Open Your Mouth Wide


This past week I came across a verse from Psalm 81: 10  “I  am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, that I may fill it. ”  I immediately thought of the children at the center in Guatemala that our team had the blessing of serving every day  at lunch time on our recent visit there .  Several of the toddlers would come to the table and cry, and for whatever reason, decided they didn’t want to eat at that time, while most chowed down the delicious food on the green plate in front of them! The babies fully depended on our team to feed them, as they waited patiently for the spoon- to- mouth experience, with mouths wide open.

This verse also reminds me of an example we see in nature.  I envision a mama bird feeding her young, and the provision she brings to her nest filled with tiny feathered creatures. They feel the bounce of the nest or see the shadow of the mama bird, before their eyes are fully working, and automatically pop open their tiny mouths wide to receive the food. This may happen up to 100 times per day in the early days of the young birds. Our Heavenly Father wants us to anticipate His blessings that He has for us in our daily lives.  But in order to receive those,  we need to stay close to “the nest” and wait for Him. We need to be  daily ” in the shadow of His wings” ( Psalm 91:1-4)

The verse preceding the promise of  Psalm 81:10 is very important: ” There shall be no strange gods among you: you shall not bow down to a foreign god.”  He cannot give us our daily provisions or the blessings, if our hearts are with idols that we have chosen to  put before Him.  Last Sunday night I heard a sermon from Deuteronomy 12:28-32,  by Bro. Brandon Denmark, as he discussed three types of idols in our lives:  Idol of Comfort. Idol of Significance. Idol of Control.  God cannot “fill our mouths” with spiritual or material blessings, if our hearts are chasing after the idols of comfort, significance, or control  instead of pursuing Him. We must worship Him alone.  He wants to fill our mouths, but He, alone, must be the object of our worship as we wait, anticipate, and have faith that He will answer our prayers.

These two verses have  convicted me of idols in my life and the many times I have failed to seek His presence daily, being still and waiting for Him, and worshipping Him alone. I need to be thankful of the many blessings He brings into my life, whether spiritual or material, and realize I am a helpless young bird needing to be fed only from Jehovah Jireh, my Great Provider.

jehovah-jireh

Jesus gives us an example of birds in Matthew 6: 25-26 ” Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap or gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

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I’m on a Mission: I’m Asking you to Donate Your Lunch Money


When we return to Guatemala on July 11, with Orphan’s Heart, our team’s goal is to distribute 75 food baskets to the families of the children at the Malnutrition Center. The families are able to visit their children once a week until they are healthy enough to return home. Fifty dollars is needed to fill each family basket. That’s less than the cost of one meal when my family eats at our favorite restaurant, but this basket has food staples in it that will last approximately three months!

food baskets2

As I was contemplating on the basket project, the story of Jesus Feeding the 5,000  came to memory. In Mark 6, we find  Jesus teaching a very large crowd out in a rural setting, away from the towns, As he looked out on the crowd, the Bible says he had compassion on the people. As it was getting late the disciples ordered Jesus to send them away so that they could go back into the towns and buy food for themselves. But Jesus replied “ you give them something to eat“.  They replied that they didn’t have the money to feed the 5,000 men plus women and children.   A boy was there that had 5 loaves of bread and two fish, and he gave his lunch to Jesus, and the rest is history.   After it reached the hands of Jesus, He offered thanks, the disciples passed the food out, and there were 12 baskets of extra food collected after they had all finished eating!

boy giveslunch

I want you to take a moment to ask yourself two questions. The first question is : “When was the last time that I or my children lacked for food?” According to USaid.gov, the average US citizen spends one-tenth of their family income on food, while the poorest of the world spend over fifty percent of their income on food. Inside the Malnutrition Center. Almost half of all rural Guatemalan children, under the age of 5, are malnourished. That is a staggering number!  I’ve seen first-hand the effects of malnutrition. There were several babies who had recently arrived that our team cared for.   There was also a “before and after” photo album in the lunch room, to show testimony of how these kids entered their care, some in the back of a rural Guatemalan ambulance, a small pickup truck, with ribs you could easily count, and rashes and thinning hair, to leaving in a “picture of health”. No one needed to convince me further that there was a real problem in this rural countryside in Guatemala, and that we were there to make a difference in these children’s lives, and to continue to make a difference after we left, through monthly  sponsoring one child.

Arriving at the Malnutrition Center

Arriving at the Malnutrition Center

Leaving the Malnutrition Center

Leaving the Malnutrition Center

Now, the second question I ask you to ask yourself:  “Can I give, and I am I willing to give the cost of my lunch to help a family in Guatemala?”  Going back to the story of Jesus Feeding the 5,000 men plus women and children. First we see Jesus had compassion on the crowds. He looked out and had compassion.  What the disciples thought was a good reason to send them away, “they need to eat”, Jesus commanded them to take the responsibility to feed them, even when there was no way possible for them to take on that big responsibility. But a way was made, through one boy’s lunch, to feed the masses. God used one unnamed boy who was willing to give all that he had and place it in the Hands of Jesus and watch a miracle take place! Jesus could have asked the crowd to come to a buffet line to get the food themselves, but he gave the bread and fish His disciples, for them to take to the crowd. God provides, but we are the hands and feet of Jesus. He asks us to personally carry the food to the hungry.

Next month I’m traveling back to  Guatemala to be the hands and feet of Jesus and I’m asking you, my friends and family, to share your lunch, just like the boy did, in order fill the baskets with whatever you wish to give. One of my favorite verses on giving is Proverbs 19:7 “ Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.”   You can go to Orphans Heart to donate. After you have selected the amount please indicate in the last step, under Gift Details, that the donation is for Guatemala Food Baskets.  Thanks for participating in this important mission, whether you give one lunch or ten,  as you will be blessed!

Touch the life of a Child in Guatemala

Touch the life of a Child in Guatemala

I’m Going Back to Guatemala


I am eagerly anticipating my return to Guatemala on July 11 as  I am blessed to be returning to the country that Sarah and I first visited with Orphan’s Heart in December 2013. My co-worker and friend, Kelsey, and I are flying out of Miami and landing in Guatemala City, Guatemala where we will join 30 other team members.  From there we will travel about 45 minutes to Antigua, Guatemala.  Antigua is a beautiful small tourist town with a picturesque canvas of mountains that greet you, in the distance, every morning outside your hotel room.

                                                              Guatemala Mountains

I will serve again at the  Malnutrition Center (Colonia Infantil  CERN) in San Juan Sacatepéquez, Guatemala.  On our first trip Sarah and I were assigned to the Canary Room to care for the infants and  young toddlers. Even though some were toddlers, some had not sat up on their own, crawled, or taken their first steps, due to growth delays caused by lack of proper nutrition.  On the third day there of having the duty of changing several kids’ diapers after a long night, I was proud of myself for no longer gagging. This Guatemala diaper changing ministry tops any church nursery worker experience I’ve ever took part of, and there were about  ” 19 kids and counting” with not enough hands at times, although we thoroughly enjoyed it!   We also helped with bath time, rocking them, playing with and hugging them.  And of course, we fed them twice a day while patiently watching their tiny mouths opening to receive the food. What a delight! The first day or two, we encountered many of our children who were quiet and reserved, except at diaper changing time, because total strangers had invaded their home and they had not yet decided to fully trust us yet. But by the third day, their faces started smiling and they reached for us, arms outstretched,  as we greeted them each morning.   There were about 50 of us who ministered to the children, 7 hours a day, with a 30 minute lunch break. The Center averages about 80-100 children , newborn through age nine.   Their families are unable to care for these precious children, some at death’s door, so they entrust them to the dedicated staff to nurture them back to health. The Center provides weekly visits for the parents and children until they are healthy enough to go back home.  When we tearfully said our goodbyes to the children and staff, Duane and I committed to sponsoring a tiny, one year old girl I cared for, who shares my mom’s middle name. I’m so excited to return to see her soon!   Thanks for taking the time to read, and please stay tuned, because I will be sharing more posts before we leave.

guatemalapic3guatemaladay4

Reflecting the Son’s Light


reflections

Photo Credit: Sandy Keith Robertson

Last weekend I was on vacation with my family at Daytona Beach. Sun, sand, waves: serenity.  On the first morning I awoke early at 6:30 a.m.  I put on my clothes, grabbed my cup of coffee, and headed downstairs and out the door to view a local attraction, no money needed.   As I arrived on the beach, there were a few other people with the same idea, cameras in hand.  It was cloudy and overcast, but I was determined to wait and see the sun rise, quietly  over the crashing waves.  A brilliant red-orange ball of fire, bursting through the horizon!  In my lifetime, the sun has risen and lighted my day over 17,000 times.  A constant reminder of God’s faithfulness.  “From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised!” (Psalm 113:3)  On the second morning, I arose early again, went into my daughter’s room, and whispered “Sarah, wake up”.  She rolled over and said “Is it worth it”?  She closed her eyes and chose to stay horizontal a couple more hours.  I went out the door, downstairs, and back to the bench I sat at the morning before to view God’s wonder. “Yes, it was worth it, ” I thought.

It was worth my sacrificing an hour or more of sleep to see the sunrise.  What a way to start my day in the stillness, only hearing the sound of the waves. Her question, though quite simple, pricked my conscience that morning.  Count me in as a sun gazer.  But am I a Son Gazer?  Do I long to see Jesus? Do I get up early to anticipate meeting him in the stillness?  Staring at His glory in awe, falling down and worshipping Him  before my day goes from quiet to noisy in 60 minutes. Cooking breakfast, ironing school uniforms, hurrying my children out the door, and rushing off to school, 40 minutes away. I confess I fail many times at meeting with the Son at sunrise.  Lord help me to adore you more. Those two mornings I arose early to see the sunrise, clouds were in the way, and I was disappointed that I  didn’t get a full awestruck view. I knew the sun was still there, but clouds interfered. It reminded me of the following verses:

But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless, when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” ( 2 Corinthians 3: 15-18)

We’re all born with  veil covered hearts.  The veil, like the clouds blocking the sunrise, prevents us from knowing God and understanding His word. But when we turn to face the Son, believing in our hearts the gospel, He snatches away  the veil and we receive His light rushing into our once darkened hearts. “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” ( 2 Corinthians 4: 6)

Once the veil has been removed, and we see his glory, the transformation work begins. The transformation’s purpose is to be like Christ. Light bearers. Mirrors of His glory. When people see us, they are to see God’s image. This is to attract them to the Light.  Not the physical light blinding glory that Moses, Peter, James, John, and Paul experienced. But the inward character traits of the fruit of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control.  We cannot be Christ-like without first worshipping and adoring Him in the quiet and stillness. Watching the Son rise in our hearts, as we die to self, daily.   We pick up his Word, like a mirror ,and hold it up to our hearts as we read it .   We ask the Holy Spirit to transform us to be like Jesus, and plant the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

Like the  mirror- like building above, we are meant to reflect God’s Light, and His image.  The image you see on this building is the reflection of other objects in close proximity.  The beauty of the building is only in the reflection of the objects, outside of itself. Without the image it reflects, it would be rather ordinary and just a building. But as a reflector, it shows true beauty.  When we behold God’s glory, and walk in His light, His image and character begins to grow in our hearts.  People around us will  start to see God’s reflection, (peace, love, joy, kindness, patience)  because we’ve been with God, face-to-face.  Our self-will and sin nature will die a slow death, as we are transformed into His image.  God wants us to be Son Gazers, and Son Reflectors.

We can’t be Son Reflectors without first spending time gazing at the Son, in His presence daily.  It’s only when we reflect His light back outward, onto the paths of those around us,  that they get a glimpse of the Son, and the veil starts to move on their hearts. The more light they see, the more attracted they are to the Son, and they start to turn toward the Light Giver, and He reaches to their heart to lift the veil.


O

Treasure Sharers


JesusPotter1[1]

Amongst my cherished childhood memories, is my pink, plastic “piggy” bank. My father would reach down into his pocket
as I would extend my open hand, palm-up, waiting in delight for his coins. Immediately, I would run to my room and reach up to my “piggy” bank and drop the coins, one by one, and listen for the “clink, clink”. Then, I would pick up my bank and shake it in excitement. Oh, the simple pleasures of our childhood! My “piggy” bank was my first unrecorded savings. My treasure chest. I remember the day, my pig would no longer hold my coins, and my mom helped me open it up and shake the coins out onto my bed. She counted them for me and soon we were off to the store. I was going to search for things that would make me happy in exchange for my treasure. Something special just for me.

As an adult, I’m reminded of a far greater treasure my Heavenly Father has given me. Paul speaks of a treasure we, as God’s children, have received. “But we have this treasure in clay jars, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7.

Paul compares our bodies to clay pots, pots made of dirt and water, but skillfully shaped by the hand of the Potter, at His wheel. The first man, Adam, was designed by His Creator when He stretched down to the lowest place of His Creation and picked up the dirt, handful by handful. He molded Adam, layer by layer, limb by limb, into His image. And then He gazed in satisfaction at the first man. as Adam lay there, in a comatose like state. There was an important detail the Designer had yet to complete. Bending down, and drawing nearer to Adam, face-to-face, He gave Adam something that was of great value. Something from His very own being, from within. His breath, the very breath of God! I can imagine, as God touched Adam and breathed into Him the breath of life, that body of dirt, came to life! The lifeless body now moved, rose up, from the ground as it inhaled and exhaled. For the first time God’s creation looked into His face and spoke to Him. Oh to behold the face of God, in the stillness of the moment. And I wonder if the thought entered the Creator’s mind that one day Adam would choose to forfeit that intimate relationship and hide from him in the Garden of Eden because of sin.

Fast forward 4,000 years later to the Cross on Golgotha, a place of cruel death. In the darkness, a cry was heard. “It is finished”! God’s son, Jesus, bearing the sins of the world, since Adam’s first sin, breathed His last breath as His father turned away. But in breathing that final, shallow breath, in excruciating, unbearable pain, Jesus redeemed that face-to-face relationship of sinful man with His Creator. New Life was offered to those who were dead in their sins. All who believed in His death, burial and Resurrection are given New Life. This is the Treasure. The Gospel. A treasure within Paul that he carried and shared. The treasure that was carried with a great price. Sharing the treasure brought him ship wreck, stoning, beatings, and imprisonment. Paul, the Treasure Sharer. History tells us Paul was beheaded. As that clay pot was destroyed by the hands of men, the treasure within was not destroyed. It journeyed with him into the very presence of God, face-to-face.

And those of us who experience Salvation have been given the priceless treasure deposited freely into our jars of clay. At that moment, we were all given the treasure of grace, faith, and forgiveness by our Heavenly Father, the Potter. A treasure, eternal life, unearned by us, and paid for by the blood of His only son. It’s the treasure we receive with open, empty hands as “little children”. And oh the joy the gift brings into our lives! It is with us forever. Nothing we could do could merit the deposit. “For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2: 8-9).

Designed by the Potter to be as common clay pots for His use. But yet containing the treasure, the Gospel, and gift of salvation. The Holy Spirit dwells in our clay pots. he is invisible to man, but yet full of power. Only through the Holy Spirit’s power availed to us, do we testify of Him, and to minister to others. We are His workmanship, marked by His image and we are called to share Him to a world that can only see the Hand of the Potter through his jars of clay.

The Potter’s plan was to share the treasure within us with the world. It is not to be hoarded or used for our glory, but His. “You are the Light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shin before others, so that they may see your good works, and glorify your father, which is in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16) The Treasure Giver, God, is watching each of us, his Pots, his treasure chests. His desire is that we go about depositing His treasure, into the lives of others, so that they may also experience the joy of the Treasure Giver.

Dear Father, thank you for the Gospel treasure you have entrusted to us your children. Thank you for the price you paid for us to have that face-to-face relationship with you, with forgiveness of sins, through your precious Son’s blood. We lift up our clay pots to you. Take us into your hands. Shake the treasure within us, and renew us by your Holy Spirit’s power. Let your treasure spill out into the lives of others, to add more Treasure Shares, for your glory alone. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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