Fundraising: seeing the hand of God

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Fundraising as a way of life amazes and blesses me more and more. The people we meet, the acquaintances we renew, the conversations we have about all of our roles in bringing the gospel to all the world ….

I will be realistic and say that as a person that’s pretty far down the line on the introversion scale, I need recover time. But the conversations and people are incredible.

I have asked God for emotional stability in fundraising, that it would not be a roller coaster of ecstasy or depression. And He is doing that. Today was a tempting day, though, but also a very encouraging day. I want to record it.

First of all, God reminded me a week ago, that in order to bless us in fundraising, He needs to have efforts to bless– that we need to be working consistently towards our goals, and let Him do the work of matching our partners and meeting everyone’s needs.

Our ladies’ SS group is going through Priscilla Shirer’s study, The Armor of God. I sat down to begin it today, and I realized that Satan sure can feed me lies about fundraising– this is such a slow process, you’re going nowhere, what’s the use  … It’s lies, because that’s all that Satan can say, you know. He can’t ever tell the truth.

It’s ridiculous. The Scripture that ministered to me today is from Ephesians 1:18-19:

 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know …. what is the surpassing greatness of His power … 

Enlighten my eyes! Give me Your light! … The truth is that fundraising is pretty easy for God, now isn’t it. There’s nothing difficult or hard about it for God. So the process that is our fundraising has exact, purposeful reasons why it takes whatever length of time it does, why it is a cyclical process, etc.

Today I read a letter that someone had sent me to our mission agency address:

Dear Anne,

What a precious gift you have been to me. When you spoke at [our church]…, I was exposed, my facade crumbled before the Lord. I believed my sin to be unforgivable, but you believed it was already nailed to the cross. And so the Holy Spirit began a great work in me. The relief, joy, freedom has been great….Your sister in Christ Jesus, ….

Oh dear God, may I never begrudge You another day of living Your will for my life, whatever that may be.

Let me go on a tangent here: You know how financially squeezing times come to us at certain times? Sometimes there are no big expenses and life flows on. Other times, it seems like expenses loom large, a tidal wave of them. We are in that time right now. Plane tickets, a new van, apartment renovations, international document fees, putting Skyla and Vika in Christian school next year. Thousands of dollars.

These are each matters that God has very specifically led us into, each one. It’s not timing we personally chose.

What I didn’t know until that afternoon was that the writer of that letter had enclosed a check for $1,000.

Oh dear God, teach me to identify and disbelieve the lying voice of Satan so the eyes of my heart be enlightened to know the surpassing greatness of Your power.

 

a flash of insight….

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…. that changes a lot.

I’ve posted sometimes about the feelings I have about my life– what’s the value of my life? what am I doing? what about unreached dreams? stuff like that I’ve been struggling with cyclically as I age.

So, I was telling Vitaliy about a week ago, “I think God wants me to think about this. Usually when something bothers me in this way, it’s a signal of where He wants to speak to me.”

I may have gotten the answer that closes the cycle. Finally.

I was late-night yakking with a friend about my frustrations, and a flash of insight shot into my brain.

I’ve been assuming the wrong question. It’s those hidden assumptions that are so foundational to everything, and we often don’t see them there– because we’ve assumed them.

For life analysis, I’ve been assuming the question: Is my life fulfilling? And that assumed question makes me land on slippery ground when I try to answer it. Yes. No. Maybe so. …. It’s always changing. It rubs painfully on the parts where I am still in the dark and need to trust God with my future.

And along with that insight followed this:

The better question to be asking/answering in order to evaluate my life is: Am I being obedient? faithful? fruitful? Am I letting the Son of God live in me in ever greater surrender?

It’s rather painful to pry my mind off the topic of personal fulfillment. But I think it’s the only healthy option. “Fulfillment” is not a goal, it’s a by-product, a result. Like happiness. It may be felt, it may not be felt. But it’s not the point. It’s not the goal of my life– to feel fulfilled.

Am I being obedient, am I being faithful, am I being fruitful in the revealed will of God for my life? Those are the truer questions.

… It’s a shift. It’s a transformation, a renewing of my mind.

It is learning to pray with greater sincerity: “Our Father in heaven, … your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

a giving testimony: 1

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As we fundraise, it arises memories for me of specific instances God’s led me to give. I want to record one here.

This was maybe 5 years ago. Somehow, I don’t remember how, I met a woman from Iran or Iraq who was a UN refugee (along with her adult son) for being a Christian and the persecution they suffered there.

We would occasionally see each other, I don’t remember how or why.

And one day God impressed on me very strongly that I was to contact her and give her a for-us large sum of money. It was a very strong, certain knowing that God wanted me to do this.

Pause a moment. You know how sometimes you give money in obedience to God, and in return He blesses you with even more money? I’ve had this happen to me several times.

But this time, when God was impressing me to do this, He “said” very clearly: I will not give you more money because of this. I just want you to give this amount and have a tight month financially.

So I did it. And it was tight, but we were OK.

I have no idea what God was doing for her at that moment. She left as a refugee for the States several months after that. But He was teaching me to discern His voice and obey no matter what. It’s what I’ve been learning my whole life, is it not?

Obedience is a theme God has been putting in my path a lot these last few months.

Happy obedience. An obedience that is secure in the love and knowledge that Christ did all righteous acts for my behalf already, that I have no standing to earn before God. I can obey in joy.

And understanding that the fuller blessings of intimacy with God for His children come through each one’s obedience to His specific will.

This time of fundraising is a time I distinctly feel that I am obeying God’s specific will for my life right now. And He presses this upon me over and over, that this fundraising is His will. He is working and doing His will in His people and in us through this. I don’t comprehend all the ends and purposes He has going on, but it’s going on.

🙂 Amen.

Ezhednevnik: Vospitaniye

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Когда мои первые 2 дети были мальенкими, я очень много писала, писала о воспытании. Это были годы когда Бог мне много научила о Себе, связано с воспытанием детей.

Сейчас намного все спокойнее, но хочу написать тоже, что происходит иногда у нас.

У нас много конфет дома из-за Пасхи. Юна спросила за конфет, и я ей разрешила 2 раза есть, и потом скзала, что больше нельзя. Через 5 минут, старшая дочка мне сказала, что Юна прячиться за дверей и кушает больше конфет.

Я туда пошла, было видно, но Юна сказала, что не кушала. Я сидела спокойно на полу, и скзала, что я знаю, что она съела конфет, и надо истинну мне сказать.

Она молчала. Мы ходили вместе к мою кроватю. Лежала вместе, и я с ней говорила, типа так:

–Юна, Иисус никогда не лгал. И Он всегда послушался…. Бог Его наказывал за то, что ты была сейчас непослушным и за то, что ты обманывала. Иисус любил истинну, Он всегда говорил истинну. Ты не можешь так поступать с мамой. Если Бог тебе наказывал и не Иисус, это значить, что тебе надо быть в аду. Но Бог любит тебя, и хочет чтобы ты была с Ним…. Тебе надо жить как Иисус жил.

И ей надо было лежать в кровати и спать. (Сон– это полезно в многих случаях). Я лежала с ней, и она быстро заснула.

Когда она проснулась, она позвала меня, и мы опять разговаровали

–нельзя обманывать, нельзя неслушаться, и давайте помолимся….

Вот, мой ежедневник воспитания сегодняшний.

bolshoi sposob ocvyasheniya uvazheniye propovedye vashixh pastorov

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Большой способ освяшения: уважение проповедей ваших собственних пасторов

В начале, я хочу объяснить контекст этого поста:

  1. я не говорю о том, что пастори не должны учится.
  2. я не говорю о том, что надо остаться в цервки где учят неверную доктрину о Боге.
  3. я говорю о ситуации, когда вы выбрали быть членами какой-то хорошей церкви.

Есть всегда причины, почему не надо очень слушать или “уважать” проповедей ваших пасторов….. Во время проповеди, мы отвлекаем себя и другим: Можно гулять, можно на телефоне быть, можно слушать но не думать дальше об этом. Можно просто находиться на собрании для компания. И так далее.

У нас разьне причины, почему мы думаем, что не надо “уважать” проподеди своих пасторов. На пример:

  • Он не научений человек
  • Он не понимает мой мир (он старый)
  • Он не проповедует в экзегетическом стиле
  • Его проповеди не меняют меня
  • Он не говорит о моих проблемях

Что еще? Пишите здесь: ________________

Я повторюсь: Во всех вермен, были верующие християние, которые придумали разьние “хорошие” причины, почему им не важно слушать внимательно и уважно проповеди их пасторов.

На сегодняшный день мы думаем, Ох, есть интернет– я могу слушать проповеди того проповедника или другого. Он такой умный, научений, и т.д.

Даже маскируем этот грех духовными причинами– “Они лучше разбирают Слова. Они больше знают о Боге…..”

Пожалуйста, слушайте их! Это полезний способ, как провести время.

Но, без услышане-c-уважением проповеди своих пасторов, вы не можете рости духовно нормально.

Бог именно дал вам этого пастора (или этих пасторов). Есть конкретные причины у Бога, почему у вас именно этот пастор. И относится к носителью Слова Бога с неуважением, это прямо так, как не уважать Бога. Звучит строго, но во всех отношениях, это так. Мы показываем состоянием наши сердца в том, как мы относимся к людям.

Я не хочу только негативно об этом писать, а позитивно тоже.

Верующие– вы хотите рости?! Менятся?! Идти прямо к пастору и сказать “меняй меня!” –без польза конечно. Но у Бога есть план. Открыть своего сердца, и прийти на собрание раз в неделью с желанием учиться у пастора– такая поза сердца, Бог ценит, и Он воздасть в сто крат! С верою, слушайте! Бог будет оживлять Своего Слова. И такое решение– это саме большое изменение!

Есть у вас дети? Они это все учят от вас! Молодцы! Как это важно для них! Мы учим им примером– наши устные инструкции естественно происходят тогда.

Хочу заклучиться с примером моего мужа. Он покаялся в 17 лет. Он жил в селе. В церкви были воснальном бабушки и некоторые старые дедушки. Как человек в том возросте и с тяжелем прошлым мог бы рости в такой церкви? … Как люди, мы были бы “умнее” Бога, да? Эх, такой человек …. ему надо что-то “лучше” конечно.

Но Бог смотрет со всем по-другому. Он спас этого человека и посадил ему именно там, где ему надо было быть, чтобы рости.

Но, с закрытым, критическим сердцем, он не рос бы.  И только по милостьи Бога, он осталься бы верным к Богу.

Но с открытым, почтительным сердцем, как он рос! На таких проповедях! Он рос, рос, рос.

Какой это ключ для роста в Боге……

Испытай меня, Боже, и узнай сердце мое; испытай меня и узнай помышления мои; и зри, не на опасном ли я пути, и направь меня на путь вечный. Пс 138:23-24

Многие благословение християнской жизни, мы не можем получить без послушаиня. Пусть Бог дает нам Свое милость, чтобы мы слушали Его в этом.

lessons in mission fundraising

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As most of you know, we are career missionaries, and part of what we do is raising all of our ministry funds and salary. People and churches join us in this way.

God spent years making me ready for the things I’m learning now, and I want to share some things.

First, most changes in thinking involve a change of vocabulary. So now, I just call this fundraising, getting to full funding, and having partners. Partners in the gospel.

Some recent lessons:

First, God is my Main Partner. He works in very specific ways in our lives and in the lives of those He wants to partner with us to bring us together in a united desire to reach the nations with the Best News Ever, the Gospel.

Second, man looks on the outward appearance, God looks on the heart. My tendency is to want to judge each person’s stage of life and decide myself whether they might or might not be able to partner with us. To me, people look too young, too old, too many kids, no kids, too little money, too much money … God is showing me, that only He can “see” the person’s heart and what He wants to do through that person. Did He not receive “all she had” from the widow? and comparatively only small portions from the wealthy? It’s all up to Him. My job is to obey Him and open the door.

My third and latest lesson comes from my recent pondering of Christ’s prayer for unity of His disciples in John 17. And it occurred to me, that God wants to “unite” many of His people together to reach even one soul with the Gospel.

I used to want to Do It All and be a ministry star. Or even a donating Star in someone’s ministry. But God’s switching that all around. It’s about Him, and He uses whomever He pleases. It’s how He unites us together and how He lets us all bear fruit and how He is glorified.

So, partner on!

when we ‘naturally’ criticize someone

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In my last post, I mentioned a life situation in which I ‘naturally’ habitually criticize someone (or two…). And I feel so right and justified in my opinions, that I don’t even realize I’m having a critical spirit. For me, it’s usually leadership figures that irk me somehow.

(** Pause to say that I’m not talking about constructive criticism, if you know what I mean.)

Someone asked me what to do with those critical thoughts when you realize they are a sinful pattern of thinking. We can’t just leave a vacuum in our minds.

This is a great question, and I don’t have all the answers. But I will write a few answers that I see working in my life.

First, I want to say that as I’ve aged, there is one element of Christianity that I appreciate more and more: being open to change. Christianity teaches us to be open to being changed. Rather than rooting deeper and deeper into sinful habits, we’re taught to be open to God’s transforming power, to becoming like Christ.

This dawned on me when I realized that some people think, say, and do wrong things, and they might never think to stop it, to change, to become more like the brilliant life-liver that Christ was. (Christ lived the most brilliant life EVER; He is a glorious pattern of life.)

Second, about criticism particularly. I ask myself how Christ thought about, spoke about, and treated people. He had every right, every speck of knowledge, in order to be correctly critical of every. single. person. ever alive. He could be standing before His Father criticizing us, and He could be RIGHT about it.

And maybe that’s one way to understand our critical spirits– it might be true, but it’s not lovingkindness. And when truth is not united with lovingkindness, it’s not Christ.

Second, I make a serious agreement with God: 1. I will stop running the tape of critical thoughts through my brain. I actually made a list of things that God would like me to think about to take the place of those critical thoughts– my husband, my kids, God’s Word, etc. I posted this in my kitchen. 2. I will stop the words, even (especially!) to those closest to me that I feel free to criticize to about those people that bug me (I’m most open to my my husband and a few close friends, so those are the people who hear my critical thoughts because I know they are sympathetic to my opinion). I told God that I would STOP. And really, why pollute my closest relationships with my negativity about others? In one way, I feel like I’m trapping myself off from my only ways of expressing myself, but you know, I don’t need to express those sinful things to anyone anyway! I had to Just Stop. Stop the thoughts, stop the channels in relationships with those who listen to me.

Third, like Christ, we begin interceding. This is what Christ did and does for us. In His long prayer in John, He intercedes for us about out unity– that we would be one.

Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

Jesus is probably praying right now for our unity– that we be one even as He is with the Father. And He prays that His joy be fulfilled in us!

It helps me to remember this. And to remember that unity and joy go together. Those that I criticize–  well, in our shared faith in our Savior, I have more in common with them than I do with most people in the world.

Those are some thoughts that have helped me with the tendency to criticize.

friendship with God

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We’ve been in the States a month now. I’ve read these three books:

  • Max Lucado’s God’s Story, Your Story
  • Henry Blackaby’s Created to Be God’s Friend
  • Eric Metaxas’ 7 Women

One theme God keeps bringing up in my life is how friendship with Him is connected to obedience– intimacy comes with a commitment to follow God’s ways. I’ve heard and known this for years, but it’s a truth God is bring up over and over in my life right now.

Part of friendship is constantly being ready to change myself–to change my thoughts, words, and actions when God shows me that they are not His ways. By being open and willing to change (rather than stubbornly rooting myself in the thoughts and reactions that came naturally and initially out of my heart) God is able to lead me into greater closeness to him when I let His thoughts take their place.

For example, there was a person in my life I’ve had a critcal spirit towards for several years, and it didn’t occur to me that this was sinful–it just was ‘naturally’ the reaction I had to this person. Vitaliy brought this up not long ago and recommended that I think about changing this, and I immediately knew that he was right; it was thoughts and words I needed to change.

This has come up in other areas of life, nothing earth shattering, but it’s very life-giving when I realize that I’m not following God’s thoughts in these areas. Along with this, a new truth dawned on me. The verses in James about wisdom being pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, etc. aren’t just talking about situational wisdom. It’s all the time wisdom. All my thoughts all the time about everything should be characterized by this heavenly wisdom. All my thoughts all the time about everything should be full of mercy, reasonable, pure, gentle….

All my thoughts about fundraising– and I am learning a lot about how God wants me to think about this– should be characterized by this, too. (More on that later.)

So, I’m being led deeper into obedience and friendship, which is why I like reading Blackaby and Lucado, because I think they’re down this way further than I am and know how to speak about it. I wish I were a lot further then I am now, but …. oh well.

when old questions resurface

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I’m very thankful God doesn’t tire of my questions. I go through cyclical phases of questioning the value of my life, and God takes me cyclically deeper and deeper into His ways.

(I’ve had to become OK with my cyclical questioning, too. I think it’s an essential part of my personality.)

So a few days back, I started feeling all my familiar poopiness about my life–why am I here? why am I alive? what is the value of what I do and am?

This time, God led me to delve into Sally Clarkson’s teachings. She’s a great vision-caster for moms, and I need vision. And I listened to several of her podcasts and lectures, and one was about leadership.

And as I read through the verses she attached, I was very struck by Proverbs 4:18, “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.”

And I realized that my life, as a righteous person, is not dimming out because I’ve buried several dreams and stopped doing some ministries I love. I feel as though my life’s gotten dimmer the last few years, like my reasons for being excited about life have slowly been put out. And I’ve become an un-excited person. A person who doens’t really look forward to waking up another day, a person who’s enduring years not understanding their value.

In this new apartment we bought, we’re up very high– the 23rd and 24th floors! And one window looks out on the sunrise and other windows look out on the sunset.

And this verse that “the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn” has special meaning for me now that I’ve watched a few sunrises. They are gorgeous.

And God says my life is like that. It’s ilke that NOW. This is another answer to my cyclical questions about the value and meaning of my life.

And I will accept this by faith. And I ask God that I would experience this reality in the complete unity of my person—the reality of my life becoming brighter and brighter.

But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.

 

moy 42 rozhdeniya: net nachala, net kontsa

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Итак, сегодня мой 42-й день рождения.

Я чувствую, что я в таком жизненом ситуации как описана Дональдом Миллером в его книге «Миллион миль за тысячу лет». Он описывает поездку на бардарке в темноте, и он рассказывает о том, как в каждом жизненом поездке, вы добираетесь до трудной середины – волнение и радость начала, когда с ожиданием отталкивали с берега– эти чувства рассеялись. И великое предназначение, к которому вы пливете еще не видно.

И вы находитесь в этом трудном среднем месте, где вам просто нужно грести веслами по вере.

И в последнее время я чувствую это место. Подобно тому, как Бог призывает меня к тому времени, когда дисциплины сложнее, потому, что нет особые волнения или радости от начала или конца. Это просто верный гребля.

Брак, воспитание детей, домашная школа, служение, отношение с Богом …

Это хорошее место. Место, где нужно идти глубже в другом, более сложном, более зрелом способом. Держать огонь живым и ярким, когда нет ни начала, ни конца.

Дорогой Бог, пожалуйста, встреть меня и благослови меня в этом месте. Хочу быть полностью верным до захватывающего конца!

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