Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Behold, Now is the Accepted Time

Hebrews 2:3a How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; 

Then Jesus will say: "I never knew you." Matthew 7:23 

Romans 6: 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

 1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 

2 Cor 6:2b ..behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 

John 1:10-13 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

And Whosoever Will, Let Him Take the Water of Life Freely

I've been reading through the book of Revelation with Jayden and what really struck me when we neared the end were these two verses: 

Revelations 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely., 
and Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. 

How merciful, how gracious, how loving, and long suffering is our God who right up to the end offers the water of life freely to 'whosoever'. 

As I meditated on those words other Bible verses came to mind as well. In Ezekiel 33:11, God speaks these words, Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? 

John 3:17 says For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 

Peter tell us in 2 Peter 3:9 that Jesus has not yet returned because he is longsuffering and giving us time to repent, believe and live.  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 

In Exodus 34:6-7a God says this of himself. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, 

 In Psalm 86:15 David says, But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. 

But what do we do with this knowledge of God? In Romans 2:4 Paul writes Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? 

Do we believe or are we like the people described in Isaiah 6:9? And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.  Or like those Jesus described in Matthew 13:14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

The Bible tells us in Romans 1:20 that there is no excuse for anyone to be eternally lost. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 

Instead, let these words be true for us:
Matthew 13:16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Guest Post

By Lydia Greendyk 

I arrived in Port au Prince, Haiti, on Saturday, November 2. Not only was this my first visit to Haiti, it was also my first mission trip ever and not really knowing what to expect I was both excited and nervous! 

Shortly after I arrived, we drove up into the mountains to visit the Baptist Mission. After a tasty lunch, Will and I bartered for souvenirs while Jason took their two boys to play in the new playground. 

On Sunday we were up early for Sunday school and church and then spent the rest of the day resting. 

Monday morning Will put me to work organizing donated clothing; then we visited the Apparent Project in the afternoon. It was very interesting to hear all about how so many people now had jobs and could provide for their own families thanks to this organization. We watched men and woman making jewelry, working with clay, sewing and making tiny paper beads on needles. 

 The next day Will and I explored the outdoor markets. There was a lot to learn about Haiti's culture there and I could fill a book with all the sights, sounds and smells. Truly an incredible experience! 

On Wednesday and Thursday I had the privileged to visit and help out at Hope Home and Rainbow of Love Orphanage in Port Au Prince. This home and orphanage is one of many in Haiti and is in part managed by a young, dedicated, passionate and talented young woman named Dora; she is Hungarian and has devoted her time here to better the lives of the children under her care. 

Hope Home houses 27 special needs children, and the Rainbow of Love Orphanage houses 50 children ranging in age from infant to 10 years old. 

Dora picked me up from Jason and Will's house in the morning and we made our way through the bustling city to the home and orphanage. Arriving there the kids came running up to the vehicle to say 'hi' with their big smiles! Dora then brought me into her office located in the special needs home. Most of the space inside was taken up with supplies. 

Once she had her schedule for the day figured out she gave me a tour. Severely handicapped kids of all ages sat in wheelchairs and on the floor in the special needs home. About six lay on tables receiving physical therapy from the therapists and care aids. Most of these kids have never walked so their legs and arms were very, very thin. 

One boy lying on the floor asked Dora when he would be getting his wheelchair back; it broke a few weeks back and hadn't been fixed yet since it's difficult for wheelchairs to be fixed in Haiti.  She later told me he asks her every day when his chair will be fixed. When she tells him she doesn't know, he simply smiles and continues patiently waiting. 

One little special needs boy about 2 years old slid across the floor on a little potty. He can't walk so it's the only thing they have for him, and he's perfectly happy to sit on it. 

Dora explained that they had just recently started a special needs school for the kids so they could begin to learn numbers and words.

After the tour, I spent a few hours helping Dora design thank you cards for a fundraising campaign to bring in money for the special needs programs. Some of the kids came and helped paint the insides of the cards.

I was also shown by the house moms who work at the home how to make jewelry with paper beads. Making this jewelry is something they do in their spare time to supplement their income to help support their families.

After lunch the children from the Rainbow of Love Orphanage came home from school so I made my way over to the playground to meet the 50 kids with a bucket of sidewalk chalk. As soon as they spotted me, about 12 little kids with crocks on the wrong feet came running towards me grabbing the chalk before I even had a chance to hand it out. Since there wasn't enough for everybody they cracked them in half, sharing with the younger children.

I soon was pulled in all directions by kids wanting to be pushed on the swings, kids wanting to play baseball and kids wanting to play jump rope.

I was quickly dubbed 'white girl' as an easy way to identify me. I had an amazing afternoon playing and interacting with the kids. It was humbling to see how happy they were playing baseball with a stick and a rock, or using a discarded cord as a skipping rope. 

I eventually also become a source of entertainment for them as the little boys took turns doing my hair, trying on my jewelry, and using my phone to take pictures of each other. One little boy with a big imagination ran inside and came out with a black box of some sort in his pocket. Pretending it was his camera, he snapped repeated pictures of me.

At one point I just sat quietly and watched them all. A little 3 year old quickly made himself comfortable on my lap, two boys nestled under my arm and one draped himself over my shoulder. All the while they smiled and chattered to me in Creole, pointing and laughing at their playmates who were jumping and dancing on the playground. Watching them, I was struck by how joyful they were. They had no parents, very little material possessions, and basically lived off rice and beans but yet they radiated with joy. 

That night as I pondered it all I felt ashamed. I had so much, yet was I really thankful and joyful all the time?

The following day I was happy to spend the day at the orphanage again. When I arrived, the kids remembering me from the day before came running towards me, happy to see me again! One boy quietly came over and took my hand, beckoning for me to follow him. I followed him inside, not really sure where he was taking me. After a few minutes I walked into a room with about 8 other beds, he crawled to the top of a bunk and proudly sat there with a big smile; he was so proud of the fact he had a bed! 

Another little boy named Wesley who was about a year old held onto me all afternoon, quietly sitting by me, smiling, but never saying a word.

It was hard to leave at the end of the day. There were so many kids to love. Part of me wished I could either stay there with them, or take them home with me, but I knew that wasn't possible. They all came outside to say goodbye and when one little boy cried asking me to come back or take him to Canada, my heart felt like it was breaking.

Spending time in Haiti has made me realize how incredibly God has blessed me, and how thankful I should be for my family, freedom and faith. Even the things I so often took for granted like three square meals a day, a bedroom to myself and a variety of clothes to wear won't be viewed in the same way again. I hope that during my time with the children of Hope Home and Rainbow of Love Orphanage I was able to make a small difference in their lives. I hope and pray that they may all know how much God loves and cares for them every day. This trip has changed my whole outlook on life and has been the best thing I have ever experienced!