AFM Ministry's David Shelton

David's Life applications of God, his Word and his calling

Category: AFM

Difficult work of ministry

I have a new blog post up on our ministry site  at the link below..or click on the image to take you to it.

Juliana-church kids

https://afm.ngo/presidents-blog/2017/7/11/the-difficult-work-of-ministry

PRAYING ALIGNMENT WITH GOD

https://afm.ngo/presidents-blog/2017/6/27/praying-alignment-with-god

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Our new missionary family in Kenya. 

Please read and follow our About-Face Missions Jeff and Stephanie Bys adventures of following God’s call to serve in Kenya along with 7 of their kids! Here is the link to their blog. http://wp.me/p7tKUl-ef 

Learning to lean

Jesus said “…And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

I never worry anymore about clothing or food or basic needs for myself. I could stand here and say that is because I have fully learned to trust in God as my caretaker and provider, but that would be a lie. I don’t worry about these things for myself because I am abundantly blessed with too much in this life. Sadly I have not learned this art of trust as well as some like those who About-Face Missions is called to support. I rarely get opportunities like the people and pastors that AFM help monthly with buying food, clothing, medicine and other basic needs so that they can live productive lives for the Lord. This is part of our calling. Yes;  we also help send them funds for Bibles, evangelistic outreaches, and discipleship needs. We feel both are critical to really love like Jesus loves. But I fail at times to trust in God like some more faithful ones do. So many we have chosen to partner with live on the edge and have learned to lean on Jesus like I never have. Men like Samson Walala, Kennedy Simiyu and John Tino in Kenya,  sister Norah Nakabugo or Buyinza Daniel in Uganda, pastor Daryl or Christopher Samonte in the Philippines, faithful humble men like Manikumar Gude and Nagavath Ganesh in India, or Ram Bahadur BK in Nepal or Munir in Pakistan. These people, their wives and co-workers are those who I see as men and women in God’s hall of fame!  Men and women of faith and perseverance and trust in Christ.
Kennedy Simiyu, for instance, hopes in God much better than I.  I wished I could say I was a spiritual giant for Jesus, but sometimes I feel I am so far away. God allowed one of our larger monthly donors for AFM Mercy School to have significant business slowdown, so we lost that $500 a month support for who knows how long. My heart was aching for weeks over how we can make up for this huge loss, and what to do. Were we to lay off a couple teachers and send some kids or workers home and cut way back? That loss is about 1/3 of our monthly school budget! I was praying for God to come to the rescue and send in some extra donors and funds to help make up for this, but frankly I was worried and getting heartsick over it all. I mentioned to Kennedy that we probably would not be able to continue our medical care preventative treatments for the kids, lay off the doctor and likely some other workers, and ration food by giving the kids less to eat. I was sad having to tell him all this as we came up on the last day of the month this past weekend. After all, for the past two months every couple days Kennedy has been telling me that they desperately need funds for buying cloth so the ladies can start sewing new uniforms for the kids.  It will take about $900 to buy enough material to create uniforms for all the kids just to have one new outfit for the entire year. He asked about us raising just $300 so we can get started with the most needy ones who are without a uniform or the most tattered… But I have had to say we cannot, because we don’t have enough even for the basic food and medicine budgets.

Todays AFM Mercy school photo2-1-16

Photo Kennedy took of some of the AFM kids Monday Feb 1, 2016

….But Kennedy kept telling me not to worry, trust in God and he will provide!
It’s easier said than done by one as so used to being self-sufficient and spoiled as I. My energy and hope was fading and I was growing less and less willing to even tell people of the needs anymore, because of the little to no responses. My own personal debts have been rising too fast lately due to last year’s weddings and expenses and I felt too financially squeezed to give any more personally without digging myself deeper into a financial hole… I was sinking in my hope, thinking maybe God wants us to change course and abandon what we are doing in Kenya. Also on my mind was how do I pay for another trip to Kenya this April to encourage our brothers and sisters as planned to help build them up, when I am feeling so low myself and under too much worry and stress. Then on top of this,  my Ugandan adopted son Ronald Mutebi sent me a message that the group of College students he leads on Evangelism missions are heading off to western Uganda on a Church planting mission where his friend Joseph wants to pastor a mission Church to an unreached group. He said they are short about $400, but really need $250 to buy local language Bibles for this mission next week! Oh this is so much where my heart is and I wanted so badly to say yes we will send you all that money, but my heart sank knowing all the other shortages we have in personal and AFM financial means. We didn’t even make up for our overdrawn funds from last year and started in a deficit because December giving was down a bit…. **Sigh**   So I told Ronald I would pray about and and seek the Lord’s will. I lifted it to God, somewhat halfhearted not thinking He was really going to provide. See? See what little faith I have sometimes….SMH.

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Angie(my wife), Stanley, Ronald, Me(David Shelton) in Uganda, all heading to Kenya on mission to be with Kennedy and the JFM churches and Mercy school kids!

I don’t tell my wife about every need and thing that comes along in AFM business because I have to “regulate” how much time I devote to AFM so she won’t feel deprived of my love and affections for her. I do tend to get consumed in my projects and passions. But I decided to tell her last night that our finances were tight and that Ronald was really needing at least $250 for Bibles to help reach these tribal people in Western Uganda on  his Makerere University BCOM mission trip he was helping lead. I told her I wanted us to seek the Lord if there was any way we could cut back on something else and help this immediate need. I told her this while we were sitting around watching TV Sunday night. During some commercial break she disappeared upstairs and came back down and handed me 2 one hundred dollar bills with this goofy look on her face and said, “Here! I tucked this away for a rainy day when I had extra knowing that one of our kids would come asking for help with something. So our kid in Uganda needs it, send it to him!”
HA HA! Wow, I was thinking we could squeak out another $150 or so by me emptying out my change jar of coins I had saved up, but now we could more than meet Ronald’s minimum need! Hallelujah!!
Then Monday morning Kennedy sent me some photos of the teachers working and the kids at our school to encourage us (above is one of them taken this Monday), and yet I was still cautioning him that the food and medicine money would likely be very short this month… But he kept faith and said God will provide! Amen. Yes I love my brothers faith, it too encourages me when I am weak. So I had to say, “We will trust in God to provide!” What else could I do. Then today I came home from work. I opened the mailbox and found an unusually large donation from one of God’s children of guess how much! $500! The exact amount we were short from the other person who had to suspend their giving! Whoohoo! Praise God!
All I can say is THANK YOU JESUS! Our God is good!

I sit here typing with tears hearing Jesus say to me “O ye of little faith, trust in God, Don’t you know how I dress the lilies of the field, how they grow? They neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if I so clothe the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will I not much more clothe you and those you love?”

Yes Lord. I am listening. I believe. Help me with my unbelief!

AFM friends and family. We still have many needs. We don’t have all the days ahead of us all figured out. We still must trust in God daily, monthly and yearly; but there is no better place to be, than fully standing in his grace, leaning on Jesus!
God is working and will continue to work with or without us, but the cool thing is He will bless others through us, if we just hold on to faith and keep doing our parts… blessings untold will be ours! We have the privilege to enter into God’s glorious works…and rejoice full of hope and life!

God bless each one of you! Let us rejoice and press on for His glory and love!

PS… Thank you to all who have been involved in helping us love all 130 or so little ones at our AFM Mercy Foundation Schoolkids in class2016 and helping make Jesus Christ real to so many impoverished little ones and families in Western Kenya. We are saving lives both physically and eternally! If you want to help us meet our future needs through monthly or one time gifts please visit our website for ways to give.  http://www.aboutfacemissions.com/donate  to to learn more about our school ministry visit this link http://www.aboutfacemissions.com/ourministries/mercy-school    There is a lot of need in the world, endless really…but we together can make a real difference in some lives and see the smile of God in our own hearts and lives.

 

 

 

Daisy’s Story- a story of Grace

Daisy was a young 25 year old woman who loved life and was raised in a loving Christian family. She loved Jesus and being a part of the family of God. She and her family regularly attended church. She was a beautiful young woman both inside and out, with the joy of the Lord filling her life. She was devoted to family and country and lived a quiet, humble and respectful life to all people. She loved sharing the love of Christ with people through showing kindness and compassion by serving them. She loved talking about Jesus and worshiping him in spirit and in truth as God’s Son who died for us.

Like most women, she dreamed of getting married to a God-fearing man and of having children and raising a family.  She dreamed of a nice wedding, romance and happily-ever-after life like most all young girls and women desire. Her natural beauty captivated the eye and affections of a handsome young man, named Abram. He courted her and asked her parents for her hand in marriage. They loved each other and soon were married. Life seemed to be so blessed and happy even though Daisy had always lived in relative poverty by all worldly standards. But she had great wealth in a loving family with father, mother, sister and aunt and cousins. She had a good family and now a husband to begin her next chapter of her hopeful life story.

Although things seemed well and God provided all the joy she needed, Abram could not find a good job and felt unable to properly provide for his new family. His pride was hurt and he was driven, at all costs, to make something of his life and provide for his wife and make way for children in their new family. Yet his love for God was based on tradition and there was no real passion for Jesus Christ in his life. He really did not know God, nor was he truly saved. But he lived the religious Christian life as was expected since he was born and raised in a Christian home.

His inability to find good work was due to cultural discrimination held against his poor family and traditions. 95% of the people around him were Muslim. They actually held great disdain for the ways Christians lived, and the way they worshiped Jesus Christ, as though he were God!   The Muslim culture around Daisy and Abram was toxic and growing increasingly violent and uncomfortable. They had to take menial day labor jobs and live at starvation level wages, and be treated with contempt by many of the Muslim masters who they had to work under. Yet most of their family had learned to be humble and quietly live their lives among their fellow man; meeting with Christian friends and making a simple form of life of loving God in Christ as they were led.

Abrams’ lust for stuff, status and pride in life drove him to think of ways to break free from this bondage of being held back in society. One day one of his Muslim friends told him there was a way for him to become respected and popular in his community and to make good money right away. He told him that at the local Mosque, the Imam would pay him $1000 and help him find great work and status in their populous community if only he will forsake Christian teaching and follow Allah and the Prophet Mohammed. Abram’s lack of love for Christ and his greed to be something in life, convinced him that this would be the best path for both he and his wife Daisy. So he accepted the offer and converted to Islam.

He came home with his new found “wealth” and told Daisy that their family will now follow Allah and Mohammed and would forsake all the teachings of Christ; that they will both now convert and gain a great life among their neighbors! Daisy was horrified!  She loved Christ and would have nothing to do with this type of treason to our Lord and God! She tried to convince Abram to reconsider his choice and told him what a great mistake and dishonor this was before her, both their families and before God himself! But Abram would not budge!  He was insistent that his new Muslim friends and their ways were superior and ordered Daisy to submit and convert along with him!  Daisy refused and would not turn her back on her Lord.  So with the help of the Imam and Abrams new Muslim friends, they rented a new home far away in another city and forcibly took Daisy away to Abrams new home. There they chained the doors to a room in the house and imprisoned her, until she would recant Christ and turn to Islam. They assumed she would give up her foolishness and come around. After weeks and months of her being unwilling to turn from Christ, they began regular beatings of her and screaming at her and keeping her imprisoned, rarely allowing her a bath and never a change of clothes. She remained imprisoned for her faith in Christ for over a year!  She never denied Christ; she would rather die a martyr’s death than turn on her Jesus.

Daisy’s once blessed life seemed now so dark and difficult. While imprisoned her family searched for her but could not find where Abram had moved. She was losing all hope and life seemed to be total despair; during which her family had begun to assume the worst, and that she was dead. Daisy prayed daily to Jesus to help her escape and find freedom and life so she could live and serve him. Then one day her husband and friends all left the home and she managed to break out and fled!  She ran from the home with nothing but a tattered year-old dress, barefoot and dirty until she found a public road and fell down weeping. A kind and generous man found her in her distress and asked her how he could help. This “angel” lovingly drove her for several hours to her home town and deposited her at her parents’ home!  It was over!  She was free from her terrible ordeal! Or so she thought.

Her family and she all wept and hugged and welcomed her back into the home!  Yet her troubles were not over, but about to get worse. Her father told her she could not stay because her evil husband Abram would come back looking for her and force her home, as was the Muslim tradition since women are considered as property to most Muslim men. Daisy’s joy was short lived as her family arraigned for her to quickly be carried to one of her lesser known aunt’s home who Abram did not know. There they hoped for a while she could recover and find some better place to live and hide. The next day, as expected, Abram and a group of Muslim men from his mosque arrived at Daisy’s family home. They forced themselves into her parents’ home and when they did not find Daisy they roughed up Daisy’s family and interrogated them and tortured them for her whereabouts.  Her father, mother and sister were beat and tortured for information which they refused to produce until the band of thugs finally murdered them all!!  Yes this Christian family all died protecting their eldest daughter and her faith in Christ. They died for Jesus! Would you?  This terrible evil came about and was born in lack of faith, pride and greed. Be careful because sin is crouching at your door in these forms and it seeks to pounce on you and destroy you too, just like it destroyed Abram and now the bodies of his wife’s family!  Yet only Abram is really destroyed in this story, even though his body lives, his soul is standing in horrible judgment of hell fire! Daisy’s family is in paradise, they are the truly blessed ones.

Daisy’s horrors are not yet over. Her hell is now her life on this earth. Once she knew hope and happiness and peace and joy; now she lives in utter fear, panic, discouragement and disbelief of what God has allowed to happen to her and her family!  Yet she is clinging on to Jesus and praying and asking him to save! Yes, amid her darkness God’s rod and his staff are comforting her as she finds some solace in the words of the Bible and times in prayer. Her widowed aunt fears for Daisy’s life and that Abram will find her someday, so they seek advice from other Christians in their community and decide her only way to stay safe would be to leave the country and quickly. Thailand is the only country that would simply grant them an immediate VISA for a fee and that was reasonably low cost place to live, so Daisy’s aunt pulled all her life savings, purchased her a ticket and gave Daisy all the money she had. It was enough to get to Thailand and pay for rent and food for about 6 to 8 months if she could live sparse for under $200 a month. So with her one suitcase in hand  with her few belongings, Daisy made her first trip out of country to Thailand with about $1,200 to live on. She arrived tired, shocked, scared and alone, yet by the grace of God guiding her, she found a low rent furnished apartment with all bills paid including internet and PC for about $130 a month where she settled in.

Daisy ate little, due to the stress and fear and so she managed to stretch her food and supplies to last about 8 months. She rarely left her room in fear of the unknown, and after overstaying her VISA for fear of being arrested by Thailand’s military run government and police (They do random VISA checks on all foreigners). A couple months into living in her apartment, she lost contact with her aunt and does not know if she went into hiding also or was murdered like her parents and sister. She mostly read and slept and was growing more and more worried and fearful thinking that somehow God may have abandoned her. Her money is now run out. She has only a few days of rice and clean water to drink. She has been on Facebook and trying to tell people of her condition and need for help, but no one seems to care or if they say they do, they do nothing to help. In this condition she cries out daily to Jesus Christ to save her and come to her rescue. She tells him of her great love for him and how she did not turn on him and kept the faith! Now what?

“God are you just going to let me sit here and slowly starve to death? What am I to do”, she prays.

Thailand’s strict military police are cracking down on foreigners overstaying their VISA and putting them in Jail until they come up with the fines and money to buy tickets back home. So many illegals there are rotting away in the Thai jails. Christians from the western countries all seem to have good lives and they have means to help. Daisy sees the wealth of many of the Christians from her distant positon as she scours the internet looking for some form of help. People either ignore her when she mentions she is in life threatening financial distress, or they simply are not sure to believe her, and they then go about their lives not even seeking a way to help.  But she does not give up. She visits various Christian ministry websites and Facebook pages and comes upon About-Face Missions public page. She sees the stories of hope and grace in which this small group of Believers are doing to proclaim the Gospel and share the love of Jesus with others. She sees how they are helping poor pastors, their orphan children and the needy all over the world, even in her home country of Pakistan. She wonders if these people would take the time to listen to her story and pray over her need. She is desperate.  She will literally die soon if she cannot find some help from someone. Surely God has heard all her cries and will connect her with someone who likewise is seeking God and open to his voice and has means to do something! Surely God is for her and not against her she believes!  She believes and still will not give up on Christ and counts all her sufferings and losses nothing, for the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ in all his glory some day! Yet her frail humanity is taking a beating and her mind is in turmoil and her hope is fading for any rescue this side of heaven.  What about you?  How would you fare at this point? Would you still be clinging to the cross of Christ for all it’s worth? The fires of God are purging her soul. Daisy keeps praying and not giving up…but eating less and less… as she has rationed her remaining rice and clean water to make a half-serving of food a day for another five or six days.

Daisy sends a message to the About-Face Missions Facebook page and she prays God moves someone.

But God….But God!  He does something.
Psalm 118:23 “This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.”
God has chosen to hear his suffering daughter’s cries for mercy and ending to her tribulation; to put her on a path to healing and restoration; to show her his plans for her; plans for welfare and not for calamity to give her a future and a hope! (Jer 29:11)  The martyrdom of the saints that has been ordained for some to walk has passed her over. God opened the heart of one of his own at AFM Ministry as he read Daisy’s story. It rang of truth and great sacrifice and suffering for Christ and that for such a time as this God has ordained for her that we be here (Esther 4:14); to be the arms, hands and feet of Christ to bring the hope of his love in provision of her needs!  God provided About-Face Missions with a close friend who happened to also be in Thailand. We enlisted her to meet with Daisy in person to help us vet out her story.  God ordained all to come to pass, and all we his servants needed, was to listen and obey the Spirit leading us. We did. So did Daisy.

You see Daisy was terrified of going out of her home with so many police patrolling; fearful of going to prison for being now illegal. She was also fearful of meeting this person who About-Face Missions wanted her to meet to see her face to face, and help verify her identity and story. She already felt so apprehensive about the many questions the AFM rep asked her as if it were a lawyer from Pakistan drilling her as if she were giving legal testimony in a trial ( it was a Pakistani Lawyer, our AFM staff member).  She was alone, hungry and frightened, but she and I chatted, and I assured her that without Faith it is impossible to please God and to see his full glory of what He wants to do in our lives. We must put to death the fears in the flesh and really trust Christ to lead us as we make wise steps toward his will. Yes Daisy was afraid in the flesh and it showed somewhat when she was met and interviewed with our woman representative in Thailand, but she allowed her faith to move her, and she went and met and told her story. You see true godly faith has feet. It moves us to take steps into the unknown fully resting in God to have our lives in his hands. Daisy demonstrated real faith. God has smiled upon her and opened up the door for us to give her some cash that day. And now for the past few months He made way to have AFM Ministry cover her monthly need for food, basic supplies and rent!  Glory to God!

Today Daisy is working for AFM as our representative for us to help us reach out and meet and vet out other people and their needs. She even gives freely of her own meager foods to help those in worse condition than she. She is not bold and fully of joy and hope and carrying the hope of Jesus Christ and his care for fellow persecuted Believers stranded there in Thailand. This is a true story of God’s grace in action today.

In part, this is how God has made way for About-Face Missions to come to see the great need of His Children stranded in Thailand who have suffered great harm at the hands of cruel men in countries like Pakistan, and now today are out of means to live and seeking asylum through the United Nations Human Rights Commission. But due to government delays, they are stuck fending for themselves for a year or more until inducted into the government refugee programs. Many arrive with little, then exhaust their resources, and have resorted to begging for their needs, praying for God to open doors to make a way to survive. For those willing to work with AFM in honestly and faith, we want to do our part by raising awareness and financial support to bless them with financial aid, for a time; until they can get moved into the government programs, plus assist in expediting that process also where able.

Do you hear the voice of the Christ whispering to you, ‘these are my people..These are my Sheep’?  “What you have done for the least of these my brethren, you have done unto me. “

Clearly for those who have heard Daisy’s story, you now know this crisis is real and brewing, and many more are in great need. AFM has taken in 5 families so far.  We have our AFM Pakistan lawyer and new staff member, they too are a refugee couple living in AFM care here in Dallas (whom Muslims have tried murdering). They are helping us in this undertaking we have begun. We have Daisy (her name was changed to protect her identity). We have a family of 5 who Daisy came to know whose daughter is her friend now, whom we have taken under care for their rent. Then we have taken in another man who ran a Christian orphanage and his wife and their newborn child who were tortured and left for dead and who escaped also to Thailand. Now most recently we have taken in another young woman and her 1 yr. old baby who had her husband and entire family brutally murdered and forcibly injected with deadly poisons until foaming at the mouth dead. This was done by a gang of Muslim thugs for her and her husband leading a young Muslim woman to faith in Christ as Lord. (The brother and family of that new Believer tortured and murdered her, and came and killed this woman’s family, but since she was away on a doctor visit for her newborn, she escaped and likewise fled to Thailand.)

These terrible crimes against God and against humanity are quietly going on time and time again, and in greater intensity all around the Muslim dominated countries like Pakistan where the radicalization of Islam is growing worse. As Islam moves back to its fundamental roots, we shall see more of this increase world-wide. While the local governments corrupted by this evil theology look the other way, we can do something. It begins with us praying and getting real by setting aside some money and effort to first help rescue these fellow Christians suffering and in crisis. Christians are the by far most persecuted faith group of people in the world today and in history. Prophecies are being fulfilled. Yet God has given us a task to do for many in need. We can do this. Together we can make a huge impact for Christ.

Come and see our Jesus. Go and be “their” Jesus.  …If Jesus lives in you.

Jesus said.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”  – Matt 25:34-40

“For such a time as this” God has raised you up and given you means to help.  Help by first committing to give to AFM Ministry to help us fund these first 5 couples monthly and for us to take this ministry beyond and to meet all who truly are persecuted for their faith and love of Jesus! We need donors to grow this to meet more of the vast and growing need. As the Lord enables, this Thailand Pakistani rescue is just the beginning. As we build this out we hope to help expedite asylum cases for those in need and to render aid to all persecuted Believers all over the world! Come join us and begin today!
Make a donation or a pledge to our AFM Persecution Aid fund.

Here is the link for ways to give or online donation. http://www.aboutfacemissions.com/donate

If you have an ability to help us on a professional level who can help us develop this work even further through partnerships, donation of labor or advice, or simply to get the word out, please contact me us email. david@aboutfacemissions.com or imran@aboutfacemissions.com. We are looking for viable strategic ministry partnerships.

*Image above is blurred for security, but it our first photo of ‘Daisy’ in our meeting with our representative along with her new found freind whose family also is awaiting asylum help from the UN for similar reasons.

Rain Clouds Blessing Opportunity

In our world of suffering and hate you can do something simple to show them that God indeed is love. Click this link to learn more.   http://t.co/OlDcBDAIA3

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God bless you!

New Beginning

Incomprehensible, Great and Glorious God,
I adore you and lower myself.
I approach you mindful that I am less than nothing, a creature worse than nothing.

My thoughts are not screened from your gaze.
My secret sins blaze in the light of your countenance.

Enable me to remember the blood of Christ that cleanses all sin,
    To believe in the grace that subdues all iniquities,
     To resign myself to that agency which can deliver me from the bondage of corruption
      into the glorious liberty of the sons of God!

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You O God have begun a good work in me,
    And can alone continue and complete it.
Give me an increasing conviction of my tendency to err, and of my exposure to sin.

Help me feel more of the purifying, softening influence of pure religion,
   Its compassion, love, pity, courtesy,
       And employ me as your instrument in blessing others.
This I know is my purpose here on earth.

Give me to distinguish
   Between the mere form of godliness and its power,
    Between living and the source of life in Jesus,
     Between deception and truth,
     Between hypocrisy and pure religion that pleases your eye.

If I am not right, set me right;
And may I always come into your presence in peace and the joy of knowing you,
     my Lord.

Amen.

Adapted from Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers. ‘New Beginning’

How will your mercy triumph?

For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
(James 2:13 ESV)

God has gifted me as an evangelist. There is no greater joy I have in life than telling someone of my great Redeemer Jesus Christ and seeing them come to trust in him. About-Face Missions ministry is the Holy Spirit’s result of my and Jim Balls passion to see the world come to Christ and fulfill our purposes in this life. While our primary goal is, and always will be, to get the good news of Jesus told to as many as possible before we die, as ones who have received so much mercy and grace from God in our lives, we are driven by Christ’s love to help also in physical ways where we are able.  In our travels around the world, we have encountered some of the poorest of the poor, and the mercy of God in us compels us to show them mercy likewise. This two pronged approach of preaching the Gospel and helping the needy, especially those of the house of God, will always be a balance we will struggle with. We need to spend  time and money to get out the message of the Gospel, but we also need to spend time and money to help the poor and demonstrate the love and mercy of God in us and for them. This passage reminds me to not give up, turn back, or slow down. God’s rewards are much more than what the wealth of this life can ever give. It reminds me also that we cannot preach the Gospel without meeting needs when we have the means. How hypocritical that would be!

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Poor family living in a 10 x 10 lean-to along this wall in Peru

The context of this Scripture from God in James above is in showing honor and loving kindness and help to the poor among us and not showing favoritism to the wealthy, the better off, those who may be more pleasing to us for some fleshly reason. We read these scriptures and think at times how evil of a person to give higher honor to the rich man who comes into our presence and likewise looking down our noses and treating the lowly, less attractive, and poor ones as somewhat less… but this carnal nature is alive and well in most everyone of us today. And as a follower of Christ, this fleshly desire must be put to death daily!  We all have been guilty of this to some degree and it must stop.
God’s word is telling us to be merciful to the poor among us, for the Kingdom of Heaven, the Bride of Christ is primarily composed of these poor people in this life. Do you think God will be merciful to you it you treat his own Children with contempt? Think about how you live your life. Do you primarily show honor,  mercy and kindness and to those who can “benefit” you in some way? Don’t be so quick to say no. Most ‘Christians’ live like this unaware, even when they say they don’t, and only give their crumbs to the poor. If God exposed your monthly budget and spending, would we all see a life of self sacrifice of giving to those who cannot give to you any return in some way? Even the American churches fall under the indictment of God’s judgment in many ways like this. So much spent on self ‘needs’ and so little on the poor kingdom workers around the world. God sees it all my friends. Don’t be deceived.

We must examine our lives, wake up to our selfishness, repent and start changing the way we live. Don’t let your culture be your god. That is idolatry. You follow Jesus, even if few around you do. Love the ‘naturally’ unlovable, and those you don’t even ‘know’. Reach out of your comfort zones and find them. Don’t you see how unlovable you were before God rescued you? He reached out and found you. Love is intentional, never lazy and complacent.

  God demonstrated his love for us in this: while we were yet sinners… unclean, ugly, dirty, defiled, rebels fighting against God… Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)

Now, if the Spirit of Christ lives in you, let’s get more radical in how we live for Jesus.
“Fear not”, God says, “For I am with you”!  (Isa 41:10)

Something stored in heaven for you and me

Today I am reading, meditating on this passage of scripture, 1 Peter 1:3-5 ESV

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

This Scripture is so full of hope and passion and joy! It goes on revealing that it is being written to suffering Christians everywhere, yet when we look at our immense blessings from God, even among our suffering for doing good in following Jesus, everything in this life seems silly, insignificant and petty by comparison!

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Oh the joy that floods my soul as I am reminded by God’s Spirit whose I am ! Amazing grace, and such security I have knowing that it is God himself storing for me an imperishable life; an imperishable body. It’s really being saved for up for each one of us who by faith believe and follow Jesus as Lord!
The day we truly repent from sin and choose to give our hearts to Christ, we spiritually cross over from death to life (John 5:24), but this sin struggling and decaying body we still keep, and have to learn to make submit to God’s will. Oh the struggle of that daily task at times. Some of us even are experiencing much unwanted physical pain and suffering because of messed up bodies, some are suffering because of your identity in Christ and choices to follow him, thus facing world given hardships. Let us have no doubts about it following Jesus will cost you dearly in the this world ruled by Satan and the flesh of mankind. But the joy of knowing who I am, who I belong to, and the joy of walking in the light of God, by faith in Christ, is so much better, so much worth it all!
   I just wish all my dead walking dead zombie human friends around me could taste and see you that the Lord is good …then take sure that step of faith and turn to Jesus. It literally takes a miracle.  It takes you and me walking in the light so they can see The Light even exists. It takes our steadfast love for their souls, showing them there is only one way to Life, and that is in Jesus. It takes worn out knees, praying for God to the turn their dead zombie like hearts of stone, into hearts of flesh. God must make the dead alive, we cant do you that part; so let’s do our part and live Christ around them and love them enough to tell them the truth, even if you that disturbs them or causes them to not like you. How evil of us on our part to live in fear and say nothing. God forgive us for the times we have sinned by that act of  ommission. Let us see the joy of our reward stored up by our Father in Heaven and invite many to come join us. Yes, many will decline, but many will accept when they see the love of Jesus in our eyes and hearts.
I head to Africa in a week to work with my many east African pastors and fellow Christ servants in Uganda and Kenya, and God will save many, because if only we are willing to go and share Jesus, God acts and responds with salvation. The problem is God gave this responsibility to us. So we must go, or any they perish, and their blood is on our hands. Think about this. It’s serious.
So for all who read this, pray for Holy Spirit intervention in the lives of those who will hear the Gospel so the halls of heaven will be filled with ones like me, undeserving , but SAVED by grace! You go today, and this week also to your Africa’s next door and in your towns and share Jesus. The zombie like lost are waiting on you. How will be they hear unless someone “preach”…each on us are called to be the proclaimers of the the Lords Gospel.

Come soon Lord Jesus, and find us faithful to the end, no matter what. 

Purity only found in Christ

Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.
– Heb 9:14

 

water of life

 

Without trusting in Christ for your cleansing and purification, you would be too unworthy to even say a praise of Adoration to God, much less expect a prayer to be heard and acted upon by the Holy Creator God. Seek Jesus Christ as the very Son of God, and his salvation offered by his pure holy blood shed in love for you. Know Christ and you will know God. Jesus said, “I and the Father are One” – John 10:30 God is Father, Son and Spirit.  One God in essence, 3 in person-hood.

 

 

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