Sunday, November 28, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
When a woman we know (who has the gift of prophecy) was asked to pray for us regarding M, she recently shared that she constantly received a vision...
When nobody is around and when we're able to be absolutely honest with ourselves before God, we entertain certain dreams and hopes. We want very much by the end of our days to have _________________________ (fill in the blank). However, it may well be that we will die with that desire unfulfilled. Should that occur, it will be one of the hardest things in the world for us to face and accept. David heard the Lord's "no" and quietly accepted it without resentment. That's awfully hard to do. But we find in David's final recorded words a life-sized portrait of a man after God's own heart.
After four decades of service to Israel, King David, old and perhaps stooped by the years, looked for the last time into the faces of his trusted followers. Many of them represented distinct memories in the old man's mind. Those who would carry on his legacy surrounded him, waiting to receive his last words of wisdom and instruction. What would the seventy-year-old king say?
He began with the passion of his heart, pulling back the curtain to reveal his deepest desire—the dreams and plans for building a temple to the Lord (1 Chronicles 28:2). It was a dream that went unfulfilled in his lifetime. "God said to me," David told his people, "'You shall not build a house for My name because you are a man of war and have shed blood'" (28:3).
Dreams die hard. But in his parting words, David chose to focus on what God had allowed him to do—to reign as king over Israel, to establish his son Solomon over the kingdom, and to pass the dream on to him (28:4–8). Then, in a beautiful prayer, an extemporaneous expression of worship to the Lord God, David praised the greatness of God, thanking Him for His many blessings, and then interceded for the people of Israel and for their new king, Solomon. Take some extra time to read David's prayer slowly and thoughtfully. It's found in 1 Chronicles 29:10–19.
Rather than wallowing in self-pity or bitterness regarding his unfulfilled dream, David praised God with a grateful heart. Praise leaves humanity out of the picture and focuses fully on the exaltation of the living God. The magnifying glass of praise always looks up.
"Blessed are You, O LORD God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone." (29:10–12)
As David thought of the lavish grace of God that had given the people one good thing after another, his praise then turned to thanksgiving. "Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name" (29:13). David acknowledged there was nothing special about his people. Their history was one of wandering and tent-dwelling; their lives were like shifting shadows. Yet, because of God's great goodness they were able to supply all that was needed to build God a temple (29:14–16).
David was surrounded by limitless riches, yet all that wealth never captured his heart. He fought other battles within but never greed. David was not held hostage by materialism. He said, in effect, "Lord, everything we have is Yours—all these beautiful elements we offer for your temple, the place where I live, the throne room—all of it is Yours, everything." To David, God owned it all. Perhaps it was this attitude that allowed the monarch to cope with God's "no" in his life—he was confident that God was in control and that God's plans were best. David held everything loosely.
Next, David prayed for others. He interceded for the people he had ruled for forty years, asking the Lord to remember their offerings for the temple and to draw their hearts toward Him (29:17–18). David also prayed for Solomon: "give to my son Solomon a perfect heart to keep Your commandments, Your testimonies and Your statutes, and to do them all, and to build the temple, for which I have made provision" (29:19).
This magnificent prayer contained David's last recorded words; shortly after, he died "full of days, riches and honor" (29:28). What a fitting way to end a life! His death is a fitting reminder that when a man of God dies, nothing of God dies.
Though some dreams remain unfulfilled, a man or woman of God can respond to His "no" with praise, thanksgiving, and intercession . . . because when a dream dies, nothing of God's purposes die.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Some of the birds in Uganda are BEAUTIFUL. I just wish we had a better camera to photograph them. The ugly ones were somehow easier to capture on film!
Saturday, November 13, 2010
On one of my last days in Africa I was brought to the orphanage where M. spent a year. I was saddened. There was very little supervision of the older children, although they had a really nice yard and play area. It seemed the children who were disabled were not cared for. I was sad to think about M. being there for a year, suffering from epilepsy. So today I am thankful for the home and family she has. For the love she has received. Thank you so much HSH and especially S.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
- S. had his developmental preschool evaluation today. There are some concerns in his cognitive/reasoning areas as well as his expressive communication. We will come back the first part of December to hear the results.
- I have had to catch up on a lot of paperwork/school work/household things this last week.
- I am most likely going to be starting a weight loss challenge with my sis in law. This may be interesting. More details later.
- I am trying to get things in order to finalize S.'s adoption. He needs to get his name legally changed, it's about time! He's been with us for over two years now!
Monday, November 8, 2010
The risk is especially high for children. Researchers say that children are 10 times as sensitive to the radiation as adults are, putting them at an even greater cancer risk.
"Children's tissues are more sensitive to radiation, and they live longer than adults do, which means the cancer has more time to develop," says Cynthia McCollough, a radiological physicist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. "However, if you need a CT scan, parents shouldn't lose a minute of sleep over it."
The reason parents shouldn't be too concerned is that the individual risk of developing cancer is small.
"One in four Americans will develop cancer in their lifetime," explains McCollough. "That's 25 percent. Radiation from CT scans when you are a baby increases your risk of developing cancer to 25.1 percent."Since last year, S. has been administered MRI's instead, which do not use radiation. But I AM concerned. Cancer freaks me out. I have had many members of my family suffer from cancer related illness or death. We have cared for a teen from Haiti who lost his leg above the knee from cancer. My mom recently had surgery because of cancer.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Today, I am thankful for iTunes on our computer. Not only for the music it plays throughout our house since our stereo speakers blew out (thanks to karaoke and young people screaming into the microphone!); but for the hours of entertainment it provides while E. sits in front of the screen hypnotized by the visualizer feature! A teacher in service day and rainy weather are no match for iTunes. Heaven for a sensory seeking kid and a mom who needed to wash dishes and help get other school kids out the door.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Last year I posted a series on what I was thankful for. Everyday I listed something different up until Thanksgiving. I didn't remember to do it yesterday, but I think I am going to do it again this year.
So the TWO things I am thankful for:
1. How God places wonderful friends in your midst during difficult times.
2. The fact that I am heading home tonight! Although it will be a long couple airplane rides, I will be happy the entire way. I can't wait to see my loves.
40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care
Day 1—Pray that the Lord would give you a personal sense of responsibility for the next 40 days(and beyond) for praying for orphans, your pastor, your church, and your community. Ask Him to break your heart for the orphans. Ask that He would help you see orphans with His eyes and His heart. Ask Him to use this 40 days of prayer to change you and your church.
Day 2—Pray for your Pastor to have guidance and provision as he seeks to follow the Lord’s commands to care for the orphans.
Day 3—Ask God that of the 2 billion Christians in the world, 7% would show hope to a single orphan, looking after the child in their distress. Ask the Lord to convict the church and the world that if we did this, there would effectively be no more orphans. Ask the Lord to show each of His followers that we can each do something.
Day 4—Ask the Lord to help your church congregation to feel His heart for the orphans as seen in Psalm 68:5: “A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families. . . “
Day 5—Pray for the fatherless in your community. Ask the Lord to protect them and to care for them and to defend them and keep them safe,
Day 6—Ask the Lord to help your church family to live out Proverbs 31:8: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.”
Day 7—Thank the Lord in advance for all that He is going to do to bring glory to His name in your church and community. Thank Him for the care He is going to provide for orphans through your church.
Day 8—Pray for the Lord to raise up workers for the harvest from your church and community. Ask Him to call Christians to go to the ‘fields of the fatherless’ to experience the joy of caring for orphans as we are commanded in Isaiah 1:16-17 “Give up your wicked ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Fight for the rights of widows.”
Day 9—Pray that God would break the heart of your city’s pastors with the plight of orphans. Ask that he would convict them to lead their churches to pray, go, and love in Jesus’ name.
Day 10—Ask the Father to set the lonely in families. Pray specifically for families in your community who may be in the process of adopting an orphan. Ask for God’s provision for all of their needs: physical, emotional, and spiritual.
Day 11—Pray specifically for any orphans you may know by name. Pray for their health and safety. Pray for their shelter. Pray that they will be brought into loving families who will provide for their education.
Day 12—Pray that God, the Defender of the orphan, will rise up and secure justice for the oppressed.
Day 13—Ask the Lord to lead the lawmakers in every nation to protect and provide for orphans.
Day 14—Pray that your whole congregation will believe and be convicted by Proverbs 22:9: “A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.” Ask for the Lord’s blessings on those who share their food with orphans.
Day 15—Pray for yourself as a church member. Ask the Lord to lead you on, that you might walk in obedience. Ask God to show you how to encourage your church family or youth to care for the needs of orphans.
Day 16—Pray that because of God’s mercy, He will provide caregivers and counselors for children who have been abused.
Day 17—Ask for forgiveness for Christians around the world who forget the orphans and forget to heed 1 John 3:17: “ If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need, but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”
Day 18—Ask the Lord to raise up respite care providers to support and give relief to the caregivers caring for orphans who are waiting to have families adopt them.
Day 19—Pray for your Pastor. Ask God to provide him with resources, encouragement, courage, and a strong prayer team to support him as he seeks to live out James 1:27: “Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us.
Day 20—Pray that the Christians in your village, town, city, and country would believe and live out the truth of Proverbs 14:31: “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”
Day 21—Pray for government leaders in your country. Ask the Lord to burden their hearts for the orphans. Ask that they would feel compelled to protect and provide for orphans.
Day 22—Pray for families who have members living with HIV and AIDS. Pray for the children orphaned by this disease. Ask God to provide treatment, care, and support through the church.
Day 23—Ask the Lord to strengthen the faith and resolve of Christians working in orphan ministries.
Day 24—Pray for any church staff members and leaders. Ask for the Lord’s hand of blessing on their lives. Lift up the health and safety of them and their families. Ask also that the Lord would break their hearts for the orphans in you community.
Day 25—Pray for God’s provision for your church’s orphan care ministry. Ask Him to provide people and prayers and money and food and supplies to give the orphans all the care they need.
Day 26—Pray for children who are not yet orphans but may only have one parent who may be sick or dying. Pray for the health and safety of their parent. Pray for God’s provision. Pray for protection for the children in these households.
Day 27—Ask God to care for child-headed households. Pray that the Lord will provide for their needs. Pray that an adult would come alongside them and adopt them. Ask the Lord to protect them from abuse.
Day 28—Pray for families who are taking care of their grandchildren or nieces or nephews in addition to their own children. Ask the Lord to bless them for their sacrifice and to provide enough food, clothes, education, and shelter for all of their children.
Day 29—Pray for mothers or fathers who might be having trouble caring for their children and feel they need to give them up or abandon them. Ask God to help them find support. Ask the Lord to meet their needs and give them the resources to be able to take care of their children.
Day 30—Ask God to protect children affected by war and violent conflicts. Pray that the Lord will protect their vulnerable hearts and keep them safe. Pray that a church will reach out to them.
Day 31—Pray for families in countries all over the world who have room in their homes and hearts for a fatherless child. Ask that the Lord would speak to them even now, leading them to consider adoption or foster care.
Day 32—Pray that every member of your church would remember and acknowledge and praise the Lord that before the world was made, He loved us and chose us, and that His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ and that this gave Him great pleasure.(Ephesians 1:3-5)
Day 33—Ask the Lord to help your church be an example of the Lord’s love for orphans as written in Psalm 10:17-18: “The helpless put their trust in You. You are the defender of orphans Lord, You know the hopes of the helpless. Surely You will listen to their cries and comfort them. You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so people can no longer terrify them.”
Day 34—Pray for youself and the other prayer team members. Ask the Lord for strength. Ask Him to help you no grow weary in battling for the orphans on you knees.
Day 35—Ask the Lord to encourage and strengthen your church. Caring for orphans and changing attitudes and beliefs and actions is togh work and the enemy is bound to attack. Ask for protection for your pastor, his family, their health, and their ministry. Ask for God’s hand of blessing on their lives.
Day 36—Ask the Lord to release and speed any care supplies to refugee camps where many orphans live and need even the most basic necessities. Ask Him to cut through any governmental regulations or corrupt leaders to miraculously get the supplies delivered to where they are needed most.
Day 37—Pray for families who are in the adoption process. Pray that God will provide the funds and help them with all the necessary details.
Day 38—Pray for street children. These children live under bushes and in dumps and sewage pipes. They may eat meals out of trash cans. Many people walk by them without seeing them or view them as pests. Ask God to open the churches’ eyes to help them see the orphans all around them. Ask the Lord to provide food and shelter for the street children.
Day 39—Pray for the health of orphans around the world. Ask the Lord to provide medications and treatment for the simple things that are unnecessarily killing children like unclean drinking water, malaria, dysentery, AIDS, and malnutrition.
Day 40—Thank the Lord for the past 40 days of prayer for orphans. Ask Him to bring more prayer warriors into the battle. Ask Him to help you to continue praying diligently. Ask Him to continue to give you His love for the orphans. Ask Him to continue to challenge the hearts of your congregation that “He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and He will reward him for what he has."
Monday, November 1, 2010
The other day I met up with some friends I met online. Another adopting mom and a mom who lives here with her family. They are both wonderful ladies. We hung out for most of the day. They offered support and love, and I offered...well I don't think I really brought much to the table. Beth was planning a Halloween party at her house, and was driving back to the city that night. She offered a place for me to stay for a the rest of my trip if I wanted. It sounded really great to have a change of scenery, hang out with some great new friends, and get a ride closer to the airport so I wouldn't have to travel so far alone on Tuesday. So, I took her up on that offer, went back to HSH, packed my bags, said goodbyes, and left. M. did not seem sad or upset at all. She was really excited about the things I was leaving behind. New to her clothes, books, little toys, etc. She forced a hug and a kiss, which was better than the last time I left!
Last night was the Halloween party. A group of adoptive families who are here in country attended. It was the second time I had seen them. And for some reason it was so hard to be around them. Most of them were young. The children they are adopting are young. And I felt so dang jealous. They have been here for a small amount of time, with court way behind them, and some are ready to go home very soon with their precious kids. They didn't really have a lot to say to me, and I ackwardly escaped to my room a few times throughout the night. I did have a good time visiting with several women who are missionaries here, and learning more about the way things work. We ate homemade chili, coleslaw, cake and lots of candy! The kids went from door to door inside the house trick or treating. They dressed up as characters from Lost. So cute!
Last night I was tired and fell asleep early. Then I had some dreams. Weird dreams that seemed to last the whole night. I woke up around 4 am thinking. I thought about homesteading; raising animals and gardening. I thought about Christmas gifts and how I should shop for some while I am here. I thought about what foods I want to eat when I get home. I thought about my family and how excited I will be when I see a few of them at the airport. I have one full night left before I board that plane. I can't WAIT.