Friday, August 24, 2012

The Mystery of Godliness

I have been so challenged this week in my devos.  I have been working my way through Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick.  I long for practical godliness in my life and wonder why all my desire and struggle for holiness often ends in despair and failing, AGAIN...  Here are some thoughts from the book that have really challenged my thinking and made me yearn, really yearn for this type of godliness and rest. 

Paul wrote in I Tim. 3:16,
 ""Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness."   In modern language he might say, "This is so strange, it will absolutely astound you. It will blow your mind."  Paul would say that this mystery was so strange, so unexpected, simply because the gospel flies in the face of everything we know about how to become godly."  
"Do you want true godliness?  Stop working and believe in the incarnation, resurrection, and ascension...Paul calls this kind of mysterious godliness the "obedience of faith" (Rom. 16:26)...Why would the Father want us to embrace this godliness, this obedience of faith?  So that "to the only wise God [would] be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ" (Rom. 16:27).   When our focus is on our supposed godliness, our obedience through our own good works, then the glory (at least in part) goes to us....If you sincerely want to be godly, stop working and believe.  Believe that the gospel declares that we are all the same-helpless and yet so loved. 
What is this mystery, this obedience by faith (instead of works)?  Simply this: "Christ in you, the hope of glory."  (Col. 1:27)"

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me,
for I am gentle and lowly in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. 

Can you believe that God is good, loving and powerful?  Can you rest in Him, the work He has done and will do? 

"Don't be afraid; don't let your fear make you grumble and sin."  Trust His promises. 

Strive..., strive only to enter his rest, by belief. 

I cannot tell you how much this feeds my soul for I know that I am so weak and will always fall short of godliness on my own.  Deep within my soul, I feel a yearning to set down my constant striving for holiness and strive to rest in Him.  If I continually strive to rest and remember His completed work on the cross on my behalf, will I not become practically more holy?  As I remember how He has positionally made me holy will He also not produce in me daily holiness, hatred for sin and conform me more into the image of His son?

Have I been saved by Grace only to try and live the Christian life in my own strength?
Come, and rest Christen.   

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Feliz Dia dos Pais!

 Today is Father's day here in Brazil.  We had a special lunch for daddy (Husband's Delight!) and made him a cappuccino cake.  We are so thankful for a dad who loves God, loves his family and is faithful to take care of us daily. 
 At church tonight James preached a message about how God is a wonderful  and perfect father, and we as father's should reflect the image of our heavenly father, so our children will know what a wonderful father God is.  We were thrilled to have two unsaved fathers visiting.  Tomorrow James and I are looking forward to visiting one man and his family in their home.  Pray for this family that their hearts would be opened to the Gospel.

After the service the children quoted Psalm 103:1-4 which we have been working on on Sunday evenings.  They then sang a special while a video showed in the background with pictures of the kids and their dads.  It was a fun and special way to end our service. 

So Happy Father's day to all you Dad's out there.  It is our prayer that as you know your heavenly father more, you will imitate Him more and thus demonstrate His greatness to your children.

 I wanted to close sharing some photos of James with our kids that were shared tonight at the church.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Forget not all His Benefits...

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name...Forget not all His benefits.
-He forgives all my sins
-He heals all my diseases
-He redeems my life from the pit
-He crowns me with faithful love and compassion
-He satisfies me with goodness, and my youth is renewed like the eagle! 

As I think on these benefits or blessings, how could I ever feel abandoned or slighted by my Savior?

Daily we face hardship, trial and disappointment and it is so easy to have the "poor me" attitude begin to dominate our thinking.

We have been searching for a house to buy over the past 2 months.  Preparing for the return of David and Sharon and looking forward to having our own home for the first time in 7 years.  Two weeks ago we found a house that was below market price and really perfect for our needs.  We could move right in without having to do any remodeling.  The owners were wanting to sell and so we prayerfully entered into negotiations with them.  Yesterday we found out that the  minimum price they can accept is more than we can find financing for.  My first response was that it is not fair that we cannot have our own home.  But then, I thought, what is a house but a temporary I deserve my own home?   No, I deserve eternal punishment, separation from God, and truthfully, no good thing. 

Then I thought of All the blessings my God has already bestowed on me:

-Adoption into His family

-Hope for a future in a heavenly home, forever in His presence

-A right standing with Him NOW and FOREVER

-A godly husband

-Three healthy children who I can disciple to know and love God

-The opportunity to serve Him here, sharing the good-news with so many

My life is rich and I am choosing to not forget His benefits. 

Christen, Put your hope in the LORD, for there is faithful love with the LORD, 
and with Him is redemption in abundance. 

Thursday, August 09, 2012

The Future of Redemption Baptist Church

Saturday was the first outing of our Junior/Adolescents class.  They have been working hard during their Wednesday night bible study memorizing Isaiah 53, participating in all the services, bringing visitors, etc.  Agostinho has done a wonderful job of harnessing their inherent competitiveness and using it to develop spiritual disciplines in their lives.  

The most faithful were  awarded with a special night out. 

For most of the kids it was their first time to bowl. 

 Afterward they went out for the world famous Brazilian hotdogs, which are huge and super filling. 

When they arrived home they were all very excited about their time together and the new experiences.  Please pray for these kids...
  • That Christ would be exalted in their hearts, 
  • That they would be transformed more and more into His image,
  • That they would be ready to declare His gift of salvation to their family and friends. 

Friday, August 03, 2012

Winter in Brazil

Well, it's winter here, and although we've not had snow, we've had our share of cold, rainy days where we are lucky if our house warms up to 65. 
But as August rolled in, we were blessed with some warm, spring-like days.  Some friends of ours came down yesterday from Curitiba and we got to enjoy a trip to the dunes & the beach.   

 Instead of SNOW angels, we made SAND angels!  

 We found a huge sand hill to run down----

 They made it down but we wondered if they would ever be able to make it back UP!

 When they finally made it back up, we jokingly said, can you do it again, and they did!  

 It doesn't seem to matter how often we've seen the view, it is always breathtaking!

 Well, after some fun at the dunes, we made it down to the beach.  

 It was John's first time to the ocean. 

It was so neat to see all the kids working together to build their sand castles 
and lakes for their little sea creatures to live it.  

So, if you're interested in enjoying a little of our winter in Brazil, come on down!
We'll leave the light on for ya!