18 August, 2014

The Hiding Place - Corrie ten Boom

A couple of months ago now, I had to read The Hiding Place for school. I'd heard it was a really good book for ages, but after reading it, I can definitely agree! It's a really good book. Lets just say that I was very interested in schoolwork for those few days. :) Anyway, after reading it, I had to write an essay on what effect growing up in a christian home had on Corrie ten Boom, so here it is! 

"Corrie ten Boom and her siblings grew up in a Christian home. Not only were they surrounded by professing Christians, they were surrounded by a family who practiced what they preached. One of their aunts spent her days writing, and Corrie's mum herself was known for taking in hungry people off the street, giving them a cup of good home-brewed tea and a meal, before sending them on their way again. Corrie's father, a successful watchmaker, made it his habit to read a chapter of the Bible daily, not just to his family, but to all who were in the house ( known as the 'Beje'). Corrie's other aunts busied themselves with the sewing needs of the family, and of all those who needed to be clothed.

In the years after her mother's death, Corrie's older sister, Betsie, took on the work of feeding those who needed it, and rarely was their large table ever empty. When the effects of World War II began to be felt in Haarlem, Corrie's hometown, the family continued their openhanded way of living – offering places at their table to anyone in need. Their reputation was known, and soon Jews seeking a refuge began making their way to the big old house. Some of these were given other places to hide, out in the country where it was safer, but there over time there were no places left in the country, and a small group of hunted Jews made the Beje their home too. Although this put their lives in danger, Corrie and her family could do no less; they wholeheartedly welcomed these people as family. Even after the consequences were felt, Corrie's father, when being offered freedom if he should promise not to cause any more 'trouble', replied, ' If I go home today, tomorrow I will open my door to any man in need who knocks.'

This kind of genuine compassion for all human beings, especially those in need was deeply ingrained in Corrie and her siblings. They had grown up observing it, being part of it, and then carrying it out themselves. Even later when Corrie and Betsie were in a horrible prison camp, they still found little ways to help the other women. Those whom they could not help, such as the cruel guards, were still objects of their sympathy. Loving and forgiving the very people who mistreated them did not come naturally to Corrie, and she struggled greatly to forgive the man who had betrayed them to the Gestapo. But the prodding of her conscience and Betsie's example won through, and finally she prayed, 'Lord Jesus, I forgive [him] as I pray that You will forgive me...'

After the war was over Corrie continued to serve. She founded several homes for ex-prisoners and others affected by the war. Corrie also traveled to many countries telling of her experiences, and the  grace, help and salvation she found in God, who sustained her during her carefree childhood years, her busy and dangerous middle-age years, her years in prison, and the years she spent after her release traveling and sharing. Corrie ten Boom's Christian upbringing definitely had a marked effect on her life and character – she was a servant for her King all her days."

Have you ever read The Hiding Place? What did you think? 

17 August, 2014

Humility - 100% Trust in God

'A humble man is not afraid of failure. In fact, he is not afraid of anything, even of himself, since perfect humility implies perfect confidence in the power of God before Whom no other power has any meaning, and for Whom there is no such thing as an obstacle.' Thomas Merton

 I really like this quote. It's kind of powerful. In my mind anyway, it's saying that the reason a humble man is not afraid of failing is because he knows he won't fail – his trust is so totally in God who cannot fail.

Sometimes the things we see as failures in our lives are really just God trying to work out His perfect plan for us. I'm sure the humble man described above still felt like he had failed at times. I'm sure he would've wondered why on earth certain circumstances happened to him. But because he knew and believed that everything would work out for good in God's time, and through His means; that's why he didn't have to be afraid of anything – he completely trusted God's plan for him, whatever it took him through.

I think this description fits Job well. He had all that money could buy, really, as well as a happy wife and family. But what happened when he lost almost everything he possessed, even his own health? Was he afraid? No, he trusted in God to the degree that he said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him...” (Job 13:5) And God rewarded that complete trust in Him - “So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning...” (Job 42:12)

Can you imagine what life would be like if we totally, 100%, with all of our hearts, trusted in God? I think it would change my life. What about yours?

04 August, 2014

More Love Letters?

Today we were wanting to do something different. Something to bless others, while still having a good time together. This is what we came up with (along with op-shopping!) while we were on the way into town...  


The main idea of More Love Letters is that this world needs more love! And one way that we can tell people that they are loved is to write them a letter. Yes, we can (and should) write letters to our family and friends and tell them that we love them, but what about everybody else? They need real love too! So this is the idea: write love letters to people you do not know, and leave them in random places around town to be found, as God wills, by the people who need them most.


What would you think if you were having a stressful day in town, and then you found a letter addressed just to you that read:


Dear Friend,
You are special! I love you! And most importantly God loves you! He cares for you, and wants you for His own...

I don't know what situations you may be facing, what trials you may be dealing with; but always remember: GOD LOVES YOU!
I am praying for you! Many blessings,
~ A Friend.

Or that looked like this:

 So, exactly what motivated us to write letters like the ones you just read?
At first when we started talking about writing 'love letters' and leaving them in random places, it felt weird knowing that someone you never knew might read the letter you wrote and that their lives might be changed completely because of this simple act.... But we got used to the idea pretty fast, and had fun writing things down to encourage, strengthen, and bless others.
For many of us the idea of witnessing may be very daunting but writing love letters is an easy way, we found, that fulfils two purposes: 1) sharing Jesus with those who need Him most, and 2) letting people know there are others out there who care about them. And, it's easy!
So, practically, how did we accomplish this today? We obviously wrote the letters, but how did we get them out from there...?
Our afternoon in town started out at an op-shop that had a free rack with Bibles and other inspirational books. So we stuck one of our letters in between two of the books, and kept looking at all the rest of the stuff... 

Next we stopped at a park for lunch. As we ate our 'smoked' sweet potato curry and rice, we looked around for an appropriate place to leave another letter... We decided to leave on top of the hand dryer in the public toilets.

While walking back to the car, we noticed an open café in front of where we were parked so we slipped a letter in next to the menu on the table most easily reachable!

After leaving a letter in the book section of another op-shop, we were discussing where to leave our last letter. As we were walking into the next shop, we noticed that a black car with P plates, parked right near the entrance, had its passenger window rolled right down. So we dropped it in as we walked past! While we were in the op-shop one of us noticed three dudes, dreadlocks and all, get into the very car we left the letter in! Not exactly the people we were expecting to receive it, but they need love too!

With a prayer on our lips after each letter, we came home, excited with the new mission field before us, and thanking God for the lives that will get touched, just because of our willingness to be a channel for Him!

So the challenge for you all... Just try it. Try writing a simple letter, conveying how much God loves the person that will read it... Let them know there is a purpose and a reason they are here on this earth... Check out this website: moreloveletters.com to see more about More Love Letters, and don't forget to write their web address on the letter you write so that the people who find it can write in to More Love Letters, and there may be a chance of you hearing how your letter was a blessing to others! :)
Looking forward to hearing how you all share God's love with the world!

Written by Kasey, Shanna, Shyla, Rachel & Jessica