Is God in the middle of the hard stuff?

The Call of Jeremiah Jeremiah 1:4,5

“The Word of the Lord came to me saying, Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart, I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah then puts up his fists as it were and says “But I’ don’t know how to speak, I’m only a child. ” Then with a mild rebuke the Lord tells Jeremiah Don’t say that!  “You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.  Don’t be afraid, I’m with you and I will rescue you.” vs 8

Often when we read this or hear this preached  we are inspired to get out there and follow God’s call with abandon and gusto. We leave our pews with our pompoms on and get excited about declaring God’s love and truth in our world.   But life isn’t a fairytale.   Hard times are inevitable.   For Jeremiah when King Josiah died, Jeremiah’s hardships as a prophet of God increased. His message aroused immense hostility and death threats, especially in his own home town, Anathoth (Jeremiah 11:21). Even his own relatives conspired against him and betrayed him (Jeremiah 12:6). NICE!

His persecution increased in Jerusalem when a priest named Pashhur sought out Jeremiah to have him beaten and put in the stocks at the Upper Gate of Benjamin for a day (Jeremiah 20:1-2). After this, Jeremiah lamented the hardship that had come to him for speaking God’s words. It was difficult to have become a laughingstock to the people and a target of mockery (verse 7).

Later, spiteful men obtained the king’s approval to arrest Jeremiah for prophesying disaster. These men then lowered Jeremiah by ropes into a cistern, and he sank into a layer of mud (Jeremiah 38:1-6). When another court official learned about Jeremiah’s fate, he persuaded the king to let him rescue Jeremiah before he starved to death at the bottom of the cistern (verses 7-13).

Yet Jeremiah knew he had to speak the message God had given him. He wrote how, if he tried to resist speaking what God told him to speak and tried to not even mention God’s name, God’s words became like fire in his heart. He was unable to hold them in (Jeremiah 20:9).

God told Jeremiah that if he would boldly speak His words and not shrink back in fear of the people, He would give him the strength he needed to withstand the persecution. God told him, “I will make you to this people a fortified bronze wall; and they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail

Often in life we are hit with difficulties.  We have relationship problems,  health problems, loneliness, self doubt, that job you wanted just doesn’t come through,  the finances aren’t there, the ministry you are helping has leadership problems, living in another country as a missionary is way harder than you ever thought it could be, your internship doesn’t look like you thought it would, you have visa issues and the difficulties continue to mount up so high you can barely remember the call or you think your must not have heard God correctly.

Throughout life we are told that if everything goes right then we have the favour of God on our lives.  A perfect life means your are living under blessing right?  If things fall apart or don’t go as we expected,  well maybe we’ve stepped out of God’s will, our we’ve somehow messed up.  I probably thought that way myself at one point in my life.  I do believe that when you honour God and seek him first you are blessed and live life to the full, but blessings as some define them are not necessarily (or even often) financial or material or perfect health.     The scriptures are full of great, exciting calls, often followed by great hardship.  We need to remember that the circumstances don’t change the call.   Difficulties don’t mean the call has left us, or we didn’t hear correctly, it means you are living a normal Christian life.  The blessings in the difficulties are dying to self, learning dependance on the Holy Spirit,  learning to consider it pure joy when you go through the trials (James 1) because God is really at work in your life.  Perhaps those fighting through hardship are the most blessed of all.  

Is God in the middle of the hard stuff?  Always.

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Meet Kate Juhl – coming to ISM January 2015 – internship Samaritan’s Creations

Hi! I’m Kate and I’ll be moving to Bangkok with ISM in January 2015!

kateJuhl

I grew up in an amazing, loving and supportive Christian home in a small town in Minnesota, USA. When I was little I used to spend hours reading books about far away lands and strange and mysterious people throughout time. My favorite stories were the ones about World War II and the Civil War in America. I always pictured myself as the hero who hid Jews from the Nazis or smuggled the African slaves North to freedom. But for a long time I never dreamed that horrors of slavery or mass racial discrimination still existed today. Eventually as I grew up I became aware of injustice all over the world. It infuriated me, but I had no idea how I was supposed to change anything.

Then in April 2014 God spoke very clearly into my life telling me that He wanted me to set His people free. Not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually. God has given me so much love, hope and freedom, now He was calling me to share that with his other children. Over the years I’ve had plenty of glamorous dreams for my life, but when I pursued God’s plan for my life He was faithful. I started by reading books about trafficking, prostitution and slavery all over the world. Next, I began to look at various organizations to volunteer with and God led me to a local ministry that helps women coming out of trafficking or abusive relationships. Although I love working with the ministry, God knew that my heart longs to be overseas in exciting new countries, therefore He led me to ISM.

I am so excited to begin this next chapter of my life living out God’s plan! I’ll be interning with Samaritan Creations helping to provide alternative work for women coming out of the sex industry. I know God has so much in store for this ministry and these woman and I just can’t wait to be part of it!

ISM Class of 09.14 talk

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Julie Gosen

ISM has impacted me a lot this past month, a lot more than I ever anticipated. The classes, the teachers, the trips, even the dinners, were so informative and thought provoking. Lessons on culture shock, spiritual warfare, self reflection and everything in between. I got to wake up every single morning being excited for the day and encouraged by the teachers, and my fellow interns, that God is there beside me every step of the way. Through the classes, I got to have a deeper understanding of God and how to really hear Him which pushed me to work on my personal relationship with Him even more. Having prayer and worship every morning was another huge thing for me, pushing me to a more godly life, and enjoying every minute of it. Through ISM, God has taught me more about myself, His plans for me, how He created me, humility, understanding, compassion, healthy relationships and more. There’s so much more I could say but we’ll leave it with this, it’s clear what God is doing through ISM and I’m glad I get to be a part of it.

 

Jannelle Dyck

My experience with ISM has been transformational! The teaching is sound and incredibly practical, the environment for learning (Bangkok!) is amazing, and the staff and speakers are all incredible! In this setting I have experienced God in a whole new way. My faith has deepened and I have a renewed desire for the Holy Spirit to saturate every aspect of my life! I feel equipped not only for ministry but better equipped for life in general. To put it simply, these past four weeks with ISM have been life-changing!.

Sarah Ricker

I came to ISM expecting to learn a lot. However, not only have I been exposed to ideas and harsh realities in the world that I had no concept of before, but I have been made more aware of God’s love and heart for people than I have ever experienced in my life thus far. Jesus said himself, “the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into the harvest field.” (Matthew 9: 37). I plan to live my life as a full time missionary, my time at ISM has confirmed that call on my life. But what stuck out to me the most was the huge need in the world for God’s love to be made known to all people. If a young person reading this is debating whether or not to go to ISM, and they feel God tugging on their heart, or speaking in that still small voice, then it may be time for them to step out in faith. Much like Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on water. God created us to do so much more than just sit in a boat, but we will only experience that if we step out in faith. And God is always faithful, even if we start to drown, he will always be there to pull us up.

Abby Zantingh

One month at Impact school of Missions is almost up, and to describe the way God has moved is like asking me to write out in tongues! From eating at the most fantastic Lebanese restaurants God ever created to worshipping God, He is Lord of it all. Prison ministry and children’s ministry are a few ways in which we realize God’s heart and serve Him through compassionate hearts, and classes that do not shy away from God, His word and His truth cause you to think and truly seek God. His face shines while you focus on Him for a month, and being surrounded by people who love Christ is a sure way to spark your flame! From riding with awesome taxi drivers to praying in tears over one another, God is waiting, He is ready, and He wants to bring revival! He loves ISM and is truly working through this school to IMPACT His children for His kingdom! I thank God for the blessing of being here Sept 2014, an experience God used to shape, equip and grow me, and I pray will always continue to do so for His sons and daughters!

 

Amanda Riebersal

I cannot believe that my first month in Bangkok, Thailand is coming to an end. It has flown by! 🙂 I want to thank you for all of your prayers and support. 🙂 I am going to do my best to share with you all that has taken place and all that the Lord is doing.

I have been interning at Impact School of Missions for the past four weeks and I have learned so much. At first, I was reclutant to sign up for the school because I wanted to serve and intern right away. I did not think it was necessary to come to this school; however, I am glad the Lord told me repeatedly to come. I have recieved valuable training, instruction, and experience. The Lord has used this school to equip me properly so that I will be able to effectively serve in my upcoming internship.

Even though there has been stressful times with adjusting to a new culture, it has been such a wonderful time. In the first week, we learned about the Thai culture and how to handle culture shock and stress. We had an introductory Thai language class to learn some of the basic phrases. Then, we learned about their customs, traditions, and beliefs in order to effectively serve, work, and minister to Thais.

The second week was Spirit week. We discussed basic Biblical principles about who God is and how He is calling us to live. We learned about the Holy Spirit and how to walk out in the annointing. During the third week, we learned about ourselves and how to partner with God. We learned about our personality type and our strengths and weaknesses. We discussed the importance of spending time alone with God and the power of prayer. Lastly, on the final week we were taught how to effectively minister and serve. They stressed the importance of understanding the environment we are in and how to be a light to those around you no matter what you are doing.

In addition to the classes, we also toured the area and did local out reaches. On two different Sundays we were in charge of the children’s ministry at two different churches. One church was in the slums and the other was at a refugee church. We acted out the parable of the lost sheep and after that did a craft with the kids. Also, we did face painting, made ballon animals, and played games with the children.

Another outreach we did was going to a Refugee School which had about 14 students. We shared our testimonies and got to know the students stories as well. Then, we helped them practice for their upcoming play. In addition, we went to a refugee prison and talked to those on the inside. I am not even sure how to describe that experience yet. Furthermore, we participated in a bible study and taught English to ladies who had come out of the sex industry. That was such an amazing opportunity and even walking around in the “Red Light District” was eye opening. We learned a lot about different ministries working in that area. There is NightLight reaching out to the ladies, MST is ministry to the men, and an organization reaching out to the gender confused. It is amazing to see what the Lord is doing in Thailand.

I am so thankful for this month because I truly feel like I am better equip to serve effectively in my internship for the next 5 months. I have learned so much from all the different speakers who came to ISM to discuss their ministry and how to be an effective missionary wherever I am at. I have heard so many inspiring testimonies and stories and it only possible because of the God we serve. There is nothing that He cannot do. His love and grace is never ending and it is offered to everyone. He is a personal God and I have seen that even more while being here. He cares for all people and He wants us to be the light to the world and point others to Him. I wish I could tell you all my stories but it would be a very long letter. However, if you want more details please let me know. I am excited to start teaching English in Chiang Mai on Monday.

Remember the Lord wants to use you right where you are at for the people right next to you. If we are in Christ we are all missionary. We all have a calling, gifts, and talents so just be you and walk out in the Spirit of the Lord.