Saul’s Conversion

As our little one, the older boys and I were leaving the dorm to prepare the blue building for breakfast, there was an earthquake and the boys stopped in their tracks.  It felt like I was standing in the middle of a teeter-totter moving up and down, side to side.  The rest of our boys were in the sala, waiting for breakfast, and the leaders brought them outside.  After it was over, we walked to the other side, the kitchen workers and the other dorms were also outside, waiting for everything to subside.  Afterward, Jim texted and said that the clock in Antigua sustained damage.

Please pray for Candy.  She begins her therapy today.  It has been a difficult journey through this process yet God has carried us all the way.  He is faithful!

We read Acts 9:1-19 and talked about Saul’s conversion.  “Saul continued his persecution of the believers.  Saul is someone that we can think is unworthy of grace or mercy for what he has done toward Jesus and believers.  Imagine if someone in your family was killed or put in jail by Saul.  Would you be able to forgive or think that he is worthy of mercy?

“Now imagine if that same person who did bad things, gave his life to the Lord, would you believe that it is true?  That he has changed?  Like Ananias, we might even question the Lord.  We have to remember that salvation is of the Lord, it is not by human standards.  God is able to change any sinner and use them for His purpose.  With God, nothing is impossible.  Matthew 19:26, ‘Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’

“So knowing this, how do we know that someone is saved?  One sign is that there is conviction of sin.  Like Saul, there could be a lack of appetite; there could be sadness for sinning against God and a desire to be alone with God for comfort.  Psalm 34:18, ‘The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’

“Pride is changed to humility.  Pride says, ‘I am a good person.’  Humility says, ‘I am not worthy.’  2 Chronicles 7:14, “…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.’

“Obedience to the Lord.  Matthew 7:21, ‘Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.’

“Blind… now we can see.  2 Corinthians 4:4, ‘In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.’

“Our prayers are real.  Matthew 6:5 and 7, ‘And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men.’  ‘And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.’

“We forgive.  Matthew 6:14-15, ‘For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.’

“We have fellowship with other Christians.  1 John 1:3, ‘We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us.  And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.’

“Live by the Spirit.  Galatians 5:16-17, ‘So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.’

“Teach others.  Matthew 28:18, Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’”

One of the older boys came over to borrow the hair clippers and he saw a painting/woodwork of a cross he had made hanging on our wall.  He asked me if I bought it from Mr. Bob, and I told him “Yes.”  He said he has been looking for it, but his smile said it all.  Bob taught the boys in his carpentry class how to make these crosses. Then, they sold them to help raise money to buy more materials. We are grateful for Bob and his class.  The boys are enjoying it, and so are we.  Praise the Lord!

Today is the last day of VBS.  We are very grateful to the Lord for preparing and sending this team here to minister to all the children, from the baby dorm to university.  They planted and watered daily and the fruits of their labor will be seen… in God’s timing because He causes the growth.  He is God!

After lunch, our leaders asked if they could watch the Germany versus Chile soccer game.  So, many of them came inside our living room to watch.  Needless to say, the room was packed.  I give them a hard time because they don’t cheer for Guatemala when they play.  Where is the pride?  Their reason?  They say, “The Guatemalan team is not very good.”

All His,

Lee and Candy

 

Philip and the Eunuch

We read Acts 8:26-40 and talked about Philip and the Ethiopian.  I said, “Philip met an Ethiopian eunuch on a desert road.  What is a eunuch?  One of the leaders said, ‘Someone who does not have a spouse.’ Yes, but it also means someone who has no desire to be married or have intimate relations.  Jesus described eunuchs in Matthew 19:12, ‘For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven.’

“Philip was led to this man by an angel of the Lord.  The eunuch was reading the book of Isaiah and wanted to know whom the prophet was talking about.  Philip told him the good news about Jesus.  God led Philip and He leads us, too.  Sometimes we can think we need to be saved at church or during a revival, but that is not true.  We can be saved at work, at school or on a desert road like the Eunuch. What we do need is the word of God, the Holy Spirit and those God uses.

“Romans 1:16, ‘I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentiles.’

“John 16:8, ‘When He comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.’

“Romans 10:13-15, ‘…for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in:  And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can they preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”’

“Philip was sent, he preached the word, the eunuch listened, believed and was saved.  We need to be bold in our faith.  Today, many prefer to give someone a card or tract, watch a video or do dramas and never talk or preach the word of God.  There is no relationship, no compassion, no love.  We cannot be ashamed to tell others about the Lord.  Jesus said if we are ashamed of Him, He will be ashamed of us.  Luke 9:26, ‘If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.’”

I took our little one to VBS this morning.  Another wonderful time of music, drama, crafts and coloring.  She had fun and didn’t want to leave.

The younger boys had their class in the afternoon.  Yesterday I didn’t go with them and their behavior, from what I was told, wasn’t good.  Needless to say, they got an earful later, and I will be monitoring today.  When the cat’s away, the mice will play.  When the cat’s in town, the mice will frown.

The older boys went to VBS at night.  We pray for the Holy Spirit to give the team the words to say as they minister to the children…to be bold in their faith and to be strong witnesses of the love, forgiveness, grace and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

All His,

Lee and Candy

The Holy Spirit

VBS began today.  I took our little one to Angelitos so she could participate and learn more about our Lord.  As we were walking over, she asked, “Are you going to sit with me?”  I knew it wasn’t an invitation; it was an interrogation.  I said, “No, I won’t embarrass you.”  She is growing up too fast, but watching her interact with the other children and the team was good.  At 2:00, the younger boys will have VBS and then at night, the older children.  The children look forward to VBS every year.  A week full of God’s word, games, music and dramas.  We are grateful.

After the morning session of VBS, we had our bible study with the boys.  We read Acts 8:9-25 and talked about the receiving of the Holy Spirit.  I asked, “The question of the day is, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you first believed?’  This is an important question because many don’t understand Who the Holy Spirit is, the power of the Holy Spirit and His work in our lives.  When you were baptized, did you receive the Holy Spirit?  We need to ask these types of questions then search the scripture to know what God says.

“Many who believed what Philip said and were baptized did not receive the Holy Spirit.  You can be a disciple and not have the Holy Spirit.  How is this possible?  Like many of the disciples in the past, we are not taught about the Holy Spirit.  Acts 19:1-6, “While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus.  There he found some disciples and asked them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’  They answered, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’  So Paul asked, ‘Then what baptism did you receive?’  ‘John’s baptism,’ they replied.  Paul said, ‘John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance.  He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.’  On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.  When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.”

“The Holy Spirit is a gift of God.  We do not receive Him when we are baptized.  Acts 8:15-16, ‘When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.’

“We cannot buy or do good deeds to receive the Holy Spirit.  Acts 8:20, ‘Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money.”’

“We need to teach others the promise of the Holy Spirit.  John 14:25-26, ‘All this I have spoken while still with you.  But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.’

“We need to teach others the work of the Holy Spirit.  John 6:8, ‘When He comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.’

“We need to teach others that we are saved through the washing and renewal of the Holy Spirit.  Titus 3:3-7, ‘At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.  We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.  But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we have done but because of His mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.’”

It began to rain right before lunch, so afterward the boys settled down in the sala and watched TV.  Our little one invited a few of the boys in to watch “Sing” again.  The boys like the movie and always request it when they come in.

The children were treated to ice cream after dinner.  Noodle soup and ice cream.  Comfort food.  Okay… maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit.  Thank You Lord!

All His,

Lee and Candy

 

VBS Week

Today was the first day of vacation, so the boys got to sleep in an hour. The wakeup time was 6:00am.  At times our internal alarm clocks go off when we don’t want…I heard beds squeaking and feet shuffling across the floor at 5:00am.  It didn’t last long, as I heard the squeaking of beds again… then silence. Guess the leaders reminded them to stay in the bed for a while longer. 🙂

After breakfast, the boys did their chores and we met in the sala for our devotional.  We read Acts 8:4-8 and talked about disciples being scattered during the persecution.  “When the church was persecuted, many fled and were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.  We can read this and think that nothing good can come of this.  Yet, God is in control.  Romans 8:28, ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.’  What was the good?  The gospel was spread throughout Judea and Samaria.  Imagine if the disciples and apostles were only in Guatemala City.  If there was a persecution and they fled to other departments in Guatemala, then the gospel would be preached and taught in other parts of the country.

“There are many who don’t believe in God.  There are many who don’t want the word of God preached and taught.  This attitude existed in the past, exists today and will continue to exist in the future.  Why?  Because Jesus is not understood, and neither are His followers.  When John wrote the gospel, the Holy Spirit inspired him to explain who Jesus is.  John 1:1-5, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.  In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.’

“What is darkness?  It is the absence of light.  When we have been in the dark for a long time and light shines, we don’t understand what or who it is.  Those who did not believe in Jesus, believed that persecuting and scattering the believers would end everything about Jesus.  In fact, just the opposite happened.  God worked for the good.  Philip went to Samaria and preached Christ Jesus.

“Wherever we go, we must preach the gospel.  What is the gospel?  1 Corinthians 15:1-4, ‘Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.  By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you.  Otherwise, you have believed in vain.  For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…’

“It is the gospel of peace.  Peace, not between men but between God and us.  Isaiah 52:7, ‘How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ”Your God reigns!”’  Our God Reigns!!!”

This is the week of VBS, so the teams are preparing for week full of God’s word and activities.  We are grateful God has sent these teams.

All His,

Lee and Candy

 

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day!  Yesterday was Father’s Day here in Guatemala, and today it is celebrated in the States.  I have been a Dad for over 30 years, and I am still learning.  Our little one and a few of the boys made some cards for me, which were really nice.  I taped them to the wall as a reminder of how blessed I am.  I read a quote that defined a Dad.  “A Daddy isn’t defined as the man who makes the child, but a man who extends his love and time to help with the child’s raising and his heart to love the child through anything.  Blood doesn’t always make you a Daddy.  Being a Daddy comes from the heart… Anybody can make a baby but it takes a special man to raise a child.”

As the Daddy of our little one and the boys of Vencedores here in Guatemala, it is a privilege and an honor to love, teach, discipline, disciple and play with them.  I would like to say it keeps me young, but my knees would argue with that.  Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  What way?  Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

If you love your child, you will teach them about the Lord.  Our children are at that impressionable age so it is necessary to teach them the “truth” and “life.”  We are blessed that the Lord is using us to train our children.  Thank You, Lord.

Of course, serving the Lord also means sacrifice.  It would be awesome to have all our girls and family in one spot! I miss Candy, our older daughters and sons in-law, the grandchildren, other family and friends.  Today has been bittersweet yet “We know that in all things God works or the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

All His,

Lee and Candy

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