Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Words & Thoughts

In January we were in Panama City, FL and I heard somebody use the words "professional Christian". It seemed to me that the context was not good - but when I thought about the way they sound, my feeling about the use was not too good. I guess that my first reaction would be that a "professional Christian" would be somebody that Does Christianity as a career - sort of an 8 to 5 thing. Or maybe a professional is somebody that is just in it for the money (not sure how this might apply to missionaries....haha). I really couldn't put my finger on the exacts of why I didn't like the sound of "professional Christian" but, I didn't then and I don't now. Well, I was ok with not liking the words but then it hit me that I am a missionary and work full time in a ministry - I could be one of the people that the bad sounding words were referring to. Hummmm...
On reflection, I have not changed my mind about the sound of the words "professional Christian". I do believe that paid or not, our claim of being a Christian is not a matter of "doing" but instead it is a matter of who we are. When I was in the secular work world, I never wanted to be defined by my job or my profession - I liked my work but, it was not the "who"of who I am. On the other hand, I do want to be defined by my relationship with Jesus - but, a personal claim of being a Christian is hollow if the way I live is not visible to the world we live in. Claiming to be a believer and living a life where nobody knows that Jesus is in there is nothing different than making a claim that you are a scholar and without knowing how to read.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Satan Is REAL

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." - Ephesians 5:12
These past months have been filled with the amazing reality of our God. He has shown himself in so many ways and has continually blessed Casa de Esperanza and the ministries of our work here in Honduras. We have also been constantly reminded that the enemy is real and working hard to destroy, hurt, and tear down years of kingdom work. Here are some examples:
- For many years, a group of believers from Texas worked to build a ministry to provide drinking water through drilling wells in communities throughout Honduras. Late in the fall, all of that came to a sudden halt. The ministry came to an end because of a number of reasons - pride, egos, or whatever. The real reason is that the original purpose of the ministry was somehow lost. Drilling wells in the name of Jesus was exchanged for something else and soon, everything fell apart and no wells are being drilled, millions of dollars of equipment are sitting idle, and people are thirsty and drinking bad water.
- Satan is currently attacking a ministry that cares for more than 50 kids. Faithful servants, friends of mine have been directing a children's home for many years. A change at the top of a board of directors has once again led people that know little about how things work to make decisions that will hurt kids, put the future of a children's home at risk, and take Jesus out of the picture. When Satan attacks, the trail is covered with hurting people and wrecked lives.
- Wrecked lives is exactly what Satan delivered in the other example.
Several years ago I met a man that had a vision to feed kids and teach them about Jesus. He had begun to work in several communities here in the Tegucigalpa area and before long, there were more than 700 kids being fed a healthy meal 5x a week. You could see God blessing this work and providing for the needs - much of it through the business of the man that I met. Recently, it has become public knowledge that the man that I met has fallen into Satan's snare. He has traded his love for the kids for sour fruit. His family is gone, his business is wiped out, and the kids have been hurt. Others are taking up the cause and the kids will continue to be fed - but, once again, the path is littered with the lives of those that the "Dark Side " has ensnared and those that were innocently in the way.
- We have seen a church that is very close to us attacked through one of the ministers and an illicit relationship. Lives and families destroyed and a trail of doubt within the body of believers.
In the darkness, nothing is sacred and nobody is immune. We have found that the harder you work for the kingdom, the more you are attacked.
Jesus told us to "take up your cross daily and follow me". This willingness to acknowledge that our lives are not our own, that "today, I would die for you, Jesus - is the only way I know to stop Satan's plan to take us out of the picture.
James, the brother of Jesus said, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7
Simply put, put God first in your life and make a relationship with him the number one priority.