God Winks

by Janet Coddington
As I was pondering what to write about for this year’s devotional, I felt the Lord telling me to share some of the times I felt Him speaking to me through different ways.
 
One time is very vivid in my mind. Pastor and I were being interviewed for a new pastorate; it was a whole morning of questions and a break in the afternoon and then dinner with the congregation that evening and ending with Bob preaching the following morning. Well, after the questions in the morning, we were given the afternoon on our own. We went to a nearby McDondald’s and sat down with our lunch. After praying for the food, we started discussing the morning’s events and all the concerns we had. The big question was, there was no parsonage…which meant we would either have to buy a home or rent. Could we afford this??? As we were talking, a little wren flew down beside our window and from SOMEWHERE a piece of bread fell beside the bird, which he quickly ate!! I BELIEVE IT WAS GOD; yep, a “God Wink”, telling us everything would work out.
 
What happened after that? God was saving us a home just three houses away from the church! And that is not all. The lady who was selling the home had had it on the market for a long time and she really wanted to sell. She went to a meeting that night and was asked if she had any prayer requests. She remarked that she wanted to sell her house. Well, you can imagine her surprise when she got home and heard our realtor telling her of our offer. I truly believe God had that all planned.
 
Another time is so vivid in my mind. I had been struggling with depression and anxiety for days. One Sunday while heading to church, on the Hanover Brands marquee, there was this sign:
 
Some One Knows Some One Cares Some One Whispered Your Name in Prayer
 
What do you think? A God Wink?? These are only two of the many, many times I believe God has sent me winks. What about you? Watch for your “God Winks” every day.
 
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their cry. (Psalm 34:15)
 
Dear Heavenly Father, please help us each day to see the many “God Winks” you give us. In Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

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Don’t Let Your Paintbrush Get Dry

by Barry Myers
 
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? (Matthew 5:43-48)
 
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
 
Those words, “don’t let your paintbrush get dry!” were spoken to me in anger years ago, by someone that I did not like. I was in my mid-20s and an infant Christian. I was unmarried and had purchased my first home. To help with household bills, I invited a friend of mine, Ed, to move in. Shortly afterward, Ed began dating Sue (not their real names). At first she was pleasant, but it soon became apparent that these two as a couple were like mixing fire with gasoline; it was a very volatile relationship.
 
As time passed, the fights began to take place on the property or in the house when I wasn’t present. The evidence of damage made it clear. Even after Sue took a baseball bat to the fenders of Ed’s VW bug, they continued the relationship.
 
One day Sue showed up on a Saturday when Ed was not home; I was outside painting. I said very few words to her, remaining focused on my work. She wanted to talk and I made it obvious that I did not. As she quickly turned on her heels to leave she said angrily, “Well, don’t let your paintbrush get dry!”
 
God burned those words into my memory to teach me a necessary lesson. Had I offered a sympathetic ear and put her needs above my own concerns, perhaps God could have changed the course for her that day. It was a missed opportunity to be Christ for someone that was hurting.
 
Every day I now pray that I will be a light to those people I meet. I pray that the way I speak and act will ultimately be a reflection of God’s compassionate love.

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DR 2019 – Day 4-7

I said I would write more about our time at the school and it has been a couple of days. I apologize for the distance between writings. Ministry has been busy and good. God has been at work this week and for that we continue to give Him the praise.

For those who are wondering about our dilemma with the bags, there is no new news. I wish we could report that we have them all, but sadly that has not happened, yet. Despite not having the majority of the donations we came with, God has supplied all that we needed for the week and has allowed us to pack many more bags of food than we expected to be able to do. Even in the uncertainty of this trial we can say God is good. We are, and will continue, to be trusting God in the situation. Your continued prayers are welcomed as well.

As for our time at the school, that has been a huge blessing to them and to us. We have had many experiences that would be hard to put into words. The children had 3 days experiencing and interacting with the armor of God. They had the chance to learn what it means to ¡vistete!, “suit up!” Being ready for the battle before us has been a good reminder to our team this week as well.

It’s great to see the kids and teachers learn, sing, interact, and connect with us despite the language barriers. They are people like us who are wanting to grow in education and in faith. What we did this week was good, but what happens all year at our school has such a lasting impact that cannot be quantified. On Tuesday, we had the chance to talk with some of our Alumni and share with them the ministry of distributing food in the Batey surrounding the school. It was humbling and amazing to see our former students reach out in the name of Jesus to the people around them.

There is much more that could be said about our ministry in the school; being able to serve in two new Batey’s that we have never been to, and many individual conversations and encounters. We will be sharing more from our time here in the coming weeks. Even so, I want to encourage you to ask questions with one of our team members. Get to hear their heart and experience some of the stories from them first hand. I truly believe every one of on the team has been impacted and changed as a result of our serving and being served.

God has been at work this week, but He is not done. He is not done in the US, the DR, or anywhere around the globe. He is not done in the lives of the people of Bateys 35, Las Cejas, 108, or Guazabel. He is not done in the lives of our neighbors, coworkers, relatives, friends, or even our enemies.  Sometimes it might be difficult to see, but our God is always at work and we just need to be open to what He is doing. Even more astounding to me is that God wants to us in His grand plan.

We came here in the name of Jesus to serve alongside our brothers and sisters. We will be coming home to serve alongside many of you. I have loved seeing God work this week, but I am even more excited for what God has in store for us all to come!

-Pastor Josh

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with wisdom through the psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”-Colossians 3:15-17


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DR 2019 – Day 3 & 4

I will start off by saying we have appreciated your prayers, and have certainly felt God’s hand guiding this week. For those who do not know, we have struggled to retrieve 21 bags of donations that we came to the country with. They were taken by customs at the airport when we arrived on Saturday and we do not know when or if we will get them back. It has been heartbreaking to struggle with the idea that we may not see those bags and the items in them again. We are not disappointed for us, but for the good those items could be doing for the people we interact with. Your prayers are definitely appreciated as we continue to put this entire situation in God’s hands.

However, this struggle has not hindered God continuing to work. On Monday we were able to present our message on the Armor of God to the Joe Hartman school. They loved seeing Damian in a roman soldier costume and were able to hear what it means to prepare ourselves to be in God’s army. We interacted over crayons, the playground and even a 5 of 5 students vs. Americanos basketball game. It was fun to play and interact with the students even though we didn’t speak the same language. Kids are kids, no matter where they are from.

Woody and myself share the gospel at a men’s and women’s group. As the week unfolds some things get lost in translation. What got lost that evening was the translator. It was a surprise to realize on the way to the church that we had forgot to bring one of our translators. Thankfully, Elza did a great job of taking our words and sharing them and it was great to be able to hear them sing and spend time with each other and God that night. Our opportunities to share God’s message with different groups of people throughout the week have been a huge blessing to me and I pray we have been able to be the hands of God’s blessing to His people as well.

We did spend some time at the Batey 35 school yesterday and had the opportunity to distribute a lot of food as well. I will share a bit more about that in the coming days. For now I want to challenge us with a piece of Pastor Woody’s message to us last night. Matthew 22:37-38 says, “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Jesus teaches in Luke 10 that everyone is our neighbor. Friend, stranger, family, foreigner, enemy; they are all our neighbors. So, who is your neighbor this week? How are you being called to love your neighbor this week? We are all on mission, not just our team here in the DR this week. God is still up to something this week and I am just glad we can play a part!

-Pastor Josh

(If you would like a song to listen to today, try Brandon Heath’s “Give me your Eyes” or “Do something.”)


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DR 2019 – Day 2

What a day of Worship it was! This is my second trip to the DR and I am still amazed at what God can do, even when you don’t know the language. We attended two separate worship services today and I could truly feel the presence of God among the people we were with. There were very few words in the service that were spoken in English and most of them came from me.

At first thought, it would seem that we just sat there until the service was dismissed and were not able to connect to God. But despite the language barrier it was evident that the people around us were joyfully praising the same God we came here to serve.

So it was awesome to know that at the same time praises were being sung in Creole, praises were also being raised in many of our churches in English, and many other languages around the world. It reminds me that we are not alone. It reminds me that God came for all. He broke societal, economic, language, and any other barrier or category we tend to think can’t be broken. We are all a part of a global body of believers seek God’s guidance in what we do everyday.

So, as we step into our week tomorrow with both feet, we covet your prayers for our team, our ministry, the people we will come in contact with and also our families back home. As were reminded of the verse I shared yesterday from Proverbs 3:5-6, we are putting our Trust in Him today and for the rest of the week. I also trust that God has a plan for you this week as well. But for now, let us just pray for one another for the coming week.

-Pastor Josh

Ephesians 6:18 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”


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DR 2019 – Day 1

Day 1 is coming to a close in the DR. We are here, alive and well, and for that I give thanks to God. As you read that you may think, “oh what happened?!” To ease minds, all in all the trip was uneventful. It never ceases to amaze me how beautiful God’s creation is. It is hard to deny God’s amazing design when you get to see the waters, clouds and terrain from such a high vantage point. When I see how little the people are zoomed out, it reminds me how thankful I am that God works through little people like us in his grand design.
 
The interesting part of our trip came when we entered the DR and went through customs. Long story short our bags of things we donated have been taken into a further process of scrutiny by the authorities. We hope to have the bags early this week, and would appreciate your prayers as we rearrange some of our plans and prayers that we are able to distribute the things that many of you helped to collect and donate.
 
I don’t write this to cause fear or anger. For me it is a reminder of God’s sovereignty in all of our circumstances. We don’t completely know what God has in store for us the week, or even what He has planed for this bump in our plans. But I do know God is in control.
As God’s timing would have it, I shared this verse with the middle schoolers at Spring Grove just 2 days ago. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” We don’t know what tomorrow brings here in the DR, but we are putting our trust in the Lord for what we do this week.
 
I would encourage and challenge you as we step out in faith this week, that you too can step out in faith wherever you are. God has great things in store this week for all of us. The question is, will you be a part?
 
In Christ,
Pastor Josh

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