Adults on Mission Blog

The Blinders Are Off

I grew up in rural North Carolina in a small town that was similar to the fictional Mayberry. Farming and fishing were the main industries, and families working together brought a closeness and a feeling of security that you cannot find today. Everyone knew all their neighbors on a first name basis—doctors, lawyers, merchants, farmers, fishermen—it didn’t make a difference. It was a stable, comfortable life, and my husband and I were only vaguely aware of the evil all around us until we had children.

During the 1970s we became deeply concerned about the changes we saw taking place in the world our children would inherit! The cultural changes in families, the increase in divorce, the use of drugs and alcohol, and the “anything goes” attitude of the younger generation. However, our children were still young and the evils we saw and heard about on radio and TV seemed far away from us—no need to worry—or so we thought.

A TV pastor said, “Don’t worry. The pendulum swings; this will pass.” But it didn’t pass. The blinders were off! We began to pray for revival in our country and the protection of our children.

A Mission’s Drive

It’s that time again! Time to set aside our Christmas offering for international missions. I confess I never really paid too much attention to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® that my church promoted every year. Sometimes I would write a check, but I didn’t always.

That changed when my husband’s brother received an appointment as an international missionary. That’s when I discovered the importance of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

My brother-in-law’s family spent 10 years in Malaysia. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering provided financial support and helped them fulfill their mission.

Missionary families depend on the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for their ministry and livelihood. For those of us who can’t go, giving is one way we can help fulfill God’s commission to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). 


Sandra Knox Miller writes from her home in Sylacauga, Alabama. 

 

 


 

A World Day of Prayer

A few years ago I had the privilege of speaking at our Associational WMU luncheon held in observance of the Baptist Women’s World Day of Prayer. What made that day memorable for me was not that I was the guest speaker, but what I learned through my preparation.

My text was from the book of James about Elijah’s prayer life. The phrase that captured my attention said that Elijah was just like us (James 5:17).  Elijah was a prophet. He did so many extraordinary things that I never thought of him as just an ordinary man. But that’s what he was. There was nothing special about him. Yet, his prayers affected the forces of nature.

When we gather to celebrate the World Day of Prayer, the Lord is listening to us just like he listened to Elijah. Our world needs prayer—now more than ever before. Let’s be faithful to join together and pray for our nation and our world.


Sandra Knox Miller writes from her home in Sylacauga, Alabama. 

Reach Out and Get Connected

I am technologically illiterate. I watch with envy as my daughters save money using their cell phones to find bargains and digital coupons while shopping. With social media, they stay in touch with childhood friends living hundreds of miles away. Even my grandchildren text and talk with each other face to face on their parent’s cell phones.

I’m trying to learn how to be “connected” like everybody else. I’ve learned I can be intentionally present through social media. People ask for prayer. Sometimes they even share problems.

We can respond by promising to pray and by sharing words of encouragement. We can text or message them a prayer or a Bible verse.

We can send notes of encouragement. Even in this technological age, people still love to receive handwritten notes. Taking time to write and mail a note communicates concern and lets them know we care.

Not all of our internet friends know the Lord. So, let’s use our connections to share our testimony whenever and wherever we can.

 

Catch the Vision

Have you ever tried reading your Bible with a magnifying glass? It’s challenging. Your field of vision is limited to that little round circle of glass. I’ve done that when I absent-mindedly misplaced my reading glasses.

Instead of being absent-minded, my goal is to be intentionally present in things I do. What does that mean? It means I have a plan, a purpose, and a goal. I’m not just present physically, but I’m alert and paying attention to everything around me.           

Are you getting ready for a mission trip or a mission action project? The goal of any missions activity is sharing God’s word and, hopefully, leading people to faith in Christ. To reach that goal, we must be aware of the people around us, and be ready when they ask spiritual questions.

Let’s not limit our vision by being absent-minded. Let’s be intentionally present so we can see the big picture. When we look at what’s happening from God’s perspective, we won’t miss any opportunity to share God’s love.

I Am Enough

I am accepted by God just as I am and I do not have to prove myself to Him or anyone else. What a freeing revelation! Like most people, I spent so much of my life trying to be the strongest, smartest, kindest, holiest, best person in the group.

I was a Christian but didn’t feel like it was enough.

A dear friend summarized it when he said most people spend their lives playing king of the mountain. They think they have to be at the top of the mountain to stand out and be counted worthy. To get to the top, though, they have to throw others down to eliminate anyone who threatens their idea of self worth.

It was a game I had played most of my life—and I was ready to retire.

Once I realized that I already am enough through Christ, I suddenly felt free to love others. I didn’t need to compare myself to them or feel threatened by them. I am accepted, and out of my confidence I could help others see that they are accepted, too.

Just As We Are

I remember the feel of the worn hymnal fabric in my hand as I held the songbook and belted out the words, “Just as I am, without one plea.” As a child I understood the heart of the song: God accepts me and loves me just as I am. What a sweet and reassuring love!

The harder lesson, though, has been to love and accept others just as they are.

I find that the more I understand God’s forgiveness and love for myself, the easier it is for me to look at those around me through His lens. Rather than seeing a hardened, bitter woman, I can see her as God sees her: a wounded daughter who feels rejected and alone. Instead of seeing a coarse, rude man, I instead see someone who has never experienced God’s love and forgiveness.

When I look at the people around me through God’s lens of love, I see their brokenness and their need rather than their failures and shortcomings. And rather than be offended at their sins, I sense God’s deep abiding love and longing for them.

We are all loved, we are all accepted, and we are all in need of God.

Hunger Destroys Families

There’s an online video that depicts a mother walking her daughter to a train station, handing her a bagged lunch, seating her on the train, and then walking away. The family had run out of food and did not have the resources to continue caring for the girl and her sister. The parents made the agonizing choice to send one daughter away.

As a parent, my heart squeezes each time I watch the video. I know the images are recreations with actors, but the story is true. According to the video’s ending, UNICEF estimated in 2007 there were 25 million orphaned children in India. Thousands of families each day face starvation and poverty. Parents make the impossible choice of who gets to eat and who starves.

I have four children and am beyond blessed to have an overflowing pantry. I cannot imagine, though, having to say goodbye to a child because of unending hunger and exhausted resources.

Sacrificial Giving

Earlier this year my pastor challenged church members to sacrifice something so they could give to ministries that help the needy. The point was to give something of value, not something left over or unneeded.

One family sold a valuable collectible. Another family canceled their cable and donated whatever they would have spent on their cable bill. Our children sold their favorite doll and toys and gave the proceeds.

Ultimately, several hundred dollars was raised to clothe and feed people both locally and globally. Can you imagine the impact such sacrificial giving would have if every Southern Baptist gave deeply to care for the hungry and poor?

The Global Hunger Relief Fund ministers to the needy in North America and around the world by offering help to those suffering from disasters, as well as those who struggle with chronic hunger. October 9 is Global Hunger Sunday. Ask God how He would have you help end hunger for the most vulnerable around the world.

Finding Refreshment in Prayer

In Luke 5:15–17, we see Jesus’ source of strength sandwiched between His ministry: “Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick.” (Bold added.)

Jesus was busy about ministry. He was healing and teaching large crowds all the time. So how did He refuel? Where did His strength come from? He regularly stepped away from the demands on Him to pray, to talk with and listen to His Father.

When we are busy with our lives—work, family, friends, church, ministry—and we find ourselves exhausted from all we have to do, let’s follow Jesus’ example. Find regular time for Bible reading and prayer, spending time with God, and allowing Him to refresh you.

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