The Bridge-Building Ministry of Encouragement

Debbie Kitterman’s class comprised a delightful balance of both brown and white faces, and when she overheard the symphony of Spanish and English conversations, her curiosity was piqued. At the first opportunity, she approached the pastor of the Hispanic congregation that was hosting her class.

“How come half of my class doesn’t speak Spanish?” she queried. “Do they attend your congregation?”

“No,” he replied. “During our joint staff meeting, I mentioned to the pastoral staff I was going to have you come teach my congregation on how to hear from God, so word got out.”

The desire to hear God’s Truth and to encourage others through His Word was strong enough to bridge the gap between two cultures, and if we were honest, this is a bridge upon which we all need to place the soles of our feet. Finding that Christians everywhere need a bit of help getting outside our comfort zones, Debbie Kitterman has shared her own journey along with the good news that God intends for us to build one another up as we speak words of Truth. In The Gift of Prophetic Encouragement: Hearing the Words of God for Others, we find Kitterman’s confidence and fervor flow from years of learning alongside biblical characters like little Samuel that the voice of God in our ears and in our hearts requires action on our part.

God the Holy Spirit is Living and Active

Debbie’s ministry trumpets the “freelance nature of the Holy Spirit.” The third Person of the Trinity is living and active, through His Word and in His people. Those who put Him in a box miss out on the full display of His power at work in ordinary people.  Furthermore, we are built for connection, for relationship with God and with each other. Living in harmony with the example of Jesus means embracing a lifestyle of encouragement. “Jesus had radical encounters with ordinary people every day. By listening to the Father’s voice and doing what the Father said, Jesus was able to release heaven into the situations and lives of those He encountered.” (21)

When we take the risk of sharing God’s truth with others for the purpose of encouraging them in their walk with God, that movement into obedience may have the domino effect of moving them into obedience as well. As we align our words and our actions with the plumb line of Scripture, we will find ourselves swept up into the bridge-building ministry of a God whose invitation is open and full of hope:

“Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.”  (Isaiah 43:18, 19)

Many thanks to Chosen Books for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

Rejoicing in God’s Redemptive Work,

Michele Morin

I  am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. If you should decide to purchase The Gift of Prophetic Encouragement: Hearing the Words of God for Others simply click on the title (or the image) within the text, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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Visiting Over the Garden Fence

Here on this country hill, I see my neighbors from a distance.  The stillness and solitude are a bonus, but there are times when I think it would be nice to look up from my weeding and see a friendly face over the garden fence, to compare notes on ripening tomatoes and Japanese beetles, and to share encouraging stories that come from living close to the ground.

Today, I’m leaning over the garden fence — in a virtual way — with my friend, Sarah Geringer.  She’s a writer and a blogger who is gathering a community of gardeners at her place this month, and she has asked me three questions about my life in the bean patch:

  1.  What is your favorite kind of gardening (flower, vegetable, container, etc.) and why?

  2. What spiritual lessons has God taught you through gardening?

  3. In this year’s gardening season, what challenges do you face and how do they correlate with your faith?

Capture

Grab your gardening gloves and hunker down with us over at Sarah’s place as we ponder a new season of seed planting and hope —  and as we marvel at the ordinary miracle of new life that happens when we’re Meeting God in the Garden.

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I’ve reviewed Sarah’s book, Newness of Life here at Living Our Days, and you’ll also want to check out her blog as she continues to interview other gardeners as part of her series.

May you find that you also meet God in the garden as you enjoy spring beauty and follow the path of joy back to a loving and all-wise Creator.

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If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular Bible studies and book reviews delivered to your inbox.  Just enter your e-mail address in the field at the top of this page.

I link-up with a number of blogging  communities on a regular basis.  They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week.  I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.

Musings — July 2016

July has been a month of gatherings, and nothing is more precious to me than the gift of my patient husband and our family.  To celebrate Independence Day we all trekked to our favorite State Park on Lake St. George for a daylong picnic and swim, and then off to the fireworks.  We’ve relished a Saturday at the ocean, an evening around the fire pit with s’mores and starlight, and a lovely opportunity to babysit the adorable grand boy.

You, readers, are a further source of inspiration, and many of you are fellow bloggers who regularly offer up your words, sometimes wondering if anyone is out there reading.  This month your messages of encouragement to me have shown up at just the right time — just like the ravens who served as messengers with God’s provision in the Old Testament (I Kings 17:4-6; Genesis 8:6,7).

Thank You to My Ravens

When your words land
Like downy feathers,
When they  nourish like bread and meat,
I find strength to make my way to the Brook,
To drink deeply,
To be refreshed where God has placed me.

So, dear Ravens, when you have been tossed out of your Ark,
Sent forth from your cherished place of safety
To take wing over some flooded and desolate place,

Fly.

Keep going to and fro over the waters,
And know this:

Although your mission may not be clear —
No fresh-growing olive leaf in sight for you to pluck
As evidence of your flight —
Someone waits for you.
Some God-loved but wingless soul,
Uncertain about life and food,
Body and clothes,
Some watching, Word-starved worrier
Will consider your carefree flight,
Will hear Spirit-wind in your timely fluttering,
Will cease her empty striving,
Will seek His kingdom and do the Word of the Lord —
Because you took flight.

Book Talk

I’m enjoying some reading this summer that will not be showing up on the blog, and there’s nothing like a book that happens to be an old friend.  This includes working my way slowly through Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water, a section at a time, sometimes re-reading, always encouraged.  I’m also discovering Amy Carmichael’s Edges of His Ways.  It has been a delightful thing to cut back to one book review per week on the blog!

Life at Home

I am two thirds of the way through my commitment to the summer job, and all is well.  It appears that everyone is surviving quite nicely without me standing constantly in the hypotenuse of the sink-stove-fridge-triangle.

 

Reading, writing, and studying time have been a bit hard to come by, so I resurrected a few older posts for the blog in the month of July.

Our big vegetable garden has been a steady presence in my life for the past couple of decades, and, of course, that has not changed. It’s nearly time for canning to begin.

The patient husband and I are persevering in our journey through the Bible out loud together, and this is a steady source of inspiration.

Living Our Days

The most-read post for July was a meditation on Psalm 142 and David’s Prayer from the Cave.   I am happy to report that the most-read book review was based on Marjorie Maddox’s beautiful collection of poetry entitled Yes. No. None of the Above.  

I’m not sure that I had a favorite post this month, but certainly the most challenging for me to write was my review of Makoto Fujimura’s Silence and Beauty.   Essentially, the task was to write a book review about a book . . . that had been written about another book (Shusako Endo’s Silence).

Coming up in the month of August, I’m delighted to be sharing a post via She Loves Magazine about my friend in Australia, Bev Murrill.  She has a teaching, counseling, and humanitarian ministry to women and children in Africa, and, although we have never met in person, I have been challenged by her heart of compassion.

I’d love to know what is challenging you this summer.   Are there people in your life who show you the love of Christ, who show up like ravens with messages of provision and encouragement?

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I’ll be linking this post with Leigh Kramer‘s great community of  month-end encouragement.  I hope you’ll join me there!

Also,  I link-up with a number of blogging  communities on a regular basis.  They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week.  I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.