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The process may feel slow to us but no matter how long it takes,
each stage of growth is God's miracle.
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HE FIRST WANTS GROWTH
 
          Every gardener knows the process: Seeds become seedlings. Buds burst into flowers. Tiny, flavorless bulges replace blossoms. Sun and rain drench the ripening process with life.  In time we hold the plump, sweet fruit.
          Jesus often used the natural world to describe how God works to grow faith. He rejoices with each small sign of growth (Mark 4:28). He's prepared to take a lifetime to bring faith to maturity  (Psalm 92:12). He knows it takes time to build trust and most of us are slow to learn (Hebrews 5:11).  
          So often, though, my seed-sowing has barely landed in the ground of an open heart and I'm anxiously searching for fruit.  But what if the fragile seed needs protecting until the soil is ready? (Luke 8:15)  What if God needs years to complete what He has begun? (Phil. 1:3)  Don't let me become weary in seed-planting. Let me sow in faith; He is working for the long term.  Without growth He knows there will be no fruit.


PRAYING FOR MR. FIRE
Leticia

In the last issue of CALLED, we met Mr. Fire. He was an intimidating boss. He yelled. He refused any discussion of faith or God. He insisted Leticia work at the company's booth for the annual trade show.   Read Meeting Mr. Fire.

          One day, after Mr. Fire declared for the umpteenth time that I would be at the trade show, I responded more clearly than ever.  "I will not be working that Saturday."  

He stopped short as if he’d finally heard something. But his voice had an edge to it.  “So what do you do on these Sabbaths?”  Shocked that he had even asked, I stammered something about worship, Bible study, encouraging others. I could tell it was all foreign to him.  I wondered if I'd get fired.   
 To read more
 SILENT GROWING TIMES
         
         
The story is told of a group of tourists who were visiting a small village. One of the group stopped to visit an old man seated on a park bench.  Assuming he would know the town's history better than others, the tourist asked if any great men had been born in the town. The man thought for a moment. “No,” he shook his head slowly. “Only babies.”

If that's the simple beginnings of all great men, it's also the picture Scripture gives of new Christians. Infants in Christ (I Cor. 3:1). But in the developmental process God uses, tentmakers are often relating to those who aren't even born yet--hearts not even aware Christ exists. They don't know they need Him.  But they feel drawn to something beyond themselves. They accept the simple spiritual truths they are exposed to. They hunger for more. In the quietness of their inner world, they are growing. 

You may never see the "birth" of the embryo believers around you, much less watch them mature into full-grown Christians (Hebrews 5:14).  But by faith you can join God's miraculous handiwork; you can be the cord that first connects them to Him and allows His life-giving power to flow through you.

 
GOD'S PROCESS, NOT MINE
Mark 4:26
A man scatters seed on the ground.
Night and day,
whether he sleeps or gets up,
the seed sprouts and grows,
though he does not know how.
All by itself the soil produces grain—
first the stalk, then the head,
then the full kernel in the head.
 
 
THE LONG JOURNEY
Neil
What factors do you think helped Neil through his struggles?  How would you have related to him if he'd been a sporadic visitor to your worship group? How is God inviting you to journey towards a fuller commitment to Him?  
 
          I felt called by God when I moved to the Middle East.  I had served as a missionary in the Pacific. During those years I had developed a close relationship with my Creator; my communication with my Lord was frequent and rich. I felt I could trust my life to Him.  I heard Him calling me. So when I made the decision to work in the Middle East I took God as my companion.  
 
But life in the Middle East was totally different than anything I'd ever experienced.  In fact, I felt like I’d stepped into another world, a drastically opposite world. I was confronted with circumstances I wasn't prepared to meet--the culture, the restrictive living, the work situation.  Even the people.
 To read more.


God brings life in
UNEXPECTED PLACES

o  The disciples didn’t expect to see Jesus at Jacob's well talking to a strange woman
(John 4).  
 
o  Probably nobody knew about Nicodemus' personal conversation with Jesus when he offered to bury Jesus' lifeless body (John 3 and 14).

o  Nebuchadnezzar's testimony was not what most emperors admit at the end of a lifelong reign (Daniel 4).

o  The centurion at the cross wasn’t known for his spiritual insight (Luke 23).

o  God knew He had to deal with a lot of skepticism before anyone would be prepared to relate to Cornelius' request (Acts 10).

Someone around you—maybe someone you least expect—is the object of heaven’s personal attention. God is the only One who knows they are waiting to grow. Ask Him to prepare you for the unexpected.
 
 
HERE A LITTLE, THERE A LITTLE
Excerpts from Evangelism, page 199-202

 
          Let the truth be presented as it is in Jesus, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. Speak of the love of God in words easy to be understood. . . .

The strongest meat is not to be given to babes who don't know the  first principles of truth as we know it. . . .

Give them evidence that you are a Christian, desiring peace, and that you love their souls. Let them see that you are conscientious. . . . There will be time enough [to share more]. . . .

                                                                                                                       To read more
 

 
Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap
but by the seeds that you plant.


--Robert Louise Stevenson
 
 
CALLED  2020 1st Quarter
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Middle East & North Africa Union of Seventh-day Adventists

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