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Christian Faith Mentors Needed – Crown of Glory – How, Who and Why

God is raising up latter-day shepherds (mentors) according to His heart who are feeding His sheep with knowledge and understanding and who will receive the crown of glory. This prophecy in the book of Jeremiah is being fulfilled in our day.

You may already be one of these mentors, and if you would like to be, here is how to get started. The harvest field is not closed to the faithful. You can’t miss this opportunity to face the what, why and how of becoming a Christian mentor for God’s glory online or off!

What is the Current State of Shepherding, or Mentoring?

Saturday, 9:00 A.M. “Hello Pastor Morgan! Did I wake you?” Sheep aren’t very smart

These words irritated Dad more than he ever let on. He was a bi-vocational pastor for 35 years – a very good finished carpenter. He worked harder than most men I know. When he came home at noon, he laid flat on the floor to rest his back.

He was up at 6:00 a.m. every morning, even weekends, trying his best to have a sermon on Sunday and able to teach every Wednesday night. There was also a committee meeting almost every night of the week where he was expected to be. We four kids saw very little of our father.

In every place we lived, which was never over four years, Dad either built or remodeled the church building. He was the contractor using the architect’s drawings; men of the church helped when possible. Sometimes he even had to have an additional carpentry job besides this in order to feed his growing family.

At his last pastorate, he and mother physically tore down the old church building and reconstructed it into a beautiful parsonage. Of course, that was after Dad had built a wonderful new church building that left the congregation without debt!

It wasn’t long before they left the ministry so they could buy a house (without having to live in a parsonage) and have it paid off before they died. That house paid for mother’s care after Dad passed away. Their $200 monthly-retirement benefit plus Social Security would not have done it.

Never did my parents have the time or felt the freedom to ask friends over for fellowship. They felt they would cause someone to be jealous. Mother craved to be able to do something besides go to meetings, but Dad was always too tired.

When I came across some statistics about pastoring, I realized my dad was one of millions [i]:

72% of pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week. 57% believe they do not receive a livable wage, so like Dad, they probably have another job. 80% believe the pastorate negatively affects their families, and only 1 out of 10 retire as a pastor.

While 54% find the role overwhelming, and 45% spend only 10-15 hours a week on sermon preparation, is it any wonder some Christians feel they’ve never been fed or discipled, and people are leaving the church.?

No One Leader Can Do Alone the Work of Pastor, Shepherding or Mentoring

One person cannot do the job of pastoring sheeple alone, whether it’s a small church or large. Although Moses had been a shepherd, he was an overwhelmed and overworked leader of millions, and he had a lot to learn. His father-in-law Jethro looked on as Moses tried to govern the people all by himself.

Jethro advised Moses to teach faithful men who would be able to teach others also and put them over 1,000s, 100’s, 50s, and 10s. Only the difficult situations were brought to Moses and for all the others, the people took responsibility for themselves.

In other words, Moses was assisted by mentors who taught in small, medium and large group settings. The sheeple didn’t have to stand around and wait from morning until night to see Moses. Every person was accounted for and no one was left behind.

In sheep terms, when one became ‘cast’  – (overturned on its back due to heavy wool) people noticed in the small groups and helped them get on their feet again before they died.

The Moses’ example shows how the sheep got fed, tended and cared for. My dad’s greatest worry as a pastor was having time to study in order to feed the sheep. Even after he had built a new church building, a lady I will call Martha complained to him about not being fed. So, he moved away, feeling inadequate.

I believe Martha later realized her mistake in complaining, because she began studying the Bible, learned about the Holy Spirit’s desire and ability to help her become a mentor, and fed a small group of sheeple herself. She became a good and willing teacher as she kept learning herself.

THE SOLUTION: Take Responsibility to Mentor Others While Feeding Ourselves

CROWN Calling Real Ordinary Women and Men to Receive the Grown of Glory

Probably, without even realizing it, Martha was doing what the Bible instructed her to do. Titus, Chapter 2, speaks about older women being an example for younger ones, showing how to love their husbands and children, being virtuous and pure, and good homemakers. It also gives instructions to older and younger men to lead disciplined lives with integrity and wisdom. However, this next Scripture is more thorough about what it means to be a mentor and the reward for being so:

“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve;  not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away” (1 Peter 5:2-4).

My dad was a willing example to his flock and led with integrity. While planning one new church building, an older lady was upset at the prospect of putting in a basement with stairs. Dad listened to her and changed his plans. Although my dad and I differed on the biblical teachings about the Holy Spirit, he was called and qualified to be a pastor shepherd and glorified the Lord.

Dad has also received the crown of glory. I believe this crown of glory is reserved for all mentors, although it is also called the elder’s crown, or shepherd’s crown and here’s why:

The root word for glory is doxa: splendor, radiance, and majesty centered in Jesus. Doxa is the majestic, absolute perfection residing in Christ and evidenced by the miracles He performed. Jesus prayed to His Father for us all, “All Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them” (John 17:10 NKJV). As we willingly watch and care for the flock in our sphere of influence, He is glorified through us.

[For a free printable of all the 5 crowns, go HERE>> 5 Eternal Crown Rewards] 

Furthermore, Ephesians 4:11-12 tells us Jesus “Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”

Did you catch that? We, as the saints and ordinary people, are to do the work of the ministry to edify the big C Church, the body of Christ worldwide. We are shepherds operating ultimately under the mighty hand of Almighty God, and Jesus Christ who is the only perfect, good Chief Shepherd!

Jesus said, “I will build My church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). He did it through Peter and the early disciples and He wants to do it through us latter disciples, too. We are accountable to Him to teach and mentor others in everyday life.

How Are We to Care for the Sheep?

Ezekiel was a prophet who brought out how important it was for the individual to take responsibility in watching, speaking up and warning the sheep:

“You, son of man [Ezekiel], are the watchman. I’ve made you a watchman for Israel. The minute you hear a message from me, warn them. If I say to the wicked, ‘Wicked man, wicked woman, you’re on the fast track to death!’ and you don’t speak up and warn the wicked to change their ways, the wicked will die unwarned in their sins and I’ll hold you responsible for their bloodshed. But if you warn the wicked to change their ways and they don’t do it, they’ll die in their sins well-warned and at least you will have saved your own life” (Ezekiel 33:7-9 MSG).

Deaths of people are on the rise around the world from taking risky selfies. India has the most, with young people doing anything, no matter how dangerous to get a good selfie to go viral on social media, like standing on high narrow bridges. A young man reports he lost 24 of his friends one by one as they were swept into the river where they sat on rocks in it. On Mt. Everest in Nepal, people stack themselves like dominos against each other as they strive to reach the top for a selfie. Nine people died in one week.

People are going into eternity thinking they are not worth more than a fly we swat on a table. We must speak up and warn them of danger and mentor them in the ways of Lord–that “the thief comes only to steal and kill, and destroy. I (Jesus) have come that they may have life and that they may have it to the full” (John 10:10).

If the sheep do not have green grass, they will eat dry leaves.Click to Tweet

Whose Responsibility, Really, is it to Shepherd the Sheep

Jesus is the only Good Shepherd. He laid down His life for the sheep. He bought them with His blood and, therefore, is the owner. He is the only one who really cares enough for them to not abandon them. The hired hand will run away when wolves attack (John 10:11-13). Jesus is the only one who can save us, has saved us, and cares for us.

Ezekiel, chapter 34, is a whole chapter about irresponsible shepherds, how God feels about them, and what he is doing right now about the situation:

“God’s Message came to me [Ezekiel]: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherd-leaders of Israel. Yes, prophesy! Tell those shepherds, ‘God, the Master, says: Doom to you shepherds of Israel, feeding your own mouths! Aren’t shepherds supposed to feed sheep? You drink the milk, you make clothes from the wool, you roast the lambs, but you don’t feed the sheep. You don’t build up the weak ones, don’t heal the sick, don’t doctor the injured, don’t go after the strays, don’t look for the lost.

“You bully and badger them. And now they’re scattered every which way because there was no shepherd—scattered and easy pickings for wolves and coyotes. Scattered—my sheep!—exposed and vulnerable across mountains and hills. My sheep scattered all over the world, and no one out looking for them! (Ezekiel 34:1-6 MSG).

The shepherds of Israel, and many today, have fleeced the sheep rather than having fed them. What is God’s response to this?Click to Tweet

“God, the Master, says: From now on, I myself am the shepherd. I’m going looking for them. As shepherds go after their flocks when they get scattered, I’m going after my sheep. I’ll rescue them from all the places they’ve been scattered to in the storms . . . And I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep. I myself will make sure they get plenty of rest. I’ll go after the lost, I’ll collect the strays, I’ll doctor the injured, I’ll build up the weak ones and oversee the strong ones so they’re not exploited . . . I’ll come in and save my dear flock, no longer let them be pushed around. I’ll step in and set things right between one sheep and another.

“I’ll appoint one shepherd over them all: my servant David [Jesus Christ of David’s lineage]. He’ll feed them. He’ll be their shepherd. And I, God, will be their God. My servant David will be their prince. I, God, have spoken” (Ezekiel 34:11-24 MSG).

Whose Responsibility is it to Feed the Sheep?

Jesus will feed His sheep. He has done so with His Word and given us many translations of the Bible today for us to be able to understand with the guidance and counsel of the Holy Spirit that He sent us. Jesus told Peter to feed His sheep three times––to teach others with His knowledge and understanding.

You can be a good teacher and mentor, too, if you have overcome a difficulty in life and desire to comfort others also (2 Cor. 1:4) you can encourage them with your story and witness (Rev. 12:11); the love of Christ compels us to do so. “He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:15).

Maybe God is calling you to write? Have you written a journal for years knowing it has to lead somewhere? Here it is…now is the time!

“Then [in the final time] I will give you [spiritual] shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and [true] understanding” (Jeremiah 3:15 AMP).

God is raising up latter-day shepherds (mentors) according to His heart who are feeding His sheep with knowledge and understanding––who will receive the crown of glory. This prophecy in the book of Jeremiah is being fulfilled in our day. #CrownReward, #CrownOfGlory, #CrownOfGloryJesus, #FaithMentor, #FaithMentoring, #ChristianMentoring,
Painting is by Pat Jessie at https://patjesseecreations.com/ Used with permission.

Isn’t this what must happen if we, as the bride of Christ, are to be without spot or wrinkle, so that the Chief Shepherd will want to return to claim us and give us the crown of glory? We must be willing and obedient to mentor with knowledge and true understanding.

I know one thing for sure. He doesn’t want to marry an immature bride. He won’t. He will wait until she grows up to mentor others.

 

Jesus doesn't want to marry an immature bride. He won't. He will wait until she grows up to mentor others. #ChristianMentor, #CrownOfGlory, #FaithMentorClick to Tweet

Now is the time! We have to grow up and quit expecting someone else to do the work of the ministry. That work is ours to do. Our Chief Shepherd is waiting for us to make His mission ours. He is calling!

Volunteers Have Answered the Call

There’s a Scripture I’ve been waiting and watching to see fulfilled for many years: “Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power; In holy array, from the womb of the dawn, Your youth are to You as the dew”(Ps. 110:3 NASB).

This day of power is NOW! I asked the Lord recently how I would know when this day would be here. A while later I was praying for confirmation to know if I should start a writers’ group after a lady asked me to help her. An image came up on Facebook from times past where I had the option to share it. I did, but instead of it going to my timeline and the news feed for all my friends to see, I received a message through this one lady saying, “That’s nice!”

The image had gone directly to her, chosen from all my friends, and not on my timeline at all. The Lord spoke to my heart, “This is what I mean about the day of my power. I will get your message supernaturally to the right people, at the right time, in the right way as you are willing to share.”

I’m watching millions of people mentor with their Christian faith as mother to mother, parent to parent, marriage to marriage, older to younger, younger to older and men doing the same. Plus, all are creating beautiful printables to share Scriptures and Bible knowledge, with an explosion of books. [If you want to find them, go to Pinterest: Education]

Since I restarted blogging a couple of years ago, I’ve come across several women who teach how to get your writings to be read online and your products known. Millions of these amazing fantastic people have small, medium or very large mailing lists which comprise their sheeple flock.

>To read a word from Lana Vawser to writers go HERE>> Writers take heart-you are breaking new ground. 

Suzi Whitford, a millennial mom of faith, who offers a free start-a-mom-blog course for beginners and/or advanced users, says that 1 in 5 millennial moms have a blog. They grew up with the internet, are smart and highly educated––as she is (with an industrial engineering degree).

Suzi says, “Because of our grandmothers, we want to be stay-at-home moms, and because of our own mothers, we want to be in the workforce.”

She reports that in 2014 there were 4.4 million moms blogging and they are increasing at one million per year. Many monetize their blog and make a good income.

Will You Answer the Online Mentoring Call?

If you are interested in joining the online media missionary mentors, you need to know about these other Christian women who are mentoring younger and older women and men to know how to serve in partnership with Jesus. Many pastor’s wives have found their niche online and off:

Kira Bridges – mentor and consultant – “You Don’t Have to Do It All – Equipping women to live a set-apart life on and off-line.” Kira teaches blogging and Pinterest marketing strategies.

Deb Wolf – manages Blessing Bloggers Facebook group for Christian bloggers. She has a consistent weekly strategy to assist bloggers to share each other’s posts and on all social networks with prayer all along the way.  Her blog is Here. 

Alisa Nicaud hosts Bloggers Corner – a Facebook group for Christian bloggers offering teamwork mentor-ship. She gives great support on any blogging question and offers courses. Her blog is Here 

Kelly R. Baker hosts the Blogger Voices Network Facebook Group which mentors Christian bloggers in teamwork strategies “With One Voice.” Her blog site is Here

Kelly Holmes was a professional writer and editor for 15 years. She makes a full-time income from blogging and offering her sticky blogging course by sharing her secrets to attract readers and keep them. Her site is Here

Ruth Soukup has two good books about blogging to mentor starters: How To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your Soul and Do It Scared. She has a large following with her Elite Blogging Academy. Her site is here 

If You Want to Start Your Own off-line Small Group or Mentor One-on-One

I can help you host a small group of probably 10 or less at your church or in your neighborhood.<< Click Link Here

I have also mentored one-on-one at local restaurants. Click this>> Each One Teach One link.

Both options have been the most fulfilling experiences of my life. Interpersonal relationships are the best although finding people online you can mentor is great too.  That’s why I put my discipleship book on this blog site in a 15-minute e-course devotional. Learn more at the button below.

My discipleship workbook is GOD Who Are You? AND Who Am I? Knowing and Experiencing God by His Hebrew Names. A user- friendly leader’s guide for the first timer is also available at the “Get the Book(s)” link below.

The Lord gives the command, the women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host–Psalm 68:11

Recommended reading: God is Raising up His Ezekiel Watchman Prophets Now

Free Booklet, Because God Is . . . I Am, with sign up of Free eCourse

 

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[i] Statistics provided by the Fuller Institute, George Barna, Lifeway, Schaeffer Institute of Leadership Development, and Pastoral Care Inc. (accessed May 21, 2019).

Bible quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society unless otherwise indicated, Used by permission of Zondervan; The New American Standard Bible®. Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, www.Lockman.org; The Amplified® Bible. Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; The Message. Copyright ©1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by NavPress Publishing Group; and The King James Version of the Bible.

Girl holding crown of glory to her head

M5G Our Guidance Story, Because Our Lord is Shepherd

Our Story of Learning Guidance

Our Story of Learning how to trust God's guidance. Our hearts were in turmoil. There was no peace for either of us in our present situation without God's guidance, even though Jim was making good money. We had absolutely no idea what to do. Something had to change.

Our hearts were in turmoil. There was no peace for either of us in our present situation without God’s guidance, even though Jim was making good money. I worked during income tax season and was able to stay home with our two preschool children. We were renting a nice house with eighty pine trees in the yard, but we were miserable. We had absolutely no idea what to do. All we knew is that something had to change.

A minister mentioned something that caught our attention, “God has a plan for your life. That plan is demonstrated in the Bible as the Promised Land to the children of Israel.” We started to read our Bible with this in mind. How do we know God’s plan for our lives?

Jim and I discussed, “What is truth? What really matters?” The Holy Spirit brought to our remembrance a verse of Scripture we had learned in Sunday school as children. Jesus told his disciples, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me” (John 14:6).

“If Jesus is the only truth and life, then why aren’t we following Him?” we said.

The Shepherd's guidance

Together, we repented before God for not making Him first in our lives (even though we were going to church), and decided to find that Promised Land plan that God laid out for us before the very foundation of the world (see Eph. 1:4).

We had heard the story of the escape from Egypt and the deliverance through Moses and the wilderness journey, but reading it for our personal guidance brought no comparison. We realized we were as much in bondage as Jacob’s offspring in Egypt. We searched the Scriptures to see how they got there. We were shocked to find Genesis 46:2-3, “I am God . . . Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there, I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again . . . .”

We were amazed that God told Jacob to go to Egypt where bondage was the plan so He could get them out of it, and then get the glory for doing so. We realized it was not a mistake for us to be where we were–in bondage–and that God was with us and hearing our groaning as much as He heard the Israelites (see Exod. 6:5).

We had felt the $10,000 debt we made for ourselves was something we had to deal with in our own strength–and the job, too; but, now, we knew God wanted to deliver us, His way, and that deliverance was His job.

Are we Willing to Follow the Shepherd’s Guidance

Guided by Lord My Shepherd

We both felt Jesus tugging at our hearts with these words, “Now are you willing to relinquish all and follow me?”

The Lord continued to show us that He had met His disciples before the time He asked them this question. It was as though, He was still walking along the seashore saying, “Come, follow me.”

Our answer could be nothing other than yes. It was no different than when some of Jesus’ disciples turned back from following him, “‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the twelve.

“Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God'” (John 6:67-68).

It was time to act on our faith and to take a stand. Having God’s Word on it, I could confidently tell Jim, “I think you ought to resign. If so, I will never second-guess your decision.” Feeling he could always find work, he put in his notice.

We read all the book of Deuteronomy; then, reread it again. The day after the job notice was up, August 1, 1978, when we had been in Carthage eleven months, God quickened Deuteronomy 1:3 to us, “In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month,” after the children of Israel had been in the wilderness.

Verse 6 also popped out at us, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance into the hill country . . . .” “How do we do that?” I asked Jim.

Jim found it first. We did not know the children of Israel had to cross two rivers. All that was in our minds was the Red Sea, with Moses (Charlton Heston) holding out his rod so the people could cross over on dry land. But, they had to cross the Jordan River, too! The book of Joshua brought more light to our path, confirming our way, to stand still and hear the words of the Lord.

“Sit still” is what we did, with the encouragement of two Godly women we could talk to. Other well-meaning friends said, “If you think you want to work for the Lord, why don’t you go to seminary?” We knew this could not be God’s plan because we were already in debt with school.

This only caused us to search more Scripture to discover that Jesus’ disciples did not need seminary to be used by Him. Even the apostle Paul, after meeting Jesus, did not consult any man, but went immediately into Arabia to seek the Lord and later returned to Damascus when he began his ministry (see Gal. 1:15-17).

Jim and I were flooded with peace as we camped at the river’s edge, listening to the words of the Lord; that is, until the three days turned into three months, and we came down to the last $3.00 to our name.

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You have just read one fifteen-minute segment of two chapters in the book GOD Who Are You? AND Who Am I? that gives details about how we are like sheep and need a Shepherd’s guidance. This second chapter detailed the 3 harbor lights to watch for as we seek God’s plan and guidance for our life. I think about these lights every day, because that’s how often I need to make a decision.

This printable of the 3 harbor lights will give you a hint of the secret to really knowing how to follow the Lord with confidence–if you’ve not read the whole chapter. To know more about the free eCourse, click the LEARN MORE  link below. We would love to have you join us. May God bless you in your quest.

Here is your MAKE IT PERSONAL – SHIP’S PILOT

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M5F Circumstance Guidance, Because the Lord is Shepherd

HARBOR LIGHT #3: CIRCUMSTANCES – 10%

Circumstance Guidance

By the time we get to this last harbor lighthouse, we have an assurance in our heart of what we think God is telling us, especially if we have researched the details. We know if an opportunity does not present itself, it was not God speaking in the first place. It may have been a selfish ambition or a desire from a wrong motive. In these cases, closed doors are good. Proverbs tells us that “in his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps” (Prov 16:9)-or is in control of circumstance. With experience, we find we don’t have to be afraid to try to open doors of opportunity, because one thing we can be sure of-a door will not open that is not right for us-when we are earnestly seeking God’s will.

Marlene finished her book, queried forty-one publishers and spent a ton on postage. Not one bought her book. But she had God’s Word on it. She had a piece of the rock to stand on, and she knew it was His calling and His will that her story be told, and published.

Finally, and unexpectedly after six years, a publishing house gave her a contract. She had heard about a new publisher, and then God brought the editor to her local writer’s conference. The circumstances finally lined up with the other two lights–in God’s timing, not her own. And with the promotion of the book, she realized that any time sooner she would not have been able to deal as well publicly with the sensitive nature of her life story.

# # #

In the fullness of time, the Israelites obeyed and broke camp to cross the Jordan. The priests carrying the ark went ahead of them. As soon as they reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, an act of faith, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap while the water flowing down to the sea was completely cut off. “So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground” (Josh. 3: 16-17).

All the people had to do was to obey and follow the ark–not hurrying or losing focus–not getting distracted by threatening “things” on the right or left-hand sides. God did the rest like slipping a hand in a glove. God is the hand; we are the glove. The hand just moved into the glove. The people of the second generation learned how to allow God to work through them.

Circumstance Must Line Up with the Word and Holy Spirit Counsel

Have you ever seen a firefly at night moving slowly along an evergreen branch? Until it takes the next step along the sprig, the green section underneath cannot be seen. The bright yellow light of the firefly is much like God’s Word is to us, for “it is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path” (Ps. 119:105). Amanda and Mark’s story shows how we cannot know God’s guidance until we start taking steps and persist in trusting God with the results.

Guided by Lord My Shepherd

Amanda and Mark needed a lot of guidance in how to make children a part of their marriage. In the very beginning of their search for adoption agencies, a friend asked, “Do you think an international adoption would be the way to go?” Deciding it would be too expensive, they tried a private attorney. Up-front fees were less expensive and they heard it was easier; however, after two failed adoptions and eighteen months, they were discouraged and gave up that idea. Next, they tried foster parenting classes. After the first class, Mark was not interested.

Amanda kept a journal, recording God’s encouraging words to her, along with her disappointments. The main Scripture that kept them going was Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Their thoughts went back to the international adoption idea. They learned it was possible to adopt two children at one time through an agency near them. They checked out references and received positive feedback. They could have two children within one year. “By this time, we just knew that God was directing us this way. People wondered why we didn’t adopt in America. We prayed through the whole process that God would guide us and we just had faith that He was.”28

After paperwork and home visits were completed and flight dates arranged to a Russian orphanage, discouraging problems still loomed. Their scheduled flight in April was cancelled. They had to wait and wait some more. Finally, another date in June. Mark made a determination, “We will not come home without two children.” By faith, they prepared a nursery.

In a city northeast of Moscow, the couple was given a picture of three-year-old Alexey. The minute Amanda saw his picture she knew he was their child. He had Mark’s furrowed brow and a little frown on his face. But, the biggest part was his name. “During the recent Olympics there had been a Russian ice skater named Alexey. I thought it was the most beautiful name and I went around the house saying, ‘I’m going to name my baby Alexey.'”

Circumstance Lines Up for Mark and Amanda

The next day, the Ministry of Education called to say they had another child for them to consider-an infant by their standards. He was two years old, with soft blue eyes, with the same name Alexey. With no reservations, they knew God had given them their family. When circumstances lined up, with confirmations, they did so quickly.

God not only guided them to their children, but he provided for them. Adoption tax credits made the adoptions affordable. A few years later they went back for a beautiful three-year-old girl named Annalyse, making their family complete.

Circumstance is Always the Last Light to Line Up

Circumstance Lines Up

Choices and decisions of a lesser degree that we make every day are made so much easier with the three harbor lights in mind. Anita had a friend who was threatening her husband with divorce after learning of his infidelity. They had a two-month-old baby boy. She knew she needed to share God’s love with Sally, which she had never done. Her heart pounded and tears came to her eyes every time she thought about it. God’s Word was very clear she should go and share (see Matt. 28:19-20). She knew she had the Holy Spirit’s witness in her heart, so she asked for confirmation, “Lord, if you want me to go to Sally and tell her about how I became a Christian and that You can save her marriage, please let her call me first; then, I’ll know you are leading me, without a doubt.”

Within hours, the phone rang, “Hello Anita, this is Sally.” The final harbor light of circumstances lined up. Anita was obedient, and through her fear, trusted God to give her the words to share. That was the last time Anita had contact with Sally, but she learned that she chose to stay with her husband. They accepted the Lord as their Savior, moved from town, changed jobs, got into the Church, and reared nine children.

As the pilot of a ship trusts in the captain, we can trust our Shepherd to lead us. He is the one who qualifies us, and says, “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them” (Isa.42:16).

When we follow Jehovah-Rohi, we gain experiential knowledge we will have no other way. “Surely goodness and love will follow [us] all the days of [our] lives, and [we] will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Ps. 23:6).

ENDNOTE
28. Laura Hyer, “Couple Becomes Family,” Fort Scott Tribune, (November 15, 2002), p. 1-2.