Modern Day Parable of the Hole

from Michael Freeman
 
I like this because it is reminiscent of the Good Samaritan parable, but adds an element of humility with God’s ability to redeem our fallen moments:

There was once a man walking through a dark area and he fell into a deep hole. He struggled and struggled to find a way out but couldn’t. Finally, in despair he sat down and buried his head in his hands.

Before long he heard footsteps above and called out. They stopped and walked to the edge. They immediately began to lecture hi from the top of the hole. They told him about the dangers of walking through dark areas and the foolishness of falling into holes you can’t get out of and how he should always avoid both. And they walked on.

What they said was true, but the man was still in the hole.

Shortly afterwards, he heard more footsteps above and called out. They also stopped and walked to the edge. There was a look of compassion on their face, and they told him that his problem was primarily a spiritual one. They threw down a Bible and recommended some verses to read. Then they told him they would be praying and suggested he do the same. And they walked on.

What they said was true, but the man was still in the hole.

A little while later he heard more footsteps but this time he didn’t bother calling out. They stopped anyways and walked to the edge. They didn’t lecture or offer spiritual advice; they did something even more drastic – they jumped into the hole with him. He leaped to his feet and said, “What are you doing?! Now there’s two of us stuck in this hole!”

“No,” the other man replied. “I’ve been here before and I know the way out.”

So both men climbed out of the hole together.
 
Source: https://russadcox.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/the-parable-of-the-hole/

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Proud Boasts

by Laura Courtney
 
Love does not boast. It is not proud.
 

Let me start by saying I believe there is a difference between being proud of something you’ve accomplished (finishing a long house project, getting a good grade on a test you studied hard for, feeling good about something you did), but then there is being proud of yourself over others. I believe the vice comes into play when you start comparing yourself to others and building up your own self-esteem at the expense of others.

Again, social media these days makes it all too easy for us. When everyone is posting the “best of” things in their life and, if we’re being honest, when we stage our photos to make ourselves, our home, our family, etc. look more ideal and “perfect” than what the reality is… this is where we hit an issue as Christians.

If you spent all morning cleaning your house and want to capture the result before your 4 kids run into the house and destroy it all again – I don’t think Jesus would have an issue with that.

But if you are comparing your home to others and, even a little deeper, if you are posting pictures of your home with the intent to cause envy or to one-up those around you – I’m pretty sure Jesus would say think again.

Our society today seems to encourage us to hinge on pride and boasting. The term “virtue signaling” is used to describe how our public action or statement of opinion demonstrates our good character or correctness over others.

Again, there is a difference in motive and intent. Sharing about how your business, company, outreach services, etc. can help others in need is not boasting. Sharing about how you helped someone else in order to make others think more highly of you is.

When we give, help, and serve others just for our own glory, benefit, and public appearance we are no longer loving like Christ or living for Christ. We are loving ourselves and living for this world.

Christ declared in Matthew 6, that we are to “be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 6:1)

We are called to serve. We are called to give; to help, to share, to encourage and to love. But it can be so easy to get caught up in the traps of pride and self-righteousness that we forget our motivation and the true One who deserves the praise.

Help others as you can – but do it to share the gospel and love of Christ, not for more heart reactions on social media. Give to your church, to your charity and the nonprofits that you have a passion for – but don’t go bragging about your generosity to others for your own benefit.

There can be a fine line we walk as Christians in today’s world. But Love has stated it plainly that we are not to boast and brag. We are not to diminish others for our own gain. More so this calls for a hard look at our motives, our intentions and our heart towards the things we do and say.  May we seek His leading and guidance as we strive to love and serve those around us.


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Mission Moment: D.R. Update

from Savenit Polo, DR School Administrator 
 
We greet you with great joy and we thank you for your support in our work to help our children and adolescents in education and evangelization. It is work that we do with great love and dedication as part of our earthly ministry. The number of infected is dropping considerably in our country and we thank God for keeping us safe while we are going through these difficult times.
 
We have been working closely with each of our students in matters of education and also through the services that we offer them. Our presence is continuously in their communities.  For example, the food distributions we do are made in order to help them with their food needs but also as a way to make eye contact and to let them know that we are watching out for them.  We want to continue with the food distribution to help them with their needs.  Those food distributions reach the whole family and bring relief to parents in these difficult times of providing.  We already have permission to reopen our kitchen at school. We longed to cook for our children to provide them with a hot plate of food at least two days a week. Thank God we started at the beginning of the month and last week we had the opportunity to have breakfast with them.
 
Regarding class attendance, we continue with the modality of two days a week with two different groups. One group on Mondays and another on Wednesdays. The Ministry of Education has informed that we will soon start with the face-to-face modality at least three to four times a week. Thank God we have most of the personal protective equipment to get started.

The truck we use to transport students to school is having a lot of problems lately.  We made a general repair on it four years ago, but we must start thinking about another major repair or the acquisition of another truck.  But we continue to care and make repairs on time so the damages do not get bigger.

 
Prayer Requests:
1. Pray for some students who have family problems.
2. Pray for provision for many families in need.
3. Pray for students who want to continue studying beyond their high school studies.

Thank you for your prayers and financial support in order to carry out this great work of education and evangelization.

 

Student Spotlight: Crisma Jeremie
 
Learn about Crisma, one of our students at The School at Batey 35.
To donate to Batey 35 school and receive regular updates like this to your inbox, click here and choose the “Dominican Republic Missions” fund.

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Love Does Not Envy

by Laura Courtney
 
This is a hard one – especially these days with social media. Anywhere we look it seems something is in our face telling us what we need, what we should look like, and how we should live. We feel like unless we have what someone else has we’re missing out and incomplete.
 

Its so easy to get caught up in a material world that makes you feel inferior without the latest trend or newest gadget. And when we see someone else with a bigger house, newer car, nicer clothes, prettier hair, better (insert item here), instead of being happy for them and sharing in their joy we get jealous. We complain and say “I want that!” and “I need that!” and “Why not me, God?!”

But love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t compare. It doesn’t get jealous or want what others have.

Love celebrates with others. Love rejoices in the blessings God has given to our friends and family. Love shares in the joy of others.

When we are free from the grip of comparisons and the societal burden of have-nots we can freely give thanks for all things. We can be happy with what we have as well as what others have, even when they are not the same.

I think back to a few of our past mission teams sharing about the happiness and joy of those they’ve served in the D.R. Those who have comparatively less than us perhaps have greater joy than we know. Instead of complaining about what they don’t have and the hardships they face, they rejoice in the Lord and sing of His goodness.

Perhaps we need to remember that as we scroll through our social media this week. Let us be content in the blessings God has given us, and let us rejoice and share in the joyful praise of others for the good things He has given them as well.

Because when we all are united in love we share in each other’s blessings, and sin and temptation and the evils of this world can seem to fade away.

 

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves…Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  Romans 12:9-10, 21
 

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8


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Love Is Summer Reading Guide

1 Corinthians 13 gives us a very detailed definition of LOVE. Some of the Biblical narratives listed below illustrate examples of our
human responses. Use the theme for each week to think deeper about how we can better exemplify love in these instances and in our own lives.
 
Week of: June 6-12
Theme: Patient
Scripture References: Luke 2:25-40 (Simeon & Anna), 2 Peter 3:8-9, Galatians 5:22
 
Week of: June 13-19
Theme: Kind
Scripture References: John 8:1-11 (Jesus & the Woman Caught in Adultery), Proverbs 11:16-17, Proverbs 12:25, Romans 2:4, Colossians 3:12, Galatians 5:22
 
Week of: June 20-26
Theme: Does Not Envy
Scripture References: 1 Kings 11:45-12:24 (Rehoboam Brings a Split to the Nation), Proverbs 14:30, Ecclesiastes 4:4-6, Philippians 1:12-18, James 3:13-18
 
Week of: June 27-July 3
Theme: Does Not Boast/Is Not Proud
Scripture References: Daniel 4 (Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream), Proverbs 8:13, 11:2, 13:10, 16:18, 21:23, Philippians 3:4-11
 
Week of: July 4-10
Theme: Does Not Dishonor Others
Scripture References: 1 Samuel 24 & 26 (David vs. Saul), Acts 10:23-48
 
Week of: July 11-17
Theme: Is Not Self-Seeking
Scripture References: Acts 5 (Ananias & Sapphira), Luke 12:13-21
 
Week of: July 18-24
Theme: Is Not Easily Angered
Scripture References: Genesis 4:1-12 (Cain), 1 Samuel 25 (Nabal & Abigail), Ephesians 4:26
 
Week of: July 25-31
Theme: Keeps No Record of Wrongs
Scripture References: Matthew 18:21-35 (Jesus 7×70 & Unforgiving Servant), Psalm 103:8-18, Genesis 45 (Joseph)
 
Week of: August 1-7
Theme: Does Not Delight In Evil/Rejoices in Truth
Scripture References: Jonah, 2 Samuel 12:1-25 (Nathan Confronts David’s Sin)
 
Week of: August 8-14
Theme: Always Protects
Scripture References: Ruth, Acts 27:27-44 (Paul’s Shipwreck)
 
Week of: August 15-21
Theme: Always Trusts
Scripture References: 1 Kings 17:7-24 (Elijah Asks a Woman to Make Bread), Proverbs 3:5-6
 
Week of: August 22-28
Theme: Always Hopes
Scripture References: Romans 5:1-5, Romans 15:13, Acts 16:16-40 (Paul & Silas Sing Praises in Jail)
 
Week of: August 29-September 4
Theme: Always Perseveres
Scripture References: 1 Peter 1:5-9, Luke 22: 54-62 & John 21:15-24, Genesis 32:22-32 (Jacob Wrestles With an Angel), Hebrews 12:1-2

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Love is Patient

by Laura Courtney
 
In this world or instantaneousness, we have little time for patience. Drive-thru windows everywhere, curbside and  in-store pick up options in even greater abundance after Covid, being able to instantly Google or “Hey Siri” any question we have and have an immediate answer (example: “Hey Siri, what’s an Encyclopedia for?”).
 

So when we talk to God we expect the same response. An immediate answer to prayer. An instantaneous sign for the next step we are to take. But as we heard in church just a few weeks ago, God’s answer can sometimes be, “No, not right now.” Or those dreaded words, “Just wait.”

We hate the words waiting and patience. I think for many of us we automatically picture sitting in a line at the DMV (although that is probably more quickly paced these days too). We don’t want to wait. We don’t like not knowing. We don’t want to practice being patient.

You wanna talk about patience… how about 400 years of waiting?! God’s people waited 400 years for a Messiah and Savior to come. This time period is often called the “400 Years of Silence”.

But just because we don’t hear God (or sometimes we may just think we don’t hear Him), doesn’t mean we are alone or that He is not working. He does not move slowly; He moves perfectly. He works all things out for the good and He is walking alongside us all the while.

If you are feeling like you are stuck waiting, if you feel like your prayers are not being answered, if you feel like God is silent… open your Bible. Open His word and see how He works and how He is faithful in all He promises. If He has promised it, He will not fail or forget or withhold the good things He has planned for you.

But He may ask you to wait.

But in that waiting He is orchestrating, moving, shaping, and preparing the way for you. I read this verse from Exodus and it reminds me of His power and work behind the scenes:

“I will not drive them out before you in a single year; otherwise the land would become desolate and wild animals would multiply against you. Little by little I will drive them out ahead of you, until you become fruitful and possess the land.” (Exodus 23:29-30)

Don’t give up or assume your prayers are not heard because you don’t see the answer you want right when you want it. Trust in the Lord. Wait upon the Lord. And be patient for His perfect timing to bring about greater answers than you could ever even ask.

Because love is patient.


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