Tag Archives: advance the gospel

YOU can make a difference across the world!

The headlines we read are almost numbing. So much hurt and suffering accompanied by such feelings of helplessness. We ask, “What could I do to make a difference?”  Go Light Our World is pleased to support a missionary friend in Greece we’ve personally known for 30 years. We have to protect her name because of persecution against evangelical Christians from the Orthodox Church there. We’ll call her Mary (not her real name).

What we love about Mary is that she gives her entire life to advancing the gospel of Jesus in such practical ways. She purposefully approaches people searching dumpsters for some food. Mary has often invited sick strangers into her home and pays for their medical bills. She is a good friend to a single mom who lost her children through poverty. And Mary is your direct contact, not only with muslims who have never read the words of Jesus, but also with Syrian, Afghan, and Iranian refugees who fled to Greece from the wars that beset their homeland.

Mary counters the Orthodox teaching (that salvation is through good works) by openly witnessing to people and giving them New Testaments in their native language, encouraging them to read out loud the good news for their lives. Because of the economic despair in Greece, many people are realizing more and more that they need help from above! Here is just one account from Mary’s outreach that impacts people in hard places:

“The flow of thousands of war refugees (mainly children, women and  teenagers) continue to arrive in Greece. Several countries of East Europe have closed their borders which means that most of them are stuck in Greece. Since all the refugee camps all over Greece are overflowing, thousands have no choice but to stay outdoors in the main squares. They have no place to go, nowhere to sleep, nothing to eat and nowhere to shower or do their laundry. I purchased 3 bags of chocolate and stuffed 10 sleeping bags with the Gospel of John in Farsi language and New Testaments in Arabic. As I arrived I saw the crowds and asked the Lord to show me from where to start and to whom should I talk first. I started by giving out chocolates to some children which opened up the door to speak to their families. A few teenagers knew a little bit of English and were happy to help by interpreting the adult conversation. I started talking to one family then to another and that went on for the next 5 hours! They were hungry, sick and exhausted since they have been travelling for months. Praise God, I was able to purchase all together 50 sandwiches from a nearby store and distributed to the kids first, teenagers and women! After listening to their tragic stories I hugged them and prayed with them. They told me how they run to escape from the Taliban, the Daesh and the Islamic State. They are running to save their lives and the lives of their children from the war zones.”

“They crossed Iran, Syria and Turkey. The European countries are very upset that the Greek government rescues them from drowning. What are we supposed to do? They told me how in Turkey the smugglers took all their money to place them on plastic boats so they could cross the Aegean sea to the Greek islands where they were rescued by the Greek coast guard. They were very grateful for the sleeping bags and for the sandwiches. They kept thanking me and I kept pointing to heaven and telling them that this is from Jesus! The Lord opened a wide door for me to show His love and I prayed with several families and eventually gave more than 20 Gospel of John in Farsi language. God surrounded me with His favor and protection and made friendship with several refugees.”

Maybe you’re thinking, “That’s very admirable, but what does it have to do with me?” Unless you have the means and opportunity to fly to Greece and quickly learn the language, your best opportunity – and mine – is to support a native person who is willing to feed the hungry, care for the sick, and comfort the lonely. . . on our behalf, and in the name of Jesus.

“How can I help?”

  1. Commit to praying. Put it on your calendar. Pray once a day or once a week. Ask God (who knows her real name) to give “Mary” strength and courage and means to carry his good news to hurting people. Pray for people like Mohammad and his family who Mary invited into her home to wash their clothes. Pray for boys and girls who were traveling all alone since their parents gave all they had for them to come to Europe in order to save their lives. Mary saw 5 of these teenagers reading the Gospel of John while I was still there.
  2. Give a little.  $5-10 buys a New Testament in the native language or a bit of food for those who have so little. $25 or more can help toward the purchase of a tent for a needy family. $34 buys a sleeping bag for a child or mom sleeping in the chilly night air.

Thank you for partnering with GLOW in prayer and practical giving and doing your part to advance the Gospel through your love, giving and prayers!

www.GoLightOurWorld.org/giving One time or recurring gifts of any amount make a difference!

100% of your tax-deductible gift goes directly to the mission field.


Open doors


There are three types of doors that we encounter in life:

  • Some are wide open.
  • Some are closed shut.
  • Some are slightly ajar.


We talk about “open doors” as being opportunities that we should pursue. We even pray for God to “open a door” so we can pursue some endeavor that seems advantageous to us, for example to buy a certain house or get a desired promotion or something else we desire.


Some of the wide open doors lead us down the good path God intends. But just because a door is open doesn’t mean it’s his design for us to go through it. Some wide open doors lead us down a path of woe. Some will say, “If you feel at peace, go through the open door.” But our hearts deceive us and we’re best advised to seek wisdom from God’s Word, his Holy Spirit, and mature believers before making a decision to proceed.


Sometimes we keep knocking and pushing at a shut door, thinking it must be his will to open it for us. Try as you might to open it, it will not budge until God opens it. So many things seem right in our eyes, we can’t imagine why God would allow a door to remain shut. The ones that are shut tightly are not meant to be opened, at least not at this time, and perhaps never. He keeps it shut for our protection and to advance his perfect will.


Some doors are not completely shut; instead they stand slightly ajar. And if we apply enough of our own effort we can force them open, even if it isn’t God’s timing or will. He allows us – if we insist in having our way – to open doors that we shouldn’t. We might choose a job that isn’t intended for us, a house that is really too expensive, a purchase that robs us of the opportunity to use our money for something more valuable, or a relationship that leads to disaster. If you’ve ever succeeded in opening these doors, you know they are best left alone.


There is one door that may be shut or slightly ajar that we should always pray to be opened. In fact, if someone asks how they could pray for you, this might be a good response:


“And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ…Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.” Colossians 4:3-4


As we review our to-do list for the day, our very best prayer may be this one for ourselves, that God would intentionally open doors for us to share his message. It might be an open door to share the gospel. Or it might be an open door to build or strengthen a relationship bridge that could later bear the weight of God’s message. Or it may be an open door to simply express God’s gracious love in a practical way – today.


“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Verses 5-6)


I wonder what doors God intends to reveal to each of us this very day. Look for them. Pray for him to open the ones that advance his message.


I should love…WHO?!


We love those who’ve been kind, who’ve stuck with us through tough times, and forgiven our past wrongs. We love those who agree with us, who support a common cause, those we admire.


Jesus says that if we truly love Him we will do what He says. We will love our neighbors as ourselves. We will ‘feed His sheep.’ Okay, got that, right? Wait a minute. He’s saying something else. Let’s listen:


“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbors and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:43-45


What?!! Loving my enemies and praying for those who persecute me is a condition of being a child of God? You gotta be kidding, right? Pray for ISIS followers who are killing Christians? We’d rather plea with God to destroy our enemies! And let’s not get started about praying for someone with a different political preference. We don’t even want to pray for people in our path who are just a bit disagreeable or unlovable.


But Jesus who turned the tables of the temple ‘thieves’ seeks to turn the tables of our own selfish ambitions too. He wants to deepen our love for Him – and for others. Loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us is one of the deepest expressions of love. The bible says we were enemies with God and yet He so loved us that He gave His Son Jesus so we could be saved. How can we say we love Jesus, and not do as he says…love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us?


But HOW should we pray for our enemies?


Pray for their salvation, for saving faith so they will receive Christ and trust only in Him. (Romans 10:9, Ephesians 2:8-9, John 1:12, John 14:6, Acts 4:12) Pray they will embrace true wisdom revealed by Almighty God. (Ephesians 1:17) Impossible? Consider one of the world’s most ardent persecutors of Christians, the man we know as the apostle Paul whose life was completely transformed by the power of God. Consider Daniel Shayestah, who was a faithful member of Iran’s ruthless Red Guard, but responded immediately to follow Jesus after being warned in a dream. God is still in the transformation business.


Pray for evil to be restrained. Pray that the God-offending ways of our enemies will be thwarted and frustrated at every turn in their path. Pray for the protection of believers and testimonies that boldly confront the lies of their persecutors and actually advance the gospel. (Philippians 1:12)


Pray for God’s will to be done. We know what vengeance we would unleash on our enemies, but God warns: “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19) Military action may be needed to curtail the wrath of destruction of our enemies. But our role is to pray for God’s divine will be done – to save or destroy, according to His purpose.


We who were once enemies with God need to obey Jesus and pray for those who still remain His enemies. Pray for their salvation, for protection from evil, and for God’s will be done. If they are converted, that’s God’s choice. If they refuse to repent of evil ways, they will receive their just punishment. As for you and me, let’s pray.


Who have you written off as hopeless and beyond salvation? Who is it, that the very thought of them creates a bitterness in your soul? Who have you marginalized through your apathy to their views and existence? These are the enemies Jesus called us to love. If you’re thinking this is beyond your ability, you are absolutely right. So let Jesus-in-you do the loving, on His terms, not yours. And watch how your world changes as your spirit cooperates with His.


Don’t waste your suffering



John Piper wrote a great little book called Don’t Waste Your Life, followed later by Don’t Waste Your Cancer. Both books spoke to me – before and during my experience with cancer. The premise is simple. Life is short so live it intentionally and live it well. Oh I know, when your journey is filled with suffering of all kinds, life seems to move slowly, like it may never end. A year and a half after achieving remission from cancer and after my stem cell transplant, I’m still asking my doctors, “When will I get stronger?” But even in the midst of all kinds of trials, life really is short compared to the eternity of time that awaits us. So, how do we respond?


“Don’t waste your suffering.”


Suffering seems to be wasteful in itself; it robs us of comfort, patience, strength, productivity, and so much more. Suffering leads us to experience indignities that we are sure are unnecessary to the human challenge. But suffering also is a worker, accomplishing in us that which we cannot accomplish ourselves. Consider Paul’s story:


Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.”  2 Corinthians 11:24-27


Whipped, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, threatened by robbers and countrymen, surrounded by danger all around, sleepless, hungry, cold, and naked… I think you will agree that Paul knew suffering.  If anyone had reason to complain, it was him. But how did he perceive this tremendous distress?


” For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17


He considers his trials light and momentary, insignificant compared to what? Compared to what they are achieving right now for eternal glory. Our sufferings are at work to purify us and build us up, even as we are sure they are only working to tear us down. And they are working also to build others up too:


Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.” Philippians 1:12


None of us like to suffer and we don’t like watching others suffer. But in the midst of these, we are called to pray (for ourselves and others) and to stand firm. Don’t waste your suffering, knowing that our loving God will not waste an ounce of the pain you give to Him.