Friday, June 29, 2012

sweet reminders.

Isaiah 61.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
  and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

     About two years ago, in my college Sunday school class, we studied this text. It was something that I had never read before, or perhaps that never really stuck out to me. But that morning as we went through the text, I was so intrigued by this passage. I went back to my campus apartment and read it again. The Lord so very sweetly nudged my heart, planting the desire in my heart to "proclaim good news to the poor" and "bind up the brokenhearted"--to physically go and do the things listed here in Isaiah. This was my mission.

      So yesterday, I found myself in this chapter again, as I have been going through Isaiah this summer, and chapter 61 was yesterday's reading. Again I was reminded of the truth that God has revealed to me--the validity of His calling. I was reading and studying further, too, as I was reminded of Luke 4 (verses 14-21), where Jesus is in Nazareth. He stands up to read from the scroll of the prophet of Isaiah, and reads:

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
 He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners 
and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

     After this, Jesus rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

     Jesus announced his mission using Isaiah 61. And before realizing that connection, Jesus announced his mission in my heart using Isaiah 61, too. As I was reflecting on that yesterday, I realized something. Of course he would use that same scripture to give direction to my life. And why? Because it is His mission we are living for, not our own.

Matthew 16:24 says "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Follow what Christ does. 
         What does Christ do? Read Isaiah 61. 

In Matthew 26:39, Jesus cries out to the Father and says, "Not as I will, but as You will." 
         What does the Father will? Salvation through Christ for all peoples.

He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, 
according to the purpose of his will
(Ephesians 1:5)

For this is the will of God, that every one who sees the Son 
and believes in him should have eternal life. 
(John 6:40)

I've also been learning through Isaiah that God's will is His glory.

" gain for Himself an everlasting renown."

" make for yourself (God) a glorious name."

"For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? 
I will not yield my glory to another."

" that you may know that I am Lord."

" that men may know there is none besides me."

     That all may know His salvation and He may receive all glory. That is what we as Christians should live and even die for. That is what I am learning to do, as I graciously thank Christ for reminding me of His mission and how it is mine as well.

Also, a quick thought from my journal--something that was so simple, but so profound, especially as I am struggling with finances and leaving in August:

Pain and suffering--these are usually seen as bad. But as I begin to think about my 'suffering' in raising funds for the Fall, I am reminded just how much suffering is a gift. In suffering, God gives us Himself, which is the greatest gift to be given. So suffering should be rejoiced in! (1 Peter 1:6-7; James 1:2-4) God gives us Himself--to learn, grow, be comforted, understand that He is all we need. Thank you, Lord, for very literally giving me yourself.

Thanks for reading all my random thoughts. Praying that you are blessed through your sufferings and that God may be glorified!


Monday, June 25, 2012

tid-bits and a challenge.

Pray. Give. Go. Three powerful words that encouraged my heart as I shared at a small church in Union City yesterday. Thanks again to Crosswind who encouraged my heart and reminded me that indifference is not an option.

 Here's a few updates:
*Today is June 25. 41 days until August 5. Oh, what a countdown!

*I got my overseas address! If you are interested in sending me letters/boxes/'s the info.

For letters and regular mail:
Brittany Barthol
Mercy Maternity Center
PO Box 81227
Davao City  8000

For shipping via UPS or large Forex Boxes:
Brittany Barthol
Mercy Maternity Center
10 First Opal Street
Near Corner Veloso/Dakudao
Davao City  8000
Tel.  63-82-224-1482

*As of today, I am right at ~25% funded for the Fall in the Philippines. Even though the countdown to my departure is exciting, it has become a bit daunting as well, as 41 days are left for that 25% to be 100%. There are several ways to financially support, with one-time gifts or monthly pledges. I have had some response to monthly donations that have been so wonderful. Thank you to those who can give! If you want to give, ANY amount helps, I promise! Please let me know if you can support, have any ideas fundraising-wise, etc.
      *Supporting a birth costs about $80. If you are interested in this option, I will send a picture and short story about the baby and the family you specifically assisted. Be sure to notify me if this is the avenue you wish to support.
     *Also, Newlife International School of Midwifery is unique in that student fees go directly to fund the clinic. The clinic is self-supported and funded by the students enrolled in the school. The fees are based on the amount of births at the clinic each year. Last year it was over 1500, with 20,000 patients annually in for prenatal exams!! This clinic offers wonderful labor and delivery services free of charge to those who would not be able to afford it. 

    *Here's the monthly goal I want to challenge you with: If I have 25 friends pledge $20 each month for the next 6 months (July-December 2012), MORE THAN HALF of the fees for Spring 2013 would be covered! $20--a few coffee's worth, your pocket change from the month. Think about it. Pray about it.

Finally, I want to continue to say thank you to everyone who has shown great support for me and this ministry. I am confident that the Lord can use such a practical, common avenue such a child-birth to bring the lost to salvation and life abundant in Him. The director of the clinic I will volunteer with posted this link to an article on maternal health in the Philippines. ( It is a short read and shines light on the high maternal mortality rates. Add this to the reasons I am compelled to go.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Midsummer Update.

It’s June 12. I’m right in the middle of my summer break. In seven weeks, I’m done with my summer, and I move across the world. Hello, reality.

        It would be wonderful to say that the past six or so weeks have been carefree, without worry, all fun. But that wouldn’t be true. These past six weeks have been tough. Tougher than I anticipated. Tougher in more than one way. Tougher than I have been able to handle on my own. But amidst the toughness, I have found a wellspring of gratitude.

Romans 5:1-5 says “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

This passage has been a constant comfort and reminder of where the root of my joy should stem from. Paul writes that we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And also that we rejoice in suffering which produces perseverance, which produces character, which produces hope. And that hope does not disappoint us.

The Hope of the Glory of God. What does that even mean? How does God even get glory?

        God has been teaching me that He gets glory from people turning from the world, embracing His salvation, and living gospel-centered lives. Lives that deny self. Lives that seek first His Kingdom.  

2 Corinthians 3:18 describes this glory. “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

        To be completely transparent, I have been struggling a lot with the financial aspect of moving to the Philippines. I have been granted peace in knowing that God intends for me to go. He has displayed His faithfulness in the little and big things over the past year in getting me to where I am today. But it seems like once summer hit, the anxiety immediately began to rise in my heart and no support has come in at all. Sometimes I feel like there are a thousand and one things I should be doing to try to raise support. Other times I am reminded that no matter what I do, I am helpless without the favor and hand of the Lord. It is a back-and-forth tug on my heart, and I know that Satan is at the root of my doubt.

        God has been gracious to remind me over and over through my study of Isaiah that HE will fulfill His promises, that HE is always with me.

“They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split the rock and water gushed out.” 
Isaiah 48:21

“Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted, you who are far from righteousness. I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel.” 
Isaiah 46:12-13

A verse that the Lord has used over the past few years in my life comes to mind. 

 “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
Psalm 27:13-14

I am confident that on August 5 I will board a plane to move my few possessions and myself over to the Philippines. I am STILL confident that my God, who created the earth and everything in it, will stay true to Himself, in what He has revealed in my heart, and that He will get His glory—the glory in which we rest our hope!

I found this written in the back of my Bible from where I heard it sometime this past semester: 
“God is not going to call you to do something you can do on your own.”

I am beginning to learn this full well.

Please pray!

*Pray for financial support to come in. (Matthew 7:7-8)
*Pray that Satan be bound from God’s work through Newlife. May we who are entering in take up the shield of faith that we will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 
(Ephesians 6:16)
*Pray and ask the Lord how He would have you be involved in His plan of drawing all peoples to Himself. Whether it be in praying, financially supporting, going, mobilizing, or other ways, ask God to use you for the redemption of His people in the world.
*Pray for the people God has prepared for me and the other girls to meet and minister to. May people come to know salvation in Christ through the work we will be doing.
*Pray also for me that whenever I open my mouth, words may given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel. (Ephesians 6:19)