Friday Favorites: Sheryl’s July 2017 News

The Freedom In Christ Discipleship Course had a strong start at the Mission at Kern County women’s program. Please pray women will be set free, healed and whole to become all God has planned for them.

Dear Friends and Family,

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatains 5:1

Over the years, I’ve connected with believers around the world. I’ve sensed a frustration common to many. Believers don’t feel free. So if believers aren’t feeling it, how do we find out how to live in the freedom Christ died to give us? So glad you asked.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” I Peter 1:3 With further study, we ask God to show us how to break through to a greater level of spiritual maturity. We can trust him to uncover any areas of deception.

We can retrain and renew our minds to break free from negative thinking and destructive behavior. It’s exciting to share how vibrant freedom can be found by applying these truths and other foundational principles for abundant Christian living.

July 27 to Aug 8, Sheryl will join forces with Grace and Cor Koelewjin in Tororo, Uganda – Freedom In Christ Discipleship Course to pastors, leaders and believers.

Sheryl, Grace and Cor will partner with Josh and Mandy Shaarda (see below), Freedom in Christ missionaries in Obulle, Uganda.

Please pray: Uganda Summer 2017 team will be spiritually prepared to teach and train.  “Do good to your servant, and I will live; I will obey your word. Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things from your law.” Psalm 119:17,18. Won’t you pray for us?

If you would like to send a scholarship to support a Ugandan pastor/leader it is greatly appreciated. $150.00 each funds food, lodging, meals and conference materials. Thank you!

Please pray: Our ministry needs will be met. Sheryl’s trip expenses of $3,500.(visa/airfare/lodging) Conference fees: (books/food/travel/scholarships) $2,000. “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God…For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:6-7

I am praying for you. Love, Sheryl

Donate: www.ficm.org & note #86 – Uganda Summer Team 2017

Worldwide Wednesday: Pray for Spain

Pray Around the World!

Pray for “S” Spain

Praying around the world this year. It is hard to believe we are already this far down the alphabet — all the way to the letter “S.” Today we are praying for Spain. Thank you for your heart for the nations!

Spain

Official language: Catalán, Galician and Basque are official languages in the respective autonomous regions. Castilian (Spanish) is the only official language for all the Spanish territory. Spanish is the first language of over 340 million people; the world’s third most widely used language

Prayercast

Challenges for Prayer

Key groups for outreach. Pray for these:

  1. a) The Basques are an ancient and proud people without a single Euskera-speaking Protestant church. The Basque ETA movement terrorizes and polarizes society in the Basque region. There are fewer than 100 evangelical churches in the four provinces where Basques live (Guipúzcoa, Vizcaya, Alava and Navarra) and all of these are Spanish-speaking. The few Basque-speaking evangelicals there find it difficult to worship or witness in their own language. Only now are Christian resources in Euskera appearing. The differing dialects in an already difficult language complicate the task. Pray for those involved in ministry, including AoG, YWAM, WEC and OM. Pray that centuries-old suspicions and fears, and the reserve of the Basque people, may be broken down.
  2. b) Muslims may number over two million and are growing rapidly. The Moors ruled much of Spain for 700 years, and Muslims long to win back what they lost. The vast majority are immigrants from Morocco, but from many other African nations as well. South Spain is a key base area for many agencies committed to evangelizing Muslims in North Africa and in Spain; very few have been won to Christ. Pray for the Malaga Media Centre and the Ibero-American Institute of Islamic Studies (PMI). Pray for Muslim hearts to be opened and for believers in Spain to reach out in love.
  3. c) Chinese numbers have increased to over 100,000. COCM, CMA and OMF work among them. There are now over 30 churches among the Chinese, who still number only 2% Christian.
  4. d) Drug addiction is a blight on Spain (see point 1c ), which has one of Europe’s highest rates of heroin and cocaine addiction. This in turn is a major contributing factor in the AIDS epidemic and the crime rate. Over 100,000 former addicts have been set free, and many of them won to Christ through these vital ministries.
  5. e) Young people need the gospel, having given themselves over to postmodern materialism and hedonism. They distrust organized religion. Their lifestyle is based on experience. Ministry to them must be highly relational and authentic. A growing number of alternative and underground ministries among young people are proving effective.
  6. f) The elderly and retirees. This is a growing segment of the population, both among Spaniards and immigrants which will only get larger in the future. Some ministries are already proving quite effective in outreach to this generation; Doukonia is one such example.

Pray for the effectiveness of these Christian help ministries:

  1. a) Bible translation. New versions are being produced in regional languages and in dialects of Spain. A conversational Spanish Bible, an Aragonese NT as well as Bibles in Euskera (Basque), Galego (Galicia), Asturian, Catalan and Romani are examples. Pray that many will read and be impacted by these translations.
  2. b) Christian literature is a major factor in church growth, although literature work is expensive and bookstores hard to finance. Pray for Christian bookstores; CLC has six centres and a distribution network serving evangelical bookstores throughout Spain. Pray for more Christian authors who can write from a truly Spanish perspective.
  3. c) Pocket Testament League impacts Spain through literature, well-publicized research and promotion of missionary vision.
  4. d) Christian radio. Evangelicals run over 90 radio stations. However, licensing for evangelical radio remains a problem, while Catholics easily obtain AM, FM and TV licensing.
  5. e) Christian TV. There are now around 30 small evangelical TV stations, all without a licence but tolerated by the state. Evangelical programmes on public TV maintain an evangelical presence in the secular and mainstream media.
  6. f) There are countless evangelical websites in Spanish. Protestante Digital is Spain’s leading evangelical news agency. Solidaria is a Castilian TV channel on the Internet and satellite, run by REMAR. Pray for the growing number of Internet radio stations in Spanish.
  7. g) Christian camps are a ministry through which many youth in Spain come to Christ. Some 37 evangelical camps do wonderful work in evangelism, discipleship and leadership training. Pray for their continued impact and effectiveness in breaking down negative preconceptions of evangelicals and in winning many to Jesus.

http://www.operationworld.org/spain

PRAYER POINTS

 

  • Pray for The Light of the World to fill the dark void left by secularism.

 

  • Pray for spiritual renewal in the Church with genuine Christlikeness among believers.

 

  • Pray for Jesus to be made known among the millions of immigrants, many of whom are Muslim.

SUMMARY

On July 6th every year, thousands of people from around the world gather in Pamplona, Spain to watch The Running of The Bulls, one of Spain’s famous cultural traditions.  Works by renowned artists Velazquez, Goya, and Picasso, Cervantes’s novel, Don Quixote, and flamenco music and dance are further examples of Spain’s rich cultural gifts to the world.  Occupying most of the Iberian Peninsula in southwest Europe, Spain at its southern most tip is less than 16km (10 miles) from Africa.  The Canary Islands off the northeast coast of Africa, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea and two cities on the North African coast are also part of Spain.

 

From the 16th to 18th centuries, Spain ruled the seas and much of the world economically, but the rise of English sea power steadily weakened Spain’s influence. Civil wars, dictatorships and general instability followed through the 20th century dictatorship of General Franco. Franco’s death in 1975 opened the door for the current constitutional monarchy and a release from earlier closed economic policies. Spain’s entry into the European Union in 1986 helped to transform its slow economy to a vibrant one in the subsequent years. Economic upturn also brought about an improved the standard of living for most of Spain’s citizens. Recent recessions, however, have hurt Spain’s economy, resulting in mid-2010 unemployment rates of over 20%, double the EU average. Austerity plans by the government to reduce the public debt have been met with some dissent.

 

Roman Catholicism has long been a part of the culture of Spain, but it became the state religion under General Franco. With the new constitution in 1978, religious discrimination ended, opening the door for evangelical immigrants to bring their vibrant faith to Spain. The Catholic presence is still strong in Spain, but the church’s authority and influence is diminishing as secular materialism is rising.  The resulting spiritual confusion has many engaging in foreign cults, the occult, gambling, and increased drug use.  Spain currently has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, which in the future could result in health, social, and demographic problems.

http://prayercast.com/spain.html

Friday Favorites: Make Your Mark

Carol Wilcox finished well. After over three decades in ministry, she made a graceful exit into retirement, celebrating with family and friends into a new season of life. Carol’s success is largely attributed to her focus and daily decisions as she responded to Matthew 22:37: “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’”

Hank and wife, Carol Wilcox with Sheryl Giesbrecht and husband, Jim Turner celebrate

Carol’s retirement of over thirty years of ministry.

 

A few years ago, Dr. Robert Clinton, professor of leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary did a very thorough study of leaders in the Bible. The study is found here: Few Leaders Finish Well http://garyrohrmayer.typepad.com/files/3finishwellarticles.pdf

According to Dr. Clinton, “there are approximately 1000 leaders mentioned by name in the Bible.  Most of these leaders are mentioned by name only or are mentioned in connection with a role.  Some of the leaders receive a bit more attention but not very much information is given about their lives.  There are about 100 prominent leaders described in the Scriptures.  Of the 100 or so prominent leaders, only 49 have enough information given about them to ascertain how they finished their life and ministry.”

As he analyzed the lives of these leaders he discovered that there were four types of finishes:

1) Those cut off early:

These leaders were taken out of leadership by assassination, killed in battle, prophetically denounced, or overthrown.  Some of this activity was directly attributed to God.  Some of these were positive, some negative.

  • Examples: Abimelech, Samson, Absalom, Josiah, John the Baptist, James

2) Those that finished poorly:

These leaders were going downhill in the latter part of their lives and leadership.  This might be reflected in their personal relationship with God or in terms of their leadership competency.

  • Examples: Gideon, Samson, Eli, Saul, Solomon

3) Those that finished so-so:

These leaders did well but were limited in some areas of their leadership because of sin.  They had some negative ramifications surrounding their lives and leadership even though they personally were walking with God.

  • Examples: David, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah

4) Those that finished well:

These leaders were walking with God at the end of their lives.  They contributed in God’s purposes at a high level. They fulfilled what God had for them to do.[Tweet “I wonder, will you and I fulfill what God has for us to do? ”

Examples:  Abraham, Job, Joseph, Joshua, Caleb, Samuel, Daniel, Jesus, Peter, Paul

He stayed on track with his mission by applying five key habits that countered the negative forces in His life:

  1. Solitude

  2. Prayer

  3. Knowing and applying Scripture

  4. Accepting and abiding in God’s unconditional love

  5. Maintaining supportive relationships” (Lead Like Jesus Revisited, pp 85-87)

Jesus loved God with His heart, mind, soul, strength and so did Abraham, Job, Joseph, Joshua, Caleb, Samuel and Paul.  Like the others who’ve made an eternal impact, the only way we will bear fruit that will leave a lasting mark for the kingdom is to remain in Jesus. We must abide in him. John 15:1-4 explains it best, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

My prayer each day is to remain in Jesus. I desire for God to use me to leave a mark that makes an eternal impact.

Posted online this week with Lead Like Jesus for details check it out here: http://www.leadlikejesus.com/blog/make-your-mark

For more on Dr. Clinton:

http://bobbyclinton.com/store/clinton-gold/listen-up-leaders/

Monday Motivation: Remember Your Win

Have you celebrated a win lately?

It helps not only to celebrate, but to remind yourself how good it feels to complete something you’ve wanted to do for a long time. Completing a big project demands a pat on the back, a big shout-out, or a high five. Maybe you kicked a habit, finished a project, or celebrated an anniversary. Affirmations of our accomplishments should direct us to praise God since He is the one who helped us complete the task. Stepping back to praise Him reminds us we could not have finished the task without God’s help. He deserves the praise!

In the Old Testament, it was the custom to set up physical markers as reminders of victory or encounters with God. These tall stone pillars were large enough to see for a mile and could not be ignored by the passerby. One of them is found in 1 Samuel 7:7 when Samuel prayed for deliverance from the Philistines. God answered Samuel’s prayers for protection for the Israelites by confusing the enemy and re-routing them away from the people. After the victory, Samuel “took a stone and named it ‘Ebenezer’ saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’”

Let me give you some modern day examples. Think about the Washington Monument – erected to remember President George Washington. Consider the Lincoln Monument — a reminder of the contributions of President Abraham Lincoln. And then there’s good old Mount Rushmore – a literal memorial of several great presidents. Why not erect a spiritual marker to help you remember a recent victory in your life? Have you paid off a debt? Overcome a nagging habit? Think about erecting a spiritual marker. You might try framing your reminder or photo, planting a tree in your backyard, setting up a few small stones, or setting aside a special place for a reminder in your home.

Or maybe none of those work for you. During the time we were dating, my-then-future-husband, Jim and I were working on a new discipline to improve our relationship. On one of our road trips, we ran across this magnificent marble vase as a reminder, we decided to buy it. The vase helped us remember our win. It remained on my kitchen table, where we dined daily, until we were married. Months later, as a wedding gift, we received a lovely wind chime to remind us of God’s presence in our marriage. Both of these items and a few more remind us “The Lord has helped me!”

But above all, praise God for what He has done. Just praise God for His victory and say with Samuel, “The Lord has helped me!”

Let’s pray: Lord, thank you for helping me complete a big project. Thank you Lord, for giving me the victory. It’s only through you it was completed. I give you the glory for power and might. Thank you for giving me strength as I rely on you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Friday Favorites: From Ashes To Beauty June 2017 News

Happy Friday Friends – Sheryl’s June News!

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 2 Thess. 5:16-18

June Joy! I love summer. What? Summer in Bakersfield? Yes, that’s right. It’s often over 100 degrees here. And I am thankful for my hometown. What about you? Do you dread the future? Is this is your first summer without a loved one? Maybe you are facing difficulty? Regardless of the reasons why you don’t feel joy, here’s something to consider. You might be stuck. It helps to take time to notice why you might not be healthily moving through your trial. The relaxed schedule of the summer months can offer you time to seek God’s peace instead of staying where you are. This is called recovery.

At the Mission at Kern County’s discipleship program many experienced healing and hope as the women learned how to move through their losses. Upon completing GriefShare, we participated in a memorial service remembering our losses – time, relationships, and pets and loved ones.

I am so excited to work with an amazing team to put together our Fall Fundraiser: Unquenchable Faith with keynote speaker Carol Kent. Please save the date of Monday, September 18, 2017. You won’t want to miss the evening. It will be a memorable experience and strengthen your faith.

 This is Jason and Carol Kent. Don’t miss the amazing testimony from Carol Kent whose only son, Jason is serving a life sentence in a federal prison. Carol has experienced life giving hope and a wildfire faith that is contagious. Mark your calendars, now for “Unquenchable Faith” Monday 9/18/17 in Bakersfield, CA.

Why should you join us for Unquenchable Faith? You will hear encouraging reports from those impacted by Sheryl’s teaching, training, coaching and counseling ministry. You will have the opportunity to win a cruise. You can bid on fabulous auction items. You can network with friends and other ministry partners from across the USA.

Grace and Cor Koelewjin with Sheryl. Please pray for preparation and travel to Tororo, Uganda July 27 to Aug 8 to work with Grace and Cor Koelewjn. This dynamic couple cares for orphans and trains leaders in Uganda.  The focus of this trip will be Freedom In Christ – Discipleship Course. To donate to trip expenses of $3,500, go to www.ficm.org and note #86 – Freedom for Leaders.

I hope you can take time to be restored this summer. Please plan to join us in September to revive your faith and renew your joy!

PS: It is our joy to pray for you. My husband, Jim Turner and I have ‘got you covered!’

Much love – Sheryl and Jim

 

Worldwide Wednesday: Q Pray for Qatar

Pray Around the World!

Greetings, Friends — it’s time to pray on Worldwide Wednesday – Q –

I am reminded of the prayer our Lord Jesus prayed for his disciples and for us in John 17:15 “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” Please pray these words today for yourself, your family, your church, your community and our brothers and sisters in Qatar. Here’s a bit of information to encourage and enlighten you about the people for whom you are praying.

Qatar

Official language: Arabic    Languages: 6 All languages

Religion

Largest Religion: Muslim

Religion                 Pop % Ann Gr
Christians 89,142 5.91 2.2
Evangelicals 14,552 1.0 3.3
Muslim 1,333,206 88.39

Challenges for Prayer

Expatriates are drawn from many nations by the high earnings in Qatar, but

Pray for the employment opportunities (from manual labour up to executive positions) to be filled by Christians who would be an intentional Kingdom presence in Qatar.

http://www.operationworld.org/qata

PRAYER POINTS

  • Pray for open doors for Muslims to hear and receive the Gospel.

  • Pray for a deep spiritual hunger amid such material wealth.

  • Pray for the birth of an indigenous church focused on sharing the Gospel with all Qataris.

SUMMARY

The State of Qatar, unlike many other Middle Eastern nations, has successfully avoided the unrest and violence of the Arab Spring. The peninsula nation bordering the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia was part of the Turkish-Ottoman Empire until 1918, and then operated under British protection until 1971. The nation’s power has resided solely in the Al Thani family since the mid 1800s – from the days of pearl fishing and being one of the poorest Gulf states to the nation’s current vast oil wealth. In 2007,

http://prayercast.com/qatar.html

Let’s pray, “Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the words of Jesus. We pray for jobs, for opportunities and for favor for those in need. We ask you for protection, strength and guidance for ourselves, our families, our churches, our communities and our brothers and sisters in Qatar. “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” John 17:15  In Jesus name amen.”

Monday Motivation: Search For Peace Through Contentment Training

Monday Motivation: Search for Peace Through Contentment Training 

Every few months, I take a long drive in my car alone. I spend the first few hours speaking heartfelt prayers outloud to God. It is amazing therapy for my soul. God’s word says it’s good for us to be open before God Psalm 62:8 “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”

I used to think I had to clean up my act before I went to God with my requests.

But God wants us to bring all the messes we’ve made to him, he has already planned how he will clean it up. He wants us to trust Him to make a message out of  our mess. Phil 4:12 reminds us “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

The way it works for me is: I begin by telling God how frustrated and upset I am feeling. It really helps to pour out my heart, share my feelings and release my pent-up emotions. A good cry goes a long way.

I ask God to increase my awareness of His presence with me. I listen in the depths of my spirit for God’s response. God brings helpful scriptures to my mind, which bathe my mind and heart in them. And then I praise Him, this lifts my spirits like nothing I’ve felt before. God is up to something new. Isaiah 43:18-19

Let’s pray, “Father, thank you for arranging messes in our lives to help us to be honest with you. Thank you for caring about our soul and wiring us to need you. In Jesus’ Name Amen.”

Worldwide Wednesday: P – Pray for Paraguay

Worldwide Wednesday: P – Pray for Paraguay

Pray Around the World!

Dear Friends, it’s that time. It is time to pray. Actually, it is always time to pray, isn’t it? As you know, during each week of the month of 2017, we are praying through the alphabet through the countries of the world.

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—  for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

 I Timothy 2:1-2

Paraguay

Latin America

Landlocked nation between Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia. The Paraguay River divides the more fertile and developed east from the scrub forests, marshes and ranches of the sparsely populated Gran Chaco.

Challenges for Prayer

The Roman Catholic Church has long dominated the spiritual and political life of Paraguay. Although it admirably opposes corruption and immorality, there is also much superstitious traditionalism, strong devotion to Mary and occult-related bondage to many pre-Christian deities and customs. These practices keep millions from liberty in the Lord Jesus and must be broken by prayer. The Church often actively opposes the work of evangelicals. Paraguay has never had a true spiritual awakening, and few of the Catholic Spanish-Guaraní majority have a living relationship with Christ.

http://www.operationworld.org/para

PRAYER POINTS

Pope Francis is greeted by and elderly woman during his visit to the Banado Norte neighborhood in Asuncion, Paraguay, Sunday, July 12, 2015. Pope Francis began the last day of a weeklong South American tour with a stop in an Asuncion slum that borders the Paraguay river that frequently floods it and makes its dirt roads impassable pools of mud. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, Pool)

Pope Francis greets an elderly woman as he meets with people of Banado Norte, a poor neighborhood in Asuncion, Paraguay, July 12. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See POPE-BANADO July 12, 2015.

POPE Francis has lauded the strength and religious fervour of Paraguayan women while visiting the country’s most important pilgrimage site. Thousands of his fellow Argentines joined hundreds of thousands of local faithful at the site to welcome Latin America’s first pope.

“Being here with you makes me feel at home,” Francis said in his homily. He then spoke affectionately about the women of this tiny, land-locked nation, praising them for rebuilding the country after a devastating war in the 1860s wiped out more than half the population, primarily men.

“Then and now, you found the strength not to let this land lose its bearings,” he said to wild cheers from the crowd.

“God bless your perseverance. God bless and encourage your faith.

SUMMARY

Often referred to as “Corazon de America” or “Heart of America,” Paraguay is a beautiful country of diverse landscapes and people in the center of South America.  The native Guarani language is widely spoken culturally, but Spanish is preferred in business and government. Most of the people of Paraguay live within 100 miles (160 km) of the capital city of Asuncion. After many generations of political turmoil and wars, Paraguay adopted a democratic system of government in 1992.  The recent government has been successful in implementing some reforms, but corruption in the public and private sectors, money laundering, and drug trafficking still exist. Paraguay is also the largest grower of cannabis in South America. Because of its location in the center of South America, Paraguay has become involved in the crime of larger surrounding countries like Brazil and Argentina. Economically, many of its people live below the poverty line.

http://prayercast.com/paraguay.html

 

Friday Favorites: Who Is Your Boss?

Who Is Your Boss?

I remember a few years ago I overheard my preschool son tell his sister, my elementary aged daughter, “You are not the boss of me.” There was another time, this time, I was an employee.  The woman who was my supervisor preferred the staff, those of us who were her employees – NOT call her the “boss.” She had become our supervisor, not by applying for the job or by promotion, but by default. Since no one else was qualified to take her position, she was in charge of us – her employees. And she did not like being the boss. She thought by not allowing us to call her ‘the boss’ or the ‘one in charge,’ she would relate to us as peers rather than an authority figure.

We all have something or someone who is ‘the boss of us.’ We may not want to admit it but each of us has a master to whom we bow in submission. The wise person allows God to be their boss. For others, another person, a stronghold or habit might be their ruler. For years, I allowed nicotine, alcohol and other addictive substances to be my boss. These things determined the course of my life for many years. Others might allow food, spending, exercise, video games or any number of other things to trap them. God wants us to let Him be our ‘boss.’

“Have it Your Way” or “Be Your Own Boss” are bits of advice recommended by our culture to guarantee happiness. In reality, these stand-alone arrogances are guaranteed to satisfy.  In advertising, self-sufficiency and independence are used as synonyms for happiness. This is deception. And is not at all how God designed us to live. As believers, we must let God be our ‘boss.’ Dependence on God is not a sign of weakness. The only way to maximize our potential and enjoy our lives to their fullest extent is to live in harmony with our Creator. This happens when we are totally satisfied in our relationship with Him. “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

Essentially, submitting to God means we recognize God is the supreme master over all authorities, and we belong to Him. We can trust this sovereign Lord, described as Adonai, to direct our lives and guide our actions. The title, Adonai is translated Master, Lord, or Sovereign. To abide in the living God, Adonai, we must say yes to His lordship over our lives. We can trust His kind direction and abide in His peace as He guides our decisions.

Have you ever second-guessed a decision you’ve made? Of course, all of us have. Maybe you have thought it was the right thing to do at the time, but later on, when things didn’t work out as you had planned, you wanted to go back. I’ve done the same thing many times. This morning was one of those times. My mind was full of confusion and worry. These things clouded my thinking and my praise like a swarm of angry gnats trying to land in my hair. As is common when gnats swarm us, we beat the air over our heads in defense. Yet, the gnats remained. I had tried to use logic and reason to rid myself of confusion and worry. It didn’t work. In my time alone with God today, He reminded me, “Sheryl, release the decisions swirling in your anxious mind. I am your master.” Although I was unsettled, Adonai was asking me to submit to Him as my boss. He wanted me to trust his ultimate authority. When I chose to let go and trust God as my Adonai, to release the results to my Lord and Master, the swarm dissolved and was replaced with a sense of peace.

In addition to the illustration of who is our boss, another way to think about the concept of God as our master has to do with His role in our lives as a landlord. If you’ve ever rented a house, you remember what it was like to live by the landlord’s (the master’s) rules. You took good care of your rental, you asked permission before you painted the walls, and the landlord made the repairs. That’s the way it is when we submit our “temple,” our body, to Adonai.

Essentially, because of Jesus’ obedience on the cross, you and I have been “bought with a price.”  “Do you not know that your bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 We are not our own. God is a gracious landlord, who has given us boundaries for living. When we follow the Master’s rules and stay within His boundaries, we walk in His will and abide in His peace. Exalt and praise Adonai, our Sovereign Master, worthy of the highest honor and our total obedience.

Without allowing God to be our Adonai, and not inviting Him to inhabit the center of our lives, it’s hard to find joy in trying circumstances. Joy is not dependent on the absence of trials. It is contingent on the One whom we trust. We must believe God has our best interests in mind. We can show Him we trust Him when we submit to His plans. One way to show God you are wholeheartedly relying on Him is to pray continually. I Thess. 5:16-17 says, “Be joyful always, pray continually.” When we pray without ceasing, we invite His presence into every area of our lives. With His presence, besides peace and love, there is abundant joy. He promises never to leave or forsake us. Keep your mind on His word, letting it transform your mind.

Let’s pray this prayer of commitment from Psalm 119:10-12 “With my whole heart I have sought You, oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord! Teach me your statutes.” Thank you, Adonai; you are a trustworthy and loving Boss who only has my best in mind. Thank you for the opportunity to humbly bow in submission to you today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Sheryl Giesbrecht is a regular monthly blogger for Lead Like Jesus.

The blog appeared on the site below last week.

http://www.leadlikejesus.com/blog/who-your-boss

Worldwide Wednesday: O Pray for Oman

Pray Around the World!

Welcome to another issue of World Wide Wednesday – during the year of 2017, we are praying through the alphabet — once a week. So today we are landing on the letter “O” for Oman. I am so glad you are here. I am learning a lot about people groups and countries I would not have learned about except for this journey and God’s leading. It’s great to have your interest. Thanks for joining this #MissionTrip that requires #NoPassport. We just need to #CareThruPrayer. Thank you for your prayers!

Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. Psalm 86: 6


Asia

Geography

Area: 309,500 sq km

A mountainous land on the southeast coast of Arabia and the strategic tip of the Musandam Peninsula that dominates the entrance to the Arabian/Persian Gulf.

Population: 2,905,114    Annual Growth: 2.10%

Capital: Muscat

Religion

Largest Religion: Muslim

Answer to Prayer

Christians are growing in number. The large majority of converts actually come from expatriate workers and usually from non-Muslim backgrounds, but Omanis are also coming to faith in Christ.

Challenge for Prayer

The unreached. The entire Muslim majority remains a big challenge. Proselytism of Muslims is illegal, and

There are no known churches among the semi-nomadic Mahra or Jibbali of Dhofar, the Baluch of the eastern coasts, the rural population or the Swahili speakers.

Prayercast

PRAYER POINTS

Pray for a wide open door to the Gospel that would spread to neighboring closed nations.

Pray for the Gospel to infiltrate Omani culture, reaching the many who are still unreached.

Pray for opportunities and courage for Muslims to become disciples of Jesus Christ.

SUMMARY

Connecting the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman, and the Persian Gulf, the nation of Oman sits in a strategic position. Seas in the north and east and deserts in the west and south, though, have often led to isolation. With an economy heavily dependent on declining oil reserves, Oman has begun to focus increasingly on tourism. The diverse landscape of untouched coastlines, deserts, and mountains has become a unique destination for travelers. Spared of much militant Islamist violence, Oman enjoys significantly more personal freedom and political stability than the surrounding area.

In 1970 Qaboos bin Said Al-said overthrew his father, and he has since ruled as the sultan in this benevolent absolute monarchy. His modernization program and moderate foreign policy have opened Oman’s doors to the outside world and led to overall good relations in the Middle East. Over 25% of the population is expatriate, bringing many foreign influences to bear, but Oman still holds its Arab and Ibadi/Sunni Islamic identity, as it has since the days of Muhammad.

Due to the massive expatriate influence in Oman, people are free to practice varying faiths, and the government has even given land for places of worship. But, it remains illegal to share the Gospel with Muslims. Islam remains the state religion, claiming roughly 89% of the population. The nearly 3% that claim Christianity are predominantly part of the expatriate community.

There remains 77% of the Omani population that have yet to be reached with the Gospel. Numerous media strategies are being pursued through Christian radio, the internet, and mobile phones, and over 2,000 Omanis have the opportunity to hear about Christ each year while studying abroad.

http://prayercast.com/oman.html

What’s it like being a woman in Oman? I get asked this question a lot. Foreigners with very little knowledge of Oman tend to think we live isolated lives like women in Saudi Arabia simply because we’re next door neighbours. They couldn’t be more wrong!

Oman has taken significant measures to ensure women’s rights in most areas. Women in Oman can work, drive, vote, own property and hold office. We also have equal opportunities when it comes to education.

When I was working on my undergraduate degree here in Oman, more than half of the students enrolled at my university were females. For a town as conservative as Salalah, this was quite something.

However, like most women around the world we have our share of struggles. Having two female ministers and a handful of ambassadors doesn’t mean all Omani women are empowered. Many forms of discrimination still exist against women in Oman.

Drive into any village or small town outside the capital and observe how the women live. There is a lot to be done. First and foremost, women in rural areas need to know what their rights are.

The main issue we face in places like Dhofar is society’s attitude towards women. The majorities of men down south disapprove of working women and prefer their women to be at home where no other male can see them. Naturally, the glass ceiling is also a big issue for working women in the public and private sectors.

There are also some aspects of the law that discriminate against women in Oman especially when it comes to marriage, divorce and inheritance. They aren’t major issues but they matter a lot. I will save that argument for my next column.

Today I am focusing on the positive and paying tribute to all the incredible women in Oman who have helped shape this country and who continue to prove themselves on a daily basis. Happy Women’s Day!

Susan Mubarak is a Salalah-based HR professional in the private sector. She is an avid reader and writer, and enjoys photography and travelling

 http://www.muscatdaily.com/Archive/Stories-Files/The-role-of-women#ixzz4hwVkW7NA