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Day: November 2, 2010
“I thought on my ways, and turned my feet to Your testimonies” (Psalms 119:59).
“I thought on My Ways…”The poet gives us the first step in turning to God–reflection. He thought on his ways and stopped his course of folly. He examined himself, and what he saw he didn’t like.
He had gone too far without thinking, which describes a lot of traffic on the highway of life. He had lived with presence of mind but absence of thought. Not thinking denies one the fuller like. For there can be no harvest-time of character without a see-time of thought.
Thinking on one’s conduct has the power to stop the evil and right the wrong. When the thief thinks on his ways, the peasant gets his cow back.
There is always hope for an individual who stops to do some serious thinking about life. –Katherine Logan
Thus, as we would expect, the first step in the Prodigal Son’s long journey home was his coming to himself (Lk. 15:17). Only after getting a person to think upon his condition–his guilt and its consequences–can we hope to change him.
Therefore, we need to stop to think and think to stop. If there are bad things in our lives, a little thinking will help us see it’s so.
As we celebrated our ‘annual meeting’ (8 consecutive years) with CCAlamos and the communities we work with, Dan was telling us how the message always is the same–we need to be ready because the coming of our Lord is at hand. We need to stop and think. As we were reflecting on the work and all things involved in putting together this event, Jerry was sharing with us how the Lord stopped him on his tracks as he was sort of feeling overwhelmed and a bit frustrated with all the things needing his attention. Then he remembered what Jesus said to Martha…”you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part…”Lk. 10:41-42).
I am always amazed at the ways our Lord works in our lives. Needless to say, I don’t always agree with His ways, or much less understand them, but that doesn’t matter as long as I obey…One thing is for sure, HE IS FAITHFUL!!! Knowing that about Him, I had no doubt in my mind that He would show up at our meeting last Sunday, where our goal was to honor and lift Him up!
Dan often tells us the only thing we have to do is ‘serve the multitude’ (Lk. 9:16). The Lord wants us to participate with Him in what He is doing in this world, isn’t that amazing? He prepares everything, then invites us to come and be a part of what He is doing. How often though we forget that and are all stressed out thinking it is us who have to do the work, the convincing and all..?
I took Josie to visit her relatives last Saturday. The guy with the dark glasses is Josie’s maternal grandfather. His name is Juan. He is such a gentle and loving man, a believer too! He is 67 years old and has Glaucoma, (a disease of the eye that damages the optic nerve and is the leading cause of blindness). I read that there is no cure for glaucoma, but there are treatments for it, and they fall into two categories: medication and surgery. I would really like to take this man and get him checked to see what can be done for him. The lady standing there making ‘tortillas’ is Don Juan’s wife Lupita. She is mentally ill. In the next, you see Josie with her mother, who is also mentally ill. The older lady in the white dress is Josie’s paternal grandmother, her name is Gabriela.
It was good for us to visit all these people, and I would like to take Josie to see them once a month, Lord willing. Don Juan is the only believer in Josie’s family, that I know of, except for the aunt Josie lived with before moving back to the ranch. Josie’s maternal grandparents, and mother lived in very unsanitary conditions. Don Juan cannot do much due to his poor vision, which gets worse every day. It is a bit overwhelming to see such an unhealthy and unclean environment and not being able to do much…
The relatives on Josie’s father’s side live and in better conditions. I am glad we are getting to know them. We so want to share the message of salvation with all of them.
PRAISE & PRAYER REQUESTS: We are so very thankful for everyone that helped put this event together. Warren and his group, Jo & Jerry, Rogelio, Alfonso, etc…We praise the Lord for all the people that were able to come. We had lots of new faces, and also people we hadn’t seen in a long time. PRAISE THE LORD FOR HIS UNFAILING LOVE AND FAITHFULNESS!
Pray for the jail ministry. It is such a privilege and an honor to be able to share with the men there. Pray for God to touch their hearts and open their understanding so they can come to a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus.
Pray for Chelsea as she is away, we miss her very, very much, but know the Lord is using her where she is.
Please pray for the salvation of Josie’s relatives, for a way to help her family, especially her grandfather Juan.
Pray for Rochelle & her sons as they have tickets to fly to Tucson December 7th, then drive to the ranch the next day. Also for Levi as he will be having a bronchoscopy November 22nd. Pray for the Lord to completely heal and restore his air way.
Please pray for the girls here in our house, Daniela (AKA Lolis), Dulce, Monse & Josie for them to have hearts after God’s own.
Continue to pray for us to be wise and win souls!
Daniel’s perspective: I love to trace things back to their origin. I’m not talking about family trees and such, but instead about how certain things come to be what they are, and how certain people come to salvation through Christ. Every year as we get together, we remind people that over thirty years ago, one of the first missionaries out of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, came back to the town where he and his wife had restored an old ruin and had lived a life that, although full of events, was empty of meaning. When Frank & Betty Robles came to Jesus Christ through the witness of their son Frank Jr., something very radical took place and life would never be the same again for them.
Frank & Betty had a missionary/language school that I attended in 1978 in Alamos. Along with me were four others in the group, two ladies and two other young men. Now, over thirty years later, the three of us guys are still serving the Lord in full time ministry. Bruce Hoffman is in Sinaloa, Mexico, John Bonner is in Lima, Peru, and I’m the one that stayed closest to home and am still in the Alamos area.
On Sunday, there were a whole lot of people here in the ranch that have never known Pancho & Betty Robles. There was a youth group even that “just so happened to be here” all the way from Los Mochis, where Bruce is still there pastoring. They didn’t know about Pancho & Betty, but now they do.
I try not to trace things back to people until they have gone to be with the Lord. I don’t think that any of us need praise from men, if we are truly serving the Living God and living to please Him. (Please don’t get me wrong, it’s just the way I see things). But there were well over 200 people here that were just a very small percentage of the lives that have been touched because of two people being faithful to God’s calling and dedicated the time and made the investment in the lives of so many others to help them bear fruit for the Lord. I can’t even begin to imagine the thousands upon thousands of lives that have been touched by them. Now, we could take a step back from there and see how Pastor Chuck’s life was used to touch them, and how Pastor Chuck’s mom was used to teach him, and how someone had to have taught her the importance of raising her children to be servants of the living God, but then I would be taking you in the wrong direction.
What I really want to do is to encourage each of you to see yourselves as the starting point for the thousands of lives that will be touched by Jesus through you, if you are simply faithful to Him. Remember, the disciples had no way to feed a crowd of 5000+. But they were able to serve up the food that Jesus gave them to serve. We just need to be willing to do that, serve up what Jesus is giving us.
So, reflect on the people that God has used to win souls, but then make sure that you also serve up to others what only Jesus can provide, and you will never be sorry for having done so.
We love you all and are so thankful for each one of you,
Daniel & Ana
[podcast format=”video”]http://www.ranchomaranatha.com/Oct31Vinny_qtp.mp4[/podcast][podcast format=”video”]http://www.ranchomaranatha.com/Oct31Vinny_qtp.mp4[/podcast]
I said in my haste”All men are liars” (Psalms 116:11)
His fault is a common one–hasty words, hasty charges. Many things precipitate fast speech: Illness. Tormented by suffering, we may say things we would not normally say. Feeling neglected, we may be tempted to impugn the character of others. Disappointment. Occasionally we shall be disappointed in others. We may reach the hasty conclusion that all persons are liars and cheats. But no one instance should indict the whole race. Projection. A charge against another may be only the expression of one’s own guilt. Anger. Rash words come fast from hot tempers. Ignorance. It’s faster and easier to assassinate character than to investigate. Hate. Give the hater the slightest chance and he will jam the air waves with calumny; and if the chance doesn’t come, he will make it. Protection. One may accuse another of lying to protect himself in his own lies.
In conclusion, “be slow to speak.” And if it’s something bad about somebody else, be a thousand times slower.
“Do not be rash with your mouth and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God…” (Ecclesiastes 5:2)
I don’t care to recount the times I have uttered hasty words for whatever reason…I am just so thankful for God’s awesome mercy towards me. Not that I take that as a license to sin, I want to be careful with my words, actions, and attitude always, but I fail miserably more times than I care to admit…
I read this interview with one of the 33 Chilean miners, Mario Sepúlveda, trapped half a mile below ground. He was the second one to surface after 69 days!. We had been praying for all of them, like so many other people around the world were, so now to hear some of their stories makes us realize even more the importance of being faithful to intercede for others. Prayer is so powerful and so unbounded.
Anyway, one of the things this guy was saying goes so well with Psalm 116:11. He tells how for 14 days they were in complete darkness, ‘there was no night and no day,’ he says. They begged God to help them, and He did! In his interview, speaking for the first time of the ordeal, he was breaking, he said, their self-imposed ‘Pact of Silence,’ because he felt ‘there were certain things which need to be told.’
He said he wants the world to know what went on down there, after being swallowed into the bowels of hell and being now being reborn, he felt it his duty to tell what went on and the lessons he learned. He cries as he tells the remarkable story of survival. Mario felt he needed to ‘sort of break’ their “pact of silence” because of the rumors that were circulating.
We can clearly see, by his story, how men of any age, race, status, etc., can utter hasty words, or act in a way he can later regret under extreme circumstances, as the ones Mario is describing in his interview. He talks about the ‘inhume’ conditions down there, the ground was constantly wet, it was weltering hot (92F), the humidity made it hard for them to breath, the air was so bad their eyes were burning all the time, they were all coughing. So yes, he says they were so depressed and some of them would ‘cry like babies,’ at times.
There are things, he says, he will never talk about, only because they would embarrass their children, and also to protect the younger and more vulnerable ones that were down there with them. He says, unlike the rumors, nothing sexual went on, but some of them did act like children, and that is what he won’t talk about…
Anyway, fearing they would starve to death in their underground tomb, in such darkness and oppressive heat, feeling the devil was down there with them, scared and worried they would have a horrible death by dehydration, made them, I am sure, utter hasty words.
I love this verse, as I have quoted it before, “For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalms 103:14).
Rogelio & Doña Lupita
Warren & Jennifer were here with another couple that brought their two teenage children. They did a cement floor and the roof for Doña Lupita’s house and painted the interior, (she is an old, neat lady from Mezquital, Tesia). We were blessed to have Warren and the rest as this is Warren’s 103rd missionary trip to Mexico, the last ones (I don’t know how many) have been to our ranch. My highest respects for Warren. They left yesterday early morning. The Lord is so faithful in sending us His servants to work alongside us and encourage us on.
Full moon the other night when we drove to Las Minitas for our Friday night Bible study there. We had our grandchildren with us as Roshon was taking a sewing class in Alamos. Obed loves the moon and was fascinated watching it on our way there and back, it was so cute to see, he loves the fish too.
We had a new lady come to our monthly women’s Bible study in Jíjiri yesterday. Her name is Juana. A few months ago she was diagnosed with a weird disease caused by pesticides as she worked in the fields. The diseaseIt affects her blood platelets, along with red cells and plasma, platelets form a major proportion of both human and animal blood. In a healthy body the count of platelets is approximately 4.2-6.1 million, and she was telling us her count goes down to 3,000 sometimes… and she feels real bad when this happens. Anyway, I am always amazed how when we are in a great need we remember the Lord. I am so thankful for that…
Daniel’s perspective: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but 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 Corinthians 10:12-13).
I have heard of three people in my days that have received prophecies saying that they are the “John the Baptist” for the second coming of Christ. It’s always amazing to me to hear someone say this as John the Baptist never even claimed to be the prophet that was to come. Jesus made the claim for him.
In all three cases, it has ended poorly for the ones that have received this prophecy. Two are dead. One was a former pastor from Calvary Chapel that broke away and had a large following. Once this prophecy was made, it was a short time after that he was gone. The other , William Marrion Branham, died in a car accident in 1965. And the last was a personal friend who told me about the prophecy given over him. I warned him about the first two and told him to run. He didn’t and his life and ministry became a train wreck. So, it was odd when on my way to a few different Bible studies this week I felt like the Lord wanted me to speak like John the Baptist. Okay, so now it’s me! (I’m just kidding of course). What I felt Him telling me was that the message that He is coming very soon and that people need to quit having faith in their religion and resting on their records, is of vital importance.
We have been going to San Antonio almost every week for almost ten years. There are only a hand full of believers there, but we will keep going anyway until the Lord tells us otherwise. But what we are trying to do, and we need your prayers for this, is to speak to the whole community of the truth and let them know that they are rejecting that truth on a weekly basis and relying on a lie that the “father of lies” has been telling them all their lives. For those of you who think that it’s just to each his own, well that’s true too, but our job is to make sure they know that the decision is about eternal life verses eternal judgment.
So, back to all of the guys that are dead that were supposed to be the front runners for Jesus second return, what I felt the Lord was putting on my heart can be described to people who have seen the movie “Spartacus” very easily. A slave, turned gladiator, turned leader of a rebellion of slaves, upon finally being defeated and captured, is given the ultimatum of identifying himself to save the others that of fates crueler than death. When he is ready to identify himself, everyone stands up and starts saying, “I am Spartacus!” Okay, I don’t think that any of us should start saying that we are John the Baptist or Elijah, (except of course, Elijah himself), but I do think that all of us that believe in Jesus as Savior, should be calling on people everywhere like : “THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS: ‘PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD; MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT.” (Mark 1:3).
So, if He is speaking the same to you, don’t delay, because He is coming soon!
God bless you all,
Daniel & Ana