Monday, May 01, 2006

As iron sharpens iron, so man sharpens another!

We love sitting down together for our evening meal. It's usually during meal times that we really hear about everyone's day. Both Jonathan and Karissa share their thoughts during this time. Some of these thoughts are serious and some are not so serious. Frequently, we end up laughing until we cry.

Just last week we had one of those laughing/crying episodes. We were having a meeting at the house that night and I (mom) had just changed the tablecloth and vacumed the rugs. Jonathan, our 15 year old son, served himself as well as the tablecloth to some spanish rice. Immediately, I commented on how dirty the previous tablecloth was at his spot. We left it at that and continued with our meal and conversation. For dessert, Jonathan got up to get a cookie and decided that he couldn't wait until he got to the table. He then took a bite with crumbs falling onto the rug. He looked at the floor and not seeing the crumb sat down. Of course I piped in, "Did you get my rug dirty too?" To this his father replies, "Well, at least he didn't get the tablecloth!" To which we all burst out laughing.

You know, there was a little voice inside of me that said, "Clean tablecloths and clean rugs are not so important...but how you make your child feel with the things that you say are". I knew that encouraging my son to be a little neater was a good mom thing to do, but my heart attitude was not so correct that night. I was correcting him with a critical spirit. I wasn't necessarily encouraging my child to do better as much as I was venting my frustrations.

It's hard sometimes to teach and train our children with a right spirit. I need to be reminded every once in awhile that training comes from a heart that wants to bless a child. I need to be wise and build up my house instead of tearing it down with my own hands (or mouth as the case may be). I'm so thankful for that still small voice that directs me in my parenting. My prayer is that I be faithful in obeying it!

Monday, April 24, 2006

An Update

We just got information this weekend that Maddo died Sunday, April 22, 2006. She never recovered from the bacterial meningitis and strokes that she suffered. Jairus did return to Bongolo hospital for a couple of weeks and then went to be with his wife during her last days here on earth. We do know that one day we will worship our Saviour with Maddo in heaven. We have wonderful memories of her spiritual journey in Africa and our time of worship together. We look forward to worshipping together again in eternity. Continue to pray for Jairus as he walks through this time. Pray that he will be faithful, that he will not be discouraged and that he will continue to look for a missionary opportunity.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

why is reading God's word so important?

Psalm 119 gives us some wonderful reasons as to why reading God's word is so important in the lives of his creation. The Creator knows the operating instructions for his created being. He knows what will give each one of us joy, hope, and peace. David (the author of Psalm 119) knew about God's "operating manuel", but he also knew that because of sin he would sometimes take his life in his own hands (Psalm 119.109). We can know what is right, we can even know God's commands, but like Paul there is a war waging within us (Romans 7.7ff). A war that will only have victory through Jesus Christ. It is through the Word of God that we will be equipped to fight in this war. We are in a battle...a battle of the flesh, mind and soul. As God's child...are we prepared for the battle? Are we ready? (Ephesians 6.10-20) Remember, a soldier gets up early every morning and prepares for his day? Every morning he wakes us as a soldier! Not just every once in a while, or even a few times a week. He's a soldier every day! What kind of soldier have we chosen to be? It is a daily discipline...lets be the best soldiers in God's army.

Reading God's word and meditating is important because:
  • His word guides, teaches and gives us good judgment. (Psalms 119.66,73,98-100,104,105,125,130,144,169)
  • His word is applicable to all generations. It's for us today! (Psalms 119.89-91,152,160)
  • His word keeps us from perishing. It saves us. (Psalms 119.81,92,94,155,166,174)
  • Knowing His word and obeying it brings us blessing. (Psalm 119.2-8,65)
  • His word makes us blameless in His sight. (Psalm 119.1,80)
  • His word keeps us from sin. (Psalm 119.11,29,101,133)
  • Obeying His word brings joy into our lives. (Psalm 119.14,111)
  • It is a delight to follow His word, not a burden. (Psalm 119.16,35,103)
  • Wonderful truths are in His word that give us hope. (Psalm 119.18,43,49,81,116) Give us eyes to see them!
  • We find counsel in His word. (Psalm 119.24)
  • We are strengthened through His word. (Psalm 119.28)
  • Obeying His word will never bring us shame. (Psalm 119.31,46,80)
  • We are set free by His word! (Psalm 119.32,45)
  • His word preserves our life in His way. (Psalm 119.37,87-88,92-93,104,107,127-128,175)
  • His word helps us fall in love with Him. (Psalm 119.47-48)
  • His word comforts us in suffering. (Psalm 119.50,52,76,142,153)
  • Obeying His word makes us a part of a family of friends. (Psalm 119.63,74)
  • His word makes our hearts sensitive and full of delight, not callous and unfeeling. (Psalm 119.70)
  • His word is of great worth. (Psalm 119.72)
  • His word teaches us who God is. (Psalm 119.41,49,58,65,68,73,76,77,90,121, 124,132,137,142,149,156,159)
  • His promises are revealed through His word. (Psalm 119.82,116,154,162)
  • His word is trustworthy/true/righteous. (Psalm 119.86,138,140,151,160,172)
  • His word is our heritage. (Psalm 119.111)
  • His word protects us. (Psalm 119.121-122,134,159)
  • His word saddens our heart when we see sin. (Psalm 119.126,136)
  • His word fills us with peace. (Psalm 119.165)

These are just a few things that I found...what do you see in Psalm 119 that was an encouragement to you. Share with us what you found!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

God answers our prayers

Thank you so much for your prayers for Maddo. Here is an excerpt from a letter we just received from Gabon.

"Thank you for your prayers for the wife of bongolo hospital nurse Jairus. Jairus has journeyed from being in a muslim family in Cameroon, to nursing school here, and is in training to work in another muslim country in africa. He has survived his mother's attempts to poison him (his mother became a Christian the day after she tried to poison him, when she saw he lived), being cast out of his family, his home being destroyed, and now his wife fell ill while visiting her family in Cameroon. She nearly died, and is still very ill, but alive. We don't know a lot of details about how well she is, except that she can sit up and eat, and is in a Baptist mission hospital there. We believe it is miraculous that she has survived the menigitis and a night of convulsions, and want God to be glorified in telling her story. We don't know if she will live to return here with her children (Jairus has also left to be with her), but we trust in Jesus who cares for her and knows all. Thank you for praying for her and her family in this difficult time."

Continue to pray with us for Maddo's complete healing. We know a God of miracles and we know that Maddo and Jairus will give glory to His name!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

does God's word permeate your life?

Do you read the word of God? Why should you read God's word? Do you read it out of duty? Does God's word make a difference in your daily life? in the lives of the people around you?

God does tell us to read His word daily. He instructs us to get up early and meditate and study his word. Many christians struggle with this instruction from God with thoughts like "I'm too tired, I fall asleep, it doesn't keep my attention."

I've been meditating on why the word of God is important in our lives and why so often we struggle in this discipline of reading this love letter from our Father. What are some of your thoughts? I'll share mine in a future blog.

Monday, January 09, 2006

the end of the story

We left Karissa with sauce in her eyes, down the front of her sweater and through her hair. There were eight of us sitting around the table. We all watched this whole scenario as if everything was running in slow motion and then we just sat there looking at Karissa with our mouths hanging open. We sat there with all kinds of questions running through our heads, "Why? What had she done? Are we on Candid Camera?" After what seemed like an eternity, Karissa calmly picked up her napkin and started wiping the sauce out of her eye. At this point we jumped into action to help her.

Denise and Karissa decided to go to the washroom to clean up. Just as they were leaving, the man came back visibly shaken and quite pale. There was a moment of silence and then Denise reached out and asked if he was alright. At this he burst out "I'm so sorry, I thought the girls were laughing at me. I realize that they weren't. Are you ok? I'm so sorry." Both Karissa and Denise reassured him that she was alright. We asked if he had finished his meal, he responded "yes" and said "I need to go" and he quickly left.

Just that morning we had been challenged to walk in obedience to God and to expect God's presence in our lives. The Pastor reminded us that Emmanuel is with us and that we need to have a greater expectation of his presence in our home, in our community, in our country and in our lives. There are many ways that we could have responded in that situation...and maybe another day, another time, another place, our response wouldn't have been so filled with God. Maybe "number #1" would have been more present that day and we would have defended our rights to a quiet family meal with no dry-cleaning bill! Maybe we would have given him a piece of our mind!

We know that each of you have been challenged to think about how you would have responded... and of course we never know how we would respond in a certain situation until we find ourself in it. Only with God are we capable to respond with love and concern for the world around us. The world around us is hurting and only those who know God's presence in a personal way are able to spread His words of healing and encouragement and hope. We admit that we fail sometimes to let God flow through us. Our challenge for the year 2006 is to constantly ask ourselves if the presence of God is flowing through our lives? Are those around us feeling criticized, humiliated and turmoil? Or are they experiencing peace, love, and joy because of God in us?

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." -Romans 15:13

Sunday, January 08, 2006

pray for maddo

Please pray with us for very close friends in Gabon, Africa. Jairus and his wife Maddo became christians while we were in Bitam and then went to Bongolo Hospital for medical training. Maddo went back to Cameroon over the holidays to visit with her family and Jairus has just received word that she is in a coma in a government hospital. They did a spinal tap and found the fluid to be cloudy which would indicate either a bad viral or bacterial infection. Please pray for God's miraculous intervention and for Jairus as he has to travel two days in very rough conditions to get to his wife's bedside.