For Eternity

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

All His,

Lee and Candy

 

 

Prayer

More kids were sent home. This is a huge spiritual battle right now. Of course we know  who will win the battle.

We are about to have a week’s lull as the Arkansas and NC teams are leaving soon.

Another large team from Texas comes next week. So much has been accomplished.

Bob returned for the states and Larry & Sue arrived for a couple of months. They will watch over the Los Cometas while Walt & Randi go home for 4 weeks.

Maiya (Rosemary) with her two dads. I am so blessed.

Where was it that Jesus sweat great drops of blood? It was not in Pilate’s Hall nor on his way to Golgotha. It was in the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus walked to the cross with courage and his three friends fell apart and fell away.

The disciples in Luke 11 asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. They did not say “Lord, teach us to preach” or “Lord, teach us to work miracles. But they did say “Teach us to pray”.

He first tells them to call God their Father. We begin prayer by talking to the Father about the Father. His person (Hallowed be thy name); His program (Your kingdom come) and His purpose (Your will be done).

Then we speak to the Father about the family. The children need provision (Give us this day our daily bread; the children’s need of pardon (Forgive us our sins); and the children’s need of protection (Do not lead us into temptation).

The drops of blood in the garden were because He was fighting for His family and also because He was separating from His Father. This is the greatest outline of prayer ever recorded in human history.

He is Worthy

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.

All His,

Lee and Candy

Marriage choices

I trust that many of you are praying with us about the upcoming meeting Saturday with the government. Also I trust that many of you are praying for God to touch the hearts of someone who is called as a houseparent or some other position here at Casa. Although Chad and Abby do not leave until later in the year we need to know to be prepared.

Eddy has been at Casa for 17 years & has worked and been able to build his house for he and his mother. He will be leaving Casa in 2 weeks. He is a special boy and one of great success.

Eddy is one of Casa’s greatest success stories. We love him.

Choices are what marriage is all about. Do not get into a rut of a marriage. If you get into a routine you may feel a little safer but life is about choices. Do not settle for mediocrity.

Choose to act in love. Sadly in our culture love is a noun. Actually it is a verb and demands action. We want the fuzzy feeling of love. But even when feelings are not there we can still love and be loved. Divorce courts are filled with people who fell out of love. But actually they CHOSE not to love. Strong marriages are built on commitment not feelings.

Choose to listen to each other. Communication is the key to a successful marriage as well as all relationships. It is frustrating when you are speaking and you have no doubt the other person is not listening. It discourages you and causes your relationship to falter. Genuine listening is a glue that holds the marriage in place. It is an act of your will just like love is.

Choose to give first place to God. Put God at the center of your relationship. To tell your spouse she is the most important thing in your life sounds great and has its place. But the truth is that God needs to be the center of your home and if He is left out you are in trouble. Christ , not Dottie, must be the center of my life. Everyone knows how much I love her but she cannot sustain me or our marriage without Jesus. I must depend on Him for my happiness and fulfillment.

Success

 

16th: Maiya, Rosemary, was adopted from Casa when she was a teen & arrived to stay three weeks with us as she is now a teenager. These visits bless Dottie & me so much.

Serving ice cream to Los CometasJeremiah 9:23-24 informs us that we are not to boast in our wisdom, strength or riches but that we are to boast only that we understand and know God. I Corinthians 13:4 says, “Charity vaunteth not itself”. That simply means we are not boastful.

We have a tendency to brag or boast about what we have done or about what we possess. The word boast means a bloated windbag. I am guilty of the sin of bragging or boasting. When talking becomes about what I have done rather than what God has done it is the sin of boastfulness meaning I am not loving.

The opposite of boasting is humility. It is God who provides for Casa not me. It is God who has brought the children through their pain and suffering not me. I cannot receive any credit.

Just as a scapel does not perform miracle operations unless it is in the hand of a marvelous surgeon neither is Mike Clark a miracle instrument. If I allow myself to be an instrument in the Master’s hand then and only then will the operation be successful.

Any success we you and I have had is due to Him and Him alone.

 

Discipline Produces Righteousness

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.

All His,

Lee and Candy

 

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