Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sunday in Cadereyta

This past Sunday, I helped lead a group of men to one of the ministry areas we serve, called Cadereyta. I haven't been to this area in several months because it is actually another staff member's responsibility and Betty and I are usually leading groups to Rio 3. I was very impressed with how God has been moving in this place. I first visited this place 4 years ago. I remember then there was talk of building a ministry center to serve the people of this area. In my many trips back there over the years we have seen much progress as the building has been constructed. There still is much to do, but last summer we were able to pour the roof to the first floor. What a difference this has made!
This group of men helped work on the building in the morning and then at 3:30 we invited people from the neigbiorhood to a worship service. I was so impressed by the leadership I witnessed in the church. Many of them were men. I am sad to say that this is unusual in many of the poor areas hat we serve. But there were men leading worship and men with their families worshiping in the congregation. I know that Pastor Jose Angel has been especially working to raise up the men in this community and I have witnessed the fruit on Sunday. I didn't bring my camara so I have no pictures but I was very uplifted by what I witnessed God doing in this community.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Feeling the Power of God - Grace is Greater in Service

Sometimes I write about things or events that have gone on here and other times I write about how the things that I experience here affect my feelings. Lately, I feel like I've shared a lot about how I've felt the heavy burden of dealing with injustice and witnessing the work of satan. Sometimes, this might have sounded depressing. I want to share the positiveness I am feeling today. The last few days I have felt the comfort of the Holy Spirit in dealing with all of this. I feel strengthened by knowing our God is greater than any other power. I know that He promises to take care of the orpan child and will protect us from anyone or anything that wants to attack us.
I've been praying, the last few days, for God to put an army of angels around His children and protect them from the power of satan. I have prayed, in the Holy name of Jesus, that God send satan away from the children's homes, that we serve in. I have felt that the conflict that I have experienced lately is because I am in the middle of a spiritual war. God called me to fight in this war, but He did not call me to do it alone. It is His battle! And, He has already won! We are merely His hands and feet as He accomplishes His work.
All of this has caused me to be more energized. I am not growing weary of the battle. I am eagerly awaiting what God has in store next. The future doesn't look dark it looks brighter than ever. I have also realized that God's grace is greater in service. At one time, I felt I had to have a certain level of spiritual development in order to really serve God. But I know I am not perfect and there is no way I can fight these battles alone. But God makes up for my failures and really I am made perfect in Christ Jesus. And the truth is, I am called to serve Him just as I am. The more I commit to serving Him, the greater His grace is in making me whole. 
Thank you for your prayers!!! They are being answered!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Isaiah 41 - Words I need to hear

The 41st chapter of Isaiah is full of words that I needed to hear recently. 

The other night, Betty was reading her Bible while I was working at my desk. At one point she said, "Jim, listen to this," as she began to read it to me. I asked her, "who gave you those verses?" She answered, "God!" I want to just share a few of these verses that I highlighted in my Bible.

vs. 9 "I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you....I have chosen you and have not rejected you."
vs. 10 "So do not fear, for I am with you: do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you: I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
vs.12..." Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all."
vs. 17 "The poor and needy search for water, but there is none....But I the Lord will answer them: I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.

Perhaps you are like me and need to be lifted up with words of encouragement. There are no better words, than the words of encouragement from our Heavenly Father. I pray these words will lift you up and give you strength! God bless.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A "House Call" at Rio 3

This past week, we had a group of students here from CHCA High School in Cincinnati. On Saturday, we served at the ministry site, Rio 3. One of the things that the group wanted to do was hand out groceries to the families that live there. Together, we fed 350 people a hot meal and handed out groceries for 150 families.
After we handed out the groceries, Betty told me she wanted to take some groceries to an elderly mother and daughter we know, who live down by the river. They both suffer from poor circulation and have each had 1 leg amputated. For this reason, they are not able to get out much. The mother, who is over 70 years old, has had a large open sore on her only foot. In the past 6 months, we have visited their house with doctors and other medical personnel, and we've helped her care for her open sore. Each time, the faith and courage of these 2 women has inspired the people that we've brought to their house. This time was no exception.
Betty and Olga took a group of about a dozen students and a few adults to deliver the groceries to these 2 ladies. The looks on their faces, when they returned, told me everything. Some were crying and others appeared to be in shock. I was told that these 2 ladies didn't just accept the ministry that the students were offering. They wanted to minister to the students as well. Our group helped change the dressing on the mother's open sore and prayed for them both. The mother then sang a song for our group and told them how she knew that God had sent them there that day. She thanked God for their lives. As I talked to some of them, upon their return, they told me that they had never witnessed anything like that before. They were amazed as they witnessed the unswaggering faith of those who had very little physical shelter but had a wealth of "God's Eternal Shelter."

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

One Last Christmas thought

I just had one last thought about Christmas that I wanted to share with you before we move on to the new year. I wanted to share a post that a friend of ours posted on his Facebook page on Christmas Day. I really thought his words were so true. He wrote...
"Christmas, with all its associations of peace, is very much an act of war. Sorta like D-Day, though it was a one man army who arrived on earth's shore for a rescue mission. Now with a body of flesh, the divine began His march toward the hill where through His own death, He would be victorious over His enemy. Rescue complete. Mission accomplished."
His mission is accomplished, but the battle still goes on for our souls. Let us not be tempted by the lies that Satan uses to steal our joy. We can share in Christ's victory over death by accepting Him as our Savior. May we never forget the price our Heavenly Father paid so that we could share in such a great Victory! Thank you God! Thank you Jesus!

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 - Happy New Year

I have some random reflective thoughts as  we begin not only a new year, but a new decade. I'll confess that I have thought a lot lately about the injustices that I witness in this world. I have prayed for God to show up and change people or circumstances that I know are not part of His will. It has been difficult to accept that all is not going to be perfect in this world. I can't just "work at something hard enough" that it changes. I believe God is calling us to be faithful even when things don't ALL go right. I'm reminded of the numerous times in the Bible when God's people were called to be faithful, even when things were not going their way.
I also am reminded that we are ALL screwed up. I am not perfect...not even close. My friends aren't perfect, my family isn't perfect, my co-workers aren't perfect. The only one who is perfect, is God. Then why do I question Him? Is it part of my imperfection that I think I am wiser than Him? I am screwed up! We all are! The best that we can hope for is that we can work for improvement in our lives. And, in the end, be forgiven for our failures by the grace that is available through God's only son, Jesus. We all need it!
So as I start this new year, I want to keep praying and working for the injustices that I witness, to be made right. But I want to also remember, that everything will never be completely perfect. I must learn to be faithful to God's calling in my life, even when it seems my efforts are futile. I also want to remember that we are all imperfect beings, That the same blood of Jesus that I need to wash away my sins, is needed by everyone. I am no better than anyone.
Many times, I take comfort in situations, when I can think of scripture that brings me peace in the middle of a storm. I want to take the time to reflect more on God's word. I also want to pray more. Instead of worrying or being frustrated over things that I can not change, I want to just share my heart with God and rest knowing that He is in control of everything!
Happy New Year everyone! I really believe "greater things are yet to be done!"