Thu, 30 Oct 2014 16:37:00 +0000
A few years ago I read the story of Corrie Ten Boom
. Well, I actually listened to it on audio book but it’s pretty much the same thing. Anyway, I was blown away by this girl, the experiences she had in her life, the pain (both physically and emotionally) that she endured and the incredible story she lived to tell to any who would listen. If you haven’t heard of her or don’t know her story, I encourage you to read (or listen to) The HidingPlace
I bring Corrie up because November is a month where we are reminded to be thankful. We get to have a break from our normal routines, a break from classes, and hopefully a reuniting with family and friends over the holidays. There are so many things for which we can be thankful, but for all who are in Christ, thankfulness is not seasonal…it’s actually not even circumstantial.
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Can you imagine living a life of thanksgiving?
What if you actually gave thanks in everything?
I have definitely struggled with that thought and struggled even more in living it out!
Back to Corrie’s story, there was a season in her life when she was at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp. One of the things she said about her time there was: “Life in Ravensbruck took place on two separate levels, mutually impossible. One, the observable, external life, grew every day more horrible. The other, the life we lived with God, grew daily better, truth upon truth, glory upon glory.”
She was put in a barracks that was infested with fleas. These little bugs would eat away at the women in those barracks where they were crammed in so tightly that they were practically on top of each other. I can’t even imagine what they went through (on top of all of the other things they were suffering through at this camp).
When they first realized they were confined to an area with fleas, Corrie cried to her sister, Betsie, “Fleas!...Betsie, the place is swarming with them!” How did Betsie respond? How would you respond?
Here’s a little excerpt from The Hiding Place
as Corrie tells the story of Betsie’s response:
“’Show us. Show us how.’ It was said so matter of factly it took me a second to realize she was praying. More and more the distinction between prayer and the rest of life seemed to be vanishing for Betsie. “Corrie!” she said excitedly. “He’s given us the answer! Before we asked, as He always does! In the Bible this morning. Where was it? Read that part again!”
“I glanced down the long dim aisle to make sure no guard was in sight, then drew the Bible from its pouch. ‘It was in First Thessalonians,’ I said. We were on our third complete reading of the New Testament since leaving Scheveningen.
“In the feeble light I turned the pages. ‘Here it is: “Comfort the frightened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all…’” It seemed written expressly to Ravensbruck.
“’Go on,’ said Betsie. ‘That wasn’t all.’
‘Oh yes:’…”Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.’”
“’That’s it, Corrie! That’s His answer. “Give thanks in all circumstances!” That’s what we can do. We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about this new barracks!’ I stared at her: then around me at the dark, foul-aired room.”
When she looked around, she saw fleas, women packed in so close they could barely move and she smelled a combination of grotesque smells. She and Betsie began listing a few things for which they could choose to be thankful: their Bible, the overcrowding made it so that more women could hear of God’s love…and then for the fleas
. Well, Betsie thanked God for the fleas. Corrie? Here’s what she said, “’The fleas! This was too much. ‘Betsie, there’s no way even God can make me grateful for a flea.’
As their story progresses, they find that during their stay at Ravensbruck, they have unprecedented freedom to lead Bible studies unlike any they were able to have during their time in captivity. They were not sure why, but they were able to openly share from the Bible for all of these women to hear about God’s love and how there is no pit so deep that His love isn’t deeper
One night, Corrie was getting back to the barracks late and Betsie was waiting for her at the food line. She was eager to see Corrie and tell her of the information she had learned that day.
“’You know, we've never understood why we had so much freedom in the big room,’ she said. ‘Well—I’ve found out.’ That afternoon, she said, there’d been confusion in her knitting group about sock sizes and they’d asked the supervisor to come and settle it. “But she wouldn’t. She wouln’t step through the door and neither would the guards. And you know why?” Betsie could not keep the triumph from her voice: ‘Because of the fleas! That’s what she said, “That place is crawling with fleas!’”
The reality of the life that we have in Christ is so much richer than anything we can find in our circumstances! In fact, the life we have in Christ empowers us to be thankful
even if we are in the most difficult, horrid and unthinkable circumstances imaginable! This is not a disengagement with the world, this is engaging with God first
, then living in total dependence on Him
and allowing Him to live His victorious life through us in each and every circumstance.
So, give thanks for the wonderful things in our life. That’s good and right to do.
I wonder how your Thanksgiving would be if you spent some time in God’s Word and in prayer, asking Him for His perspective on the things in your life for which you think, “I could never be thankful for that!”?
What are the “fleas” in your life right now?
Will you let choose, today, to look to God first instead of the "fleas"?
Thu, 07 Feb 2013 00:19:00 +0000
Dear Friend of LIFe Ministries,
The faithfulness and activity of God in our lives and through LIFe Ministries over the past 6 years has been astounding to us. We have tasted the sweetness of Christ through a variety of trials, and He has shown Himself trustworthy. Each year has been full of surprises for us as we walk this journey of dependence on Christ.
Six years ago we knew God was leading us to trust Him as He desired to use us in the lives of teenagers. Each year a new dimension has been added to the ministry, but the journey has remained the same – to walk in dependence on Christ. As I write this letter, we are continuing on in this journey as He adds another dimension once again.
In December, I joined Bent Tree Bible Fellowship in Carrollton, TX as the Young Adult Pastor. My primary ministry emphasis will be young professionals, college students, and engaged couples. While this is a major change for my family and me, we are excited about what God has in store for us. Bent Tree has been a place where God has drawn us on several occasions over the past four years, and we are looking forward to this new part of our journey.
As we make the move to the Metroplex, LIFe Ministries will continue but will look a little different. Dani will take over the majority of the operation, and the emphasis will be to continue developing the marriage ministry as well as Be Transformed. Dani and I will do ministry events together, but Dani will tackle the day-to-day duties and organizing events, as well as local ministry to women. I will also remain available to speak at events, but this role will be more limited.
We are excited for the next chapter! There have been several ladies who have reached out to Dani over the past few years, and we are thrilled that she will be able to expand her role in LIFe and walk with women who are searching for Christ.
Please continue to pray about giving to Living In Freedom Ministries as we take this next step of faith. In this new chapter, LIFe Ministries will operate primarily on contributions from supporters. Donations will be used for ministry operation, curriculum development, Dani's part-time salary, and scholarships for couples attending marriage conferences.
Your support is vital for this ministry to continue, now more than ever before. As God leads us in these changes, we are looking forward to the upcoming adventure and seeing how He opens new doors. Please join us by praying for us. Please join us by giving to Living In Freedom. We are grateful for you and look forward to continuing to partner with you as we take another step of faith.
Grace and Peace,
Matt and Dani Smith