living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!

A Prayer for our Children

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A Prayer for Our Children
Father, hear us, we are praying,
Hear the words our hearts are saying,
We are praying for our children.
 
Keep them from the powers of evil,
From the secret, hidden peril,
From the whirlpool that would suck them,
From the treacherous quicksand pluck them.
 
From the worldling’s hollow gladness,
From the sting of faithless sadness,
Holy Father, save our children.
 
Through life’s troubled waters steer them,
Through life’s bitter battle cheer them,
Father, Father, be Thou near them.
 
Read the language of our longing,
Read the wordless, pleadings thronging,
Holy Father, for our children
 
And wherever they may bide,
Lead them home at eventide.
 
~Amy Carmichael


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Enjoying Your Children on the Mission Field

 

Our children with some of their Portuguese friends.

Our children with some of their Portuguese friends.

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to raise your children in another culture outside of the United States?  God’s special plan for our lives was to bring up our children on three different continents. We were first in South Africa for about eight years where two of our three children were born. Next, for almost five years we ministered in Lisbon, Portugal. As a result of our time in Portugal, we have two sons, a daughter-in-law and two precious grandchildren who live there today.

Finally, during the busy growing up  years of our children we returned to the United States to pastor in Michigan.  There were many adjustments for our children upon returning back to the States. Their entire world changed drastically. They were many times homesick for their “home” in Portugal. There were many new and different things for them in so many ways. Our daughter cried often because she missed her friends, and the familiar and comfortable life in Portugal.  Our youngest son though took great comfort in going to the “place that gives you hamburgers out of the window”. That was McDonald’s of course and he thought that was really pretty special. Each place where we lived gave us many experiences and  very precious and dear memories.  We thank God for how He worked in so many lives. A very special part of me remains in each place. Here are just a token few of the many joys of bringing up your family on the mission field.

1. Your children are exposed to loving all kinds of people!

This was especially true in South Africa as there were so many different cultures. Pot luck dinners were amazing! We enjoyed not only many South African dishes, but also Asian, Polish, French, Chinese, Bulgarian. and Portuguese just to name a few. Our children really understood that Jesus loves the children of the world in that huge inner -city ministry. When we were expecting our third child, our daughter asked us very innocently what kind of baby we would be getting. I asked her what her preference would be and she responded by saying that just any color would be great! They truly did not see color or any difference in people–only that they all had a deep need for Jesus.

2.Your children learn to be confident in sharing the gospel.

While being outside of your own country,there is a continued awareness of why you are there. Imagine everyone you know including your neighbors, friends in the community, children with whom your children play are all unsaved. Not only do your children hear your heart and prayers for those around you , but  it becomes their passion too.

3. Your children are content with less materialism.

I probably should qualify this by saying that each country is different and continually changing. But, in years past I can truly give testimony to the goodness and generous  spirit of many people whom the Lord used to meet all our needs. Our children did not have many things that perhaps they might have had here in the States , but all our needs were abundantly met and the Lord was always faithful. It was a special blessing as well for our children to visually see how God met so many needs through prayer.

4. Your children and you work together as a team.

This was especially true in our family during our years in Portugal. We all have such good memories of placing tract, invitations, Source of Life lessons in mailboxes(it is legal there) of  many apartment buildings. Our children were a huge help and blessing and worked tirelessly. Usually, the reward was an ice cream for a treat after several buildings and many, many mailboxes.Also, many neighborhood children came to Sunday School because of the invitations from our children. Since church happened in our home the whole family worked together to make our home ready for the services. Many hands made lighter work to get everything in place for Sunday and back in place on Monday.

There is deep love and appreciation for those that God calls you to serve. They may speak another language, have totally different customs, holidays, food, thought patterns, and many other things. Yet, the bond that you have  in sharing Jesus with them far outweighs any differences.  Your children are very much involved in this blending, working together, loving and caring. Those God calls you to serve become like family and influences your children greatly.

There are many other blessings that we have discovered in having raised our children in three different cultures, but above all we are thankful for God’s wisdom, strength and help in guiding us throughout our children’s’ growing up years.


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Changes at the Dinner Table

All great change -mjc

 

From the heart of one of America’s greatest presidents came this truth, “All great change in America begins at the dinner table.”  I do not have dinner (or “supper”- as we Southern girls call it) ideas, routines, or recipes to share with you in this post. Just think  on the quote – it is convicting.  America is made up of families. What we are as families is what we are as a nation. We learn and teach about life most when we are at home. The fact of the matter is that we cannot change our country, and we cannot even change our families. We can only change ourselves by the power of the Holy Spirit within us. Only God can accomplish these great works in our personal lives, the lives of our families, and in the life of our nation. We must seek Him for the changes that need to be made.

“The family is the test of freedom; because the family is the only thing that the free man makes for himself and by himself.” – G.K. Chesterton

In our families, we are free to choose if we will diligently seek the Lord  or not. We are free to choose if we will have character at home where there is no public applause, cash paycheck, or appearance to uphold. We are free to leave our children a legacy of godliness or not. We are free to choose God’s ways or the world’s ways. We are free to make changes or to continue in the same. We are free to love or to be selfish. We are free to speak life or to speak idle words.

“The family circle is the supreme conductor of Christianity.” – Henry Drummond

When we ask the Lord what changes we should make, He shows us. When we commit to actually changing, He helps us. Take time to ask and act on what changes you need to make at the dinner table [home], and I am doing the same.

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” -Psalm 139:23-24

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” -II Chronicles 7:14

Happy Independence Day! ~Jeri Lynn

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