patience

DOESN’T GOD CARE?

(January 29, 2023) Maureen McQuillan seeks to comfort a distressed sister…

Dear Pastor Maureen

I’m going through a difficult time. I’ve prayed and prayed but don’t seem to be getting answers, or help. I want to  believe that I can trust God but I just feel He hasn’t heard my prayer. My heart is sobbing, I cry myself to sleep. Doesn’t God care? I am a Christian, I have accepted Jesus. Bella.

Dear Bella

Oh yes, God does hear our prayers… your prayers, and yes, He does care! I’ll be open, honest with you, won’t mislead you… becoming a Christian doesn’t mean we’ll have a carefree life. Yes, we will have a good life, sins forgiven and an assurance that we’re heaven-bound. But… presently we’re still here and things can go wrong, even for God’s children! Accidents, sicknesses, disappointments, marriage and family troubles, sudden loss of loved ones, even disasters.

But we can keep trusting God, we can bank on His love, provision, protection in that He will help us and bring us through whatever the issue is! Your prayers are heard by God (1John 5:14-15, 1 Peter 3:12). 1 Peter 5:7 is particularly precious: ‘Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you.’

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LESSONS LEARNED FROM A GINGERBREAD HOUSE

 (January 08, 2023) Carol Round reflects …

It took four tries before my four-year-old granddaughter and I could get the walls of our gingerbread house to remain standing. It should have been an easy task but the instructions were lacking in detail. And I’m no carpenter – even with sugar frosting.

Finally, on the fourth try, and with lots of extra icing, we were able to accomplish what seemed to be an impossible task. The gingerbread house took four hands and we could have used two more – but we exhaled a sigh of relief when the structure remained standing.

I purchased the kit two days after Christmas when it was marked down to USD$2. It was a bargain because it also included everything needed to construct the little cottage: gingerbread cookies in the shape of walls and a roof, a package of frosting, candy decorations, and some gingerbread men.

Lessons learned
Even though our final product didn’t closely resemble the picture on the front of the box, the lessons I learned as we worked and laughed together were more valuable.

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NEHEMIAH – GOD’S CALL TO BUILD THE WALL (Part 4)

(June 22, 2022) Hope Flinchbaugh shares some more thoughts about Nehemiah’s wall building journey, challenging us to know that God has a plan for us…’

It’s hard to leave our comfort zone! And that was the initial challenge Nehemiah faced in moving on from his comfort zone to fulfilling God’s plan for his life.

Being cupbearer to the king – a  noted position – meant Nehemiah was in and out of the king’s presence several times a day. He had money, a position that clothed him well and gave him personal honour, a position where he enjoyed a small realm of trust and influence before the king.

When he learned that the exiled survivors of Israel were living in appalling conditions, that the walls of Jerusalem were rubble and the gates of the city were in cinders and ashes, Nehemiah was deeply touched. He immediately fasted, prayed, wept, and was willing to move…  but what was the next step?

Waiting patiently
That must have felt so anticlimactic!

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HELPING WHEN HELP ISN’T ASKED FOR

(July 30, 2021) Maureen McQuillan responds to a challenging situation where someone wants to help a friend but that person just can’t receive help at this time…

Dear Pastor Maureen
A good friend on mine is in quite a state… her husband walked out on her, ending the marriage. I want to help her but she doesn’t want to talk about it. What can I do? Sonya.

Dear Sonya

I sense your heart… but the truth is that if your friend won’t open up and talk with you, you just can’t help, nobody can. At least not at this moment.

It’s going to take time for her to adjust to what’s happened… she’s in shock, probably thinking she’s failed as a wife, trying to work out what went wrong that this has happened, how did it come about and why? She’s obviously closed up inside and needs some space.

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MOVING ON… AND NEW STEPS IN FAITH

(February 21, 2021) David McGuire, missionary to Romania, shares a memory of God’s encouragement and challenges…

In the autumn of 2011, a new step of faith and direction from God was forming when I was asked by the Manna church to attend the national leaders’ conference in the west of Romania.

Now, to be honest, I was a bit out of my usually ‘energised drive’ to serve God, so I listened to the speakers intently, wondering what God might be saying to me.

Serving God isn’t about ‘titles’
Among many things I’ve learned about serving the Lord as a missionary is patience! Now I was relearning as it was six months later before a new direction in our ministry began to open up. It started with the church asking me to be an elder and my wife Rodica entering joint worship leadership.

Now I didn’t feel anything different generally as I just did what serving God wanted me to do, ‘title’ or not. But slowly I received more prophetic dreams and words from the Lord… and new responsibilities came across my path.

I was commissioned to run a men’s group at a particular centre which, as well as being a Bible study, would offer food… meat and chips with some pop, tea and coffee. I consented, but the first week no one came along – nor the next!

Nevertheless, I enjoyed doing deeper study with God on my own, even if no one else turned up. Rodica thought that if no one came third week, I should just come back home instead of waiting around as I had been doing. As it happened, no one came that week either and so I did as my wife had suggested… but I had no peace at home.

Commitment means being committed
Then I sensed God was teaching me something important… How could I expect commitment if I were not committed myself? (more…)

THE PRECIOUS FRUIT OF THE EARTH

(February 25, 2018) George Forbes, missionary spokesperson, brings a pre-Easter challenge…

The verses in chapter five written by the apostle James in his short letter have been encouraging to me over the years.

James uses the illustration of a farmer waiting patiently for the autumn and spring rains to remind believers of the patience required of them as they wait for the second coming of Christ.

Patience…
‘Therefore be patient, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and has long patience for it, until he receives the early and the latter rain. You also be patient, establish your hearts, for the coming of your Lord draws near’ (James 5:7-8 MKJV). (more…)