1. Yesterday, at the conclusion of my Chinese lunch, the server brought me and my lunch partner the customary fortune cookie. I don't recall the bit of wisdom my fortune cookie revealed once I broke it open ... but I was struck by my friend's. His fortune read, "The gift without the giver is bare." Hmm, I thought to myself. That is really good! Don't you agree? How often do we enjoy God's gifts which he so generously showers us with ... without giving a thought to HIM as the GIVER of these gifts (James 1:17), In doing so, we miss the greatest blessing of all ... that of enjoying God Himself! I encourage you at some point today ... take out a piece of paper (or call up whatever note taking app you use on your phone or tablet) and draw up a list of gifts God has given you. Then spend some time with him, thanking him for his gracious benevolence toward you. After all, the only thing we are entitled to receive from him is eternal judgment. Praise God He withholds that (mercy) and gives us eternal life in Christ (grace).
2. Last Sunday one of my best friends enjoyed the experience of giving his third oldest daughter away to the man who is now her husband. It was indeed a joy to observe him in that moment. Having done the same myself twice before, I know it can be a somewhat bitter-sweet moment. Sweet in knowing that one's daughter is now happy and moving on to a new chapter in her life ... bitter to see the former chapter close. But that is what life is all about! The great task of parenting is to raise our children so that, one day they will be prepared to move on and establish their own households. This requires that we "let go." And letting go is something American parents can have a tough time doing. Yet it is what God requires of us. Because if we don't "let go," our children will never be able to "leave and cleave" in their new relationship as husband and wife (Genesis 2:24).
3. Some time ago, I posted a prayer that I gleaned from John Piper's devotional book, Life as a Vapor). Since posting it, this prayer has been taped to my computer monitor so I can pray it from time to time. I offer it to you again with the hopes that you will make Piper's prayer your own.
"Thank you Lord, for the lives of flawed and faith-filled saints!
Thank you for grace, amazing grace, that saves and uses sinners!
Lord, don't let me limit your power by what I see in the mirror.
Help me to trust you. Help me, as William Carey said,
to expect great things from God and attempt great things for God.
I am not great, But you are great.
Your power is made perfect in my weakness.
I surrender all worldly claims on my life.
Come. Make me useful for the glory of Christ.
In his great name I pray.
Amen." (John Piper)
4. Finally, here is an update from my friend, Augustin Hibaile. Augustin began a ministry a number of years ago in the Central African Republic. CIDEL (Center International for the Development of Ethical Leadership) is strategically placed to be a major player in helping the C.A.R. on its path
I am busy preparing for the leadership seminar with Politicians who are running for the elections in CAR. Please pray that God will provide for the remaining funds to organize the four days seminar. Life in CAR is very expensive and it is difficult to afford goods in the store due to the consequences of the war and the presence of the UN troops.
We appreciate your prayer for the success of the seminars that will take place in August 25-28, 2015. We are expecting instructors from UK, DRC, Switzerland.
****Editors note: If you would like to give toward this pressing need to fund Dr. Hibaile's training seminars, please click here. When you arrive on Encompass World Partners' site, click on the drop down menu to select a project. When the list of projects comes up, click on C.A.R. - CIDEL (Hibaile) - Leadership Development. Thank you for considering some vitally needed financial support!
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