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Why can't all followers of Jesus just come together around scripture?

Walking in the light means repetitive hour by hour, minute by minute repentance. Our little Cambodian dog inspired this post with his bath shenanigans.


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Dirt and Light

My husband gave our Cambodian dog a bath the other day and as soon as the cleansing was completed, little Eli ran with all his might to his favorite spot to gleefully roll in the dirt.  Emphasis on the word gleefully.

Walking in the light means repetitive hour by hour, minute by minute repentance. Our little Cambodian dog inspired this post with his bath shenanigans.

 

I do this too y’all.  I have a “favorite” sin or two that draws me back into the dirt over and over again.  Why do I return?  I have no idea.  Habit?   Maybe.  Lack of Trust?  Definitely.  But the Master keeps cleansing me, because I keep going back to Him.  Repentance is part of my life in Christ.

Walking in the light means repetitive hour by hour, minute by minute repentance. Our little Cambodian dog inspired this post with his bath shenanigans.

 

A problem with repentance arises when God’s children cannot recognize personal sin.  Compromises are made in the heart.  Scripture is ignored.  Emotions rule.  Excuses are given.  When sin is not grieved, there is no repentance.   When there is no repentance, there is no light.

John directs this scripture to followers of Christ.

Walking in the light means repetitive hour by hour, minute by minute repentance. Our little Cambodian dog inspired this post with his bath shenanigans.

 

Lord, Help us be successful in examining the life you have given us.  Reveal to us anything that is offensive to You and lead us on the path to everlasting life.  Psalm 139:23-24

Blessings, Alice

Picture:  Light bulbs against the white sands in Pensacola, Florida.

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Three Truths You Might Not Know About Missionaries

My husband and I  live half the year in Cambodia serving as missionaries along side our daughter’s family.  I hope to inspire more American Christians to become involved in the great commission by becoming partners with a missionary family.  To adopt them.  To have the names of these servants spoken at your dinner table prayer, and during tucking in moments at bedtime. And to help you see this command from Jesus as personal.  “Jesus came and told his disciples (replace your name here), ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'” Matthew 28:19-20 NLT

Please take into consideration these truths you might not know.

Here are three truths about missionaries that I think you need to know.   How can you respond?  Just read this post to find out.

1.  Missionaries are often forgotten

So was Paul.  He says, The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength…”  2 Timothy 4:16-17 NLT

Be honest…can you recall the names of any missionaries?  Are you friends with any on social media?  Do you receive posts from a family working overseas for Jesus?  If you receive a newsletter, do you read it out loud with your children?  Do you read it at all?  Do you reply with a comment of encouragement?  Are you excited about the work being done on foreign shores?  How do you express your excitement?

Just to receive an uplifting message or to be reminded that a family is actively praying gives so much encouragement to the forgotten missionary.  Use Facebook Messenger to send personal notes to ask for specific prayer requests of your adopted missionaries and then speak the names of these servants of God boldly and often in front of your children.  Paul makes a prayer suggestion for himself and his team in 2 Thessalonians 3:1  “Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we ask you to pray for us. Pray that the Lord’s message will spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes, just as when it came to you.”

What can you do to keep your adopted missionary family from being forgotten in the rush of life?

2.  They are rarely fully funded.

On paper, a missionary salary may look adequate to cover daily expenses, but many times reality is somewhat different.  It’s safe to say that missionaries operate on far less than what you do.  Often missionaries sacrifice  food and living expenses on mission projects they feel God has put before them.

I want to encourage you to get financially involved with a specific missionary. Missionaries do not like asking for money.  They pray that your heart will be softened toward their work and you will act without any prompting from them.   A surprise donation of money or care package every once in a while or even monthly would be the answer to prayers for your adopted family.  It’s easier to genuinely love someone when you make them a part of your family.

What can you do to invest in a missionary?

3.  Slow Progress is misunderstood.

Please consider that the day in the life of a missionary is very different than yours.  A missionary spends a good amount of time just trying to survive.  Where will we get food?  is the meat safe?  How far will I have to go to find toilet paper?  How will I wash these dirty diapers without hot water?  How will I get medicine for my child’s rash?  Is is time for our three month parasite pills?  Why is the water brown today?  How will we dry these clothes without a dryer during rainy season?  How will I stay cool today?  How can I get rid of this mold?  Who can I find to teach me the language?  What is the best way to home school the kids?  How long will the power be off today?  When will money be available to travel to the city for supplies?  Why won’t anyone believe in God or His Son?

In addition to daily survival, each missionary has a specific direction of work they have been given by the Holy Spirit.  Some teach English.  Some work with children.  Others are sent to encourage an infant church or serve with a Christian organization.  In all cases, relationships must be formed, and trust received.  Try to understand that progress is slow.  Planting seeds take time.  There may not be an abundance of conversions, if any.  Let’s be sure to not look at these gardeners as failures.  The enemy would love for us to believe this lie.  The harvest could take years.  It might even be another generation before Jesus is accepted in many places.   Paul’s words are perfect encouragement for the discouraged missionary,   I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.  It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.”  1 Corinthians 3:6-8 NLT

How can you spread positive attitudes to your adopted missionary family when things are slow?

Here are three truths about missionaries that I think you need to know.   How can you respond?  Just read this post to find out.

I pray that as you enter the new year you will consider becoming active in the life of a missionary even if their denomination is different than yours. For further reading, please see this post from my friend’s daughter-in-law serving in Papua New Guinea.  “When Your Missionary Stories Aren’t Sexy” by Erin Duplechin 

Would you share any ideas you have to encourage others to be part of Jesus’ command to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation?”  Mark 16:15 NIV

Blessings, Alice

Picture:  A fruit stand on a rural Cambodian road, taken while we were stopped for gas.

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There are a whole lot of ways to answer this question, just make sure yours is the right one. Mine wasn't.


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Why do you want to go to Heaven?

Why do you want to go to heaven?

Is it to see someone that you miss desperately?

Is is to escape something terrible?

Is it to get relief from pain?

Is it to avoid hell?  (yes, there is a hell)

There are a whole lot of ways to answer this question, just make sure yours is the right one. Mine wasn't.

These are all legitimate desires, but not one is spiritual.  Self-preservation and self-gratification are favorite ways for the enemy to tempt the one looking too closely in the mirror.  One juicy bite of pride in the garden long ago caused the Father to leave. The God of the universe, who was once seen by two pair of eyes, is now referred to as invisible.   I wonder if Eve, after all the punishments were announced,  I wonder if she missed her intimate life with God?  Did she long to hear His footsteps in the garden?  Was the worse consequence she received that day, the separation from her Creator?

That’s all God wants of us ya’ll.  He wants us to long to see Him.  To anticipate a reunion. To love Him more than that special person you miss.

I have personally had heaven issues in the past, one of the reason for this post.  I artfully hid this secret from my inner self.  The fact that Jesus was in heaven was just secondary to the reason I really wanted to go.   Thankfully the Holy Spirit specializes in wake up calls.

So exactly what did my repentance look like?

Honesty came first.  I didn’t love God as He commanded…with all my heart, my soul, my mind and my strength.  I was a halfhearted lover.  And y’all, that’s never good for a relationship.  (I wrote a post about that here) Next I admitted to myself that I was helpless in knowing how to drum up this kind of passion in my love for God.  Finally,  I turned to the Holy Spirit for help.  He helped me change my behavior toward God.  And let me note here, the behavior came first, the fervor came later… a miracle performed by my friend the Holy Spirit.  I began drinking in scripture, praying with purpose,  making time for solitary praise and meditation, and I started talking about Jesus to everyone…just as if I couldn’t live without Him.  Soon I discovered I couldn’t.

There are a whole lot of ways to answer this question, just make sure yours is the right one. Mine wasn't.

Now… HIS face is the first one I want to see when I step out of my earthly body.

In my imagination,   this is what heaven looks like to me.  Upon my arrival, those I love are close but not in the forefront.  They are to the side eagerly anticipating  the moment I catch the first glimpse of the One who died for me.  My eyes are locked on Jesus as my mother and father take my hands.  Together we worship Him, joining our voices as a family united in our joy.  He is the center of our attention.  As it was in the beginning.

Blessings, Alice

Picture:  taken on my 2018 trip to Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colorado.

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There are two ways to bear a burden:  with God and without God...and I hate to say it but I am experienced in both ways.


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Two Ways to Bear a Burden

There are two ways to bear a burden:  with God and without God...and I hate to say it but I am experienced in both ways.

Without God

Bearing burdens without God includes lots of fear, stress, anxiety, and plenty of self-pity.  Burdens are heavy y’all.  It’s like the earth’s  gravity has increased and each movement is cumbersome and toiling.  My heart is heavy, my soul is heavy, and I get so tired.  Tired.  Wondering if the heaviness of what I am carrying will squish me right into the earth.  When my youngest son was hit by a Mack type Truck while riding a motorcycle in Cambodia, I was beside myself with fear.  God spared his life.  He survived with a broken pelvis and dented up arm.  But then the fever came.  Sitting in a developing 3rd world hospital was scary enough, but waiting for the fever to break caused me to just about come undone.

It doesn’t have to be a dramatic accident that causes us to lose it.  It could be the day to day living in an oppressive situation or the unending absence of an unanswered prayer.  It’s times like these when the enemy loves to lie to God’s children.   I can’t begin to understand God’s will, and why some things happen, but I do know that in life,  God requires us to go through hard times.  It may be for a  moment, or it may be for a season, but some things are just required.

There are two ways to bear a burden:  with God and without God...and I hate to say it but I am experienced in both ways.

With God

My advice for bearing burdens with God, comes from the direct experience of failure.  Wallowing in my fear, I couldn’t figure out how I had gotten so far from God.  I took these measures to reset my faith.  First, I decided to admit my need for help to people who could remind me of scripture and pray over me.  I also found comfort in the promises found in the Word and in the declarations of God’s character…a sure way to fight the lies from the devil.    Sometimes I would fall asleep quoting particularly relevant verses over and over.   I also took deep spiritual comfort in the idea of sharing in Christ’s suffering.  Another way I fought my way to peace was to be grateful.  I made a list and used it when I prayed.  Finally, I admitted to myself that I had a problem with trust.  I begged Jesus to show me how to say “Not my will but Yours.”  (links to scriptures are included)

I love what Oswald Chambers said about burdens:

“Roll thy burden upon the Lord”– you have been bearing it all; deliberately put one end on the shoulders of God…Commit to God “that which He hath given thee”; not fling it off, but put it over onto Him and yourself with it, and the burden is lightened by the sense of companionship.

There have been time when I have been so distraught that words can’t be formed.  Those final days when my mother lay suffering with ALS were a nightmare….a perfect moment to turn to the Comforter.  Pray to the Holy Spirit ya’ll.  Tell Him to take your groans before the Lord…and He will.

Blessings, Alice

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Why our family DE-emphasized Santa. Just one opinion.


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Why Our Family DE-emphasized Santa

From the earliest of age I have not been very impressed with Santa.  I remember laying awake terrified that a strange man would be lurking around in our living room, and worse, that my parents would let him.  Later, the idea of presents dried my tears when sitting on the mall Santa’s lap, but I still didn’t like it and I have pictures to prove it.

Why our family DE-emphasized Santa. Just one opinion.

When I had children of my own I decided that there would be no more white lies about Santa.  Here is my reasoning.  I spent a good deal of time training my kids to know the difference between real and make believe, especially from the Bible.  Let’s face it, there are plenty of crazy stories in the Bible that seem like fantasy.  When we opened the  Bible together, everything they heard…snakes talking, arks floating, men in fiery furnaces, Jonah being swallowed by a fish, God being born in a  manger…no matter how fantastic…all of it was TRUTH.  I was determined that my children would be able to trust me to tell them the truth, even about Christmas.  I would stop the innocent Santa lies of my mother, and my grandmother before her.  I would never tell them that there was another man who had the same omniscient qualities as God…someone who knew everything about them…when  they  sleep, and when they are awake. I just couldn’t do it.

Lest you think we were opposed to Santa altogether, let me be clear that Santa still came to our house.  We still had all the fun of Christmas morning that the rest of the world did.  The only difference was that the kids knew the real origin of all the gifts under the tree.    Our children enjoyed talking about Santa as if he were real, much like my granddaughter imagines she is having conversations with her stuffed animals.  We never had any problems with our children revealing this big secret to their classmates once they were school-aged.

I know this idea is not for everyone, but it worked for our family.  My daughter is now a mother and she and her husband are putting more emphasis on the birth of Jesus than I ever did.  If I could do it again, I would use this time of year for our family to grow spiritually together with an emphasis on giving.

Blessings for a wonderful Christmas, Alice

Why our family DE-emphasized Santa. Just one opinion.

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