Thursday, September 17, 2009

Oh, The Faith

Mrs. Laura Martin is our guest blogger today. Laura is a very gentle, yet passionate Woman of God. I have the privelege of seeing her minister to children every day. Thank you, Laura, for sharing!

Oh, The Faith

Larry Vann, a collegue and good friend, encouraged me to write on this blog. I can only pray what I share will be an encouragement and faith builder to someone in their time of need. We left for India in July of 1998 with our three children ages 7, 4 and 18 months. Our 18 month old son had just been diagnosed with severe asmatha after 3 consecutive bouts with pnemonia. When we arrived in Calcutta, our son just simply could not breath due to the pollution and dust in our city. It was a long six months of regularly walking him through the night just to keep his breathing passages open. We then moved to New Delhi, yet it was listed as the most polluted city in the world in the early months of our arrival. One day the pollution level was so dangerous they deemed the air quality equal to when the Nazi's were bombing London. Needless to say, his situation was no better there. We were at the end of our capacity to stay in India with our son suffering in this manner, yet we felt we were there in obedience to the Master's call. God surely knows what we can handle, so His healing touch solved the looming question of whether we should just pack up and go home. One Sunday night in a church service for minster's in Calcutta, our son was laying on my lap listening to the message with his eyes closed. I thought my little three year old baby had been sleeping, but he was, incredibly, paying attention to what was being said. He opened his eyes and asked me to tell him again what it meant to be saved. I explained a simple Gospel message, and he asked me to pray with him to accept God's love and forgiveness. After that prayer, he told me that he wanted to be healed by God. He wanted to be free from all the medicines and breathing problems. I told Cole that his daddy and I had prayed for years, and maybe it was time that he asked God for himself. He led me into the aisle as others were down at the alter praying. He kneeled down and wept as he ask God with childlike faith to heal him. He then went down to the alter and prayed for many of the pastors present in that service. Many of them thought he just wanted to be held, but they soon realized he was praying for them! Not something we had trained him to do, but it was a move of God in his life. From that day until this, 10 years later, Cole has never taken an inhaler or any other asthma related medicines or had any breathing trouble whatsoever. The Lord Jesus either healed him to relieve him of the "thorn in his flesh", healed him so his parents wouldn't give up on their call or a myriad of other reasons. It doesn't matter why, but we will never cease to praise Him for His intervention which brings Him glory alone!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

BIG Picture

Shirley Stone is our guest blogger today. Shirley is an incredible Woman of God who loves to love on others. She is a mentor to many and friend to even more. Thank you for sharing, Shirley!

The Big Picture

Big picture vision is my prayer lately in all areas of life. God sees all, is intimately working in all aspects of life. Without him we would not take the next breath, so to ignore Him or leave Him out of anything is so offensive and ungrateful of me. NO more picking and choosing or compartmentalization of my world, please!! Renew my mind so I will know what is best!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

God is God

Page Hughes is today's guest blogger. Page is a wonderful woman who is very involved in women's ministry, missions, teaching, christian counseling, raising a family and supporting her husband. When I asked our small group to use one word (the first word that came to mind) to describe Page, this is what was said: amazing, Jesus, smile, sweet, selfless. If you know Page, you know that she loves Jesus and shares that love with everyone she encounters.

God is God

I have forgotten how finite the picture is that we paint in our public schools. Since homeschooling Gene' I have see a fresh how the reality that God created all things and all order is designed in Him covers every aspect of our lives. When we take God out of the equation anything no matter how ludicrous can be taught as fact though in deed it is only theory. Without proof one can say anything, but when you have to prove it, most theories are done away with. Gene' has been frustrated for years when evolution was taught as fact. If you look at the world and measure it by the world's standards, we think we are much larger and in control than we are. We can and do compartmentalize everything in our lives, and even God sometimes gets a box or corner. When you come at it from the Biblical view that God is in everything, created everything and will be here when everything we know is gone, it helps us get a better perspective of what truly is reality, not just what we choose to believe. I praise God that this year Gene' and I both have a fresh perspective even on education that God is God over science, history, math, art, dance, and even foreign languages. It is because of Him we can see the order in all He has created. We are privileged to live under the hand of God.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fruit of the Spirit

Another guest blogger, Steven Thomas Stone! Steven is a high school senior and has a BIG heart for orphans and the poor. He is a very bright light in this world!

Fruit of the Spirit

As a senior in high school, my first semester is a wee bit stressful when I actually take the time to slow down and think about what I have to do. From juggling school, school organizations, work, and church, it can get a little overwhelming. And of course, we cannot forget the choosing a college. Ah yes, the single choice that gets me ready to enter the net 4+ years of my life. And when I look at a college, there are several things that have to be looked at and considered: first and foremost, does it have a bevy of majors that are at least in the ballpark of what I want to do? What's the student body count? Student to teacher ratio? Living arrangements? Distance from home? COST? All of these are carefully deliberated and thought about before I even come close to choosing a school.

Of course, there are those out there who are only focused on certain aspects such as: major, campus life, Greek life, football (sad, but true), etc. These people are willing to say no to a few preferences in order to get wat they really want and are good at. For instance, if a school is perfect for their career, but cannot afford to live on campus, then they may have to live at home.

Sadly, I think we have all become accustomed to our lives that are perfectly customized for us in just about every area, that this sense of entitlement bleeds over into our spiritual life. The prime example is in a commonly used teaching of Paul in Galatians.

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of your sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:15-25

This is a passage most who have attended church have heard at one point or another, yet it is one of the passages of scripture that is almost always interpreted incorrectly, mainly due to this idea of picking and choosing. First off, it's not that hard to get: follow the Spirit, not the flesh b/c it's dark, horrible, sinful, despicable, and no good comes from it. It then lists acts of the sinful nature that we should avoid, ok pretty much everyone agrees that that's all bad and don't do it, and if you don't agree then you just need Jesus and I'll pray for you.

BUT, it's the next few verses that are always mis-interpreted. People read the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit and decide, "Ok, if I truly want to know if I am being led by the Spirit, then these characteristics will be evident in my life." But they use these characteristics like spiritual gifts for instance, "Oh well, I'm really good at being gentle and kind....but not so great at self- control." or, "Well I've got self-control and joy down, but I am not the most patient person in the world." And their next statement is usually something along the lines of, "O well, i guess Im just not meant to be a ____ person." (fill in the blank with area of struggle).

This error is brought to you by the letter "s". This is all because they misread one word and add an "s" to it. Let's take a look. The verse DOES NOT say, "The fruitS of the Sirit..." It says, "The fruit of the Spirit..." These are not a bunch of individual fruits of the Spirit, they're not side items, it's a combo deal. They are all CHARACTERISTICS of the fruit of the Spirit. In other words, if you truly are living by the Spirit, ALL will be evident in your life. Not some, not one, not all but one, all. Plain and simple. We do not get to pick and choose here, if we are truly following the Spirit, these will all come naturally as fruit of that decision.

No, you're not going to naturally be good at all of these, but the Holy Spirit will work on you and reveal when it is that you could have done better, and if you are willing, will slowly chip away at you and help you with the traits you have trouble with. Now I'm not saying that you're gonna be perfect at it all the time, I'm sure as heck not, but you will slowly begin to see the opportunities you have to share these traits. If you can't see them yourself, pray God opens some opportunities for you, I promise He will. God Bless

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Accept the Calling

We have encouraged our faith family to submit their thoughts to us for inclusion on the M25M blog and on our facebook page. I was pumped to receive this note from Caleb Hughes. We are active members at the same church Caleb and his family serve. He is one of those kind of guys who has it going on and who everyone likes - yet he is so grounded in his faith. Caleb gets it.

Submitted by Caleb Hughes

When I say Lebron James what comes to mind? Legendary? Hall of Fame? Millionaire? All of these things are accurate words to describe the NBA superstar that is Lebron James. When we see Lebron playing on TV we expect nothing short of greatness in his sports performances. He comes out each night and gives all star performances because that's what he gets paid millions to do. When he signed his multi-million dollar contract he committed to his boss that he would do his best.Lebron spent many years developing his skill set into the phenomenal basketball player he is today. Now don't get me wrong it was not all him, God gifted him, but he spent many days and years in thorough practice. He was molded into the money making machine he is today. But what if Lebron James went out and did not perform like he is capable of? Even worse what if he played like a YMCA city league player? If we saw James doing things that were not all star worthy, like walking up and down the court, shooting on the wrong basket, etc. we would instantly recognize him as not performing like he has been called by the team's boss to perform. He would not be playing up to the contract he has been signed to play according to.

Today, most of the individuals that make up the church walk in their faith like a Lebron James that doesn't live up to his contract. As Children of Christ (Christians) we have spent a time (whether large or brief) growing in our faith and slowly becoming the man or woman of God we will one day be. But the life of a Christian is not just self-growth and growing in the Word, etc. But we have at some point been called by the Most High to do SOMETHING. Now, whether it be something as huge as living on missions or something as common as walking over and talking to the lonely individual on the park bench, we have been called by the Holy Spirit dwelling in each of us do be obedient and respond to His call.

The call of the Holy spirit on us is our contract offer. Our boss (God) extends a contract our way. We are told to sign it and perform according to his wishes. It saddens me to see the people of God living a luke-warm faith. The Bible says in Matthew that we are to SHINE like a light in the darkness in the world. The children of God have been instructed to live on a constant mission as we are going through daily life (Matthew 28). We are contracted players under the rule and governing body of God Almighty. He has called and willl continue to call you to do His work. It is time to start performing like a future hall-of-famer and live up to your contract. Obedience to the Word is Truth.