Encouragement Blog

Welcome to my encouragement blog. My name is Jan Whitmore

Jan 429873 Author picture Janice Whitmore

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. NKJV 

 

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  1. n-sinkhole-large570Gordey Eframov was travelling home in his Lada Niva in south eastern Ukraine when he suddenly found the ground vanishing underneath him. He said, “Because of the rain, traffic was going slowly and then when the car in front of me stopped I put on the brakes and slowed down. Then I suddenly got a sinking feeling and before I knew it, I was disappearing into the road. The car tipped onto its side and muddy waters started to flood in through the air vents and door.” Police said the broken drain had been leaking rainwater into the soil underneath the road, washing away the foundations and causing it to collapse when the car paused above. Police spokesperson said, “It was an accident waiting to happen. As long as the cars were moving fast over the top, it bore the weight, but once a motorist stopped, it was too much and it gave way.

    • “What happened there? The ground just gave way under my feet.”
    • “I didn’t see that coming.”

    On the one-hand, Gordey Eframov did not see the sinkhole coming, yet, on the other-hand the choice “not to maintain” the road meant that disaster was simply waiting to happen. The ground opened up, not primarily because of the traffic or external circumstances, but because of the lack of investment in the sub-terrain. The government spent its money elsewhere. Scientists say sinkholes occur when underground resources gradually dry up, causing the surface to lose its underlying support. Everything caves in – forming an ugly pit.

    What a prophetic picture for our time. It calls to mind God’s warning in the book of Jeremiah:

    'For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns — broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13 NKJV).

    God in His great love offers absolutely everything – “everything for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him” (2 Peter 1:3). Amazing love, acceptance, fellowship, friendship, provision, protection, strength, power, wisdom, understanding, ability, nourishment and much more – but we, His people, often prefer to go it alone, by our own ability and resources, with so little prayer-reference to the Lord. Providing for ourselves, we “do life” our way. Sime times we even boast, “I’m independent and that’s the way I want it!” It ends in disaster – sinkholes are being prepared, not by God, but by our own choices. God’s heart weeps for the adultery of His people.

    The Ukraine chose not to invest in vital maintenance to infrastructure, and for a long time they got away with it. The road looked “fit for purpose” and held up. However, one day it collapsed and neglect was exposed.

    What lies in the sub-terrain of our Christian hearts? Paul says,

    “Let each one take heed how he builds. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire (1 Corinthians 3:9-15 NKJV).

    dsc00640Is there recovery from sinkholes? Yes, there is a recovery fully provided for by the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. What love! When disaster strikes, He waits for the invitation to step in to rescue, recover and rebuild our lives, from the inside out. Attentively, He brings us to healing repentance, which marks the beginning of a strong and purposeful recovery. God never abandons, ridicules or laughs at the demise of His people – He is always the Rescuer, the Redeemer, the Restorer.

    1. Acknowledge brokenness. God will come swiftly to help.

    Sinkhole-prayers tend to be quite short and desperate: “Help!" or “O God!”

         2.  Acknowledge, without reserve and defence, how and when you have forsaken God.

    Diminishing spiritual vibrancy always leads to spiritual hardening. Truth is we have placed family, friends, pursuits and things ahead of a love-relationship with Jesus. We may kick and scream saying, “I’ve not forsaken God. It was not my fault. I meant no harm. Nobody else was hurt.” However, do not be hasty. What really lies in our hearts is often well hidden, even from us. More often than not, we are far too busy with other things to notice spiritual erosion—the gradual spiritual cooling and seemingly harmless compromise don’t even hit a conscious level.

    1. Take time to assess the damage, letting God and Godly friends provide the insight, wisdom and counsel needed to make the good recovery.

    In moving on too quickly, we miss God’s voice in the crisis. What is He saying? What is His counsel? Diarise time alone with the Lord. Step away from the family, friends and the crowds. Step away from responsibility and enter your “closet”, giving Him time to speak personally. Some other priorities will need to shift to honour Him in this process!

        4.  Be prepared to allow God to dismantle and remove the broken cisterns before rebuilding.

    Come to the place where confession of sin is specific, not merely general. Repentance is deep when we feel the weight and contamination of our sin! First, we have sinned against God – and that is serious. True repentance is soaked in tears, not smiles. What was the cause of the sinkhole? The most common is sexual sin, selfishness, self-sufficiency, self-reliance and self-opinion. God desires dependence upon Him, not independence from Him.

    In rebuilding, He will provide a new “cistern”, or to use another Biblical analogy, “wineskin” (Luke 5: 38) that can store and preserve the pure and living water of God – the Holy Spirit.

       5. Set new priorities and choose your friends carefully.

    Start over, making God top priority. Set a guard on time with Him. Learn to be diligent in seeking the Lord, not casual (Hebrews 11:6). Develop intimacy in worship and prayer (Psalm 95: 6-11). Study the Word of God (Colossians 3:16), letting it shape and govern life. Let His voice be your guiding voice (Psalm 19: 4-11). Carefully choose Christian friends who are both passionate for God and love you enough to speak truth.

    “I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth — praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the LORD” (Psalm 40:1-3 NKJV).

    Jan Whitmore

    18 September 2015

     

  2. Making Disciples International

     Newsletter September 2015

    God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1 NKJV).

    What a beautiful Scripture! “Present help” means “a help that has been found to be reliable, or proven to be a reliable stronghold in the past, so that any future calamity is no reason to fear”. As we put our trust in the Lord for each step or season in our lives, we discover He is utterly reliable. He leads, provides and sometimes carries us through — even though we may not be conscious of Him doing so. He builds a strong faith deposit in us, a full memory bank of His loving-kindness, which knows no fear, whatever the future holds.

    As we prepare for the ministry season ahead the Lord said, “Jan, Mintie, represent Me – be My present help”. Be strong in faith, helping others attain faith; be reliable and be faithful as I send you alongside those I love”. We pray we may be exactly that as we visit two mission workers at the WEC HQ, 26-28 September, and workers in Israel, 12 October – 10 November 2015.

    APPOINTMENTS IN GERMANY

    In August, the Holy Spirit prompted us to visit dear friends in north Germany. It meant a quick turnaround of just 3/4 weeks. After organising travel for the motorhome—two campsites on route in Belgium and Germany, packing the motorhome van with gifts, we headed out on God’s adventure. The first embrace, with many tears flowing, confirmed the timeliness of the weeklong visit. Day by day, He imparted new strength to those who felt isolated and low. Olga said, “I’ve seen how busy you’ve been over the years, visiting with many people, and I’ve wondered if God knows where I am”. God “knew her thoughts from afar” (Psalm 139) and called on us to go! Isn’t it special to know that God hears the cries of our hearts and sends help – He is a “present help”, utilising His willing and available children.

    However, Germany had much more to it than we could see! God had a yet more expansive plan. “Out of the blue” a German missionary, serving in South Africa, contacted us on our German campsite. She came to several of the retreats we led for single missionaries, 1992 – 2014. “Can I come and see you? I’m home on leave and am close by where you are staying”. The “unplanned” visit took place in our motorhome on the campsite. What a joy! dsc_0716It is usual for missionaries to want time to share their burdens and needs, but this missionary wanted to come and share what God had been doing in her life as a cause of the ministry she’d received at the retreats for single missionaries. For 2 hours without a breath, she excitedly recounted the healing, transformation and spiritual growth. She wanted to say, “thank you”. God touched us very deeply. Not many return to say thank you.

    Thank you so much for your prayers for the journey. We avoided five accidents by God’s grace —unforeseen delays meant we were free of trouble. In addition, because we arrived at the channel tunnel (Le Shuttle) a day earlier than booked, we met no trouble at the Calais port. The following day, the day of our original booking, all sorts of trouble broke out among the migrants trying to gain access to the UK. God takes care of us all.

    PASTORAL VISITS UK

    This month we meet with two mission workers at the WEC HQ west of London, 26 – 28 September 2015. Lee Choo Chun works in Asia with Healthcare Christian Fellowship. Gweno Hugh-Jones works with WEC UK. Lee Choo is participating in the HCF conference in Wales. She attended our final MET retreat, a training retreat, in the Czech Rep in May 2013. It marked the end of MET. She was one of 30 to whom we “passed on the baton” of our ministry (front left of the picture). How special to have the opportunity to meet together again, to hear how God is leading, to encourage and pray with her. Gweno, who also knows Lee Choo from the same retreat, is hosting the reunion.

    Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.

    Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces.”

    Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek your good.

    Psalm122: 6-9

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    DISCIPLESHIP TRAINING, INDIA

    This month, Jan taught at the YWAM DTS (Discipleship Training School) in India, via Skype. She is in regular contact with Chandu, to encourage the leader of the school. What a unique experience and all without an airfare!

     

     

     

    JERUSALEM, ISRAEL

    From 12 October – 10 November 20

    15, we are following up on our work among the Christian workers in Jerusalem and in the Galilee. We have an apartment in the German Colony, Jerusalem, which will be the hub of fellowship, debriefing, and one on one sharing and prayer. Ahead of time, we have asked workers to express their needs so that we can gather goods to bless each one. We are booking in two extra suitcases to take personal gifts with us. Already, English tea, Redbush tea, marmite, skin creams, soap, vitamins, cheddar cheese, and books have been requested. Can you help?

    HOW YOU CAN HELP

    1. We need finances to buy these gifts. Would you give generously into the “manna pot” to make the purchases possible?
    2. We want to carry an offering to Jerusalem for the work of “Helping Hands”. They feed the homeless, Jew and Arab, on the streets of Jerusalem. This is a wonderful way to fulfil the command to “comfort Israel”.

    PRAY FOR US

    • Clean hands and a pure heart to be prepared vessels of the Lord
    • To be led by the Holy Spirit to God’s appointments
    • Good health, strength to endure
    • A generous offering for God’s servants

     DETAILS OF GIVING

    Visit “Donations” on our website: www.makingdisciples.co.uk

    Internet transfers, PayPal and other methods of giving are possible in the UK, USA and South Africa

    Thank you so much to all who give regularly toward the ministry. Thank you too to those who have already given toward the Israel ministry. God bless you all.

    In Jesus' love, Jan & Mintie

  3. habakkuk 3 17

    The Dead Sea, Israel. What a Scripture of hope. When all is stripped away, what is the response of our hearts? "Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation".To "joy" = "gil" in Hebrew, means "dancing for joy / spinning around with intense motion". How is that possible when things are so dire? Because God is sovereign, He is my God, and no matter what happens He will look out for me. Now that is worth spinning for!

  4. Does life move in circles or does it follow an individual linear path? Depending on what nationality we may speak to, there will be different answers. However, whatever the culture, God is the Eternal Weaver of life. Given permission, He powerfully and precisely intertwines the cords of His life with the threads of ours. He weaves shapes and creates His gracious character and will in us. He works in us individually, but life does not find its true meaning in isolation. Here’s an awesome truth: When my whole life was placed fully into His hands, He had the means on earth of rewarding the faith of another who was seeking His help.

    In the 1990’s, I travelled in a campervan with my colleague and friend, Mintie Nel, to pastorally visit missionaries on the mission field. We were – and still are – God’s encouragers. Just as Paul journeyed, dispensing encouragement and stirring the saints to faith in God and His Word, so we travelled in our motorhome coming alongside many serving missionaries in Europe. The adventure kindled spiritual fire in our bones.

    holland missionaries (20)In July 1996, we pulled up our packed motorhome alongside the home of a single missionary in Holland. Jenny Lowen, a South African, worked at the YWAM Base in Heidebeek. She was a joy to visit and any encouragement shared was refreshingly mutual. In usual meticulous fashion, we had prepared a beautiful gift-box full of fragrant and sweet delights to convey God’s personal and unconditional love, and His appreciation of her obedience to His bidding. It was a short but effective visit. From Holland, we moved on into Eastern Europe, remaining in email contact with Jenny, tracing her missionary movements with love and care. Jenny is an itinerant Discipleship Training School teacher in YWAM. Whilst she was based in Holland, Switzerland or the UK, in reality God trekked her all over the world. Our paths have touched for brief moments during the last 20 years.

    The last few years have vigorously exercised Mintie and me. In 2007, when I married the most darling of men – Des Whitmore, our home situation dramatically changed. Having shared a home with Mintie for 15 years, Des was sent to gloriously “upset the apple-cart”. God was shaking our nest and as difficult as it was, our living arrangements had to change. Des insisted the ministry progressed and that Mintie lived with us, so he built a beautiful self-contained annexe to our house in Ferring - thoughtfully accommodating Mintie’s disability. He would live in Mintie’s house and Mintie would live next door in his! However, after Des passed away in 2011, we found ourselves sitting in a house that was far more than we personally needed, or indeed could naturally afford. Should we move? Should we downsize? It was a matter of prayer. Only God could decide.

    Last year (2014) news reached our ears that Jenny, now based at YWAM, Holmsted Manor, UK, had suffered terrible flooding in her basement apartment. Treasured and sentimentally valuable items belonging to her family (now with the Lord) ruined by sewage. She was homeless. Disturbed by the details of the flood and Jenny’s worsening health, we sent word that we were praying for her. Many friends gathered to her aid and God opened up comfortable but temporary accommodation.

    Some weeks later, during lunch with a mutual friend of Jenny, once again the extent of her plight reached the ears of Mintie and I. I asked, “What exactly is Jenny praying for? Does she want to move away from Holmsted Manor? Is it time to leave community living?” Our friend answered, “Jenny is actively looking in the vicinity of the YWAM base for an annexe attached to a house – it is most probably all she can afford”.

    The words quickened to our spirits and had penetration. Mintie and I kicked one another under the table. Were we the instrument of God to bring blessing and shelter? Two weeks of prayer and conversation led us to offer Jenny the annexe to our home. Mintie would move back into her old bedroom in the main house and Jenny would live in the annexe. She was overwhelmed with joy at the offer and in March 2015 she became our lodger / neighbour.

    In April 2015, whilst sorting through her many unpacked boxes, Jenny found some old personal journals. Randomly opening one she read the following:

    Taken from Jenny Lowen’s journal:

    25 August 1996: ‘I’ve had 2 dreams since Jan and Mintie came at the end of July…. (1996)

    Dream 1) “I dreamt that J & M moved into a BIG space and proceeded to make rooms of it and furnish it. They were very organised. Towards the end of the dream, I realised that I was moving into the room next door.

    Dream 2) “I moved into a big space and needed to start furnishing it – I could do it sparsely but people gave me things to put into it.  To me, this means my home is being found and being furnished!”

    Then I received a word from the Lord on 23rd January 1997

    “I am assured I’m going in God’s will and He’s prepared a place for me. A warm lovely little HOME, roses, flowers, a little dog; preparing a hospitable place for those who’re tired; all my needs provided”.

    Jenny may have long forgotten those words but our covenant keeping God had not. We had no idea they existed.

    In 1996, when God spoke to Jenny in the dreams, Mintie and I owned a motorhome and lived in a small mortgaged house in Worthing, UK. In 2002, God clearly instructed us “to go bigger”. We sensed He had plans for a home to bless missionaries. We didn’t have the money but we stepped out in faith, sowing all that we had into His will. God provided us with our present “bigger” house – mortgage free. Hallelujah! It was a house with modest grounds and good potential. In 2007, my surprise from God arrived - Des came along and extended it ostensibly for Mintie. Then, compassionately, upon hearing God speak to her heart, Mintie moved back into her old bedroom in the main house and made room for Jenny to make a new home in the Annexe. All this God had revealed in a dream to Jenny long before any of it was substance. But what about the prophesied “little dog”?

    dsc_0621Two years ago (2013), after years of patiently waiting, Mintie felt it was the right time to choose a little puppy to become part of the family – she called her Tikva, which is Hebrew for “hope”. Did God see Tikva when He spoke in a dream to Jenny in 1997? Of course, He did, and arranged for Tikva to be here for Jenny’s arrival in 2015. He knows the end from the beginning. He weaves all the details together. He knows and always acts for our blessing and good. Never doubt that the Master Weaver is at work. It is only by faith we recognise His handiwork!

    Psalm 139:1-6

    “O LORD, You have searched me and known me.  You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it.” NKJV