Saturday, December 31, 2011
Yesterday it was great fun (read: wild, crazy, chaotic fun) to take the children bowling as our final hurrah together before I depart for home on Monday. They have only been bowling one other time last year, so getting to do something like this was a special treat for them. Thanks to the generosity of the owner of the bowling alley (a fellow American and director of another local orphanage) our first round of games were completely free of charge and a second game was sponsored by a monetary gift from dear friends far away. God is so good!
"To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the Lord is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it." Jeremiah 6:10
No delight in the Word of God? The words of the Living Almighty a reproach?
The Spanish translation puts it a little differently: His Word is an embarrassing thing and they do not love it.
I wince inwardly when I read these words. No wonder Jeremiah wanted to pour out the fulness of his fury on such a people (verse 11)!
Yet, how often have I been guilty of the same thing? Of uncircumcised ears that didn't want to hear my God's instructions? Of treating His Word reproachfully? Of choosing not to read it because "I was too busy" or just not interested?
I know this has happened more than once. And I hang my head in sorrow and shame, for I see the piercing sorrow it creates in the heart of my Creator.
May God grant me the strength and resolve to always delight in His Word; to always approach Holy Scripture with an ear to hear; to never be ashamed or embarrassed to say, "Thus saith the Lord!"
"Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord." Jeremiah 9:23-24
These are some of my favorite words in all of Scripture! I love the fact that God is so personal. That He longs to be known and understood! This is the deepest desire of my heart: to know Him and love Him more each day.
"Forasmuch as there is none like unto Thee, O Lord; Thou art great, and Thy name is great in might. Who would not fear thee, O King of nations?...forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto Thee...The Lord is the true God, He is the living God, and an everlasting King: at His wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide His indignation.
He hath made the earth by His power, He hath established the world by His wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by His discretion. When He uttereth His voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and He causeth the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of His treasures." Jeremiah 10:6-12
"For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the Lord: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered." Jeremiah 10:21
The recipe for success and prosperity in God's definition of the terms?
Seek the Lord.
Jesus confirms this principle in Matthew 6:33 - "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."
"But Thou, O Lord, knowest me: Thou hast seen me, and tried mine heart toward thee..." Jeremiah 12:3
When I first read this verse the other morning, it seemed to leap off the page at me! What a wonderful comfort to know that the trials God allows in my life are to pull my heart toward Him!
I feel like these last six months in Bolivia have contained a lot of trials. Yet, I can truly see how each one of them has turned my heart more and more toward my God and drawn me closer to Him. What a blessing that He knows me, sees me, and uses the trials to deepen our relationship.
"This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing. For as the girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, saith the Lord; that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear." Jeremiah 13:10-11
This truly is tragedy defined.
"Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy name, O Lord God of hosts." Jeremiah 15:16
Nothing feeds and nourishes the heart like the Word of God! O taste and see that the Lord is good!
Friday, December 30, 2011
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Throughout the month of December, I have been reading the book of Jeremiah and finding many wonderful jewels tucked in its pages! I thought I would share a few here today.
"Then the Word of the Lord came unto me saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." Jeremiah 1:5
This verse reminds me of God's omniscience, knowing all before it happens, and of His sovereignty, planning all the details of our lives before we're even born. It's incredibly awe-inspiring to think on these things...
"Be not afraid of their faces, for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord." Jeremiah 1:8
How often we look to a person's face for approval! So much is communicated in the face. A good reminder to be a God-pleaser rather than a people-pleaser.
"For behold, I have made thee this day a defensed city,
and an iron pillar,
and brazen walls against the whole land...
and they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee;
for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee."
A good reminder that when God is for us, none can prevail against us. God always makes for a majority! There is great security in His will.
"They that handle the law knew me not...they walked after things that do not profit....wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the Lord...my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit." Jeremiah 2:8, 9, 11
This passage shows me how very much God wants to be known by His people. It is paramount in His heart. Also, I am reminded of the importance of walking after things that profit.
"For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me the Fountain of Living Waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water." Jeremiah 2:13
This verse really captivated my attention. God considers it an evil to forsake Him (see also verse 19). He does not want to be forsaken but rather sought after, pursued, believed in! This verse reminds me so much of the majority of people today. Rather than trust in the Lord God , and drink satisfied from His living waters, they are trusting in their own broken merits and trying to seek satisfaction from the wrong sources. Such sadness to the heart of God.
"But thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to Me, saith the Lord...Wilt thou not from this time cry unto Me, My Father, Thou art the Guide of my youth?...Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you; for I am merciful, saith the Lord and I will not keep anger forever." Jeremiah 3:1, 4, 12
As I read these verses and I see God's heart for His people, despite her unfaithfulness, I am overwhelmed by the incredible depths of God's mercy for me! His goodness is indescribable!
"The Lord liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in Him, and in Him shall they glory." Jeremiah 4:2
I love this description of the Lord as well as the reminder that there is nothing else worth glorying in besides Him!
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
The tías I have had the privilege of working with here at House 2 for the majority of my time in Bolivia are truly a special group of ladies. They are dedicated, hard-working, compassionate women with a love for the children in their care. Their work is certainly not easy but they embrace the grace God makes available and depend on His wisdom for each challenge. Their example and friendship has been a tremendous blessing to me.
Thanks to the kind generosity of a friend back in the States, I was able to take these women out for an elegant dinner to honor them and let them know how appreciated they are.
I ordered a tropical drink that is a mix of various fruit juices such as strawberry, pineapple, orange, and peach (I think).
Food, glorious food!
Tía Ely - thoughtful, kind, sweetness defined!
Tía Sarin - enthusiastic, energetic, the life of the party type of person!
The only one missing from our dinner party was Tía Benita, the tía who blesses our household with her cooking and cleaning skills. She was planning on joining us but ended up having transportation problems on the way back from Santa Cruz.
As I plan to return to the United States next week, it is these ladies who will continue the work here. They are truly missionaries on the front lines in their own cities, ministering to the physical, spiritual, and educational needs of the children here at Casa de Amor. They take their work seriously and recognize the responsibility with which they are charged before God. As such, they covet our prayers for wisdom, patience, and love overflowing!
Dressed up and ready for a party!
All ready to go singin' in the rain!
Rainy season - we are ready for you!
Oh the fun of opening gifts!