come to our Savior Jesus through the cross, receiving redemption
through His sacrifice on the cross, and access to the Father through
Him. The cross and resurrection are the essential
message of our faith. Without the cross we would be lost
forever. So we come to the cross, get saved - and then move on,
right? We don't ever think of or talk about or even hear a sermon
on the cross ever again, now that we are saved and go to heaven.
After all, He saved us to give us a happy life and prosperity and
only good things ever after, right?
joy-ride will lead to a crash if we came into His kingdom with those
false expectations. We will either leave Him, or
accuse Him, or question Him, or be confused at best. We have not
preached the WHOLE gospel to people, and given them a cheap
ticket to heaven that had no real value.
and the writers of the New Testament had lots to say about suffering
and dying to self. When have you last heard a sermon
on that? Jesus said you cannot be His disciple if you don't carry
your cross. Wow! Those are tough words! "cannot be"? Are
you His disciple? Are you carrying your cross? Or have
you put it down? Or are you chopping it shorter to make it lighter?
Or are you carrying it complaining and whining
and accusing Him of making it too heavy?
is a the cross? It's an instrument of torture and execution. Jesus
told us to "deny ourselves"... If anyone would come
after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow
me. (Mt 16:24; Mk 8:34; Lk 9:23). That means dying;
die to self. As my Bible school professor would say - if you're
still whining, you're not dead yet. Dead people don't speak.
we are dead to self, He can fully manifest Himself through us. All
we are are jars of clay - but HE is the amazing treasure
inside of us! (2.Cor 4:7).
are trials, tribulations, suffering, bad? NO! They are
tools in the hand of our loving Father and Master Potter. Suffering
produces perseverance and character
in us (see Rom 5:3-4). Is that why we see so little character and
perseverance in the body of Christ, because we have rejected the
necessity of suffering?
the beatitudes Jesus tells us that we are BLESSED
when we are insulted, persecuted, and falsely accused (Mt 5:11;
see also 1.Pe 4:14). He also tells us to REJOICE
and be GLAD and GIVE THANKS in
ALL circumstances! Is that the way you reacted last time?
past 16 months I've been very blessed because I've
gone through betrayal, false accusations, loss, abandonment,
rejection, sickness, lack, and many other things, on a
new level of intensity. He has counted me worthy to share in His
sufferings, and I also share in His glory (Rom 8:17).
these things come at us frome every side, all we can do is throw
ourselves into the loving arms of our heavenly Father.
When our eyes are on Him, those earthly things lose all their power
and seem so small in comparison. In His presence, His glory, is
the fullness of joy - joy that chases away all
negative thoughts or discouragement. As we take His hand, we are
safe and able to walk forward with Him, whatever the circumstances
next time a trial comes, rejoice and thank God
for His presence with you. As you suffer, lift your eyes to Him,
come into His embrace, and share also in the glory.
Then, as you return your eyes to earth, you will go forward with
renewed hope and perseverance and a character that resembles Christ,
able to help others as you've been helped (see 2.Cor 1). You
are truly blessed!
is the essence of what I preached in Topeka last Sunday. You can
watch the service online by clicking here.
You can also read the blog about what God did in the service by
MY HEALTH IN WICHITA
I heard how
Todd Bentley, Heidi Baker, then Rolland Baker had their physical
breakdowns from running fullspeed for years. In November
I had the shingles which was a wake-up call for me. How long until
my body would break down all the way? I've now been in Mali for
five and a half years.
amazing circumstances God directed my steps to the HANSA
CENTER in Wichita where I've been the last three days.
The founder and director is a Christian doctor
who's received much knowledge and wisdom from the Lord. He is unconventional,
but has amazing success stories. He diagnosed me with chronic fatigue,
and was amazed that I was able to do all I do when he looked at
my test results. My body was definitely on the way to breakdown.
I now have several hours of treatments a day for
6 days, which is really less than what they should do. Please pray
for my health to be restored, so that God's work in Mali can continue.
Pray also for workers to be sent into the harvest
field of Mali.
If you'd like
to read more details about my time at the HANSA
CENTER, check out my blog starting Monday here.
Funeral - I'm so thankful that the Lord brought me to
Kansas City to be here when Jill died and for the funeral; if
those news had reached me in Mali, it would have been devastating.
The different memorial services and funeral were very emotional
of course, but also beautiful. I'm thankful I was able to share
my grief with others who felt the same. You can watch
the funeral online by clicking here.
Jill Austin was a spiritual Mom and board member of Healing
2 The Nations International.
Luggage - After one week my luggage was delivered to
me, praise God!
- Healing 2 The Nations International finished the year
2008 with a debt of €7000 (i.e. $9000). The ministry is growing
and expanding, but the financial support is lagging behind. We
are $5000 short every month. Please consider
supporting us to save the children and nation of Mali.
in Mali - Everything is going well at the homefront.
Paul has been busy keeping one street kid out of prison, and bailing
others out in their trouble. He's a hero!
- Sweet 12-year-old Jérémie still hasn't got a sponsor
yet. You can read his life story on the RESIDENT
KIDS page. Sponsorship is €40 or $60 per month.
want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection
and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings,
becoming like Him in His death. (Phil 3:10)
So in love with