Investing in Eternity

 

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.

(Psalm 1:1-3, NIV, emphasis mine)

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Investing in eternity. That’s what parenting is. We plant the seeds of God’s word, prune and trim our little saplings, and bring rain and sunshine with life giving words and consistent discipline. Indeed, there are days where our words pour forth torrentially, but most days are steady streams of sunshine mixed with necessary watering and pruning as the need arises.

Our second sapling, Joshua, turned six last week. Over the last six years, we’ve diligently laid down tracks we pray he will continue to follow in the future as we tend to and nurture the young warrior God has given us. One discipline that we wanted to initiate in his sixth year, and soon to be our daughter’s eighth year, is that of saving. We’ve preached and modeled giving to God’s Kingdom, then enjoyed encouraging their dreams of giving their money away. But we haven’t as consistently modeled saving money for future use or for unforeseen needs.

On Wednesday afternoon of this week, I taxied Emily and Joshua to the local bank to open his savings account. He decided to place all of his birthday money into the savings account, which I thought was a wise decision. As we waited for the banker that would be assisting us, the lead teller walked by and we told her of Joshua’s plans. She said, “That will make your money grow!” Joshua looked a me and said, “Really mom? Will it make my money grow?” I smiled and answered his question as simply as I could to a degree satisfactory to him.

Finally, our turn arrived to fill out the appropriate paperwork for Joshua’s savings account. We gave the banker the necessary documentation (for future reference, be sure and have your child’s social security number on hand, I had to drive home and get his) and waited for him to process the request. As the banker walked away to gather the account number, he too stated, “Are you ready to watch your money grow?” When he had left us, I sensed the Holy Spirit telling me to share with Joshua the ways in which we watch our money grow.

“Joshua, come here sweetie, I want to tell you something,” I coaxed as he hopped into my lap. “There are two ways to watch your money grow, one is to invest your money in a savings account or investments which will grow your wealth on earth. The other, is to give it away to missions, or the poor, and by doing this, you grow your wealth and rewards in Heaven.” He looked at me and nodded his head in understanding, I continued, “I am so glad you are starting this savings account, and I am also glad when you give your money away to God.”

As Joshua nodded and said, “okay mama, I understand,” I gathered that was enough of a money lesson for the time, but I could not ignore the weight of this teachable moment upon me as a parent. Each time we invest in teaching our kids about godly and biblical principles, we are investing in eternity. That moment it happened to be about finances, but it could have easily been something else to do with friendship, honesty, loyalty, or discipline. Each lesson waters the saplings our children currently are to enable them to become mighty oaks planted by streams of Living Water.

What are the teachable moments you have had with a young person or peer this week? How have you sensed the Holy Spirit prompting you to make a disciple? Please share your moment so that we can learn and rejoice with you.

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How to Build a Beautiful Body

I was seeking a place of solitude and rest. It was the end of the work week building houses in Honduras.  In the cool, dark confines of another house, I sat near the water cooler on one of the many scrap lumber piles in the main living room. Covered in sawdust and dirt, and drinking a cool bottle of water, I looked down to see this beautiful piece of wood lying at my feet.

The ink markings conveyed that this scrap wood had a designer. It had been intentionally used by a creator to speak a message to all who would read its markings.

Jennifer. I knew immediately which teammate had lovingly created this piece of art for one of the children who had danced and laughed and played around our team that week.

As I looked down, I found yet more…

As I marveled at the love etched on the pieces of leftover wood I thought, so this is how you build a beautiful body Lord.

What some would leave for scraps or the burn pile, He takes and make something beautiful and new. The One who created life and trees themselves also came in bodily form to stretch out His hands on splintered wood as the payment for my sin so that I, we, can become a new creation in Him.

This is how He builds His beautiful body:

…speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Ephesians 4:15-16 (emphasis added)

Jennifer had the job of guarding our water supply to make sure it did not become contaminated. It was imperative that the 40+ workers on our site had clean water to drink or else our upset bellies would decrease our productivity. Jennifer took her job to another level by loving on the children as Jesus would while she also conducted the mundane, but important, job of guarding the water.

She was working with the mind of Christ.

When Christ saves us He gives us a new mind and spirit: his own. In this way, His body can be of one mind and one spirit and act in accordance with His will. Missions, both foreign and domestic, both intentional and invitational- that which God lays in our path each day- provides the present day church the opportunity to live as the early church did. To live this present life to the fullest.

Today I want to extend to you the opportunity to join a friend of mine, Stacy, in feeding hungry children in the Tampa Bay area. Stacy and  her two sons have made it a family goal to purchase and pack 5,000 meals through Feeding Children Everywhere. I have talked with Stacy on many occasions as she and her children have diligently worked toward making this missional dream a reality.

Please visit their donation page linked here to donate any amount. Ten dollars feeds 40 people! Your donations are appreciated and is far-reaching. You may also want to volunteer which you can sign up to do on the website (click here).

Choose “Make a Donation” on the left margin. The next screen should say, “Donate Without Sponsoring a Team or Individual.” Once you input your information, the donation will automatically go towards Joshua and Chase’s project. Thank you!

Thank you for building a beautiful Body in Christ.

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Priscilla and Aquila: Following Their Faithful Steps

P and A Following Their Faithful

On Friday, we learned how Priscilla and Aquila entertained Paul (and thus probably his traveling companion, Luke) and equipped Apollos in the complete knowledge of the gospel. Today we consider how they endangered their lives for the gospel and encouraged the Body of Christ, His church. Finally, we will consider what women of the 21st century can learn from the life of Priscilla.

Endangering Their Lives for the Gospel:

Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. (Romans 16:3-4)

We are told that Priscilla and Aquila risked their lives for the Apostle Paul but the details surrounding the specific event are not made known to us. They considered Paul’s life as more important than their own and his ministry of greater importance for reaching the Gentiles. Moreover, they demonstrated they were committed unto Christ Jesus even unto death.

Priscilla and Aquila followed in the footsteps of Christ Jesus in true love and friendship outlined in John 15:13:

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

While their offering was sincere, they would be spared along with Paul to proclaim the gospel message. Additionally, like Paul, they would later give their lives for the salvation message they proclaimed. Tradition has it that Priscilla and Aquila were martyred in Rome. (Exploring Church History, J.P. Eckman, 2002)

Encouraged the Body:

Priscilla and Aquila were transient. They moved multiple times in the Bible. From Pontus to Rome to Corinth and Ephesus then reportedly back to Rome. In city after city, Priscilla and Aquila opened their home to preaching and teaching of the Word. They viewed their home as an extension of ministry; a commodity to be used for living out and sharing the gospel. Priscilla and Aquila grasped the reality that earthly life is temporary and true citizenship is granted beyond death.

What can women learn from the life of this influential woman of the Bible? 

  • She lived a life of ministry. (Mark 10:45)
  • She was an exemplary partner in the ministry with her husband. (Ecclesiastes 4:9)
  • She equipped and evangelized. Priscilla was a woman bent on fulfilling the Great Commission. (Matthew 28:19-20)
  • She followed the teachings of Paul in that she learned and ministered in line with scriptural mandates. (2 Timothy 2:11-12)

Jesus’ earthly ministry and the teachings of his followers validated women more than any other religion in history. Priscilla’s actions fell in line with the mandates of God and we can follow her lead. We know this because Paul was accustomed to call out women within the church who were outside the mandates of God in his other writings. He does not do this with Priscilla. She is a woman who kept ministerial boundaries in accordance with the scriptural mandates.That is the type of women we need in the church today.

We should strive to become women  and couples who follow in the Christ-centered footsteps of this God-fearing, God-honoring couple.

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Priscilla and Aquila: Models in Marriage and Ministry

priscilla and aquila

Have you ever made a decision in your life which only in retrospect you could say was a turning point? A decision that was setting into motion opportunities for encounters with believers and events that would shape the person you have become?

I believe that we could all answer yes.

Step back almost two-thousand years ago and we encounter a couple whose back-story is  unknown, yet whose choices changed the nations and generations for Christ: Priscilla and Aquila. Famed partners in ministry with Paul and teachers of the well-known preacher, Apollos.

Priscilla and Aquila are mentioned six times in the New Testament. Four of these times Priscilla (Prisca) is listed first:

  • Acts 18:2, 18,26
  • Romans 16:3
  • 1 Corinthians 16:19
  • 2 Timothy 4:19

Some scholars have speculated that either Priscilla was of a higher social status (Aquila possibly a former Jewish slave) or that in some way her ministry was greater than that of Aquila’s. Either way, this continued coupling of their names indicated their unity in marriage.  Five of the six times they are mentioned in the New Testament, their names are separated by the word and alone. This is a peanut butter and jelly pair!

This couple demonstrated that beside every good man there is room for an equally good woman.

Let’s take a closer look at the life and ministry of this influential couple and the woman beside the man in a two-part blog series.

First they are remembered for entertaining Paul.

Like the Apostle Paul, Priscilla and Aquila were tent makers by trade. Most likely, Paul, who had traveled from Athens, met Priscilla and Aquila in Corinth while he looked for work. It is possible that Paul heard of their ministry in Corinth prior to meeting them on his journey. (Acts 18:2-3) Paul stayed with them six months (Act 18:11). From Corinth the three set sail for Syria and stopped in Ephesus where Paul left them to minister to the people of Ephesus. Paul was known for traveling with Luke so it is probable that it was more than the three of them that journeyed together. Either way, Paul would travel 1500 miles before he would see them again (Acts 19:18-22)

Secondly, they equipped Apollos. 

Soon after Priscilla and Aquila settled in Ephesus, they visited the temple. They were blessed to hear a young man, eloquent in speech and competent in the Scriptures who preached the baptism of John. Enter Apollos. Apollos was a Jew from Alexandra (NE portion of Egypt), named after Alexander the Great who ruled during the Greek Empire between 356-323 BC.

Apollos was a convert of John’s most likely from the teaching of a disciple of John the Baptist. He continued to look for the Messiah as he preached in the synagogue. Priscilla and Aquila heard him and took him privately and explained the way of God more accurately. (Acts 18:24-28)

Note that they equipped Apollos in a spirit of love (1 Cor. 13), accurately and with the support of the Scriptures, and they set him up for future ministry that was later equated to the level of Paul and Peter. (See 1 Corinthians 1:12)

Priscilla and Aquila both possessed an in-depth understanding of doctrine learned from Paul (and their own studies), and this husband and wife team was able to pass on their knowledge to another Christian and build him up in the faith.  Apollos’ message was not inaccurate or insincere; it was simply incomplete. That’s where this iron sharping pair stepped in.

I want to equip myself in such a way that when an Apollos walks into our lives, Ron and I are ready to further his or her understanding of the Scriptures. I hope you will join me for part two on Tuesday.

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Trading Our Hearts of Stone

Trading Our Hearts of Stone

As is often my custom, I like to escape from mommy and house duties a few times  a month and spend time writing in a coffee shop. A couple of years ago on one such outing, I had the opportunity detailed below.

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. (Ezekiel 36:26, NLT)

As I entered Panera, a couple came in behind me.  I noticed them immediately in the parking lot. The bald head, slow gait, and walker for a woman in her 30’s grabbed my eye first. Then her husband helping her and waiting on her patiently subsequently grabbed my attention.

I hurried in ahead and ordered already beginning to be disturbed by this frail woman whose diagnosis quickened one’s thoughts to the eternal.  The Holy Spirit began impressing upon my heart to go and talk to her and ask her name so that I could pray for her.  Also, He urged in my spirit that  I should share the gospel with them if they did not immediately decline my intrusion upon their lunch.  I squeamishly asked God to have them sit beside me as if I was the one having to labor to walk!  He did not do that, but instead put them within sight.  I prayed for my opportunity, ate my lunch, read some commentary, then gathered my writing supplies to travel the 5 yards over to their table.

After short introductions, I asked Nicole if I could pray that she would be healed from her cancer followed by asking her and her husband their thoughts on God and heaven.  They responded that they had just been talking about God. However, Wade said they weren’t religious at all so I proceeded to lay out the gospel.  In the course of our 15-minute conversation, Wade went from saying, “We are all god,” to saying, “What god would make only one way to him?” to, “It is my right to approach God without an intermediary let alone Jesus.”

Wow.  Wade had an obvious beef with Christianity because it proclaims that there is only one way to God and therefore heaven.

Both Nicole and Wade, much like the majority in our day, had a problem with absolute truth.  To say that Christianity is the only way is to say that one way is right and others are wrong. That was a stumbling block for both of them. I will spare you all the details of our conversation, but sadly, Nicole and Wade left saying they would pray that my eyes would be opened to the fact that Jesus isn’t the only way to God and for an open mind for me to embrace other faiths.  Undoubtedly, this was not how I had hoped it would go, but I was minimally contented in my obedience to Christ and prayerful that He would use my meager obedience to one day bring these lost sheep to Christ Jesus’ saving grace.

Don’t you wish that every lost and dying soul would appear to our spiritual eyes as a frail chemotherapy patient?  Wouldn’t that make the sense of urgency in sharing more real for us on an unavoidable level?  It would be hard to escape the emaciated bodies on TV, billboards, and restaurants across our land. Sporting events would look much different if the players were barely able to stand much less slam dunk, fast pitch, and tackle.

“Prophecy,” says the Lord in Ezekiel 37:4. In other words, preach. Tell God’s story.  How hard is that?

I was almost in tears before I even approached Nicole and Wade. I was praying and hoping that I would be able to hold it together to preach to them.  It didn’t take long for my emotions to subside once I was confronted with the hardened hearts of two very lost people. Neither this woman, nor her husband can save Nicole, yet she and her husband refuse to believe in Jehovah-Rapha.  Rather, they deny His provision and salvation.  These were dry bones indeed; very dry. Only God can breathe The Life into these two lost souls.

In Ezekiel chapter 47, Ezekiel is prophesying to wayward, exiled Jerusalem:

I will put my Spirit in you and you will live again and return home to your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken, and I have done what I said. Yes, the LORD has spoken! (Ezekiel 37:14, NLT)

God longs for His glory to be revealed, to be reveled in, and to be made a big deal of.  Many times in the Old Testament God says, “Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.” It is for God’s glory and His renown that He saves us spiritually, physically, and undeservedly again and again. 

Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God. (2 Peter 1:20-21, NLT)

God wants the glory.  I hope God breathes His Holy Spirit upon Nicole and Wade. It will indeed take a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit to give these people a heart of flesh to replace their heart of stone.

I will be listening and waiting expectantly to hear the rattling of bones, and then see the bones coming together with tendons and flesh and skin.  Until that moment, I will keep prophesying and praying and asking God to sanctify and refine me, a wretched sinner turned saint.

So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.” ( Zechariah 4:6, ESV)

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Here I Am to Worship

To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God. ~William Temple

As a little girl, I attended church and Sunday School in the deep south. Each Sunday I donned a smocked dress, tights and leather shoes, topped off with a large matching hair-bow. Today my daughter wears many of  the dresses my mother spent countless hours smocking and ironing  those many years ago. She plays with the little white patent leather purse which in years past held my tithes, offerings, and chap-stick each Sunday.

Maturity has seen a change in apparel along with a change in my heart as I prepare for service…that is, at least when I purpose to poise my heart for worship.

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Addressing a few questions concerning what worship is and why it is important may help us poise our hearts for the most meaningful God-centered worship.

First, worship is a right and exalted view of God and a humbled, dependent view of man on God.

Secondly, worship is important because it opens the door to true intimacy with Christ and clarity of mission we would otherwise live without. Worship does not consist merely of singing. We can worship in various, if not all art forms, in addition to all the work that our hands set to do. Worship is a posture of praise and thanksgiving within our hearts and minds and as expressed through our lives.

The endeavor does not determine the significance of praise, rather it is the hidden thoughts and intents of our hearts. We can sing without love, but it is a clashing symbol or a gong. (1 Corinthians 13) Consider David.  God loved David no less when he worshiped Him on a lonely mountainside filled only with dumb sheep and the sound of his own harp than when David sat enthroned in his palace splendor and declared among God’s people:

“Who am I, O Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And now, Sovereign LORD, in addition to everything else, you speak of giving your servant a lasting dynasty! Do you deal with everyone this way, O Sovereign LORD?“What more can I say to you? You know what your servant is really like, Sovereign LORD. Because of your promise and according to your will, you have done all these great things and have made them known to your servant. “How great you are, O Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you. We have never even heard of another God like you! (2 Samuel 7:18-22)

Did you notice David’s humbled view of himself and his exalted view of God? This from the man who was labeled by God to be a man after His own heart. Perhaps David was a man after God’s own heart due to his right understanding of the righteousness of God and the praise that flowed from his heart.

Similarly, in Isaiah 6,  Isaiah’s commission comes after he saw the Lord and beheld his glory. His worship of God preceded his obedience to the call of God. Once we see clearly who God is, we realize the absolute imperative of taking the gospel to our neighbor’s, coworkers, and around the globe. 

So the question becomes, how can we worship God individually so that we fuel greater worship of God corporately?  The answer lies in preparing our hearts for worship all week and the hours before corporate worship.

Below are some bullet points which are taken from chapter eleven of the wonderful book, Celebration of Discipline, by Richard Foster.

Daily Preparation for Worship:

  • Learn to practice the presence of God daily. Pray without ceasing. ( 1 Thessalonians 5:17)
  • Have many different experiences of worship: Bible reading, prayers of thanksgiving, meditation on the goodness of God, singing praises, or praising God through various postures of sitting, kneeling, or lying prostrate before God.
  • Have a willingness to be gathered in the power of the Lord for the good of “we” not “me.”
  • Cultivate Holy Dependency: you are utterly and completely dependent upon God for anything significant to happen.
  • Absorb distractions with gratitude. They may be a message from the Lord.
  • Offer a sacrifice of worship. You may not “feel” like worshiping but go anyway.

On Sunday:

  • Arrive to service 10 minutes early.
  • Quiet your mind.
  • Pray for the pastor and worship leader.
  • Pray for others who arrive looking burdened.

If worship does not propel us into greater obedience, it has not been worship. To stand before the Holy One of eternity is to change. To worship is to change.  (Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline, p. 173)

Try to practice the discipline of worship this week. As we do, we will find that our communion with God increases and “the things of earth grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” (H. Lemmel)

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Reflections on Mission

Reflections Day 1

Consumerism in the form of western food chains met my eyes first. The dirty, crowded streets of this capitol city in  Tegucigalpa are not unlike that of most other capitol cities in the world…at first glance.

Driving through the city to AFE, we first passed a shopping mall with appearances equal to that of any in my own home state of Florida. But upon further driving I quickly saw why this is a third world country.

House upon house on this mountainous land are stacked one upon the other and side by side. The windowless houses are made of crumbling bricks and  gray stone with the occasional brightly painted dwellings rising to the surface in bright blues, oranges, and yellows.

House upon house, row upon row of crumbling dwellings turn into cardboard shelters built upon resourceful foundations of tires piled five high to protect against erosive rainy seasons.

Beautifully dirty, brown skinned children walk home from school, slide down one-rail banisters into busy streets. Roads filled with the constant sounds of beeping horns vying for taxi customers and right of ways primarily void of stop signs and traffic lights.

As we near AFE’s school campus, the smell of trash wafts through the air. I am reminded  how this woman was once a girl who avoided Saturday’s trip to the land fields most weekends has now grown into a woman purposely seeking out the poorest of the poor in the trash dump of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

In the foe leather seats of the school bus, I remember that missions is God’s love poured on the saved inviting them, commanding them, to serve His created people and make disciples of all nations. God has invited me into His glorious work among a loved people whose outward poverty and physical uncleanliness signify the filthy rags of righteousness I offer Him.

AFE, Amor Fe y Esperanza, translates to Love, Faith, and Hope, and is the ministry we are partnering with through Lakeland based Student Ministry Essentials. AFE works strictly with the people of Teguicigalpla that live and work on the trash dump.

We were given a tour by one AFE employee, Adam. He told us of the daycare/preschool program for the babies of workers who would otherwise join thier parents’ in a days work on the trash dump if it were not for this program at AFE.

Each day 14 brown-skinned, brown-eyed toddlers are brought to AFE for bathtime, two meals, and two snacks. They are taught skills commenserate with their learning leavels and are loved on with the hands and hearts of God’s servants at AFE.

Next, Adam invites us to go into the building and look at the school rooms and see the children. It is nap time and the room is dark.

Approaching those sleeping or resting children their cautious brown eyes stare out of railed cribs; some stacked two cribs high. I instantly want to touch them with the love God has given me for children. I desire to speak a blessing over them and extend the love that is theirs for the taking.

I smile and wave as I follow team members doing the same. I slip my camera away as some moments are to be soaked and simply remembered. These are God’s children wordlessly communicating why we have come.

I lay my right hand on a sleeping boy who reminds me of my own precious son miles away and pray a blessing over him. As I turn to look again at a timid little boy intently watching our white-skinned team invade his haven, I see a male teammate trying to keep the puddles in his eyes from getting the better part of him.

We step back outside into the sonlight and more of our team file out. Jesus loves the little children and uses them to speak to His beloved bride and we await more words from Him this week as we serve.

I want to leave you with some prayer requests for the ministry of AFE. In our tour of the school challenges were conveyed so as to paint a picture of the culture and everyday lives of the students within their ministry. Adam did not mention any of these specifically to pray for; this is what I walked away with. Please take a few moments to pray over these today.

1. Pray for the retention of male students. In a culture where males are pressured to work as early as possible and start families of their own. The delayed gratification of a greater return with a completed education is marginalized.
2. Pray for the direction of the school that they may continue to know and do the will of God with the resources He has blessed them with.
3. Pray for workers; specifically for medical partnerships in the community to address the many needs of the students and their families.

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Show and Tell

The last two months it has become a common occurrence. Emily rushes to her coloring basket overflowing with paper, stickers, and coloring books. She selects crayons from the drawer and begins to make art in the fashion she knows best.

She colors and presses on stickers; occasionally she stamps love on a page.

Other days she gathers her water color palette and brushes then asks me to pour a cup of water. She wants to paint love on a page.

After each creation is completed she runs to me, waving her masterpiece in the air and declares, “This is for Pamela Jasmin!”

Pamela Jasmin is Ron’s Compassion Child. She lives in Honduras where my mission team will be flying this Friday. It seems surreal that it is two more days til foreign soil. Last year Ron traveled with the team and met Pamela Jasmin for the first time.

Our children know that they have a “brother” and “sister” in different countries. We sing Happy Birthday to them on their birthdays each year, are able to send them money for Christmas presents, and write letters to let them know we are praying for them and they are loved. Both of Joshua and Emily’s siblings are older than they and speak Spanish. Jefri is 11 and lives in Nicaragua and Pamela Jasmin is 6 and lives in Honduras.

While she has never met Pamela or Jefri face to face, Emily is perhaps their most fervent prayer warrior. Ron and I pray for and love our Compassion kids but it is Emily who petitions God on their behalf each night before bed time. She has helped in purchasing gifts to send to Pamela Jasmin on our trips the last two years and multiple times in between she has asked to give her many of her toys.

Through our Compassion sponsorship, Emily, and Joshua in turn, are learning to be givers. They are learning the truth of Christ when He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)

At her prompting, I started collecting Emily’s artwork for Pamela Jasmine. They are neatly collected in a green folder to be presented to her in six days.  I will tell Pamela of the gift given by the One who sets us free. Being in the Compassion program the gospel is shared with her on a daily basis at the school she attends as part of her sponsorship, but this time I am the one blessed to share the good news with her.

I will show Pamela Emily’s art of love colored on a page and tell her of Christ’s love written on the pages of history but orchestrated for her before time began.

Would you like to add a child into your family today? Would you make a difference in the world by changing the life of even one? Visit Compassion’s website to find out more and please join us in making disciples of all nations because by your giving you are helping write God’s story in the life of a child. You can show and tell a lost and dying world of God’s love that is written on a page in crimson shades…

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

~John 3:16

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30 Days Til Foreign Soil

 

This is our Compasion child who lives in Honduras.

This is our Compasion child who lives in Honduras.

With nearly four years since my last foreign mission trip my soul is surely in need of a reminding. A call to remember that though my surroundings may be plush and pleasant many live in poverty of spirit, soul, and body.

Thirty days from today I will be making the frightening landing in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I will be traveling with a team of around 30 members to build homes for three homeless families in conjunction with Student Ministry Essentials. The people who will occupy theses dwellings will be moving into their first home off the streets or out of the capitol city trash dump for the first time in their lives.

“Lord, thank you for the roof over my head.”

That was the prayer of one of the young men who moved into a home that our team built last year. Grown men wept or nearly wept over this prayer of thanksgiving as they considered how little we thank God for daily. Most likely not the roof over our heads or the mattresses we lie down on.

Matt, our team leader for the this trip, gave the team a 30 day scripture reading to prepare our hearts and minds for our mission. Today’s reading is Psalm 51. You can read it in its’ entirety here.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. Psalm 51:10-13

Please join me in praying that my heart and that of my teammates would be renewed and made right before God. Pray that we will have the joy of the Lord’s salvation restored to us that we may teach transgressors His ways and that sinners will return to Him.

I spoke earlier of the gratitude of the people we served. This year we are seeking to do more…

We would like to leave the families with more to be grateful for than four walls and a roof over their head. We would like to leave them with furnished homes.

If you or someone you know would like to donate to furnishing the three homes that we are building with mattresses, sheets, and basic household necessities please make your checks payable to Student Ministry Essentials and write Honduras Furnishings in the for line. Then mail your check to the following address:  Student Ministry Essentials  3616 Harden Blvd.  Suite #362  Lakeland, FL 33803. We have received $400.00 to date with an expected balance remaining of $1,100 to make three furnished homes a reality. This is a cost of $500 per household.

To read more about what encompasses our mission please click here.

Psalm 51 is what I am reading this Wednesday. What about you?

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Remembering a Mentor in the Faith

Dear Dave,

It will be two years since I last saw you and two years that you have lived in eternal time with Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Does time fly in heaven as it does here on earth?

I am writing to tell you of your impact in the faith on my life. This letter comes with much forethought and tears many times I think of you. See, I cry here on earth because deep in my spirit I know I am not home yet. This truth sometimes is a distant knowledge of which I must remind myself. At other times, it is as close as a whisper in my ear.

Because of your work for Jesus Christ in planning our mission trips to Ukraine, much work continues to go forth. Joe is serving as a full-time missionary in Horodok. Merrie and some of the others continue to take summer missions and continue to plant and water the seeds of the gospel that you helped to plant for many years.

Ron and I are continuing in the mission minded path the Lord Jesus used you to pave in our lives. I will be returning to the foreign mission field for the first time since our Emily was born four years ago. Do you remember that last trip? It came just after our return from a winter mission you helped me plan.

You were content to let a 25 year old young lady learn the ropes of leading a mission team and allowed her to take leadership responsibilities. Thank you for your training! Because you were content to nurture my call to serve in missions, a winter trip to Ukraine took place allowing for us to get our feet wet teaching English as a Second Language as a missions tool to reach the lost for Christ. One of my favorite parts of this trip was the fact I was accompanied by my sister. Thank you for your belief in me.

Few people touch the lives of two siblings groups out of one marriage, but you did. You led trips to Ukraine where both Ron and his brother, Tom, and I and my sister, Julie were able to go. These are memories that Ron and I will cherish forever.

This July I will be going on a new mission with a different destination than our beloved Ukraine. Following in the footsteps of Ron last year, I will be traveling with our team to Honduras to build four homes for children and their families who live and work on the trash dump in the capital city of Tegucigalpa.  Our work partners with a Christian school and church lead by Pastor Jeony of AFE.

I am so excited to plant my feet on foreign soil once again!

Dave, I wanted you to know that you are not forgotten. That your spiritual legacy lives on and the work continues. I am so blessed to have known you friend, and I look forward to seeing you when I come home.

Love,

friday favorite things | finding joy

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