What a season. And it isn’t over. We began this weekly blog to provide weekly encouragement and resources for equipping you in your faith during this time of “staying-at-home.” We were created in community [Genesis 1:26 ” Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…] for community. And encouraged to not give up meeting together [Hebrews 10:25]. And we haven’t.

We have not given up meeting together. Small groups, discipleship groups, prayer groups, staff and board meetings have all continued meeting online. You have not given up encouraging one another. We have shared notes of encouragement to the neighbors around our physical address [8283 Pfeiffer Farms]. We have and continue to pray for them and you as you seek ways to be a neighbor. We trust God to continue to move and protect. Our territory has enlarged [the prayer of Jabez: “And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain. ‘ So God granted him what he requested.”] by moving our format online… for such a time as this [Esther 4:13-14]! What more does God have in store?

Our pace for this blog is changing to a monthly format. We will continue to evaluate how we can provide encouragement and resources for equipping in this format. If you have suggestions or feedback, we welcome it. Please email marketing@frontlinebible.com

Now take a few minutes to read, be encouraged and equipped.



FAITH: The Shepherd’s Voice by Sheryl Idema
FINANCES: Stimulus Check – Save or Invest in Career Training? and Quaranclean Your Budget
FREEDOM to WORSHIP: Meditative Music by JD Dulinsky
FRONTLINE & BEYOND: Catch up with Lily Ortega, one of the missionaries that FBC financially supports, as Jeremy Clark from GMI visits with her over a video call.

FAITH

The Shepherd’s Voice

“Please put your phone down and get over here to the table so we can eat!” Dead silence! “Time to EAT!” Dinner is now barely lukewarm! “GET OVER HERE RIGHT NOW, OR YOUR PHONE IS MINE FOR A WEEK!” “Sorrrrrry! I never heard you. You never let me know right when dinner is ready. You always wait until everyone is sitting down and then it’s my fault when I lose my phone!”

Conversations like this have been common in homes since the beginning of time. Certainly, in history the distractions were different, (maybe daydreams instead of phones), and in family environments the speakers can be different (husbands and wives), but times of disconnect between family members are a universal experience. Is it because we speak different languages? I tend to believe it is because we are a little bit like sheep who get startled by the slightest sound and need a consistent, steady voice of a good Shepherd to bring us back to a place of connection.  

It is the Good Shepherd who meets all the needs of the sheep (Psalm 23: 1), protects the sheep from danger when it wanders, (vs. 4) and continuously speaks to the sheep to reassure and guide. When I understand this I long to be a sheep in this Shepherd’s fold. I thrive in a place where my Shepherd knows me. He knows every mountain I have climbed, every wound that has been inflicted, and every valley I’ve strayed into, and speaks words of love to me. “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own, and My own know me,…” (John 10:14) “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;” (John 10:27) What bliss it is to be fully known and understood, and in turn be loved, protected, pursued.   

It is profound to think that someone could know every failure, every ridiculous dream, every selfish thought, every evil imagining, and yet they would stand guard over me, meet every need and longing, and speak calmly and lovingly to me. Now that is a Savior, a Shepherd, I will follow wherever He leads! I know His voice and when He speaks, I can trust that He always has my best interests at heart. When I get distracted and want to go my own way, He has assured me that because I belong to Him, I will not get far before His voice guides me back to a safe place. That safe place is a sheep fold with strong healthy boundaries of protection, and abundance. 

How about you? Do you hear the Shepherd’s voice? I have spoken to many Christians who are not even aware that God would talk to them. They seem a bit like the “deaf” teenager clutching his phone at dinner time. At times I must admit, I have been the deaf one with a death grip on my latest distraction. God’s word clearly states that if you are a child of God, He does speak to you! Put down whatever you are “white-knuckling” to hang on to and listen. Jesus is speaking words of peace and rest for our weary soul. He loves you so much that just like the story in Matthew 18, He pursues every one of His sheep [children] not counting the cost, until they are safe again in His place of security and provision. 

Thank you Good Shepherd for guiding me home with words of love, encouragement, guidance! Thank you for giving me ears to hear and know your voice! Thank you for knowing me and allowing me to know You! Thank you for pursuing me when I am distracted by every new scent in the wind!

FREEDOM TO WORSHIP

Meditation is a lost art in the Church these days. In a world of busyness, constant hurry, & distraction, it is hard for us to set time aside to focus & dwell on what matters most. I encourage you this week, to join me, as we seek to “make room” to allow the Lord to help us focus on who He is & what He has done for us. Let yourself breathe, ponder the Presence of God in this “Meditative Music” & Be Still & Know, that He is God.

FRONTLINE & BEYOND

Very few of you have met GMI missionary Lily Ortega who is serving in Nicaragua. In this video, she shares about her background, ministry in Nicaragua, and the differences between her home country of Bolivia and her new field. While Lily just arrived in Nicaragua earlier this year, Jerry and Sandi Bomers have been in Paraguay for the past four years. The ministry is growing and the team has ambitious goals. Hear about those and how they continue to serve creatively and effectively though they face very difficult restrictions imposed by the government due to this global crisis.
Reposted from Grace Ministries International YouTube Channel

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