22 December 2008
10 November 2008
So far, we have experienced grocery shopping, visiting the local padaria (bakery) and even to some specialty stores in the couple of blocks close to our apartment. Everyone we meet is very friendly, even though we are quite obviously unable to communicate apart from the very small handful of words we know now.
On Saturday we visited the private school that our four children will be attending. They start at this bilingual school in the morning (Tuesday), and Robert and I begin formal language training tomorrow as well. Please pray for the kids as they are a little nervous about the new school.
Our apartment building has a swimming pool and our family went swimming on Saturday. It was a wonderful time. After about 30 minutes of it being just us, two other families (moms with children) came out. The children made instant friends with our kiddos, and I was able to communicate with the moms (named Virginia and Gabriella) who spoke some english. It was a very fun time for everyone, and the children are confident that they will have many friends here. Both ladies gave me their apartment numbers and expressed interest in helping us in any way with language, finding doctors, etc.
While we are a long way from our people group (the Italian-Brazilians of southern Brasil) we ask that you continue to pray with us for their salvation. As for our time here and now, please pray for our ability to quickly acquire enough language for basic communication and to share Christ with those whom we are developing relationships with in our apartment building.
Some differences that you might think are the most weird - -
- there is no hot water in the kitchen, so dishes are handwashed with cold water and soap. This is the most common way of washing dishes here.
- there is no clothes dryer . . . NO ONE has a dryer . . . all clothes are hung to dry
- slightly warm water is available only in the showers with an electric heater that is located right in the shower head
- no air conditioning . . . just ceiling fans - - WHEW!!!
- no tap water on toothbrushes before brushing
- everyone speaks Portuguese and we don't understand it (yet!)
Thank you again for your prayers. There is just no way to express the deep gratitude we have for them.
I would love to hear from any of you. Email anytime - my address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll check email and answer as I can find internet connection!!!
in His AMAZING love & grace,
04 November 2008
This is my last posting from this side of the equator . . . at least for 3 1/2 years or so. This adventure began in August of 2007 . . . and today we get to go!!!
Our children are excited to be riding their first airplane. With backpacks loaded with favorite toys, activities and snacks, they are soon to be international travelers. The rest of the Hamilton stuff is partly in crates in a warehouse in Texas (of which we will see again in Brazil in about a year) and 13 duffle bags in the front room of the missionary house we have been living in for the past 2 1/2 weeks.
We will be met at the airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil, by our director of language studies and our friend Chris who we met and grew to love during our training time in Virginia.
More than all else, we are very blessed that God has called us to a specific task, we are privileged to follow Him in obedience and we are UNQUALIFIED for the task of reaching the Italian-Brazilians of southern Brazil with the gospel of Jesus Christ. So, more than all else, we ask for your prayer support. God is already there . . . we're just following Him. He is the One qualified to win the hearts of the people there who are so deceived. Please pray for God to use us in whatever way He desires in reaching these people, and please pray for us to learn to speak Portuguese quickly!!!!
15 October 2008
What will YOU be doing tomorrow morning at 5:00 a.m? We will be driving to Tupelo, Mississippi for breakfast with kids in pajamas. After clothes, brushed teeth and breakfast in Tupelo, we will drive to Memphis, TN for gas and a potty break. After Memphis, we will drive to Little Rock, AR where we will eat lunch and go the the Little Rock Zoo!!! After the zoo, we will drive to Texarkana, TX where we will spend the night. The next morning we will leave at 7:00 to arrive in Bells, Texas in time to have lunch with my dad.
Our time in Alabama has been great . . . very memorable for us and the kiddos. We have more goodbyes to say here, and then onward to family and friends in Texas.
WONDERFUL news! - our visas have arrived. They are waiting for us in Texas as well. We hope to soon have a leave for Brazil date - - it will most likely be first week of November.
"what an amazing thing that we find such pleasure and fulfillment from God getting praise. It seems that it should only be for His pleasure, doesn't it?"I was merely pointing out the vast, immeasurable abundance of grace that God has toward us . . . that in our glorifying Him we would experience such fulfillment and pleasure. That's an amazing thing . . . astonishing and humbling.
What I wrote is not the same as Piper's famous line that "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." I don't understand or subscribe to this viewpoint. (Hedonism is it?) Maybe I don't have a full grasp on it. It just seems too much about my satisfaction in God - - which is a bonus. It's really all about God and His glory. I truly think God's glorification is not contingent on our satisfaction in Him. He is glorified in everything . . . in all creation and created beings. Even through those who choose not to worship Him!! I believe God is equally glorified by both the execution of His wrath on sinful man as He is by the pouring out of His mercy and grace and love upon the redeemed.
Now don't take me wrong. I'm not bashing Piper. He has tremendous insights, he's written some incredible books and it is my great desire to one day be able to cross reference Scripture as half as well as he does.
I'm just one who is struggling with the right approach to God . . . not as one desiring to be satisfied in Him, but as the wretch that I am - - saved by His grace that I in no way deserve, and approaching Him in confidence as an inadequate, obedient servant. The satisfaction in Him that I find is a product of His grace, but not a motive of my heart.
I would love to hear from others on this.
14 October 2008
"Hosanna" . . . . it is first used in Psalm 118:25-26:
John Piper has this to say about it:
O LORD, do save, we beseech You; O LORD, we beseech You, do send prosperity! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD; We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.
And that Hebrew phrase is found one solitary place in the whole Old Testament, Psalm 118:25, where it means, "Save, please!" It is a cry to God for help. Like when somebody pushes out off the diving board before you can swim and you come up hollering: "Help, save me" … "Hoshiya na!"But something happened to that phrase, hoshiya na. The meaning changed over the years. In the psalm it was immediately followed by the exclamation: "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" The cry for help, hoshiya na, was answered almost before it came out of the psalmist's mouth. And over the centuries the phrase hoshiya na stopped being a cry for help in the ordinary language of the Jews. Instead it became a shout of hope and exultation. It used to mean, "Save, please!" But gradually it came to mean, "Salvation! Salvation! Salvation has come!" It used to be what you would say when you fell off the diving board. But it came to be what you would say when you see the lifeguard coming to save you! It is the bubbling over of a heart that sees hope and joy and salvation on the way and can't keep it in.
Man oh man, what it would have been like to be there at that moment - - as Jesus entered Jerusalem and received praise for who He is and why He was there . . . the very town who SO rejected Christ (Luke 13:34-35). What a moment in history His entry into Jerusalem was, with the laying down of coats and branches and shouts of Hosanna. I would love to have seen it. I would love to have been there throwing down branches and getting down on my knees to shout Hosanna with hands lifted high!
But what better time it is now! As believers, we have the Holy Spirit alive and active in US. We are living in this dispensation of grace and it is a time to proclaim to all that salvation has come!
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life-- and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us-- what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.Another thought - - in light of the joy that comes from looking at this moment when Christ was celebrated with shouts of Hosanna for who He really is - - what an amazing thing that we find such pleasure and fulfillment from God getting praise. It seems that it should only be for His pleasure, doesn't it?
13 October 2008
Oh the beautiful word that Hosanna is! - - and one, like so many others, that is only fitting for our Lord.
In case you haven't happened to read recently the account of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem just prior to His arrest - -here it is:
When they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me. "If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them." This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: "SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION, 'BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU, GENTLE, AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY, EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN.'" The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on the coats. Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road. The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David; BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Hosanna in the highest!" When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, "Who is this?" And the crowds were saying, "This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee." And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. And He *said to them, "It is written, 'MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER'; but you are making it a ROBBERS' DEN." And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they became indignant and said to Him, "Do You hear what these children are saying?" And Jesus *said to them, "Yes; have you never read, 'OUT OF THE MOUTH OF INFANTS AND NURSING BABIES YOU HAVE PREPARED PRAISE FOR YOURSELF'?" (Mat 21:1-16)The Bible says the scribes and pharisees became "indignant" when they heard the children addressing JC with this word "Hosanna". It's a word worth taking a look at.
First . . . there is NO English or Greek word "Hosanna". It is transliterated from the Hebrew הושענא which is like hoshiya na . What gets my attention is the rage that this word evoked in the pharisees, and Christ's description of this word as praise which God had prepared for Himself - - of which David even prophesied about in Psalm 8:2.
This word has my attention!!!
12 October 2008
Just tonight we said goodbye to Robert's dad. He's leaving on a business trip early tomorrow morning. The words of his goodbye were incredible . . . fully supporting our obedience to God's calling, warning that times will get hard, and exhorting us to not get discouraged, but keep an eternal perspective. And all of it spoken with a heart of love that is transparent and genuine. Whew! - these goodbyes are tough . . . but what a privilege to follow God. He is abundantly graceful. And what a blessing to have the support of family.
Onward with news . . . . we tracked the overnight package from the consulate and learned that our visas sit in a small post office in Texas, awaiting my dad to pick them up on Tuesday!!!!
As for God's providence . . . . we have a house in Whitesboro to live until we leave for Brazil. It is a house belonging to First Baptist Church of Whitesboro. There are beds for all of us, towels, dishes, internet, even a vehicle if we can sell the Suburban. We will arrive there Friday night and stay through our departure date to Sao Paulo, Brazil, which will most likely be the first week of November.
Thanks for your prayers. I hope to begin blogging regularly now that we have complete our orientation for field service.
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the frangrance of the knowledge of Him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? 2Cor.2:14-16
29 August 2008
May you abound in the richness of the glory of our God! May you rejoice with each new day that we are given to walk in fellowship with Him!
01 August 2008
A quick update: the sale of the house went very well (praise God). . . we closed on Friday the 25th. Crating was an experience we will never forget. As of today, we have a couch with things packed to ride on the couch at a warehouse in downtown Dallas in great hopes that when the right size crate arrives, it will actually be crated and put with the other crates.
Our last week in Anna, Texas was crazy - - but also very memorable. We had five evenings with very dear friends and a day with my parents. We are outrageously blessed with the dearest of family and friends.
Tomorrow morning bright and early (I should be in bed) it's "Onward Ho" to Virginia. Since we are pulling a trailer we will be going through Atlanta, South Carolina, North Carolina and then Virginia. It would have been nice to go over the Appalachian's, but we didn't want to tug the trailer all the way up. We should arrive in Virginia on Sunday night, and at the International Learning Center after noon on Monday.
until the next internet connection . . . . . . .
15 July 2008
We are in the process of moving. Boxing, packing, getting ready for crating, inventorying and assigning value to EVERYTHING for insurance purposes. We are saying farewells, staying on top of the details regarding the sale of our house, garage selling, Craig's listing and keeping up with the Brazil visa application process which is as about as extensive as it gets. It's a whirlwind of a time, but we feel peaceful, blessed with the prayers and kind wishes of friends, sleep deprived for sure, but able to stay focused on the big picture. Exciting times and memorable times for sure. It feels like we're flying by the seat of our pants most of the time . . . a feeling I've become quite accustomed to and strangely even enjoy.
Sunday was our last day at Pin Oaks. It was a odd day, but a very good one as well. Many beautiful and memorable words were said to both Robert and myself. We have a few more farewells and a dire need to spend time with my parents who are almost as busy as we are.
The most bizarre experience to me so far is living in a house where so many memories have been made, but now stands almost barren . . . w/o curtains, pictures, many pieces of furniture.
Please keep especially our children in your prayers during this time of transition!!!! Times of closure are coming for them . . . last times to see certain people, certain friends, and certain places that are dear to them.
What are you up to? I'd enjoy hearing.
13 July 2008
"There is no one holy like the LORD, Indeed, there is no one besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God. "Boast no more so very proudly, Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; For the LORD is a God of knowledge, And with Him actions are weighed. "The bows of the mighty are shattered, But the feeble gird on strength. "Those who were full hire themselves out for bread, But those who were hungry cease to hunger. Even the barren gives birth to seven, But she who has many children languishes. "The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up. "The LORD makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts. "He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap To make them sit with nobles, And inherit a seat of honor; For the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, And He set the world on them. "He keeps the feet of His godly ones, But the wicked ones are silenced in darkness; For not by might shall a man prevail. "Those who contend with the LORD will be shattered; Against them He will thunder in the heavens, The LORD will judge the ends of the earth; And He will give strength to His king, And will exalt the horn of His anointed."
07 July 2008
What I love best about this is God. It's nothing for Him to bring a buyer in a very bad market to buy the house He has blessed us with these past 4 1/2 years. But additionally, He brought me to the place of faith to be able to say yes, we will go right now even if it means our house foreclosing. I had shared with a number of people (especially my husband) that I would not be willing to move forward in the process of orientation and then going to Brazil until the house was sold. This seemed enormously irresponsible to me . . . even wreaking of poor stewardship.
But He spoke so clearly to us that we were to go NOW . . . and it is ours to obey and then to trust no matter the outcome. Isn't it awesome to serve a God who brings us along to the place He wants us to be? If all goes well with the lending, the inspection, the closing - - praise God! If all falls through at the last minute and we head up to Virginia with house on the market and no way to make the payments - - praise God!
06 July 2008
01 July 2008
Now how could you resist this opportunity (focus on the children before answering!!!)?
Really and truly, we are looking to be adopted by five churches. By the term adoption, I mean churches who will consider us to be their missionaries by committing to pray for us and our people group. I would even hope for an adopting our people group, the Italian-Brazilians of Caxias do Sul and the surrounding area, and an openness to considering ministry opportunities (mobilization of church members through mission trips) to assist in ministry.
The Italian Brazilians are considered to be an unreached people group, with less than 1% evangelized. Their religion is a mixture of a kind of Catholicism and Mysticism (including witchcraft, voodoo, superstition, etc.). They area a beautiful people, a beautiful culture, in a beautiful land, and yet a stronghold of satan. They desperately need to hear the truth of who Jesus Christ IS.
Most of you who read this blog are active in a church. Please prayerfully consider joining us in the Great Commission - - urging your church to adopt both our family and the Italian-Brazilians of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Churches who choose to prayer-support His work to this people group will receive frequent updates, prayer requests, and opportunities to come to Brazil and join in ministry. (In fact, we will be inviting a group from a church to come on a vision/prayer trip after we finish the year of language school and during our first year with our people group.)
Please do give this careful consideration and prayer. Maybe God will break your heart and the hearts of the members of your church for these dear people who so desperately need to hear the truth.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
29 June 2008
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2Peter 3:9-18)
28 June 2008
The most enjoyable part of the week for me were the Emeritus that were there for their recognition service. We ate almost every meal with retired missionaries who served in Brazil, and met many others. Oh the stories we heard!!! Hebrews 12:1-2 was swimming around in my head the entire time we were there.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Several shared with us about victories, defeats, cultural differences, hardships we're sure to face and many encouraging words. We were certainly blessed. Another blessing . . . I finally know how to pronounce the word Caxias!!!
An incredible event transpired while we were there. We've known that our timeline would have to change due to the lack of prospective buyers for our house in the current, very challenging economy. God clearly revealed to both Robert and myself that it is His will for us to not delay our timeline, but to be at orientation starting August 4. That is five weeks away!! And assuming all goes well with the very complicated application process for Brazilian visas, we will be in Brazil the middle of October. THAT is exciting!
God's direction is a great relief to us both. I am able to confidently say that I have no anxiety. It is our responsibility to obey God and the details are His. We are doing all we can for the sale of the house (we've lowered the price of our house to the minimum amount we can for payoff and our part of closing, and I've investigated leasing options and management companies). We know that some houses sell before orientation, some houses sell during orientation, and some do not sell. When God leads, we do count the cost - - but no matter the cost, we obey. When it comes time to begin orientation we will be praising God whether our house is sold or not . . . knowing that we're being obedient to Him and His timing.
Please continue praying for our house to sell. Please pray with us also during this time of saying goodbye to those we love, crating all of our things (this will happen July 21st & 22nd), traveling by car with 4 children to Virginia (a long way from Texas) and our children transitioning to communal living (I guess that one goes for all of us!!!)
Please pray also for Pin Oaks. Robert's last Sunday as pastor there will be July 13. Pray for the search team and members to seek God for His guidance in finding a pastor.
14 June 2008
Here are the rules:
*Link the person who tagged you.
*Mention the rules in your blog.
*Tell about six unspectacular quirks of yours.
*Tag a new set of six following bloggers by linking them
Six "unspectacular" quirks of mine would be as follows:
1. If I find toilet paper that has been put on the roller backwards, I have to change it. In my house, this never happens. But I have, many times as a guest in someones house, changed their toilet paper so that it rolls correctly over the top, out toward the person retrieving it!!!
2. I'm known around here (especially by my husband) as the "thermostat notzy". I like programmable thermostats that have the ability for four time settings. I possess this innate fear that my children go to bed hot if the thermostat is too high, but if it's kept lower through the night they will wake up cold. So from Katherine on (she's 7 now) the Texas summer-time upstairs thermostat starts at 73 at 8:00 pm, goes to 74 at about 1:30 am and then to 75 at 5:00 a.m. and is there for the day. (It's Texas, so the AC runs all night!) I've got to get over this one before going to Brazil, I know!!!
3. I had many years of little to no female friends. I grew up tomboyish and, for some reason, developed a stereotype of my OWN gender (rumorish, gossipy, critical and too emotional). Barring a few exceptions, I sought out friendships with boys. It seemed to work well for me. I am happy to report that this is a quirk (or really a flaw) I eventually developed out of. My husband is my dearest friend, but I have very dear female friends now and am blessed by this.
4. With the exception of occasional fasting prompted only by the Lord, I do not miss meals. I become very grumpy when I am hungry. When fasting is prompted by Him, He shows His power to me in removing this tendency, something I could never do!!
5. 80's music. It pops into my head SO MUCH! Something I hear, a circumstance that we're in, a person I see, and BOOM - -there it is . . . some song from the 80's. I'm thankful that the Holy Spirit brings Scripture to mind in many situations - - if it were nothing but 80's music, I'd be in trouble!
6. I used to be particular about the folding of linens . . . both towels and sheets. I have refolded the fitted sheet so many times because there is a perfect way to fold it. I learned this working at a Christian camp that maintained both week-long camping cabins and a retreat hotel for weekends. I folded a lot of towels and sheets on the hotel side of things. Of course, now I'm thrilled to have clean laundry folded in any half-tidy manner and put where it belongs!
Doesn't it make one curious about what "spectacular" quirks might be (the kind of quirks prohibited by the above rules)? I have one that I might deem as spectacular well . . . more of a personality flaw - - although it occasionally has a good side to it. And since I am one who likes to stretch the rules, here it is: It is that I'm overly adventurous and very spontaneous. That can be fun . . . but it can also be very crazy for my family. God put me with the perfect husband and children for such a quirk!
Now the hard part . . . coming up with the 6 to tag! I'm just going to list the blogs I read the most:
Laura (a close friend with a private blog, but she maintains a homeschool blog, too)
Jessica (missionaries who have become dear to us - - soon going to Peru)
Cam (missionaries in Brazil - -not too far from our ministry destination & a phenomenal blogger)
Tony (Rambling Prophet 1 & 2 - some of my favorite internet reading)
Pamela (we've never met, but I've been reading her blog for months - - missionaries to Mexico)
Harriette (my dearest Selah V in Oklahoma whom I love, but have never met in person)
Are you brave enough to blog your "unspectacular" quirks for the world to see?
25 May 2008
Please pray for our house to sell!!! It's a terrible market in North Texas for selling a house . . . so many forclosures, middle class is hit hard with gas prices and inflated grocery prices. But these odds are meaningless to our God with whom nothing is impossible.
Your prayers are greatly appreciated.
Check out our FOR SALE blog.
27 April 2008
I'm blessed to be married to a husband with a great sense of humor!
No one can make me laugh like him.
Comments are welcome, but no asking how he got his shorts to stay up that high for the picture. I really have no idea!
How many people can you share Christ with this week?
Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To Him be all glory both now and forevermore. Amen. I Peter 3:18
09 March 2008
Then came Sunday morning surprise. My mom called close to 9:00 a.m. (actually close to 10:00 a.m.) and asked, what time do you have? I told her it was almost 9:00 and she asked, "Isn't this time-change Sunday?" I told her a confident "I don't think so." And she said, "Well we're on our way."
A few minutes later my brain did a second take and I asked the question to my husband, "is this time-change Sunday?". His response was the same as mine . . . an "I don't think so" followed by "we'd better check and see."
And lo and behold it was the 2nd Sunday of March!
So the pastor (Robert) and family (me and the kids) as well as the guest speaker (my dad) and wife (my mom) walked in LATE into a room full of people who were singing praise songs. Not the typical stressful situation it would be for many others . . . our church is a strong fellowship of believers who are really more family than anything else. But what it turned out to be was just darn FUNNY!
It's little things like this that keep life fun!!!
08 March 2008
We did a lot of exercises and interviews in truly exploring and analyzing our individual calls to overseas ministry and looking at the motivations behind a desire to go. We also learned much of the inner-workings of the IMB including care, support, enabling and equipping of personnel. We met many other couples from all over who, like us, have been called to share Christ somewhere on the globe. It is exciting to see God burdening hearts to share the gospel all over the world. And there is need for so many more. There are a multitude of people groups who have yet to hear that there is a God and He loves THEM!
so much more to share . . . . . . . but for another time. It was a phenomenal experience, but at the same time, it's so good to be home!
The coming home part was great! My mom watched the kids all week and our children had a wonderful time with her, and she with them. She's exhausted after 5 days with 4 children.
Samuel (my 21 month old) was sitting up in his crib, wide awake, when I checked on him last night (about midnight). He kept looking to make sure it was me and then just giggled and giggled. I brought him downstairs, laid on our bed and he just rubbed my face and hair with with his face over an over again, giggling the whole time. It was precious.
The other three (who understood why mom and dad were away) awakened to huge mommy & daddy hugs this morning. It's been a wonderful reunion.
I wasn't able to blog while we were away . . . couldn't find the time or the good connection. I plan to blog more about our week, finish my series on pride and about the boy who just turned 6 as soon as I get my bearings!
See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. I John 3:1-3
28 February 2008
And we have begun the New Testament. We've been the entire school year in the OT - - and while we've enjoyed it, the kids are glad to have graduated to the New.
We had our first garage sale and it was a huge success. We made $1600. Thanks to Him who blessed it!!!!
Robert and I are flying to Virginia on Monday to attend the IMB Candidate Conference. We will be away for just 5 days rather than 7 . . . . yet another blessing! What a difference 2 days makes. I went from dreading being away from the children (7 days is just too long) to looking forward to the time that will just be Robert and me.
One of Katherine's ear tubes was removed today and the other is ready to come out as well. We're working on bravery!!! Please pray for her in this. The blessing . . . tubes are ready to come out and one is already out. We have been praying for tubes to be gone before heading overseas!
I'm blogging little, and reading blogs less. I plan to post for Joseph's birthday (turning 6), and again after conference. Then I'll finish the series on pride. But my blogging will be less frequent than in the past. Other things are priority . . . homeschooling, the umpteen things we have to accomplish to sell our house and many other loose end kind of things.
Thanks to those who keep up with us in our time of transitioning.
18 February 2008
We are most like the devil when we are prideful. Pride is exactly what made him the devil. It is the very thing we need to be able to recognize in our lives and root out.
In my last post I addressed pride on a horizontal plain . . . pride toward fellow man. A brother in Christ pointed out in a comment that he believes there are two main types of pride: 1. towards man; 2. towards God. He is certainly correct.
I had a wonderful conversation last night with Robert (my husband) as we were cleaning the kitchen together on the topic of pride toward God, and I'm sharing some of our conversation in this entry, addressing pride on a vertical plain.
Some red flags . . . indicators or ways to recognize this type of pride:
- a lack of conviction, or even recognizing of sin. We can delude ourselves into the idea that we have spiritually grown and disciplined ourselves to the point that sin is either a very small problem for us . . . or that we've even arrived at a place in which we no longer struggle with it. Either one of these convictions is evidence that we are self-deceived and full of pride.
- taking credit for things God has accomplished . . . especially in ministry. 'Look what God has accomplished through ME - - the spiritual growth that has resulted in this person or this group of people as a result of MY teaching or mentoring or writing.' This is often a conviction that does give God credit for His work, especially outwardly, but includes a hearty personal recognition that God called ME to do this . . . as if we bring something to the table that God, in fact, needs to accomplish a work. PRIDE!
- a twisting of the privilege it is to be joint heirs with Jesus into a superiority that somehow elevates us above the lost. We are all sinners who have either accepted the gift of eternal life - being mercifully saved by God's gracious sacrifice, or have not. The devastating effect of pride in our position of sinners saved by grace would be a lessened burden for the lost and less effort to share Christ with them because of it. Pride and the gospel have no union with one another.
- a desire to grow spiritually for selfish reasons - - reasons of benefiting self or even elevating self in the eyes of others. This would be in contrast with the correct desire for spiritual growth: so that we are better able to serve our Master. A correct desire for spiritual growth would stem from a humble disappointment such as Paul expressed in Romans 7:14-25 & Philippians 3.
- crediting ourselves with spiritual growth
- deluding ourselves into thinking that we are accomplishing God's will when, actually, we are accomplishing our own . . . a personal question of who, in fact, is on the throne
The encouraging part . . . which is really forthcoming in a post later in this series on pride, is that, in spite of the fact that we are most wretched, God still loves us. Something we will never be able to grasp fully. And He has given us the supreme example of humility in Christ - - an attitude that we ourselves are encouraged to possess . . .
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Phil. 2:5-7
16 February 2008
Remember the "compare and contrast" exercises of grade school? like name the similarities and differences between a mountain lion and a billy goat. Great thinking exercises for a very young mind! As adults, we continue to do this. There is certainly benefit to this exercise. A personal example: I like to talk with other homeschool moms and find out how they do school. I can learn from others and perhaps even try implementing new and different activities or approaches for my children.
We seem to be creatures of comparison. We are instructed by Paul to make note of the examples of the apostles behavior and to imitate it (1Ths.3:7). That would involve an element of comparing. So comparison in and of itself is not bad. (Although one exception would be in faultily choosing whom we compare ourselves to and deluding ourselves into a prideful state of superiority. For instance my 5 year old son could compare himself to only 2 year olds and decide that he is, in fact, a giant. 2 Cor. 10:12 warns "For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.")
We have to be careful with comparison. We possess just the natures that would be quick to employ an edge of competitiveness in our comparison. And this is oftentimes an indicator of pride. Pride is forever in competition with everyone else's pride.
Now I'm not saying that all competition is bad. Hockey teams compete for the Stanley Cup, there are chili cook-offs, thumb wrestling, photography, spelling contests, every kind of sport, etc. In these cases, it is the sore losing and the sour winning in which pride becomes evident.
When there is a secret complimenting of self in comparison with someone else whom we have sized up, so to speak, or a secret resentment of another for their gain or achievement - - THAT is pride. How aware are we of such thoughts? How recognizable are they? Pride always rears it's ugly head in the mind, indicates a problem with the heart, and, prior to making itself evident through the use of the untamed tongue, is evident in the haughtiness of the eyes (Prov.21:4).
Another indicator of pride would be the idea of "how dare you slight me" or "how dare you not give me my just dues, do you have any idea who I am or what my motives were?" These are all indicators of pride.
We all possess the very nature that makes us susceptible to the addictive and downward spiraling grip of pride. It is almost always a tricky and subtle condition that camouflages itself as a fleeting emotion so we perhaps won't even recognize it is there. And then it leads to jealousy, or greed, idolatry, deceptiveness, selfishness, and every other kind of sin. Is our drive to succeed or to improve a healthy one, or is it prideful? - - a deeper question to ask oneself than it appears on the surface.
My prayer, in this very unpopular topic of pride, is for God to reveal and to help me recognize every smidget of pride within me. I believe it to be the most prolific problem in all humanity, and the most un-Godlike characteristic. Even for a person like me whose personality would not seem to be bent towards pride, it is an issue, as I believe pride is at the root of all other sin (see first posting on this topic).
. . . Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble 1Pet.5:5
MORE TO COME IN THIS SERIES: EFFECTS OF PRIDE, BIBLICAL VIEW OF PRIDE, AND WHAT TRUE HUMILITY LOOKS LIKE
15 February 2008
It's impossible for me to fully express into words what you mean to me my dear, but here is my feeble attempt:
You encourage me spiritually and personally in every role in which I am privileged to fill, both in and outside of our family.You are a wonderful husband and friend to me. You are fun, trustworthy, caring, helpful and loving.
You are a caring, nurturing and fun father to our four children. When I asked them what they love most about dad, some of their answers were . . . that he takes time to teach me how to play chess, that he plays Star Wars with me, and that he helps me get points for e-pets. All their answers, spoken with smiles and wide, loving eyes of adoration, attest to the time you spend with them individually and on their level of interest. You play with love, teach with love, discipline with love, and give our children the best hugs they will ever know this side of eternity. I love this about you.
You are attentive to the leadership of God, both personally and for our family as a whole. You lead our family in following God and you're willing to follow at any cost. Your heart is tender toward the lost and inexpressibly grateful for the blessings God so mercifully bestows on us as a family. I love this about you.
You are honest in regards to your struggles and shortcomings. You live transparently and are certainly not one to ever put on airs. You humbly worship the God of the Bible as a fallen, imperfect man who is living his life striving to please his Lord. You humbly teach in your roles as pastor and father, and you are not prideful. I love this about you.
You choose to do what is right, even when it is not easy, convenient or affordable. You are not consumed with how doing the right things will make you look to the eyes of others. THIS is what being a true man of God is about. I love this about you.
You are an actualizer who often sees things for what they are. You keep life in perspective rather than only seeing the moment, and you attempt to help me do the same! You not only accommodate, but join me in sometimes being adventurous beyond all reason. I love this about you.
Outside of my salvation and relationship with God, you have been and continue to be God's greatest gift to me.
I LOVE YOU!
Happy Birthday my dear!
14 February 2008
My dear husband of 10 years gave me a Valentine that expresses love in a style that is reminiscent of Las Vegas curtain-call rejects!!!
I have the most wonderful, fun, lovable husband on the planet . . . at least according to ME!
12 February 2008
Sunday afternoon was the first taste of success. We cleaned out the garage!!! This was quite a feat for us. My husband is very handy with wood and quite gifted at computer technology . . . so we had all kinds of wood scraps, old computers and monitors, along with the normal junk that one accumulates in a garage.
Then yesterday was the trip to the dump. There's just something fun about hurling old, bulky computer monitors off of a trailer down into a dumping container. Even the kids enjoying hurling things they could lift. $31 (dump fee) later we are 960 pounds free of junk!!! And for the next week and a half, the garage will be a staging area for the first of our two BIG garage sales.
So make plans to travel (near of far) to our house in Anna, Texas on Saturday, February 23rd. Here's 3 & 1/2 reasons you should make the trip!
- I'd love to meet the handful of people who occasionally read my blog that I have never met personally.
- Most garage sales are a waste of time . . . but not this one. We're not selling junk, we're eliminating to go overseas with the IMB. (so I guess I could throw "noble cause" in there as well)
- We'll make you a deal! Come buy our stuff!
Psalm 145:3 Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable.
v.10 All Your works shall give thanks to You, O LORD, And Your godly ones shall bless You.
10 February 2008
C.S.Lewis wrote that pride is the complete anti-God state of mind and that pride leads to every other vice (Mere Christianity). I agree with him completely, and here's why.
- When Lucifer fell to become the devil, his sin was pride/arrogance. A puffed up view of himself in spite of the immeasurable superiority of God. Pride is what made him satan.
- Pride has to be at the root of all sin, doesn't it? Think about it . . . Eve and then Adam disobeyed God because the prideful heart desires to be like God (disobedience is a complete lack of humility and a complete submission to self); Cain killed Abel - pride that led to jealousy that led to murder; the population of the world became so wicked and consumed with self that God destroyed them by flood, pride again; the Tower of Babel; Lots choice of the superior land and what that led to; Abraham taking matters into his own hands in efforts to fulfill the covenant God made with him, hence the birth of Ishmael; Jacob's blackmailing Esau out of his birthright and then tricking his father and getting Esau's blessing - - and let's not forget the conniving of his mother Rebekah, and the sin of both parents in having favorites; Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers; the constant fuss and complaining of the freed Israelites; the golden calf; more grumbling; grumbling; grumbling; grumbling; complaining; some more grumbling still; striking of the rock by Moses who (according to Numbers 12:3) was more humble than any other man on the face of the earth; idol worship; Achan's theft; the decline of the judges; the decline of Saul; Joab murdering Abner; David's adultery and then murder. I'm exhausted, and I've not even gotten to Solomon, the divided kingdom, the havoc of prideful kings and idol worshiping people. I have to stop here . . . but it goes on and on and on - - all the way to US! Do you see it as plainly as I do? Pride IS at the heart of every sin all through the Bible and beyond. I've really been giving this a lot of thought and believe it to be true. Now where it really hit home was when I began relating the things I have done wrong (including thoughts) to the pride that must lie underneath. I encourage you to do this little exercise as well (Although let me warn you . . . it is ugliness and then humility that is found in this endeavor - - but the ugliness that puts us face to face with the fact that we are nothing in comparison to God is actually quite beautiful, isn't it?)
Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.
The worst news is that all of us are so darn susceptible to it. Pride can be blatantly obvious, or it can be very subtle. It is always deadly to our own selves and damaging to others. We often don't even recognize it. In fact, we are just the creatures who can become quite proud of our own humility!!!
So I want to know what pride is . . . I want to know what it looks like even when disguised, and I want to recognize it not only in others, but especially and most importantly in myself. This recognizing is a work of the Spirit, but I believe it also involves an educating of ourselves.
MORE TO COME IN THIS SERIES: RECOGNIZING PERSONAL PRIDE, EFFECTS OF PRIDE, BIBLICAL VIEW OF PRIDE, AND WHAT TRUE HUMILITY LOOKS LIKE
ANYWAY, here's my question. What if Romney forfeited, rather than just suspended, his campaign freeing up 298 delegates to realign themselves with another candidate? It's what he should do . . . and I feel sure he won't do this. But what if he did?
08 February 2008
That's right . . . it's the 7 year old and the 7 days away from 40 year old attempting, with their feet, to keep up with the arrows on the t.v. screen while . ...
the 4 and 5 year old are playing chess.
The 4 year old lost, but good sportsmanship won out in the end.
There's also a 20 month old parading around the house demanding that every endeavor be centered around him, and then there's me . . .enjoying the show immensely, but also wondering how close it is to kid bed time!
04 February 2008
The IMB job description for the assignment we've chosen depicts a people who are Roman Catholic but very strong practices of spiritualism as well. The mind, at least mine anyway, has a hard time merging the two. But I read a post yesterday from blog by Jeff Dunson, who is missionary 3 hours south of where we're headed. The group of missionaries he represents on his blog are called "Team Gaucho". ('Gaucho', as I shared before, is the title given to the people who reside in the most southern state of Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul.) This post of his, while short, was very educational for me.
Jeff translated a newspaper article that gives a true picture of what this marriage of Catholicism & Spiritualism looks like. It is a quick read: "Just In Case There Was Any Doubt"
While Robert and I are working to build prayer support for us and the Gauchos of Caxias do Sul, I ask that you add the Dunson family, Team Gaucho and the Gauchos of Porte Alegre to your prayers as well. Links to their blogs are on my page (M is for Mud Guy & M is for Mommy) and you can keep up with them and their requests for prayer.
03 February 2008
I've seen these "meme's" from time to time and had a general idea of what they are, but I wanted to look the word up anyway. It was not in our dictionary, but I found it online. For those as clueless as me, here's a link!
Here are the rules for this one:
- Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more (no cheating!)
- Find page 123
- Find the first five sentences
- Post the next three sentences
- Tag five people
All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die." Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin."From the one Book in which any 3 sentences speak volumes!!
Okay, now for the really fun part, I get to tag five. So here's the list: Laura, Clay, Sacarii, Harriette, Jerry & Jana, and Peter. (I've learned by this exercise that I need to "introduce myself" to some authors of blogs I like to read, and yes I can count . . . but as I was trying to come up with five, seven came to mind.)
If you were tagged from the above list and want to do this, please leave a comment so it will be easy to click on your name and read your post.
And now it's time for . . . household preparations for the watching of the Super Bowl!
One more: Jessica, your blog is private so tagging you this way wouldn't really work . . . but consider yourself tagged, anyway! I know you're an avid reader and it would be fun to see what your closest page 123 says.
31 January 2008
There are those who would orchestrate events to center around themselves, make themselves out to be a martyr and implore an outrageous vocabulary of obscure words to over-impress their loyal following.
There are those who thump their Bible publicly, sacrilegiously touting a prosperity gospel that the desperate and unenlightened just may buy ($) into, doing more to send someone to hell than to reach them with the Gospel of Christ.
There are Christian hedonists who think that God is all about their satisfaction, too focused on self-fulfillment and their own experience of God to ever contemplate the vastness of God and His purposes that may in fact include our suffering and brevity of physical life.
There are entertaining churches filled with consumeristic Christians.
There are hyper Calvinists who believe that they are chosen and that others are damned . . . that God's sacrifice was only for some and their focus is personal growth.
There are Arminians who believe that the blood of the lost is on their own personal hands . . . that their presentation of the gospel is paramount, disregarding that the power is in the gospel itself, that the Spirit draws the unbeliever and that God's gift of eternal life is secure.
There are many who practice idolatry under the guise of Christianity.
And, sadly, there are many who blaspheme the Holy Spirit, rejecting the gift of eternal life.
all of this and more in a culture where politicians deceive, unwed mothers abort, married couples divorce, consumerism rules, greed is a way of life, violence and suicides plague daily life; and enjoyment, entertainment and possession are the highest of aspirations
This is pride, and our society, both secular & non, is permeated with it. What happens next? Sure we're in a period of grace, but how far will we as a culture be allowed to go? God only knows. We do know He does not change. He offered much grace to Israel & Judah - - but there came a time to pay a price for the pride of kings and nations. There was even reckoning for the pride of heathen kings and nations (remember Nebuchanezzar & Belshazzar?)
Is pride a sin that is at the root of all other sin? It seems that way to me. So then, how do we combat it? Can we combat it? We all possess the capacity to be totally consumed by it. And to not be is a continual personal choice of emptying ourselves and being filled with the things of God (His Word, namely). And even then, we can fail.
We can't force this choice on the rest of the world. We can pray for conviction, but the humbling of oneself is not just a matter of the Spirit's conviction, it is a matter of responding to it.
So this is where we find ourselves and I guess the conclusion, once again, is that God is God and we are not. He knows where we are right now as a people and as individuals. He knows where we're headed. His glorification and purposes are in no way dependent on us and our choices. So we can love Him, and know Him, enjoy Him, obey and strive to please Him. We can comfort and encourage one another while the day is here.
The previous posting on pride: Sad State Of Affairs, part 1 was posted on 1/5/08