Monday, May 23, 2011

Well, later was an understatement! Here it is and more than a month has flown by before I got time to finish my post.
Why is writing so hard for me? It is never easy for me to write and too often that pushes writing to the back burner. I know some people. that can sit down at a keyboard and write pages without their brain ever going into high gear, for me I have to go into overdrive just to write a couple paragraphes.
Anyway, here are my comments on verses one through four, I hope for comments from the rest of you as we move further into Romans.

Who is Paul talking about in verse one? At first glance it appears that Paul is talking about who he is, but he talkes almost entirely of Christ. He says he is a bondservant of Christ, called by Christ, and separated to the gospel of Christ. I think it is incredible that even when Paul is giving a description of himself, he speaks only of Christ. I think Paul has a one track mind, namely Christ.
Verses two and three are Paul's defense of of what he is going to say in the book of Romans. He knew the Jews would say this Gospel (good news) he was preaching about was new and radical, but Paul starts by saying this is not a newfangled idea, it was already promised in the Old Testament. Paul also makes it very clear that this Gospel is Christ, and Christ is the Gospel.
In verse four Paul gives a defense for Christ being the Son of God. He said that the Holy Spirit declared Him to be the Son of God and He was confirmed to be valid by His resurrection from the dead.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Romans 1:1-4

Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.

Please read and think about these verses and feel free to comment.
I will have to add my comments later as it is 11:00 pm, and my typing speed is so slow it would be tomorrow before I finished.

I stand guilty as charged.

Virginia, thank-you for coming out and saying it. It is shameful the way I have neglected this blog. Yes the blame lays on me for two reasons: #1. I was the one that asked you all to do the blog with me, and #2. I am the only guy on here and as such I feel a responsibility to you all for letting it nearly die.

I will try to do better and put aside my fear of writing. Please help me in this by reminding or reprimanding me when I go too long without posting.

I am going to start a Bible study in Romans. I chose Romans because it has a lot of truths in it and some of them make for very good discussions.
I do not stipulate any rules for the discussions except that you conduct yourself in a Christlike way at all times. You do not (as I am sure at times you will not) have to agree with what I write, I may even post something that I know is controversial at best, or even oposite of what I believe to be true, to stimulate a good discusion.

So, I pray that God would bless this endeavor and that we can all learn more of who God is, and who we are.

Bondye Beni Ou,  God Bless You


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Off to Haiti

To all my Comrades:
I'm off to Haiti in the morning! I'll be there for two months, working in a clinic. I'm excited to be going finally, and I ask you all to keep me in your prayers. Keep living for our LORD, and God bless you!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Will You Come to the Feast?

The other day I was looking at this blog and thought, "This is shameful; we started this blog to be an encouragement to each other even after we were scattered across the world, and it is almost dead." I determined then to do CPR on it and I am asking you all to help. Let's see if we can get it to come alive.

My thoughts this afternoon stem from the message my dad preached this morning. I'll start with a story.
One day, a great Lord decided to prepare a feast for his friends. His preparations were made to the extent of his resources, which were massive, actually the greatest in the land. When the day came, he sent his manservant around to give his friends an invitation in person. At the first house, no one came to the door. Going around to the back, the servant found the man of the house getting ready to leave.
"I have come with an invitation for you." The servant gave the message, and was surprised at the answer.
"How nice, but I really can't come today. You see, I just bought a piece of land, and I've got to go look at it. Tell my friend thanks, but it will have to be another time."
The servant went on his way, puzzled by the attitude of the man who professed to be his master's best friend. The servant came to the next place, and his knock was answered by the person he wanted to see.
"My master sends you an invitation to come to the feast he has prepared for you today."
"Oh, uhh... I would come, but..., you see I just bought ten oxen and I have got to go see if they are as good as the man who sold them to me said they were. He tried to rip me off, but I worked down to price and got a real bargain! Do you want to come see them?"
"Excuse me, but I have other things to do," and with that the servant turned to leave.
"Say, tell your master thanks, but I really must be excused this time."
The servant went on the next house, a man who would accept the invitation, if for nothing else but for the reason that he lived alone, and was of a social nature. He knocked on the door, waited, and knocked again. The man came to the door, dressed up, looking like he was ready to go to the feast.
"My master invites you to his house for a feast he has prepared, but maybe you've already heard?"
"No, I didn't, why did you think... oh, because I'm dressed up! No, I'm going out with my wife. I just got married the other day!"
"Wonderful! Bring her along! My master will be delighted to meet her!"
"Well, there's a problem. My wife would be pretty upset if I didn't do what we planned. Maybe some other time? I'm sure my friend will understand. It's not like I'm going to get married every week!" With that he turned back into the house.
Every one of the people that the master had invited had some sort of excuse. The servant returned to his master and reported the responses. His master was angry at the excuses of his friends.
"Go," He said to his servant, "bring all the poor, the lame, the old, and the blind people from the streets of the city."
The servant did so and said to the master, "I have do so, and there is still room."
The master said, "Go then to the highway, and the lanes and compel anyone and everyone you meet to come. I want my house filled up. I want none of those invited to come last minute and taste my supper."

Ok, you know this is the parable from Luke 14. I filled in a few details, but that is all. The message my dad preached was on fasting. Fasting is a deliberate abstinence from anything that is good, for the purpose of focusing on God. It is not just not eating. There are so many things that can become a focus in our lives and take our focus off of God. As this parable shows, it is not just food that can be an idol to us. Jesus uses food as the reason for the gathering of the master's friends. The friends idols (by idol I mean something that takes the place or is considered before our Master) were good things in themselves, land, cattle, and a wife! The problem started when those things took preference over the feast of the master.
Stop and consider, what are the things in your life that you give preference to- i.e. do first when you have a little time. Do you spend time praying, reading the Bible, worshiping God? Or do you grab your book, watch a movie, go shopping, get on Facebook, name it? None of these things are bad in themselves, in the right time and place. But do they prevent you from going to the Master's feast? You may say, oh, but that is not an idol to me. I challenge you, try doing without it! You will shortly find out if it is an idol or not! It is not only the things you do in your spare time either. Your work, sleep, food, clothes, money, social position, friends, yourself; do you consider these things before you do what God asks of you? Would you give anything or everything up for Him? Does the thought of time spent alone with your Bible, seeking and worshiping God fill you with delight or bore you? Do you long for God, and yet never find that sweet fellowship you have heard of yet never experienced? Maybe it is time for you to fast and pray. Fast from anything that is taking your focus off of God, anything that keep's you from the Master's feast. Leave the land, the oxen will wait, bring your wife along! Only do not neglect the Master!

This is not exactly what my dad preached, but my thoughts following the sermon. It hit home to me, and painful as it is to admit, I have idols in my life. I have been asking God lately to be All in All to me, I want Christ to really be Enough, (yea, He is more than enough!) for me, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. But I have been struggling. I see now that part of my problem is that I have idols in my life, things I consider and put before my time with God. I love to read, and I find myself picking up my book before my Bible. When I pray, my mind soon wanders. I turn my back on the Master and His feast, for the things of this world. God help me! How do I expect to get direction, grace and strength from Him if I neglect to spend time with Him? Or just stop in quick and say "Hey, thanks for all you've done for me, I'm in a hurry, so would you help me with this problem I have?" and them run off before He has time to answer? I admire the Christians of old, and wonder that there are so few truly Christ-like men and women these days. I, myself, fall so far short of who I should be as a child of God. How do I expect others to see Christ in me if I do not spend time with Christ? How can I tell others that Christ is more than enough, that He will meet every need, if I do not know the reality of it myself? How will I know that reality if I do not spend time with Him , if He is not first in my life? I pray that I can find Him this week as I seek to truly put Him FIRST in my life.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wishing To Do -"Something Significant"

I've been listening to Adventures in Odyssey with Mom.
I got 5 sets for Christmas from Mom and Dad.
Yes I'm 21, yes they were made more for kids, no that doesn't really matter to God.
He uses the little things.
The title of the last one we heard was "Something Significant".
Wow, God keeps pounding me.
It was about Trent wanting to do something BIG for God!
He wants to be in the church play so that he can make an impact on peoples lives. But he didn't get a part, so the the Pastor said he could help set up chairs.
But that's not a BIG thing, that's not going to change any one's life!
So Wit tries to get across to him that it's just as much the little things as the big things.

You all were kids once so I have no doubt that at least most of you have heard Odyssey a few times growing up. So you should know what happens next. :) Wit sends him on an imagination station adventure.

Throughout the adventure, Trent meets a young lady who is getting ready for a Bible study. She asks him to help her set up... =]

Then he meets a young girl in India who gets chained to a pole, and helps save her along with a lady by the name of Amy.

Then he ends up on a WWII army ship with a guy named Jack. The ship is sunk, the guys made it to shore but are stuck without food for 6 days.

He goes back to the first place where the girl is now working on a song for a book that her and her sister are writing. A book no one's ever heard of, a song that is very short. The girl doesn't think it is very important. But when she has Trent look at the words he reads, "Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong."

He knows the song!

Then he ends up back in India, at Amy's home. He asks if the little girl got away safely.

And there she is, at the home of Amy Carmichael.

He asks Amy why she came there, and she tells him there was a song when she was younger that she heard, that really changed her life. (You can guess the song I'm sure.)

And now he is back on the Island where the guys are rescued. They knew it was God that saved them, so they say they should sing a song. One of the guys breaks out in song, "Jesus Loves Me..." Then the native guy that helped to save them started in singing with them. They wonder how he knows it. It was a song that a missionary taught him.

In the end he sees that this one little song, from a girl that no one really thinks about, (though everyone knows her song) has changed lives.

Many of us think of Jesus loves me as a little kids song. Such simple words, and we've all known it for forever.
But the words are wonderful it you take a moment to stop and remember them.

So, what am I learning though all this?
I'm trying to convince myself that it's the little things just as much as the big.
Going from being in the Philippines, doing outreaches, helping people, being able to see the effect on their lives. Coming back to, filling the fire, sweeping the floor, scrubbing the tub, moving the snow...
How little it all seems. So hum drum. I mean, where's the glory in all of that?

Hmm, being of help to Mom and Dad, both of whom are not at their best right now?
Well, yes. Though I've not been doing a very good job of it, and I need to work on that.

As many of you know, I've been wanting to go over and help my sister Jennifer in Zambia for a few months beginning this March. Well, that's a ways off , yes, but it's not looking as hopeful as it once was. There is much going on that may postpone that trip indefinitely...
I just have to wait and see what the Lord's will is for that.

There are so many things I could go into, but right now I feel kind of like I'm at a stand still.
In that way I fear Lydia and my stories are similar.
I feel I grew so much over in the Philly's, that to be back at home is like being stuffed back in the same old little box.
But what next?
For now I guess, I must be faithful in the little things. For there is just as much import in them as in the big things. Then, and only then, God will send the bigger things.

There is so much more I could say, but for now...


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ok. So I don’t know where to start, or where to go with it, and it’s going to be hard because I know that some already know most of this, others some, and still more none, so just bare with me.

We’ll start with return home. It was devastating, emotionally and physically straining, and life scarring!!! Ok, so it wasn’t quite that bad. Returning home wasn’t so bad (it was great to see my family and friends), it’s the fact of staying home that is so hard to cope with!
I knew before I ever left the Philippines that I wanted to be a missionary. Though before I left the US I felt God calling me towards that, there was no question in my mind as I left that country. On the way back from Chicago while talking with Daddy I briefly mentioned the fact that I was sure of my calling. I knew that I would be able to discern from his response as to where him and Mama were standing. I could have guessed my fears would be true; I could tell that it wasn’t met with enthusiasm. It was pretty much “what if God has that in your future, but right now he calls you to be content where you are”. I’ve lived 19 going on 20 years, I can interpret that. I decided then and there, I would not bring up my desire to return to the Philippines and just wait and see if God might bring it up, then surely I would know it was of Him. Well what do you know, I hadn’t been home for more then two days, when Mama asked me what I desired for my future. I told her the truth. This time I was dealt with a blow from which I’ve not fully recovered. “Before you can be a missionary you must further your studies and get more training”. I took it hard. I just wanted to be a missionary; sharing the truth and gospel of my Lord Jesus Christ! Where are education and degrees factored in? Mama said she had been praying about it and she thought I should go for my LPN or Special Needs Teaching certification. I had considered the teaching degree prior to the medical school, but I knew that although I wouldn’t mind getting it, that’s not what I wanted right now. I just wanted to be on the mission field! As for LPN I didn’t know much about it, but I didn’t figure it would be practical to missionary medicine. I came away from that discussion rather distraught. After it burned every which way through my head for a week, I asked her about getting my nurses in the Philippines or somewhere where it might be practical. It would be much cheaper, I would be learning about the things I would be encountering in a third world country, and I would be able to have some hands on. This grand and glorious idea was blown away when she informed me that I was needed around home; certain siblings needed me relationship wise, and Daddy would need me as he considers another visionary business venture. I had determined before and during this discussion that I would not give way to tears. I was doing everything I could to hold them back, and when Mama sensed my wall I put up to her words she wanted me to talk and discuss it. I told her I couldn’t; I knew if I said just a few words the tears would flow. I walked in my bedroom, closed the door and turned off the light and almost fell when I reached my bed. I began forming the words in my mouth “I’m done for, God. I’ve tried and this is what I get in return. What is there to following you, anyway?” The words couldn’t even be uttered before tears started streaming down my face and my whole body began wracking with sobs. He spoke in everything, but audible words. I swear it was as loud as silence speaks. He said, “I love you. I love you more then you will ever be able to understand! You wouldn’t have had anything to do with me in the first place! It was I who chose you: because I love you.” As I lay there in bed, I sobbed out my gratefulness to Him for His love. I have never experienced His love like that before; the closest time would have been on the beach at Tamaraw. I could feel His arms around me. Squeezing me, holding me tight. I knew He loved me. I decided this whole issue was my own problem and I was just going to have to put my future as a missionary on the alter. I would just have to settle in to the old and normal life, and forget all dreams and visions. Mama wouldn’t leave things unconversed. A couple of days later, she asked me if I was ready to talk. Although I didn’t want to talk, knowing it would bring it up and I would have to lay it down again, I went ahead and said “sure”. She said that when her and Daddy got my letter asking them to pray about my going to the mission field, written from the Philippines, they both were excited and unanimously agreed that I was to get more training. She said that if God was calling me to the mission field, as a young woman He was calling me right now to wait. She told me I would have to learn to be content where I am, because He hasn’t revealed to them yet what He has to me and they don’t see an open door. I said I was trying and would continue to do my best.
I’m not opposed to getting more training, but until I feel God leading me to that, I don’t want to go for it. But I don’t want to sit around idle waiting for God to change hearts while I lose my vision by twiddling my thumbs. So I started an advanced biology course and plan on working through the chemistry as well, because I know that knowledge will be beneficial in any area and it might help me in determining where God is leading. So that’s where I am and what I am doing. And I might also add that Krissy was such an incredible encouragement to me right about this time, because no sooner did this last discussion occur and I got a note from her in answer to my enquiry concerning her nurses training, that she would probably not be taking that course as she, along with her parents, felt God calling her to full time mission work. She said it was so the working of God for her parents to be of that mind because up to this point they were totally not like that, her mother was especially very career minded. It hurt really bad seeing how very opposite God was working our cases, but it gave me such peace that He can and is changing hearts and that He will speak through my parents, but I have to trust in their decision.
And of course each time I talk with you Gin, I come away so refreshed and encouraged!

There, I did it.

So anyway, that’s just a quick catch up. Hopefully something more beneficial will come from me next time I decide to post! :)

I miss all of y’all sooooo bad!