GLEANINGS (February 17, 2017):
- TEN WAYS TO LOVE – No commandment greater
- MIRACLE AND SALVATIONS IN VIETNAM – Prayer and Christian love
- MOVING ON – From dream to reality!
NO OTHER COMMANDMENT IS GREATER!
(February 17, 2017) Carol Round, Special to ASSIST encourages…
‘”And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” The second is equally important: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” No other commandment is greater than these’ (Mark 12:30-31NLT).
For over 11 years, I’ve sat down at my computer each week to write this column. It wasn’t part of my retirement plan after leaving education in 2005. But God had other plans.
Although I grew up in the church, I didn’t have a personal relationship with God until my late 40s. I’ve never regretted accepting Jesus as my Saviour and Lord. There have been times, however, when I wanted to give up. Trials have left me drained but Jesus has sustained me.
When I grow weary and want to quit writing, his Holy Spirit encourages me through the feedback I receive from readers. Writing for his glory is a labour of love.
Love is the answer to the current discord and hate in this world
If we claim to be Christians, shouldn’t our life reflect the light of his love? If we claim to be Christians, shouldn’t we love everyone, even the unlovable among us?
Love everyone? What about the person next door who disturbs the neighbourhood by constantly yelling at his children? What about the neighbour who leaves trash scattered across his lawn, distracting from the beauty of the area? What about the grumpy one who never speaks, even when you try to establish a relationship? I admit it’s not easy and I sometimes fail.
But Jesus calls us to love our neighbours as ourselves, regardless of race, religion, gender or social status. Our neighbours are everywhere – the ones we pass on the sidewalk, in the grocery store, in our churches and in our workplaces.
Biblical scholar J J Bruce once said, ‘God bestows his blessings without discrimination. The followers of Jesus are children of God, and they should manifest the family likeness by doing good to all, even to those who deserve the opposite.’
We can’t love the unlovable on our own. That’s why we need a personal relationship with our Saviour. That’s why we need to be reading, meditating on and studying scripture.
Scripture keeps us grounded in his love
Recently, I came across the following Ten Ways to Love –
- Listen without interrupting (Proverbs 18)
- Speak without accusing (James 1:19)
- Give without sparing (Proverbs 21:26)
- Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
- Answer without arguing (Proverbs 17:1)
- Honour others above yourself (Romans 12:10)
- Enjoy without complaint (Philippians 2:14)
- Trust without wavering (1 Corinthians 13:7)
- Forgive without punishing (Colossians 3:13)
- Live and love as a child of God (1 John 3:10).
We can rely on the love of God who gave his one and only Son so that we might have eternal life. What better example of love did our Saviour demonstrate than to hang on an old rugged cross where he bled and died for our sins? It was his way of saying, ‘I love you.’
Shouldn’t we, in return, share that love with others?
Carol Round, Special to ASSIST, follows her passion of using her writing and speaking abilities to inspire others. Recommended: Journaling with Jesus: How to Draw Closer to God. Link: Carol’s A Matter of Faith weekly column: email@example.com / www.carolaround.com
Recommended: Carol Round’s Nana’s 3 Jars – a great children’s book on giving, saving, spending, faith and generosity – http://www.amazon.ca/Nanas-3-Jars-Giving-Generously/dp/0692280197.
GIRL BORN WITH BENT FEET HEALED BY JESUS LEADS TO 50 SALVATIONS
GodReports’ Mark Ellis reports a great testimony from Vietnam…
Born with bent feet, at two-years-old, Mai could not even stand. Doctors in Ho Chi Minh City had been unable to help the baby.
Despairing over her condition, the parents decided to receive prayer from a Christian pastor, along with five other Hmong pastors who were attending a training session, according to a report by Christian Aid Mission (CAM).
Prayer, miracle and elated parents
‘The next day, while the husband, his wife and their daughter were at a children’s hospital waiting for their appointment, for the first time in Mai’s life she was able to walk about one metre with the help of her parents,’ the pastor reported.
The parents were so elated at this first glimpse of hope that they cancelled the doctor’s appointment, and carried little Mai back to the pastor and asked for more prayer.
After the prayer, Mai was able to walk from one end of the bed to the other, supporting herself with one hand on a wall. Her parents asked the pastors attending the training session to pray for her one more time before they began the long trip back to their home in Dak Lak Province.
Two days later, they informed the pastor that Mai was 70 percent healed.
‘Not long after that, Mai was able to stand, walk and run like a normal child,’ the pastor told CAM. ‘Hallelujah! This is a great miracle, that God healed a girl with a birth defect in her feet.’
Gospel shared, 50 people saved
News about the healing spread and helped to fuel new growth in the church in southern Dak Lak province and the indigenous ministry leader’s wife began to share the gospel with patients in cancer treatment hospitals. She found that patients who respond to the gospel are more open to receiving prayer for healing, according to CAM.
‘In Hanoi there are four cancer hospitals, and the ministry had one worker there who in two days saw 50 people receive Christ,’ CAM’s ministry director reported. ‘The people are typically in the hospital for two weeks, and the ministry workers try to follow up with them afterwards.’
‘Typically the patients’ families spend most of their time in the hospital to help care for them, so they too hear the gospel,’ he said. Conditions are so meager at the hospitals that there are often two patients per bed, as well as two patients under each bed,’ he noted. ‘The hallways are filled with people, everything is dirty, and the family has to provide their food. In Ho Chi Minh City there are two cancer hospitals, but they are now building a very large one.’
The ministry director would like to find supporters to pray for and support two evangelists working in the cancer treatment hospitals. Workers provide memory sticks that contain the Bible and other training materials in the Vietnamese and Khmer languages for those who accept Christ.
‘Typically the tribal mountain people have been open to the gospel, but the Vietnamese people in the lowlands and the cities have been resistant,’ he said. ‘In the hospitals, 30 percent of people are tribal and 70 percent are Vietnamese. The ministry is excited, because this is a way of reaching both the ethnic groups and the Vietnamese with the gospel.’
Love demonstrated leads to church growth
One area that has been particularly resistant to the gospel is Vinh City, on Vietnam’s north central coast. Tragically, one pastor was killed there last year when a car veered into him.
The ministry leader went to console the grieving congregation. ‘He asked for a replacement and 30 men volunteered, even though it is a very hard place to minister,’ he said. ‘Now there are 12 other churches in the area.’
Non-Christian relatives of the church members were angry, saying, ‘If God is a big God, why would he allow this to happen?’ One answer came when the mother of the driver who struck the pastor, surprised there was no lawsuit and the congregation forgave her son, decided to visit the church. ‘She saw the love of the people towards her, and so she believed in Christ,’ the ministry director reported.’
Mark Ellis is a senior correspondent for ASSIST and founder of www.GodReports.com a website that shares stories, testimonies and videos from around the world.
INSPIRATION, ASPIRATION, PERSPIRATION – FROM ‘TELL-A-VISION’ TO ‘DO-A-VISION!’
Ed Delph shares another thought-provoker…
Years ago I was speaking at a large church in Nakuru, Kenya. This was right before the Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia in 2000. It was my eighth time to Kenya. I love Kenya and the Kenyans they are so full of life and vision. They believe it and talk it but there’s just one problem. Many seem to never achieve their vision.
Of course, this is not a Kenya problem only. Many people can tell-a-vision but struggle with doing-a-vision. They have a hard time moving from dream to done, from revelation to reality, from invisible to visible and from an idea to a product.
Realising that the Kenyans national source of pride is winning the marathon in the Olympics, I thought I would try and make a point with my Kenyan friends. As I stood in front of over one thousand Kenyans at a church service I asked the following question. ‘How many Kenyans here have a vision of winning the marathon in the Olympics this year?’
Without one bit of hesitation the crowd stood up and cheered, for fifteen minutes. They all had the vision! Then I asked the next question. ‘How many here believe that Kenyans have it in their DNA to win the marathon?’ We had revival! Everyone was excited and in agreement.
Now came the next question. ‘Now, let’s take that Kenyan, they have a vision to win the marathon, and they have it in their DNA to win the marathon, but, they never practise. Will they get to their vision of winning the marathon?’
There was silence. A hush fell over the crowd. There was no more revival. I thought I was in trouble. They were quiet because they had an ‘aha’ moment.
A lesson we all need to learn
You can have a great vision, you can even have it in your DNA to succeed, but if you don’t have the right internal values, your vision will not become a reality. In the case of the Kenyan, he or she has a great vision; they certainly have it in their DNA but their core value of laziness disables their vision of winning the marathon every time.
Let’s apply this lesson to our lives. While our desires or goals are vision-focused, they are also values-driven. Values can be the best friend or the worst enemy of a vision. Many of us want to be successful but lack the appropriate values required to get us there. Values are internal. Values drive our behaviour. Values are deeply held convictions.
Some other words we could use for values are precepts, choices, ideals, assumptions, or standards. Values affect decision making, risk taking, goal setting, conflict resolution, problem solving, priorities determination, role clarification, and resource utilisation. Values communicate what is important. Values influence overall behaviour. Vision inspires people to action. Values enable execution of the vision.
Inspiration, aspiration and perspiration
How do you turn unfulfilled potential into fulfilled reality?
By having enabling values that transport you to your desired vision! That’s the way God designed us to work. The Kenyan man or woman could greatly increase their probability of winning the Olympic marathon by adopting the value of self-discipline and making it a core value. In fact, in the year 2000 at the Summer Olympics in Sydney, Kenyans were first, second and third in the marathon.
They moved from tell-a-vision to do-a-vision. How? They had a vision, the internal makeup, and the values necessary to win the marathon. They moved from inspiration to achieving their aspiration through perspiration.
Remember, a vision mismanaged leads to frustration.
Dr Ed Delph is president of Nationstrategy, an organisation with the strategy of envisioning and empowering today’s leaders in the church to be some of tomorrow’s leaders in the community. Links: firstname.lastname@example.org / http://www.nationstrategy.com
Disclaimer: Articles, as well as the sources linked to, do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ConnectingwithYou! Our thanks mainly to Dan Wooding, ASSIST (www.assistnews.net) and other news sources for timely gleanings