Test Week

It is test week so I want the boys to have some study time in the morning to do a last minute review of their notes.  They have devotionals in the morning at the school so they are in His word every day.  We will continue our study of Acts when tests are over.

Yesterday was the birthday of one of our junior leaders.  He is 17.  The boy is soccer crazy.  Unfortunately, things got a little hectic with our schedule so I didn’t have time to make cupcakes.  I really couldn’t go to San Lucas for his special meal since there was a demonstration, and I didn’t want to sit in traffic.  So, we celebrated today.

We had our second session of anger management classes with the psychologists yesterday.  One of the questions they asked was, “What can’t you change?”  My first thought was “God.”  He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  I know I can overcome my anger, but I have to do my part and trust in Him.  The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins, so when I feel bad for being angry with the boys, it’s because of Him, the Holy Spirit, working in me.

The older kids had their relationship class with Mike last evening.  It is a good thing to be taught on the subject of relationships especially from the spiritual leader of Casa.  Leaders lead by example, and Mike and Dottie’s relationship is a prime example.  Like all relationships, it is not perfect, yet with God in the relationship, there is forgiveness, love, mercy and grace.

Candy should be coming home tomorrow, God willing. Please pray for safe and turbulent free flights. We’re all thankful to the Lord for His healing, peace, and beautiful grace. We’re all very happy! 🙂

All His,

Lee and Candy

 

Busy Monday

This morning I took Jim to the airport.    We left at 6:30 and didn’t get there until 8:30.  Traffic, traffic, and more traffic.  I got back in time to wash the cups and get the dishes to the blue building in preparation for lunch for the boys.  Please keep Jim in your prayers as he shares with others about what God is doing here at Casa.  Jim is one of those quiet warriors.  He disciples the children, drives children to appointments and helps take care of the boys in our dorm.  We are certainly blessed, and he will be missed.

Happy birthday to a new ten year-old.  On my way back to Casa, I dropped by and got a special lunch for him.  We try to make the boys feel special on their birthday.  He was able to eat his lunch with our little one, and they enjoyed eating and playing games.  We are blessed to be able to spend time with our boys like this.

In the afternoon, the psychologists began their program with Vencedores on anger management, at our request.  What I love about our psychology team is that everything is based on the power of the Lord.  We began our program with prayer and ended with prayer.  Controlling our anger is very important because we can lose God’s blessing.  The best example is Moses when God told him to speak to the rock and water will come out.  Well, Moses struck it with his staff, and he took the credit.  His punishment?  He could not enter the Promised Land.  I want to overcome my anger issue and the boys to overcome theirs, too.  We need to trust in the Lord.

After dinner, the boys played outside until 6:00.  They found a giant dung beetle and started throwing it on each other.  If they would just remember what this beetle pushes around all day…dung.  Do I want a poop beetle on me?  I don’t think so, but that didn’t stop them from throwing it on me.  Just watching them chasing each other around with that bug will only bring a smile to your face. =-]

All His,

Lee and Candy

Baptism

Today the discipleship team leaders baptized those who professed their faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  We gave God praise through song and prayer, and then Mike preached about baptism.  Afterward, we watched as Gladys and Esdras baptized the new disciples.  I just smiled as I watched younger and older ones come forward to be immersed in love and faith to the One who died on the cross for us.  The Holy Spirit convicts the hearts of those in this world and brings godly sorrow for our sins.  There is hope.

Afterward, we gathered in the sala so I could teach the boys.  I said, “I wanted to do this devotional before the baptism but since they rang the bell early, I still want to share with you.  Everyone in this world will ask themselves this question at some point in their lives.  Job asked, ‘If a man dies, will he live again?  All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come.’  Where is our ‘renewal,’ our relief?  The Holy Spirit.”

Mike talked about how being baptized does not save us and that we do not have to be perfect to be baptized.  We do need to repent and believe the good news.  What is the good news?  Well, it’s not “what” but “Who,” our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  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 had 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.”

“The answer to the question is, ‘Yes.  If a man dies, he will live again.’  We need to believe.  Remember when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead?  He told Mary, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?’

“So baptism is a symbol of our death to sin.  Romans 6:1-4, ‘What shall we say, then?  Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?  By no means!  We died to sin, how can we live in it any longer?  Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.’”

A rebirth.  A renewal.  A new life.  An eternal life.

In the afternoon, I took the boys to the school field and let them stretch their legs and run.  One of the leaders hurt his leg earlier in the week, so he is on restriction until June.  It gave me time to talk with him about his plans and desires in life.  He told me he wanted to be obedient to the Lord and wait for a relationship.  Without skipping a beat, I asked him, “You are going to wait until you are 40 years old?”  He laughed so hard I thought he was going to fall off the wall we were sitting on.  He said, “Maybe when I’m in college.”  You would be very impressed with this leader.  He has come a long way.  We are very proud of him.

Tonight was the leader meal.  Candy suggested cooking pancit for the leaders.  What is pancit?  It is a Filipino noodle dish.  It is sort of like chow mein except pancit uses rice noodles.  Anyway, as I was cooking, I thought of my sweet little Filipino Mom making this dish, along with adobo and baked eggplant, as we were growing up in California.  We loved it. Will our leaders like it?  My thinking is, if they don’t… more for me.  By the way… or little one gave it a thumbs up, so it can’t be all that bad.

All His,

Lee and Candy

Stephen

We read Acts 6:8-15, about Stephen being arrested.  Who is Stephen?  He was one of the seven men who were chosen to be responsible for the distribution of food.  Acts 6:5, “This proposal pleased the whole group.  They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.”

Stephen was full of God’s grace and power and did many miraculous signs and wonders.  There were some who began to argue with him and accused him of blasphemy against God and Moses.  They brought him before the Sanhedrin.  This is what Jesus said would happen when you speak in His name.  Luke 21:12-13, “But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you.  They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name.”

It wasn’t Stephens’ wisdom and power that he was able to defend himself but by the power of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Luke 21:14-15, “But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.  For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.”

When we talk to others about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, there will be some who do not agree with us.  It could be family, friends, co-workers or neighbors.  Luke 21:16-17, “You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death.  All men will hate you because of me.”  Remember the movie “God’s Not Dead?”  The father threw his daughter out of the house because she believed in the forgiveness of sin and the love of Jesus…that He is God’s one and only Son.

When we are full of the Holy Spirit, He will help us and give us the words to say.  John 14:26, “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.”

Stephen was accused of speaking against the temple and that Jesus was going to destroy it.  When we talk to others, sometimes they will change the word of God into their words and change the truth into a lie.  Jesus did say that the temple would be destroyed.  Matthew 24:1-2, “Jesus left the temple and was walking away when His disciples came up to Him to call His attention to its building.  ‘Do you see all these things?’  He asked.  ‘I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.'”

Jesus told His disciples what would become of Jerusalem.  Luke 21:20, “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.”

When we are accused or others begin to argue with us about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we need to be calm and like Stephen, have a face like an angel.  We know there will be some who will disagree with us but it is not us they are rejecting; it is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Philippians 2:9-11, “Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

After our Bible study the bell rang, and it was time to send our boys off to school.  They lined up at the door and one by one, I gave them hugs and kisses and told them to have a good day…well, at least my version of hugs and kisses (nice little pats on the back). There is something to be said about male bonding.  The boys know that I am tough on them, but they know that I love them like a father…a love that only comes from our Father in heaven.  We love because He loved us first.

All His,

Lee and Candy

Widows and Orphans

This morning we read Acts 6:1-7 and talked about the choosing of the seven.  As the number of disciples increased, problems increased, too.  It is no different here at Casa or in a church.  As a ministry increases, so do the problems.  We can talk to Mike and Dottie about the difference between now and when the ministry began, and they will say it was much easier early on.

The problem the apostles had was providing for the widows.  There were God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven living in or near Jerusalem.  The Grecian Jews complained against the Hebraic Jews because “their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.”  In the beginning, all believers were one in heart and mind.  Acts 4:32, “All the believers were one in heart and mind.  No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.”  Acts 4:34-35, “There were no needy persons among them.  For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.”

Taking care of widows and orphans is what God desires.  James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”  We have to remember that it is the responsibility of family to care for family.  1 Timothy 5:3-5, “Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need.  But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.  The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help.”

The twelve cannot do everything, they had to choose what was more important and decide what to do.  Preaching and teaching the word of God is the priority for the apostles.  So the apostles chose seven men full of spirit and wisdom to take care of the distribution of food.

In the United States, there is a program called, “Meals on Wheels.”  Drivers deliver food to the elderly and provide friendship and love.  The apostles began the first “Meals on Wheels” program.

As a ministry or church grows, the need for more workers is a necessity.  We are the body of Christ.  Casa Aleluya is a body of many parts.  We have different responsibilities but we work together as one.

We need to remember that God placed us in the position that we have as he wanted.  1 Corinthians 12:18-20, “But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be.  If they were all one part, where would the body be?  As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”

We serve Christ the Lord.  Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

When you have dropped call, you can always call them back later. But, if you have a dropped phone, you have to replace it.  Yes, I dropped the phone one too many times.  I can hear the phone ring, but the screen is black.  Well, I replaced it today and now I have no excuse when someone asks me, “Did you get my message?”  In reality, it was actually nice not to hear the phone ring or hear the message ding.

The boys kept asking me if there was family meal and I told them that I haven’t received a message of cancellation so we are planning as a “Yes.”  Well, I was about to send the cups over to the blue building, and I heard the “ding.”  Family meal cancelled.  Many of the boys were disappointed, but there had to be a good reason.  So, we got the gang together and prepared the blue building for dinner.  Just working for the Lord.

All His,

Lee and Candy

 

Persecution

This morning we read Acts 5:17-42 and talked about the disciples being persecuted.  Peter and John were told by the Sanhedrin that they could not speak nor teach in the name of Jesus.  Acts 4:18-19, “Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.  But Peter and John replied, ‘Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God.'”

The apostles were highly regarded, and the high priests were jealous.  Why?  Because they wanted to be honored and recognized by others.  Matthew 23:5-7, “Every thing they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.'”

The Sanhedrin had the apostles arrested and placed in jail.  An angel of the Lord brought them out and told them, “‘Go, stand in the temple courts,’ he said, ‘and tell the people the full message of this new life.'”  Paul described this life that we have in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

The high priests said, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name.”  But the apostles were filled with the Spirit of the Lord.  They said, “We must obey God rather than men!”  The high priests were angry.  A Pharisee named Gamaliel gave them advice, which is necessary for all to understand.  He said, “Leave these men alone!  Let them go!  For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail.  But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

Casa Aleluya is God’s home.  Its purpose is from God and it is to bring Him glory.  God has provided, protected, healed and performed miraculous signs and wonders.  As long as we are filled with the Holy Spirit and speak His word boldly, anyone who tries to shut the gates, will be fighting against God.

I had to go in to town this morning. Almost immediately, traffic was backing up.  I thought it was a security checkpoint, but I was wrong.  As I returned home, a bus was parked on the road. As I drove by, I saw the plastic sheet covering the deceased.  In this case, the bus driver and/or helper were shot.  News cameras were taking videos of the scene.  There was a sense of sadness as I drove by because I know that it was somebody’s husband or son, or father or uncle or brother.  Sin doesn’t affect just one person; it affects many others.

All His,

Lee and Candy

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