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A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith

A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith

Friendship Evangelism

posted by Linda G. Howard

For many years, I taught a seminar called “Friendship Evangelism.”  The basis of this teaching was that people are much more susceptible to hear the promises of the Gospel, if they know and respect you.  We all have a knowledge of the friendship of David and Jonathan from the Bible.  Even if we only vague know the details, their love for each other has inspired men and women for generations.

Recently, I saw a simple–yet dramatic–example of friendship that threw me a bit.  Several weeks ago, I needed some equipment at our Sunday Special Gathering program.  It was locked in the home of an elder.  I’d been on a trip when the equipment had been used the last time.  As I came home, this program elder left town for his vacation.  Our paths crossed.  Everyone knew that this man badly needed a break and rest from the stress of his profession.  He and I had been in contact for a couple of days regarding the equipment.  But there seemed only one way to get access to the equipment.  We needed to find one of his employees who had a key and have him deliver it.  It seemed to be a simple situation.

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However, the employee had also taken a trip that weekend; and he could not be reached.  Every early Sunday morning, the elder realized that he could not get in contact with his employee.  I talked with the elder on the phone.  “You will have your equipment,” he said emphatically.

“Are you bringing it?” I asked.

Silence screamed from the other end.

“Please, don’t bring the equipment you need this break much more than I need my stuff.  I can work thing out.  Don’t do this.”

Silence.

“You are going to bring this no matter what I say, aren’t you?” I asked.

“You will have your equipment,”  firmly, he assured me.

Within an hour, the equipment was being mounted and my friend was laughing about having to leave his vacation to deliver some wires.  I was deeply touched by this generous gesture and act of love for our members, who are mentally challenged.

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This is the kind of friendship that woos people toward the God of Heaven who gave His all to deliver us from the grief and darkness of our lost condition.  The question for me is no longer whether I will die for a lost generation.  I’ve become more realistic in my expections.

Would I leave my vacation to enable a friend who does not know Jesus to have the equipment she needs?

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Overcoming Fatigue

posted by Linda G. Howard

After four days of Camp Agape, my children laugh that I’m in my Camp Coma for about a week.  While it’s humorous there is a lot of truth in their designation of my abilities.  There are some things that I’ve learned from others and from my own experiences regarding physical fatigue.

First, this is a physical condition that cannot be ignored or “played with.”  It is a serious condition.

Second, even though rest is the most important ingredient in recovery, there is also the need for quiet.  That is, spend some time with yourself–alone.  Turn off the TV.  Unplug your mind from the Internet.  Give your brain time to recoup.

Third, find YOUR way to regather your thoughts and your well-being.  While I recoup best by reading, other will find that taxing.  Gardening, repairing your car, cleaning, puzzles.  Almost any brain-dead activity will do as long as it is something that refreshes you.

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Fourth, unwind your brain. Most of us must unwind before we can truly rest.  When one of my grandchildren (aged three) realized that I was unable to sleep, she tenderly told me, “I had to learn how to sleep.  I’ll show you.  Put your arm on your head, like this.  Then,  rub the corner of your blanket and you will fall asleep.”  She had found a way to unwind her brain.

Finally, rest your body.  Sleep is vital but staring time is equally important.

The Bible tells us that the Lord gives His Beloved rest.   Take that time to be with Him in quiet and peace.  Rest.

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Explaining grace

posted by Linda G. Howard

In the past weeks, I’ve been going over some of the key words in our covenant relationship with God.  Perhaps one of the most important words we use is grace.

Most of us have learned and maybe we even remember

  • God’s
  • Riches
  • At
  • Christ’s
  • Expense

This is great explanation of grace and the first one I could readily remember.  However, it is a bit churchy sounding for many people.

Then there is the wonderful explanation:  Unmerited favor.  I love this simple explanation that encapsulates this amazing concept in two words.

However, trying to explain grace seemed harder than I had imagined.  They didn’t grasp the whole acrostic idea.  And while unmerited favor seems simple enough, even the members who remember the two-word definition could not explain what it meant.

Therefore, we worked our way into another definition that they understood and fully appreciated.  Grace is receiving a gift we don’t deserve.

Receiving a gift we don’t deserve is not as catchy at the acrostic or as short as “unmerited favor” but our members understand it and have grasped its meaning.

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Familiar customs and limited means

posted by Linda G. Howard

When the Biblical young woman, Ruth, married into a Jewish family she understood little about their ways, God or religion.  This is my supposition; but I base the conjecture on facts.  Moabites were shunned by the Israelis.  Decades before, Moab wronged the wandering tribes who desired to travel through their land.  This set up a national rivalry.  Israel was a young nation and were probably not accustomed to travel, especially to Moab.

As a famine devastated the land of Israel, a Judean took his wife and two sons to live temporarily in Moab where there was food.  In Moab, the small Jewish family of a mother, father and two sons grew to include two Moabite daughters-in-law.  Ruth was one of them.  At the end of ten years in Moab, the ranks of the family had diminished.  All the men had died.

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By this time, Ruth had come to understand the ways of Judaism.  She was familiar with the customs and norms of her adopted family.  They were attractive and persuasive.

It is understandable that Naomi, now a widow and having limited means, would want to go back home to her home town, Bethlehem.  She had family there.  They would take care of her.

The Judean famine which propelled her young family to Moab was over.  Once again, there was food in Israel.  Naomi made the logical decision to go back to her roots.  The three widows set out on their journey.

Once in that process, it appears that Naomi had second thoughts about the daughters-in-law going with her.  Perhaps out of politeness, Naomi urged and even argued with the two younger women to go back to their Moab homes and their mothers.  One turned back.  But Ruth made a history-altering decision.  She opposed the idea of leaving Naomi against all reason.  She would go with Naomi and share in her fate.

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Ruth said, “I will go where you go.  I will live where you live.  Your people will be my people.  Your God will be my God.”

The wonderfully attractive customs of Naomi and her God had drawn Ruth in such a magnetic way that she was willing to leave every thing, even her own security to follow Naomi.  The key to Ruth’s decision was her resolution to follow Jehovah.  “Your God will be my God.”

The Bible is not a book about religion.  It is about God’s relationship with men and women–usually in the context of families.  Too often we see the laws.  We want to magnify the do’s and don’t’s when God wants relationship.

Moab was a rejected nation.  God had told Israel to reject Moab.  Yet, God orchestrated circumstances to include Ruth in Jesus’ genealogy.  Ruth, a Moabite, was King David’s great-grandmother.  Jesus was a direct descendent of David.  The hated and rejected Moabite’s have a prominent position in the history of our Lord.

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Within the disability community, there is a lot of rejection.  Perhaps this is one reason why people who are mentally challenged are often eager to hear about the good news of God’s love for them.  Their relationship with the Lord becomes a safe haven for them to grow and mature.

Our Father desires us to know that no matter what our customs or how limited our means and circumstances, He longs for a relationship with us.  Customs and finances are fluid. God’s grace never changes.  His desire for you to know Him is unchanging and everlasting.

Previous Posts

Explaining Grace
In the past weeks, I’ve been going over some of the key words in our covenant relationship with God with the members of my community who are intellectually disabled.  Perhaps one of the most important words we use is grace. Most of us have ...

posted 5:55:58am Jan. 06, 2015 | read full post »

Holidays and grief
Today, I heard again the Christmas song about the little boy whose mother is dying on Christmas eve and he wants to buy her shoes to wear as she goes into heaven. He doesn’t have enough money to buy the shoes and a person in line gives him the ...

posted 8:29:32am Jan. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Can You Come?
Maddie is one of those people within the mentally challenged community whom everyone loves.  She is friendly and happy.  Maddie makes everyone feel as though they are her "extra-special friend."  Several years ago Mattie and her husband ...

posted 12:20:34am Dec. 29, 2014 | read full post »

The Choice that Changed Everything--a sermon for the mentally challenged community
The choice that changed everything Nehemiah 9:17 Central Theme: Man choices to sin and God chooses to be gracious. A ream of paper has 500 sheets--not more and not less. A foot is 12 inches--not more and not less. There are many absolutes in ...

posted 10:48:30pm Aug. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Friendship Evangelism
For many years, I taught a seminar called "Friendship Evangelism."  The basis of this teaching was that people are much more susceptible to hear the promises of the Gospel, if they know and respect you.  We all have a knowledge of the ...

posted 9:12:04am Aug. 16, 2014 | read full post »

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