Monday, July 28, 2008

Amy Carmichael - An Irish Missionary who became "Amma" to the Tamil Children

Amy Carmichael who was lovingly called "Amma" or mother in the local language by the people of South India was born on December 16, 1867 in Northern Ireland in an Irish Christian Family as the oldest of the seven children. Amy was considered as a rebellious, mischievous girl, but when she was 13 she accepted Jesus Christ as her personal savior and that made a roundabout change in her life.

As a prelude to Amy Carmichael's ministry, a breakthrough incident took place on a rainy, Sunday morning when Amy and her two brothers were returning home from church. They saw an elderly, frail, ragged woman struggling to carry a heavy load. Amy instantaneously helped her although with a feeling of disgrace, with all the church people walking home looking down on her. At that moment, a verse from the Bible came alive -"Gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is because the Day will bring it to light and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives " - I Cor 3:12-14. The last part of the verse was so audible that she stopped a while to look for the owner of the voice, but she could not find anyone. The rest of the day she spent in prayer and pondered over the mysterious event that had changed her values.  Thereafter, she started involving herself in various services to the downtrodden and the needy.

In 1892, she was called to the mission field. She initially thought that her mission field was Japan and so she served there for 15 months. However, she realized that God had a different destination for her, and eventually, she landed on the Indian subcontinent in 1895, where God established her ministry.

One of her remarkable services is among the abused female children of South India. She rescued the children from a horrible life of being destined to temple prostitution. She reared them, taught them the Word of God, and showed them the wonderful love of Jesus in obedience to the Lord who said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them." - Matthew 19:14. Amy Carmichael opened a refuge for children in Dohnavur, a town named after the German Christian Count Dohna. She also started the Dohnavur Fellowship, which became famous worldwide in later years.

Amy Carmichael exhibited the qualities of Jesus and followed his footsteps all through her life. Some Christian pastors of that time commented that the rearing of children was "demeaning work" but this did not stop Amy, as she had in mind that Jesus once washed the feet of his disciples.“He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.” - John 13:4. She also had a conviction that bringing up Indian children in the love of Christ would cause greater results than what a foreigner could do to evangelize India.

Amy Carmichael does not fail to remind us that we Christians are appointed unto afflictions, “That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.” {there unto: or, to sufferings, or, to persecution} - I Thessalonians 3:3 through her poems –

Onward Christian soldiers
Sitting on the mats;
Nice and warm and cozy
Like little pussy cats.

Onward Christian soldiers,
Oh, how brave are we,
Don't we do our fighting
Very comfortably?

Also, the Spirit of God encourages us by bringing to our remembrance that "our light affliction is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." - II Cor 4:17.

Amy Carmichael was a woman of faith, and she looked only to God for all her needs and the needs of her ministry for "without faith it is impossible to please God” - Heb11:6 and “everything that is not from faith is sin” - Roman 14:23. "Faith never wonders why." This she often quoted, practiced, and led others to practice it.

Amy became ill and was confined to bed after an accident. Nevertheless, she was a channel of blessing to many people through several books that she wrote in her bedridden state. Her life revealed that if a person is dedicated unto the Lord regardless of the state or situation, his/her life will surely be a blessing to others. Through her dedicated, devoted, sacrificial life, she exhibited true discipleship to the nations of the world.

It is not important how much we do for the Lord, but how we do, for the fire of God will test the work of every man. In his great love, God has designed wonderful plans for each and every one of us. If we keep our hearts open before Him and completely surrender our lives to His sovereign will, He will unfold His plans to us. The Love of Jesus helps us to become dead to self and world and enables us to obey Him with joyful willingness. His eternal, infinite, earthly, and heavenly blessings are upon them who love Him and serve Him.

Every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my namesake shall receive hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. - Matthew 19:29

Written By: Shanta S. Daniel

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Quest for Acceptance

My life has been a quest for recognition and acceptance. A mid-childhood immigration experience left me at a cultural disadvantage in Canadian sports. I found solace in the army cadet corps and “nerd-like” achievements. Family finances and positive experiences in the Canadian militia reduced higher education options to one: enroll in the Regular Officer Training Program. I joined the Canadian Army in 1965.

The quest begins
Ever since arriving in Canada, I responded to recognition from my friends. My security and happiness was based on acceptance—from friends, from my achievements and from being considered a good man. I longed for a university degree, an officer’s commission and a beautiful wife. All these fueled my desire for acceptance.

The competition
I was later selected for regimental exchange (where one nation sends one of its officers to a regiment in another allied nation in exchange for one of their officers for a period of time). Upon arrival in Germany, I was perplexed to discover that my immediate commander was not a British officer, but an on-fire-for-Jesus American. He excelled academically, athletically and militarily, making me feel less worthy of recognition in comparison. I was determined not to be like this American.

My commander took me to hear a speaker who explained who Jesus is. It was explained that by believing in Jesus, I would be considered a child of God. This was very significant and healing to me as I had a huge deprivation in my father-son relationships. I cannot fully explain it, but I felt like a wind was constantly blowing behind me, as if it was revealing the presence of God.

Very soon after, my boss came over to my home. I agreed to pray the prayer to accept Jesus into my life. I confessed each of my sins specifically and as I did, the physical dimensions of our living room seemed to disappear. It was like a glorious light that gradually grew in intensity filled the room. Not everyone must go through the same experience in order to believe, but for some reason, God decided to reveal his presence to me in such a way. It consumed any doubt I ever had. Jesus did indeed die for me and my sins on the cross and rose from the dead after three days. Jesus is the son of God. The whole Bible is true. I believe that through Jesus, I can have a relationship with God, and full acceptance.

The next twenty years of my life would be considered a success story in the way the world measures success. Although I was eager and active about serving God, in all honesty, success and advancement emerged as an idol. God loved me so much that he gave me a corrective crisis. It taught me to always depend on God first above everything else.

In 1995 I underwent surgery for a brain tumor. The doctors were not very positive and told me that I had a 30% chance of living. Prayers of faith gave me the assurance that I would survive, and I did, though I did not like my post-operative condition. It is a miracle that my talking, swallowing, walking, seeing, and dexterity have been restored. My recovery was so rapid that I managed to pass the military fitness standard and later retired.

Truly in Christ there is no fear of death. Best of all, my God loves me. I am a child of God. My quest for acceptance is over. There is more than enough recognition and acceptance for the rest of my life.

Your quest
If you have been looking for acceptance and recognition but seem to fall short of everyone’s changing expectations, you are not alone. Everyone longs to be accepted and loved. We all know what rejection feels like and try everything we can to avoid that feeling. God has accepted you for who you are, no matter how unworthy you feel. He sent his son Jesus Christ to die for your sins. The quest is over. Christ offers you a relationship with God and full acceptance as God’s child.

You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.  Amen!

An article by Howard Marsh 

If this short testimony has touched you, please feel free to share your thoughts or if you would like to share yours please go ahead without any hesitancy.  May God Bless You!! 

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