Monthly Archives

June 2016

Reality Check: Am I Worth Multiplying?

By | Day 03 | 4 Comments
The first word that came to mind after reading today’s assignment: Ouch.

This was painful for me today, to be honest. As much as I long to be like Jesus, I fail miserably EVERY DAY. The stress that comes with misbehaving children and being hated by people in my life that I just cannot avoid really gets to me sometimes. Oh, who am I kidding? It gets to me MOST days, despite my daily prayers that I walk in the Spirit and not the flesh; ask the Lord to help me be meek, mild, loving, compassionate; full of joy, grace, and mercy every day so that it oozes and radiates from me to everyone with whom I come in contact.

Today’s assignment included reading Matthew Ch. 5-7 (The Beatitudes) and writing down four verses that spoke to me. They all hit home, but these four are the areas that God and I were dealing with today:

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5 NKJV

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Matthew 5:7 NKJV

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Matthew 5:44 NKJV

“For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collector do the same?” Matthew 5:46 NKJV

Today’s assignment also included a self-examination quiz by John Wesley. Even though this reality check was painful, it pointed to areas I already knew were struggles in my life, and today I cried out to the Lord in anguish over these heart matters. This led to anointing the entryways of our home and the bedrooms with oil, kicking the enemy out, and loosing Jesus’ love in our home and in our family members. Something changed in our home by the evening. Our home was full of love and laughter as it never has since we became a “blended” family! We had a pastor friend over for dinner, and he said he could feel Jesus as he walked in the door! HALLELUJAH!!!

While our friend was visiting, we were able to discuss this calling we have on our lives and started making plans to move forward. THANK YOU, JESUS!!!

Lord, please keep molding me and making me into Your likeness, a disciple worth multiplying. I’m Yours, and I want to be used by You and for You. Trusting You every step of the way!

Our daughter being silly, attempting to give one of our sons a "swirly."

Our daughter being silly, attempting to give one of our sons a “swirly.”

Why Just One?

By | Day 01 | 2 Comments

I’m very excited to start this new adventure and growth opportunity! For the past four years or so, I’ve felt like the enemy has had a huge target on my back, so I know God is up to something. THANK YOU, JESUS!

A few months ago, the Lord just kept showing me that to be His disciple, I need to be able to leave it all to follow Him:

“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:26 & 27 NKJV

I stepped away from my full-time office job to be available for whatever it is He wants me to do, as He asked, and I’m trusting Him every step of the way. I would have never guessed that He had planned an invitation to participate in this 3o-Day Disciple Making Challenge and blogging for my future! It always amazes me how God orchestrates everything to get us right where He wants us. The invitation came from a woman I met at my first 5K Run a year ago that benefitted Missions, of all things! GOD IS SO GOOD!

When I asked the Lord who he wanted to by my prayer partner for this journey, He actually brought two people to mind. He asked, “Why just one?” I know how big of a spiritual fight against the enemy I go through every single day without participating in this challenge, so Him choosing two different women to pray for me is like Him telling me, “I got your back!”  Both women are awesome prayer warriors that have gone through or are currently going through major trials and persevering. They’ve always personally had my back, as well, and I know this experience will be a blessing and growth opportunity for all three of us and even more!

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 13

By | Day 13 | 2 Comments

I’m leaving to sponsor a week long junior high church camp in the next hour and I am soooooo pumped to see what God has in store for this week! I will continue doing the 30 day challenge while I am there so I am excited to see God move through the challenge at camp! But, I will not have the computer access to blog about the challenge while I am there. I will write in my journal about how God is using the challenges and come back and post blogs about them after I return home next week. Prayers for the hearts of the students I will be discipling and see you all in a week!

*******UPDATE********************************************************

I just got back from camp this past weekend and have seen God move in so many ways! My spirit is full after coming back from this week! Here is a recap of what happened this past week on Day 13…

So before I left for camp I urgently felt like I needed to go see my friend who was struggling with her anxiety and depression (see Day 11 & 12 for more details). The morning before I left it just so happened (I’m starting to realize God has this knack for coincidences) that in both of our busy schedules we were both free from 11:30 til 1:00 so I drove over to her house to give her My Name is Hope By John Mark Comer, love on her and pray for her. It was such a neat time for me because I was able to empathize with her in a time when she is feeling so alone. I was able to encourage her to stay grounded in Truth and continue getting in the scripture and tell her about how through his word God rescued me from my anxiety. I prayed for her and it was so neat to see how God could take my story of anxiety and use it for his Kingdom. I love that our God allows broken people like me to reach out and help other broken people.

Also the verses and video for today just really got me thinking about obedience and inspired me to have immediate and complete obedience in the things I feel God is laying on my heart. No more excuses. If my heart is truly after God’s then I’ll be obedient to him even when it’s difficult or doesn’t make sense. Obedience requires me to lay down my ideas and trust.

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 11 & 12

By | Day 11, Day 12 | One Comment

My Days have kinda ran together here and I didn’t have time to blog yesterday, but I feel that these challenges kind of ran together for me anyway. So here’s what’s been happening lately…

I didn’t intentionally go to a place to encounter people and listen to their struggles for Day 11 yesterday, but I have been preparing to do this for the next week as I am leaving tomorrow to sponsor a Junior High church camp. God has really just placed this excitement in my heart to just pour into the lives of these middle schoolers for the next week and I CANNOT WAIT TO START CAMP TOMORROW!!!! I’ve been praying and praising God about this upcoming week since I felt him leading to sponsor a few months ago. It’s finally here!!! I really feel that God is asking me to lead a 7th grade girls life group in the fall so I’m excited to meet some of the girls who will be in my group over the next week. My friend, Annie, has also been a huge encouragement in me becoming a life group leader because she herself is a leader for a group of freshman. She has been praying for me and encouraging me throughout this time.

As far as Day 12 goes… I did practice telling my mom one of my “mini testimonies” that I wrote on Day 7 and it was really good to practice saying the words out loud because I was able to see where I may need to make changes. I really liked the video attached with Day 12 and think it would be good for me to try and write my testimony out in this way to refine it a bit.

I intentionally practiced my mini testimony about anxiety and depression with my mom because tomorrow I am visiting my friend (before I leave for camp) who is battling depression to give her a book that really helped me overcome my depression and anxiety that captured me two years ago. I wanted to have this mini testimony fresh on my mind as I comfort and pray for her tomorrow. I’m hoping that this piece of my testimony will give her a beacon of hope as she fights to escape the drowning darkness of depression. She’s in a dark place, but I’ve been there and Christ has pulled me out. My prayer is that she will cling to Him so that he may rescue her as well.

Also some cool things that have happened over the past few days…

….today my prayer calendar was my boss and I had work this morning so I was able to ask how I could pray for her in person.

…. And my prayer partner, Annie, sent me this really awesome text today that made me soooo happy. I couldn’t help rejoicing! It said, “Hey Hannah! I just wanted to let you know that I am LOVING the challenge and I got to see it spread like wildfire yesterday when I told my friend, Jessie, about it, who told our friend, Shan, about it, who told others at a sleepover that we were all at. It was awesome. Jessie has started the challenge and asked me to be her prayer partner and ah, its just awesome to see God at work, ya know?”

How could that not just make your day!?!?! It definitely gave me a boost in the challenge that  I was needing. It’s just so cool to see God working through this isn’t it!?

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 10

By | Day 10 | One Comment

WOW! I’m a third of the way through the challenge and it’s been so inspiring so far! I’m excited to see what God has in store for the rest of the challenge!

First of all I would just like to share a cool thing that happened this morning… I texted my friend that was on my prayer calendar for today and asked her how I could be praying for her throughout the day and she said that she has really been struggling with her depression lately but that it was kind of crazy that I had texted her this morning because she had had a really rough night last night and I was the second person to text her today and ask how I could pray for her. I then got to have a really good conversation with her and pray for her.

Moving on to the topic of today’s challenge… I’ve decided to really encourage my parents, sister, and my best friend to look into doing the challenge. I just think it would be cool for those I love the most to go through this challenge and build these disciple making skills. The challenge has been such a blessing for me and I want it to bless them as well.  I’m especially going to try and get my sister to do it because I think this would be a great thing for her to do going into High School.

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 9

By | Day 09 | One Comment

I really needed this reminder of Urgency today. Urgency has always been something that’s kind of came and gone in spells for me and if I’m being honest, I haven’t been very urgent about spreading the gospel lately. These videos gave me a wake up call that I needed.

Often times I feel that God is calling me to do something, but I put it off until the next day or next week and approach with an “I’ll do it when I have time” mentality. But I’ve began to learn that there never is enough time and that you have to choose what you’re going to give your time to. If there is one thing that gets a portion of my time it should be the mission that God has called me to. It’s more important than any homework assignment, class grade, hobby, sport, job, or club that fights for my time.

A quote from the video that really stuck with me today is, “The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized within the lifetime of the opportunity.”

It reminded me that when I feel the Holy Spirit prompting me to do something it’s because the hearts of those around me have been being prepared as well. The Holy Spirit’s prompting is so much more than just the prompting of my heart, it’s the prompting of my heart at the same time that the Spirit’s been prompting and preparing the hearts of those around me and to delay my response to the Spirit could mean missing the “lifetime of the opportunity” given to me.

I’ll leave you with these verses from Esther that kind of go along with this idea for me…

Esther was contemplating whether she was going to risk her life and go to the king on behalf of the Jews, or not, and Mordecai challenged her with these words of urgency…

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise from the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Esther 4:14

God’s will is God’s will. He gives us the opportunities to be apart of it. When opportunities arise I don’t want to pass them on. I want to be apart of his kingdom purpose, now I need to live like it.

P.S. Good News! I met with my prayer partner, Annie, this morning and she began the challenge today!

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 8

By | Day 08 | No Comments

Today’s challenge is to talk to your prayer partner and tell them about your first week of the 30 day challenge. My prayer partner, Annie, and I had already scheduled a “Breakfast and Jesus Talk” tomorrow, so  I decided to wait and catch up with her in person tomorrow.

But I’ve loved the way that this challenge has made me reach out to those around me so far. I have all these friends and family but I hardly ever take the time to catch up with them on the spiritual level. Through the challenges ( especially the prayer calendar ) I’ve been encouraged to get in touch and pray for those I love. I’m hoping to carry out these habits with me long after the challenge is over.

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 7

By | Day 07 | One Comment

My parents became followers of Christ when I was very young so for as long as I can remember I’ve grown up with Christian influence around me. I felt God calling me to follow him when I was 7 and I became a baptized believer. I don’t really have a big turn around point from what I was like before Christ to how I changed after Christ (because I honestly don’t remember much of my life before Christ). But, I do have several instances or circumstances in my life where I’ve seen God move. So for my testimony writing time today I thought of different times in my life where I may have doubted or thought a situation was hopeless in the beginning to but through seeing perseverance with Christ or the power of God my faith has been strengthened. I’ve decided to call these my “Mini Stories”. I’ve shared different ones at different times over the past few years but today I wrote down and outlined them all on the same document and created questions to ask after each of them.  This way I can be more familiar with and ready to share my different “Mini Stories” when their times come.

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 6

By | Day 06 | One Comment

As I created my list of 25 people today, I became aware of the lostness of my family and was burdened. My parents are first generation Christians and none of my grandparents, uncles, aunts, or cousins attend church or have a growing relationship with Christ. If you asked them most of them would say they believe in Christ, but none of their actions show pursuit towards him or effort in building a relationship with him. I’ve been praying for various family members for years now. But tonight the realization hit me that none of my family (except my parents and sisters) are disciples pursuing Christ. My heart is so hurt. I love my family so much and I just want them to experience fulfillment in Christ. My parents have tried to talk to my relatives numerous times but they always come back rejected. I’ve watched my family members try and fill the Christ sized holes in their hearts with the various fallacies of this world but yet, they never find fulfillment. It’s like watching a sick person die through a hospital window when you have their cure on the other side, but they won’t unlock the door and let you in to give it to them. Only Christ and his Holy Spirit can change my family’s hearts. I pray that He moves in them and awakens them. My hope is that a yearning for the presence of God will bloom within them.

Also this morning my preacher taught on one of the Beatitudes, so I thought it was fitting to make that my verse to meditate on today…

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven”

– Matt 5:3-

It’s also fitting for me today as I am burdened by the lost hearts of my family because it reminds me that we are blessed when we are poor in spirit, at the end of our ropes, and have nothing left because that’s when we fully rely on Christ. That’s kind of where I’m at with my family, I’ve realized nothing I can do will save them. I’m powerless and fresh out of ideas, but in my weakness Christ has full power and authority to move.

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 5

By | Day 05 | One Comment

I’m going to be honest, prayer walking didn’t happen for me yesterday. I had a packed full Saturday that began at 5:30am when I woke up to go waitress at a breakfast cafe and ended at 11:00pm when my family got home from a trip to the lake. It just didn’t happen. But this evening I did finally find some time to take my prayer walk. It’s a day late but better late than never, right!?

This evening I spent sometime walking and praying through out my own neighborhood because by the time I got home today it was almost dark and I knew my parents wouldn’t be up for me taking a nighttime stroll in a random neighborhood. I really enjoyed praying for my own neighborhood, though. I’m not sure why I’ve never done this before, but I for sure want to do it again. I know a lot of my neighbors so it made it more personal to pray for them and my community.

As I was praying and walking none of my neighbors were out and about for me to approach and ask for prayer requests from. But I did specifically focus quite a bit of prayer time into a certain neighbor of mine. He and his family have been close friends of my family’s for a long time now. Sadly, he and his wife are in the middle of getting a divorce. They have two sons that are friends with my sisters and my heart just aches for their entire family. I spent a large amount of my time praying over each individual in their family and for healing through out the situation.

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 4

By | Day 04 | 2 Comments

I made my list of 30 and the person on my calendar for today is my friend Carrie. It’s interesting to me because Carrie is the one who began to get me thinking about discipleship 6 months ago. She was the one who challenged me with the questions, “Are you being poured into by someone?” and “Are you pouring into someone else?” Currently, Carrie is in Mississippi being a church camp counselor for the summer. So with her crazy schedule I thought I’d have a better chance of getting a hold of her through text.

I’ve haven’t heard back from her, but when I do I’ll text her my prayer for her. I’ve never had a prayer calendar before, but I really like the idea of having one and praying for my friends who are believers.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

James 5:16

 

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 3

By | Day 03 | One Comment

The Wesley’s Self-Examination Quiz created a healthy moment of reflection this evening. Through honestly answering the questions, I was challenged to really look at how I live my life day in and day out. One of the questions that really challenged me was “Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?” For the first time tonight I saw self consciousness in an exposed light. As I read the word self-conscious I truly understood what it meant.

I tend to be pretty self conscious because it’s in my nature to be a people pleasure. I strive to keep everyone happy. But I’ve never really looked at this as a bad thing. I’ve always thought, “I’m self-critical and self-conscious because I want to do things right and please others,” but when you get to the root of things self-consciousness has nothing to do with other people at all.

I just realized tonight that self consciousness in its purest form is selfishness. As I read the question I thought about the word “conscious” and what it meant. I also looked up the dictionary definition…

Conscious – aware of one’s own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc. (Dictionary.com)

To be self-conscious is to be self-aware, self-focused. Self-consciousness leads to my thoughts being so focused on myself and how I am being perceived that I think of myself wayyyyy more than I spend time thinking about others. It’s selfish to be so worried about what I look like, act like, or am perceived like because I’m thinking of myself before I’m thinking of others.

I found this question so uncomfortable because if it had simply asked “Are you selfish?” I would have thought “No I’m good at sharing and stuff” not giving it a second thought. But instead the question asks, “Are you self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?” And I can’t blow by it so easily. I’ve realized to be any of these three things is to be selfish.

If I am going to be a disciple worth multiplying I must get rid of this selfishness that has been hiding in my heart as self-consciousness. And I don’t think the the answer to getting rid of my self-consciousness is to gain self-confidence, or confidence in myself, but to gain Christ-confidence, or confidence in Christ.

My prayer is that as I switch my focus from being self-conscious to Christ-confident I will become a selfless disciple who is ready to be multiplied.

 

 

– The verse that I meditated on today was Matt 5:16 –

“In the same way let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

 

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 2

By | Day 02 | 2 Comments

So I read the challenge to recruit another yesterday and immediately felt God lay my friend Morgan on my heart. Morgan is two years younger than I so she is getting ready to be a Junior in High School. She loves the Lord and genuinely loves people.

God’s timing again has played out perfectly as Morgan and I had already made plans to hang out last night. She came over to my house to spend the night.

Morgan is an avid reader and so as we were sitting on my bed talking she began telling me about the book she has been reading lately called “Multiply” by Francis Chan. I am again in awe of how God is moving behind the scenes of this 30 day challenge and I’ve only been through Day 2. After she told me about Multiply we started talking about discipleship and I ran and got my laptop so I could pull up the 30 day challenge and show it to her. She thought it was pretty interesting and she turned to me and asked “So what day are you on?” I pulled up the Day 2 page and she read at the top “Recruit Another” and just started laughing. We were both in awe of God and his timing and just started laughing.

As we talked more about discipleship Morgan mentioned how she wants to be a disciple but feels like she still needs to work on her faith with God before she can be. I showed her the Day 1 video that explained how the first disciples were just regular people who obeyed Jesus. I also told her about the discipleship questions (that I mentioned in my Day 1 post) that have stuck with me the past 6 months… “Is someone pouring into you?” (Discipling You) and inreturn “Are you pouring into someone else?” (Discipling Others). I told her how I felt that God was challenging me with these questions but I wasn’t really sure what to do about it. I felt that through life groups I was being discipled but that I was slacking on my part and not discipling others. Morgan told me, “Don’t think you haven’t had an impact, because you’ve encouraged me in my faith.” She then asked me if we could start meeting on a weekly basis to talk about our faiths and disciple one another. I praise God for his sovereignty! He has heard my questions and answered me. “Is someone pouring into you?” – With my high school life groups now being over I now feel that my friend Annie has stepped into this role for the summer as we continue to encourage and stretch one another. In return, “Are you pouring into someone else?” – I feel that God has answered this question through my meeting with Morgan last night and I look forwards to continuing to meet with her and talk about how God is moving in her life. But I’ve also learned that these questions aren’t one-sided because as I talk with Annie I’ve realized it’s not just her pouring into me, I’m pouring into her as well. Talking with Morgan last night not only was I able to encourage and pour into her, but she poured into me as well and I believe she will continue to do so. Discipleship works both ways.

Join me and Morgan in prayer as she asks God if the 30 day discipleship challenge is something He wants her to do.

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 1

By | Day 01 | One Comment

My Life Group Leader and her husband challenged me to begin this 30 Day Challenge and even though it has just begun I already see God moving in His mysterious and magnificent ways.

Discipleship has been on my heart for the past 6 months now. My interest was sparked after listening to an older friend speak about  the importance of discipleship. She challenged me with the questions “Is someone spiritually pouring into you?” and in return “Are you spiritually pouring into someone else?” After listening to her I felt challenged to take some form of action but I wasn’t sure what. I now feel that God has been preparing me to begin this Disciple making journey and I’m so excited to begin. Partnering with me in prayer through this journey is my friend Annie.

Annie and I went to high school together but our friendship has really just began to bloom following our graduation (May 22, 2016). Since graduating a few weeks ago we’ve met twice to “Get breakfast and Jesus Talk” as we like to call it. Through our meetings we’ve unearthed a friendship that has been divinely orchestrated. We both feel that God has brought us together during this time to disciple and pray for one another. We met this morning, actually, and as I asked what God had been teaching her over the past few weeks she told me about this Bible study she was going through called the Anatomy of a Disciple and how God has been showing her what it looks like to truly be a Disciple. To which I responded.. “Dude, I’m starting this 30-Day Discipleship Challenge Today!!! Will you be my prayer partner through it!?” Wow, God’s so cool and ironic, sometimes.  Annie cheerfully agreed and is super interested in doing the challenge herself and I’m just so thankful for this new and growing friendship that God has placed in my life. Annie and I have decided to make our “Breakfast and Jesus Talks” a weekly occurrence so that we can continue to disciple one another throughout the summer.

Day 30 – Where do we go from here?

By | Day 30 | No Comments

That’s a really good question.  It’s my personal feeling that if the church in America doesn’t embrace the principles and practices of disciples making disciples — the church in America will not much longer endure.  Thank you, Team Expansion, for launching More Disciples!

Day 29 – Being a Bridge

By | Day 29 | No Comments

There are six streets in our Fairway Farms subdivision.  The lots are not large, most are not even a 1/4 acre; so in less than a quarter mile square, there are 190 homes.  As I’ve mentioned, it’s a beautifully manicured neighborhood, with neighbors who take pride in their homes.  If I am praying, “Lord, may your kingdom come, and your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven;” then, what is my thought process toward my neighborhood.  Hasn’t God providentially placed us within this neighborhood to be a kingdom bridge.  The glaring question ought not be, “Does this home cheer for MSU or UofM?”  The glaring question must be, “Does this home know Jesus as Lord?”  And, “What can I doing to facilitate their encounter with Christ?”  Did you see the bridge within these last two questions?  “Lord, give me eyes to see where the kingdom isn’t; and a heart that’s willing to make a difference.”

Day 28 – Training Disciples to Train Disciples

By | Day 28 | No Comments

Both globally and locally, making disciples who can make disciples takes a training cycle.  Curtis Sergeant compares it to teaching children to ride a bike.  Jon Ralls compares it to potty training.  We can see examples of it with Jesus and his disciples, and also in the missionary journeys of Paul — model, assist, watch and launch (or, leave).  Why do we not see it in most American churches?  The list of reasons why might be so long, that the task of re-engineering might seem impossible.  Mainly, I think, because small groups are not emphasized and there’s not an intentionality built into the disciple maturation process.  If there was, we might see disciples making disciples to the 3rd and 4th generations.

Day 27 – Oikos Groups

By | Day 27 | No Comments

I immersed Uncle Job into Christ when he was in his late 70’s.  He had been born in the hometown of Confucius.  Was raised Buddhist.  He had traveled the world as a merchant marine; and had studied every world religion.  When he met Jesus, he immediately knew Jesus was the real thing he’d been searching for all these years.  Operating upon the belief that he had not much time left; his mission field became the local park, which he walked twice daily.  Uncle Job never tired of telling people about his new-found faith, and how through Jesus, there was no fear of death.  Soon, a small group was meeting weekly, completely made up of silver haired retirees.  And, over a period of several years, Job’s “pew” expanded to several smiling senior citizens.  Most of these have already gone home to glory; smiling, always smiling.  Oh, that we were all like Uncle Job!

Day 26 – Moving from Mundane to Meaningful

By | Day 26 | No Comments

I live in a neighborhood made up of smaller, tightly-spaced homes, with well manicured lawns.  During the summer, especially, people are out working in their flower beds or sitting on front porches.  Most summer evenings in Michigan are spectacular.  Very few of my neighbors are active in a church.  This is my mission field.  Not long ago we invited our neighbors to attend our church Friend Day.  Instead, they went to the zoo.  We’ve got to move beyond, “How ’bout those Tigers?”  Lord, help me get to the question, “How ’bout Jesus?”  How we all need Jesus!

Day 25 – Persevering through Persecution

By | Day 25 | No Comments

How important is training concerning the inevitable persecution that befalls a believer?  II Cor 4:9a says, we are “persecuted, but not abandoned.”  Have you ever witnessed someone who becomes bitter at God because of persecution.  They believe they’ve been abandoned by God.  They may say, “Why is God doing this to me?”  Conversely, Tina was a new Christian.  She is the youngest of four children, and the only Christian in her family.  Seven years after their father had passed away, the four adult children were tasked with removing their father’s bones from a rented tomb.  The custodian of the cemetery was on hand to make sure all the bones were removed and accounted for.  When the bones were removed, everyone was shocked to discover that a finger bone was missing.  One-by-one, in the sub-tropical heat, the four of them had the unenviable task of crawling into the small mausoleum in search of the finger bone.  It could not be found, and the custodian was loosing patience.  Tina, bowed her head to pray, and was immediately attacked by the three older siblings.  “How dare you insult our father by bringing your new faith here!”  Her oldest brother struck her.  Undaunted by these attacks, she prayed outloud.  “Lord, we do not need my father’s finger bone, but so my siblings will know that you answer prayer, please show me now where the missing bone is?”  Later, she said, “In that moment I had a vision that the bone was tangled in the tattered grave cloth that had already been removed and searched.”  After she said, “Amen;” she went over to the grave cloth and pulled the finger bone from the cloth.  Her siblings backed away, and have never persecuted her since.  Yes, “persecuted,” but definitely NOT “abandoned.”