Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Lights

One of my favorite things to do during Christmas time is drive around and look at Christmas lights. House after house is lit up with an array of color and bursts of twinkles that shine brightly against the contrast of the cold and dark evening.
There is a neighborhood near my hometown that is affectionately labeled “candy cane lane” during the holiday season. Nearly every single house is lit up during the season and as I drive down the streets, I become a little kid again: wide-eyed, slack-jawed, expressing my joy with the variable ‘ooh’ or ‘aah’ as I view each home’s personally decked halls. It’s such a fun evening, complete with carolers and a live nativity. It’s always a night to remember.
Whether you’re bundled up and walking around with a warm cup of coffee or comfortably sitting in a car driving around the neighborhood gazing upon the cacophony of merriment, one thing is certain: as the evening winds down and we start to talk about our “favorites”, we barely give a sideways glance at the houses who chose not to participate.
When a home blends into the darkened background, it’s easy to look past it. Just as when we, as Christians, look just like the world around us, who is going to take notice? Who will give us a second thought when we look, act, sound, and react just like everyone else?
Jesus said in Matthew 5: "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” [Mat 5:14-16 NKJV]
Be reminded, dear brother and sister, that we are meant to stand out, just like a well done Christmas light display. But remember, we aren’t meant to stand out so people will look at us and say “wow, you’re great!” We are meant to shine Christ’s light. We are meant to shine brightly into the night and as people take notice of the joy and wonderment in our lives, they will do as the scripture says: ‘...glorify your Father in heaven.’
Let us live glorifying lives. Let us live bright lives, set apart from the world and with every intention of having people see Christ in us.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Short-Term Missions

What do you think of the classic "short-term missions trip"? You know the ones: get a team together and do a VBS for a week...or build a house...or do outreach concerts. It's generally 2-weeks of chaos, excitement, and morning devotions.

I heard it said once that a short term trip should focus on the encouragement of the long-term missionaries and church staff. It should be a way to build up the believers that will still be there after the team leaves. Short-term trips should leave the body of believers feeling encouraged and built-up, not run-down, exhausted, and left with loads of mess to clean up after they say goodbye to you.

I read this article and wanted to share it. As I don't want it to be a public tar-and-feathering of Short Term Missions (because that's not its intention), I thought I would post it here and see what you all thought?

Why You Should Consider Cancelling Your Short Term Mission Trips (this is just one article in a series you can find through clicking on the link)

Don't worry, the title is meant to have shock value. To give you my summary on the article: the author shares why our idea of short-term trip is doing more harm than good. There is a place for short-term missions in the church, but it might not be what we think it is. Helping better someones life, bring about long-term relief, and a higher standard of living takes a lot longer than two weeks, a bag of new clothes, and free child-care.

The quote that stood out to me was:
We want to get things done quickly. We prefer microwave ministry to the slow cooker. Ministry that can be done quickly is not messy and does not cost much.

I have seen short-term ministry done very well...and very poorly. And that's just in the book of Acts! (Compare the simplicity of Acts 11:19-26 to the vastly different Acts 14:8-18). I'd like to know your thoughts, too. Remember, this is a discussion, there are no wrong answers when said out of love. =)

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Prodigal & The Lost Sheep

---The Prodigal---
Then He said: "A certain man had two sons. "And the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.' So he divided to them his livelihood. "And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. "But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. "Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. "And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. "But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 'I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, "and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants." ' "And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. "And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.' "But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 'And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 'for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' And they began to be merry. - Luke 15:11-24 NKJV
This story in Luke's Gospel tells of a man who had two son decided he wanted to take all that was due to him (his inheritance) and leave. The father concedes and the son goes into the world and wastes away all his possessions. Everything that was given to him was quickly lessened to the clothes on his back and a likely emptiness in the pit of his stomach...and in his heart. He had nothing, he was far from anyone who loved him, and he had to feed pigs and eat what was left from the pigs slop to survive. But, His father never went after him. He had to find his own way back home.

And when he finally repents, turns home, and seeks out his father and his forgiveness, everyone stopped what they were doing and celebrated. 

---The Lost Sheep---
"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? "And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. "And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!' "I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. - Luke 15:4-7 NKJV
Here, a shepherd is counting his sheep one day and discovers that one of his sheep is missing. He leaves behind the 99, knowing that they are still together as a flock, and begins his frantic search for his one missing sheep. The shepherd found the sheep, put it on his shoulders, and carried it back to his flock.

And when the sheep was found and the shepherd brought it back to it's flock, everyone stopped what they were doing and celebrated. 

Both the father and the shepherd found reasons to celebrate: their loved lamb and son were home again.

---The Difference---

There is, however, a difference in these stories that is worth pointing out:

The prodigal, choosing for himself the life that he thought he wanted, had to make the choice to come home on his own.
The sheep, being lost, hadn't realized what it had done and strayed from the flock.

The prodigal knew the difference between the right and wrong decision.
The sheep didn't know that what he was doing was wrong.

The prodigal knew that the inheritance would come, that his father would one day give it to him (as was the custom of the time), but he still asked for it.
The sheep didn't understand the consequences of his actions (death, despair, pain) or the comfort that he left behind.

The prodigal turned his back on the love, comfort, and hard work that came with being a part of a family and having that rich inheritance.
The sheep turned away, likely because he thought that where he was going was the proper path to take, or because he didn't know any better.

The prodigal's father didn't chase after him, but let him choose for himself whether he wanted to repent and come home, or stay away in a world that only took from him and left him feeling empty.
The sheep's shepherd stopped everything the moment he was found missing and pursued after him as quickly as possible because his sheep had gone away into a place that would hurt him if he weren't protected by his shepherd and with his flock.

The prodigal chose his path but knew his way home...and had to come back himself. His father was waiting with forgiving and open arms for him, but he had to make the decision to repent and turn back. 
The sheep got lost but didn't know his way home...and had to be found. His shepherd searched for him with open arms, not to discipline him but to bring him back into his flock. 

You see, in both stories, when the lost loved one returns home, the celebration is similar. There is a rejoicing knowing that a loved one is restored back to it's rightful place: in the family and in the flock. But the difference is in the circumstances leading up to the celebration. The difference is whether or not that returning loved one chose to turn it's back or simply strayed.

Yet, whether the Lord has brought a prodigal or a lost sheep to your mind, keep praying knowing that no matter which it is, the celebration will be the same and the rejoicing will be glorious when they are returned to their proper position in the body of Christ. The love of the Lord doesn't waver and the grace and mercy He gives to each and every one of us will last a lifetime of prodigal or lost sheep moments. 

Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!" - Lamentations 3:22-24 NKJV

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

He Heard His Voice (thoughts on 1 Samuel 3)

Now the boy Samuel ministered to the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation.   1 Samuel 3:1 NKJV

(Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor was the word of the LORD yet revealed to him.)  1 Samuel 3:7 NKJV

When Samuel was a young boy, ministering at the house of God, the country of Israel was seemingly going through a period of time where God's voice was rare. Eli's sons (priests at the time) were corrupt, didn't know the Lord, and didn't care to follow the customs or priestly expectations (1 Samuel 2:12-17). Eli himself didn't seem to have a grasp on his children, and the two verses above give a pretty stark realization of what was happening.

Yet, the one thing that continues to go through my mind as I read this chapter was that, despite Samuel not knowing the Lord, despite the lack of widespread revelation, despite the role models Samuel had in the temple...He heard God's voice.
He heard God call his name.
He heard his voice calling him in the midst of the darkness surrounding him.
And Samuel didn't know it was God's voice.

Three times, Samuel heard God call him and didn't know it was Him. It wasn't until the third time that Eli finally realized Who was speaking to Samuel and gave him direction.

I could walk away from this saddened by the fact that a priest and a priestly intern (for lack of a better word) didn't know it was God who called him.
I could walk away from this in awe that, of all the people God chose to speak to that day, it was a boy and not the priest.
I could even make an apologetic argument regarding how God speaks to each of us and not just to priests, pastors, and teachers. His voice is for all to hear.

But you know what I keep going back to?

Simply that, even without Samuel knowing the LORD yet or there being widespread revelation in that time, Samuel heard God's voice.
He heard! And I am so encouraged.
Encouraged that even in a country where a person does all the right things, says all the right things, and reads all the right things--but still doesn't have a personal relationship with the LORD--that person can still hear Him speak.
Encouraged that God doesn't "need" people to speak truth into someones life, He can do that on His own (but He does choose to use us).
Encouraged that God can use flawed people like Eli (and me) to finally tell someone "hey, that wasn't a coincidence, that was the Lord telling you that."

So, today, I walk away praying for the Samuel's around me. Praying that God would speak to them. Praying that the Eli's in their life would finally realize and share with them what it is they are hearing. Praying that God would use me and that God would use these "Samuels" to speak truth to this nation.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Scotland Update 6

I'm writing this in the midst of a "UK Heat Wave"...or, a beautiful winter day in California (it's 75F here right now).

We are currently enjoying some beautiful weather and I have been soaking up every minute of being outdoors and in the sunshine.

Rest assured, though, If you've emailed me in the past week or two and I haven't responded's not because I've been playing hooky in the sunshine. It is, however, because this past few weeks have been a blur of craziness and unexpected twists.

Please continue to pray for the adjustments/changes we are experiencing here. Pray for those who are now back in the states obtaining the proper visas and for their prompt return.

Also, I have started two separate discipleship relationships over the past two months. I will be sharing more with you about this in my newsletter I am currently writing. In the meantime, be praying for both of these relationships to go further, and for the prospect of new ones to come.

Social Media
As part of my day-to-day tasks, I have begun learning the social media for the church. This includes live-streaming the messages (you can watch here), helping with the video and audio during services, updating Facebook and Twitter...I've never considered myself a "techie" but, let me tell you, I am getting a crash course in these things! I am praising the Lord that I can fill these gaps, and praying He guides my steps and fingers as I learn more and more about these things!

Hazel was one of the first people that quickly became a friend when I first moved here. When I found the flat that I now live in, I was told that she lived just a few blocks away from me and we quickly met and started walking home from church together. This let to me being invited to her house...first to pick flowers for my living room, then eventually to stay for tea (my first true "tea" experience here in Scotland). Every time I leave Hazel's presence, I feel refreshed in the Lord. She has loved the Lord for most of her life (i think she's in her 60's) and always has a way of bringing the conversation back to Him.

A few weeks ago, Hazel's back (which has given her trouble for 20+ years), went out and she herniated a lower disc. She is home-bound for at least 4 more weeks and, as you can guess, she is hungry for fellowship and teachings. I bring her the recorded teachings each week and am able to sit and talk with her as well, but please keep her in your prayers: that she would physically heal as she finds spiritual comfort in the Lord.

Thank you so much for your continued support and prayer for the Lord's ministry here in Scotland. Without your enthusiasm, encouragement, support, and prayers, none of this could happen. I am forever grateful and thankful for you all!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Spreading Like Fire

"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV
"So, why Scotland? Aren't there already tons of Christians there?"

Since moving to Scotland, I have been asked this question more times than I can count. Maybe even more times than I've been asked "where are you from?"

I hold my breath a little when I hear it starting to form in the conversation. Generally, my answer is short, sweet, and vague: "Well, this is where the Lord has called me, so I came out of obedience." This is mostly because I haven't found a better answer.

But, the thing is, I know that I was called here out of more than just obedience. Many of you know my story and my deep love for Scotland and the salvation of this nation. Many of you have heard me talk about my serving, seen me get excited about the ministry, pray for me as I send my prayer requests out.

Finally, last week, sitting down for coffee at another church and meeting a silver-haired saint named Ken, the question came up and I knew that I needed a better answer. Ken wouldn't take my vague "He called me..." response. He reminded me a little of jovial grandfather figure in Aristocats (all smiles and inquiries) and I knew he would want to know why.

So, I prayed for direction as the other missionary there gave his answer (I wish I could tell you what he said, but I was so concerned about what was going to come out of my mouth that I tuned him out). And, as I prayed, the Lord gave me a beautiful picture that I shared with Ken and those at my table.

Imagine a fire.

Multiple fires, actually. Of a darkness being pierced by these fires with many people gathering around them. It is a picture of people, tired of trying to find their way alone, in the dark, being attracted to these fires as though it were magnetic. And the fires are spreading. Those gathered at the fires are teaching others how to make more fire. Then some of those gathered would take what knowledge they were given and walk into the darkness to make another fire.

Soon, the small fires start spreading farther and farther into the darkness. Reaching beyond what the eye could see. The darkness is now dissipating and the light is growing steadily brighter.

But then, where the first fires once glowed bright, they start to dim. From a distance you could see the new fire's glow is still magnetic, but here, the light from where the fires once burned bright and attractive is now a mild glimmer: a memory of brightness. It was growing cold and dark again.

Did too many people leave and there was no one to stoke the fires? Did those who knew how to start, stoke, and maintain the heat and warmth move on? Were there just not enough people to keep the fires burning and so they slowly started to die out? Did they forget the warmth and brightness and grow accustomed to a lukewarm and dimly lit life?

I don't know the answer to the why's...only God does. But what I do know is that Great Britain was once a bright furnace of Christian faith, glowing and attractive to those around them. That faith, their fire, spread outward. The faithful took what knowledge they knew of the salvation of Jesus Christ and lit that fire around the world. Their light spread. The fire warmed. The skills were taught and more people learned how to start, stoke, and maintain the Christian faith.

But here in the UK, somewhere in the yesterdays, the fires lessened. The light and the warmth weakened. Yes, it's still there, and yes, there are still fires being made. The glow is still recognizable. But what once was bright and glorious and unable to be hidden from the rest of the world is threatened to be snuffed out.

Where fires were once prolific and the knowledge of keeping, growing, and multiplying these fires was second nature, there are now just a faithful few seeking to maintain the remnants.

This is why the Lord has called me here. This is why the Lord has called and/or raised up many others here as well. This is the Lord still at work here in the UK...

We are here, with the fire that only comes from the Lord, piercing the darkness and calling people to know who the true Light is. We are seeking to show others how to build up that warmth and brightness so that this 'city on a hill' (or, island on the Atlantic) can once again shine bright, not hidden from the world, but available for all to see.

Recently, I heard an American pastor speaking at a conference here and he started it with this statement (loosely paraphrased from what I remember) "It is an honor to be here today. I owe my Christian faith to you. Christianity didn't spread from the west to the east, it came westward, to America, from here. From you. For this, I am indebted to you and thankful."

So I, being just another indebted and thankful believer, consider it an honor for the Lord to call me here to serve. I have my torch in hand and pray that He would use me to once again pierce the darkness, brighten the dimly fading light, stoke fires, bring His salvation, and set this "city" back on a hill, not hidden from anyone.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Scotland Update 5

Hi everyone!

Here are some fun things going on recently. The main points are in bold, if you're pressed for time. =)

Thank you so much for each response, encouragement and prayer! They are more comforting and bring so much more joy than you will ever know!

SoLove Ministry Update
This week, the churches here in Motherwell are teaming up to do ministry under the name of SoLove. Their heart is to unify the body of Christ to reach out in the community and serve, share the love of Christ, and enjoy community with each other.

I can't tell you how exciting this is for me. It's pretty much taking everything I have a passion for, putting it under the banner of Jesus' love and salvation through His sacrifice and and resurrection on the cross, topping it with a bright red ribbon, and saying "here you go, Erika!"

So, some things to pray for as the week goes on: each day, different churches are opening up their doors as serving coffee, tea, and baked goods. Our church will be having our "Open Doors" coffee morning on Friday (we generally have a coffee morning on Friday, but this week we expect more people...and hope to keep them coming back!). Please pray for meaningful conversations and for the gospel to be shared during the different Open Doors venues throughout the week. Pray for boldness and for an openness.

Summer Fun Day
On Saturday (the 15th), we (the SoLove Churches) will be having a Summer Fun Day at a local park in Motherwell. I've volunteered to do one of the stalls (not sure which one yet!). Right now, the forecast calls for rain...eek! We've been having such amazing weather here (yes, Scotland does get sunny days! I know, shocker.), will you pray with us that the forecast changes and we get another beautiful day on Saturday?

We have also been handing out leaflets to all these events. In talking with the staff here at church, they are pretty confident of the Open Doors and Summer Fun Day being attended by church goers but, as this is supposed to also be an outreach, our prayer is that the leaflets (and word of mouth) would spread around and we would see more of the un-churched community come to the events as well. It is so important to have a church that you can call "home" but, from experience, I know how hard it is to take that first step and walk into a church building...especially alone! My prayer is that these events would, at the very least, be a stepping stone to getting people to come to church. Pray for those who may not have a home church to be able to come to one of these events and find a solid church to go to regularly. (ps: If you don't have a home church, I would love to be praying for you to find one and might be able to help point you in a direction of one...just let me know!).

Mexican Food? What's that?
I have been asked a lot if there is anything I'm missing here that I want/wish I could have from the states (as in, physically). My first answer is always: YOU GUYS!! I do miss my friends and family back at home so much, but I am even more grateful that the Lord is letting me live out this experience here (plus, I love Skype and Facetime...if you want to schedule a time to chat, just let me or Amy Maskal know!). Really, though, He is doing some mighty things and I see so much of His heart for the church here in Scotland (I'm in the beginning stages of writing a blog...stay tuned!).

But honestly, I could probably list a lot of things that are "different" here (let's not talk about Mexican food, ok?), or simply unattainable (like natural toothpaste and cornmeal...who knew?), but the bottom line is that I can handle not having these things. The Lord didn't send me here just so I can wish life was back to how I remember it, right? He is letting me experience new places, new traditions, new foods, and an entirely new way of life. For that, I am grateful.

What about YOU?
So, imagine you're on a desert island...just kidding. But, I would love to hear...if you moved away from home--to a new culture and community, what is one commodity that you think you might miss the most?

Erika Bennett

Support: Shepherds Staff, Account 1061

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Scotland Update 4

Having sent out my newsletter last week, I thought I would share some funny things that have happened since I've been here.

Like last week when I was having a conversation with a few people after a prayer meeting. Cathie (Pastor David's wife) was telling us about her niece and said this: "She's growing up so fast...and we all know she's going to be quite a cracker!" My mouth dropped open, since calling someone a cracker in California is a negative way of calling them white trash (right? is that just me?). I had to ask her to clarify what she meant...and we all had a good laugh when I explained what I THOUGHT she said, verses what she meant (calling someone a cracker is saying she's stunning, from the word firecracker). =D

Or, I could tell you about the different words that SOUND very different from how they are spelled. For instance, the first week I was here, I was at a dinner and we were playing a game where you take a word out of a hat and have to get everyone to guess it by acting it out. The word I pulled was Kilncadzow. I explained it was a VERY Scottish word, but had no idea what it was and everyone kept guessing things that weren't right. One word they kept guessing was "Kill-Kegg-eh". But time ran out and they finally took the paper from me and, between laughs, told me they DID guess it WAS "kill-kegg-eh." Apparently, this is how Kilncadzow is pronounced locally...although, I still can't figure out how they get that from this word!!

Here are some other word phenomenons or differences:
Milngavie, a town, is pronounced "Mull-guy"
Dalziel, a local community, is pronounced Diehl.
Any towns or names ending in "burgh" are pronounced "burr-uh".
Zucchini here is a courgette.
Snow peas are mangetout.
Cilantro is coriander.
Baking Soda is sodium bicarbonate.
Cornmeal is polenta flour.
Pants are Trousers (and saying 'pants' refers to undergarments...)
Trainers are Running Shoes
Jumpers are Sweatshirts

I'm sure there are many more...but these are the ones I can think of right now.

Settling in:
Lastly, I'll share a story about how I'm settling in here. When I was coming back from London, I had to take an 8-hour bus ride from London to Glasgow and then get on a 1/2 hour train from Glasgow to Motherwell. After that long trip, I was so excited to curl up and go to sleep: I was looking forward to getting back to my flat. Well, as I was on the train, we came around a corner and I could see in the near distance the distinct skyline of Motherwell and the first thought that came to my mind was "ahhh, I'm home!" And then, suddenly, I realized I had just called Motherwell my home. It was a strange feeling, that I was at a stage of not just visiting here, or settling in, but that it was home.

Then, a few days later, I was wandering in and out of places in the city centre and walked into the library to see it for the first time (and borrow their wifi). As I was walking up the stairs, I heard someone say "Erika" and thought "oh that's funny, someone has the same name as me...I haven't met another Erika here!" Then I heard it again and closer, so I turned around and realized, it was someone I knew...calling me! It seems like such a small thing, but to be around in town on my own and have someone I know see me and say spoke volumes, since I am so used to being in SLO and constantly seeing either someone I know or someone I am related to. It was like the Lord was giving me a little assurance that He has me here in this community and that He wants me to keep being a part of it. =)

Praises and Prayers:
Pray with me:
-For unity in the body of Christ. For our time of praying this week...and beyond.
-For So:Love, a community outreach June 10-15th (I think I got the dates wrong last time) involving multiple churches in the area
-For the upcoming missions team (June 27 - July 8) and their outreach to the community.
-Continued work on the New Believer's Guide

Praise the Lord:
-Fusion, a bible study through Motherwell Calvary, was at my house last week and Alex and I led the group in a time of prayer and worship...praise the Lord it went well and, although neither of us are gifted with musical talent, we made it through worship! haha...
-A refreshing time at the conference last week
-for coffee mornings and the continued ministry that is going on there each week.

Erika Bennett

Donate or become a monthly supporter:  Shepherds Staff, Account 1061

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Scotland Update 3

Hi friends and family!

I am in the process of getting a newsletter together (with pictures and everything!) that I will be sending out by the end of this week, so my update today will just be prayer requests and praises. But rest assured, you will all get another email with the newsletter in it when it's finished!

Praise: I was able to go down to London for a few days to see my friends, David and Trista (and Adelle!) before they moved home to America. It was a great time of fellowship with their church, the Holydes, and the Parks.

Prayer: this coming weekend, Calvary Glasgow City is hosting a few pastors from the Santa Barbara area for a conference. Being only about 15 miles away from me, I am planning on attending. Please pray that this time is fruitful and that the Lord uses it to minister to the pastors and leaders.

Prayer: there is a small team coming over to serve at the church in the end of June (you will probably hear more about it as the weeks draw closer) and I have been asked to help administrate their time here. As many of you know me very know that this is right up my alley! Please pray that I use my time wisely and that they Lord directs each step and administrative detail to be used for Him.

I am looking forward to getting my newsletter out and give you guys a little bit of the "big picture" of my last two months here (I can't believe its already been that long!). As ever, please email me back and let me know if there is any way I can be praying for you!

Erika Bennett

Donate or become a monthly supporter: Shepherds Staff, Account 1061

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How does your garden grow?

In my new home, I have a garden. If you know me at all, you know that a garden is the last thing you would expect me to have. When it comes to growing things, I excel at yeast for breads, mold, laundry in the hamper, craft projects, and to-do lists.

In my garden, I have a few small flower beds that are overgrown with weeds. Some weeds were even so pretty that I thought they were flowers. I was told otherwise.

I keep thinking "I ought to get out there and fix up the garden! Maybe plant some herbs (side note: here in the UK, the "h" isn't silent), put in some pretty flowers, maybe a berry bush or some string beans...? Doesn't sound too hard, right?'re not me. In the words of a common colloquialism here, "I canne' be bothered to do it."

The problem is, I don't have the tools to get out there and pull all the weeds. I don't have the shovels and rakes to aerate or till. I don't have gloves to keep my hands protected. I don't have a means to get to the garden center and buy the seeds and seedlings. And I certainly don't have the wherewithal to know what the heck I'm doing.

So, the weeds continue to grow. The flowers left from the previous tenant continue to cry out for attention, and the dirt sets there...getting dirtier and harder and wishing it had something in it to grow.  And every day I look out my window and think "I should get out there, even for ten minutes, and pull a few weeds." and every day I look out my window and think "you know, those weeds don't look that bad. They're kind of more like wild flowers. Pretty in their own accord. I need to just let them grow and see how pretty they become."

And every day nothing happens except a continued creeping chaos of widespread weeds and dead plants. Except for the rain coming down and the sun coming up, my garden is neglected. Those weeds aren't getting smaller; in fact, they are most prolific in their short life span.

As I look out my window today, I think how amazingly quick a garden bed, so ripe for planting, growing, and feeding, can become a bed of death with weeds choking out the growth; the ground now hardened because of a lack of tending. When I finally work up the courage to step out there and start clearing weeds, tilling ground, and planting seeds, the work will be multiplied because I let it set for so long. It might even be too late in the season for me to start planting some seeds.

I'm sure you know where this is heading.

Because, greater than the garden bed outside my window is the garden that must be tended in my heart, mind, and soul. Sitting there, with soil rich in nutrients to plant it, is a garden bed asking to be tilled, turned, planted, and tended.

In that garden are sweetly smelling flowers of joy, kindness, faithfulness. Bright colored plants of service, humility, encouragement. The growth of love, peace, gentleness, long-suffering. It's where weeds of gossip, discontent, frustration, and idleness can begin to grow. It's also where they can multiply into distrust, anger, bitterness, and hurt. And where I can look out from a window and think "you know, those weeds aren't so bad. They aren't hurting anything right now. I'll just let them grow..." only to find out too late that they are choking the plants to death.

It's where I must spend my quiet time with the Lord...using the spade of the Word, the shovel of prayer, and the gloves of accountability. It's where I need to get my hands dirty, ripping out the roots of those weeds so they don't choke the growth of life. The scary part is how often I don't choose to be in my garden. And how quickly, when that happens, I find one...two...25 more weeds to turn.

This garden, where I could afford to spend more time--instead of just looking at from a window and watch as the weeds start to overtake the growth--is just waiting for me to step inside it and get to work. The greatest part? I won't be out there alone, blindly tearing up soil and plants alike, hoping for the best (much like I will be doing in my physical garden). The Gardener will be with me every step of the way. Showing me what needs to be yanked, what needs to be nurtured, and where I need to start new seeds.

I'm ready to move past stopping and smelling the flowers of others planting the flowers that others can stop and smell...and ultimately, I pray, they will desire a garden of their own.

Some verses to meditate on: John 15:1-5, Psalm 1, Isaiah 58:9-11, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Galatians 5:16-26

Monday, April 29, 2013

Scotland Update 2

Hi everyone!

I hope you are all doing well. I would love to hear about what each of you have been up to.

Also, if you would like to Skype or FaceTime with me sometime in the near future, please let me know! I would love to chat and see some smiling faces!

Personal Update
Since emailing you all last time, I have settled into my house wonderfully and have been super blessed with people giving me necessary items for my home (dishes, cutlery, baking/cooking utensils). The Lord has truly provided...even down to blankets, rugs, towels, and a coffee machine! I also got an AMAZING care package (thank you, Chris and Laura!) with American measuring cups in it, among other things,...I can't wait to start having fun in the kitchen. =) If any of you are interested in seeing a short video clip of my house, email me back and I would be happy to send it on to you.

I know this may sound like a shock to some of you (note: sarcasm) but, I love having a routine. =) I enjoy getting up in the morning and taking the same route to the church because I get to make friends along the way. I love knowing that the Lord could have ministry for me even in my hurried pace on my way to-and-from home. I love that the cross-walk attendant (across from the local primary school, whom people here call "the lollipop ladies") likes to comment with me about the weather each day.

To put it simply, I am loving giving every day the the Lord and seeing what He will do with it. Because, when I have a routine, I notice immediately when the Lord places something different in the midst of it and am immediately attuned to the change and asking the Lord what He would have me do in each of those situations.

On Friday, we (church staff, some servants, and the missionaries) head out to a conference inBradford, England. It is an annual leaders conference that the church here goes to and I am excited to be able to attend this year (as a side note, for you BritLit junkies...the Bronte Sisters' House/Museum is just 1/2 hour from where we will be heading).

Praises and Prayers
-Praise the Lord for my home! Pray that it would be used as a vessel of ministry and outreach. Pray that the Lord would cover it in His love and protection.
-Pray for the conference: that it would be a time of fellowship and refreshment. Pray for both Pastor David and His wife, Cathy, as they are both scheduled to speak at different times in the conference. Pray the Lord would prepare their hearts.
-Praise the Lord for His provision with my household needs.
-Pray for the many daily ministry opportunities the Lord may put in my path.

I am so grateful for each and every one of you. Please let me know if there is anything I can be praying for you about. --

Erika Bennett

Donate or become a monthly supporter: Shepherds Staff, Account 1061

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Faithful to the End

Mr Shea
As many of you already know, George Beverly Shea went home to be with the Lord this week at 104 years old. His legacy as a gospel singer and the front running musician in Billy Graham’s evangelistic crusades is overshadowed by his commitment of faith in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

And, to be quite honest with you, I had no idea who He was until yesterday when I, coincidentally, also found out of his passing away.

His life touched people worldwide. His ministry spanned the globe and because of His faithfulness to His Savior, people came to know the Lord and their faith grew. His music affected more people than can be counted and His life’s work is still affecting people after his death. Sure, he had his faults and I’m not in any way saying he was perfect. But, he was a saint used by God to further His kingdom. This is a hero in my book. George Beverly Shea penned this song at age 23.

I’d rather have Jesus than silver and gold
I’d rather be His than have riches untold
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands
I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hands

Than to be a king of a best domain
And be held in sin’s dread sway
I’d rather have Jesus
Than anything this world affords today

I’d rather have Jesus than worldly applause
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame
Yes, I’d rather be true to His holy name

He wrote this and offered it’s words to the Lord at age 23. The Lord blessed him with a lifelong ministry. He had worldly applause as a musician, travelled worldwide with Billy Graham, lived a comfortable life (I’m only guessing on this one). But this song says it all: even though he had those things, his heart sang that he would rather have Jesus.

At 104 years old, it can be said that George Beverly Shea was faithful to the end. Like the Parable of the talents, Jesus has looked upon Mr Shea and said "...'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' - Matthew 25:21 NKJV

During our prayer meeting yesterday morning, I also found out about a little boy named Silas who is 4-years old and losing a battle to cancer. The doctors told his parents that it was terminal and he only had weeks to live. His parents, knowing that they had to tell him what was happening, went in and broke the news to him. His response? “Oh good, that means I can go to be with Jesus now.”

This little boy’s faith is unbelievable. He is in pain. He has dealt with this pain for most of his short life. But his response speaks to me louder than the largest Billy Graham revival: I’d rather have Jesus.
He would rather have Jesus than the silver and gold he will probably never have a chance to get on this earth. He would rather have Jesus than the applause of a crowd that he will likely never be in front of. He would rather have Jesus than be here in this life on earth.

This little boy, at age 4 knows that going to heaven and being with His Lord, Maker, and Savior is far greater than anything that this world has to offer. At his precious age, he probably doesn’t even know what this world can try to offer to him yet. And still, as this little boy prepares to go to heaven, his legacy will remain: he was faithful to the end.

I can already hear the Lord telling him "...’'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' - Matthew 25:21 NKJV

Mr Shea was 104. Silas is 4. Both were and are faithful in their lives to honor the Lord and live for Him. Both had their eyes on their Savior and trusted in his perfect will for their lives. I pray I would heed both of their examples, learn from their great legacies, and do the same.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Scotland Update 1

Hi everyone! 

God is so good! I hope your Easter was blessed and that you were encouraged. He is truly Risen and indeed, He is Risen!! 

Last Week
Last week was so much fun getting acclimated to the culture, seeing familiar (and not as familiar sites) and spending time in fellowship at two different churches (Motherwell and Calvary Glasgow City Chapel). Katie and I enjoyed Passover with Motherwell Fellowship as well as a BBQ to say goodbye to one of the missionaries who's been here since last September and is heading home in a week. 

Katie left early on Easter Sunday and I am now settled in at Elain's house and looking forward to a new week! 

Happy Easter!
Easter Sunday was yesterday and it was full of new experiences and old traditions. Singing hymns as a church as beautiful as Motherwell is, praising Him for what He did on the cross and for conquering death 3 days later by rising out of the grave...I just love celebrating the resurrection of our Lord! After church, we headed to Elain's son and daughter-in-laws house to color eggs and roll them down a hill. The egg going down the hill symbolizes the rolling away of the stone from the grave, thus showing that Jesus is alive. Do any of you share in this tradition?? It was brand new to me...and in a way redeemed the whole "coloring eggs" thing...but it was still such a foreign concept, I am trying to wrap my head around it!

Today is called Easter Monday and is considered a "bank holiday." Basically, this means everyone is off work. So...Elain, Nicola (her daughter), Alex, Sam (missionaries) and I went on a "wee lil' adventure" to a place called Glentress Forest to go on a hike and walk around the town next to it (Peebles). You can see photos of the trip on my Facebook page or myInstagram page. It was a quintessential picture of a Scottish village...the kind I am sure you all think of when you imagine Scotland in your head. We even walked through a sheep's pasture...and found a football (soccer ball) to play with. It was comically perfect. =) 

Coming Up Next
Tomorrow I start at the church. I am looking forward to sitting down with Pastor David to talk through His vision for my time here. From talking with the other missionaries, I have been able to hear what they've been doing and some of their vision, as well as the ministries that are starting up (like a Sunday night Kid's Club next week...can't wait!). I feel like the Lord is already giving me some burdens and clarity, but I am still praying through them and waiting on His perfect timing. 

How are YOU doing?
Again, thank you so much for reading this!! As I have said before, I would love to hear from you. If you have a moment this week, I would love to know a bit of how you spend your Easter holiday! 

Praises and Prayers

  • For a blessed time with Katie and fun site seeing
  • For the fellowship I've already had here
  • For the joy of remembering the Lord's resurrection and first and only reason of why I am here in Scotland: to share His love and salvation with those I come in contact with,
  • For His financial provision this first month!
  • For my transition in the church and the 2 other missionaries already here. That the Lord would allow the new dynamic (with me coming in) to honor Him.
  • For His direction in where He wants me to serve. 
  • For the ministry the Lord will have me in: that I would stay still before HIm and obedient to His callings. 
  • My health: I meant to ask for this last back tends to be...well...high maintenance and I would just ask that you would pray that I would be able to sleep well and that my back would get the needed support and rest it needs. Or, that God would heal it completely! =D 

Erika Bennett

Donate or become a monthly supporter: Shepherds Staff, Account 1061

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Philippians 3 Reflections

"But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which [is] from the law, but that which [is] through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;" - Philippians 3:7-9 NKJV

I'm on the train to Sacramento and have just said "goodbye" to my family in Bakersfield. It was pretty hard and as I sat there trying to get my mind on something else, I decided to try to put a movie on. Only, my computer wasn't working. Neither was my internet so I couldn't even text or talk to someone.

Call me a blockhead, but it took me a good hour to realize that what I truly needed was time with the Lord. So, I sought some solace in the Word. Philippians 3 was up on my computer already, so I started reading it and dwelling on the rich words Paul wrote there. It's one of my favorite books and yet I tend to rush through the first 3 chapters to get to the favorite chapter.

But right now, Chapter 3 was just what I needed. I have to say, I haven't reflected much on how Paul had to give so much up in order to follow the Lord's call in his life. In verses 4-6, he explains who he was before knowing the Lord and how they were his identity. But then, just as quickly, he brushes them aside with "but what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ..."

And, after having to say goodbye to my family, pack up my belongings into 5 pieces of luggage, leave behind my church family of 7 years, and step away from familiar in order to follow the Lord's calling to Scotland...what Paul said and the things he did resonated with me.

I tried to re-write what Paul said in my own words (in verses 7-9):

"But these merits and titles I had are nothing compared to what I have in Christ. I chose to rather lose them so I could gain Christ. It’s true, I gave up every pride and every title I had to know Christ Jesus as my Lord. It’s been hard and I have suffered because of it, but in the end that stuff I had to give up was crap compared to what I have been given in Christ: a new identity, a new chance at life. It is nothing I have done or that anyone or anything else has done for me, but what He has done and what I faithfully believe He can do: restore my true righteousness through faith in Him;"

Granted, the difference is that Paul was speaking of what he had to leave behind in his flesh in order to gain salvation in the Lord whilst the stuff I am leaving behind is to start a new chapter in the life the Lord has given to me. 

But the feelings are still there. I can imagine Paul having those reflective fleshly moments of "did I really give all of that up for this life?" "Did I make the right choice?" "I really miss what I had..."

I know that days will come when I will miss my family, familiarity, my church, my community...and the days will come when I will let my flesh wonder about the what-ifs and what-could-have-beens; but Paul's comforting words will remind me of why I pressed forward and moved onward to Scotland...

"Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 3:12-14 NKJV

And what I do know is that I can't hold on to the life I am leaving being. I have to let it go and boldly step forward into what the Lord has for me. New relationships, new ways of communicating with my family in the states. New fellowship, New emails with updates of what the Lord is doing. New. 

The race has to be run with endurance. Paul knew that. I know this from Paul. Christ reminds me of this and the Spirit comforts me through this. 

This is where joy comes from. Following the Lord. Leaving yesterday where it is and not wishing for it to come back. Staying current with God. Rejoicing in Him. Let's not forget the beginning of this chapter: 

"Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you [is] not tedious, but for you [it is] safe." - Philippians 3:1

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lasts and Firsts

I can't believe how fast the weeks are moving. 

I leave the Central Coast in a little less than 3 weeks. This means that I am experiencing a lot of "lasts." My last time teaching Sunday School was last Sunday. My last Midweek Kid's Study will be tonight. My last day working in the office at Shoreline is next Wednesday. My last Sunday at Shoreline will be March 10th. Many of you who know me well might be wondering how I am handling this...and the answer is that I am handling it in a good way, with a huge dose of the Lord's mercy. 

There is a difference between having emotion (which is a good thing!) and being emotionally unstable...right? Right! One prayer I've had over the past few months has been that I would keep my eyes on the Lord and not let my girlie/emotional/extroverted/people loving self get too caught up in the "sadness" of what this season could look like. He has been so faithful with this request and I ask that you would all keep praying for that! 

I know the tears will come, and I know the goodbyes will be hard...but in the midst of all of that, I want to keep my eyes on the Lord. It is for Him that I am doing this and by Him that I have the strength and ability to do it. I am reminded of the Lord's gentle exhortation in Mark:
"When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it." Mark 8:34-35 NKJV
And, with the denying of myself and the forsaking of known comforts, I am looking forward to a lot of "firsts". My first time living in another country, my first day to fellowship with the church family at Calvary Motherwell, my first outreach, my first time meeting the other missionaries, my first time meeting brothers and sisters that I will look forward to calling "friend". My first bible study. My first trip to the highlands.

I am so blessed to leave this adventure and season on the central coast for a new one in Scotland!

On an entirely unrelated note, I read this devotion last night and it blessed me so much that I wanted to share it once again: Taking The Initiative Against Daydreaming (My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers).

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Waiting, with hope, by faith

This is what I read tonight at my dinner/silent auction fundraiser. It was meant to be just something I spoke but the more time I put into it, the more it became a bit of a blog post so, I thought I would put it on my blog.

Tonight was such a blessing. Each person who came and helped and served and cooked and donated and then turned around and bought stuff to support! I am so blessed by each of you!!!


The dictionary defines waiting as The action of staying where one is or delaying action until a particular time or until something else happens. It implies that you know there is a finish line-and that ultimately, regardless of the journey, whatever is at the finish line is worth it. It is the now you are living in...looking forward to the “then” you are heading to.

It is a means to an end. Waiting in line for the bathroom means that you will ultimately get to use the bathroom. Waiting for your order in the mail leads to having the item that you ordered. Waiting for your paycheck implies you will get paid.

About ten years ago, I heard the word “wait” from the Lord when I was praying about wanting to go to Scotland. For ten years I waited. I proverbially saw the end of the line, so I stood in it and waited. I “placed my Amazon order” and knew the mail was coming. 

But then there’s hope. Hope is defined as A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. 

It is the emotion that happens during the waiting period. It is the longed for idea of what comes at the end of the wait. It is the filler between the beginning of the waiting period and the fruition of the end. If we wait without hope, what would stop us from giving up? Just think: you’re standing in line at Disneyland to get onto a ride without the hope of actually getting onto the ride. I don’t know about you, but I would get out of line before I actually got INTO line. 

For ten years, I didn’t just wait, I hoped. I trusted that God knew what He was doing, and I walked with the expectation of His fulfillment. and I hoped in Him. Not just the simple hope of one day being able to move to Scotland, but the hope of knowing the Lord more, learning more about Him, and honoring Him in my every day life. 

This didn’t mean I just sat around and waited for my turn. The same way, we don’t just sit in a chair waiting for a paycheck or wait for the mailman without actually placing an order. I may have been in a line waiting to get to a destination, but I wasn’t going to waste that time.

I hoped in the Lord through bible college, working with the youth group and missions trips to Africa and Romania. I hoped in the Lord through heartache, giving up jobs I loved, and through multiple moves (12 times in 8 years!). I hoped in Him through every UP and every DOWN. 

In the past 10 years, I have learned so much. I have grown so much. I have experienced so much. Going to Scotland may have been the “wait”, but the “everything-in-between” was the hope.

The biblical definition of hope comes from a word that means “expect” “tarry”, “look eagerly for”. I have walked through these past ten years expecting to find the Lord. I endured through every hard trial looking eagerly for His face in it. I tarried (delayed, stayed longer) through every adventure knowing the Lord would show up for the celebration.

We can spend our life waiting for the “next best thing” to happen to us...and never actually get there. We can wait for something amazing to occur...and never see it happen. Or we can hope. We can live with a hope of knowing that we were meant for more than just living our lives every day waiting for something to happen. 

So we wait with hope, but this hope is pointless without faith. The bible defines faith in Hebrews 11:1: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." 

Faith is not having to see the finish line to start the race. You know it’s there...but all you see ahead of you is the road you have to run. My faith in Jesus Christ is the ultimate substance of hope. Regardless of what may have transpired over the past ten or so years, I knew that Scotland was not my ultimate goal. Following Jesus as my Lord is the ultimate goal in life.

"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only [that], but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:1-8 NKJV

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Promises of the Lord

"For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee." 
2 Corinthians 1:20-22
I want to share this verse with you. It is from 2 Corinthians and Paul (from my meager understanding) is using it to explain that the only constant and true thing we can rely on is the Lord. He had wanted to go to visit the Corinthian church but couldn't and because of that, they were upset and thought he was unreliable. Paul exhorts them to understand that, had it been up to him, he would have come, but God, in His infinite wisdom and knowledge, allowed for other circumstances and didn't allow him to travel to Corinth.

Paul was affected by a God who's promises are fulfilled in His Son, Jesus Christ. He was human and his "yes" and "no" mean nothing more than "maybe" and "maybe not". But God, through Christ, can say "yes!" and "no!" and we must truly know and submit to that. He wanted the Corinthians to grasp this, too.

And still, today, He is asking me to understand this wisdom as well.

The first time the Lord brought the above verse to my attention was about 3 years ago in church on a Sunday. I still remember where I was sitting and what was going on in my head. The Lord had just opened a door for me to go to Scotland and I still hadn't shared it with more than a handful of people.

I was still in shock that the Lord's goodness would trickle down to me - that, after all I had gone through that year, I could still hear His clear, perfect, and true voice. I was still also very unsure about the fact He was finally sending me over to Scotland. And then we read the above verse.

All of His promises are YES. 

I was so overwhelmed by His clear voice, yet again. "Erika, I promised you Scotland. That means YES. That means AMEN. That means that, even though you may not see the fruition at that moment, it is already done. Yes. Amen. And, yet, I still hadn't completely understood the meaning of the verse.

And then, three years later, the same thing.

You see, even though I am overjoyed at the Lord's calling me to Scotland, I am also incredibly scared. I go to sleep sometimes and think "whoa, am I really doing this? Is this happening?" Or, I take one more administrative step towards leaving and wonder "is this right? Lord, is this what you want me to do?"

I don't feel as equipped as I did even 1 year ago. I don't feel as energetic as I did 3 years ago. I don't feel as confident as I did 5 years ago.

But God, in His infinite wisdom, Has turned merciful eyes on me and said "Erika, YES." And, more than that, He showed me another part of this verse...

" the glory of God through us." This is HIS timing, HIS promise, HIS time to shine. With me in the way, He wouldn't get the glory. But because I know that nothing in me is good-that all goodness comes from above-He can now shine.

YES and AMEN. Ten years of waiting, seeking, and hoping. YES. Ten years of doubting, wondering, and dreaming. AMEN.

This promise of being sent as a missionary to Scotland was one made to me by a heavenly Father who seeks to bestow upon us every good and perfect gift. (James 1:17). Know that His gifts to you will be so different-and so perfect for you. And they will all stem from the same truths found in the bible. 

And, I want to encourage you, we can know nothing of the Lord unless we seek to find Him. Read the bible, spend time listening to Him and praying to Him. Without that, how will you know what He desires of you? If what you think you are hearing from God does not line up with Scripture, then it isn't from Him. Let the desires of your heart be His desires. All these things will be added to you.

God's promises are all throughout scripture. Unless we open it up and look, we will never know them and see them come to fruition in our lives.

""But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day [is] its own trouble." - Matthew 6:33-34 NKJV (said to the multitudes. When we seek first His kingdom and righteousness, He promises to provide for us all our earthly needs: specifically food, drink, and clothing.) 
""Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, [even] to the end of the age." Amen." - Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV (given to the disciples. When we obey His call to share salvation with others, He will be with us always.) 
""No man shall [be able to] stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, [so] I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. "Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. ... "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God [is] with you wherever you go."" - Joshua 1:5-6, 9 NKJV (given to Joshua. God promised to be with him no matter what.) 
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths." - Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV (When we trust in Him and lean on His understandings, acknowledging Him in our ways, He will direct our paths.)

These are just some of my favorite promises of the Lord. What are some promises of the Lord that speak to you? Open up scriptures for yourself and see what else you may find. I would love to hear some in the comments!