Mission Statement

In classical sacrifices, the people get the good bits, and the gods get the refuse, the bits that would get thrown out otherwise.

Not our God. Leviticus (particularly Leviticus 3) describes the sacrifices that our LORD demanded from His people of Israel. God gets the kidneys, the tail, and all the fat. He gets the prime steak, He gets the best.

Today we do not literally give sacrifices of animals. For us the ultimate sacrifice has been made through our Lord, Christ Jesus. But should always be our ambition to do the same thing - to offer God the best of what we have, to offer Him the fat, and not the smoke and bones.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Quote for the Day

It is easy to think you have a heart for orphans on the other side of the world, but if you spend your time at home resenting the imposition your children are on you, you do not. You cannot have a heart for the gospel and a fussiness about your life at the same time. You will never make any difference there if you cannot be at peace here. You cannot have a heart for missions, but not for the people around you. A true love of the gospel overflows and overpowers. It will be in everything you do, however drab, however simple, however repetitive.
From Motherhood as a Mission Field at Desiring God.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Review: Love Has A Face

Here's another review of a great book for those of you who want something to read!

This was a great book about a missionary woman working in an orphanage (that she runs) in Sudan, as well as talking a bit about her previous work in India. There are a lot of great things to say about this book - there's plenty of real information (like that food is so much cheaper in nearby Uganda - I wonder if it still is due to food price increases there); there are stories of miracles, and other exciting events. (Michele Perry is associated with Heidi and Roland Baker)

But ther best aspect of this book was definitely the constant reminder that the most important aspect of a missionary work, regardless of what country you are in, is definitely LOVE. I know that I at least am prone to forget that.

On the not so great side, the book was a little disjointed. It's a series of episodes (and not in chronological order) rather than a continuous story, which wasn't bad, but just wasn't what I was expecting. There are also occasions where in aiming to encourage others she ends up sounding sorry for herself.

Mostly it's a great book, and I very much recommend reading it!

Like pretty much everyone else on the planet, Michele has a blog. Visit it here.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

It's Not New Years, But

Top 10 New Years Resolutions for young Christian Women

#1. Resolve to use the Bible alone as a blueprint for thinking and living, rather than culture, feminist progaganda, or peer pressure. Look to the Bible alone to dictate the role of young women. Resolve to study your Bible faithfully each day with the goal of being edified, instructed and challenged. Keeping a journal of the things you learn in the Word each day will help you be more focused and aggressive in actively searching for hard truths to apply.

#2. Resolve to remove from yourself friends who are a negative influence on you, and surround yourself more with friends who will edify you and encourage you in godliness. Resolve to cast from you any outside influence which is unedifying and unsanctifying (e.g. TV show, film, magazine, associates, activities)

#3. Resolve to build stronger relationships with your family members. The state of these relationships should be the most important to you of all, save your relationship with the Lord. Make the most of the time that the Lord has given you to be with your family members by making them your best friends. Resolve to set an inspiring, encouraging example to your brothers and sisters. Resolve to be more respectful to and honoring of your parents, so that it may be well with you.

#4. Resolve to cultivate a deeper, closer, more honoring relationship with your father, which will edify you both. Give him your heart, talk to him, confide in him, pray for him, ask him questions, and let him know that you are behind him and want to build him up to be an even greater man. Search your heart to see if you have committed a greviance against your father in the past which is now an impediment to your relationship with him. Now is an opportune time to ask forgiveness from those you have wronged.

#5. Resolve to do your husband (current or future) good and not evil every day of this year. (Proverbs 31:12) One of the ways we can do our future husbands good right now, even if we don’t know who they are, is to actively preserve and prepare ourselves for them. Preserve yourself by remaining pure physically, emotionally and mentally. Prepare yourself by becoming a worthy bride for a godly man. Develop all the character and skills that a righteous young man will need in a wife.

#6. Resolve to treat and think of other young men as brothers in Christ. Dress and act modestly, in a way that shows consideration for their future wives. Treat young men (including younger brothers) in a way that will build them up rather than tear them down, with respect rather than scorn.

#7. Resolve to clothe yourself with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. Make it start in the inside and shine through to the outside. Resolve to act more gracious, more like a lady. Make “strength and dignity” your clothing. Stand up straight! Smile more. Work on developing a gentle and quiet voice and manner.

#8. Resolve to equip yourself for the Spiritual battle that is taking place. Resolve to work on spiritual disciplines (e.g. prayer, Scripture memorization, in-depth Bible study). Resolve to train your mind (e.g. read many hard books, write, study theology).

#9. Resolve to be a missionary right where you are. Resolve to serve and encourage the people in your congregation. Resolve to develop the character and the messages necessary to disciple the younger women of our generation.

#10. Resolve to not be a compromiser or syncretist. Remember, we are in the midst of a war. As soon as you compromise on a moral issue, you have lost the battle. Win victories for Christ by fighting His battles His way.


I especially love resolutions 1, 8, and 10!

Monday, 25 July 2011

John Piper Quote

The path of love, no matter how dirty or dangerous, is the path to wholeness and heaven.
(from the Hidden Smile of God, pg 115)

Luke 17

They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until… the flood came and destroyed them all. (verse 27)

It always amazes me that this is the description of the days before the flood. We think of this time as a time of great violence, of sin and debauchery. But this is the description: they ate, they drank, they got married. It seems so ordinary. Likewise, the verse on Sodom (verse 28) contains a similar type of normalcy.

Yet they did all these things with no relation to God. And whatever is not from faith is sin. These people therefore were doing nothing by sin, though their sin seems ever so harmless and ordinary.

What a wake up call these verses should be to us today! We tend to focus on not doing ‘bad’ things, rather than doing all things for the glory of God. Like those that perished, we so often fail to have any positive righteousness, which comes from Christ alone.

How wonderful of our Heavenly Father to provide for us an Ark to save us; His only begotten Son, Christ Jesus, through whom we are made righteous in the sight of God.
Praise God!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Book Review

Honey, We're Going to Africa by Harvey Thomas Hoekstra. Reviewed by Sam(antha).

I found this book in an op shop in Geelong for $1. It was definitely worth the money! It isn't easy found (though you can buy online) but if anyone wants to read they can borrow (read, return to me) mine. It now is published under the title From Knotted Strings to Talking Bibles

This book is about how Harvey and Lavinia Hoekstra became missionaries in Sudan and Ethopia. There are heaps of interesting (including gross) stories and information on the different people groups they ministered to. The story tells of the time where the cassette and aural ways of ministering to people in their native tongues, and their role in it.

This book goes into both the hardships and the blessings of being a missionary, and documents some of the effects on the native population of being in a pagan culture and then how their lives and culture changed dramatically as a result of significant numbers of people coming to Christ. For those of us who have friends who say how "happy" the Africans all were before Christians came (and yes, I've had more than a few conversations allong that line) this book will give you an insight into the truth on this matter.

There are also some small snapshots of family life - and it's interesting to note that at the time of writing 3 of his 6 children were also missionaries (the book was published in 1995, and I believe that one of his sons was as yet still at college.)

Harvey T. Hoekstra has a blog! Visit it at:

His book is available online as an audio book at http://www.audioscriptures.org/files/knotted-strings/knotted-strings.htm

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Are You Suffering Persecution?

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them. (2 Timothy 3:12–14)

Notice, it doesn’t say that “all who call themselves Christians” will suffer persecution; nor does it say “all who live godly” (or “perfectly,” which is impossible) will suffer persecution. It says all who “desire to live godly” will suffer persecution. He is speaking to Believers—redeemed sinners who are seeking to live out the Gospel in their everyday lives. If you go with the flow, you probably won’t face much opposition. But, if you live Christ, then expect at times to be hated, misunderstood, and slandered for His sake.
From this post at Your Sacred Calling

How many of us are actually suffering any degree of persecution? Not very many of us. I mean, the worse thing that happens to me is that I get made fun of by family and friends for having Biblical views. This isn't exactly persecution, and most people I know don't even "suffer" that.

So the question is, are you living a life that strives to be more and more Christ-like? Do you want to live in a way that honours God? Are you willing to make sacrifices - even big ones, to do this? Because while we are living just like everyone else, then we will not suffer persecution. The world will not persecute its own, just those in whom it sees Jesus.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Luke 14

So, therefore, anyone of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple (verse 33).

Following Jesus requires us to give up all that we have, or at least be willing to at a moment’s notice. It means following His plans for our lives and not our own. It means seeking a fellowship with His suffering and not just His blessings.

So far, for me it has meant laying down the dream of getting married and having children, and instead preparing to be a single missionary. It has meant giving up my ‘rights’ to ‘my’ money, giving instead to the poor and needy. It has meant spending ‘my’ spare time knitting hats for the homeless rather than reading or playing on the net or socialising.

The cost has been great. None of these things has been easy. I don’t want to die to myself. But Christ has always been there; ready to comfort me at every step. He is with me, and there is nothing better – not my dreams, my money, or anything else.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Who Are You Looking At?

Any person, blogger, preacher, or book that tells us to focus more on ourselves, to scrutinize the sins and motives of others, or to view trials and tribulations through the lens of perpetual victimhood is not spurring others on to good works. In fact, with their self-consuming message, they are distracting others from Jesus – the very opposite of glorifying God.
From this post at Your Sacred Calling

Friday, 15 July 2011

A Prayer for South Sudan

By Brad Phillips of PPF

Dear LORD,

You alone are LORD. There is none other besides You. The nations of the world are a drop in the bucket to You. Nevertheless, You are mindful of the nations. You raise some up, and You tear others down — for Your Own glory and divine purpose.

Oh God, we consider all You have done for our brethren in South Sudan. We consider the long road on which You have taken them. We are mindful of the tender condition of Your Church in that nation — a people once steeped in darkness and rebellion and ignorance towards You. And yet, You planted a seed of faith that has grown into a tender sapling amidst horrid persecution and oppression.

You have preserved Your Faith — Your Truth — in this wilderness of the world, and now You have established South Sudan as a separate nation among men. After a long war, in which Your enemies sought to snuff out the Light of Your Gospel, You gave the victory to the weak and humbled the strong.

Now, oh LORD, we beseech You, in Your mercy, to firmly establish the Republic of South Sudan upon a Firm Foundation. A Foundation, not built by human hands or wisdom, but on a Rock of Faith — Your Faith.

There is no other Name under heaven by which men and nations can be saved besides the precious Name of Jesus. We pray that King Jesus will reign in South Sudan and bring all things into subjection under His feet.

We ask that You strengthen the Church and empower Your ministers, through Your Holy Spirit, to preach the Word with power and conviction. We pray that You would protect Your people from enemies abroad and from spiritual enemies within.

We pray that You would empower your Church in America and in the world to pray and to seek ways to bless our younger siblings in the Faith. As they grow into full maturity, show us the ways You want us to continue to grow in our own walk with You. We acknowledge our own weaknesses — our own rebellion and sin — and we ask for Your forgiveness and restoration.

You know our frame. You know we are dust. But You are the Great Creator, Who takes dust and makes it breathe. Give us life, LORD, to serve You. Give us breath, Father, to breathe into others.

We give you all the praise and glory for all we have and for all we are and for all we desire to do.

We approach You humbly and ask for these things because of Jesus and in His precious Name.


Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Who Is Lord?

You know, it’s interesting. There have been many martyrs throughout the ages – from Rome, to the Covenanters in Scotland, to the modern day martyrs of communist China and the Islamic Middle East. The saying is that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.

What is interesting, is that martyrs weren’t typically killed for being Christians. They were killed (or imprisoned, or tortured) for being a danger to the state.

A danger to the state?

The thing is, Christians call Christ Lord. Jesus is our Lord – our ONLY Lord. He rules over our state. He rules over our rulers. He rules over our countries. He rules over everything.

And for that they are killed.

Because Caesar would not let there be another Lord. He wanted to be the ruler. Christians who were imprisoned were often offered the “opportunity” to put a pinch of incense in the fire for Caesar. If they did, they were usually freed. They had accepted Caesar as their Lord over Christ.

Likewise for believers in Scotland during the killing time. If you acknowledged that the king was head of the church then all was well and good. You might have a few difficulties for not following the Anglican liturgy, but as long as the king was King, then all was fine. It was the Covenanters, who acknowledged Christ as King of the church who were persecuted.

In communist China, those who participate in the state-run churches typically receive far more leniency from the government than those in home-churches. Those in home-churches are much more likely to be arrested, imprisoned, tortured or martyred for their faith. But they won’t submit to the state rules about how the church is to be governed. They choose to follow Christ instead.

In the West we almost don’t see the point of all this. We don’t see why people need to stick at such a “small” point. What we don’t see is that this point is not small, it is everything.

Jesus is either Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all. And that goes for your life.
If Jesus is not Lord over your life, then he’s not really part of it. And that should scare you.

Jesus needs to be our King; our King of Kings and Lord of Lords. For He does indeed rule over all things, all powers, all principalities. Just make sure that He is ruling over Your heart.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Isaiah 6:5

And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips…”

Isaiah acknowledges his sin before a holy God. He is a man of unclean lips. He has said things that were better left unsaid, in spite of the fact that he would become a great man of God.

But what I found interesting was the statement that comes next. He not only is a man of unclean lips, he swells in the midst of people with unclean lips.

What an acknowledgment that the people around us affect us. Their sinful behaviours rub off on us. We are influenced (especially downward) by the people around us.

So what to do? Well, what did Isaiah do? And what did God do for Isaiah?

Firstly, God took away Isaiah’s sin with the burning coal. (Well, He literally took Isaiah’s sin away with the cross, but you get my point.) The sin was dealt with – Isaiah’s own and that of other’s that affected him.

And then God transformed him. He took that mouth of unclean lips and used it to prophesy to a people of unclean lips, urging them to turn back to the Lord.

So while the sins of the culture impact us, when Jesus takes away our sin, He will empower us to go back and challenge the uncleanness of our culture, either transforming it or testifying against it, to His greater glory.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

A Martyr's Crown

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. (Revelation 12:11)

I've been recently reading a biography of the Lady Jane Grey (hence the quotes in the previous post). LJG was brought up to be a Protestant, and a Protestant leader. And she was, even when she died as a teenager (16-17 years old.)

She knew that she had a very high social position, and that she would be leading by example, and that what she did mattered. She also knew that in order to bring forth fruit a grain of wheat needs to be willing to die. And so she was willing to become queen, and then to be executed without recanting her beliefs, when doing so would have saved her life.

LJG sought the martyrs crown. She sought it in life, long before she was going to die. She was determined to live a life that glorified Christ and exalted Him, and Him alone.

Defy the world, deny the devil, and despise the flesh, and delight yourself only in the Lord. (Words of Lady Jane Grey.)

In heaven, she has a martyr's crown - the crown that she wanted, the only crown truly worth having.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)

Am I willing to truly lay down my life daily? To give my all - my life if need be, and certainly my self daily - in order to fully glorify Christ?

I pray so!

Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. (Revelation 2:10)

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Words of Lady Jane Grey

Last of all, let the lively remembrance of the last day be always before your eyes, remembering the terror that such shall be in at that time, with the runagates and fugitives from Christ, which, setting more by the world than by heaven, more by their life than by him that gave them life, did shrink, yea, did clean fall away, from him that forsook not them: and, contrariwise, the inestimable joys prepared for them, that fearing no peril, nor dreading death, have manfully fought, and victoriously triumphed over all power of darkness, over hell, death, and damnation, through their most redoubted Captain, Christ, who now stretcheth out his arms to receive you, ready to fall upon your neck and kiss you, and, last of all, to feast you with the dainties and delicates of his own precious blood: which undoubtedly, if it might stand with his determinate purpose, he would not let to shed again, rather than you should he lost. To whom with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, be all honour, praise, and glory everlasting. Amen.

Live still to die, that you by death may purchase eternal life. And trust not that the tenderness of your age shall lengthen your life; for as soon (if God call) goeth the young as the old: and labour always to learn to die. Defy the world, deny the devil, and despise the flesh, and delight yourself only in the Lord. Be penitent for your sins, and yet despair not; be strong in faith, and yet presume not and desire, with St. Paul, to be dissolved and to be with Christ, with whom even in death there is life. Be like the good servant, and even at midnight be waking, lest, when death cometh and stealeth upon you as a thief in the night, you be, with the evil servant, found sleeping; and lest, for lack of oil, you be found like the five foolish women; and like him that had not on the wedding garment, and then ye be cast out from the marriage. Rejoice in Christ, as I do. Follow the steps of your Master Christ, and take up your cross: lay your sins on his back, and always embrace him. And as touching my death, rejoice as I do, good sister, that I shall be delivered of this corruption, and put on incorruption. For I am assured, that I shall, for losing of a mortal life, win an immortal life, the which I pray God grant you, and send you of his grace to live in his fear, and to die in the true Christian faith, from the which, (in God's name,) I exhort you, that you never swerve, neither for hope of life, nor for fear of death.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

2 Corinthians 9:11

You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

Our money is not our own. We have been given much - but from us, therefore, much is required. (see Luke 12:48)

It amazes me how little we do with our much. How quickly we think of our things, our money, as "ours" - to do with as we please, to spend on ourselves.

When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:3)

God has given us what He has in order that we might bring Him glory. But instead we choose to keep 'our' things for ourselves.

I know that I need to do so much work in this area - to see all that I have as a loan from God and not as my own. But as I make progress I see how much I can transform the world for God's Kingdom, and I know that there is nothing that is more precious.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.Matthew 6:19-21

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Great Quote

“I tell people when I go back home to America that it’s great to live in a country where the Bible is openly quoted by elected officials, taught in schools and the military, and public prayer is not only encouraged, it is expected of all who desire leadership. That country is South Sudan.” - Brother Billy White

Quoted from this post at Persecution Project.

And to think that people don't want to Africa!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Monthly Uncleanness

I was reading Ezekiel, and something that I'd always wondered about came again to my attention.

“Son of man, when the people of Israel were living in their own land, they defiled it by their conduct and their actions. Their conduct was like a woman’s monthly uncleanness in my sight." (Ezekiel 36:17)

There are parallel passages, especially in the other prophets and in the book of Deuteronomy.

Why exactly is a girl's menstrual flow considered so unclean?

As I thought about it, I realised what menstruation means. It means a variety of things, but the most obvious one is this: not pregnant.

A period signifies a lack of fruitfulness. And God doesn't like it when we don't bear fruit (I'm not just talking about babies here - God loves babies but He also love other fruit too!).

Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 7:19)

God is big on symbols. (Especially in the Old Testament!) We often (very often) can't understand the fullness of God's ways. So God shows us in picture form. Symbols.

And the uncleaness of a monthly flow is one such symbol, of the necessity of bearing much fruit for the glory of God.