Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

I used to be like most people in the check-out line, waiting impatiently for the checker to scan my items and bag them so I could be on my way. Then, one day a few years ago, I actually stopped long enough to look at the person scanning my groceries…really look at them. And what I saw was a tired, sullen lady, mechanically scanning my items without even looking up. Instantly, I felt a check in my spirit—you know the one—the sweet prompting from the Holy Spirit to reach out.

So, I simply asked, “How is your day going?”

With the look she gave me, you would have thought those 5 words were, “You’ve just won the lottery.” She literally stopped scanning, looked up, and gave me the biggest smile.

“Thank you so much for asking!” She replied. Then, she went on to share with me all about her day. Her whole demeanor had changed! I helped bag my groceries, wished her a wonderful day, and left the store in shock at what one simple question could do.

Since that day, I’ve made it a point to ask that same question as often as I can. At the gas station, the drive-thru, the post office…and every time I ask it, I’m blown away at the wide-open door that results from taking a moment to simply care.

My friends, isn’t that what walking the walk is? It’s caring for others as we care for ourselves. It’s taking the mundane moments and turning them into opportunities to bless others—even if it’s only with a question!

So, here is the challenge. Begin asking God for opportunities to bless people. Ask Him to lift your impatience long enough to look someone in the eye and ask how they are. Ask the Lord for a listening ear—not a half-listening ear, glued to your smartphone—a genuine, tuned-in ear that really cares.

You may not realize this, but our ministry at Christians Care International is full of asking. We ask God for divine direction. We ask our faithful donors for support. We ask our suffering Jewish brothers and sisters how we can best help them. Asking is such a big part of what we do! 

This passage in Matthew 7 describes it best…

 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:7-12)

You know, most children in elementary school learn the Golden Rule and can recite it by heart. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” But let us not merely recite these words, my friends. Let’s look at others beyond the surface of the check-out counter. Let’s ask ourselves how we would want to be treated if we were in their shoes. Then, let’s take that opportunity to connect.

I’m truly grateful for that day in the check-out line several years ago. I sometimes wonder how many times God tried to wake me up to the needs of others, but I was too preoccupied to listen. However, it is never too late to start caring. Ask God for that check in your spirit, prompted by His Spirit, to notice someone in need. Then, simply ask, “How is your day going?”

Walking the walk with all of you,

Jennifer Waddle, CCI Ministry Development Team

Standing in The Gap

Olivia Acute Leukemia

On the evening of February 4th, 1999, my husband and I welcomed our only daughter into the world. She was round and pink with a head full of dark hair and we were instantly smitten by her. The nurse wrapped her in a blanket and handed her to me—she was the loveliest thing I’d ever seen! 

Moments later, the nurse leaned over and said, “I need to take her for a minute.” My daughter was rushed to a nearby examining table where nurses began suctioning her throat and doctors began filling the room. Something was terribly wrong.

Hours later, I followed my husband to the NICU where our girl was intubated with a breathing tube. Unbeknownst to us, she had been born with a benign tumor called a teratoma that had grown above her soft palate and was largely blocking her airway. 

Through intensive surgery and weeks of recovery, the worry and fear we experienced was grueling. There were moments where we faced the unthinkable possibility of losing our daughter. At my lowest point, I remember leaning over her hospital bassinet and coming to the realization that God might not heal our baby. I was faced with this question:

Will I still be able to say that God is good if He chooses not to heal?

Oh, how I wrestled with that question! My prayers turned to cries, which turned to begging, which finally turned to…surrender. It was at that moment of surrender that I began to sing…

God is so good, He’s so good to me.

Over and over I sang that chorus, clinging to the Scripture, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!”(Psalm 107:1)

If you’ve ever experienced a serious medical challenge with a child or loved one, you know that sinking feeling of helplessness. There is, perhaps, no worse fear than the possibility of losing a life that is precious to you.

As you may know, Christians Care International has walked the healing journey with many families over the years. One of the most recent journeys has been with the family of our dear, sweet, Olivia, who is fighting for her life with a battle against Acute Leukemia. I can only imagine the worry and fear that has gripped Olivia’s parents as they helplessly stand by, hoping for the best.

My friends, let us stand in the gap for precious Olivia and for many others who deserve a fighting chance! As CCI assists Jewish orphans, widows, Holocaust survivors, and suffering families in Ukraine, let’s join hands in prayer and life-saving medical contributions. Without our help, there would be little chance for them to get the proper medical attention, or even have a chance at survival.

Along with supporting our Emergency Aid Program, I’d like to personally encourage you to reach out to someone close to you who is facing a medical challenge. Because my family went through it, I know how much it means to have people rally to your side.

Bringing hot meals, caring for our older children, purchasing gift cards, and offering to run errands for us were things people did during those weeks of medical crisis. I can’t tell you how wonderful even the smallest acts of kindness were!

Who needs your prayers and loving support during their current medical challenge? Will you find a way to reach out and support them? Thank you for standing in the gap. Your kindness will forever be remembered!

Walking the walk with all of you,

Jennifer Waddle, CCI Ministry Development Team

All In and In Step

We’d been fishing for nearly an hour when my grown son leaned over and said, “Uh, Mom, do you still have bait on your line?” 

“Oh, yeah,” I replied, confidently. “I’m sure I do.”

Then my son asked, “Do you have a weight on your line? Most of the fish are at the bottom.” 

Reeling in, I saw that there was no weight. There was no bait. And there was no hook! I’d been so sure I knew what I was doing, (and equally sure I was going to catch the first fish), I’d rushed to get my line in the water without securing it.

So it is with the Christian life, isn’t it? We are so confident we know what we are doing, we take off running, only to realize we’ve run way ahead of the Lord without His provision.

Walking the walk of faith is both “all-in” and “in-step.”

If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)

So what does this mean for our day-to-day lives, my friends?

I’m afraid there have been some confusing messages concerning the call to follow Christ. And if we’re completely honest, being “all in” for the Lord can feel overwhelming. 

However, what if walking the walk is really about small, faithful steps of love? In your sphere of influence—your family, neighborhood, and community, who might need an extension of God’s love through you?

A family member might need your forgiveness and a fresh start.

A neighbor might need your time and talent to help finish a task.

A homeless person might need a meal and a listening ear.

My friends, this is what walking the walk looks like!

You should know, that it is only by taking one faithful and loving step at a time that we, at Christians Care International, are able to reach our suffering Jewish brothers and sisters in Ukraine. Although we are eager to help as many as we possibly can, we know that it is by extending God’s love to one beloved person at a time that we are making the greatest impact for His people.

So, my friends, in what way will you walk the walk today? Don’t be overwhelmed! Be encouraged. You don’t have to rush to be the first one to cast your line. You don’t need to worry about who catches the first fish. Your small cast of love is the perfect first step!

My son and I still laugh about the day I cast my line into the water without bait or hook. It’s a silly memory I won’t forget. But it’s also a reminder that there is a sea of people in need of God’s love. Whatever sandy shore you find yourself standing on today, please know that the tiniest ripple you cast will join the swell of other ripples, becoming a wave of God’s unstoppable love.

Walking the walk with all of you,

Jennifer Waddle, CCI Ministry Development Team 

It Is Written

“You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” (Matthew 4:10)

It’s just like the enemy to wait until we are most vulnerable, before creeping in to cast doubt and confusion, isn’t it? Upon the weary mother, he whispers, “You don’t have what it takes.”

Or, to the struggling student, he says, “Give up now.”

Especially when people are doing the work of the Father in heaven, the adversary swoops in like a summer storm without warning. And if we aren’t prepared, we may be thrown into a whirlwind of doubt and confusion.

Jesus knew, all too well, the severe temptation to give up, give in, and believe the lies of the enemy. After forty days and nights of fasting in the desert, He was at his lowest physical point. By all human standards, it wouldn’t have taken much for Him to command the stones to become bread as Satan ordered Him to do in Matthew chapter four.

Yet, as I read about the temptation of Jesus, and the wiles of the devil coming at Him over and over, I see a common theme. Three times, in the first eleven verses, Jesus responds to Satan with the words, “It is written.” He then follows it with the very words of God, to silence the enemy. In fact, the third time Jesus replies, he precedes it by shouting, “Away with you, Satan!” 

What an amazing example for us. On this mission to defend our Jewish brothers and sisters, the enemy will try to set up roadblocks at every turn. He will constantly say, “Give up now. You don’t have what it takes.” Yet, with the absolute truth of God’s Word, we can plow right through every blockade that stands against us!

Are you sensing the rising up of strength as you read this? God’s mighty power is working in each of us—the same power that raised Jesus from the dead! For the Holy Spirit nurtures, feeds, and strengthens us, even when we are coming out of a long desert season. In fact, it is when we are weak that He is very strong.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-11)

God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. In our infirmities, persecutions, and distresses, the power of Christ rests upon us and we are made stronger than ever.

Dear ones, whether you are at your lowest point today, or on the highest pinnacle of life, arm yourself with the most powerful ammunition you could ever carry—the Word of God. And, when the enemy comes, setting up false signs that say, “Road closed,” knock them down with the simple, yet powerful proclamation…“It is written.”

Remember The Joy?

“As soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.”  (Luke 1:44)

I still remember the big, white bus that came through our neighborhoods, picking kids up for the Wednesday night service at a church across town. I also remember the one and only time I rode that bus with my two-year-old brother at my side. I was terrified!

The leaders in the front of the bus sang, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart,” while I clung to my little brother, fearful of the unknown. Once we got to the church, they separated us, whisking my brother away to the preschool room while I was taken to the first-grade class. I cried. Needless to say, we never rode the Joy Bus again!

A dozen years later, as I came up out of the baptismal water, having met my Savior, I finally knew what it meant to have the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart…a joy that was there to stay.

Luke chapter one records the indescribable joy that caused an unborn babe to leap in his mother’s womb. That same joy, from the Holy Spirit, would carry John the Baptist through a life of all-out commitment to the Lord. There is, perhaps, no better example of a person walking the walk of missional living. Through hot desert days and cold desert nights, with cries in the wilderness, John preached the message of the kingdom of God.

I can only imagine the isolation he must have felt, as he spoke about a foreign gospel, introduced the baptism of repentance, and set himself apart to prepare the way for the Messiah. Ridicule and mockery must have been his lifelong companions, as he walked the walk of devotion to Christ. For John, there were no seasons of laid-back complacency. To him, joy was the fuel for his mission.

Do you remember the joy?

For each believer, joy resides deep within, not as a superficial happiness mustered up by a positive outlook, but by the fruit of the Holy Spirit. It supersedes the “stuff” of life, the ups and downs, and rollercoaster rides of circumstance.

Think about it for a moment. John hadn’t even taken his first breath, when he was moved with joy by the Holy Spirit in his mother’s womb. From the very beginning, joy propelled John into a wholly-devoted life for the sake of Christ!

In reflection of John’s testimony, I have to ask. Where is the joy that once inspired us to leap in whole-hearted devotion to God? I’m contemplating the same question, as I sense the ever-growing tide of complacency rising to untold heights.

It’s everywhere…this lack of urgency, lack of compassion, lack of…joy. I’m afraid we’ve lost the conviction that once made us leap in response to God’s Spirit. The joy that used to motivate us has faded into the background of a distant calling. 

And yet, there is hope. 

There is hope in Paul’s words to the Philippians, when he said, “I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)

I am sure of this!

I am sure that we can move forward in the mission of CCI, no matter what wilderness lies ahead. Together, we can remember the joy that first called us. And in that joy, of wholehearted devotion to God, we can walk the walk in leaps and bounds.

In the Love of Jesus

In case you haven’t noticed, things are changing in this world. On every continent, in every city, and within every heart, something is stirring.

For some of us, it is an unwelcome stirring that we’d rather ignore, as we continue doing what we’ve always done. Yet, others of us are sensing a mighty stirring to put feet to our faith like never before.

Welcome to Walking the Walk. It is our sincerest prayer that this weekly encouragement will be far more than another blog that fills your cluttered inbox. We want to stir up a community of like-minded Christians to “leave their nets behind” and follow in Jesus’ footsteps of love, compassion, and outreach.

At Christians Care International, we want to go further than we’ve ever gone before. And, it might surprise you to know that it all starts with the simplest of things…love. If it is not love that propels us to reach our suffering Jewish brothers and sisters in Ukraine and beyond, then why even bother? Will we not be likened to clanging cymbals, as described in 1 Corinthians chapter 13? It must be our love for God and for others that supersedes all restraints and frees us to walk as Jesus walked.

You may be familiar with the classic book, In His Steps, written by Charles Sheldon in 1896. It tells the story of a pastor who was faced with his own go-through-the-motions religiosity. One day, he unexpectedly came face to face with the poor and broken. It was then that he realized there was a much deeper call to the Christian life than he had been living. From that point on, he challenged the members of his congregation to commit every decision to the Lord and do nothing without first asking, “What would Jesus do?”

Although that phrase has been overly commercialized, it still has great merit for our lives. The way Jesus spoke to people, interacted with people, and most of all loved people, is the perfect pattern for our lives!

In 1 John 3:18, we are reminded, “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”

In deed and in truth…my friends, this is love.

Things are changing. There is no more time to merely talk about answering God’s calling to bless our suffering Jewish brothers and sisters. We must rise up and cast off the limits of our own religiosity. (I’m typing this just as loudly to my own heart as I am to yours!)

The truth is, our Jewish brothers and sisters need our help right now. As you are reading this, Jewish orphans and underprivileged children are suffering, Jewish mothers and fathers are unable to feed and care for their children, and Holocaust Survivors and the elderly are in desperate need our life-saving care and loving companionship.

What would Jesus do? 

As I study the life of Jesus in the Gospels, I can’t help but notice that once He began His ministry, it continued through His very last breath. He didn’t take vacations from loving people. He didn’t conform to the religious duties imposed by man-made traditions. He simply let love put one foot in front of the other until it led Him to a wooden cross.

So, my friends here is the challenge for us. Are we ready to let Christ’s love propel us into walking the walk? I cannot tell you how grateful I am to be on this journey with you! For I know that many of you are sensing the stir of rapid change in this world. But instead of finding it an unwelcome inconvenience, you are seeing it as an opportunity to put feet to your faith and walk as Jesus walked.

In His love,

Jennifer Waddle

CCI Ministry Development Team