Jan 30, 2013

Wednesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Leviticus 4:1-6:7

Happy Worship Wednesday, SHINE girls! Get your groove on today! Turn up the radio, or pop in a Chris Tomlin CD and worship your King!

Hang on, though! Before you get your worship on, please finish reading this little post. :)

My friend, Kelly Mcleod, is posting today. She has an urgent prayer request and need that she wanted to share with all of you.

Kelly shared her personal story recently on SHINE. I'm blown away at how God had used that great, gaping hurt to help her to minister to others who are hurting.

God has brought purpose from the terrible pain that Kelly and her husband Chad suffered through the loss of their baby girl. Kelly has a burning desire to help families going through the same arduous journey.

Grab your coffee, a blanket, and read a message from sweet Kelly today.

Wednesday SHINE
by: Kelly McLeod

Chad and I have been searching for a church home for most of our eight years of marriage.  I’ll be honest and say we haven’t been comfortable any place we’ve tried, but I don’t know how hard we’ve actually tried.  I’ve been making excuses for us – there’s ALWAYS a reason we didn’t make it back to one church or another each Sunday.  Well, this past Saturday Chad got on his little iPad and looked up the service times for FBC Covington – he said he’d heard GREAT things about it!  I can’t tell you how it warms my heart to hear my husband say, “We are going to church in Covington tomorrow – let’s get to bed early and set the clock, no excuses”.  What can I say, I love my decisive man!  Ok, back on track Kelly – so we dropped Ian off at children’s church and made our way to the fellowship hall for the “contemporary” service.  My sweet Chad would love nothing more than to sing hum Amazing Grace and Old Rugged Cross EACH and EVERY Sunday, so I braced myself for him to HATE the service.  To our surprise, it was a mild take on contemporary, so there’s one check in the Pro column for our new church.  The pastor was out of town yesterday so we did not get to hear him preach, but we received a message none the less.

The message was based in James chapter 2, verses 14-26
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:14-16

The preacher went on to discuss the two other kinds of Faith, but my head and my heart were stuck in the first description – DEAD faith.  It’s the faith that listens to a sad story and upon hearing it is moved, but not motivated to do anything about it.  It’s what I’ve been experiencing for a while now.  I’m sitting in the pew contemplating this idea –is my faith a DEAD faith or a DYNAMIC faith? 

Our faith should bear fruit!  This is what James is telling me – Genuine faith prompts action, yet what am I doing?  I need to take a really long, hard look in the mirror.  I have some big ideas with our II First Foundation.  I’m even making progress getting it going.  I have lofty ambitions, but girls I am intimidated.  I have such anxiety that my weaknesses will be laid out for the world to see, that I am going to be an epic failure and no lives will be touched by what we seek to accomplish.  Now I recognize this is the enemy, but it can be so powerful. 

The bible study my group of girls is reading is called “Calm My Anxious Heart” by Linda Dillow.  Isn’t it AWESOME how the Lord puts the perfect scripture before you?  I don’t believe in coincidence…Philippians 4: 6-9
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

So the scripture in James is telling me faith and actions work together.  Philippians is telling me when I am anxious about putting my faith into action, to pray and the Peace of Christ will be mine!  So today, I am taking action on behalf of someone in need. 

 This need is one that speaks directly to a cause so near and dear to my heart.  A few weeks back I shared the story of our twins, born at 23 weeks.  Ian is a healthy, happy 2 year-old with no developmental delays to speak of.  Isabella is our angel in heaven.  It’s prompted us to start a ministry to help families in similar situations.  To lighten the financial burden that accompanies months in the hospital.     

Please see the message below.  It is from Josie, a baby in the NICU in Nashville, TN that several of you have been praying for.  Josie was born this past November at 24 weeks gestation.  She shares a birthday with my son Ian.  She still needs your prayers but her family wants you to know of the needs of another sweet family.  Baby Neela is a very sick little girl and she needs our help. 

Dear Friends,
I pray this message finds you all healthy and warm!! I am all snuggled up in my big girl bed. Mama came by today and I got to try and nurse and took my bottle like a big girl!! Daddy is on his way to see me now (daddy is my favorite!) Jesus has been taking such good care of me and mama and daddy are so grateful that you all go to Him on my behalf, please know He hears each and every one of you.

As you all know my best friend is Neela Nilsson. Neela is very very sick right now. I know you have all been praying for her and I would ask you to keep praying!! As you can imagine, just like mama and daddy, her mama and daddy are very stressed and very worried. In addition to stress, this journey puts quite a financial burden on families. Neela's mama and daddy are from Clarkesville where Mr. Chad, Neela's daddy is stationed in our military. Mr. Chad will be deployed out of the country soon. The drive alone from the base where he works to the hospital costs Mr. Chad a lot of money because he is driving 110 miles a day. As a result they are having some major financial difficulties they are unable to pay their rent. In addition Mr. Chad will be moving back to a 5 days a week work schedule next week and these burdens will make it difficult for him to come see his baby girl every day.

Mama and daddy were blessed beyond words about a month ago by some of you who sent gift cards and money to help with Christmas and every day expenses of the back and forth to see me. And we thought that maybe some of you would want to help Neela and her family. They need gift cards for gas and groceries as well as money for rent. Please keep in mind that any little bit helps. There are no words for what gifts like this mean to a family that is walking this road. Seeing the light of Jesus in people, especially people who love you and haven't met you, brings hope in a hospital room when things seem hopeless.

Thank you all for loving both Neela and I. Thank you for caring about our parents, for helping ease their burden and for storming heaven on our behalf. One day, not long from now, mama says I will be home and you all will have been part of the greatest miracle she has ever seen.

Love and blessings,
Josie Hope

If you would like to contribute to Neela's Family please send any donations to:
Neela Nilsson / Care of Melanie Hall
116 Golden Meadow Lane
Franklin TN 37067
Make checks payable to: Chad Nilsson

Shine Girls, this is just the first of many examples of the kinds of families our II First Foundation wants to help.  I read these words this morning and my heart was moved.  I am MOTIVATED to action.  I am putting together a gift basket for Neela.  If you’d like to make a donation for it, I will happily accept anything you can give!  Gift cards for food, gas, Bibles, “Jesus Calling” devotionals, journals, anything will encourage this family.     

You don’t have to go through us to help this family though.  You may donate directly to the address above.  I want to encourage you, if you are able to reach out to this family.  Pray for them.  DAILY.  God is showing us He is still in the MIRACLE business!  What a blessing to share in the miracle of baby Josie and baby Neela.

Love in Christ!

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