Thursday, May 24, 2018

Do You Even Know …….?

Sunday afternoons at our Aunt Myrna and Uncle Charles’s house are always entertaining when the kids are all around. At present my great nephew and his cousin are the youngest of the boys, respectively 5 and 7. I get tickled listening to them as they are applying words to their vocabulary that they have obviously grabbed out of a conversation they have overheard the adults having with each other. These words are usually applied during a disagreement over a toy, color of water balloons, trucks/cars, balls, and whatever they can find to compete over. Boys will be boys. (smile)

Recently, they were in a little bit of an argument over something and one of them told the other one, “You are ridiculous.” “No, I’m not!” was the response. And here they came with, “He called me ridiculous. No, I didn’t! Yes, you did!” It was so entertaining you almost had to laugh but knew better! Ha,ha,ha

I asked, as I looked at the two of them, “Do you even know what that word means?” To which they both in dumbfounded stillness looked at me and said, “No.” I responded, “Ok then, go play and don’t call each other words that you don’t know what they mean.” This time neither asked what the word meant. But there are times that together (or individually) they will ask what the meaning is of a word that I have called them out on.

It got me thinking about things we as Christians repeat because we heard someone else say it. We repeat it as if it is in scripture somewhere, but we don’t really understand what we are saying. Let me give you an example of a few...

*  “We’re all God’s Children”
     That sounds so great and loving and spiritual and feel good. But, the truth is… scripturally we are all God’s creation. But, we don’t become His Children until we confess our sins, repent, and accept the gift of Christ’s finished work on the cross, Grace.
John 1:12 (ESV)
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

*  “God wants you to be Happy.”
     How great is it that the Sovereign God wants us to be happy? NOT! We are living in a world now that lives with the attitude of, “My happiness is the most important thing in the world.” And look at the moral decay and corruption because of this attitude. 
1 Peter 1:14-16 (ESV)
 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,
but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

*  “Money is the root of all evil.”
     The truth is that money is neither good nor bad.  It is what we do with it that produces the outcome.
1 Timothy 6:10-11 (ESV)
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.

*  “The Lion and the Lamb shall lay down together.”
     We see pictures /paintings of the Lion and the Lamb laying down together. We actually quote that as a verse…  “the lion and lamb shall lay down together.” But the truth is there is no scripture that states that. The scripture states:
Isaiah 11:6-7 (ESV)
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

So, in conclusion, do we even know what we are saying sometimes? Maybe we could take a lesson from the boys. Don’t say things to be true if we don’t really understand them ourselves. (smile) May the thought of this increase our desire to be in His Word daily!

Pure Joy International is headed to Spain in October of this year. Conference dates will be Oct. 10-13, 2018. If you are a missionary serving cross-culturally or know someone serving in that part of the world as a cross-cultural missionary, please get those dates out to them. Registration will be opening soon for participants. Remember, first come, first served!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Set Your Minds…

As we prepare to go into the summer season may I encourage you in something? Start now to “set” your minds on things above, not on earthly things. The word “set” literally is an action word. It requires intentionality. If we are honest with ourselves, it is easy to leave the “things above” on the back burner during the summer. Why? Distractions such as: school is out for most; therefore kids at home, summer vacations, baseball tournaments, camping, fishing, water skiing, the lake, etc. etc. This often results in low church participation during the summer, which means you aren’t getting any good meals spiritually. Especially if you are someone who depends on that for your only nourishment spiritually. Which isn’t healthy… just saying. Anyway, may I make a few suggestions for some intentional spiritual summer snacks? (smile)

  • Check out some of the Christian summer camps, vacation Bible school, and backyard Bible school for your kids that are available throughout the summer. Call any of your local churches for information and I bet they can help you out.
  • As parents, plan some intentional personal and family devotional times while you are on the road for vacations and sporting events.
  • Take the opportunity to visit a church in the town you might be staying in on a particular Sunday.
  • Use the environment on the lake, camping, ball field, etc. to teach your children a spiritual principle from Scripture.
  • Memorize one Scripture a month as a family.

My point is: Be intentional about not leaving the things of God out of your summer! And finally, be mindful of living daily in a fashion (through word and deed) that brings Glory to Him!


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Rest He Knows…

Today, I wanted to send a word out to those of you who are single. Why God has put this on my heart I’m not sure, but I am sure I’m all about doing what I believe He has encouraged me to do.
During our time in Eastern Europe, a conversation came up about single girls on the field and how that can be difficult at times. Sometimes it is difficult because, when you are single, people mistakenly think you have all the time in the world since you are not married with children. (That always makes me laugh!) Oh yeah, before I go any further, I’m single. Ha,ha,ha Sometimes it is difficult… especially serving cross-culturally, because you get lonely when your team-mates are in their family mode and you feel like you don’t have anyone. Sometimes you flat out just feel not safe because you are alone.

All the discussion reminded me of a verse in Psalms 68:6 which reads:

“God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.”

I love that verse because God used it in my life shortly after I had received Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I remember praying to Him about marriage. In my heart, He assured me that I would never have to worry about marriage. If I was to be married, He would bring that person into my life. I have never questioned or doubted Him on that. He also used that verse to remind me that He would always have people around me to love and care for me. He has been faithful to that promise. All along my journey, He has placed family, godly men and women, couples, and individuals in my life to walk with me. And I have been content in the journey. As I told the group in Eastern Europe, others have been messed up about it but not me. Ha,ha,ha,ha
Now, I do have to tell you that I jokingly make references to needing a husband when I am having to do some man jobs (what I consider a man jobs) around the house. In fact, my friends know that during those times I will say, “I need a husband.” (smile)
Having said all of that, I also believe with all my heart that God intended for women to be married and that is the desire of most every young woman’s heart. But, can I encourage you? Don’t run ahead of Him. He knows you. He knows your needs physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, as it relates to a mate. His timing is perfect… but not ours. His thoughts towards you are pure love and He cares deeply for you. He doesn’t just intend for you to be with anyone. He has a plan for you and your spouse to-be. So, make sure you are dancing with God, and in His timing, He will let the perfect man for you.. cut in. Notice I said perfect man for you, not a perfect man. Ha,ha,ha,ha
Until then don’t forget the words of Isaiah 54:5

For your Maker is your husband-- the LORD Almighty is his name-- the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.

Changing gears... we are in the process now of talking with a contact person for our next trip overseas. It will be this fall and more details will be posted next week. 


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Sometimes it is just hard….

The team is back home to their family, friends and jobs. This was a tough trip in preparation, presence there, and return. All along the way we sensed, as a team, we were battling the darkness (the enemy). And yet, God made a way for us.

Many of you will realize that we were somewhat skimpy on things that were shared in the preparations before leaving the country. Also, the blogs were generic, and pictures were few, unlike so many other times we have left the country. I want to thank all of you who stood in the gap in prayer for us without understanding, but trusting that we were being obedient to the call to go.

It is our prayer that we brought encouragement to those who serve in a darkness that probably does, as the quote says…. make you think you have been buried. But the truth is, each and every one of us who serve our LORD has been planted for such a time as this. So don’t lose hope! Rise up! Get your footing again! Keep Walking!

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

2 Samuel 22:29 (ESV)
For you are my lamp, O LORD, and my God lightens my darkness.

Psalm 78:35 (ESV)
They remembered that God was their rock, the Most High God their redeemer.

Galatians 6:9 (ESV)
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

I am including some pictures from our trip. I suspect they will give you insight without words. Again, thank you to all of you who joined us on this trip and gave freely of yourselves trusting God’s work through this ministry.