Thursday, June 30, 2011

June 2011 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends,

It was with much emotion that afternoon that I got my first glimpse in six months of my little mountain valley home of San Cristóbal. There is absolutely no joy like the joy of being back home. So many things have happened. When one leaves their home for such a long time, changes are inevitable, some good, and some bad. Little did I know that before my return my daughter in law, Liz would undergo major surgery. But she did on April 12, and thanks to your prayers for her, she has recovered, and it is affirmed that the tumor removed from her kidney was benign. Erica, a little girl who was dying of cancer, was a special guest at our banquet in November. She and her Dad were saved that night, and while I was gone, Erica went to Heaven.

In April, I continued to travel with Ulises and Elizabeth until their return to Chiapas the first of May. What a delight it was for me to meet scores of precious pastors and their families, and their ladies who seem to really love me. They showed me so many expressions of love, I often feel like Corrie Ten Boom, when she received honors. She would return to her room, get down on her knees, and say to the Lord, “All the honors given to me tonight, I offer them to back to You.”

In the month of May, I traveled from Texas to New Mexico. I gave my testimony five different times, and showed the DVD presentation of my Banquet ministry, taught three times, and spoke at five ladies’ banquets. My already full prayer book is now bulging with names of new friends, and their many needs. I’m happily settling back into my routine of teaching ladies in the Bible Institute here, teaching our ladies’ Sunday school class, helping with the music, and speaking at our monthly ladies’ prayer breakfast. We are now getting ready for Vacation Bible School July 11-15.

Ulises and Elizabeth had their first service in a house they were able to rent on June 19. It was my joy to get to attend last Sunday, and it was one of the most emotional experiences of my life. Thank you to all of you who have supported them financially, as well as with your prayers.

The church here has signed the papers on the land where we plan to soon start construction on our church. For 27 years it has been right across the drive from my house, and it will seem strange to drive to church. But I rejoice that Philip is leading the work here forward.

Thank you for your friendship, and faithful prayers and financial support.

Billie Sloan
Nahum 1:7

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Between You and Me... Weariness (Part 6)

“Well-Doing Without Weariness”

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
Galatians 6:9

The very nature of the role of a woman is to serve. We serve almost from the time we get up in the morning, until we fall into bed at night. We serve everything from breakfast to customers. We’re on call 24/7 when it comes to serving our little ones.

There are so many examples of servants in the Bible. Even if we look only at women, there’s Sarah, and Abigail, and Esther, who served her people, and Ruth, who served her mother in law. And the most famous of all women servants, “Martha, Martha.”

The Master of all servants was our Lord Jesus Christ. Of all the people who have ever lived on earth, Jesus had the most logical right to be served. But He came as a servant. The central theme of the Bible is the Servant of all—Jesus Christ. “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many” Mark 10:45; Phil. 2:7 Jesus Christ “…took upon him the form of a servant,”

But let me tell you a way to better serve others: it’s called “Rest,” or “Well-Doing Without Weariness.”

Would you fall asleep if you were to close your eyes right now for 5 minutes? We’re women, and we’re tired. We get up tired; we go to bed tired; we even die tired. Maybe that’s where the expression, “May she rest in peace,” comes from. We try to eat right, and get enough sleep, even if it has to be in the afternoons when our little ones nap. But we’re tired, in body and in spirit.

I must get my rest. I am avid fan of siestas, probably because I’ve spent most of my life in México. I try to take afternoon naps, especially Sunday afternoons. A pastor once said the acrostic of the word SAINT is Sunday Afternoon Is Nap Time. And I agree with him.

I want to tell you how to rest.

I Physical Rest
A. Get organized. I Corinthians 14:40 “Let all things be done decently and in order.” Even as a widow, I must organize my life, my time. We pride ourselves in being able to multi-task. But I find that if I can just concentrate on one thing at a time, not only do I feel less stress, but I do a better job, and enjoy my work more.
B. Get sleep. “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord:” Psalm 127:2b, 3a I think it’s so significant that a promise for sleep comes right before the assurance that children are a blessing. That verse must surely have been written for mothers who are up all night with little ones. So much could be said in favor of sleep. Are you tempted to eat when you’re not hungry? Go take a nap. Probably the only time we’re not sinning is when we’re sleeping.
C. Get apart. Mark 6:31 “And he said unto them, (His apostles) Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure, so much as to eat.” Do you know what had just happened in the verses before Jesus said this to His disciples? John the Baptist was beheaded. Don’t you think Jesus was grieving? No man born of woman was greater than John, according to Jesus. He knew how important it was, even for the Son of God, to get physical rest when going through an emotionally stressful time. It’s hard to separate physical-emotional-spiritual. If Jesus needed time alone with His apostles, we surely need time alone with our family.

II. Spiritual Rest
A. Wait. Isaiah 40:31 “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles: they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” We need God’s presence. In Exodus 33:12-14, Moses was tired. You can hear the exasperation in his voice as though he were angry with God. If God hadn’t realized that Moses was tired, he would have reprimanded him. And instead of telling him to have someone stretch out a hammock for him, and bring him a glass of lemonade, He said, “My presence will go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” He needed God’s presence. Sometimes we’re tired, and we don’t even know it. Fatigue makes us irritable. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 No one wants to be around an old woman with squeaky bones. Spend time with God, or no one will want to spend time with you.
B. Work. Hebrews 4:11 “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest,” would seem like a contradiction of terms. If you serve others, as if you were serving the Lord, your attitude toward work will change. For the last three years of my husband’s life, he had to have round-the-clock care. He was my ministry. I got very tired, but when I began to look at my care for him, and to do my tasks “as unto the Lord,” my attitude changed, and his comfort became my focus.
C. Walk with God. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 A yoke is not for just one animal. It’s an implement that enables two animals to work in harmony, to walk together. Jesus and me. He tells us to TAKE His yoke upon us, but He also asks us to CAST our care upon Him. I Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” Did you know sometimes burdens can wear you out? You’re serving, but wearily. When you TAKE His yoke upon you, “Lord, I accept my work, my responsibility, my tasks,” and walk with Him, you can CAST all your care upon Him. You have no business carrying around your cares and your burdens. He wants them.

“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep; for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.”
Psalm 4:8