are all in this together!!

Joyful said...

Thank you, ladies! May God lead and guide you in all that you do for his Kingdom. Hugs. xx

Brenda Green said...

that whole story was beautiful. Thank-you for sharing from the heart. Thank-you for sharing a part of your past with us, your readers. Your pictures and bible verses very touching and life changing. I'm glad that God say's that his word does not return void. Again. may God truly Bless you for you have done. I'm truly Blessed by you being my friend. love and hugs, me

Laurie Collett said...

What a wonderful post. It really blessed and touched my heart. May we all follow God's voice to fulfill His perfect plan for our lives.
Love in Him,

Kilauea Poetry said...

Wise words..I think we have to remember that because things no doubt will get tougher. Faith is a matter of trust no matter what our situation or where he's placed us. Sometimes its difficult because we have to see something tangible and there is so much suffering! But faith is the substance of things not seen, right?I often remember the verse "will he find faith on the earth" in Luke.
I love the verses you selected too and glad you shared this! May our hearts be enlarged~
Have a wonderful day-

Ioana-Carmen said...

Just lovely :X


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