Peace be with you, dear brothers and sisters!
As you enter year 2021, what is on your heart? Are you finding joy, or grief, or anticipation, or disquiet, or thankfulness, or a thirst for greater intimacy with God?
In a world weighed down by sickness, calamity, and upheaval, Paul’s words of lament ring clear: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.” And all the more, we cry out with the apostle John, “Come, Lord Jesus!”
At the same time, have you recognized God’s call amid the chaos for us to draw closer in fellowship with Him? This call is woven through the Book of Psalms, SOW’s featured book of the month. When prolonged distancing leaves us lonely, when loss and grief leave us helpless, when overwhelming tragedy leaves us trembling, God draws us closer. God will strengthen us to hunger even more for His presence, to hold even tighter to His promises. Let us keep turning to God and draw closer still, and let us rejoice in our God of abundance!
Praise be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession: He has led us to declare victory in the Valley of Elah, completing both the Psalms Study Set Release in Taipei and the Annual Ministry Sharing live on our Youtube channel. Pastor Daniel Chuang of SOWIM Taiwan shares:
“Prayer is the innermost confession between a person and God. When prayer goes public, it often turns into mere performance. Why, then, is the Book of Psalms – a collection of prayers uttered by Old Testament saints – be counted as part of “God’s revelation”? What is the “divine truth” being revealed through the psalms? The truth is this: the psalms in the Bible together demonstrate what completes “prayer”. Specifically, prayer is not only a record of “what we’re saying to God”, but also of “what God is hearing us say.”
We’re so used to seeing prayer as petitions to God that we forget to see prayer as God’s gift of listening to us. As a result, we have a narrow view of prayer as a means of control, missing out on the opportunity to enter in – into intimate interaction and fellowship with our LORD. Thus, through the Psalms Study Set, SOWIM seeks to widen the framework and perspectives that our dear brothers and sisters can take to approach this precious Old Testament book. We pray that all who use this multimedia resource will be deeply comforted as they, with the psalmists, open their hearts to God.”
In line with our focus on the Psalms, SOWIM launched a poetry competition, inviting brothers and sisters around the world to write a prayer poem to God. From the 63 entries submitted, our panel of adjudicators selected 3 poems for the top three awards and 10 for honorary mention. Take a look! We believe you will resonate and find comfort in the prayers of God’s children worldwide.
First prize winner Sophia Li shares that poetry is her favorite way to commune with God in devotion. To Sophia, poetry is the literary form that most perfectly expresses the matters of the heart. In her poem (linked here), she recognizes how “there are times when we lose our way – in ministry or in life – due to hurdles, situations, and even success, and we forget why we embarked on the journey in the first place.” One poignant theme is the recurring concept of “birth name” – the identity and destiny that we have in Christ. This name is treasured – a gift from one’s parents; it is intimate – spoken only by individuals who know us the most. The name points to the most precious relationship we’re created to have – the core essence of our identity.
Will you pray with us for God’s work through SOWIM?
May God be glorified through our year-end Psalms Study Set release and ministry sharing events: “Our Father in heaven, thank you for bringing together, via both Taipei and Youtube Live events, many brothers and sisters with a zeal for sowing God’s words through multimedia Bible resources. In 2021, would you raise up more Sowing Warriors to become a part of your work? May your glory fill the earth, your words be planted in good soil, and your gospel be known in all the nations!” 》Click to Donate
Back to the Bible Movement: Thank you, God, for placing the vision of “Back to the Bible” on the hearts of the SOWIM team. Would you manifest your ways and draw your people close with your loving kindness? Would you establish your church and grant us hearts that fear you, so that we will lean on your words in all circumstances, grow in truth and grace, and be your faithful witness in these last days?”
Bible study resources in different languages: “Dear God, the One who gives generously to all, would you grant wisdom and skill to our directors, script writers, subtitle teams, and every staff and volunteer involved in SOWIM productions? Help us have a heart of Jesus so that we may serve you humbly and in unity. We entrust the Nehemiah (Nepali), Job (English), Ruth (Arabic), 2 Samuel (Chinese) and Chronicles (Chinese) into your hands. Help us to seek Your will in every detail and decision we make!”
Positioning web ministries: “God, you are the one who makes all things work together for the good of those who love you! Would you grant us a clear vision for how we might wisely steward and position our social media platforms, web resources, and online training for the growth of your own children? Help us align with your heart and follow your leadership closely.”
New coworker: “Praise God for moving the heart of sister Andrea, who has come on board as a new coworker at SOWIM US. May God’s grace be upon Andrea and her family. Grant her the wisdom and strength she needs to serve you, and fill her with the joy of co-laboring with you. Dear Holy Spirit, as our team is located across different regions and time zones, would you protect us in our communication, our partnership, our posture of seeking your will? Grant us unity, so that we may glorify your name!”
Thank you so much for praying for SOWIM. We deeply appreciate your support and look forward to journeying together in 2021!
Co-laboring in Christ,
Rev. Susan Chen
Founder, CEO, and Lifetime Volunteer
Spring of Water International Ministries
Hungering for a deeper grasp of God’s words?
Click below for: Free Previews of SOWIM Bible Study Resources
Bible Mosaic Flash Cards | Monthly Devotionals | SOWIM Bible Expedition
Follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SpringOfWater/