For Jehovah God is a sun and a shield:
Jehovah will give grace and glory;
No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
–Psalm 84. 11.
Truly God follows us with encouragements: let him not lose his blessing upon us! They come in season, and with all the advantages of heartening, as if God should say, “Up and be doing, and I will stand by you and help you!” There is nothing to be feared but our own sin and sloth.
Sun of my soul, thou Saviour dear,
It is not night if thou be near;
O may no earthborn cloud arise
To hide thee from thy servants’ eyes.
We are pleased to have Shannon from Revelations in Writing, join both The Christian Gazette and Loopyloo’s. If you haven’t read her blog before, we have featured her posts here a few times and it is a great honor that she has accepted our invitation. Please do take time to welcome her here. God bless you all!
Matt Appling is a former child artist turned art teacher, pastor and writer. His work is helping children and adults in creative and spiritual pursuits.
His first book, Life After Art, was released by Moody Publishers April 2013 and explores the intersection of life, faith, and becoming the people God made us to be. Matt can be found every week at his blog.
Can I confess something?
I struggle with contentment. That one word is the probably the most elusive in my life. Everyone has something that constantly evades and escapes them in their life. Contentment is mine.
It isn’t that I’m not thankful. No, this is a struggle that makes me wonder if I’m doing enough, if God is happy with me, if my life means something. It makes my brain click on in the middle of the night and says, “Wake up, Matt! You’re a failure!” No joke. My brain thinks 3 am is the best time to dissect all of my life decisions.
It isn’t that I’m not content with my life or my family.
I struggle to be content with myself.
And the more I confess it, the more I discover that I’m not alone. I find good friends at church who are secretly afraid that they have wasted their lives. I find people at work or new acquaintances online who just don’t think they’re good enough.
In fact, I don’t have to go any further than the art classroom where I teach to find all the discontentment in the world.
Let’s see, who’s coming in? Fifth graders. Perfect.
These fifth graders are so different than they were in first grade or kindergarten. Their cares and worries have multiplied. They no longer look at themselves through the lens of how God sees them, but through the lens of how their peers see them. Everything is image.
And for such big kids, they seem so helpless. Not like the five-year-olds.
The boys don’t think they are talented enough. Some of them scribble around on the paper, deflecting attention from their perceived inadequacies by performing below their talents.
And the girls…the girls are much more verbal. They put themselves down so much, it breaks my heart to hear them. The girls at this age spend so much time putting themselves down, criticizing themselves. Their souls are hunched over, weighed down with self-doubt and every kind of anxiety imaginable.
And in a few short years, they will be adults like you and me, still struggling to be content with themselves, still lacking the confidence to go and act boldly in the world because they don’t think they are good enough.
I ask them to stop working.
“Where does all of our talent come from?” I ask.
“God,” they answer.
“God,” they answer.
“If God made us, and gave us all of the talents that He wanted us to have…” I pause a little, “How much sense can it make to complain about how God made us, to tell God that He didn’t do a good enough job?”
And suddenly, I realize that I’m preaching a little sermon that I desperately need to hear myself. Another one. Really, every little message and pep talk and sermon I’m giving the kids is something that I’ve forgotten how to live and am trying to re-learn, one baby step at a time. Along with these children, I’m trying to slowly realize that we have enough, we are enough. We are exactly what God wanted us to be. We just have to discover how God actually created us in the first place.
Reaching that discovery of how God created us is what Life After Art is all about. It’s the journey I’m taking, and I hope you’ll take it with me. Let’s recover the life and faith we were created to live, by rediscovering the children we used to be.
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
Be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38).
Her words can guide us when we too are puzzled by what is impending or unfolding in our lives. When we cannot explain all that is happening to us or around us.
One cannot study the scriptures long, then, without developing a special appreciation for those scriptures which “spread themselves over all occasions.” These scriptures and their companions need to be pondered regularly because they are sobering reminders not only of the framework of this mortal experience—the purposes of life and the frame of reference within which we are to live out our lives—but also of its very center: Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation, the atonement of His Son Jesus Christ, and the manner in which we should cope with the tutoring experience of mortal life.
I posted the other day about Pastor Stephen McKay and put up a page to give you an idea of what he does and who he is. I would like to take the time today to tell you a little something about one of the things that he is raising money for. It is not for his own ministry, he has support for that, it is to help others in their ministry. He is doing that with bicycles.
Why bicycles? Pastor McKay explained it this way, last year when was in Tanzania he discovered that the local Pastors were having to walk 20 miles and more at times to spread the gospel. Either that or if they were blessed with a bicycle, travel that way. He decided that it would be his mission in part to provide them bicycles in order to spread the gospel easier and to be able to be a blessing to these Pastors. God has worked wonderfully. Pastor McKay was back in Tanzania a couple of weeks ago and reported this:
“We arrived at Assedi’s apartment where we will be staying, and fellowshipped for a while.We then headed to downtown mwanza to exchange money into Tanzanian shillings for the week stay we will be here, and also to purchase bicycles for the pastors here.
A few months before I left I began raising money to purchase bicycles for evangelists who travel and preach the Gospel. I was able to raise $1500 and with that we were able to purchase 17 bicycles in total for them. The brothers here told me that buying a pastor or an evangelist a bicycle is the equivalent of purchasing him a Cadillac. They value them greater than we can imagine, and use them to spread the Gospel far and wide. We walked into a small bike shop and negotiated with the owner on the price. She finally came to a final price of $81.00 each. Here’s a picture of a few partly assembled.
Because we ordered 17 of them, they will have to assemble them over the next day or so and then we will have them delivered on the last day of the conference. It’s going to be a great day!“
Would you be interested in contributing to the spreading of the gospel through raising money for bicycles? If you would please contact Vessel Of Honor Ministries here: VOHM
This is a contact page and Pastor McKay will get back to you when he can, but I can assure you that it is a worthy ministry and you will be helping to spread the gospel in a part of the world that greatly needs it. God bless you!
Come to Revival at Coal Hill Assembly of God with Missionary Pastor Stephen McKay
Loopyloo’s has been pretty silent for awhile, and I am beginning to repost here. I also want to welcome Deborah from the blog Ye Shall Know Me By My Fruits. She has honored us here by accepting an invitation to write here as well as at her own blog. She will be putting up a post when she is ready and I hope that you will all give her a warm welcome. God bless you!
We sat on front porch that is painted nice and 35 people pack the
porch of this, the only church in this village of 300 families. 15
families now follow Christ with the first coming 12 years ago. Prabu
Das pastors, but his sister was the first believer…
12 years ago, she was in hospital and Rehelamma, a lady pastor from
Ellareddygudem, met her in the hospital and led her to Christ. I
remember so clearly Rehelamma…3 years ago we helped her build a nice
church and when we dedicated, it was packed with people and so
beautiful. We set in the church and nice cloth covered back
wall…however, we found there was no back wall. She did not have
enough money for wall. But she responded, “No problem, the church is
already full so we will just extend 25 more feet, then put a wall on.”
I love that spirit!! Her husband Moses, had passed away, but she had
a CAN DO spirit. Then 2 years ago, Rehelamma went to be with the
But she led 1 woman to the Lord and now the church is with 35 faces
and tears flowing and arms raised in prayer to the Lord. Even the
small 3 yr old children on the knees in sincere prayer!! Today, 6
climbed down the ladder into the cistern, where Jeff baptized these
who committed hearts to Christ.
They want a church and have land a some stones. We began to prepare
hearts to give… “None of us are thieves, they responded when
asked… But after reading Mal. 3:8-9 they said most were thieves.
Then began to give. One woman gave her gold 8000rs, another a load of
sand, another use of her tractor… they gave 35,000rs, we matched it
and they had some money and a great church is being built!! (In honor
of Bro. Guthrie at Stigler First AG). 81,500 rs given, even more than
needed in estimate–may get ceiling fan!!!
It is an incredible joy to stand beside these and strengthen their
hands and together build the first church in village and know these
are sincere pure hearted people who are here because one God fearing
woman led one sick lady to the Lord in hospital, 12 years ago. Both
those ladies are now with the Lord, but the brother, Prabu Das pastors
here and reaching 3 more villages…
Lord help us have the zeal, drive and strong overcoming determination!!
Gave for good churches at Indlur Village from (Souls Harbour in Jay,
Ok), and Gorenkapalli from (Abundant Life Church). and checked on
Kasurajapalli where the church is being built and looking
good…plaque is from Grandview Tabernacle in Muscogee–will dedicate
in October. PTL!!
Gave talents to widows, and many heard Gospel that have not heard before!!
I am so thankful for privilege God gives to share and observe His love
to people never hearing before…
We sit outside under a light in Ishkababivigudem Village at 845pm,
swat bugs, dodge the bats and write because of blessing of a thumb
drive that connects to internet…
Thank you so much for praying!!
Kerry, Melody and Jeff
First day in the villages!!
We went to Ramnagar to see construction on church by Fairlland
Assembly of God. Church is coming up well, and plaque looks nice, but
in Oct. when we shared and gave for church, a villager gave double the
land and so instead of a small church, this is coming up much
bigger–seat 150-200. Pray they have enough to complete it. A joy
was the woman, Elishamma that came to Christ and we were there when
she held hands with her husband and he also accepted Christ.
Both are in church and growing stronger!
Cherlagoraram Village- We sit in front of simple home of people who
break stones for 4 rs each and the whole village is stone breakers.
The first believer in the village is Inkula, now 60 and has 6
children. They have all come to Christ and are now about 30 believers
of 1000 in village, but growing and good spirit!!
They spoke up quickly that 1 of 10 stones broken belong to God. All
children have come and “Naga Raju”, “snake King, now called Daniel, 25
was the last to come 2 years ago.
It was blessing to hear and see a large family sitting on the mat in
front of the house sharing how God has changed their life since coming
to know Him. The debts and misery are gone since they have learned to
tithe and give… Daily, the whole family sits and reads the Word of
God together. The younger ones whoa can read, read to all.
We look where they have been building a stone church the past 5 years,
but have no more money. Publicly we stood and committed among
themselves, one by one to give 24,000Rupees, then we matched it and a
nice church will be complete.
The joy is this pastor, Paul, who came 9 years ago was only 20, but
has led them and 3 other villages to Christ. These are the only
churches in the villages.
Paul, we helped with his first village church in RA Nagar in 2011.
Dr. Mast and I pulled up early AM in Feb 2011 and no one met us and
small concrete stone church. Today, we visit and the church regularly
has 80 members that totally overflow the church and is growing so so
6 took baptism today. One woman who was Laxmmama and is now “Saramma”
stepped in for baptism. She is about 26 and the power of God hit her
and she shook and cried as she went under. Then she shared how 1
month ago, she worshipped hannamun, the monkey. She got a tumor and
had no hope, but a brilliant light filled the room she was in and a
man stood there that she came to know was Jesus. She said “all I
could do was shout HALLALEUJAH and shake”. Jesus healed her last
month and now she follows in baptism.
She stood with her 2 small 2 year old boys, tears streaming down her
face and thanking the Lord for all He is doing in her life!! We named
Christ is revealing himself to many in this way. Miracles are
happening and so many are coming to Christ!
Another man, Ramalu, 28, rode motorcycle, wanted baptism. After he
took baptism, his name is now Phillip. He shared this one year since
accepting Christ, everything he does is prospering, even as Phillip
kept being blessed and prospering everywhere he went…
We had an easier day today. JUst 4 villages after the drive from
Hyderabad.!! Our team of Jeff Oaks, Melody, “superwoman” Mauldin and
myself!! We are blessed and so so thankful for your prayers!!
With so much thanks, prayers and joy to serve the Lord,
Kerry, Melody and Jeff
Saudi Officials Reportedly Arrest 53 Christians for Holding Prayer Meeting in a Private Home | TheBlaze.com
Dear Kerry sir
These are the prayer shed requests from nandyal side
With Much of prayers and Regards
God is great all the time