Plowing Hope

"...That he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope."  (1 Corinthians 9:10b)

I recently read this passage of Scripture, found in the latter part of 1 Corinthians 9:10, and it has been rattling around in my head ever since. 

The thing that stand out to me is the word 'hope'.  Plowing in hope.  Threshing in hope.  Partaking in hope.  I love that word hope.  Day after day I am reminded that without hope, we have nothing. 

Romans 12:12 says, "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."

I have been a believer for over 30 years and I have seen the Lord move in mighty ways.  I have seen people rise off their sickbeds.  I have seen instantaneous healing.  I have seen unexplainable miracles.  I know God is real.  I know He is active, calling, wooing, seeking, saving and setting people free!

Even when life seems at it's worst, when I have moments of doubt, I go back to those milestones and my hope is renewed. 

That hope stirs me, fills me and I am challenged to share that hope with others.  Too often we dwell on our mistakes or have our mistakes continuously pointed out to us.  The truth of the matter is we all sin.  We all make mistakes.  The Bible is very clear on that.  It is also clear that we are called to love God and love our neighbor.  We are called to share what Jesus Christ did on the cross.  I will share hope, I will share truth in love, I will speak life.  This world is not the end.  I have a hope of eternity.  That eternal hope causes me to rejoice today.

Suffering will one day end, pain will be no more.  Life is more than it appears, God still moves today.

I can't worry about tomorrow.  What comes will come.  Today, today I will rejoice in hope!  Tomorrow is a new day, and again I will rejoice in hope.

Live hope, breathe hope, speak hope and let the peace of Jesus Christ reign in your life forever!


Closed Doors and Open Windows - Guest Blogger Teri Gerdes

I am away on vacation.  While away, a couple of Compassion Bloggers have agreed to make guest posts on my blog!  Enjopy and check out thier blogs for regular doses of awesomeness!

Closed Door and Open Windows
Our children had the blessing of attending a Christian school.  One of them from 5th-12th grade.  One of them from 2nd-12th grade.  One of them from Kindergarten-2nd grade.  This school was very small.  It was a school where our children were nurtured in the Word and ways of the Lord.  It was a family.  It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it was perfect for us during that stage of our lives.  Our daughter was a member of the last graduating class in 2008.  Closed doors.

My husband was a member of the Board of Directors for this school.  Making the decision to close the school was not easy, but it was wise.  The economy in our area just didn’t support a school such as ours. For a few years, a local preschool program rented the building from the Board which brought in some income as the Board was trying to decide what the future held for a Christian school such as our humble little one.  In 2013, the preschool organization decided they wanted to buy the building.  Open windows.

The bylaws which the Board of Directors needed to abide by stated that any money left in the account when they disbanded was to be given to Christian organizations that had something to do with education.  Each member of the Board was allocated a certain amount and given the freedom to choose the organization that they wanted their portion given to.  My husband chose Compassion International.

Compassion International’s Leadership Development Program (LDP) to be exact.  Compassion’s LDP is an amazing program!  I had personally met some LDP students while on sponsor tours and at the Advocate conferences I attended.  I desperately wanted to have the chance to pour into the lives of these dynamic young adults as they studied in University to become all that God intended them to be. But I needed a major act of God.

And God did it.

My husband was given a check with a sizeable amount written on it.  All we had to do was choose our students.  It was fun to read through so many biographies of so many deserving students.  To pray and ask God which students He wanted us to have in our lives.  We knew we were going to Colombia that year, so we chose Reyner from Cartagena.  Ecuador also held a deep place n my heart, so we chose Marco from Machala.  We were able to help these two fine men through their entire college career.  And we still had money left over!  So, we chose Elkana from Kenya, who only had a little over a year left. And we still had money left.  So each of them got money to use for a laptop computer or another necessity for their classes.

Recently, Reyner made the choice to leave the LDP.  It was his choice.  We were disappointed.  Closed door for him.  We hope he remains in school to finish out his dream, but that is a decision he will have to make.  We know that we poured ourselves into him through a visit with him and many letters.  We showed him Jesus every chance we could.  We love him still.  That will never change.  But we had some funds left over from his account that needed to be allocated somewhere else.  Open windows.

Again we looked through biographies and asked God who He wanted in our lives.  That is when we chose Rebecca and John, both students in Uganda.  They both only had a few months left.  Then another open window.

We learned that Marco, our student in Ecuador, would be finishing his studies MUCH earlier than anticipated.  Open window.

Back to the website to look at more students.  It was then that I saw Pablo from Nicaragua.  I could hardly believe my eyes!  Just a few months before seeing his picture on the website, I had met this young man.  I was on a sponsor tour in Nicaragua, and Pablo was one of the students who addressed our group.  To say he was a dynamic speaker would be an understatement.  I knew that we had to use the extra funds we had to sponsor Pablo.  So we did.

Never in my wildest Compassion dreams, did I ever expect to be able to have even ONE LDP student in our Compassion family!  But God, in His Ephesians 3:20 way, saw fit to add SIX of them to our hearts!

Sometimes closed doors can be really hard.  Even heart-wrenching.  I am so thankful that God opens windows to soothe the pain and heart-ache.
DSCF7234ReynerEC9800345-Fullshot-200w MarcoKE9800402-Fullshot-200wElkanaJohn-LDP Uganda 2015John Rebecca-LDP Uganda 2015RebeccaDSCF9312Pablo (in white shirt)

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we could ever ask for or imagine…to Him be the glory, both now and forevermore.”  Ephesians 3:20

Teri Gerdes blogs at https://iamgivinghope.wordpress.com


Summertime, Sum Sum Summertime - Guest Blogger Michelle Kelly

I am away on vacation.  While away, a couple of Compassion Bloggers have agreed to make guest posts on my blog!  Enjopy and check out thier blogs for regular doses of awesomeness!

Summertime, Sum Sum Summertime! 

Summertime, a wonderful time of year with a gentler pace for many families.  Away from the schedules and demands of the school year there is time to explore and experience different things together as a family and individually.  The title of this post may bring a song to your mind, just know that I’ve been humming that song for days.  I guess that is one way to come up with a title!

Sharing purposeful times with our kids

Often in the summer, when my children were younger, we would have “summer fun” camp and ministry related experiences that just didn’t fit in the rigorous days of scheduled learning.  The activities and experiences we planned were based upon a couple of the goals we have as parents.  We desire to inspire our children to love God and men, to be lifelong learners, to be givers, to know this world is bigger than our backyard, community, state, country, and continent.  We also want to be intentional about experiencing life together and making memories that will bring joy and give direction in the future.

The summer camps often included local cousins and always included the library reading program.  Our local library system has a wonderful summer program.  Among other things, they give fantastic prizes that include tickets to various activities and places in our town.  With those tickets we discovered many interesting places and enjoyed being tourists in our own community.

Pursuing a lifestyle of lifelong learning and global awareness

As I said, often times our activities made us tourists in our own town and got us outside.  Other times we had intentional opportunities to explore the world outside our community.  We sponsor children through Compassion International and have a few international missionary friends.  One way I found to expose my children and build relationships with those other places and cultures, was to choose a particular geographical place and pick up a few books from the library.  If there were some interesting videos, I would also pick those up.  Then we could choose recipes from this list, and prepare a meal from that country or area.   These countries and areas would usually be related to our sponsor children.  Doing these things helped us to “know” these kids better and give us better understanding of their lives.

Family Ministry with Compassion International

Compassion International has various items on their website to help parents in developing a global mindset, activities at the Compassion Offices, aka the Global Ministry Center in Colorado Springs, as well as publications that you can receive in your home.

One such publication and activity is Step into My Shoes.  I only learned about Step into My Shoes last summer, and since then have discovered much more about this fantastic opportunity.  Last August, my youngest daughter and I had the opportunity to participate in Step into My Shoes at the Compassion Offices.  The highlight of this activity was definitely having a skype call with children at a Child Development Center in Bolivia.  My daughter got to take part in the conversation and was able to ask and answer questions.   While we were able to participate in Colorado Springs with the program, the website has a kit and other resources that you can order to do a Step into My Shoes series of activities in your home or small group.

Learning, growing, exploring and experiencing.

A great way to spend summertime!

Michelle Kelly blogs at byquietwaters.com.  She is a Jesus follower, wife to one, marme to many and nana to just one.