Who I am

We baptized 30 teenagers & children. Gladys baptized the girls & Ezdras the boys.

I have had weight trouble so had a complete liver workup today & waiting for the results.

Calixto with Donald & Lori–his parents

I Corinthians 15:10, “By the grace of God I am who I am”. This has been one of my top ten verses because I remember the day it became real to me nearly 55 years ago. I was driving to New Orleans for a business meeting and heard that scripture on the radio. It just hit my arrow like a bullet. I was suddenly pierced by the truth that God had made me just as He desired. I was who He wanted me to be: male, Caucasian, American, Cajun, special education teacher, etc.

Without this truth I could never have reached the place I now occupy. My experiences as a child & teenager prepared me for working with the children in Guatemala. I reached a plateau that I never would have reached had it not been for my background.

God’s compassion on me has been beyond measure. I could have been born in deepest Asia or into total poverty or into an abusive home. But being who I ma means I have learned how to depend on Christ. Lafayette and Lake Charles prepared me for living by faith. Dottie’s father prepared me for living in Christ. Dottie prepared me for living in a godly family.

My life has been fulfilled because He made me who I am.

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

Faithfulness

I worked on lessons on relationships for the teens as well as continuing to hold marriage counseling classes each Monday evening.
Dottie & I walked through the Casa Para Antoni to pray & make notes of what needs to be done since we have teams coming Saturday & then often after that throughout the summer.

Calixto, adopted to the USA, graduated from high school in Lake Charles last night.

Granddaughter, Isabella, receiving the Hug-Bug award

There are many Christians but few disciples. Many Christians receive Jesus as Lord and Savior and that is the end. They do not live an overcoming Christian life. Fire insurance (against hell) is all they have.

If we are disciples our words should be true. We should always say what we mean and mean what we say. We should be giving good reports to those around us. The world is so negative that good news is rare.

We should be fearless if we are disciples of Jesus. 11 of the 12 disciples were martyred for their faith. They spoke the truth and truly the truth did set them free. They were able to leave this world realizing they had been faithful and finished the course God had set before them. Your faith does set you free. You are able to live unashamedly unto the Lord.

Paul knew that there was pain & persecution at every turn. But he steadfastly continued to suffer but continue to minister. Things do not always go our way & that only serves to make us depend more on the Lord and His Holy Spirit. We will not be crucified by the world but self-crucifixion is needed. The luts of the flesh and even our non-sinful desires need to be nailed to the cross in order for us to finish the course.

Each night Dottie and I pray that we will finish the race God has placed before us. We want to run through the tape and make a difference. I believe that being a Christian and not making a difference is so very sad. A wasted life!

 

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

Heaven or Earth

Amazingly Guatemala has the lowest divorce rate in the world. Of course, like all countries many couples never marry.

Aroldo will take 3 of our workers to a conference tomorrow on treating kidney transplant patients.

 

Paul had a tough time as stated in Philippians 1 as to whether to go to heaven or hang around and continue his work on earth. All of our troubles will end upon the moment of our death if we are Christians. But, as long as we are on earth, we need to work and witness.

It is easy to accept God’s will when things are easy and going well. It is far more difficult when there are trials and tribulations. We should glorify God with our bodies as long as we are here. We should work to accomplish whatever goals God has set before us. After we leave this earth our lives should still be a testimony of what God did through us as we lived upon this earth.

To die means the joy and peace of heaven but to live is filled with opportunities to make a difference. Paul had a choice it seems. He was willing to stay and I have learned that when we stay where God has placed us we are blessed and become a blessing. So many people choose to walk away from their calling and thus miss the blessings.

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

 

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