Joseph of Arimathea

We continued our study of the last week of Christ before His resurrection.  Yesterday, we talked about what transpired on Friday…the Passover meal, the betrayal, the trials, the crucifixion and the burial before the Sabbath.

Jesus was placed in the tomb before 6:00pm on Friday.  Why?  Sabbath begins on Friday 6:00pm and no work can be done.  This is the Fourth Commandment.  Deuteronomy 5:12-15, “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord you God.  On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor the alien within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest, as you do.    Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.  Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.”

When Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus down from the cross, he put Him in a tomb.  How did Joseph find a tomb so quickly?  The tomb belonged to Joseph.  Matthew 27:59-60, “Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock.  He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.”

Joseph of Arimathea was a believer and waited for the kingdom of God.  Luke 23:50-51, “Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action.  He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God.”

Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but in secret.  John 19:38, “Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus.  Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews.  With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away.”

That was on Friday, before 6:00pm. On the next day the Pharisees and the chief priests went to Pilate and asked for the tomb to be guarded.  Why?  They thought the disciples were going to take the body of Jesus.  Matthew 27:62-64, “The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate.  ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘we remember that while He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’  So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day.  Otherwise, His disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead.  This last deception will be worse than the first.”

Adam invited our boys to go swimming in his above ground pool today.  They went by dorms for 45 minutes each.  The boys had fun.  We are appreciative of Adam and Vilma for allowing our boys to come for a swim.  By the way, as I walked over for lunch duty, I looked down into the transition area and saw the pool.  I don’t know what the water looked like before our boys went swimming…but let’s just say, it wasn’t clear now.

The older children were invited to watch another movie tonight…“Ben Hur.”

All His,

Lee and Candy

 

The Passion

After breakfast, our boys finished their chores and settled down in the sala.  I explained to the boys first about the terms used in the Gospels for the hours of the day.  The morning starts at 6:00am so when it is the third hour, we count three hours later and the time is 9:00am.  At the sixth hour, we count six hours later and the time is 12:00pm.  At the ninth hour, we count nine hours later and the time is 3:00pm.

The Jewish day begins the day before at 6:00pm and ends the next day at 6:00pm.  Today is Friday, so it began “yesterday,” Thursday, at 6:00pm and will end tonight at 6:00pm.  A lot happened on that day.  Jesus had His Passover meal with His disciples yesterday, after 6:00pm, and we talked about Jesus washing the feet of His disciples and the significance of it.  Afterwards, He and His disciples went to the Mount of Olives.  Luke 22:39, “Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and His disciples followed Him.”  Gethsemane is in the Mount of Olives.

Jesus took the three disciples closest to Him, and He went to pray to His Father.  Mark 14:33, “He took Peter, James and John along with Him, and He began to be deeply distressed and troubled.”  Judas came with a crowd and betrayed Jesus with a kiss.  Mark 14:45, “Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, ‘Rabbi!’ and kissed Him.  Jesus was arrested and stood on trial before many, who accused Him, ridiculed Him and abused Him.  He was taken to the High Priest Annas first for questioning.  John 18:12-13.  Then Jesus was sent to Caiaphas.  John 18:24, “Then Annas sent Him, still bound, to Caiaphas the high priest.”  Caiaphas accused Jesus of blasphemy and others spit in His face and hit Him.

In the morning, all the high priests and elders decided to put Jesus to death.  During this time, Judas hung himself.  Jesus was then sent to Pilate, the governor.  Pilate found out Jesus was from Galilee and sent Him to Herod.  Herod only wanted to see a miracle and when Jesus refused, He was sent back to Pilate.  Pilate asked the crowd, “What shall I do, then, with Jesus, who is called Christ?”  They all answered, “Crucify Him!”  The soldiers put a scarlet robe on Jesus, placed a crown of thorns on His head, a staff in His right hand and mocked Him.

Jesus was crucified in the third hour, which is 9:00am.  Mark 15:25, “It was the third hour when they crucified Him.”  In the sixth hour, which is 12:00pm, darkness covered the land.  Mark 15:33, “At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour.”  In the ninth hour, which is 3:00pm, Jesus cried out, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’  Then He breathed His last.  At that moment, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.  The significance is that it was torn by God.

The Sabbath is approaching and Jesus is taken down by Joseph of Arimathea and placed in a tomb before 6:00pm.  Sabbath starts at 6:00pm.

One of our older leaders took it upon himself to clean out the closet in the sala with a few of the boys.  It is good to see the servant attitude from our leaders.  God has definitely blessed us with hard working leaders.  Thank You, Lord.

The older children have a movie night.  They will be watching “The Passion.”

Please keep our little one in your prayers.  She’s been fighting some cough and congestion.

All His,

Lee and Candy

 

Love One Another

We continued our study of the last week of Christ, and I said, “Yesterday Jesus was anointed by a woman and after that, Judas went and talked to the chief priests about handing Christ over to them.  Why?  We know that satan entered Judas, and Judas went to the chief priest.  We know that satan causes doubt which will lead to sin.  He was there in the garden of Eden when he asked Eve, ‘Did God really say…’  There is a saying, ‘“Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.’  Judas paid a price that cost him his life.  How much was he given to betray Jesus? Thirty pieces of silver.  Mathew 26:14-16, ‘The one of the twelve – the one called Judas Iscariot – went to the chief priests and asked, “‘What are you willing to give me if I hand Him over to you?’  So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand Him over.”

Judas waited for an opportunity when no crowd was present.  Who would know where Jesus would be better than His disciples?  Luke 21:37-39, “Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening He went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, and all the people came early in the morning to hear Him at the temple.”  Judas knew that Jesus would be at the Mount of Olives.  When Jesus was arrested, He was in Gethsemane.  Where was Gethsemane?  In the Mount of Olives.

How can a disciple of Jesus betray Him?  The question is, “Are we truly a follower or just a tag-a-long?”  When Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say I am?”  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Judas?  Who did he say Jesus is?  Matthew 26:25, “Then Judas, the one who would betray Him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?”  There is a big difference between Christ, the Son of the living God and Rabbi or teacher.  We also need to evaluate our relationship with Him.  If we open our Bibles and study His word only on Sunday, then we can be sure that our relationship is not strong.  We need to be in the Word and the Word in us, not on the shelf.

When the disciples are listed, it revealed the disciples’ relationship with Jesus.  Mark 3:16-19, “These are the twelve He appointed: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter); James, son of Zebedee, and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder); Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him.”  Those who are listed first had a closer relationship with Jesus than those who are listed last.  Who was with Jesus during the transfiguration?  Peter, James and John.  Who is last on the list?  Judas Iscariot.

Not much was said about Jesus on Thursday until twilight after 6:00pm, which is Friday for the Jewish people, but we know that He taught in the temple during the day and went to Bethany at night.

The boys played all day, and then in the afternoon, they crossed to the front property to spend time with their siblings.

After dinner, I talked to the boys about the feast of the Passover. We also talked about Jesus washing the feet of His disciples.  I asked them, “What does it mean when Jesus said, ‘A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean.  And you are clean, though not every one of you.’  Is Jesus talking about a physical bath?  No, what He is talking about is the washing of rebirth 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 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.”  Although we are clean, we live in a sinful world and all of us are sinners.  We will sin while we walk this earth.  Our bodies are clean yet our feet will get dirty.  When we do sin, we need to repent of our sins and our feet will be clean.  We will be forgiven.

One of the older boys from Buen Pastor wanted to help me as we washed the feet of our boys. I washed the feet of our little one first, and then the feet of the older boy.  We washed and dried the feet of all the boys.  Afterward, I said, “Jesus said, ‘I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.  I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.’  Jesus wants us to live our lives in humility.  No one is better than the other.  I cannot look at a boy and say, ‘Wash his feet?  No way!’  I am not better than Jesus.  Jesus showed His love for His disciples by washing their feet with humility and then dying on the cross so we could be with Him.  I love you boys very much and Jesus desires for us to go and serve others with humility, like He did.  When you behave in school, you are washing the feet of your teachers.  When you encourage others and not discourage, you are washing the feet of others.  When you are obedient to your dorm parents, you are washing their feet.  Jesus said, ‘Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.’”

All His,

Lee and Candy

 

Be on guard.

Today is the first day of vacation for the children.  They got to sleep in one more hour, and did they enjoy that!  After breakfast, the boys did their chores, then we settled down in the sala for our study of the crucifixion and resurrection and the events leading up to those days.  Before we started, I talked about how the Jewish day is different than our day.  It is significant as we study when everything happened during the week.  Our typical day begins at midnight and ends at midnight.  The Jewish day begins at 6:00pm on the previous day and ends at 6:00pm the following day.

On Monday we talked about the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem on Sunday.  Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, which fulfilled prophecy.  The people cheered as he entered the city yet Jesus knew that it wouldn’t last long and the cheers will change into jeers.  Jesus looked around and because it was late, He and His disciples left for Bethany.

Jesus returned to Jerusalem Monday morning and on His way, He saw a fig tree from the distance.  It was full of leaves, but when Jesus came closer, there was no fruit.  As they approached Jerusalem, they could see the temple and the magnificent buildings, but when they got closer, Jesus saw people buying and selling and He drove them out.  Jesus said, “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you have made it a ‘den of robbers.”

Are we the same today?  Do we look like we are full of fruit, yet upon closer inspection, there is none.  When people see the church building, does it look beautiful from the outside, yet when Jesus enters, is it a den of robbers?  If you ask many if they study and read God’s word, many will tell you, “on Sunday.”  Where is the love for the Lord?  How can we truly have a relationship with the Lord if we only desire to “know Him” on Sunday?  We look good on Sundays, but what about the rest of the days?  How can we grow and be in step with the Spirit if we have no fruit?

When we have a relationship with the Lord, we are His temple.  First Corinthians 3:16, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?”  This is God’s will for us.  “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  What will Jesus find when He is near to you?  A house of prayer or just a tree full of leaves and no fruit?

On Tuesday, Jesus returned to Jerusalem. The chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came and questioned His authority.  Jesus turned the tables on them and asked them a question, “John’s baptism – was it from heaven, or from men?”  They refused to answer because whatever answer they chose, it would reveal their hypocrisy.  As they left the temple, the disciples asked Jesus to reveal the signs for the end of the age.  Jesus did not tell them the exact time, but gave them signs.  Reason?  He wanted His disciples to be ready.  We need to be ready.  If we knew when He was going to return then we would wait and live for the world and not for the Lord.  Jesus says, “Be on guard!  Be alert!  You do not know when that time will come.” More tomorrow.

As many of you know, soccer is the national sport so the Champions League is on TV. Many of the boys are not venturing outside the dorm but hibernating inside to watch the games.  The cheers when a goal is scored are in stereo.  I hear it from our dorm and across the way from Buen Pastor.  Although, I’m not a big soccer fan, it is good to see and hear the boys enjoy their national sport.

Now that vacation has started, let the boredom begin.  We don’t allow our boys upstairs and hang out so I allow them to play Xbox, or watch TV or play outside.  Still, I see a boy walking around and I ask him, “What’s the matter?”  His response, “I’m bored.”  So I told our little one and she started coming up with games to play during vacation.  Hopefully, we will be able to invent some fun games for the boys to play and of course, the winning team will get to sleep in the sala, eat popcorn and watch movies till they pass out… well maybe until 10 or 11:00pm.

Candy had a treatment cycle today. She has one more to go…Praise the Lord!! We thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for praying for her and for praying for our boys, our little one, and me. I’ve been able to go to the States a few times to be with Candy, and we are grateful to God for that. When Candy recovers from her last treatment, scheduled for April 26, God willing, she’ll be on her way home. We are so blessed. How can we not love HIM?

All His,

Lee and Candy

 

 

Hectic Morning…Humbled Afternoon

This morning was a little hectic, and I believe it was a test for me.  As the boys from dorm five and I were preparing the blue building for breakfast, there was an altercation outside.  Of course, I didn’t find out about it until I brought the rest of the boys inside for breakfast.  A junior leader and another boy were involved.

Afterward, I addressed the issue with the boys.  I told them that being a leader in a dorm, ministry, church, job, school or sports team can be very difficult and may produce a lot of stress.  Someone will be upset and complain or something will happen in which the leader will react in an inappropriate way.  This morning was no different.  There was a man named Moses who was the leader of the Israelites.  During their exodus from Egypt, the people complained about not having water.  Exodus 17:2, “So they quarreled with Moses and said, ‘Give us water to drink.’  Moses replied, ‘Why do you quarrel with me?  Why do you put the Lord to the test?'”

God told Moses to strike the rock and water will come out.  He did and water came out.  Obedience.  Whether we are a dorm parent, a leader or a boy we need to be obedient to the Lord.  He stands with us.

What happens when we are not obedient?  Here’s an example again of when the people did not have water and they complained. God told Moses to speak to the rock and water will pour out.  Did he obey?  No.  Moses struck the rock because of his anger toward others.  The consequences?  He lost a blessing.  Moses could not enter into the Promised Land.

We need to be obedient.  When there is an obstacle in our life, a situation with another that causes you to be angry, talk to the other person and you will be blessed.  Don’t let your anger cause you to lose a blessing from God.  It is written in Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  I tried to control my anger with my own power, but it didn’t work.  I need to be obedient to the Lord.  Remember, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

I asked the Psychologists to talk to the boys who had a conflict, and they spent some quality time with them.  Believe it our not, sometimes the boys tune me out when I talk to them so having Christian Counseling available here is a benefit to all of us.  They talked to the boys for a couple hours, and afterward, everything appeared to be good.

Can I tell you how much I love the Lord?  He has helped me this past week with my anger and my lack of patience.  He has given me more peace than I have had in a long time.  It is written in Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”  As I continue to live by the Spirit, He helps me overcome those acts of the sinful nature and replaces them with the fruit of the Spirit.  My relationship with my boys is better and with the other children and staff, as well.

When Candy says that she wants the old Lee back…”The man who is full of compassion and love for others.”  She knows me.  The problem… pride and lack of humility.  We are a temple of the Lord, a house of prayer.  So when God says, “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 listen, humble ourselves, pray and repent.  In other words… be obedient.

As we were crossing the pasarela to prepare the blue building for dinner, I noticed and of course the boys noticed, that Adam and Vilma had installed a pool in the transition area.  Of course, the first question the boys asked was, “When are we going to get a pool?”  All I could think of in my head was, “Thanks Adam.”  His ears must have been burning because after dinner he talked to me about our boys coming over this Saturday to swim.  I said, “Thanks, Adam!”  This time it wasn’t sarcastic.

All His,

Lee and Candy

 

Palm Sunday

We continued our study of the last week before the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.  Yesterday was the triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  As Jesus and His disciples were walking to Jerusalem, Jesus told them that He was going to die.  Matthew 20:17-19.  Many that came to celebrate Passover heard that Jesus was coming and went out to meet Him.  They placed their cloaks and palm branches in the road.  Why did the people do that?  It symbolizes honor for the king.  2 Kings 9:13, “They hurried and took their cloaks and spread them under Him on the bare steps.  Then they blew the trumpet and shouted, “Jehu is king!”

Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey.  This fulfilled prophecy.  Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!  Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!  See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

The people praised Jesus with Psalms.  Psalms 118:26, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.  From the house of the Lord we bless you.”  They shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David!”  Hosanna means “save.”  The people wanted a king to save them from Roman oppression, but Jesus came to save them from sin and death.  Romans 8:1-2, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”

Their praise and cheers will soon change into jeers.

Two of our boys, brothers, had a court hearing.  One went home, the other returned to Casa.  Reason?  He wanted to stay for an education.  I talked to him to make sure there was no other reason but with tears, he reassured me that was the reason.  If the family situation is good, then children should be with their family. However, sometimes looking toward the future and desiring a quality education that Casa provides is a good choice.  The best part of this…we have more time to love, take care of, disciple and teach him about the Lord.

Watching a few of our boys and our little one play Bancopoly, which is Guatemala’s version of Monopoly, is interesting.  The game lasted 30 minutes.  I guess that is why it is called a “bored” game.

Being a dorm parent requires making decisions that will hurt feelings yet provide a teaching lesson.  Today was no exception.  One of our junior leaders has not been a good example at school, and he had been warned that it would affect his position as a junior leader.  Our expectation is for the leaders to lead by example in behavior and grades.  Well after reports of bad behavior, I decided to release him from the position and offer it to another boy.  I explained my position to him and with tears in his eyes, he understood.  I did tell him that he was a hard worker here in the dorm; he needs to have the same effort at school.  Sometimes change can make a change in others.

All His,

Lee and Candy

 

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