Saturday, December 26, 2009
"Let the oldest saint look well to the fundamentals of his piety, for grey heads may cover black hearts: and let not the young professor despise the word of warning, for the greenness of youth may be joined to the rottenness of hypocrisy".
Mr. Spurgeon always gives me something to think about and draws my mind to the Word of God and the adjustments that need made in this life. Many of the great men and women who've gone before us, manage to pinpoint a problem or bring light to an issue facing us today. As one who is moving quickly toward eternity, (simply because time moves so rapidly) bringing forth some wisdom from this vessel that would speak to those behind would be quite an accomplishment. But, the constant struggle to stay on the straight and narrow when it comes to sin of the heart , takes precedence so that correction keeps me preoccupied. One cannot impart wisdom without having conquered those nuances that keep popping up all too unexpectedly. Am I looking saintly and covering a black heart? Issues never dealt with do not go away but grow stronger as one grows older and "cover up" can be mastered to the point that no one can see it.
When I was 18, I attended a small, all girls' Christian college, far away from home. It was a wonderful institution for the most part as young women studied and worked together in preparation to become leaders in the Christian world. To keep tuition down, every student was assigned a job such as waitressing, cleaning, working the switchboard, etc. Waitressing and cleaning were not a problem for me but when it came my turn to work the switchboard (and I'm talking about the old fashioned plug in kind), training was brief and it was all very new to me. When the lights lit up and I had to connect the caller to the party they wanted, I began to get very nervous. One of my teachers (who was "old" and gray headed), received a call from her sister. I plugged the call in just fine, but then forgot which plug it was. Before long, I'd unplugged their connection interrupting their conversation bringing it to an abrupt end. I didn't realize what I'd done but due the sinking feeling of having made a grave mistake began to haunt me. An inside call came, I plugged the wire in and it was my teacher. She was screaming at me for having disconnected her from her sister. Through tears and embarrassment I managed to get her sister back on the line but I questioned the sweetness she seemed to generate in her Christian Ed class. Suddenly, I'd seen another side to the smile, the song and prayer that opened the class. I guess you could say, I questioned the reality of her piety. That was a long time ago, but at the moment it is as fresh in my memory as though it were yesterday. She's been gone a long but you know what? I don't remember anymore about her, other than what was just described. I remember hatred and a smile. If she imparted any wisdom, it was driven away by her anger.
How many times over the years of my life have I left that kind of impression on someone? When it's all said and done, what will people remember about me? It's so important to deal with heart issues and there are days when I fail miserably. But, can I wallow in the failures or repent, continue to walk the walk and ask the Lord to continue to uncover the blackness in my heart. The God whom we worship is a great heart-searcher; and of old his servants knew him as "the Lord which searcheth the heart and trieth the reins of the children of men." (Spurgeon).
Trusting you had a wonderful Christmas and that the NEW YEAR WILL BE FILLED WITH JOY AND PEACE IN BELIEVING THE WORD OF GOD.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I'm sure no one need reminded of that fact, amen? We aren't counting the days until we leave for Christmas, there is so much going on and to do before then, we are asking for GRACE to get it all done.
The drama here is intense. If you read my last post this is to update you on the situation with our yardman. His wife will go to prison. He must leave St Marc as well and our student (their daughter) as well. When a death occurs like this one did, the neighbors ban together to get rid of the suspected murderer. The woman accused will probably never get out of prison due to the amount of dollars it would cost. She was taken from jail to the court yesterday, we have yet to hear what happened. At 6:30 AM, Antonio was at our gate, crying and shaking all over. WE had to tell him he no longer had a job with us, gave him severance pay and sent him on his way. He quickly handed over his keys because he knew we could not afford to risk lives by keeping him on as an employee.
Now we are hearing they both were involved in the occult and this trouble could be the result of years denying the Lord. We've preached to them in church services and in private about getting their lives right, never thinking they were into voodoo but now the hidden knowledge of their lives begins to surface as the Haitians talk to us. Never will they tell before the fact, but after the fact, truth comes out. So, here we are realizing again that the society here is quite secretive and you never really know what is what.
At the same time yesterday, Marko came in crying saying his mother just died. He had seen her an hour earlier. She's been sick a long time, was 45 years old. Farona cried and cried at school yesterday. After school, we were talking, Petit Homme, Marko and I. Farona was sitting closely next to me. When Marko said the body was at the morgue, Farona fell across my lap sobbing. It was all I could do to contain my own emotion. How sad for this family right now.
Have a blessed day. If any of you are facing difficult situations this time of year, allow the Word of God to comfort and keep you.
2Co 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
2Co 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
Isa 40:1 "Comfort, comfort My people," says your God.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
I'm sitting here thinking about many things but most of all how interesting life is and how one circumstance can change lives. This is a story about Haiti and how difficult it is for us to deal with what happens because our hands are tied. We are not Haitian. Believe this story or not, it is happening now.
We've known this family for years. He's our yard man, she's his wife, one daughter goes to El Shaddai, two young boys and another daughter live together in a house, we built for them, on land up the mountain. He is a peasant, cannot read. She has had some schooling, and for all she lacks, she's kind to her children. A three day old neighbor's baby became sick, she gave it some medicine (herbs, nothing from the pharmacy). The baby became sicker, looked like it was dying. The neighbors took her from her house, beat her, took her to the court and the baby to the hospital. While in the court, the baby died. She was taken from the court to the hospital to "give the baby life." You see, this woman is now believed to be a "lugaroo." Lugaroo is the spirit that comes to take a baby's life.
We've heard "lugaroo" for years. When people with new babies hear a noise on the roof, they say it's "lugaroo." This is very frightening to animists. We've learned conversion to Christianity does not take away the fear of lugaroo, for the majority. We've prayed in Christian homes, casting out that spirit and when we pray, they go in the name of Jesus. Only then do they believe in the power of Jesus to handle a spiritual situation. But, few come to ask for prayer help in these situations so the deception goes on.
Back to the story: When she could not bring life to the baby, (and I think she had to give her life in order to do that—and she refused), she was made to carry it to the morgue then immediately taken back to the court and placed in jail. That happened on Friday. We were in Port and didn't hear about it until Friday night. By the time we heard the story, much had been added and right now, we still aren't sure we have details. But on Saturday, the child who is our student, came to the gate. She said she couldn't go home because the neighbors would kill her. She's 12 years old. On Friday, when she left school (and we were getting into the car to go to Port) she let me know she was going home. Here it was Saturday and she was hiding in fear for her life.
As we talked, we got more details. Her mother had been beaten, she was in jail. Her father and the other children were hiding at a brothers house. There was not enough money for all of them to get a tap tap (pick up truck used for public transportation)to the village where they could live and be safe until all this passes. She stayed a while, took a shower, ate a peanut butter sandwich, and took the money we gave her to her father so they could leave St Marc.
I prayed with her about her mother which brought tears because she nor we know what will happen with this woman, who did not murder anyone, but the accusation stands. Jail here means no food, water, provision. She did have a family member bring a little food and water but what about today? Let me explain the hard part of all this. We could not take our El Shaddai student into our home because those who have threatened her life would have found her here and we would pay the consequences, i.e., manifestation, demand for money for the child's funeral, or harm to our whole student body. We cannot take anything to the mother for the same reasons. When it's Haitian against Haitian, the foreigner must stay out of it or the whole ministry could go down the tubes. Do you know how hard that is? We've know this family for nine years! They've never quite measured up to what we'd like to see, but because of the children, we've maintained their job and relationship.
She will appear in court on Monday, we cannot go to speak in her behalf. From there, if the peasants on the mountain have their way, she will be taken to prison. If she's released on Monday, the peasants will kill her (unless she can get out of town quickly). If she goes to prison she'll be there a long time because (like everywhere) it takes money to free someone.
How quickly life can change from ordinary to extraordinary, from mundane and routine to great suffering and tension. Four children's lives have been affected by superstition and rage. Our El Shaddai student will miss the best week of school and may never return, depending on the outcome of this thing. Their one room, tin roof house on the mountain will be torn down by the neighbors.
Any and all response is "this is Haiti" the hard, painful side. As Christians our desire is to help but in Haiti, our hands are tied but we can and will pray! Surely, there is a way to break the demonic back of superstition which prevails even in the church. We will continue to preach the Word and operate in the power of the name of Jesus.
Monday, December 7, 2009
There are times when we need to sit and reflect on whether we are seeking God or substituting other things in His place. With busy lives and the busiest time of the year upon us, this meditation by Wade Taylor was one that ministered to me and perhaps to you as well. It's so easy to get "caught up" in what is happening, what will happen, how it all fits together and how we fit into it; when in actuality we need to get caught up in God. Have you ever had a lack in praying and seeking God and physical hunger takes you to the kitchen to satisfy this void? Nothing you eat satisfies but you keep trying. It seems a physical hunger takes over when the real problem is spiritual hunger. Without the spirit being satisfied by time with God our flesh takes over. I hope you get as much out of this as I did. We are in a day and time that we had better draw deep from the well of Living Water.
Entering the Depths with Jesus
Wade E Taylor
Many of us have formed an opinion of what a particular person is like. Then when we met them, they were totally different than we had thought. This is due to a "perceived" knowledge from which we formed an opinion, without "experientially" knowing them.
We began our spiritual life knowing that we needed to be "saved," but we did not personally know Jesus. At the time of our salvation experience, there was placed within us the capacity and desire to personally know the One who redeemed us. Because of this, we can, with the Apostle Paul, say:
"I long to know Christ and the power which is in His resurrection, and to share in His sufferings and die even as He died; in the hope that I may attain to the resurrection from among the dead. I do not say that I have already won the race or have already reached perfection. But I am pressing on, striving to lay hold of the prize for which also Christ has laid hold of me." Philippians 3:10-12 Weymouth
We can be distracted from attaining this goal by trying to understand who the antichrist might be, or, what will happen to those who never heard the Gospel. We are not called to understand these things. Rather, we are called to come to personally know Jesus.
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9
In His time and way, the Lord will reveal to us the things that we should know and understand. If we understood God, He would be no bigger than our understanding. This indeed would be a very small God.
As we devotionally spend time with the Lord in worship and waiting, we will receive spiritual understanding that will establish us upon a rock-solid doctrinal foundation. As our spiritual life is established upon this foundation, and the Lord takes us beyond doctrinal basics, there is a "deep" within the heart of God that will reach out toward us, and stir us to seek to better know Him.
"Deep unto deep is calling. At the noise of Your water-spouts, all of Your breakers and Your billows passed over me." Psalm 42:7 YLT
Even though we may not sense that this "deep" desire to personally know Jesus is within us, it is there. When we are being stirred by the Lord, there is the ever present danger that we will seek some other means to satisfy it. We often become so taken up with information about the Lord that we do not come to the Lord Himself, and allow Him to bring us into the experience of personally knowing Him. We stop short of "experiential" knowledge.
"When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, will You at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel ?" Acts 1:6
The disciples were seeking the external, rather than a change within their lives. Many today are doing the same, seeking an adjustment in their personal needs, and their relationships with others, rather than facing the real need, which is within, and from which those things that are external will find their adjustment, or correction.
The Apostle Paul saw beyond the limitations of his natural life, and reached for the higher - that which is eternal. Although he had counted all things but loss, the time came when he could say, "I have suffered the loss of all things." He was able to accept this loss because all that he desired had been lifted from the natural realm into the spiritual, in which he found the satisfaction that he had so intensely sought.
John W Follette, who never married, had a unique relationship with the Lord. While in His home one time, I noticed that he had placed three settings on the table when only he and I were there. When I asked why, he said, "I always set a place for the Lord, then I invite Him to sit at the table with me, while I partake of my meal."
He was able in a practical, yet profound way to fellowship with the Lord, even during the necessary functions of life. He found and entered into that for which he had been created.
The disciples had asked Jesus about the Kingdom being restored to Israel . He answered, "It is not for you to know the times and seasons, but...." He directed their attention to a present work that would inwardly change them, in preparation for the coming of the Kingdom.
As Jesus came up out of the waters of baptism, the heavens opened and His Father said, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." Immediately, "Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness being forty days tempted of the Devil…." After this, the Word tells us that "Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit…" (Luke 4:1-2, 14).
Notice that He had gone into the wilderness in the "fullness" of the Spirit, but returned in the "power" of the Spirit.
Power is the result of a right response to our being tested and proven. To be tested and come through victoriously will produce this empowering, which is broad in its scope and creates within us the ability to go deeper into personally knowing the Lord, and into the deeper realms of spirituality.
Thus, the King James rightly translates Acts 1:8. "You shall receive power after…."
As we obey the Lord, the result of our obedience will produce within us grace, in the form of enabling strength, which will make it yet easier for us to obey. If we disobey, it becomes easier for us to again disobey, as we become "hardened" and progressively, it becomes more difficult to hear His voice or His convicting presence.
Our obeying the Lord and receiving His blessing does not mean that we will never again have a problem. After experiencing a time of remarkable blessings and provisions, things may get worse. The Lord will test us to see if we are capable of rightly handling what we have already received, and if He might trust us with more.
As we come to better understand that the desire of the Lord is for us to enter into a close, personal relationship with Him, we will be able to fully trust Him, even when we may not understand.
Now, to the measure that we have come to personally know Jesus, we are ready to partake with Him in "fellowship with His sufferings" (Philippians 3:10).