Encouragement

A few days ago, Candy sent me this encouragement, so today I decided to share it with the boys.  After breakfast, the boys brushed their teeth and settled down in the sala.  I said, “Candy sent me something that I want to share with you.  At some point in our life we will have problems, doubts and even a sense of feeling unloved and unwanted.  During those times we can remember who we are.”  I had sixteen boys look up the verses below. They validated how God feels about us by reading His word.

You Are:

Beautiful                        Psalm 45:11

Unique                           Psalm 139:13

Loved                            Jeremiah 31:3

Special                          Ephesians 2:10

Created for a Purpose     Jeremiah 29:11

Cared for                       Ephesians 3:17-19

Lovely                           Daniel 12:3

Precious                        1 Corinthians 6:20

Important                     1 Peter 2:9

Forgiven                       Psalm 103:12

A New Creation             2 Corinthians 5:17

Protected                      Psalm 121:3

Empowered                   Philippians 4:13

Chosen                         John 15:16

Family                          Ephesians 2:19

Best of all…

You Are Mine         Isaiah 43:1, “But now, this is what the Lord says – He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.'”

It didn’t take long before I got a phone call from the school about one of our boys.  He got a “little” angry with one of the girls in the class because she was bothering him.  Well, it got to the point where he took it out on the teacher and she sent him to the office.  I talked to him and he understood the problem and how he could have prevented the problem from escalating into a report of bad behavior.  He apologized to his teacher and he had a better day.

Which brings us to an issue that is a problem in the dorm…controlling our anger.  Candy and I talked about this, and we decided to ask the psychologists to come and do an “anger management” program with the whole dorm, including myself.  After dinner, I talked to the boys about it. Anger can be a sin and because it is a sin, it doesn’t just affect the “sinner” it affects others.  I also explained that it is necessary to get control of their anger for their future when they have children.  If they don’t get it under control, it could affect their children.  I know that I haven’t been the best example when it comes to anger control, but I can be an example and admit that it is a problem and participate in the program with the boys.

All His,

Lee and Candy

 

 

 

Signs and Miracles

The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people.  The apostles prayed to speak the word of God with boldness and to heal and to perform miracles through the name of Jesus.  Acts 4:29-30, “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.  Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

The Pharisees asked Jesus to show them a sign and Jesus condemned them.  Matthew 12:38, “Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to Him, ‘Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you.'”  What is the difference?  The difference is that the apostles believed in Jesus and the Pharisees didn’t.  Matthew 12:39, “He answered, ‘A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign!  But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.”

The Pharisees witnessed miracles performed and saw many people healed, but they still refused to believe.  John 11:47-48, “Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.  ‘What are we accomplishing?’ they asked.  ‘Here is this man performing many miraculous signs.  If we let Him go on like this, everyone will believe in Him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.'”

The result of the signs and miracles?  More and more men and women believed in the Lord and were saved.  The apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit, preached God’s word with boldness and performed signs and wonders through the name of Jesus and the people were convicted of their sins.  This is the work of the Holy Spirit.  John 16:7-8, “But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away.  Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.  When He comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.”

The Lord sent His apostles and He sends us, too, to preach and make disciples.  Romans 10:12-15, “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him, 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!'”

Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

I finally finished translating the letters.  It took awhile but I finally finished in the afternoon.  We are very appreciative of those who God placed in the lives of the children.  Love is more than just writing or receiving a letter; it is commitment.  The children understand that when they see your name on the letter, they know you care and love them.  Thank you for your commitment, your love and your prayers for our children here at Casa.

All His,

Lee and Candy

 

Do not test the Holy Spirit.

This morning we read Acts 5:1-11 and talked about Ananias and Sapphira.  When we read about Ananias and Sapphira, we can ask, “What did they do wrong?”  They sold their property and they gave the apostles a part of the money for the poor.  The problem wasn’t that they did not give all of the money. The problem was that they lied to the apostles.

I said, “Before we go further, what is the difference between an apostle and a disciple?  In the gospels, the twelve were called disciples and as we study Acts, they are now referred to as apostles.  Disciple means “student.”  They learned and were disciples when they were with Jesus.  They walked with, listened to and learned from Jesus for three years as He taught about life, repentance, forgiveness, faith, hope and love.  Apostle means “sent.”  When Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission, they passed from being disciples to apostles.  They were sent to ‘make disciples.’”  Matthew 28: 18-20, “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.'”

Ananias and Sapphira lied and tried to deceive the apostles.  Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit.”  Why did Peter say that?  Because satan is the father of lies.  John 8:44, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire.  He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Peter said that Sapphira tested the Spirit of the Lord.  Why is that?  Trust.  Trust in that the Lord will provide.  Ananias and Sapphira kept back a portion of the money for themselves.  We use what God gives us each month and trust that He will provide for the next month.  When we hold back money because we feel that we won’t have enough for next month, then we don’t trust in Him.  If we don’t receive, we don’t need.  We adjust and praise the Lord.

We need to trust in the Lord that He will provide.  Matthew 6:31-34, “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and our heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

satan tried to test Jesus and lost.  Ananias and Sapphira tried to test the Spirit of the Lord and lost.  We need to trust in God and not ourselves.  Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

As I was monitoring in the blue building, one of our boys began to bother me…bugging me, wanting to horseplay. Anyway… he reached out and tried to push me but I grabbed his arm and he submitted quickly.  I was about to release his arm and I saw “it.”  The dreaded ringworm.  At least it looked like ringworm.  I called Kevin and he evaluated and recommended the boy go to the clinic on Monday. The brings new meaning to the words, “bugging me,” doesn’t it?

Friday night, it’s the weekly vigil.  Well, just for the girls.  So, the boys stayed back and popped popcorn and relaxed in the sala. I gave a new DVD player to the older leaders to install. I guess we really wore out the Blu ray player we had in there.  Blu Ray/DVD players are expensive here in Guatemala, so Candy will bring one back when God allows her to return, prayerfully in the next couple weeks.  We are grateful for God’s provision.

All His,

Lee and Candy

 

Full Moon…Possibly?!?

Was there a full moon today?  The attitudes of some of our boys were not good.  I had to talk with one of them the entire time at breakfast until he finally admitted to the problem.  Stubbornness…we all have it. When we got back to the dorm, I gave him a fresh bowl of cereal to replace the one that was now soggy.

So, today I decided to not focus on Acts but “Act-titude.”  I began with John 16:33, ” I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  I said, “Nobody is perfect.  I do not expect all of you to have perfect behavior all the time, yet I expect you to know how to recognize the problem and fix it.  Obviously, the root of the problem is sin.  All of us sin.  You, me, your teachers and everyone in this world.

“You get upset when your teachers correct you and others in the class, so we have to ask the question, ‘Why?’  Is it because you are well behaved and you are respectful?  No.  It is because of disrespect and the selfishness within us.  We have a poster here in our sala that says, ‘You are responsible for your own actions.’  You cannot blame another student nor the teacher for your bad behavior.  You must blame the one in the mirror.

“I know that when one student has a bad attitude, it can cause a domino effect and others will fall too, including your teacher.  But the attitude doesn’t end at school, it carries over into the dorm, where it affects others.  So the question is, ‘How can we overcome these problems?’

“The first we need to do is change our attitude about school and your teacher.  It is difficult to teach 25 -30 students. It is even more difficult to teach when there are some who are disrespectful.  Put yourself in his/her position.  If you stood in front of the class and tried to teach, within five minutes the students will show disrespect and at that moment, how would you feel?  Your teacher wants all of you to succeed in life and graduate.  She does her part by teaching you the basic principles of the subject and you need to do your part by listening and doing your work.

“If you don’t understand the classwork, ask for help.  If your teacher is busy, wait.  Many times you can show your frustration by having a bad attitude.  When you have a bad attitude, it can frustrate your teacher and she can get upset.  This is not a good teaching environment.  You have many resources here.  You can ask another classmate for help or your leaders and dorm parents. You can study more and practice more in the areas you are weak in.  The more you do, the better you will do.  What else can you do?

“When Jesus was on the cross He said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’  Forgiveness is a necessity in every relationship.  You need to ask forgiveness for your attitude and you need to forgive your teacher for being angry with you. This is how Jesus has overcome the world.  When we humble ourselves and desire to do what is right in God’s eyes, we can avoid and prevent these types of problems.

“We need to remember that no one is perfect.  Everyone will have good days and bad days.  But when we have a bad day, we need to remember ‘the sun will shine after every storm.’  When we love one another, respect one another and are obedient… The Son will shine in our lives.  Jesus said, ‘Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.’  When others see your good deeds, see a good attitude, see a change, it can cause a domino effect… a positive effect.  Who gets the praise?  Our Father in heaven.

It rained off and on today.  Good day to sleep but that’s not happening.  It is a good day for the kids to write letters to their sponsors!  So, that is what they did after dinner.

Our 6th grade boys still need a little bit more work on their math skills.  This time, I had them work out the problems by themselves, until they got it right.  It took a few tries, and a little help from others, until they got it complete.  Soon they will love math as much as I do.  I know… I’m sick.

All His,

Lee and Candy

Give

Happy Mother’s Day!… in Guatemala that is.  Mother’s Day is celebrated on May 10.  Of course in the United States, it is celebrated on the second Sunday in May.  When I picked up our little one from school, her teacher had made baskets for all her students to give to their “mother.”  Our little one carried that basket and had the biggest smile.  Inside the little basket was some candy.  She showed it to Candy on Skype.  Candy loved the gift.  Candy told our little one she could eat the chocolates if she’d like. She was so happy. It made Candy’s day, too.

We read Acts 4:32-37 and talked about believers sharing their possessions.  As believers, we are filled with the Holy Spirit, and we speak the word of God with boldness.  First Corinthians 2:16, “‘For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?’  But we have the mind of Christ.”  We don’t think the way of the world anymore.  We don’t think the way we used to think.  Jesus shared His life with others and that is what we must do.

Our possessions aren’t ours; they belong to the Lord.  The truth is that everything in this world belongs to the Lord.  Psalms 24:1-2, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.”

All that we have is a gift from the Lord.  David praised the Lord in a prayer that we need to pray.  1 Chronicles 29:10-13, “Praise be to you, O Lord, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.  Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours.  Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.  Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things.  In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.  Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.”

We must never take credit for what we give the Lord, because in reality, it is His.  1 Chronicles 29:14-16, “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this?  Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.  We are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers.  Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope.  O Lord our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name, it comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you.

As believers, we must share what we have with others in need.  Imagine if everyone shared the way the Lord desires us to share?  We cannot have a heart of stone.  We need to share and give as our Lord has done for us.  Deuteronomy 15:7-8, “If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother.  Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs.”

When we bless others, God blesses us.  Deuteronomy 15:10, “Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.”

There is saying, “The one with the most toys wins.”  In reality, the one who gives away his toys, wins.

One of leaders is working on recording sizes for all the boys here in the dorm.  Josue needed it for the website and for future needs.

All His,

Lee and Candy

 

 

 

 

Beautiful Feet

We read Acts 4:1-22 and talked about Peter and John before the Sanhedrin.  Why were the Sadducees upset that Peter and John were teaching the people the resurrection of the dead?  Because they did not believe in the resurrection of the dead.  Matthew 22:23, “That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him with a question.”

Many who heard the message that Peter and John were teaching, believed. With the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus sent His disciples to preach the gospel, and it continues today.  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 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!'”  This is the reason Mike, Esdras, the discipleship team and groups that come to Casa preach the gospel.  How symbolic that Peter and John entered the gate called “Beautiful” and the Lord healed the crippled man’s feet?!  How beautiful are their feet!

The rulers, elders and teachers of the law wanted to know, “By what power or what name did you do this?”  By the same power and name that we proclaim today.  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 Gentile.”

What prevents us from preaching the gospel?  We didn’t go to Seminary?  We are not pastors?  Who were the disciples?  Acts 4:13, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”  Jesus can use you, me and any other person who has the desire to do His will…those who are not ashamed of the gospel.

When we talk to others about what God desires, it can bring repentance or a hardening of the heart.  We must be strong in our faith.  There are many who will not agree with what is preached because they believe it is too difficult to obey what God desires, or they simply do not want to obey.  Like the disciples, when people refuse to listen, we need to shake the dust off our feet and move on.  Like Peter and John, we need to obey God and not man.  Acts 4:19, “But Peter and John replied, ‘Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God.’”

It may be difficult at times to talk to others about our Lord, especially when it involves family and friends, yet we need to stand in the gap for the Lord.  We need to be brave and obedient, even if it hurts the feelings of those we love.  What is more important?  Their feelings or their souls?

We had our staff meeting today and the director asked me to stay behind so we could “talk.”  I looked at Esdras and Walt and they gave me that, “You are in trouble…” look.  It reminded me of the time that I told the boys that when the principal knows your name and you are asked to go to the principal’s office, it is not because he wants to tell you that you are doing a goooooooood job.  Well, in reality, this talk it had to do with some issues with a couple of our boys and the dorm in general.  By the time it was over, an hour and a half passed by.  I guess I asked too many questions.  I did learn that one of our boys is allergic to pork. That’s a new one for us. When we first moved to Guatemala, Candy asked one of the leaders if anyone in our dorm was allergic to peanuts. He replied, “No…that’s just Americans. No one from Guatemala is allergic to peanuts.” Well…there is one that’s allergic to pork!

Our sixth grade boys are having trouble with fractions, so I had to do a little bit of homeschooling after school.  I’m preety good at math, not spelling.  For example… 1 cross + 3 nails = 4 given.  That preety much sums it up.

After the boys read for an hour they went to play outside.  Fun in the sun.

All His,

Lee and Candy

 

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