monday minute: hope

Is it possible to be joyful in any circumstance? Even in our darkest days? This inspiring post offers the key to finding hope in hard times. (Colossians 1:27) http://adivineencounter.com/monday-minute-hope

Lice, urine, and poop.

I’m sorry. I probably should’ve warned you before blurting that out.

But those three words sum up last week pretty well for me.

In no particular order.

It was definitely not my most glorious week of mommy-hood.

Especially since every single one of the items listed above affected bedding in some way. And clothing. Lots and lots of clothing. Which means I was elbow deep in a whole bunch of nasty as I was doing one load of laundry after another all week long.

And to be honest,

(because how can a post that starts like this one be anything but honest?)

I really dislike those not-so-glorious times.

My most recent ones were lice, urine, and poop.

But I’ve also tried the cancer and job loss kind.

Maybe you’re experiencing the death-of-a-loved-one kind.

Or the depression and loneliness kind.

Perhaps it’s the really-annoying-coworker-around-whom-I-constantly-lose-my-testimony kind.

Or maybe it’s simply the I-love-staying-home-with-my-kids-but-I-think-I’m-going-a-little-crazy kind.

Those are the times we dread, aren’t they?

But guess what?

As I found myself complaining in my heart about all the nasty and lack-of-glory as I was still in the midst of it, God whispered to my heart as only He can:

“Christ in you is the hope of glory(Colossians 1:27).

And in spite of the lice, urine, and poop, my heart leapt with joy. A joy truly unexpected, and certainly undeserved, considering my grumbling heart not two minutes prior. How could I be joyful in the midst of so much nasty?

I found joy in God’s gracious word of hope to me.

You see, hope is believing in the good things to come.

And hope can change everything because it takes my focus away from the here and now and places it squarely on God’s promise of future glory.

It’s standing in the middle of the nasty and the lack-of-glory and choosing to look past it to a future that’s more glorious than I can even imagine…all because Christ is in me.

So that even if every single day from now until the day I die is un-glorious, I can still look forward with great anticipation to the glory waiting for me in eternity.

And that’s a hope that will never, ever disappoint (Romans 5:1-5).

  ~~

Would you like to read more about the glory yet to come? My good friend (and kindred spirit) makes it a frequent topic of conversation in her beautiful blog, Messy Theology. I know you’ll be blessed by her writing, as I always am!

Is it possible to be joyful in any circumstance? Even in our darkest days? This inspiring post offers the key to finding hope in hard times. (Colossians 1:27) http://adivineencounter.com/monday-minute-hope

Written by Jennifer Clarke

 

learn…love…lift in prayer: your footprint

An eye-opening post offering a look at the slavery footprint of individuals, and considering the Christian viewpoint based on God's view of slavery. (Psalm 82:3) http://adivineencounter.com/learn-love-lift-in-prayer-your-footprint

Defend the weak and the fatherless;

uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.”

Psalm 82:3

Footprint.

An impression left.

The area covered by something.

Or someone.

In this case, it’s the impression left or area covered by me.

And rather than being the print of a ballet-flat or a boot or a flip-flop or a bare foot,

this footprint is human-shaped.

And not just a single human.

Seventy-six of them.

Had enough riddles?

I took a quiz today. But it wasn’t a “Which Disney Princess Are You?” quiz or even a “Which State Should You Live In?” quiz.

It was a quiz quantifying my slavery footprint.

No, I don’t house slaves. No, I don’t kidnap humans and sell them as slaves. No, I don’t buy slaves.

But I do have some stuff.

Quite a bit of stuff, actually, when compared with the vast majority of the world.

Stuff made of metal.

Stuff made of textiles.

Stuff I eat.

Stuff I drive.

Stuff I browse on and type on and blog on.

And truth be told, I don’t spend any time thinking about where my stuff came from. Before the store where I purchased them…the truck that brought them there…the distribution center that shipped them out…the factories that assembled them…

Where did the parts come from?

Where did the metals come from?

Where did the ingredients come from?

Where did the fabrics come from?

Too often, the answer is slaves.

That bothers me. Probably not enough. But a lot more than it used to.

It bothers me that 78 percent of the 27 million slaves in the world today are in labor slavery. That’s over 21 million people. Men and women. Boys and girls.

Since knowing better must precede doing better, I encourage you to check out your slavery footprint by clicking here.

No, it’s probably not 100% accurate. I don’t think that’s the point.

I think it’s supposed to get us thinking about our stuff and where it came from and who made it and at what cost. Not dollars-and-cents cost. But body-and-spirit cost.

Because maybe when you see your number, you’ll see faces in your minds eye. Faces created by the same God who created ours. Loved by Him as much as He loves us.

And just maybe you’ll ask Him to act on their behalf.

And perhaps you’ll even consider what you can do differently to use your voice…

for those who don’t have one.

~~

Other human trafficking resources:

End It Movement – Together We Can

~~

Other posts at A Divine Encounter on human trafficking:

Learn…Love…Lift in Prayer the 27 Million - A passionate introduction, where I present an overview of the human trafficking issue.

Learn…Love…Lift in Prayer II – A thorough focus on prayer for the 27 million slaves in the world, offering specific requests to guide your praying and links to other resources on prayer for human trafficking.

Learn…Love…Lift in Prayer III – An informative post presenting information about  the ministry of Women at Risk International, and challenging you to get involved in a simple, painless way.

Learn…Love…Lift in Prayer: Kidnapped Nigerian Girls – An eye-opening post spotlighting the girls kidnapped in Nigeria, making their experience more personal and offering opportunities for prayer.

Learn…Love…Lift in Prayer: Get Local! – An inspiring post offering suggestions for making a difference in human trafficking in your own community.

An eye-opening post offering a look at the slavery footprint of individuals, and considering the Christian viewpoint based on God's view of slavery. (Psalm 82:3) http://adivineencounter.com/learn-love-lift-in-prayer-your-footprint

Written by Jennifer Clarke

 

ultimate reward

What's the proper goal for Christian foster parenting? The answer may surprise you! As the author shares from her experience, it's not just about the kids. (Isaiah 26:8) http://adivineencounter.com/ultimate-reward

I’m happy to be at Satisfaction Through Christ today, writing about a subject that’s very dear to my heart. I’m offering an honest and personal look at foster parenting, based on our own family’s experience. Here’s an excerpt:

“We didn’t realize it at the time, but when my husband and I began to consider foster parenting, we may have had an slight ”savior complex” going on. Ahem.

We knew there would be sacrifices involved. But we counted them worthwhile as we anticipated swooping into places where children were being severely abused and callously neglected, scooping them up into our arms and whisking them away to a safe and happy place, our superhero capes fluttering behind us in the breeze as we dashed back to the security and comfort of our home.

The children. It was about helping children. We wanted abused kids to be safe. We wanted hungry kids to be fed. We wanted dirty kids to be clean. We wanted hurt kids to be healed. We wanted sad kids to be happy. We wanted lonely kids to feel belonging.

And we still want those things.

But not quite in the same way we used to…”

Read the rest here, just a click away!

What's the proper goal for Christian foster parenting? The answer may surprise you! As the author shares from her experience, it's not just about the kids. (Isaiah 26:8) http://adivineencounter.com/ultimate-reward

Written by Jennifer Clarke