Tag Archives: Africa

30 Days of Thankful: Day 4

Bless the Lord O my soul, and forget not all His benefits (Psalm 103:2).

Thankful. Just one little word printed in small letters across the front of the woman’s t-shirt.  But for some reason, it caught my attention. I think it was the period at the end of what wasn’t even a sentence. Thankful. I guess you could read it this way: “Thankful, period.” I would like that to be me. I’m thankful. Period.

But I have to confess. Sometimes I am less than thankful. Perhaps it’s because I’m not paying attention to all the blessings in my path. Or maybe I take God’s benefits for granted.

I was jolted out of this spiritual lethargy by something a friend from Africa once said when speaking to our church gathering. He was a genocide survivor from Burundi and had seen more death and destruction than I could begin to comprehend. “Do you have all your arms and legs—your limbs?” he asked us. “Then you are blessed!” “Do you have your eyes, your sense of hearing, your ability to speak?” “Then praise God and give Him thanks. Rejoice and count your amazing blessings!” he exclaimed. From his perspective, it was an incredible blessing simply to be alive. Healthy. Not maimed by war. Reasons to rejoice! Continue reading

Choose Life!

God’s words in Isaiah 58 are clear.  He loves it when we pour out our lives for the broken.  Sometimes, the call to obey can seem messy, uncomfortable, even dangerous.  But God promises we’ll  be blessed, often in ways that may surprise us.  Here’s what happened to my friend Laura when she made the choice to say “Yes” to God:

GUEST BLOG: CHOOSE LIFE        By: Laura Snow

At times, we all find ourselves at a crossroads. We have to decide which direction to choose. There are pros and cons with either direction. My crossroads came in the form of a call to adoption. My call to adoption was not a simple one. I already had two biological sons from a marriage that ended in divorce soon after they were born. A few years later, God called me to adopt two brothers (a kinship adoption). So I adjusted to the crazy life of raising four sons on my own.

Four and a half years ago, I received another call asking me to consider adopting a fifth son, brother to the other two. WHAT?? Life was good. We were smooth sailing. We were in a good place. I didn’t even know this little boy. It would be “easy” to say no.

I came up with a list of all the reasons to say NO.  I’m single. I already have four sons. I’m over forty. I won’t have enough money. I don’t have enough time.  All legitimate reasons. However, I kept imagining myself sitting in front of this little boy and saying to him, “I’m sorry I can’t adopt you because I’m tired.  I can’t be your mom because I’m over forty…”  All of my reasons just didn’t feel right in the face of a child that needed a home, a home where his brothers were already living.

God had me at a crossroads. I had to lean into Him to hear His voice and know which direction He was asking me to choose.  I thought back to an interview I’d watched years earlier by Bill Hybels, the Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church. He was talking with a widow from Africa. This woman had lost her husband to a tribal war and was left to raise four children alone. She was struggling to provide her family with basic necessities. However, when her neighbor’s children were orphaned because of AIDS, she didn’t hesitate to take on those four children as well.

Pastor Hybels asked the widow why she took on the responsibility of more children. Her response was so simple and yet so powerful. She said, “In a matter of life and death, you choose life.” The words struck a chord.  Later, God led me to a verse in Deuteronomy:  “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deuteronomy 30: 19). It was clear to me that this woman made her decision based on Scripture.  In a matter of life and death choose life.

CHOOSE LIFE. So simple and yet you can hold it up to almost any crossroad and it won’t be hard to see the direction God is asking you to choose.  There were people more suited and better equipped to adopt this little boy, but God was calling me. I chose life and said YES to God, and I said YES to my fifth son.

I truly believe that God used this woman, along with this very specific Bible verse to prepare me for what was to come. Looking back, it is easy to see how perfect the timing was and how God was preparing me so that I would be ready when I found myself at a crossroads.

What crossroad are you facing? Today, I hope you choose life, so that you may truly live!

To learn more about adoption and foster care, follow Laura on twitter

breakthrough prayer

This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29 NKJV).

Do you need a breakthrough in prayer?  A spiritual breakthrough is a sudden leap forward in an area where we’ve been seeking God and persisting in prayer.  A breakthrough occurs after a long struggle against some kind of obstacle or enemy.  In short, a breakthrough is getting “unstuck.”  One of the ways I’ve experienced breakthroughs in prayer is through fasting.  Not sure why fasting adds power to my prayers.  It just does.  Jesus spoke of fasting as a normal part of one’s spiritual life.  “When you fast,” he said.  Not “if you fast.” Continue reading