Each year at graduation I have an object lesson so I worked on it today. Gladys and Jim will help me.
Oscar was able to get our permission to cross the road with the sewer pipes from the church and transition buildings. One-half of our property is in San Bartolome’ and the other half is in Santiago so we have to deal with officials, mayors, engineers, etc. from two states.
When God called Elisha he killed his 2 of his 12 yokes of oxen. Very costly. This was his promise to God that he was going to follow Him and never go back. Someone once said that we are to make our decision and then that decision will make us. Maybe you will need to think on that a moment but it is absolute truth.
Elisha is called to SERVE Elijah. So many think that when God calls it means we are to jump in headfirst and build a ministry. But that is not so. We are to serve before we can lead. Elisha would serve Elijah for 10 years before Elijah left this earth. Yes, 10 years!
Ministry depends heavily upon patience, the ability to endure and your commitment to be whatever God wants you to be. The Psalmist said that he would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of God than any other position on earth.
Jesus, Himself, said that He came to serve and not to be served. Elisha was willing to serve. You and I do not like to wait and we do not like it when takes-His-time. We want it and we want it now.
In II King 2 we see three times that Elijah is walking and he says to Elisha “Stay here” and all three times Elisha says “No”. Read II Kings 2:2,4,6. Loyalty is a lost and forgotten word in our vocabulary.
People change churches, athletes change jobs, family’s divorce, children are abandoned and the list of examples is endless. Loyalty is almost non-existent in our world. If everyone who promised to help Casa would have continued and done so we could have reached tens of thousands of children.
Fickleness and double mindedness not loyalty are the traits of the time in which we live.
Very cold for Guatemala. The visitors played soccer and other games with Lee’s boys in Vencedores.
The only tiles left to be laid in the dialysis unit are the small pieces around the rooms on the third floor.. Also the paving blocks for the road will be finished this coming week also.
The boys singing for the baptism
Like Elijah, I had forgotten the call of God on my life. The restoration of my vision and the rest I received at both Thom’s farm and Mark’s home strengthened me. I saw the baton in my hand.
When I was young I ran track and field. We had some speedy guys. I ran the third leg on the relay teams. In the 440 yard relay at state which was the first time I walked on the field at LSU I was ahead of my competitors when I passed the baton to Clary who was one of the fastest in the state. The race would be ours and I would receive a state championship medal.
But Clary took two steps and I heard a “Pop” and he grabbed his hamstring so not only did we lose we were disqualified to compete in the other two relays. With him having a torn hamstring it was over. The key to the Christian life is that each of us run our race and pass the baton to the next runner. That is the key to successful ministry.
Recently I heard that a church I served in which had 2000 members closed. The baton was not passed. I have returned to Guatemala with a new fervor and desire to run through the tape and place the ministry is the hands God has chosen.
Elijah was a loner. He thought he was the only prophet in Israel but God showed him that there were 7000 other prophets. Elisha would begin the school of the prophets. That was the difference. Lone rangers like Elijah burn out.
Remember there are no stars in a relay race!!!
Every now and then I will receive a quote in my email and the quote for today was by Corrie Ten Boom. She said, “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.” If you never read The Hiding Place, it is a good book to read and remember to be thankful in “all circumstances.”
I remember a part where Betsie, Corrie’s sister, was thankful for fleas. Corrie couldn’t understand why they should be thankful for fleas. They read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Betsie reminded Corrie that they should be thankful in “all circumstances” not just “pleasant circumstances.” The reason why God gave them fleas? The guards would not enter the barracks because of the fleas. Corrie and Betsie were able to have bible studies and witness to the women in their barracks.
I have my share of “fleas” and there are times that I wonder why I should be thankful for them. In time, God will reveal why He gave me these “fleas.” God does not give us these “fleas” because He wants us to suffer, but for us to understand How much He loves us. When I talked with Adam yesterday, he quoted Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways.” I don’t understand the “fleas” in my life, but I do know that we have them for a purpose and like the rain, it comes down from heaven and it makes things grow. Like God’s word, the “fleas” will accomplish what He desires. Why? Because He sent it.
So, what are the “fleas” in your life? Problems at work or in a ministry, incorrigible children, broken relationships, an awful disease, being alone, stress, loss of a job, feelings of failure? Whatever your “fleas” are, remember what God’s word says, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
The boys, of course, have been spending a lot of time outside since school ended. Today, I took them to play with the girls on the front property. We’ve been busy this week with so many boys going here and there for different appointments, activities, etc. Today was a little more relaxed.
Candy said it was feeling more like fall in Tennessee. Two days ago, it was 85 degrees there. Today, it was 68. That’s the thing about Tennessee…wait a day, and it’s like a different season. She said the leaves are beautiful. Fall has always been a favorite time of year.
Lee and Candy
I actually stayed in bed all day. Flu? I do not know.
Josue’ & Gladys went shopping for Christmas for the older children. We would like to give shirts, skirts, pants and shoes to the teenagers.
Yesterday was a national holiday so we allowed our staff to work yesterday and had today off. Three day weekends are nice for our overworked staff!
A teacher praying for the children at closing ceremonies.
Elijah wanted that his era was the end of the world. And even though the prophecies of disaster and death were spoken to Ahab and Jezebel they would live on for many years. I believe that we are living in the time where many Christians are saying, “Oh Lord just take me home. Bring an end to the horribleness that exists upon this earth”.
But the truth is we are not nearing the end. Too much scripture indicates that there will be more generations born. The question is: Are we willing to run our race and pass the baton to those who follow. Immediate escape is not an option for you and me.
A few weeks ago I was in the darkest point in my life. I was physically ill, emotionally drained and spiritually struggling. I went into the wilderness of a beautiful 400 acre farm where I walked for hours asking God to remove me. Take me home!
I entered a barn on that farm and cried like a baby. I begged God to give me rest and vision. He showed me the baton in my hand. For nearly 28 years I have been running a race that He set before me. Like Elijah I just wanted to go home to my Father.
But, just like Elijah, God gave me rest in an isolated cabin and fed me by an angel (Shawna) and when the time came to return to Guatemala I was revived. I have slept EVERY night all night ever since I returned. I have a clearer vision and I have asked God as Elisha did to give me a double portion so Dottie and I can run the race THROUGH the finish line.
My devotional for this morning was titled, “Don’t Give Me What I Deserve.”
“Do you really want what you deserve? Maybe you should first find out what you really deserve.
PSALM 103:8-10 (NIV) 8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
Thank God that I don’t get what I deserve! People clamoring to get what they deserve are really in the dark.
God is the judge and He declares that we have all fallen short — none of us deserves good. But the wonderful news is that God loves us so much that He is not giving us what we deserve. But it doesn’t stop there. It gets better. Believers are actually going to receive what Jesus deserves!
Jesus took what we deserved — punishment. And now, because of His great love, offers us what He deserves — freely as a gift of love.
How can you not respond to Someone like that!”
There are times that I feel like Peter when he said, “Go away from me Lord. For I am a sinful man.” Why? Because many times I try to do things with my own power and I struggle and wear myself out. What does Jesus say? “Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” In other words, trust in our Lord, believe in Him and you will receive what you deserve. With my own strength, I receive very little but with the Lord’s strength, it’s immeasurable. The reward is not in corruptible things but incorruptible. Peter was not overwhelmed and repentant because he received a big catch, he was repentant because he was fishing for the wrong thing and trusting in the wrong person. We deserve an empty net, yet Jesus fills our nets with love, forgiveness, grace, faith, wisdom, mercy and hope. What are you fishing for?
Normally, I have a devotional with the boys after breakfast, but today was a little different. Jim came by the blue building before breakfast and started to help put food out. I thought he was driving and that he had time and just wanted to help. He said he wanted to help out more while Candy was in the states. A tear started to form in my eye. Well, just kidding. Anyway, we noticed some problems during breakfast set-up and afterwards, as well. I felt the need to address them when we returned to the dorm.
I asked the boys, “What is Colossians 3:23?” The boys said, “Work for the Lord with all your heart and not for man.” I said, “All of you are blessed. God has taken care of you and has provided for all of you and yet, some of you have no desire to work. Everybody has responsibilities in this dormitory. Everybody has to do his part…whether it is cleaning the bathroom, making your bed, cleaning the tables and chairs in the blue building or washing the cups and plates after a meal. When we work together, we glorify God. Why? Because we are appreciative of what He has given us. You want to play more games, go to the soccer field more, watch TV and have popcorn nights, yet what do you do? You say that you do your part, yet it is just talk. God’s word says, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” We give you responsibilities and work so that you will be accustomed to working. Working brings rewards while laziness brings poverty. Candy and I are not the only ones that want you to succeed…Mike, Sebastian, Jim, Billy, all the staff and teachers. They want you to succeed. But, you will not succeed if you do nothing.
Now I know there are many who do their part by working and doing their responsibilities. But, before you look at others, think about what the Lord desires. Who can enter the kingdom of heaven? The boys said, “Those who do God’s will.” God’s word doesn’t say those with good behavior, or great report cards or those who do their responsibilities. It’s ‘Those who do God’s will.’ It is God’s will to trust in Him alone. Work for Him alone. To believe in Him alone. When Jesus Christ began His ministry, His work here on earth, He said, “The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news.” He didn’t say, “Behave yourselves and believe.” It is faith in action. Faith and deeds. When you put your faith in the Lord, you will desire to work for Him with all your heart. You don’t do it for me or Jim or anyone else, but for the Lord. He is worthy.
As I sit outside and monitor the boys, I cannot help but chuckle. Our younger ones take old cardboard, and they make armor out of it. They find broken broomsticks and use them as spears, and suddenly, they become soldiers who are arresting and placing others in prison. Other boys are racing each other with their skateboards or dribbling a basketball, like a soccer ball, trying to outdo one another in soccer skills and tricks. It is so much fun to play as a young boy. I remember having the same kind of fun with my brothers and neighborhood friends. Of course, we would tie towels around our necks and “fly” like superman or jump off our one story house, onto the grass. When the younger ones go to the new younger boys’ dorm, I can honestly say that I will miss them…even the incorrigible ones. Yeah… I know. I’m crazy.
The children were treated to ice cream by the visiting teams. It was a pleasant surprise and treat for them. Thank You, Lord, for bringing these teams here to bless and minister to the children.
Candy has a meeting next week, and then, prayerfully, she’ll be home by the week’s end.
Lee and Candy
This morning we had a celebration of the school year and the receiving of the report cards. Then Sebastian and I announced the changing of dorm parents. There are still two more dorms where we will have to place couples. Sadly there are no American couples ready to come yet.
Sebastian gave me the list of 72 employees we have to pay the double salaries for. I know God is faithful to provide that money.
My sister, Charlotte, fell and is in the hospital.
Vencedores celebrating the end of school
Elijah was ready to go home to God. Today I just want to share of how still another example of transition takes place then I will write only about Elisha.
Elisha will ask for a double portion. Elijah answers that he is asking a hard thing. But God wants you and I to ask for the impossible. Elijah was a fireball. But Elisha will be gentle. He will minister to the people whereas Elijah had ministered to the evil leaders of Israel.
Here is another example of what God has called me to do and that is the transition of power to those God has called to step into my shoes. Like Elijah I have not always been gentile and kind and calm. Those I see behind me are all more in the mold of Elisha in that they are gentile. There is one exception but that will change in time.
You and I should ask for more of the Spirit of faith; the Spirit of courage and the Spirit of obedience than those who walked before us. The world is evil but it has always been evil. Sin is sin and what we see today I what God has had to look upon for generations.
There is no more sin today than there was during the times of Noah or Sodom or the Herods, Hitlers, Stalins and todays despots. Sin is always with us and until Jesus returns we will always be the salt and the light in a sinful, evil world.
Ask God for more and more courage, faith and obedience and make a difference where you are.
My devotional this morning was Ray Pritchard, and it was based on James 2:17, “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
My faith is dead if I talk without caring.
My faith is dead if I live without loving.
My faith is dead if I quote the Bible without applying it in my own life.
My faith is dead if I pray on Sunday and don’t show compassion on Monday.
My faith is dead if I give my tithe and spend the rest on myself.
Just as I was writing those words, I saw this quote from Christian Hip Hop artist Princeton Marcellis: “My faith is dead if it doesn’t make me move.” I think James would agree 100%. Living faith is moving faith.
Faith moves. Faith moves mountains and doubt. Faith is believing and knowing…believing that we can do all things through Him, and knowing that even if things don’t go the way we want, we will still love Him and give Him the glory. A good example is Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They told Nebuchadnezzar, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if He does not, we want you to know O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” James continues and says, “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” What do we do? Believe and not doubt.
The children had an end-of-the-year program. Adam preached and then a few dorms praised the Lord with song and dance. We are appreciative of all the hard work of the teachers and directors. I also picked up the report cards, and I saw red numbers. The significance of red numbers is that a few of our boys did not do well on their exams. Some have to repeat the grade, while others have to study and take the exam again. Of course, on the other hand… many of our boys did extremely well. We are proud of them. I tell our boys that their grades reflect their study habits… and it shows.
The boys asked for it, now they got it. After dinner we played a game. It’s a different kind of game, but loaded with fun and flavor. The game is called, “What is it?” I had a bag of popcorn and added different flavors. I put a piece of popcorn in their mouth and they need to tell us what the flavor was. The catch? Not all the flavors are desirable, and they were not allowed to spit it out. If they correctly guessed the flavor without spitting it out, they got a prize. What are the flavors? Well… sugar, hot mustard, salt, barbecue sauce, marshmallow, halls cough drop, garlic, onion, coffee, cobanero chili, pineapple, chicken consommé, picamas hot sauce, ketchup and even Carolina Reaper hot sauce. Popcorn, laughs and memories. We are blessed.
The West Virginia group blessed our boys with a hot dog roast. The boys enjoyed hotdogs, chips, and drinks. Thank You, Lord, for sending this team.
Lee and Candy
Seven months ago Brandi’s father passed away. Yesterday he brother’s father-in-law also passed away. My sister, Virginia, lost her husband a number of years ago & yesterday her brother-in-law passed away.
My phone is not working. My Email and WhatsApt are working.
Dottie had her lazer surgery today. Went well. Pray for the above families as well as Dottie please.
We will be changing dorm parents with Alex & Sara moving to Esperanza down and Esvin & Flor moving to Buen Pastor. Alex has so many responsibilities in the office now.
Jacob & Ana Ruth, both who have been here since childhood, no longer work at Casa since they both work elsewhere now that they are married. Their siblings are still here.
Ezdras preaching Freddie & Iris came Sunday to dedicate their son.
After he eats, rests and is touched by an angel Elijah arises and God does the following. You can read it in I Kings 19.
He speaks to Elijah in a still, small voice. God needs us to separate from the activities around us and listen. For 27 years I have been too much of a doer and not listened for the small voice.
- God gives him a companion. He gives him a friend and fellow warrior/prophet named Elisha. It is so difficult to walk the Christian life and warfare when you feel alone. So many men and women are stepping up both here in Guatemala as well as the USA who were there all along but I was too blind to see. I was carrying everything when I should have been sharing the burden with those who loved me.
- He is given a new task by God. He will anoint two kings who will put an end to the evil rule of Ahab and Jezebel. I am now anointing others to share the load. I know I did it physically a year ago but mentally I was still carrying it.
- Finally, God reveals to Elijah there are 7000 other prophets in Israel. He was not the only one.
God does not get angry at our depression. He is kind and loving and says. “When you are rested I will be with you. I am not through with you.”
Enoch and Elijah are the only two men who went to heaven without dying.
My devotional for today was by Greg Laurie. The verse was from Matthew 25:14, “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.” Greg Laurie said, “Jesus is like that wealthy man who went on a journey, and we are the servants in which He has made an investment. This story, like so many in the Scriptures, reminds us to take advantage of opportunity while it is available.”
Am I taking advantage of opportunity? What has God given me? All that I am, all that I have is what He has given me…a beautiful wife, wonderful daughters, many boys, wisdom, patience and strength. It is up to me to use what He has given me for His glory. He has provided throughout all my life. While Candy and I have been serving Him here in Guatemala, He has provided. All that we have, He has entrusted to us until He returns.
So, while I wait, I need to remind myself that as a child of God, a servant while on this earth, I have a great responsibility and that I need to take advantage of what I have been given while He is away. Preach the gospel, take care of what is His, love one another, plant seeds, water and wait. I need to do what He commands.
One of our boys has a court hearing this morning. Please keep him in your prayers. How difficult it is for the children to have to go stand in front of a judge and other representatives, and be told “No.” There are many problems in this world and only one solution. That solution is life with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is working and convicting the hearts of those who do not believe in Jesus. It is His timing, not ours. So while we wait, we take advantage of what He has given us. A smile goes a long way… so does a hug but for some strange reason, my boys don’t want me to hug them. Maybe it’s because they can’t breathe?
We continued our bible study and read Matthew 12:29-37. I asked the boys, “Who is the strong man that Jesus is talking about? It is satan. satan is in control of the world.” 1 John 5:19, “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under control of the evil one.” What are the possessions of satan? Our souls. Jesus came to free us from captivity and save our souls. Luke 4:18-19, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Jesus is stronger than satan. He has the power to tie up “the strong man.” Revelation 20:1-2, “And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or satan, and bound him for a thousand years.”
The Pharisees do not believe Jesus. Jesus told them, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.” Why did Jesus tell the Pharisees, “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come?” We need to think about this. The Pharisees had the words of God, the laws, the prophets and the prophecies. They had the Messiah standing in front of them healing and performing miracles and now they don’t acknowledge the work of the Holy Spirit. They accuse Jesus of having an evil spirit. Mark 3:30, “he said this because they were saying, “He has an evil spirit.” The Pharisees rejected God. They rejected Jesus and now they reject the Holy Spirit. They have rejected His mercy and grace.
As we study God’s word, we need to remember that what we say and do comes from our heart. All of us will stand before God one day and give an account of our lives. Jesus said, “For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Lee and Candy
The maintenance team we put together began working on the upstairs career dorm since Lee will move 18 boys into Alex’s dorm with Alex only moving 6 boys to the university dorm. So it is juggling time.
Ezdras & Candida will move into the transition dorm. We are looking at other changes.
The women in the Bible study group went to dinner together celebrating birthdays.
Cindy, dialysis, in her quinceanera’s dress.
Elijah goes from the mountaintop to the depths of depression. How does that happen to us?
First, there is fear. I Kings 19:3. Although he had defeated 450 false priests and showed that God was with him he feared the words of one woman. Jezebel threatened him and he forgot what God had just done. Nearly 28 years I have seen God work at Casa and I still run to the wilderness at times.
Second, there is failure. When Jezebel threatened him he forgot who he was. He was a victorious man of God but he saw himself as a failure when he ran from her. Once we develop a negative opinion of ourselves we are headed for destruction.
Third, he was fatigued. Spiritual battles tear away our strength. There is an absolute truth that fatigue follows victories. Physically when you fight a spiritual battle with prayer and fasting your body weakens. That was hen Jesus was attack—He fasted 40 days. That weakens us.
Fourth, there is futility. IN I Kings 19:10 he says, “I am the only one left” yet there were many more prophets of God living in Israel. I know when I am fighting depression or heaviness I feel so isolated.
He rested, he ate and he went forward.