Source: Dear past
Category Archives: Financial Talk
Originally she worried that Michelle Villasenor, whose academic level is second grade, might could get lost in a crowd and never be found again. Dal has performed as a nurse on almost 30 medical missions, mostly to Africa, and taking Michelle was never even contemplated.
But Lighthouse Medical Missions leader Dr. Bob Hamilton prodded Dal to bring Michelle on this trip, fairly near, to Guatemala. Not too quickly, Dal acquiesced. Would the Santa Monica mom regret the decision forever?
On Tuesday any vestige of doubt about the wisdom of bringing Michelle was quashed.
That’s because Abigail Esteban appeared with heart palpitations provoked by anxiety over her own special needs daughter, a case of developmental delay fairly similar to Michelle’s.
“She broke down crying,” Dal said. “I told her I know what it’s like to have a special needs daughter, and I know that God can work in your daughter’s life. I told her, ‘God chose you because you’re a gifted person.’ I went and brought Michelle. And Michelle prayed for the woman. Michelle perked up. She relates to special needs people. She bonds.” Continue reading.
With God, you’re always learning. Sometimes He gives us a break, especially if the lessons have been painful or tiring. But you won’t be able to rest always. You can’t have only blessing and enjoyment in Christianity. There are going to be some times of difficulty. During those times, God is not screwing with you (excuse the expression). He is teaching you. Not all of His lessons are painful.
So ask yourself: What is God teaching me?
Photo source: Google
I hear their cry, their agony. People need Christ. I’m heading back to Guatemala on a 3-week mission trip to restore and work in the church and school I planted there five years ago (I was there 15 years).
You can help in this project. You can donate by clicking http://www.gofundme.com/MikeToGuatemala. A lot of my blogger friends already have, but I’m still not halfway to the goal. When you give, when you pray for me, you participate in this mission, and you share in the Heavenly rewards.
I’ll be writing soon from Guatemala about all the adventures, challenges and victories. Thank you for supporting me!
It’s been two long years that I have wanted to visit my friend, Ezekiel. I met him playing soccer just before the accident. I wanted to pray for him and embrace him. He lived far away, in Salt Lake City.
I wanted to somehow bless him. Instead, he blessed me.
I got a vision of him preaching. I saw him functioning as a powerful man of God. I could totally visualize him being used by God. I saw no obstacles for him.
This was convicting to me. Because I see all kinds of limitations and disqualifiers for myself. While I had no doubt that God wanted to use Zeke, I am plagued by doubts about myself.
The mistake was to bundle up too many errands in one stop. I wanted to get cheap Arizona gas AND quality coffee. That wasn’t going to happen on the 10 Fwy from California.
I settled for some coffee called “Zippy” at a gas stop.
A far cry from a coffee whose size is specified in Italian, but what can you expect from a road trip through the desert wasteland between San Bernardino and Phoenix.
We hit the mini gym at the hotel before opening night. The Door Church conference is where fires ignited in me to dare to believe in myself and go to Guatemala, where I pastored for 16 years. The excitement is high to see what God might have for me in the future.
As we enter the worst drought in 1,200 years, Californians are shifting into survival mode. Farmers are cutting water use 25%, and Angelinos are ripping out grass and installing turf in their yards. I’m scolding people in my household for long showers and shutting off the spigot between rinses at the kitchen sink.
You gotta do what you gotta do.
There are spiritual droughts as well, and the key to them is to survive them. Of course, you’ll hear countless seminars about getting rain. But sometimes, you can’t make it rain, in your marriage, in your finances or in a relationship at church where the other person doesn’t want rain.
So hunker down and survive. Don’t move to another state (out of the state of salvation).
My church recently voted “no” to selling our high school property, which we are in arrears for a year and a half. The offering price: $5 million.
It seems like some people thought the price was too much to pass up, even a blessing given by God. By contrast, I thought the price was the devil’s temptation. This property contains a small two-story building used for the high school, a small church and a parsonage. Getting rid of it would mean one less church in Santa Monica, a reversal for revival in a needy city.
Three weeks ago I blogged about my despair, and many of you joined me in prayer. Today, things are on the upswing. We are getting new students every week for next year. These are kids who are going to hear the Word of God daily. They’re coming out of public school chaos and into an environment of loving teachers and fellow students. We have a girl who was cutting herself; now she’s rocketing for Jesus. We have former gang-bangers, kids who got bullied, the list goes on.
Maybe $5 million seems like a lot of money. But I feel that each of these kids individually is worth WAY MORE THAN $5 million. To describe them as worth $5 million is to sell them short.
Hey, Christ gave his life for each one of them. Why would not value them more?
I’m praising Jesus that, at least for now, we are keeping the school on track with expansion. We should sell it when we outgrow it, and we should sell it to whoever will conserve the church, not to some developer who will turn it into condos or something.
YOU are worth WAY MORE THAN $5 million
Somewhere in middle age, you need to consciously build muscle. Otherwise, you’ll be losing it.
I’m 47. I go to the gym. I’ve found that going to the gym is great prevention: you either suffer at the gym or you suffer in the hospital later in life. I feel very healthy, young, vibrant.
What’s true for the body is true for your spirit. If you’re not building up your spirit with the Word of God, prayer, fellowship and active kingdom work, you’re atrophying spiritually.
*Image source: dromo.co/5-reasons-why-youre-not-seeing-results/
Originally posted on whatcherylsaid...:
Have you seen the movie “The Shawshank Redemption” which starred Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman? The movie was about a banker (Tim Robbins) who is sentenced to life in Shawshank State Prison for the murder of his wife and her lover although he claimed to be innocent. He befriends an inmate “Red” (Morgan Freeman) who also protects him from the wrath of the prison guards. Although, the movie is not a very thought provoking movie; It is a very uplifting movie. Which means it’s not a complicated thought provoking movie, but more of a feel good kind of movie.
The way the two men bonded and found such solace and redemption within one another was amazing. It is a movie about hope and believing in the will to overcome even the greatest of obstacles. In the scene where Tim Robbins character plans to escape from the prison, it took him…
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I was surprised that planes crack more from pressurization than from turbulence. That’s why 747s that do long flights have been around fro 30 years while small planes doing several flights a day hit the scrap heap quickly.
It turns out that we can only stand so much. Depending on the elasticity of the material, the on-and-off loading wears it out and it eventually breaks.
God promises NOT to give us more than we can bear, but sometimes it seems like it is more than we can bear. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it — 1 Cor. 10:13 NKJV.
I’ve wondered why older Christians struggle with bitterness. There’s some truth to burn-out. Pray for renewed in your strength, rejuvenated in your spirit and to run like the youth.
But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
— Isa. 40:31 NIV.
amazing observations from an amazing man of God!
Originally posted on Walter Bright:
I hope to capture in a few phrases, the power of forgiveness, the absolute necessity of it and the reasons why forgiving others should be a lifestyle of the believer.
If forgiving others were not a righteous requirement for receiving God’s forgiveness – I would never forgive others.
If forgiveness others were not the soil in which I could grow in holiness and become a bit more like Jesus – I would never forgive others.
If forgiving others were not the right attitude for maintaining my sanity (mental and emotional) – I would never forgive others.
If forgiving others were not the springboard from which a life of momentum, zeal and endurance ensue – I would never forgive others.
If forgiving others were not a testimony, a declaration and a demonstration to the world of how much I’ve been forgiven – I would never forgive others.
If forgiving others didn’t…
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Every side of his pickup truck was completely smashed and compacted after Kaleb Whitby struck a semi from behind and was then hit by another semi in a highway pileup caused by morning fog and black ice.
Whitby literally walked away unscathed – with just two Band-Aids – after his Chevy Silverado was banged, spun, and ultimately came to rest in the vice-grip of parallel semi trucks. By God’s protective hand, he narrowly escaped death.
“I do believe in God. I do believe He protected me,” Kaleb told GodReports.com. “I don’t know if it was an army of angels that held those trucks apart, but I know it wasn’t my strength. I have faith that somebody was there to protect me.” Read more here: Christian news.
But when we started playing B- and A-teams, we lost 0-8. Then the kids realized they didn’t know squat about soccer and would need to really learn. We have lost every league game (the win was a scrimmage) — except yesterday.
In the last game of the regular season, we tied 2-2. Now the kids are learning how to play.
Losses are valuable. You tend to learn more from a loss — if you don’t cast yourself in the pit of self-pity. A lot of people learn nothing from a win — in the self-congratulation there is no self-study, no refining, no fixing.
If you are currently losing, rejoice. Study, work and improve. The win is ahead. You can’t get to win except by losses.
I’m proud of the progress of my co-ed team (playing against all boys teams) at Lighthouse Church School in Santa Monica.
Bring back the lightheartedness, the laughter, the rush of romance, the sensation of feeling in love.
If you have banned that from your marriage, if you evolved through a business-like partnership into dwelling on faults, you are in danger. It is hard for any marriage to survive where love has turned to bitterness and anger.
Without the delicacy and delight, with difficulty a marriage may survive. But where love is renewed and refreshed with romance, it may grow through the years.
Make love, not war.
As a wordsmith, I’ve always envied the simple and compelling power of pictures. This one, of a gaunt, starved African child’s hand, speaks volumes to Westerners about the blessings we take for granted. No matter how poor you are, compared to other nations, you are rich, simply because you live in the First World. We ought to be grateful for the blessings GOD has bestowed on us.
Then he wimped out. When Abraham entered Egypt, he worried they’d kill him to get his wife. So he told her to lie, to say she was his sister. Instead of standing up for his wife, Abraham decided to sacrifice his wife to save his own skin.
The same despicable cowardice he repeated when he moved into Gerar. He told Sarah to lie again to Elimilech. (I guess Sarah was really beautiful.)
Ugh! Ugly stuff.
Sin is always ugly. We tend to see it as delightful — and we see God as a killjoy. But really, sin destroys people. It hurts others. It hurts ourselves.
Because of cowardice, we go with the flow with the world (it takes courage to be a Christian!). Because of cowardice, we are afraid to give to God, we are embarrassed to call ourselves Christians. We cover up our sins instead of confessing and repenting. We hold our tongue when we should speak up against injustice.
Other sins covered in this series so far:
But if you start to get a victory — a small victory — nobody says anything. So you may need to congratulate yourself for every small good thing you do:
- you passed up the donut
- you didn’t yell at your wife
- you turned off the television and did something productive
- you didn’t take a swig of alcohol.
Since no one is taking the time to pat you on the back, let this blog be your congratulations! Woo-hoo! I’m impressed for you! Keep it up, and soon, no one will recognize you. Your critics will fade away. You’re on the road to success.
Then after posing with the most-coveted sports prize in the world, it was taken from them and locked away. Two previous cups have been stolen, and FIFA guards against further theft.
Germany’s name was carved on the base with “2014.” Germany only gets a gold-plated replica.
Such anticlimax exposes this world’s essential hollowness. Jesus warns that the treasures you store here can corrupt or get stolen. If not, you can’t take it with you when you die — even if you put it in your coffin — because you (your spirit) won’t be where your body is.
Jesus tells us to work for rewards in Heaven.
And the German squad? They have bragging rights. That might last them for their lifetime.
Only one minute video. No further words needed. This is what we strive untiringly to do.
In the beginning, this blog was very narrowly focused on a niche: encouraging pastors and leaders to pray for finances for their ministry. But as I interacted with the blogging community, I was drawn into reaching out with non-thematically related posts.
I believe I will be returning to the Mustard Seed Budget theme. I believe I will start pioneering a church again. So praying for finances to cover costs will start to figure large in my life again.
Everyone loves Psalm 23. But I was struck just now how it basically starts with finances: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. God will take economic care of his people.
Since returning four years ago from the mission field (where I was almost 16 years), my wife and I have done a lot to try to re-establish ourselves in the States. The transition has not been easy. We started with no money. Thank God for a nearby church that gave us food right when we had none.
Isn’t it interesting that this famous Psalm, which many recite for consolation, starts with finances? That shows how important is God’s care of us!
Actually, the Psalm also ends with a promise of financial blessing: Surely goodness and mercy shall pursue me all my days. The verb pursue is used everywhere else in the Old Testament to refer to an army in pursuit of a retreating enemy. David is saying that he WON’T be pursued by soldiers, debt, problems. He WILL be pursued by goodness and mercy.
BANJUL, THE GAMBIA — From Southern Italy to California to West Africa, Dr. Kevin White’s participation on the Lighthouse Medical Mission is as improbable as it is unusual.
On March 31, Dr. White, a cardiologist and two nurse practitioners attended to 300 patients here, kicking off a clinic that is likely to grow in numbers and seriousness of cases as the week progresses.
A pediatrician from Ventura, Dr. White was a chef carousing in Naples in 1985 when he woke up on a park bench to see an Anglican Church. Surprised to see such a thing in the land of Catholicism and wanting to hear some English, he stumbled in — to find his life totally change through Jesus.
Now instead of serving alcohol, he wanted to serve humanity, so he studied dietetics on the American East Coast, then medicine. When he diagnosed an old missionary from Africa with malaria, the patient told Dr. White that God wanted him in Africa.
So Dr. White set up practice in Southern California with the exclusive purpose of raising money to fund his twice-yearly forays into the Dark Continent. He leads teams from his church. Now, two-thirds of his family is in The Gambia with him — as is two-thirds of his office.
“This is the week I go broke,” quipped Dr. White, who left only one doctor behind manning his office. He now is attending three times as many patients as his busiest day is America — 100 patients a day. The need is critical, and West Africans don’t have access or finances for quality medical attention.
On Monday, there were patients with pain, a snake bite, and a keloid. Though the Lighthouse Medical Missions coordinates logistics with local churches, all are welcome to the free clinics. Gambia’s huge majority is Muslim.
I came to observe and report on their activities. I’m impressed with the level of compassion in every team member’s heart. After a breakneck pace for eight hours, the nurses, high school students, nursing students, a retiree and others were still smiling.
On these trips, medical practitioners are a premium, but no one is useless. At the first hour, I was packing pills. Later I was praying for patients and then sweeping up. It seems not too many of our patients and a few of our volunteers didn’t understand the concept of a trash can.
I’m no stranger to the Third World. I was a missionary in Guatemala for 16 years. But even I had trouble plugging in the fan that didn’t have a plug; it was just two wires that were stuck into the outlet.
Try as I might, I couldn’t get them to stick, and the fan kept shutting off.That’s when Dr. White surprised me giving me the tip: Stuff two plastic ear speculas in with the wires to wedge them in. It worked, and doctor and patients enjoyed the breeze.
Yeah, he’s been to 17 Africa week-long trips since he started in 2004. But I was a missionary full time for 16 years in a developing nation. How does he know more than me?
I guess Dr. White’s a certified intrepid medical missionary.
If you would like to help pay for volunteers or medicines, or fund a water project, your tax deductible donation can be made at www.lighthousemedicalmissions.com
NOTE: This article originally appeared on the SantaMonica.Patch.com on April 1.
My gifting was not appreciated by anyone in high school. I wasn’t that smart, wasn’t athletic, wasn’t socially adept. What was I? I was overly sensitive. In high school being overly sensitive is not a good thing because you’re no good at the interchange of crass teasing that especially goes on among boys.
I actually thought I lacked a special trait.
Then I discovered my call: to pastor, to be a missionary. And being very sensitive (to God and to others) was a premium. But when I was a kid and took aptitude tests designed to surface giftings, nothing registered.
Comparisons are the worst because God made you absolutely unique. This uniqueness is reflected in your fingerprints, in your DNA, in your emotional makeup, in your interests and passions. It flouts comparison. To compare yourself to others is to ignore your God-given talents.
There is only one you on te planet. God made you special to do something nobody else will do. Only you can get the job done. It’s pointless to desire somebody else’s job. ?God didn’t design you for that.
It’s an insult to God to wish to be someone different, to have their beauty, their intellect or their wit. If you are young, take it easy on yourself. Don’t criticize yourself harshly. Wait and see what comes of your life. Strive to do well in everything but don’t panic if others do better in you in many areas. Because in one area, you’re going to blow them away. That’s where you’re a winner.
I myself have done it. I wrote an article for the UCLA Daily Bruin. A friend shortened it and made it punchier. But I liked the original version. Why? Because it was mine. I reverted it. Years later, with more experience and wisdom, I regretted editing my editor.
I have also been an editor. It’s grievous to me to have writers resist the improvements I’ve made on their copy.
God is the editor of your life. An editor is not there to make you miserable or make you feel stupid. He’s only there to greatly improve your article.
Originally posted on Walter Bright:
I am about to tell you a true story that will blow your mind. The country is Australia. The town is Lajamanu and it is about 400 miles south of Darwin and Alice Springs, almost on the edge of the Tanami Desert in Australia’s northern territory. It was sometime in April or March of 2010 that hundreds of fish began to fall from the sky as rain fell over the town. Residents of this desert community were left speechless as fish – some frozen, others still alive fell from the sky. For seven days they ran all around town collecting buckets of fish that had fallen from the sky.
A brief look at history will tell us that this incident was not unique to this Australian town:
- In the 1st century there were storms of frogs and fishes.
- In 1794 French soldiers reported toads falling from the sky.
- In 1857: Sugar crystals as big as quarter of an…
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Originally posted on when daisuke do blogging:
Trials doesn’t come to break you, sometimes it’s to wake you up.. :)
Oh, I miss writing, T_T just a little busy this week for the requests came to me. They have the same deadlines. My head aches thinking how to finish these. But thanks to God for the wisdom and strength. Two people request for a wedding invitations and two magazine layout for school projects. Need to cheer up myself and say, Ganbatte! Daisuke! Do your best! Daisuke! :)
You, how’s everyone doin’ these past few days? Hope you’ve been well… I’m missing reading your blogs. :(
Originally posted on SelahAfrik:
“He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
– Matthew 17:20
At times it feels like the wall is closing up on you and there is so way out. The trial becomes as real as it was to Job and in the midst of that storm you cannot even phantom how you will find a way out or if God can even make a way.
I have learnt — through experiences — that it always feel impossible until it is done, that’s why they call it a miracle.
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She was raised by two mothers, so what she speaks carries incredible credibility. We love homosexuals, but they are sinners just like the rest of us.
Because Mimi was born with two spinal cords, her parents came from the countryside to Guatemala City for successive surgeries. First doctors saved her life. Then they helped her to walk. Eventually she gained control of her bladder. She would have been identical twins but the zygote only partially split.
Ludving and Nelly wound up attending my church. Ludving was about to buy some alcohol to drown sorrows when he heard the praise music and came in. He didn’t get saved. He had already accepted Jesus. The worship exhilarated and lifted him out of despair. They came to the church.
When he decided to do something, Ludving never did it half-way. Right decision after right decision led the couple to hosting, then pastoring, a pioneer church. When thugs chased me off, the Holy Spirit pointed to him as the man to take over.
To my way of thinking, Mimi should be gloriously and completely healed by now. She is not. On Thursday, she is submitting to her umpteenth surgery, this time to correct kidney failure (she has four kidneys, but only one completely developed and only one works). Urine backflow from her bladder is poisoning her one good kidney.
Faith is not always a snap-of-the-fingers miracle. Faith is grinding out the healing over the long haul. I like the instantaneous variety. But not everything is quick like a fire-cracker. Mimi’s miracles have drawn out inexorably for 16 years, her age. The battle is
raging dragging on, and the faithful keep mustering faith.
It’s pointless to ask why. Blaming God like an atheist solves nothing (although I suppose he feels high and mightily justified in his bitterness). That’s not what we want. We want final and complete healing for this precious girl.
Mimi is a spunky girl. Despondency affects her parents, her sister, me — but not her. Thanks for helping us pray for her. Let me know how I can help you pray for your needs.
So when a Porsche stalled in front of me on Pacific Coast Highway at a stoplight, something inside of me wanted to shout as I roared past: “Get a real car!”
Hmmmmmm. Where did this envy come from? I thought I was free from that.
Sin has a way to lurk in when you least suspect.
When you pray for finances, you need to be on your guard against envy. What is your motivation? To bless others or to bless yourself? To keep up with Jesus or to keep up with the Joneses?
God promises to provide, but many times our idea of provision falls squarely into the realm of “want,” not “need.” It became popular among Christians a number of years ago to call ourselves “children of the King.” The logical conclusion is we want to live it up like princes and princesses. The biggest problem with this reasoning is how Jesus, being much more a Prince than us, lived in poverty: The Son of Man has no place to lay His head (Matt. 8:20).
We can trust God to provide for our needs — and we ought to guard against confusing needs with wants.
- Make faith grow
- How to pray?
- Prayers of the Bible
Actually, Gideon didn’t start out with a lot of faith. He doggedly doubted God. A splendorous vision of a heavenly angel didn’t sway him. A supernatural calling didn’t impress him. He argued with God. Then, he tested Him with a fleece. The first night, he asked it be saturated with dew and the ground dry, the second night the fleece dry, the ground wet.
God patiently built up his faith.
Don’t stress out about “lack of faith.” Just ask God to build it. Don’t strain trying to conjure faith. There’s no magical incantation to muster faith in the human heart. Faith comes from:
1) Reading your Bible and hearing it preached (Rom. 10:17)
2) Praying and experiencing God’s answers (John 4:48)
3) Focusing on what God has done in the past to encourage yourself on what God will do in the future. (Phil 4:8)
Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head — Mark 4:28-29 NIV.
You don’t make your faith grow. You can only provide optimal conditions for the seed — soil, sun, water, protection against plague and erosion. It’ll grow all by itself.
Originally posted on re-Ver(sing) Verses:
And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
It is Easter today, but Easter is not really a very commercialized or publicized holiday where I am, and Easter this year is considerably earlier than usual, so to be honest, the Christ-has-risen message didn’t quite hit home. Hence this meditation, I guess, on the significance of Christ having risen. What did it mean? What does it mean, for us? In 2 Cor 5 Paul launched a passionate defense of the conduct of the apostles [2 Cor 5:12], and clarifies that the way they live is solely down to the staunch belief that this was the reason why Christ died on the cross for them [2 Cor 5:14-15] –…
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Moving music and exhilarating scenic photos combine with scripture to remind you about God’s creation, His power, His majesty in this inspiring video by http://www.PositivePrayers.com
I’m a big believer in getting inspired to pray. I find my prayer life becomes vibrant when either scripture or prose or praise lifts my spirit first.
Prayer is not a matter of saying the right words but having the right attitude. When your spirit soars on wings of eagles, it seems you pray overcoming prayers that make an impact.
A reminder to pray, read you Bible and journal your dynamic walk with Christ.