Saturday, December 29, 2012

NOT on MY Watch


Today friends around the world have begun to pray and fast saying,  
"Not on My Watch" 
in response to the post I wrote two days ago
regarding the future of adoption given the recent 
decision in Russia to ban all US adoptions. 

The situation is extremely serious.

We must not take the cavalier attitude that says
"Russia has closed their doors before
 and reopened them,
they'll do it again."

That says to me: 
"Ho-hum.  It'll all work out.  I'm busy.  Don't bother me."

No!

There are little ones, like Chance Michael,
{pictured below} 
who met his family and are awaiting  
court date in January 2013.

Another bloggy friend wrote and asked for specific prayer
for the L and W families in Mississippi.
One is bringing home one little boy, the other family - two little boys.

The P, L and W families represent three of the 46 families 
who have met their child{ren}
on a previous visit/court time
and have court dates for finalizing their adoptions
allowing them to bring them home.



In light of the prophetic picture/word the Lord showed me 
{you can read about it here}
over three years ago,
this situation is extremely, extremely, extremely serious.

We must pray.

We must fast.

We must not assume anything.

Not to mention the countless orphans that fill orphanages
longing to be held, loved and cared for by a family
of their own.

Today as we fast and pray,
I urge you to join me with an attitude and posture of repentance for:

 ~ our apathy toward the 
needs of 
the orphan, 
the widow, 
the vulnerable, 
the oppressed

~ our selfishness

~ our failure to care about the things that
 really, truly 
matter to Almighty God

He is the only one that can allow these 46 families 
to bring their children home.
He is the only one who can reverse this law 
that has been signed
by President Putin.

Our God is definitely able.

I am reminded of our Isaiah's situation back in 2007.
Due to an unintentional mess-up in paperwork,
Ch*na, after telling us 'yes', reversed their decision and told us "no".

We were beyond devastated.

We chose to pray, plead{and fast}
calling on the only one who could make it right!
We then chose to send a package to the Ch*nese government 
explaining what had happened.
We even enclosed a video we had made with Emma, Graham and Liberty 
pleading with Ch*na to 
reverse their decision.


From March 19th we waited - not hearing a single word from Ch*na.

Many of those who knew the situation said,
"Give up.  
Ch*na never changes their mind.
Ever."

We refused to give up!

Isaiah was our son and we knew that we knew 
that we knew that our powerful and mighty God would bring Isaiah home.

Weeks passed.
From March 19th - the remainder of March scurried by.
Not one word out of Ch*na.
We continue to pray and fasted regularly.

April came and went.
Not one word out of Ch*na.
We continued to pray and fasted often.
Friends and family joined in fasting.
Our church had a day of prayer and fasting.

The month of May came.
Around that time, the Lord gave me a prophetic word:
"By the end of May you will hear."

The days in May slowly passed.
I remember saying to Dw, 
"Even if it means that on May 31st
at a few minutes until midnight we hear, 
I know we will hear before the end of May".

After all the days spent on my knees and in fasting, the Lord had given me 
{and my prayer partner Chelsea} 
a promise from the book {of all things!} of 
Isaiah:

"Those who hope in me, will not be disappointed."
Isaiah 49:23

I clung to that word
and it gave me a 
confidence that He would rescue our precious son 
and bring him home to the family who so desperately longed
to hold him.

In perfect keeping with God's promises, 
on May 29th, 2007
we received a phone call.

China had reversed their decision, 
they would allow us to bring our son home!

Do you know what Isaiah means?
"Salvation by God"

ALmighty God is the only one who did it!

So too, we contend together for a release of the treasures 
being adopted by 46 families
and a reversal of the law that has been signed
so that all orphans in Russia will be allowed to come to the United States
to families longing for them.

We cannot idly sit by:

Not On My Watch!

Thank you for joining together.

"Those who hope in Him, will not be disappointed."
Isaiah 49:23

He is faithful.
He can move.
He can reverse this law.

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Miracle!

Well after the symptoms that took us to the ER on Jubilee's birthday and then the test results confirming a problem, I am elated, giddy and overjoyed to report that the surgeon came out and said, "It must have been a false positive, because your husband's arteries are perfectly clear and healthy.  There is no problem whatsoever."

False positive?

I don't think so.

I am positively positive that God is 
Jehovah Rapha the God who heals... 

He is our

Miracle-working,

Mountain-moving,

Awe-inspiring,

Gasp-giving God!!

How'd that happen?

Well, when we were in the ER the other night I dashed a text to Renee {who serves the Knee Team}...she dashed a quick email to all the members.

Prayers were immediately going up!

We reached our kids and a few others and more prayers began to go before the throne.

I am convinced that the prayers of The Knee Team {they sooo rock!}, our family and friends around the world have been heard and God healed Dw's heart.

ONLY Faithful God - hearing our prayers {and fasting of friends} and answering....

Dw can go home later {he is so drowsy and saying all kinds of fun stuff}...after he has laid flat on his back for awhile to keep the incision from having a problem.

Just like that -

God took at least four tests that confirmed a problem and produced perfectly clear, healthy arteries around Dw's heart.

Dw's life verse is Proverbs 3:5,6

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
lean not on your own understanding,
In all your ways acknowledge Him and 
He WILL direct your path."  

Dw's heart is HIS...and clearly He had his back!

Celebrate with us!!

Thank you to all who prayed {and fasted} 
for Dw's healing...

The doc said, "He can go to Africa, no problem!"
"They leave in 8 days!"

Yippee Jesus!

Dw

I have hesitated to share this, but I know many of you will pray.

Two days ago during Jubilee's birthday celebration Dw and I had to hastily leave as he was having heart attack symptoms.

I am so grateful that we live 10 minutes from a great hospital!

He has been in since then and they have done a battery of tests.

The bottom line is that there is a narrowing of one of the two major arteries leading to his heart.

He will be having a heart cath in less than 2 hours.

Possible stint?

Possible surgery?

Not sure.

Thankful that Almighty God has this.

But no matter what, prayers would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts {little bit of a pun intended}.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

From My Heart

This is long, I apologize in advance.  But the situation is grave and I must share my heart.

Grab a cup of coffee and pull up a chair.  If only I could have coffee with each of you so you could hear me share my heart....but this will have to do....

Yesterday, as many of you know, it was announced that the Russian Government had voted unanimously to no longer allow Americans to adopt children from Russia.  President Putin just has to sign it to make it official.

A few fasted and prayed before Christmas about the vote as we had heard just days before that the vote was coming.

The United States of America has adopted 60,000 Russian orphans in the past 20 years.

Yet all of that is about to end.

Friends this is extremely serious.
  
It's about to become law that Americans can no longer adopt from Russia.

As I pondered all of this yesterday morning, I felt I need to share my heart in a huge way.

It's serious.

But truthfully, it's not about Russia. 

 It's really not.

Listen to this:   

Yesterday morning when Graham came into the kitchen to have his breakfast, he happened to be the only one at the table...the kids were playing...it was quiet...just Ruby, Graham and I.

I told him about the Russian vote and I then remarked that the Lord had given me a prophetic picture of what was happening in the western world regarding the orphan and adoption and I had wrote about it on the blog a few years ago.  

Graham asked me, "Can you find it mom?"

So I hopped on the internet and did a search on my blog.  I knew I had written it a few years ago.  I found that I had actually wrote it just over three years ago on November 21, 2009.   We were living in the rental after our fire and Emma and I were getting ready to head to Ch*na to bring Jubilee home.  You can find it in it's entirety here.

As Graham ate his cereal, I read it aloud to him.

At the end he just said, "Wow Mom.  It's cool that you have that in writing."

The reason I had written the blog post three years ago was that I had been seen a prophetic picture from the Lord.

I humbly share a portion of the prophetic picture/word given to me with you:

The picture was His hand over the United States...but His hand was lifting.  It was in regard to International Adoption.  I felt like He told me at that time, "My hand of grace has been on the United States in regards to the orphan, but they have refused to turn their hearts to the orphan.  People are so wrapped up in their things.  Few care about the orphan.  Churches don't care.  Pastors have turned a deaf ear to the cry of the orphan.  My hand of mercy is lifting.  You will see International Adoption closing as my hand of judgment settles on America.

From that vantage point, this situation in Russia is not about Russia.  

It's about America and Americans hearts for the orphan.  

Here is a snippet of what I wrote that day, November 21, 2009:

I feel that I need to share my heart a bit more.  After the situation yesterday I knew the time was right to share what God has been nudging me about for awhile now and so I wrote yesterday's post. 

But today I need to explain a bit more. Here's what has been whirling around in my heart for months..... bear with me, will you? For months I have been feeling that God's hand of mercy has been on America/Canada etc. regarding the orphan. But I am feeling more convinced than ever that His hand of mercy is being lifted and His hand of judgment is coming. I don't write those words lightly sweet bloggy friends.  

I continued:

Take for example: Many years ago prayer was removed from public schools. I was a little girl in school, but I often wonder how many questioned the decision. Some may have questioned, but most, just sat with their jaws dropped and said, "How'd they do that?" I am convinced that we as Christians have been so concerned over the years that we would offend people that we have said nothing. Our rights have been slowly stolen away as most have sat idly by.

The United States of America was formed by those who gave up everything familiar {homes, jobs, families} to come to America seeking religious freedom. Yet, only a little over 200 years later, we Christians are quickly becoming the most oppressed {not persecuted, but oppressed} people in our "free" land.

And so it is seeming to go with adoption.

There are now millions of orphans in the world. In recent years the hearts of
some of God's people have begun to stir for the orphan.

But really, think about it.......

there wouldn't have gotten to be millions of orphans in the world if the vast majority of Christians had said, many, many, years ago - "NOT ON MY WATCH! - We WILL defend the orphan, we will get on our knees and pray(!), we will open our homes to the orphans, we will stop this injustice!"

 Not so long ago if someone was adopting Jesus-loving Christians whispered, "Ohhhhhh...wow....they're adopting...." And it was whispered back, "Ummmmm, why? Can't they have kids of their own?" 

Very, very few are genuinely concerned for the orphan. 

Really, why would anyone be concerned, it doesn't affect them.

It would be inconveniencing to care. Everyone had a life. Their own life.
And most often, two children {max!} fit into their lifestyle.

But I am convinced that God has given our wealthy Western world Christians one last chance.

No kidding.

I feel like He said, "Their parents hearts have hardened.....so I'm going to stir the hearts of young people for the orphan and see if their parents generation of America/Canada/Australia, etc. will wake up for the orphan. I am going to fill some young people's hearts with compassion for the millions of orphans.

I am going to see if their parents will wake up. I am going to see if their pastors will wake up. I am going to see if their peers will wake up. I am going to give them one last chance!" 

As many of you know, Steven Curtis Chapman's oldest daughter Emily's heart was so moved for the orphan that she hounded her parents to consider adoption. Years later, they had three Chinese little girls and a huge special needs hospital built in Ch*na, not to mention an entire ministry dedicated to helping others adopt.

What amazing things will happen when a young girl's heart is yielded to her Master - the defender of Orphans a/k/a Almighty God. {And many of you heard the call to adopt at a Steven Curtis Chapman concert - again, as a direct result of his daughter Emily's passion for the orphan.}

I know of another couple who Dw and I had the privilege of meeting recently. They told us how their oldest son went on a missions trip to Russia and upon returning home convinced his almost empty-nester parents that they had to open their home to an orphan. They eventually adopted from Russia and maybe one day will adopt again. All because their son had had his heart stirred by Almighty God.

And more people have been waking up. Their hearts have been stirred. Some have gotten so passionate for the orphan that they are now labeled as "obsessed"....but the funny thing is that God's word is filled with just how we are supposed to care for the orphan - we are supposed to be passionately obsessed!!

God is crazy about the orphan.

He is grieved about the injustices done to them and He is waiting for those to rise up and say, "enough!!" I am convinced that the countries that are making it more and more difficult for orphans to be adopted are a direct result of the judgment Hand of God. I am equally convinced that He is waiting to see what we, the body of Christ, will do.

Will we turn a deaf ear?

At the risk of losing every bloggy friend out there - - I will be a passionately obsessed voice for the orphan - No. Matter.What!!! God's greatest commandments are these: First, love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. Second, Love your neighbor as yourself.

At the risk of stepping on toes, really sweet bloggy friends, most of what we do is a giant waste of time - almost all the "stuff" that fills our time.

Our stuff distracts from loving God and our stuff distracts from loving others.

 Our stuff steals our time.

Our stuff costs us valuable energy. If it isn't done with pleasing Him first and foremost and ministering to the less fortunate - then it is a time and energy sucker.

And with no time and energy we have nothing left over to do what really counts, ya' know? So I believe, with all my heart that God is watching us and waiting. What will we do with the information that we have just learned?

Will we pray? 

Will we get on our knees and beg God to intervene? 

Will we repent for our arrogance?

Will we repent for our choosing 'stuff' instead of ministering to the orphan, the poor, the widow?

Will we repent for our self-centered obsession with ourselves?

Will we?

Will we fast? 

Will we tell others of what is happening? 

OR 

Will we turn a deaf ear? 

Will we ignore it? 

Will we rationalize it and say, "Ummm that's so sad.  Bummer.  But I have to get a move on with my new Pinterest board. It'll all work out for those poor kids. I am sooooo busy, you just have no idea!" 

Friends, I refuse to have my children someday say to me, "What did you do mom when America stopped allowing orphans to come home?" and have me say, "Ummm, I was busy. I didn't notice. You have no idea how busy I was. I was going to lunch with my friends, taking classes, walking in the woods, scrapbooking, blogging, volunteering, teaching Sunday School, etc. I just didn't have time and I thought someone else would do it for me."

No, I can't do that and I am passionately compelled and obsessed - we must do something.

So Dw and I, together with International Voice of the Orphan are calling for a fast.  

We must.

We cannot sit back and allow this to happen.

And the only one who can change this is Almighty God.

The defender of orphan and widow.

The God we refer to as Our Miracle-working, Mountain-moving, Awe-inspiring, Gasp-giving God!  And He can do it.

Will He?  I'm not sure.

I keep remembering the picture He gave me of His hand of mercy slowly lifting.

And I wonder how many have fasted and prayed for the orphans in the last 3 years?

How many of the millions who claim to be Christians have done anything?

How many pastors embrace Orphan ministries?

How many truly care?

How many are addicted to the orphan's needs?

How many were on the orphan 'kick' but have settled back into their previous lifestyle?

These are hard words my friends.  I know that.   But to sit back and say, 'la-la-la-la-la' would be a travesty to the orphan.

Not on my watch!

I trust you have heard my heart. This is serious friends, it's desperately serious.  And again, it's not about Russia, although that's how it is playing out.

The situation is definitely not too difficult for our God. It is not too difficult at all.

BUT what we do with this situation and others will directly relate to what God allows in the future no doubt. 

I believe if we don't act on behalf of the orphan now we will watch as country after country closes their doors to America/Canada as God's hand of mercy continues to lift.

Or will you keep pleading with me on behalf of the orphans in Russia who have been matched with families and those lying in insituations longing for a family?

Will you join with friends around the world in a fast?

A Day of Prayer and Fasting Sponsored by International Voice of the Orphan

Saturday

December 29th, 2012

Yes, it's the holidays.

I know that.

But there are 46 families in the midst of the process, matched with treasures and waiting to come home who cannot if this vote goes through.  There are orphans, helpless, longing for a family.

Can we stay God's hand of judgment?  

Will you be their voice?

Do you care?

Do you care enough to fast and pray with us?  

The future of International Adoption is looming.

Any country could close their doors {bang!} just like that.

Russia's vote was sudden.

Prayer and fasting is the ONLY thing that will change this desperate situation.

THE ONLY THING.

Will you join us?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

From This to This

 Three years ago Christmas Eve Emma and I drove down our long lane home.  Finally.  After 2 weeks in Ch*na we were finally home with our precious and long-awaited treasure

Jubilee Promise

Her middle name is Promise because she was the fulfillment of a Promise from Almighty God that He had whispered many years before...."your 7th will be a girl and you will name her Jubilee"....

Of course when Isaiah came home I thought to myself, "Weird.  I hear Him speak so clearly, I guess I missed it."

Little did I understand that He was working behind the scenes, I had heard Him correctly....

Jubilee was our 10th coming home - but in the birth order, she was number 7.

How cool is that?

He had been speaking in mysteries to my heart....and I had heard Him clearly,

Our 7th was a girl!

And so her name:

Jubilee Promise

Isn't it crazy what the love of family can do?

Here she is waiting for us in Ch*na....



And here's Mommy {and Emma who was with me} meeting Jubilee for the first time....




And that beautiful teeny-tiny bundle of sweetness has gone from this to this:

And we are so thankful for her life...and the joy she exudes....

She's just easy going and joyful, loves to help in the kitchen, adores Ruby {they have an extra special connection, like Ruby fully understands that Jubilee's a lifer with her}




Pictured with her friend Philip, who was at the same home in Ch*na as she was {Shepherd's Field}.  We were able to hug necks with his family on our cross-country road trip this summer...{Philip's parents, Janet and Kevin are our "Ch*na Connection" over at International Voice of the Orphan and have become treasured friends....




Happy 11th Birthday Jubilee Promise!

We are so thankful that God's keeps ALL of His promises!


 If you want to wish Jubilee a Happy Birthday, she'd be okay with that.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

From Our Home to Yours





























Whatever you do.  

Look away.

And oh, yeah. 

Don't smile.   





The big kids.

Doing that serious thing. 



 Which they clearly can't hold back for long. 

 But they can try.

{Although Liberty was havin' a hard time not laughing.} 

 Forget a kid named Jubilee not being Jubilant....


But they can say they tried.





A ton of love from our Place Called Simplicity...

To all of you and yours....

We are forever grateful for your love and prayers this past year...

Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 24, 2012

An Honor We Didn't Expect


A few weeks back one of the staff pastors at our church 
{Phoenix First} came to Dw to ask him something.

Pastor Jeff asked if our family would consider being 
part of the Christmas Eve service.
{There will be thousands of people in attendance!}

They asked us to spend a bit of time talking about our family 
and reading the Christmas story.

I just wanted to throw it out there, in case anyone 
{like Lisa and Leo in Ireland - ha!} 
are looking for a service to 'attend'...

It is going to be live-streamed here.
{In fact, as I was looking for the link to attach, 
I saw there is a 'countdown clock' to when the service begins and my 
stomach did a little flip - 9 hours till it starts -
and that's a lot of stuff that has to happen between 
this family with the pile of kids getting there!
oh.me.oh.my.}

And for the record, the littles have been practicing what they are going to say....
but we'll see what actually comes out!

So very honored at this privilege and as always, praying
that God will use our treasures to turn the hearts of 
many to the orphan crisis. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Visit of the Funnest Kind

Our little Finn man arrived late Friday for dinner...
and can you believe it?
Our three boys were getting their jammies on and Abi said, 
"Mom, Finn has the EXACT same pair..."
so we gathered them together....
Graham refused to put matching jammies on....
such a party-pooper kind of guy {haha}
Come on Graham- get with the program, will ya?

Such a delight to have them here, even though it was brief...
{They left Sunday morning  - waaaaa}
We packed the fun in...and just hung out, talking, laughing
and the big ones staying up late...

Jaja loves the little Finn man so much....
and clearly Finn loves his Jaja








Nehemiah thinks having a huge family is a blast!





Friday, December 21, 2012

Together WE CAN Bring Them Home

I know you've heard me say it before, but when the Lord moved on James' heart to write:

"Pure and undefiled religion before God is this:  
to care for the orphan and widow"
James 1:27



He could have said,

Pure religion is to be a pastor.

or

Pure religion is to be married to a pastor.

or

Pure religion is to be a school teacher.

or

Pure religion is to help save the whales.

or

Pure religion is to be a firefighter.

or

Pure religion is to be worship leader.

or

Pure religion is to pray for the orphan and widow.

But He didn't say any of those at all
{although they are all really nice things}.



He was real clear 

and

he said it really, really simply.

And sweet friends, it can't be misunderstood.

He said that pure religion was to care for the orphan and widow.

It's that easy.

Or actually, is it?

Caring is an action verb.

If I just prayed for my kids they would be hungry, not clothed, not bathed and actually Ruby would not survive.

They each require you and I to actively care for them. 

They require things like feeding, clothing, protecting, nurturing, watching out for, pray over them, teaching them how to live life safely, and all the rest.



So when it comes to caring for the orphans....
one of the extremely practical and super easy and very tangible ways 
we show we care is to help others bring some home.

Today we get to "meet" several families who regularly stop in at our Place Called Simplicity to visit...and ya' know the ol' sayin'...."any friend of yours is a friend of mine"....

Actually two of the families I've had the privilege of hugging necks and hanging out with.  One family, Sean and Jessica Onions, used to attend our church when we pastored in Durango.  In fact Jessica made Autumn and Karl's wedding cake.  And just between you and me {haha} we are trying to talk Sean and Jessica into flying out of Phoenix when they go to Ch*na so they can stay at our home and we can be their mammouth cheering squad/Welcome Home committee when they return.

Jenny and JD {at Our Plans Multiplied} hung out with us when they visited Durango to see their son who was attending our church internship program.   We had a blast together!

I'm confidant the other families are equally as amazing - I just wish I could've already hugged their necks as well.

So there you have it...Let's pool our resources together and help these families get their treasures home!

And ya' know what?

God will bless all of us abundantly for doing so - that's a promise He makes!

So let's bring 'em home - TOGETHER!


If you would like to participate, please read yesterday's post.  It's very self-explanatory....and all you eager ones, who commented the answers to the questionnaires - you made me giggle.....you got a little ahead of yourselves and didn't finish reading the post....TODAY is the day of the link up silly-willies....*still giggling*

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Calling All "1s" - Let Us Help You Bring 'Em Home

So excited at what God is going to do at this most wonderful time of the year for those soon to bring home a treasure....


Here's the lowdown for those wanting to participate in the link-up...


The "Rules":

Folks who are a #1= Matched with one child  
AND
are nearing travel, 
but are in need of finishing up the funds.

If you have already traveled, even overseas at this moment, this is not for you...

1. Each person will have the same questions to answer {just copy, paste and answer}. 
2. The questions are to be the body of the post that is linked.  
3. You must link back inside the post to our Place Called Simplicity as well explaining to your bloggy friends what we are doing over here. 
4.  Anyone who uses an old post will be deleted, as will anyone who fails to answer each question.
5.  PCS reserves the right to delete any link that does not follow the rules set forth.
{I don't want to delete anyone, so please be sweet and follow the rules.}

Here's the Questionnaire that must be copied, pasted, answered and posted.  
Each question must be answered honestly.  There is no wrong answer, the only thing that matters is truthfulness.   In the interest of most people reading your post, it would probably be best to be brief with your answers.   I have questions that I feel honor the Lord, promote stewardship responsibilities as well as obedience to scripture allowing those willing to share what resources they have to get to know the folks participating.   

1.   Tell us a bit about the child you are adopting - including this treasure's age and name {Please post a picture if allowed.}
2.  Is the child you are adopting considered "Special Needs"?  
3.  What country or geographic area are you adopting from?
4.   Have you adopted before?
5.   How close to travel are you?
6.   Do you attend church regularly?   If so, what type of church is it?
7.    Do you tithe with each pay {at least the scriptural standard of 10%}?
8.  This week, did you participate in any way with the day of Praise, Prayer by giving praise on the link and then posting your request?
9.  Have you read the entire Deadbeat Dad series?  {Yes or No}  Please read it in full, so you can better understand the heart of God for stewarding the money He has graciously gifted us with. 
It is a four part series and can be found here:  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
10. How did you hear about this Link up we are having? 
11.  Is there anything, briefly, that you would like to share with our orphan-lovin', God-honorin', Jesus worshippin' bloggy friends reading this?

   
****************
Finally, understanding that each gift received through this "Response Time" has been entrusted generously for our use from our loving Father, we promise, in the unlikely event that we would be unable to or decide not to adopt the children we are advocating for, we promise to return all of the money gifted to us as a result of this link to International Voice of the Orphan so they can, at their discretion, give to other families currently adopting.      

{Please place your initials on the line.} 
Yes, I will submit______             No, I am unable to submit to this ________

If you are a "1", then copy, paste the above questions, answer each, link to our Place Called Simplicity and I will have the post up tomorrow for you to link to.  


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

More Than 10 Times

Oh my.

Do I ever have an amazingly cool story to share today!!

First off though, I am so grateful for each of you who prayed {and fasted} yesterday with us.  

I don't know about you, but almost every single time I fast, I feel a peace that does truly pass understanding.

Do you notice that too?

It is supernatural, no doubt.  That's why when things in our lives seem to be spinning a bit chaotically, the first thing I think is, "When can I fast?"  It just works to sooth my soul - because He is always faithful.

I have been feeling lately that we needed to do the next "Storing Up Treasures" for those who are near traveling to bring a treasure home...

We honored and prayed for and blessed those bringing more than one right here, now it's time for those bringing one.

The crazy and amazing thing about God is that as I have been praying about doing this, I was thinking about all the excuses that people are so quick to use when it comes to helping someone else.

Here's a few I've heard in the past:

1.  They don't really need my help cause it will happen regardless.

2.  I'll let their family and friends help them, I don't even know them.

3.  Our finances are in a real crunch already....we couldn't possibly help someone else.

And the list goes on....

But here's what I would say to the three top excuses that people would use.

1.  They don't really need my help cause it will happen regardless.

~True,  but we have long established that God is definitely NOT a Deadbeat Dad...He will provide, with or without you, but remember the story of Esther?  We have just finished studying it in our family Bible study and when Esther's Uncle Mordecai approaches her asking her to go to the king on behalf of the Jewish people to spare their lives, Uncle Mordecai gives this word, {paraphrased by me}, "You don't have to Esther, God WILL bring help to spare the Jewish people from another source....but how do you know Esther that you weren't born and placed in this royal position for such a time as this?"

So you're right, He will bring help to each of the families bringing treasures home, He doesn't need you.  He doesn't.  BUT He wants to use you to help them.  He wants to bless you {and me} for being obedient in helping bring orphans home.

2.   I'll let their family and friends help them, I don't even know them.

~You're not understanding that helping others we don't know is part of God's plan.  Remember the Good Samaritan?  He helped the man he hadn't expected to find who needed help just cause.  He didn't look for an excuse not to help, he just met the need.  Period.

3.  Our finances are in a real crunch already....we couldn't possibly help someone else.

And on that note, I received the very coolest post on my Facebook wall this morning from a bloggy friend named Amy...I asked her permission to share her God-story below.....

Read this:

I am just in WOW right now. I love how God does great things to blow our minds! So yesterday I was reading a one of my favorite blogs, Linny, and in the comments saw a family post about being ready to travel to bring home their daughter in early January. However, this family was short on funds. 

Now we are just in the beginning stages, but I know how stressful being short of funds can be. So even though we don't have a lot, I decided to give $20. Well, God took my obedience and heaped on the blessings. Today Jim called to tell me a co-worker had given him a donation towards our adoption. Then I went to check the mail and a dear friend had sent her money for the bracelets she wanted, but her check was for way more than the amount needed.

Friends, these donations are more than 10x's what I gave!!! Not only that, some other dear friends have taken bracelets to try and sell for us!! We are so truly blessed. I loved being able to share this story of God's faithfulness with my children!!




 Did you catch that sweet bloggy friends????

Amy and her husband didn't 'have' extra money sitting around wondering what they should do with it....NOT.AT.ALL.  They were in the midst of beginning stages of their own adoption...and yet she saw a need and gave....and the very next day - God blessed them more than 10 times what she had given! 

My eyes well with tears!   

Can you believe it?  

God is soooo faithful.  He blesses and blesses and blesses us when we bless others....

So on that note - 

We are going to have a "Storing Up Treasures" for those nearing bringing one home...which would be the "1s".  


The same standards will apply:

1.  The post entry must be fresh {as in written for the link-up}.
2.  The questionnaire will have to be completed {the questionnaire will be posted tomorrow} so it can be included in the fresh post.
3.  This "Storing Up Treasures" is really for those who regularly stop in and visit with us here at our Place Called Simplicity.
4.  The approval option will be on the link-up and so all entries will have to be approved.  We will limit the number of entries to probably 7 {at the most}.  

I am so excited at what God is going to do, in light of Amy's story this morning after a day of prayer and fasting...He has something really cool planned, no doubt!

Stay tuned and begin to pray about what He would have you do....
   

Monday, December 17, 2012

First We Have To...

"Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: "Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever."
2 Chronicles 20:21

As they prepared for battle, Almighty God told the Israelites to sing and praise Him for the splendor of his holiness....

No matter what, He is always worthy to be praised....

No

Matter

What

And trust me, there have been days when I definitely don't "feel" like praising Him....but that's the *secret*...praising Him even when we don't feel like it....

So with that in mind...Please, would you consider, before sharing a prayer request, please consider leaving a word of praise, thankfulness or scripture on THIS post so that our praise would create a sweet  fragrance and many will be encouraged by your example of praise....




Praying {and Fasting} Together....

Yesterday I felt compelled to gather bloggy friends around the world to pray {and fast, if possible} in light of the most recent tragedies.  As we pray for those affected by the tragic situation in Newtown, Connecticut and Henan Province, China....many also find the needs they face overwhelming at this Christmas season...so many precious ones facing circumstances that would weary the most courageous of souls...

Terminal illness

Financial turmoil

Relationship Problems

Recent unexpected loss of little treasures

Health issues

Uncertain futures

Loved ones leaving this world suddenly

And the list goes on...

And yet, no matter the circumstance we face, God's word is clear:   We are to offer thanksgiving and  praise to Him in the midst of it all....

Please share something you praise Him for or an encouraging scripture verse on the above post... then please share your requests on this post.

We will be honoring God by bearing one another's burdens....


MBox Monday - One Eye's Opened!

Yesterday when I asked people to join in a fast and day of prayer tomorrow, I didn't know how the response would be.  Clearly though, many of you are overcome with grief at the loss of innocent life.

Did you happen to read in the comments that Jessica's little boy is waiting for her in an orphanage not far from where the stabbings in Henan Province took place?  It makes it so close to home for so many.

Thank you to those who have spoke up and are participating.  It was exciting to my soul to see that bloggy friends like Amanda had already felt the Lord leading her to fast on Tuesday and then a first-timer named Stephanie would be joining in as well.  Faithful God.

And lori, thank you for mentioning praising Him.  It's true.  Scripture speaks over and over and over about the power of praise.

Here's a story from my heart:

I remember a time, this past summer, when Ruby was appearing to be needing to head to the ER...she would not wake up for anything - and it had been all day long like that.    I felt though, that the Lord had whispered, "This is a spiritual battle, praise Me!"

I called Renee {my bloggy friend who oversees the Knee Team} and she prayed with me for Ruby.  Still Ruby remained sound asleep.  Even a cool bath didn't wake her!



But I still felt it was spiritual.   Emma and Dw were actually in Africa...and so I was trying to figure it all out and still felt very strongly that the Lord said to just praise Him.

The kids and I had to drive to the other side of the city that particular day and so I explained to Jubilee, Isaiah, Elizabeth and Elijah the power of praise during times of warfare.  Then I asked them if they would join in praising Him with me?

Our van turned into a sanctuary of praise that day.  We sang loudly!  We prayed loudly!

Elizabeth was sitting next to Ruby and after about 20 minutes of direct and intentional and very purposed praise and worship together, Elizabeth shouted, "Mom, Ruby has ONE eye open!"  {This alone was miraculous!}

We were ecstatic!   I continued, "Keep praising with me!"  We sang, we prayed,  and I began to name the names of God, declaring His faithfulness.....another 10 minutes passed and Elizabeth and Isaiah shouted, "Ruby's opened both eyes now!"

And by the time we had made the round trip to our home, Ruby was wide-awake and talking.

To this day, nothing will convince me otherwise but God moved in a mighty way because of the power of praise that day.

Now here's an important question that some of you may be wondering:

Would it happen like this every time?

Quite honesty, I do not know.

But this I do know, that there have been times when the Lord has whispered, "this is warfare, praise Me"...and that was one of the times...and we did and He did and Ruby's 'sleepiness' went away.

That day is forever etched in my mind....and so tomorrow, we will do {at lori's wise suggestion} have two posts:  One with praises and one with requests.  They will post just after midnight East Coast time.



And lastly, I sincerely apologize for not being able to post the Memorial Box links last week.  There was a technical problem...Please Abigail, Stefani B, Susan A {who is currently enjoying her newlywed days} and Wendy would you be so kind as to repost your links on this one?  Thank you sweet friends  for being so patient.



Sunday, December 16, 2012

I Feel Compelled

As the world has sat stunned by the loss of innocent life in Newtown, Connecticut, it is incomprensible that on the very same day on the opposite of the world, a 36 year old stabbed 22 school children in Henan Province, China.   What in the world is going on?

No doubt, we just cannot fathom these acts of violence against some of the most innocent and vulnerable of all.

God's faithful promise keeps coming to my mind over and over:

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted...."
Psalm 34:18a

In our very human minds we grapple with the reality that the world could be so wicked.  And, no doubt,  our thoughts are only complicated by the belief that December should only be a time of families celebrating together, making memories, and filled with great joy....yet there is ugly dispair, horrible heartache and unimaginable grief.

We just can't even begin to believe it!

No doubt, praying people around the globe have been interceding for the families and friends of the victims, remembering also those who have had to tend to the crime scenes and all who minister to those affected.

At the same time, I have received many, many emails recently from brokenhearted people struggling with their own grief.

Painful situations.

Sudden loss of little treasures.

Health issues that are life-threatening.

Broken relationships.

My heart has been so heavy and since our Place Called Simplicity is known as a place of Prayer and Fasting, {where we have seen Almighty God move some mighty huge mountains} I feel compelled to call for a day of prayer and fasting: Humbly asking God to comfort, heal, bring hope, minister to, restore and that His presence would become known to all....



*Prayer and Fasting*
Tuesday
December 18th, 2012

{on that date there will be a Prayer Request post where each person 
may post a prayer request so we can pray for each other as well}

Would you be willing to join in prayer on Tuesday 
{and fasting, if possible}?


"Carry each other's burdens..."
Galatians 6:2