New Year’s musings

Between Christmas and New Year’s 1970, I was privileged to attend Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship’s 9th mission’s conference at Urbana, Illinois. The musician who led the singing (Bernie Smith) would occasionally stop in hiscomments between songs and say, “Attitude check!” The appropriate congregational response was our 14,300+ voices shouting back in unison, “Praise the Lord!” 46 years later God still brings that to mind. Likely because I am often in need of doing just that – checking my attitude toward situations, my reactions to circumstances, my riotousthoughts when things weren’t going according to MY plans. Each day God brings to mind many needful “attitude checks” in my life. I admit praising Him has too often been way down the list of my responses. God is so faithful to bring me round to look at things from His eternal perspective, and as I do that – what else can I say? Praise to Him is fitting in each and every thing He allows to touch our lives as He works to mold us into the image of His Son.

So ended 2016.

This season of year in the silence of the night we can often hear the ocean waves crashing on the beach below. At such times the words to 2 hymns frequently drift thru my mind – (words below) especially that part about “the waves and winds still know, His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.” My life is easy. God must know I am a wimp and He has spared me real trials that many of you experience. Still the ebb and flow of the little things sometimes feel like roaring waves seeking to overwhelm my puny character. Thru it all God works to prove those waves and wind STILL know the power of Him who now rules them now from heaven! “Praise the Lord” rings thru the tumult when remembering “The reality of God’s presence is not dependent on our being in a particular circumstance or place, but is only dependent on our determination to keep the Lord before us continually. Our problems arise when we refuse to place our trust in the reality of His presence.” (Oswald Chambers)

Now 2017 has arrived.

I scratch any ideas of New Year’s resolutions. Why set myself up to fail? Instead – the 1st of each year I set up a doable chart with the 365 upcoming dates i the left column followed by 3 blank columns for entering 3 blessings of the multitude God lavishes on me each day. By year’s end I have a record of over 1000 gifts from God! Nope, the idea is not original. God brought it to mind when I heard the title of a book and He used that idea to nudge me toward this daily practice, thus tuning my heart to gratitude instead of griping and discontent. Oh yah. Sadly praising the Lord and being grateful isn’t often my first response to trials – but God in His grace is a patient teacher and continues faithful to do His work in my life that I can more faithfully reflect Him to those He brings across my path. Prayers are muchly appreciated that I will let God focus my heart on His divine perspective on all He allows to come my way each day!

 

So what’s in store for 2017? Lots of unknowns but a few “probably gonna happen” good stuff to anticipate:

  • Our Bible study with the PNG ladies who work on our center will hopefully resume starting Jan 18th when we’ll begin delving into 1st Peter.
  • With the busy-ness of the holidays behind us we can now instead focus on ourupcoming regional conference to be held in March.
  • Employee Rosie’s baby is due – right at conference time!
  • Possibly 2 teams needing help with their literacy programs this year
  • Some ongoing finance duties even after Beth’s return and hopefully LOTS of tribal printing projects!

Praise notes!

  • My last update mentioned a years ago Christmas blessing of a hunk of meat. This year’s mind-boggling blessing from God and some anonymous party was a new computer – much need as my old model is developing more and more frustrating issues!
  • AND a co-worker loaned me her phone with a decent overseas calling plan for a 2 hour conversation catching up with my brothers & their families back home over the holidays!
  • Employee Rosie’s husband Rex has been hired as a security guard at a local store, hopefully helping him to be more content to stay in town.
  • 2 missionary teams will be moving into their tribal allocations this month.
  • Reports via the 2way radio from Rosama (see last month’s update) indicate that things are going okay for her. Sure evidence of God hearing and answering prayers!

Memos for your Prayer Please!

A fellow missionary has been diagnosed with a brain tumor and is on her way back to Canada for treatment. PLEASE pray much for God’s peace and encouragement for the whole family as they see God using this to His honor and glory.
Co-workers – the J&BD family — are still awaiting an MRI for their 2 month old daughter to check for some potential health issues
The TI family continues to need for their house to sell so they can come and join us in the work here.
CH’s US citizenship papers remain on some Gov desk waiting approval so they can return to PNG
I’ve seen no recent update on Cade Holmquist with his ongoing complicated Lyme’s Disease issues. Please pray much for this teenage missionary kid who has been really sick for about 9 months now.

Your prayers really do mean more than words can say. My continuing grateful thanks to YOU for standing together in the work God has committed to our hands here in PNG.

Your faithfulness and your various evidences of support over the past years are appreciated tremendously.
Co-laboring to bring back Christ as King!
Hope Sharp

Hymn lyrics:

We rest on Thee our shield and our defender – Edith G. Cherry, circa 1895
Be still my soul – Katharina A. von Schlegel – 1752

Music: Finlandia, Jean Sibelius, 1899

We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
We go not forth alone against the foe;
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.

Yes, in Thy Name, O Captain of salvation!
In Thy dear Name, all other names above;
Jesus our Righteousness, our sure Foundation,
Our Prince of glory and our King of love.
Jesus our Righteousness, our sure Foundation,
Our Prince of glory and our King of love.

We go in faith, our own great weakness feeling,
And needing more each day Thy grace to know:
Yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,
“We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.”
Yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,
“We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.”

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
Thine is the battle, Thine shall be the praise;
When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.
When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.