My time with our Lord this morning was a time of humility. A time to give Him thanks for His faithfulness. He is all I ever need, and I cannot live without His love. Every breath I take is a reminder of how much I need Him and how blessed I am. I received a quote by Amy Carmichael, “You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.”
How truthful is that? It is so easy to pull out our wallet and give to a charity or a missionary yet have no love for him or her. We can do “works” in the church or a feeding center, yet have no love for the people. We can go a mission trip and “serve” yet have no love for those we serve. We can sing or play in a praise band, and yet have no love for the people. In fact, we can “do” all these things and yet have no love for Him. Yet, when we love, we will give. What is the difference? Relationship. When we love someone, we will give. Give them time, forgiveness, resources, prayers, mercy, compassion, faith, hope and love.
Isn’t that what our Lord and Savior did for us? He is the standard that we must follow. When He was young, He loved His Father in heaven and was obedient to His parents here on earth. During His ministry, he spent time with His people, forgave them of their sins, provided food, prayed for them. He gave them mercy and compassion, faith, hope and love. Then He gave us the greatest act of love. He died for us. He gave up His Spirit so we could be with Him. Did His relationship with Him die on the cross? No, He was raised from the dead so we could have life, eternal life. Then, He gave us the Holy Spirit to be with us. To teach us, convict us and guide us. We are not alone. He gave because He loves. He is love.
Pablo returned and he read 1 John 4:7-21. He talked to the boys about God’s love and our love. He really connects with our boys so it is a blessing that the Lord allowed him to come back and share God’s love.
The Tennessee team came by and gave our dorm hand made pillowcases for our boys and brownies for our leaders.
It started raining hard, and just as quickly as it started, it stopped. The boys were ready to go out and play.
The boys do not have a vigil tonight, so they will be relaxing and watching TV while enjoying popcorn. They also behaved themselves in school and there were no reports or observations today. Thank You, Lord.
Lee and Candy
This morning Pablo held a devotional with the dorm. I told the boys that it is a joy when a team comes here to feed you the Word. Pizza and ice cream are good but that is only temporary. God’s Word is eternal. Food is good for the stomach, but being fed God’s word is good for the soul.
Two of our boys went to a court hearing this morning and came back before lunch. This is the reason God gave Mike and Dottie this ministry. To take care of His children. Just like there will always be poor people in this world, there will always be children in need of love and shelter. God has always provided for His children because He is faithful. Even if we are faithless, He is faithful. How can you not love the Lord?
One of the hardest things we try to teach our boys is to be obedient. It is difficult, even for adults. It is harder when you are an adult because you get set in your ways. The age group of our boys is the right time to train them and help them understand the importance of obedience and that there are consequences for lack of obedience. Our Lord said that we are blessed when we are obedient to God’s word. Luke 11:28, “He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.'” Which is the main reason we desire to have the boys in God’s word daily. Unfortunately, in this world you can ask someone when was the last time they read God’s word and they will probably tell you, “On Sunday.”
That will tell you a lot about their relationship with the Lord. Imagine if you only talked to your spouse or your children only one day a week? What type of relationship it that? God is worthy of more than just once a week. Relationship is a daily walk with love, conversation, listening and doing. Oh, let’s not forget patience and humility. We plant and water, but we know that it is God who causes growth. As parents, we desire to see fruit, but it is God’s timing and season. “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” He is faithful.
Lee and Candy
We continued our study of Living On Target. Kelvin Smith asked, “Have we lost a sense of the eternal?” He quoted a Christian author named Randy Alcorn who said, “Many of us habitually think and act as if there were no eternity – or as if what we do in the present life has no eternal consequences. Eternity will hold for us what we have invested there during our life on earth.” Isn’t this the truth? We live like there is no accountability. Yet God’s word tells us differently. Romans 2:6-8, “God will give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, He will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.
Our life on earth is very short and what is accomplished in and for Christ will last for eternity. We do not know how long we will live here on earth; only God knows. Knowing that, we need to use our time for Him. We need to do His will. 1 John 2:17, “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”
There is nothing more important than loving and glorifying God as we live by faith in an intimate and obedient relationship with Him. Remember, it is impossible to please God without faith. Faithful people establish their spiritual life as their top priority. What is your top priority?
Jesus said, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Our goal in life is to please God, not our selfish desires. 2 Corinthians 5:9-10, “So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
So what are you aiming for? Is it all about us, or is it for the glory of God and His kingdom? Kelvin Smith gives us four foundations to be a part of our lifestyle.
- Living in love and service to Christ. Prayer, His Word and personal worship. This is the intimate and obedient relationship we need to have with our Lord.
- Living in love and service in the Home. Our homes, relationships, children and finances in biblical order. Everything we have is because of God and we glorify Him by taking care of what He has blessed us with.
- Living in love and service to the church. Loving the Bride of Christ and being united in purpose. Who is the Bride of Christ? The church. We need to love our brothers and sisters in Christ, ministering and praying for them.
- Living in love and service to the World. Loving and pursuing the lost. Casa is an example. Mike and Dottie, missionaries and teams that come are living witnesses to the love of Christ and His salvation.
This goal is not a temporary program or just an academic Bible study. It is a lifestyle.
I thank the Lord for the change in behavior with our boys in the school. I encouraged them to keep it up, look ahead and not look back. Their behavior in the past is in the past and now it is time to shine. Love and respect their teachers and do what is right in God’s eyes. I am very proud of them.
This study we are doing was meant for this time. Saturday is in the thoughts of many here. The quote by Randy Alcorn is really a wakeup call. What we truly need is humility. 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.” We need healing. We need humility. We need prayer. We need our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Lee and Candy
I was given a book written by pastor Kelvin Smith called Living On Target. It’s a book on discipleship. My heart has been heavy for a while due to the changes and upcoming changes here at Casa. Our priority hasn’t changed…teach our boys the Word of God. So I decided to study the book together with the boys and “live on target.”
I asked the boys, “What are you looking for? What is your aim, your goal? What we look for reveals what is in our hearts. It reveals our goals and desires in life.” We read 1 Corinthians 9:26, “Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.” “Paul did not run like he had no goal. He had a purpose. He was disciplined. His goal? To do and give God everything for His glory. His alone. What is your goal in life? For many, the search for only what they can see. The things of this world and this life.
“We search for happiness and for what will give us what we desire…the love of our life, entertainment, money, houses, cars, traveling, eating, etc. It is not bad to want these things in life, yet when it is your principal goal in life, we will find we want more. We will never be satisfied. Why?
– Our flesh desires to please ourselves.
– satan tempts us with selfishness.
– The world desires a “me first” attitude.
“Selfishness will be very prevalent as the days of the Lord come closer. Luke 17:26-30, ‘Just as in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the son of Man. People were eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same in the day of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.’
“We can read this and believe there is nothing wrong with living this way. In fact, working and celebrating life’s events is not bad yet when everything around us is more important than knowing the Lord, His coming, His kingdom or His mission then we are missing the mark. The Pharisees wanted to know when the kingdom of God would come. What did Jesus tell them? ‘The kingdom of God is within you.’ When we are on target and the Spirit of the Lord is within you, then the kingdom is within us. We have eternal life. We will be with Him, and He is in us…in our heart, in our soul and in our mind. Where have you heard this before? The Greatest Commandment. Matthew 22:37-39, ‘Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”’
“God is first, others are second and we are last. All that we do, we do for the Lord. Colossians 3:17, ‘And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.’ Being obedient to the teachers, doing your homework, cleaning the dorm, talking with others, preparing the blue building for meals and even pulling weeds at the school, we do it because He is worthy. He loves us, provides for us, disciplines us, forgives us and most important, saves us.
“Our thoughts and our mind should not be on earthly things but on spiritual things. Philippians 3:17-20. You are Guatemalans, but your citizenship is not here on earth, but it is in heaven. Live for Him.”
We had our weekly staff meeting and it focused mostly on the upcoming meeting this Saturday. What I do know is that this home is God’s home. It was not built on programs and activities; it was built because of His love for the children. Staff and children come and go; yet the love of the Lord continues. He will continue to love and bless this home as long as we are obedient to Him and not the world.
Lee and Candy
This morning the boys were very quiet. Maybe my talk with them last night had a little bit to do with it. After breakfast, the boys did their chores and settled down in the sala. I read Hebrews 12:7-11, “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
I said, “We have had this talk before and it probably will not be the last. Sometimes we have to be reminded of why we are disciplined. I know I am tough on all of you, but it is necessary. We desire that all of you grow into godly young men who desire to please the Lord and not yourself. Discipline is for your good, not because I get joy out of it. I prefer to bless you than discipline you, yet in reality, discipline is a blessing. You may not think so, but you will be stronger and be able to prevent and overcome future problems.
“Discipline isn’t punishment; it is training. When we hear the word ‘discipline’ and think only of punishment then we don’t understand how it applies to our faith, hope and love. With discipline, our faith is genuine, our hope is living and our love is inexpressible.
“1 Peter 1:3-9, ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.’
“Three things will last forever: faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love. We love because He first loved us. Let your heart be a wick and His love, the flame. Let your light shine in a world of darkness so people will see…here in the dorm, at school and wherever you may be. A preacher named D.L. Moody said, ‘Remember, a small light will do a great deal when it is in a very dark place.’ You can make a difference.”
Our boys had a surprise VBS this morning with the North Carolina group. A pleasant surprise. How beautiful are their feet?
In the afternoon, I took the boys over to the school field, and they played soccer. Well, most of them. The lucky few got to help me do weeding around the flagpole.
We had our leader meal tonight. They liked the baked spaghetti so much last week, I decided to have it again. If they like it again tonight, three times the charm…maybe.
Lee and Candy
We read Acts 11:1-18 and talked about Peter explaining his actions. Peter changed his way of thinking, yet it wasn’t just his thinking that needed to be changed. Other Jewish believers needed a lesson, too. They needed to listen to Peter’s vision and its significance. The Jewish believers learned three things.
They learned that there is no favoritism with God. They had been accustomed to being the “chosen” nation, so that hearing of others being given the gift was unthinkable, especially Gentiles. Peter described the animals in the sheet and how a voice from heaven said, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” Peter told Cornelius, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear Him and do what is right.” Whether you are born in Guatemala, the United States, or any other country in this world, you are accepted if you fear Him and do what is right.
They learned that the vision was revealed to Peter three times. For the Jewish people, this is significant. According to Jewish law, once something is done three times, it is considered a permanent thing. This wasn’t a one-time occurrence; this is for all. The Jewish believers said, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.” This is repentance for me, for you, for our families, friends and everyone who walks on this earth.
They learned that the Gentiles received the gift of the Holy Spirit. What gift did they receive? The gift of tongues. 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.”
Paul changed, Peter changed, the Jewish believers changed and we have to change, as well. God changes us so He can use us to fulfill His purpose of salvation to the lost…to go and preach the gospel, to love the unloved, to heal the brokenhearted, to find the lost, to give hope to those without hope. We need to be the wick and burn for the Lord. To be a light in this world of darkness. We love because He first loved us.
The North Carolina team hosted a coffee and donut breakfast for the dorm parents and helpers. Of course, all our helpers were in school so they couldn’t participate. I hated it for them. A double blessing when they prayed over all of us. Thank You, Lord.
In the afternoon, I heard a knock on the door. One of the teachers came to inform me that two of our boys tried to cheat on a quiz. A deep sadness filled my heart because as a parent, we expect better from our children. After my conversation with the teacher, I had a conversation with our Lord. I had to humble myself because I can’t change the hearts of our boys, only He can. God’s word says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” I needed to be refreshed. This is a spiritual battle that we are facing, not just in our dorm but also at Casa.
After dinner, I sat the boys down in the sala and read Proverbs 11:1-3, “The Lord abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are His delight. When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” I said to them, “The Lord does not like cheating. He loves it when you are honest and do what is right. When we cheat, it reveals our character. We are lazy and have no desire to work and do what is right. Cheating does not help you; it will only cause problems in the future. If you cheat and believe that it is ‘normal’ then when you get older you will struggle…here at Casa, outside of Casa, within your family and in your job. You need to learn good study habits so you will have success in life and in everything that you do. We need to humble ourselves, repent and do what is right in His eyes only. When we choose to change, we will be stronger, wiser and be a delight to the Lord. Yet, we cannot do it without the Lord. He is able.
Lee and Candy