Privileged…

Mirriam Webster’s dictionary describes privilege as “a right or

immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor”
 
 
     Yes, I admit it! I am privileged all the time and in many ways. I recently had the joy of serving eight women for a special single mom's luncheon at our home. That was privilege enough, but then I was able to hear my daughter share a beautiful message of the joy found in suffering. I want every believer in the United States to hear this message! Many believers in other parts of the world are already living this message daily.

     We all listened intently as she described the life of “happiness” as a state or condition where little influence or blessing flows to others; it’s all about being happy and protecting your life from discomfort, sacrifice, and hardship. This is NOT what the Christian life was ever intended to become! True joy comes as we take up our cross and go with grace to the uncomfortable, the straight and narrow, and the sometimes-unreasonable paths of suffering that God requires of His children. Whether our suffering is caused from our own sin, the sins of others close to us, or just from living in a fallen world, we can have a grace to respond righteously in the midst of our suffering. WE CAN FIND JOY, as we embrace the bigger picture, learning that His ways always reach higher than we could ever dream. WE CAN FIND JOY, as we stay connected to the ONE who suffered all things so He could be the faithful and compassionate high priest from among men! (Hebrews 4:14-16). WE CAN FIND JOY, as we wait patiently for Him to redeem, restore, and rebuild according to His divine design that we might be His workmanship created for good works in Messiah. (Ephesians 2:10) WE CAN FIND JOY, as we sow in tears and wait for the bountiful harvest to be reaped in due time! (Psalm 126:5, Galatians 6:9)

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God…” John 1:12

      The Blue Letter Bible Dictionary describes one of the biblical uses of this word, “right” as: “the power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege)”

      Yes! As believers, we are all privileged! I wonder if we are displaying that “privileged” life before the world as God intended. If we are not careful, it can look a little more like entitlement. I wonder if we really understand what “privilege” means in the Biblical sense. We are privileged to love unceasingly, live righteously, and yes… suffer for His name’s sake. I pray that we can do that well. I pray that we will find our joy at the end of every rope of suffering we may be holding.

S.O.S. Luncheon: Finding the Bigger Picture in our

Cries for Help!

      We gathered some hard working single mothers together for an afternoon of encouragement. Leslie set the table with fine china and many poured into this effort to make it a special day for some very special moms. I am grateful to Danielle, Leslie, Alexis, Petra, Stefanie, Tiffany, Kailey, Esther, Kelley, Dawn, Breelynn, and Ardy for their efforts to serve the moms and children of the S.O.S. luncheon. It was a wonderful success thanks to many volunteers! All of the participants have reported a different perspective and increased faith to persevere in their trials. They felt blessed and valued.

 
 
 
“Thank you thank you so much for today! Thank you for allowing your daughter to bless us through her speaking. Thank you for the women I was able to be with…I’m so grateful…I have always struggled with closeness and connection with God but he has been working and so glad for the reminder that he is in the struggle making us the beautiful He intended us to be…”
- from one grateful participant

 

 
Thank you for inviting me yesterday, it was beautiful and much needed. And Stefanie’s message was perfect.”
– another participant who just experienced a difficult
 
 Walking Worthy...

     So many fall into the extremes of overestimating or underestimating their value. To have a proper estimation, we need to understand the value of modesty in our speech and actions. When our hearts are rightly aligned with our identity in Messiah, this will flow well. Kailey (my granddaughter) and I were able to deliver this message to the women and children of Freedom House. What a joy to partner with my grands! We want to see the lives of women and children reached for His Kingdom purposes as they find their value in the ONE who paid the ultimate price to rescue them from darkness!

 

Children: Our Heritage...
     We are teaching another round of the parenting series to the moms of Freedom House. It is a joy to collaborate with their staff. They daily reinforce the principles these women are learning in class making it a team effort that works in unity. Kelley, my co laborer in this effort, fashions a specific I.P.P. (Individualized Parenting Plan) for each mom, which is a uniquely designed program, made especially for the residents of Freedom House. We have seen some marvelous healing as these participants are shown the beautiful path of shepherd parenting that is modeled in our Savior, Jesus, and lived out before them by the faithful staff of Freedom House.
 
Our discussions are lively and informative with the residents of Freedom House.
 
Upcoming Events…

The Scriptures: An Invitation to Wholeness

Wisdom shouts in the street, She raises her voice in the markets; She calls out at the head of the noisy streets [where large crowds gather]; At the entrance of the city gates she speaks her words:” – Proverbs 1:20-21

      Are you willing to give wisdom a voice? How about hands and feet? Can you see this passage as so relevant to our culture today? In and out of the church, we see a great need for wisdom, yet this indicates wisdom is readily available and giving opportunity to all! We can be the vehicle the Lord uses to bring His wisdom to the streets. Whether mentoring, counseling, disciple making or evangelizing, wisdom is needed as we reach out to others and call them into a connection with the Savior. We are planning a conference in January of 2022. We will use familiar passages of Scripture to glean wisdom and godly principles that will give us the tools we need to make the Word of God relevant. I think of Naaman and the custom-made prescription God designed for his prideful heart. Leprosy was not the only issue. God was going to do more than offer a healing of his skin disease. Elisha, God’s servant who was designated to bring healing to this man, did not even have the courtesy of delivering this plan in person or even greeting prestigious Naaman! God’s bigger plan included inviting Naaman into wholeness.As he accepted God’s humbling remedy, dipping into the “muddy” waters of the Jordan, his leprosy was healed! His prideful heart was humbled.

      How many times are we tempted to offer magic wand solutions, quick fix remedies, and self-help cures that are accountability free and as pain free as possible? Helping others requires a sincere seeking of the wisdom and heart of God. Our own wholeness depends on our ability to seek Him and His ways. God lives in a world that is upside down from the one we live in. To gain you must lose, to live you must die. It rarely makes sense to our natural mind, yet His plans are ingenious and correctly discerned with our spirit, not our understanding. We will have an opportunity to discuss passages like these, digging deeper and seeing God’s wonderful and amazing wisdom at work in the pages of the Bible. If you would like more information or would be interested in joining us, please contact Tom or Doreen at 480 831 1737.

 

Crisis Training Opportunity

 

Another privilege we had was that of joining with Deborah Geesling, president of P82 Project Restoration. Training was offered to build crisis teams in churches specifically to assist those struggling with mental health issues, providing support to their families and caregivers. Senator Nancy Barto attended and shared her own experiences of trying to get assistance for those struggling with mental illness. We appreciate Deborah and her team graciously offering this opportunity and showing such tremendous hospitality to the participants. They are planning another more extensive conference in February of 2022. If you are interested in training for your church or organization contact Deborah Geesling, 480.285.4816, P82homes.org

 

Day to Day Ministry

Counseling, Mentoring, Discipleship...

     We continue to counsel and disciple many through Jesus Cares Ministries. Tom is busy with the men. We are seeing more young men coming for help. We are thrilled to be able to speak into the lives of those who have many years ahead to walk solidly with the Lord and make a difference in our culture.

      Many of the women who come for counseling and support have no mother figures or solid mentors to guide them through life’s challenges. Here is what some of these women express after receiving regular and consistent care and discipleship:

              “Thank you for walking with me in this journey. I have looked for help a couple of times, but no one has ever helped me like Jesus Cares. I know God put you on my path.”

              “Thank you for your friendship and being a spiritual mother in my life.  It means more than I could ever express.”

Planting Trust, Knowing Peace:

Trust Grows as You Embrace the Father's Love

      Besides a lack of good mentoring and mothering, many that we are reaching have a huge deficit in the area of father love. They need positive fellowship experiences and some are struggling with trust issues. Several months back, we began a group study for some of the women we are counseling. Shirley, one of our volunteer team members, agreed to facilitate this study on cultivating trust in the Father’s love and removing the weeds of negative experiences from their past. Shirley is full of hugs and overwhelming love for all the women. These ladies are growing, learning, and connecting!

      “I wanted to thank you for connecting me with the group. It is the first time I have ever enjoyed going to a study. I am even part of a group message and I RESPOND. I never respond to a group message and always ask to be removed. I love all the girls. I love our discussions, and I look forward to every other Tuesday, so thank you! Thank you!”

Mentoring for parents…

      Our parenting course is offered in groups and individually throughout the month. It is also available online along with a downloadable booklet with fill-ins to go with the teachings and a facilitator’s guide:

     We also have some fun music for children that teach lessons and aid in Scripture memory - http://jesuscares4u.org/foundations_for_kids_series.aspx

Here is what some of the participants of parent mentoring have said...

          “I've learned being intentional, with my time and with prayer and scripture with my parenting… God's Word is the most important part of parenting. It will guide my parenting.”

         “Parenting class taught me a lot. For one… it helped me to see my own sinfulness and how my perception of God needed to change. My perception of who my children were needed to change, too. It helped me to see that they were gifts from God and that they are my priority. It helped me to understand the attributes of my loving Father and Shepherd and… how my role is to show these attributes of God to my kids...”

         “The support in our marriage and as parents has been invaluable... I have had personal struggles and Jesus Cares gave me the tools that I needed to lean on God for my strength and comfort. It helped me to let go of much of my anxiety and be a better mom and wife. We've also been going through their parenting course, and the videos and our meetings with them have helped my husband and I be more unified in our parenting, and have led to a lot of valuable discussion between us. We can't thank them enough for their service!”

Training and Equipping the Saints...

     We have ongoing tools and training available for those who want to invest more in the body of Messiah. Call Doreen for more information: 480 831 1737


Because of your support…

      Our services are offered free of charge as an expression of, Freely you have received; freely give.“ – Matthew 10:8b. We have no problem with understanding the principle that individuals need to invest in themselves to experience success. When appropriate we have other ways of bringing that principle to the table, but the Lord made it clear from the beginning to express his heart in that way. At our recent women’s luncheon one of the young girls who was being watched by my grandchildren asked how much she was getting paid to help. My granddaughter said, “I am not getting paid. I am doing this because I want to spend time with you!” What a joy to see this young girl realize that she is worthy of an investment! She has lived in her car, experienced poverty, and her daddy is in prison, but God gave her a glimpse of His generous love that day and I am grateful that we could make that happen!

      As we close this newsletter, please be aware that your support is making a huge difference! We are reminded daily that we are truly privileged to serve him because of God’s supply through the saints. Our desire is to walk worthy of the calling we have received. Your love for us is astounding! Your support and faithfulness is truly marvelous and a beautiful representation of the incredibly gracious God we are serving. Through your support, we express to those around us in many various ways, and at very significant times that ….

J e s u s    C a r e s