Looking Ahead

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by Stan Peterson

Looking ahead to 2013, many of us have already started to plan and set goals and look forward to what we want to see accomplished in our personal lives, the lives of our families, and in the life of our Church. We envision what we will be doing and where we will be going, and this creates an expectation within our hearts — a yearning for those things to come to pass. We slowly but surely transfer our passion (time, energy and money) towards those goal(s).

As God sovereignly directs our lives and the path that we walk down (Proverbs 16:9), we are faced with choices. Will we choose to surrender our rights and our plans to follow God’s sovereign plan as it unfolds before us … or to continue in our ways? The greater the difference between our thoughts and plans, and God’s, the greater the disappointment we face.

In the book of Isaiah we see Israel and Judah (the split kingdom) being chastised for their thinking (Isaiah 55). The walls of Jerusalem had been remade and the Temple reconstructed, yet we see a nation that is still divided and held in captivity. The Jew thought that the Messiah would come and be set up as king in the Holy City, reigning with all authority and power, and the people of Israel would prosper physically. But this was not happening. Why? Thus Israel had a choice to either become hardened and indifferent to the ways of God, or to repent and believe in God’s goodness and plans (Isaiah 55:7).

How do we as a people chosen by God know the thoughts of God, the will of God? Just as God called to Israel through the Prophet Isaiah to remember His promises, that He is a God who is near, and His word will accomplish what He has sent it to do (Isaiah 55.11), so too we have the Word of God given to us in a book, the Bible. Let this sink into our minds … it is profound: We have the very words of life given to us! This should shake us to the core and give us great hope and confidence.

With the Spirit, meditating on God’s Word, we may through prayer commune with God and know His thoughts and speak them back to God (1 Cor. 2:16).

My hope and prayer for us at Elim is that we would grab hold of God’s Word and prayer in ever greater measure throughout the course of 2013; that our hearts would be lined up with His, and that we would be a reflection of Jesus to all we come into contact with, no matter the circumstances or situation that God has sovereignly placed us into!

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‘Tis the Season

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By Gordy McCoy

‘Tis the season to be giving. There are so many opportunities to give this year. So many needs. Deuteronomy 15:7-8 says, “But if there are any poor in your towns when you arrive in the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Instead, be generous and lend them whatever they need.” It’s a good reminder for me to pay attention to the needs of others around me.

What do you do when you see a homeless man in our local library? Imagine if you will, you are taking a lunch break. After you have finished the first half of a ham and cheese sandwich, that homeless man’s face comes to mind. You offer him the other half of your sandwich, and he accepts it. This short encounter helps me realize that God has richly blessed me and I need to do more to help those less fortunate than I.

Linda remembers when she was out painting at Point Defiance early in the morning and a homeless woman came out of the woods. She went over to the garbage can and was looking for something to eat. She then went over to a park bench and sat down quite a ways from Linda. Linda had brought two apples with her that day because she had planned on being there for quite awhile. She walked over to the lady, who looked more uncomfortable the closer Linda got to her. Without making eye contact (on purpose), Linda offered her an apple.

The woman said, “Do I have to eat it now … in front of you?” Linda replied, “No, of course not.” The lady snatched it out of her hand and Linda walked away …but she kept thinking about her, and how blessed we are, and how hard life must be for the woman who lived out in the woods at Point Defiance.

It also says in Deuteronomy that an open hand symbolizes the way God wanted His people to provide for the poor – willingly and freely. When we offer up to the poor, even though this isn’t our motivation, God blesses us for our kindness.

Psalm 41:1-3 says, “Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor. The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble. The Lord protects them and keeps them alive. He gives them prosperity in the land and rescues them from their enemies. The Lord cares for them when they are sick and restores them to health.”

Proverbs 19:17 says, “If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord – and He will repay you.”

In this season of giving, think about what you can do to help those less fortunate. Perhaps you can look back and see the many ways the Lord has helped you. Seek him and He will lead you to those who could use a little help, if you are able.

One way to help is our “Feed the Homeless” program, and another is “Freezing Nights.” If you haven’t already, come up some Monday evening to Freezing Nights and see this powerful ministry in action. It is a beautiful thing to see the tender way our people take care of those who are cold, hungry and needing a safe place to stay. We can always use your help, and you WILL be blessed!

In closing, I would like to thank all of you for allowing me to serve on the Elders Board. It has been a privilege.

Respectfully submitted,

Gordon McCoy

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Refugees of the Eastern Congo

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Written by Nubako Selega and posted by Cal Kierum

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Greetings from me and my family here in Kinshasa! Undoubtedly, some of you have been following the news of the situation in eastern Congo. As a bit of background, since 1990 and the fall of President Mobutu, a former President of DR Congo, our country has frequently been involved in wars that have affected numerous people in different areas of our country. Because of that there are many related problems.

About six months ago, in May 2012, some people in eastern DR Congo, just north of Kivu, which lies along the Rwandan border, became victims of this fighting and in need of immediate assistance. One of the rebellions in that area was begun by a group called M23. They began fighting with the Congolese army and eventually took control of a portion of eastern DR Congo. After three weeks of fighting they then seized the city of Goma. In response to both national and international pressure, the group agreed to pull out of Goma on November 30.

The fighting in eastern DR Congo has created over 700,000 refugees, all situated around the Goma area. Most of them live in refugee camps while others have gone to live with extended family members. A single camp can have as many as 40,000-60,000 refugees. Other people have fled to Rwanda. For those who are refugees, living outside is horrible. They are subjected to the sun and rain. They have no medical assistance. There are no toilets. There is no food. Those who are most affected by this are the children who fall sick and have no medical care, no medicine and often, no one to care for them.

Churches, NGOs and humanitarian organizations are doing their best to assist, but the needs are immense, especially for food and medicine. The Church of Christ in DR Congo (ECC), directs 67 different protestant denominations in DR Congo and I have been working with them to assist them in training church planters and youth workers. They are also helping minister to the needs of the people in the east through a ministry called Crisis Refugee Assistance; however, what they are able to provide is entirely insufficient.

I am sharing this with you today first, so that you will pray for these people in eastern DR Congo. I also ask you to consider helping with food and medicine. I am convinced that sending assistance to these people through this ministry of the ECC will do great good. I believe that this demonstration of the love of God to these people in this time of need could bring many to faith in Jesus Christ.

Just this morning, I spoke with a pastor who lives there. He is a friend of mine and came to the training this past summer given to us by Life International on the sanctity of human life. He shared with me that people are now selling their clothing and household goods to help buy food and medicine for those in need.

Donations to assist with this effort may be made to: Africa Crisis Relief – Account #3988
Online – www.EFCA.org
By mail – EFCA ReachGlobal, 901 E. 78th St., Minneapolis, MN  55420

Together for His Kingdom!
Nubako Selenga
Director, ReachAfrica
+243 81 71 77 630
+243 99 73 30 663
Skype: Selengan
E-mail: Nubako.Selenga@efca.org
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

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