Monthly Archives: April 2012

AN AMAZING GOD

How can we put into words the greatness of God?  Oftentimes, we become speechless as we attempt to verbalize how incredible God is. We are awestruck by the His glory and power. “Indescribable” written originally by Laura Story, proclaims that God cannot be contained by our thoughts.  The theme behind the lyrics were inspired by Psalms 19 and the book of Job.

Psalms 19

 1The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what his hands have made.

 2 Each new day tells more of the story, and each night reveals more and more about God’s power.

We find in Job that God responds to his servant’s confusion and complaints by posing a series of questions regarding creation and nature that can only be answered by Him alone.  Here, we see contrasted God’s great power and wisdom with Job’s limited ability and understanding.

Job 38

 34 “Can you shout at the clouds and command them to cover you with rain?

 35 Can you give a command to the lightning? Will it come to you and say, ‘Here we are; what do you want, sir?’ Will it go wherever you want it to go?

Yes, our God is indescribable — too extraordinary for our thoughts to fully capture Him. He is immeasurable!  Let us remember the renewed sentiments of Job after he acknowledges God’s sovereignty.

 “I know that You can do all things, and that no thought or purpose of Yours can be restrained or thwarted.”  (Job 42:2)

Thanks for visiting AnEncouragedHeart. Signing off…God Bless! Cynthia

EXTENDING GOD’S MERCY INTO HAITI

I would like to introduce you to my guest blogger, my husband, Maurice.  I invited him to share his experience on his first mission trip to Haiti –actually, his first mission trip ever.

In Maurice’s Words…

Cynthia recently wrote on legendary missionaries that made huge impacts on many souls.  She has made a couple of mission trips to Central America, herself!  Hopefully she will share her experiences with you very soon.  But in the meantime, Cynthia wanted me to report on my recent experience, so here goes!

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20).

I had the incredible opportunity to join a local church team on their recent training mission to Cap-Haitien, a small city on the north coast of Haiti.  We spent six days training Haitian pastors and lay leaders how to serve their own churches.  This program, Bible Training Centre for Pastors that is based here in Georgia, provides class-based training to (foreign) national church leaders.

                                         Teaching the Book of Zephaniah

I also spent a couple of days performing minor construction repairs on the missionary house and the Abundant Life Orphanage, there in Cap-Haitien. Rather than just sending money to support these very worthy causes, I was led by the Holy Spirit to go there instead.  I discussed my heartfelt intentions with several missionary friends who also confirmed that GOING — to actually shake someone else’s hand, to look in their eyes and feel their warm and grateful smiles, rather than sending dollars, was rewarding to them and would especially be to me.

Just as important as these leaders received my help, I changed and grew because of this brief, relief mission.  This shared experience proved far more beneficial to my spiritual growth than I anticipated; much more than collecting funds and giving to an international program.

Repairing Abundant Life Orphanage

Believe me, this was no vacation; I worked with the people.  There was no beach time on this once-tropical island.  The sight-seeing that I experienced was not awe-inspiring, but more revealing of the people’s great need. There is much poverty.

Downtown Cap-Haitien

Cathedral of Cap-Haitien

 

God is at work and He wants us to join Him.  I’ve come to learn that He desires a fulfilling working relationship, as well as an intimate fellowship with each one of us.  He calls me, and you, to go and serve Him, in our neighborhoods and in far-away lands that need His help.  I am ready to go again and I sincerely hope that you will considering going, too!

Thanks for visiting AnEncouragedHeart. Signing off…God Bless! Cynthia

A GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESSES

Continuing with the theme of my most recent blog, I would like to share  “When the Saints” by Sara Groves.  This song celebrates men and women of God who chose to follow Him and make Him known at all cost. Included in the line-up are:  Paul & Silas, Moses, Harriet Tubman, Jim Elliot along with his team of missionaries, and the missionaries’ families who ministered to the Waodoni people in Ecuador — with much forgiveness and unconditional love.  And, we must never forget Mother Teresa who labored faithfully in Calcutta.

Hebrews 12: 1-3 (Easy-to-Read Version)

1 We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall.

2 We must never stop looking to Jesus. He is the leader of our faith, and he is the one who makes our faith complete. He suffered death on a cross. But he accepted the shame of the cross as if it were nothing because of the joy he could see waiting for him. And now he is sitting at the right side of God’s throne.

3 Think about Jesus. He patiently endured the angry insults that sinful people were shouting at him. Think about him so that you won’t get discouraged and stop trying.

We have many saints to admire — those who have gone on before us and those who are alongside of us.  Remember what The Apostle Paul said … follow me as I follow Christ (I Corinthians 11:1).

Thanks for visiting AnEncouragedHeart. Signing off…God Bless! Cynthia

THE JIM ELLIOT STORY – A Tribute to Missionaries

I heard the story of Jim Elliot and his fellow missionaries on several occasions over a 4-week span.  Coincidence? Probably not. I was so moved by their testimonies that I felt compelled to share the team’s story and that of their families, which is quite remarkable as well.  Like these missionaries, so many choose to obey God’s call to offer hope to those in need — physically, emotionally and spiritually.  That sounds pretty much like all of us in some way, at some time — either as the missionary or the recipient of God’s will.

Jim Elliot and His Team  (Paraphrased from author and speaker, Priscilla Shirer, who shared this story after hearing Steve Saint speak at a fundraiser.)

At a luncheon to raise funds for a feature film about the missionaries, Steve Saint began by honoring his father who gave his life serving God.  Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, Pete Fleming tried to make peace with the Waodani people (formerly known as Auca Indians) in Ecuador before sharing the gospel with this reclusive group; communicating through a loudspeaker from a small airplane and using a basket to lower down gifts.

After several months, they decided to camp out near the village.  According to Jim Elliot’s journal and photographs from his camera, it appeared that the team had made friendly contact initially on the ground. Some time later, however, others from the Indian group approached the team’s camp, and took the men’s lives.

Steve Saint looking back on this tragic outcome told the audience, “I would rather have a dad who died serving Christ than one who had no knowledge of Christ.”  Mr. Saint called “Grandfather” to the stage to join him. The two men embraced and stood beside one another, arms around the other’s shoulder as “Grandfather” spoke and Mr. Saint translated.

“Grandfather” said, “I am one of the men who killed Jim, Nate, and his friends that day in 1956. But since that time, I have come to follow God’s carvings. We have learned His markings now, and we follow His trails.”  He went on to say, “We too killed each other (the Waodani people) and had no regard for human life until we came to follow Him!”

The story, however, doesn’t end there. After their death, Jim Elliot’s wife Elisabeth and Rachel Saint (Nate’s sister), began working among the Waodani people. They continued the work that began in 1956 by their loved ones.

“Grandfather” shared other stories of how visitors would come to their village to conduct research — looking for “savages”, but would instead find a peaceful people. He said that he was amazed that people were shocked at their new lifestyle. They were transformed — changed by the power of God.

I encourage you to take time to read about the legacy of each of these men and their families. Several movies (i.e. Beyond the Gates of Splendor) were made in their honor — and to give glory to God for the work that continues even today among the people of Ecuador, more than 50 years later.

So to each of you who have obeyed the call of God here at home or abroad…thank you for your obedience and sacrifice.  And, I pray that you are strengthened by the power of the Spirit to do His will.

Next week, a guest blogger (my husband) will share his experience in Cap HaitienHaiti as a short-term missionary.  So, please be sure to drop by and read his testimony.

Thanks for visiting AnEncouragedHeart. Signing off…God Bless! Cynthia

LAY DOWN YOUR BURDENS!

As we participate in special services and activities during this Easter weekend, let’s remember those who have not yet come to Christ and those of us in the body who are weary. Yes, burdened down by stress and worry and the like. The apostle Peter reminded church elders to cast their cares, all of their anxieties on the Lord because He cares for them (1 Peter 5:7). In Hebrews 4:15-16, we are encouraged to go boldly to God so that we may receive mercy and find grace in our time of need.

And if you (we) have an opportunity to share the good news, let our talk be “seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6). Pastor Matt Chandler of The Village Church puts it this way:

Paul is saying here let your talk, specifically about the Lord, let your talk be seasoned with salt. As you serve the dish of the gospel of Jesus Christ, may your mouth testify of his goodness and glory and grace. The best thing you could do in regards to your relationship is to speak beautifully of the God who has saved you.” (Slowing the Pendulum Swing, August 10, 2010).

Please share this song with someone who needs to rest in Him.

Carry You“, by Amy Grant

Thanks for visiting AnEncouragedHeart. Signing off…God Bless! Cynthia