We continued our study of Living On Target and talked about a strategy with an objective. Kelvin Smith wrote, “We have available to us many tremendous bible teachers, ministry programs, messages on CD’s and DVD’s, and we should be thankful for these resources.” Doing bible studies are good but we need to do more than just listen, we need to apply it in our lives. James 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Kelvin Smith says that we need to honestly evaluate whether we are living in love and service to Christ, in the Home, to the Church and to the World. 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test?” Self-examination is beneficial and it keeps us humble and from living hypocritical lives.
What is hypocrisy? Hypocrisy is intentionally giving people the impression that we are living one way when, in fact, we are not. For example, someone who preaches and teaches God’s word to others, and then outside of church or ministry…lives like the devil. Jesus called the Pharisees “hypocrites.” Mark 7:6-7, “He replied, ‘Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.”’”
Kelvin Smith wrote, “Many of us are tempted to tell the world what the Bible teaches…yet we don’t live it ourselves. The Word of God must penetrate deep into our hearts and minds. It must flow out of us to influence people through relationships, which is something we seem to be struggling with today.” We can look around Casa and see it here. Many relationships are based on selfish desires and not selfless desires. Relationships are based on love, sacrifice and forgiveness. Is this not the relationship Jesus has with us? John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”
The divine art of discipleship needs to be rediscovered by believers in the Church today. Living on Target is a strategy to achieve this objective.
The boys did well in school today. They were not just listeners, but doers of the Word. No reports or observations. Thank You, Lord.
No family meal today so we decided to bring the sandwiches and fruit back to the dorm and give the boys a new movie to watch. Dinner and a movie. What a concept! Yeah, I know… it has already been done. Afterward, we gave them a Popsicle to finish off the meal. We are blessed with a great bunch of boys.
Lee and Candy
This morning during my time with the Lord, He chastised me for my behavior and lack of trust. He gave me what I needed to speak to the boys. After breakfast, we met in the sala and I said, “I am sure that you have heard and will hear many things that were said during the meeting on Saturday. One is that Casa and all the other homes will be closed. You may ask yourself, ‘Why? This is a beautiful home. We are taught God’s word. We are taken care of. We are educated. Why? Doesn’t God love us?’ Yes. He loves us. He loves us so much that He came down from heaven to be with us. To teach, preach, heal, forgive, provide, love and give. He gave His life so we could have life. He died on the cross, was placed in a tomb for three days and then, rose to life. A life that He offers to each one of us. Do we love Him? Do we trust Him?
“God loves us. Because He loves us, He disciplines us. I love you. Because I love you, I discipline you. Without discipline, there is no love. I would let you lie, steal, lack respect, say bad words, be disobedient to the rules at school and at Casa. Yet, I can’t allow that. I desire for each of you to be a godly young man who desires to do what is right in God’s eyes. God is our Father in heaven. Why does He discipline us? The reason is not because He wants to hurt you but because He desires to bring us to repentance.
“Not just the children here at Casa, but the adults also. We can blame the world for our problems or for closing Casa yet we would be wrong. Groups have no power over God’s home and His will, yet we know that He allows people to do things in order to bring discipline. Remember, God disciplines those He loves, as a loving Father, for our good. When we are disciplined, we are sad and sometimes angry, yet later, it will bring you strength, understanding, discipline and what God is looking for…. repentance. 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 had 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.’
“When we study His word, we see that He had disciplined His children to bring repentance. God can discipline us directly or by another form. We call it, ‘removing His hand of protection.’ The hardened hearts, pride, love of titles and positions, love for worldly pleasures or a lack of love for Him. I look around at church and see this both in the States and here. Those that He loves and provides for, standing around like statues with no desire to praise Him and give Him thanks. No desire to raise their hands and give HIM glory. He is worthy. Matthew 15:8-9, ‘These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’
“He is worthy! We need to humble ourselves and repent. 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 to pray for the government and others in authority. We need to pray for Mike and Dottie, the director, social worker, the dorm parents, our families, teachers, and our friends. We need to pray for ourselves. This is good and pleasing to God our Savior. 1 Timothy 2:1-4, ‘I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who want all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.’
“God does not want us to fear, but to believe. We can move mountains with little faith. He is the author and finisher of our faith. We need to humble ourselves and pray. Ask Him for forgiveness and turn from our sins, our pride and lust for the world. We need to stand in the gap for Him. This is not the end of Casa; this is the beginning of repentance and trust of Him.”
Today was Pablo’s last day here at Casa. The boys gave him hugs, and we prayed over him. He has been a blessing to our boys and we know that God’s word will not return empty. Thank You, Lord, for sending your servant here to minister to your children.
Lee and Candy
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