Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mi Salmo Favorito (My Favorite Psalm)

Psalm 34
Praise God Who Judges and Saves

David's song from the time he acted crazy so Abimelech 
would send him away, and David did leave.

I will praise the Lord at all times;
his praise is always on my lips.
(I pray for this to be my attitude all the time.)
My whole being praises the Lord.
The poor will hear and be glad.
(What an awesome testimony!)
3 Glorify the Lord with me,
and let us praise his name together.
(I want my life to invite others into worship with me.)
4 I asked the Lord for help, and he answered me.
He saved me from all that I feared.
(Most recently, I feared going to the Honduran doctor and having him cut into this infection in my leg, but I asked the Lord for help, and he answered! No knife to the leg for me!)
5 Those who go to him for help are happy, and they are never disgraced.
(The Lord is the only One who brings true happiness.)
6 This poor man called, and the Lord heard him
and saved him from all his troubles.
(Love that we can come before the Lord in full confidence that when we pray to him, he will answer.)
7 The angel of the Lord camps around those who fear God,
and he saves them.
(This is an awesome picture of a guardian angel.)
8 Examine and see how good the Lord is.
Happy is the person who trusts him.
(God invites us, not to just blindly trust Him, but to look at all He has done in the past and see that He is good.)
9 You who belong to the Lord, fear him!
Those who fear him will have everything they need.
(Respect the Lord.)
10 Even lions may get weak and hungry,
but those who look to the Lord will have every good thing.
(Even strong lions have to worry about food, but we can trust God to provide for us.)
11 Children, come and listen to me.
I will teach you to worship the Lord.
(What I am trying to do here in Honduras.)
12 You must do these things 
to enjoy life and have many happy days.
(A formula for joy!)
13 You must not say evil things,
and you must not tell lies.
(Being encouraging will make others happy, and through that make you happy!)
14 Stop doing evil and do good.
Look for peace and work for it.
(Sounds so simple, but sometimes can be so hard!)
15 The Lord sees the good people
and listens to their prayers.
(Such a blessing to have the ear of our God.)
16 But the Lord is against those who do evil;
he makes the world forget them.
(On day all the evil will be forgotten, and only the good will remain.)
17 The Lord hears good people when they cry out to him,
and he saves them from all their troubles.
(My God comes to my rescue!)
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted,
and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed.
(Nothing can compare to the comfort of the Lord.)
19 People who do what is right may have many problems,
but the Lord will solve them all.
(He doesn't promise life will be easy, but He will be there to help you through it.)
20 He will protect their very bones;
not one of them will be broken.
(Thankful for God's protection over me.)
21 Evil will kill the wicked;
those who hate good people will be judged guilty.
(One day we will all be judged, and those not covered by the blood of Jesus will be guilty.)
22 But the Lord saves his servants' lives;
no one who trusts him will be judged guilty.
(Those of us who have trusted God will be innocent through the blood of Christ.)

Just some of my own thoughts about this Psalm. It has come up so many times over the years, and different parts have helped me through different situations and circumstances. What's your favorite?


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Prayer Update

Hello all! Thanks to all who have been praying for me. Here's just a few updates on some specific things you can be praying right now:

First off, I have another staph infection on my leg, but I'm currently on some medication, so just pray for it to go away soon!

This week starts exams, so pray for the students to be focused and do well. Also for me, with three classes of exams in the subjects of phonics, grammar, spelling, and vocabulary, final grades to be calculated, government grade sheets to be filled out, report cards to be written in, I could really use some prayers for peace in my mind and extra time to magically appear to get everything done!

In two weeks, I will be traveling to Panama to meet my parents for Spring Break (thanks mom and dad for the trip!) Pray for safe travels for me flying over from Honduras and them from the States and for a needed week of rest and renewal.

After Spring Break the school will be doing "Missions Day." For the escuela (1st-6th grades) groups of teachers have been assigned countries to present about their culture, a missionary story from there, and how to pray them. I have heard this is a crazy fun, but exhausting day! This is so important though, since the purpose of Destino is to train up leaders and missionaries for Christ, and this day introduces them to so many different countries that they could one day be serving in!

A week after the escuela Missions Day is the colegio (7th-10th) Missions Week. Jenna, Bethany, and I have been charged with planning/organizing this, since the colegio has never done missions day. English class that week will be devoted to researching different aspects of missions, and on Friday the grades will present what they have learned. We really want this to be a task they enjoy, and not just another assignment, so please pray for their open hearts as they are even closer to the mission field than the escuela kids. I am exctied (and a little nervous) to see how this all turns out, so please pray for things to go smoothly!

And again, for me specifically, just pray for more of Jesus. I want Him always on my mind and always the first thing off my lips. As John 3:30 says, "He must increase, but I must decrease."


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Perfume a Tus Pies (Perfume at Your Feet)

This week, one Bible story has been showing up a lot, in my devotions, my Bible reading, and even a song, and that is the story of "Jesus Anointed at Bethany," or "Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman." Basically, Jesus was having dinner in the home of a Pharisee when a woman "who had lived a sinful life" (John refers to her as Mary) comes in, cries on His feet, wipes them with her hair, and pours an expensive perfume on them. Expensive as in it cost a whole years wages. So everyone else at the party looks at this woman and only sees the waste. But Jesus validates her act of love, forgives her sins, and tells her to "go in peace."

I remember a book I read in college that referenced this story, and this woman giving up her most valuable possession for Christ, and I challenged me to think of what I would give up out of complete devotion for Jesus. In moving to Honduras, people could say I have given up a lot, and for a while, I saw it that way, too. But this story challenges me to look more positively and see not the things I have "given up," but the things I have been given in coming here. I have been given the chance to serve God using my passion for teaching like I would never be allowed to in a public school in the States. I have been given incredible and encouraging friendships with people I never would have met if I had stayed in the States. I have been given a new outlook on life, that it is not MY life, but HIS. 

The song in the title is a Spanish worship song, and the chorus roughly translates to:
I want to fall more in love with You
Teach me to love and to live
According to Your justice and Your truth
With my life I want to worship
With all that I have and all that I am
All that I've been I give to You
May my life be for You
Like a perfume at Your feet.

It's a lot prettier in Spanish, but you get the point. My life is the perfume I daily lay at the feet of Jesus out of love for Him, and it's not a waste. And its moments like this that remind me just how blessed I am to be here:

What perfume are you bringing to His feet?


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Festival De Las Flores (Festival of Flowers)

Yesterday was the Festival of Flowers in Siguatepeque. In the morning there was a parade filled with floats covered in flowers, girls in flower-covered dresses, and even little babies dressed as flowers, bugs, or being pushed in flower strollers. On a street that is often crowded with trash, street dogs, and all sorts of people, it was strange to see it transformed into this gorgeous parade. God really has made everything beautiful in its time.

All afternoon there were booths and music in the plaza in the center of town and in the park, and then at night was a lantern lighting. We all lit these floating lanterns and sent them up into the night sky. Thinking back on last night, it really could have been one of Jesus's parables, had they had floating lanterns back in His day. There were two types of lanterns. Some of the lanterns, after they were lit and released, came falling right back down because they were not yet filled with the hot air they needed to float. In the same way, if we are not filled with the Holy Spirit and we try to go out into the world, we will come crashing down. But the other lanterns, after being filled, were released and floated straight up into the sky. These lanterns were effective because they had been filled with the hot air, and we are effective for God only when we are filled with the Holy Spirit and working out of His power. 

Like Matthew 5:14-16, "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

Our lights are meant to be seen, just like the floating lanterns. Be filled with the Holy Spirit and shine your light today!