Encouragement Blog

Jan Whitmore (nee Rowland)

Jan 429873 Author picture Janice WhitmoreWelcome to my blog. In this fast changing world it is good to meditate on the eternal words of the Bible - they will always remain relevant, stable and constant. I write to stir faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, challenging believers in Jesus to lay hold of the Word of God to the point of transformation of heart. We must hear the Word and do it; listening carefully to the voice of the Lord and being immediately obedient.

I am thankful for the growing faith in my heart and that God still speaks to instruct me in His ways. The older I get the more I realise that whilst the world seeks some new thrill every five minutes, it is only the ancient paths of God that satisfy. Join me and let's learn together.

Currently, my written blog is on hold while I record discipleship-teaching videos. I hope to start making these videos available from 2021. Watch this space!

 

 

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  1. 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

  2. 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!

  3. 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

  4. DSC_0325Sit among Christian believers and raise the question of Israel and you will witness various strong views expressed, often with a dash of acid mixed in. Pro-Jew / pro-Arab or pro-replacement theology and pro-Zionist - all reflect a positional bias. And, when “pro” is used, another positional bias is strongly implied – “against”.

    “Jan, are you pro-Israel or pro-the two-state solution?” I smile. “Neither”.

    “Well, are you pro-Jew or pro-Arab?” I smile. “Neither”.

    “But isn’t that sitting on the fence?”

    “Yes, God’s fence. I’m pro-God and His Word”.

    A while ago, God began teaching me that His sovereign view must become my view – even if I disagree with His words (pride), or I cannot see how His words can be practically worked out today. I remember the day when He said, “Jan, my truth is still truth whether you believe it or not. And I don’t need your help to uphold it!”

    So, I am committed to His Word becoming my word. His loving and merciful heart becoming my heart. What He loves, becoming what I love. And, that means, there are many times when I have to get off my high-horse and surrender my opinionated soul (mind, will and emotions) to Him. The Bible says, my mind is darkened, I lack wisdom and I don’t know how to pray. These days, when “the fire” has swept through my life, I understand more and more that this is true! It is a liberating discovery. “I need Thee every hour”.

    I now realise that I cannot even hear Him speak all the while I have “made up my own mind” over world matters or indeed the Jew and Arab conflict. My worldview and belief-system was largely formed and guided by the BBC, CNN, ITV and other media outlets. With the best will in the world, they boast “unbiased coverage” but inevitably veer down one side or the other, according to what makes the best headline on a given day. Plus, their “coverage” is not based on God’s worldview, as recorded in the Bible and revealed to our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Sadly, it is evident everywhere, that many believers would rather believe and even propagate the views of the media, than God’s eternal and unchanging Word. They swallow the view of the ungodly and unbelieving media. Why? Default really. If our Bibles are made redundant, we don’t care, and we are not diligently seeking the Lord through the Word of God, then the TV, newspapers and magazines shape our minds and opinions. Then our minds will be full of unbelief; this is sin against God.

    I’ve been there, but no more! I am fighting back to burn off my spiritual flab! I’ve taken up a daily exercise program in the Word and in prayer that continuously informs, shapes and transforms my mind, heart and actions. I’m learning to love the presence of God above all other. It is exhilarating and utterly refreshing to gain God’s thoughts / opinion on the matters in His world. How could we be so dumb as to think we know how to run His world? Therefore, many opinions that I thought were reasonable and fair, have been tossed out in favour of God’s higher thoughts of eternity, love, care, mercy and justice. And, in that regard, my thoughts and opinions of Israel have had some radical adjustment, seeking to come into line, and in step with God and His heart (Romans 12 : 1-2).

    Let me come back to the beginning of this blog. Is God for the Jew and thus against the Arab? Is God pro-Palestinian and thus anti-Semitic? Only our carnal and broken minds think like that. God has made an eternal and loving plan which is fully-inclusive of both. Is God for a two-state solution or against a two-state solution? God’s sovereign and covenant plan to give the land of Canaan to the Israelites was not a statement of being for the descendants of Isaac and against the descendants of Ishmael. There was no “for” and “against” – read of God’s loving attention given to Hagar and her son Ishmael in Genesis 16.  Read what God said to Hagar about Ishmael and his descendants in Genesis 16: 11-12. However, also read how God gave the rightful custody of the Land to the Jews, with provision for others (foreigners / aliens) to live in the Land among them – under God’s kingly and sovereign reign.

    To possess the Land and to share in the Land requires that the same terms and conditions are met by all parties – that all bend their knee before the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, forsaking the ungodly ways of the surrounding nations, and worship only Him. This is where Jew and Arab part company, not only with each other, but with God Himself. The evil and deceitful human heart will not bow down in humility to serve the only true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, or indeed serve each other. Both want their own way and the ungodly ways of surrounding ungodly nations – both East and West. They will not bow their head, bend their knee and say, “O God, You are my God”. On that ground, and on that ground only, peace and reconciliation take place.

    DSC_0353So, no, I do not believe in a two-state solution – I hear about it from the media, it sounds like a reasonable scheme or notion, but do not read about it in God’s Word –the Bible. However, I certainly do believe that the Land, given to the Jews, which spreads far beyond the present borders - from “the river of Egypt the great river, the River Euphrates (Genesis 12: 1-3; Genesis 15: 1 – 21) - is the Land given by God for Israel to possess and govern in a God-fearing way - righteously, thus it is a land of inclusion, provision and care, of both Jew, Arab and foreigner alike. This would be a land of godly government, peace and reconciliation. So, please don’t argue with me over what is the Land of Promise – take that up with God. At this stage, this is also beyond my understanding. However, if truth has changed, then, so has God. I know He has not and never will. If somehow this covenant promise has now changed and suddenly God breaks covenant, He can never be trusted on any promise He has made to us. God never breaks promises.

    Should believers comfort and pray for Israel – certainly, God’s Word says so. Not to do so is disobedience. Is there yet another chapter for the Jews to be fulfilled? Certainly, it is happening right now (Romans 11). The climax of time is close and Bible prophecy concerning the Jews is being fulfilled. Anti-Semitism is uprooting the Children of Israel from among the nations and bringing them home to the Land of Promise. Is God faithful to the descendant of Ishmael? Certainly, and we hear of many having divine visits from Jesus, revealing to them that He is indeed the Son of God – the Lamb of God slain for their sins. I love Jew and Arab because God does!

    DSC_0374God was and is for all humankind! He keeps covenant with Israel and, indeed, with the world. The Bible tells us that when Christ Jesus shed His blood as the atoning Lamb of God for Jew and Gentile, the dividing wall of hostility was torn down; the two (Jew and Gentile) became one (Ephesians 2: 11-18). Just as it is true for all unbelievers, many Jews and Arabs have yet to realise that that redeeming work on the cross was actually for them – to pull down the divide of their inherited differences.

    Jan Whitmore

    Making Disciples International