God With Us.

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel’, which translated means, ‘God with us.“ -Matthew 1:23

On December 25, I was given a gift. Not the kind of gift I wanted, though.  A big box filled with yummy smelling lotions? No. A Dunkin Donuts coffee fountain? No.

The “gift” of a sick child.

As I had my nose buried in my email early that morning, I heard Shiloh’s voice; usually annoyingly perky first thing in the morning. Instead of her usual bouncy voice saying, “Hi mom!’; I heard a gravelly voice coming from her mouth, saying…”mom, I have bumps.”

This statement should have gotten my immediate attention. However, if you know “our Shiloh” J…sometimes there is a bit of drama associated with her statements.

I glanced up at her and said “good morning” in a rather monotone voice, really quite distracted by the correspondence I was answering.

I had to look at her again to verify what my quick glance told my brain.

Shiloh had huge lumps on both sides of her throat.

Her statement that she had bumps was certainly spot-on.

Oh my. This was a new one.

We were getting ready for church, and I tried to figure out how we would get her to the doc.

Talking to our Pastor’s wife after service, I did not know how we would get Shiloh the medical attention she needed. The regular hospital was closed. Yes, closed. Until Tuesday. (It was currently Sunday)

There were no doctors in town that we could get in touch with. Everyone was on holiday.

We were told the Emergency Room at the Hospital (more like what we would call an “Urgent Care” center in the States) would be open; but that they would not accept anyone who was not at death’s door.

But, later that afternoon; on faith…my husband gathered up Shiloh and one of her lovies; to go find some medical care.

Praise the Lord…the Emergency Dept agreed to see Shiloh.

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A few hours later, Nate texted me to let me know Shiloh had a tonsil infection.  She was prescribed antibiotics and a pain medication. The doctor let us know that we need to be watchful now of her. More recurrences may mean she needs her tonsils out. Which they cannot do here.

But, that is for another day.

God with us.

A month or so ago, I was studying the book of Isaiah. When I came to the familiar passage in Chapter 7,

“Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, And she will call His name Immanuel.” [God with us] ~Isaiah 7:14

You know, I cannot count how many times I have heard that passage preached. Surely around the time Christmas is celebrated. But, it never really dawned on me; the depth (and still I am not seeing all of it…) of what that one verse says.

“The Lord Himself…will give you a sign…His name will be [God with us]…”

Even as I write this out, I am in wonder that the Creator of all things…would do such a marvelous thing.

That even in His Name, He is Helper, and Friend.

I have so needed to understand that truth.

He is with me.

No matter what.

Even in a Third World Country. When my young child burns with fever and her body is racked with infection.

In the midst of this ghastly circumstance with Shiloh, there was an undertone of yet another issue brewing. Eliana (our 4 year old) had developed a nasty chesty cough. The sound of her cough gave away the fact that her lungs were filled with “gunk”. (is that too technical of a word…?!) J

Oh, and by the way, did I mention that the very next day, Nate was scheduled to make the 4+ hour trip to pick up Mom and Jim from the airport in Belize City….?

So, off to the doc again. This time with Eliana.

I am so blessed and thankful for the medical care that we have received here.

They immediately gave her a nebulizer treatment.

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Sent her home with 4 meds, including a steroid and some hefty cough medicine.

God was with me.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched. Nor will the flame burn you.” ~Isaiah 43:2

[Did anyone else notice that passage says “when”, NOT, not “if”???]

Nate went to the airport to pick up our family. (they made their flight…which was a blessing in itself. Since they fly standby, sometimes they get “bumped”)

Ready for this?

The next morning, Josiah was not acting right. You know, how moms just know…?

He was super cranky. And just not his happy-go-lucky self.

I noticed a red mark on his leg. Not entirely unusual, in itself…but somehow the Lord drew my attention to it. In the midst of all the other bug bites and itchy spots on his lower legs, this area looked somehow different.

I felt it. It was warm. So was the rest of his leg.

This scared me.

But…. God is with me.

Off we go, ONCE AGAIN, to the medic. (if anyone is counting…YES, this is three children in 4 days to the doctor)

My poor lower case “j” was diagnosed with cellulitis. (a very serious skin infection, which could easily develop into  staph infection, if not properly treated)

I was given a grave warning by the medic. Josiah needs his antibiotic every 6 hours, precisely. The doctor prescribed a strong antibiotic, along with a steroid, pain med, and Benadryl.

Did I mention yet that Nate and I were scheduled to go on a 2 night getaway? A few days after Josiah was diagnosed.

I must say it was looming in the back of my mind ….maybe we would not be able to go.

I hated the thought of leaving 3 sick children with my ever willing family.

After the first day on antibiotics, Josiah’s leg did not look any better.

I was scared again.

Meanwhile, Eliana was coughing and gagging as much as before.

Shiloh still had a bit of fever, though her glands were less swollen. Oh, and I forgot to mention, Shiloh also had an infection under her fingernail. Which was not healing. At her ER visit, they managed to get some of the pus out, and clean it up a bit. I think we were all hopeful that the finger would heal on its own.

Her finger continued its ominous red swelling, punctuated by oozing bits of yucky stuff.

God is with me.

Nate and I left Sunday afternoon for our getaway.

My capable in-laws at the helm of what seemed to me like a sinking ship.

😉

(10 minutes into our trip, our van broke down. Turns out, it was just a simple thing, ended up not being an issue.  But, since I love to worry about things, this was a perfect opportunity.)

God is with me.

We had a fantastic time away together.

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Thank you Mom and Jim, for your tireless love!

Upon our return home, Eliana’s cough had worsened. We took her back to medic. They prescribed a stronger antibiotic, and said “no running, and no sleeping with the fan on.” until her chest clears.

Meanwhile, our Pastor’s wife had been given some essential oil, which she had used on their daughter when she had a bad cough and cold.

Shiloh had to go to the doc this week to have her finger looked at. Sadly, they had to remove her nail.

which they did with no anesthesia 😦

God is with me.

She is once again on antibiotics and pain relievers for a season.

Poor sweetie. She has been a trooper!

Josiah is completely better from his infection, Yay!

At one point, our refridge was overrun with medications for these little guys!

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We had a wonderful visit with our family! Thank you Lord!

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Oh… and I guess now is as good a time as any to thank the Lord for Cheyenne’s upcoming marriage to Alexander.  In JUNE!

My heart bursts simultaneously with thankfulness, and wonder at how fast the time has gone!

I would be lying if I said I was not just a bit sad to see her leave. But, I know the Lord has brought them together. That is something Nate and I have prayed for over the years…Godly spouses for our children.

It makes it easier to let her go. All the way to CANADA.

God is with me.

Like the old hymn says…

“prone to wander, Lord I feel it,

Prone to leave the God I love;

Here’s my heart, Lord, O take and seal it,

Seal it for Thy courts above.” [Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing]

I am prone to forget. To forget and disregard what the Lord has done for me. And continues to do. Daily. Moment by moment. Breath by breath.

But, in spite of that,

God is with me.

~Sheila

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, The God who is our salvation. Selah” ~Psalm 68:19

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s WAR

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It’s WAR

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. -Ephesians 6:12

The spiritual warfare here these past few weeks has been so intense that it’s palatable.

Let me share just one of the many attacks that we have been facing…

The Lord provided for us to have our newest van wrapped for His glory.

I heard about a guy up north that did this and proceeded to contact him. We met, he got measurements, gave me ideas, and we parted ways. A few days later, I got a proof…

I replied to him with a few changes and he said he needed a deposit of half down to start the process. Well, that seemed reasonable, so I sent the deposit into his bank account. After he received it, I heard nothing more from him. No returned calls, emails, or texts. Nada.

The battle had begun.

So, I drove up north to locate him and admonish him to complete what he promised to do. No success. I asked around about him, only to find out that he was a scammer!

The battle continued…

So, I posted a question online to someone he scammed and immediately he called me. I asked him to either finish the job or give me my money back.

The battle intensifies…

Long story short, he returned the full deposit (praise God!) in this brown paper bag…

…full of scrunched up $2 bills…

…500 of them!…

   

Have you ever tried to exchange 500 $2 bills for $50’s and $100’s? Well here, the banks look at you like a criminal trying to launder money!…a whole nother story.

The battle continues…

Once I received the deposit back, I contacted a “reputable” sign guy who had given me a quote prior. He said he would do the job for the same price as the scammer quoted. Glory to God!

He has a nice little store on the main road, in the capital of Belize, with a nice little staff who works for him. It all looked good. I gave him the deposit and ideas, He gave me a receipt and we parted ways.

The battle brewed again…

About a week went by and I had not heard from him so I emailed him. He gave a few excuses and then sent me a proof a few days later…

I sent him some changes…including changing the flowery background and removing the image.

He sent another proof and we sent some more changes until finally it was ready to print…

The battle erupted…

He promised me the job would take a full day and that he would have it done Saturday evening. That worked out perfect for me because I was just getting out of a men’s retreat. I could pick it up after the retreat and head home!

The battle increased…

I got there Saturday evening to find out he didn’t even start the job! What? Huh? Am I missing something here? Nope, it was not even touched. Long story short, promises were made the next 12 days, with little to no progress to show for it.

One day he sent me this pic…

…as a reason why the job was not done yet (yes, he sliced his finger big time while working on the van).

He would send a picture when asked for one, but each time there was very little progress, and many days in betweeen…

The battleground was raging…

I was in awe at the lackadaisical way this man was running his business. Finally, I gave him an ultimatum-have it ready by 9 am tomorrow or remove everything and return my $$.

He must have thought I was kidding, because that morning I showed up before they opened and greeted him as he drove up in my van (yes, he was using my van for his own personal use!). That’s a whole nother story! So he said “I need more time.” I told him he had until noon. I sat there in his office and watched him the whole time. Guess what happened?…He and his employees started working feverishly to get it done…


As I type this I am sitting in his office awaiting my completed van to take home…and it’s 3:10 pm. Welcome to Belize time! Ha. Ha.

In the middle of watching and waiting, an ex-employee barges in the office drunk and starts tearing up their office…

WATCH VIDEO HERE

The owner and another employee had to subdue him in a head lock and call the police. I videotaped the entire thing for the police. CRAZY STUFF.

(INSERTED UPDATE: They worked on the van until 1 am!)


(it never was officially done until 10 am the following morning!!) During this time I was able to have a super conversation with the owner (who worships at the masonic temple) and his employee about their salvation. He had lots of great questions and I was able to point him to Christ using the Scripture he put on the side of the van! WOW, it proved to be a great tool!)

Sheila has always been such a huge blessing to me. A true completer. God has truly blessed me with a wonderful wife. She reminded me (in the midst of all this chaos) that if we were wrapping our van with photos of ice cream or something worldly, then it would have been done in a day. But we weren’t. We were placing God’s holy, precious Word on it. Sharper than a two-edged sword, which will not return void and has the power to salvation! A war started when we decided to place His Word on our van!

When I asked the owner why it took over 13 days to complete a one-day job, he scratched his head and said, “You know Mr. Nate, I have been trying to figure that out.” I shared about spiritual warfare with him, and the battle that rages for the souls of man.

The enemy hates it. He has used everything in his power to thwart, wreck, sidetrack, confuse, mislead, deceive, lie, and destroy this work being done. It has truly been a major spiritual warfare attack.

The battle still rages…

…5,280 Garifuna Bibles to be distributed…
…Weekly preaching, reaching, teaching…
…Monthly preaching tour through the country…
…A van with Scripture all over it running around the country…
…Hundreds of signs, stickers, magnets, etc. with Gods Word on them going up monthly…

The GOSPEL is moving forward!

The enemy is not happy.

BUT, we know WHO is on the throne.

He is in control.

He is fighting the battle.

He is King.

He is Conqueror.

GLORY TO GOD!

Praise God, the van has been completed…

Please continue to pray as we walk through His battle here in Belize.

What battle is raging in your life?

Who’s fighting it? You or God?

How can we pray for you?

For His Glory ALONE-
Nate

 

Tools

“I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart” -Jeremiah 24:7

A few weeks ago, a big dump truck stopped at the end of our driveway.  You know, one of those big ones that haul dirt and rocks and stuff to and from construction sites.

As I sat at the table, looking out at the big behemoth rumbling in the distance; I thought out loud..’ maybe he is broken down.’

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Well, here in Belize, disabled vehicles are not a particularly rare sight, but with no AAA or Highway Courtesy Patrol equipped with gas cans and granola bars…Lol….these folks figure out how to make things go again.

(and surely some vehicles look as though maybe they would rather be put out to pasture.)

As I watched some guys scurrying around the big truck, I said jokingly to Shiloh (our 6 year old, who takes things very literally….)’Shiloh that truck looks like it is broken down. Maybe you could go help them.’

She gave me an exasperated look, shrugged her slender shoulders, threw her hands up in the air and then pathetically down to her side; and said…”MOM. I don’t have any tools!”

Her blonde ponytail swung rhythmically back and forth and she sauntered away from me. Surely she was wondering how her mother, who seemed reasonably smart, could think she could repair a tandem axle dump truck, in the Belizean heat, before she finished her homework…with NO TOOLS.

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I laughed so hard at her statement. And her attitude. I am sure she was wondering why in the world I would say such an absurd thing. But, I am glad I did, because her answer gave me pause.

“I don’t have any tools.”

Do I have tools?

For my everyday life?

Well, yes.

And I don’t mean the butter knife I use as a screwdriver. (oh, ooops…did I say that?!) Or the tape measurer I broke trying to measure fabric. (sorry honey…~)

Or the empty powdered milk can as a stool. Or the pointy rock I use to dig holes to plant my cuttings.

I mean tools for my spiritual life.

Do I have *real* tools?

Do I use them? (the next hard question…)

Well, the answer is yes…and no.

Yes, I have tools, but no….I do not always use them. Or even sometimes I misuse them.

I have been pondering this since that day when Shiloh made her priceless perception.

My toolbox. As I thought and prayed about what is truly in my toolbox, I came up with 5 things.

This is by NO means an exhaustive list. Nor is it meant to be a smug recounting of how I implement all of these continuously.

Just some thoughts from a regular, average, run-of-the-mill mother of 6 on the Third World mission field, whose husband is often gone on ministry purposes.

While said woman’s husband is absent, she has plenty of opportunity to fling open the crate which safeguards the implements which will be of use to keep said woman peaceful and sane, with her eyes on Jesus, not on the tarantulas and scorpions and giant cockroaches which are seemingly ever present…

toolbox

My Toolbox:

Knowing God

My Bible

Prayer and fasting

Worship

Fellowship

Knowing who God is. I am not saying God is a tool…but that as believers, knowing who He is; is seriously my starting point for believing every Word in His Word.

Wrong ideas about God are not only the fountain from which the polluted waters of idolatry flow; they are themselves idolatrous.  ~A.W. Tozer

One of the best books that I have ever put in my brain is The Pursuit of God, by AW Tozer. This book was recommended to me by a Pastor many years ago, and it has been a blessing to me.

“Thus says the Lord the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, and there is no god besides me'” -Isaiah 44:6

-My Bible. Is God’s Word hidden in my heart? I was going through some deep waters several years ago (which I was not handling well….), and someone I love challenged me with this thought…”Sheila, you know so much Scripture, why don’t you apply it?”

Ouch.

Moving on…

Well, not moving on just yet. You know, one of my biggest reasons for not getting in my Word daily years ago, was that I simply did not have time. At that point, we had a 6 year old, a 2ish year old, and I was expecting baby number 3. And we homeschooled.

I was often feeling poorly, because of the morning sickness, and just was pretty tired.

So, I prayed about it. No guilt, no answering to anyone but the Lord. No checklist including Bible reading.

I sought the Lord and asked Him to help me “find the time” 😉

Pretty soon, I started waking up reeeeeaaaaaaallllly early in the morning. And I could not get back to sleep.

(Let me just insert here that I am not a morning person. When I was a little girl…my mom had to do all sorts of mean things to me…to get me out of bed. Turning lights on, singing obnoxious happy ditties about shining sun and birds singing. Not to mention the classic “yank the covers off the bed” trick.)

Ok, just so we are clear.

How early is early? Well, for me it started at 4:00 am. ( I know….!)

But, I could not get back to sleep.

So, like little Samuel who kept going to Eli the Priest when hearing the voice in the night (1 Samuel 3:2-10); I finally figured out that this was the Lord’s answer to my prayer!

This was found time!

He had made a way for me to have some quiet time to read my Bible, before the rest of the household was up. To this day, the wake-up call from the Lord continues. Sometimes, He wakes me at 2 something, sometimes 3 something, but usually it is right around 4:00 am. (full disclosure: I don’t always get up when He calls me! But, I know I am only stealing time from myself when I do that!)

“Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart” -Psalm 37:4

Prayer and fasting. One thing that has kept me focused over the years is by keeping a prayer journal. Well, I guess that sounds vaguely trendy…but trendy I am not. I am just a forgetful wretch that often can’t recount the wonderful blessings in my life.

The journaling started years ago, when  we attended a little country church. Every Sunday, the Pastor would teach Sunday School, but before he started, he would usually ask how the Lord has been working in our lives that week. It was almost always like I could seriously hear a chorus of crickets chirping. And for me too, I never would say anything. I was at a place in my walk that I saw the Lord working in my life, but would draw a blank when it came time to share.

This happened week after week, until finally one Sunday, I approached the Pastor, and said..’I know God is working in my life…when it comes to testimony time, it all slips my mind.’

You know what he said?

Ok, get ready for this cutting edge advice.

He said…’maybe you should start writing things down.’

Wow.

Yep. I got a little notebook and started writing things down that I saw the Lord do. I wrote down any verse that stood out to me. I wrote prayer requests.

Over the years, I have started highlighting things.

Here’s the dealio~~when the Lord answers a prayer that I have written down, I highlight it, and write the date in the margin, and a short testimony. Also, I highlight Scriptures that are given to me, or that the Lord impresses on me.

So, now, I can see very quickly, just glancing at all the highlighting in my journal…how good the Lord is, and that He does hear me, and does care.

Do not work so hard for Christ that you have no strength to pray, for prayer requires strength. ~Hudson Taylor

-Worship (I am not referring to only the singing of songs…either alone or congregationally). But, how I live moment by moment, for the glory of God.

All places are places of worship to a Christian. Wherever he is, he ought to be in a worshiping frame of mind. ~Charles Spurgeon

I read a good book several years ago (and still pick it up to read) called How To Worship Jesus Christ, by Joseph S. Carroll. Reading this book, was my initial understanding that worship is not simply singing.

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily as for the Lord rather than for men,” -Colossians 3:23

One of the Pharisees had invited Jesus to dine with him. So, Jesus came and reclined at his table.

“ And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He [Jesus] was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume.” –Luke 7:37-38

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The Pharisee was scornful.

Jesus explained to Simon…

“For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” ~Luke 7:47

Her worship did not involve singing.

The story of this woman, and her actions; and Jesus’ reaction; is one of my very favorite Bible passages.

Because, I too have been forgiven much.

-Fellowship the believers privilege. We gather to edify and encourage fellow pilgrims on our way to the Celestial City. Pray for one another. Bring dinner over on when they have a had a really rotten day. Call and TELL them you are praying for them. Better yet…pray with them right over the phone.

“Some Christians try to go to heaven alone, in solitude. But believers are not compared to bears or lions or other animals that wander alone. Those who belong to Christ are sheep in this respect, that they love to get together. Sheep go in flocks, and so do God’s people.” ~Charles Spurgeon

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-Sheila

 

 

 

 

“Judge Not!”

You know, it’s funny how many times I have had that yelled at me. God-haters always feel “judged” when God’s Word comes to bear on their souls. Sins that are loved now become suspect under the light of His Holy Word. Conviction is met with resistance. This is what the gospel does when it is preached to unregenerate mankind.

Who wouldn’t feel “judged” when their sin is illuminated? The Bible says they’re already judged…

“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” –John 3:18

The problem is that outside of Christ, sinners do not see their state before God. They see one side of the picture. They see God as “LOVE” but do not see that God is wrath as well…

“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” –John 3:36

It’s not until we see all of God’s attributes, that we see who God is and how He sees us.
The more I preach throughout Belize, the more I see how one-sided people are. They only see one side or attribute of God. They only see one side of who He is. So in reality they are the ones “judging”. They are judging God to be “loving” and one who overlooks all their sin. One who will not punish sinners. One who will not send anyone to hell. So much so, that some would even teach that hell doesn’t exist.

God has shown me a great deal from this “one-sided” thinking. You see, I am prone to see things one-sided myself.

See the picture above? What do you see? Well, if you wanted to get technical, there is long hair, a ponytail, blue shirt, and Caucasian skin. There are many things here.

But is it a male or female? Hmm…that’s a good question. A question we cannot answer with this view. Now if we go around to the front…


We see clearly that it’s a male.

Our pre-suppositions originally were that it was a woman. Why? Well, if we take societies standards, most women have long hair, are slender built, etc. So we take those items and impose them on this situation. Is that right? Well in the case of finding out truth it is. If we simply want to make a claim or statement based on only half of the picture, it’s a dangerous thing.

That’s what many do with God’s Holy Word. They see half of the story. They see the half that is spoon-fed them by society, friends, family members and even pastors. So many will make statements about God and His Word that simply are not true. Then, when confronted with what God’s Word actually says, they say it’s a lie. Are we believing lies today? Are we believing people over God?

Romans 3:4 tells us “let God be found true, though every man be found a liar.”

When we listen to man, we very well could be listening to lies. When we listen to God (and His Word) we are appealing to TRUTH. The Bereans never settled for man’s word…

“Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” –Acts 17:11

Did you catch that? They “received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.”

We MUST take everything said by others (including our pastors) and examine the Scriptures to see whether they are true or not. If we do not, then shame on us.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” –Hosea 4:6a

So, we have now addressed the problem of seeing things through a one-sided lens.

Recently, we had Josiah (our youngest son) in the park with us during outreach. He has a head full of cute curls. Someone was standing there with me and saw the back of Josiah and said “Is that your daughter?” He was immediately embarrassed when Josiah turned around to reveal that he was a boy. This is a humbling thing. To take a presupposition and make it conform to truth when the truth is exposed.

When the gospel is preached, it takes people’s presuppositions away by showing them the truth.
This also happens when we judge people or situations incorrectly. This man thought Josiah was a girl, until he found out otherwise. What he was (curls, long hair, etc.) led him to believe what he saw to be true…but it was false.

Often, I do that same thing. I judge a situation or person before gathering all the facts. About 7 months ago, we were at the park preaching and three Caucasians (one woman and two men) came through the park right towards me. Immediately I judged them. I told myself “Here comes your rejection for the day!” I judged incorrectly. They in fact came to encourage us. To pray for us. Excited that the gospel was being preached. My presupposition was all wrong. It was quickly corrected when they opened their mouths to speak to me. Today we all minister throughout Belize together. Praise God!

A wise man once told me, “Believe HALF of what you see and NONE of what you hear.”  I wasn’t totally sure of what that meant until a few months ago. The Lord showed us many unseen things. Some very disturbing things that should not be occurring in God’s ministry. From the outside, everything looked great. It appeared that God was “all over” the ministry. But through God’s grace and spirit I was able to see what truly lied behind the facade. Similar to what Jesus saw in Matthew 23…

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

You see, the Pharisees looked (on the outside) to “appear beautiful and righteous to men” but Jesus said they were “full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

God always looks at the heart. We look at the outside.

Quite often, I find myself looking and judging. Those times the Lord shows me I was wrong. Other times, I see and believe only to find out that I was also wrong in what I saw.

Imagine living in the days of the Pharisees. Seeing their “beautiful and righteous” appearance. It would  be hard not to judge them as holy individuals, devoutly devoted to God and His Word. But in reality, they were not. They had everyone fooled.

Unfortunately, here in Belize there is much of that going on. Ministries that have all the trappings of following God, serving God and pleasing God, yet behind the veneer is nothing more than dead men’s bones. Praise God for the Holy Spirit to reveal these things to His Saints.

Without the Holy Spirit, I would have been dead in the water here. He has guided us and directed us into the paths of truth and steered us away from error and deception many, many times.

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” –John 14:26

The Spirit keeps a Christian in check. When something is said, or taught, written, etc. The Spirit either confirms or denies based on HIS WORD. The more we know His Word, the more the Spirit can lead us in paths of Truth.

I still have a tremendous amount to learn about God. Who He is. His character. His life. His Son Jesus Christ.

My admonishment to (myself) and other Christians, is let’s not be so quick to judge based on sight, but based on the leading and guiding of the Spirit of God and His Word.

My Pastor (Gideon) recently preached on Matthew 7:1-6 and judging. It hit me right between the eyes. I pray it is a blessing to you as well: https://youtu.be/FTGFdS0d9dc?list=PLY9U1pdlwcbS6bMRY0_QsmpTJS-ZfaA3g

Keep fighting the good fight of faith!

For His Glory ALONE-
Nate

“Preach the Word! Preach the Word!”

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“Preach the Word! Preach the Word!

My Pastor and I just returned from a mini-preaching tour across Belize. Wednesday we preached in our normal spot at the park in Punta Gorda before we left the next day to head north. Thursday morning we headed out early and joined a dear Saint in Dangriga. We preached, handed out tracts and had divine conversations with Belizeans about their salvation. Shortly after Pastor Gideon preached, a man named Floyd stopped. He came up to Gideon and touched his arm and admonished him “Preach the Word! Preach the Word!”

“preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” -2 Timothy 4:2

Floyd was a born again believer who was excited to hear the words of life ringing through the air. It was the aroma of life to his soul as he passed by.

“For we are to God the sweet aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one, we are an odor of death and demise; to the other, a fragrance that brings life. And who is qualified for such a task?” -1 Corinthians 2:15-16

We were both able to talk to Floyd and encourage each other in Christ before I preached. A dear brother in Christ, Timmy joined us and handed, out tracts and did one2ones as well. Timmy is growing in his walk with the Lord. The Lord has placed a burning desire within him to reach the lost with the Gospel. I praise God for him. He is one of many laborers the Lord has risen up here in Belize. I prayed for Timmy for many months, asking God to raise up laborers HE wanted me to work with, and God answered my prayer.

“Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” –Matthew 9:38

Timmy is the first in many laborers the Lord has risen up for me to work with. GLORY TO GOD!

Pastor Gideon’s open-air sermon in Dangriga: https://youtu.be/eIbKpw9bCwU

My open-air sermon in Dangriga: https://youtu.be/7paENMkdkR0?list=PLY9U1pdlwcbStD-zas2452i9fKmAqIJje

After we were finished preaching, in downtown Dangriga, we joined Timmy and his wife for a wonderful lunch and then headed to Belmopan.

“For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.” -2 Corinthians 9:12

We settled in at Alvin and Joanie’s (Timmy’s brother) for the evening and prepared ourselves to preach in Belmopan the next day.

Friday mornings are one of the busiest times in Belmopan, the capital of Belize. Thousands upon thousands of Belizeans funnel through a park that is blanketed with vendor’s tents selling their wares. We set up to preach and no sooner did we set up and the Jehovah Witnesses came and sat down to propagate their false teachings. I was able to have a good talk with them and shortly after I started preaching they packed up and left! Light always pushes out the darkness!

“For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” -2 Corinthians 4:6

As I was handing out tracts, the Lord sent another Saint, from Kingston Jamaica, to encourage me. He has been there other times when I was preaching and this time was no different. He joyfully took the tract I had and admonished me “Preach the Word! Preach the Word!” …yet another brother who was delighted to hear the Word preached. While Pastor Gideon was preaching, again another man came up to him, seized his arm and said “Preach the Word! Preach the Word!” and placed $50 in his pocket and walked off. Praise God!

“For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.” –Philemon 1:7

While in Belmopan, we were joined by two other laborers, the Lord has risen up in answer to my prayers, Danny and Ronald. Dear Saints who have a burning desire to see His name proclaimed among the nations. They handed out many tracts alongside us and spoke with many about their eternal destination.

Pastor Gideon’s open-air sermon in Belmopan: https://youtu.be/CvcHXLS8yLQ?list=PLY9U1pdlwcbStD-zas2452i9fKmAqIJje

My open-air sermon in Belmopan: https://youtu.be/ZIxSbJ2PfbQ?list=PLY9U1pdlwcbStD-zas2452i9fKmAqIJje

After we left the Belmopan park, the Lord used Gideon and I to minister to a dear Pastor friend who lives in Roaring Creek. He has a small flock, the Lord has given him, and he has been faithful to preach Christ each Sunday. He has been going through some serious spiritual warfare and the Lord used us to minister to him. Praise God.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” -2 Corinthians 1:3-4

We got up early Saturday morning and and headed to San Ignacio. SI is a really big expat community with many God-hating Americans. On two previous trips to SI, an American confronted us and demanded we stop preaching or he would call the police. Unfortunately, they did, and the police were sympathetic to the preaching of the Word and we were allowed to continue unhindered. GLORY TO GOD!

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” –James 1:2-4

We were not sure what awaited us this time. San Ignacio has a huge market with many souls to reach. When we arrived we went to the normal spot I preach from (a bleacher stand that is high and above the entire market) and God gave us favor in open—air preaching at that same spot again. As the speaker was turned on and the preaching started, many ears were pointed to Christ. His Word thundered down over the entire market. Many were seized and just stood and listened. It was a huge move of God.

“Wisdom shouts in the street, She lifts her voice in the square” –Proverbs 1:20

Pastor Gideon’s open-air sermon in San Ignacio: https://youtu.be/wIbH4FC7yHA?list=PLY9U1pdlwcbStD-zas2452i9fKmAqIJje

My open-air sermon in San Ignacio: https://youtu.be/DqiPow5aKx0?list=PLY9U1pdlwcbStD-zas2452i9fKmAqIJje

Ronald’s open-air sermon in San Ignacio: https://youtu.be/pm4NSoo4BlE 

We were joined by another six laborers. Timmy, his wife Elnora, friend Pancho, Ronald, his son and Sobhi. The entire market was tracted, many were addressed about their eternal state, and all were pointed to Christ ALONE.

“but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness” -1 Corinthians 1:23

Pancho was a brand new laborer, who God saved in July. He burned with a desire to see the lost reached with the Gospel. It was a joy to meet anther brother the Lord has risen up in answer to my prayers. Ronald and I have preached before. He is a dear brother who loves the Lord and seeing Christ proclaimed. I have been working with him and many from his church in outreach training. Sobhi is a dear brother who the Lord placed in my path months ago, when we were preaching in SI. He was yet another who heard the Word, was blessed by it, and admonished us to “Preach the Word! Preach the Word!” Since our first conversation the Lord had brought him into the fold of laborers. Glory to God!

As we wrapped up outreach on Saturday, we admonished the Saints to press on and we headed back home.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” –Hebrews 12:1-2

This past Sunday, Pastor Gideon preached a POWERFUL message from James 1:18-27. I encourage you to listen to it. He preached with all the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ…”Preach the Word! Preach the Word!”

Listen to Pastor Gideon’s POWERFUL sermon here: https://youtu.be/A-FUUu_Ys6I?list=PLY9U1pdlwcbS6bMRY0_QsmpTJS-ZfaA3g

The Lord has opened so many doors here in Belize. We have been here for almost 2 years now. It feels like we just arrived. I praise His Holy name for all the answered prayers, provision and prayers of the Saints on our behalf. I could write a book about the amazing things happening here.

I pray this post in some way encourages you to press on, to keep praying, keep encouraging, keep reaching, teaching and preaching.

Consider this post as my way of seizing your arm and admonishing you to “Preach the Word! Preach the Word!”

For His Glory ALONE-

Nate

The Gospel After “S”

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.”-Galatians 6:9

This has been a season of many changes for my family and I. Over the last year and a half, we have obeyed the Lord in moving to a Third World country, leaving all of our friends and family behind. Our frail humanities have had to adjust to the heat, the culture, and the (seemingly) ever-present biting insects. Oh, and let’s not forget, the random power outages, and water shutoffs. Ha ha…~

In addition, we have seen God direct, and provide for, our ministry over these last 18 months or so…as He clarified what His assignment is for us here.

Another big change for us as we adjusted to life here on this mission field is that 4 of our children are now attending a private Christian school here in our village.

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Many changes. Some were more comfortable than others.

We have homeschooled our children ever since Cheyenne was little…(she is now 17…and ENGAGED…boy do we feel old…!)

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So that has been a very big adjustment. The children like the school, AND  the school is one of the very few in Belize that use the same Christian curriculum that I used in the States; Abeka.

Sierra and Bryce are both in what they call Standard IV, which is equivalent to Grade 6. Shiloh is 6 years old and in Kindergarten. Eliana is 4 years old and doing Pre-K.

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Shiloh an Eliana both have half day. So I pick them up at noon. (which I was on my way to do a few days ago, when our 180 Bus…which I have renamed Ichabod…Lol….; broke down)

So, in the mornings, I have some super-sweet time with my favoritest (that is a Sheila~ism) blonde haired, curly headed, sugar-coated (sometimes its syrup…) baby boy. Who is now three. How did that happen?

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Well, Josiah and I get to read books, play with our plastic animals (thanks Liz!), and practice the alphabet.

I got the alphabet chart out one morning last week. And we proceeded to exercise our alphabetic muscles.

I would point to each letter, say the name of the letter, and he would repeat after me. This was a super fun game. And he was really engaged with it.

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Until we got to the letter “s”. Well, actually, I pointed to the “s” and he dutifully said “s”. Then we got to the next letter.

Ok…all my scholarly peeps…what is the next letter????

I pointed to the next letter, and before I could say anything, Josiah declared confidently “GOSPEL”.

‘No, Josiah’. That is the letter “t”.

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I pointed to it again.

Again he very matter-of-factly said, “Gospel.”

I was getting a bit irritated at this point. (I am thinking…’wow, I thought he knew the alphabet…!’)

Suddenly, I felt a slap upside ma head (anyone else grow up with slaps upside yo heads?)

Not a real slap.

Lol….

But, the Holy Spirit had to really get my attention. Because I am kind of slow sometimes.

Josiah saw the letter “t” and was saying ‘that is the Gospel.’

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How much more simple can you get?

The Gospel is the Good News. About the cross. Not just two pieces of wood, but the symbol of what God did for us through His Son, Jesus.

The apostle Paul puts it like this…

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith.”-Romans 1:16-17

One of the bennies of having just Josiah at home in the mornings, is that I get to go with Nate sometimes to do outreach/witnessing at the park In Punta Gorda.

There is a (very non-OSHA approved) playground there with a few swings and a slide, which Josiah loves to play on! There is also a concrete manatee.

Who knew??

Anyway, while I am there pushing Josiah on the swing, or watching him  go down the slide or the 87th (ok…exaggeration…MAYBE…) time, I ask God to bring people to me that I could give a tract to. And maybe even talk to.

I am a very shy person (believe it OR NOT…!), and I just ask the Lord to bring me who He wants me to talk to.

In this season of my life, He seems to bring me moms with children.

This week, I gave a young mom a Gospel tract. She took it with big smile and a “thank you”, and proceeded to sit down on the bench next to me and read it,)as she watched her 2 year old son bounce around…with her other eye. 😉

I was sitting next to her, eating my banana (they are 8/$.50 in the market!); and asked her if she had ever heard the Gospel before. She kind of laughed (you know that laugh that you do when you’re uncomfortable…?)and said yes. I said, ‘do you understand what the Gospel is?’ She gave me a blank stare.

I then asked her if she died would she go to heaven. She said ‘I am not good enough.’

Oh, boy.

She had been told (maybe many times…) pretty much that her chance of getting into heaven was directly proportionate to the good things she did. ‘I can’t do all those things, and I still do bad things.’

Hmmm.

We can never be good enough.

Do enough.

Work enough.

“not do bad things” enough.

Because Jesus is enough.

He made Him to be sin who knew no sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”-2 Corinthians 5:21

We had a great conversation, and I got lots of solid Christ-centered materials in her hand. (thank you Chapel Library!)

So…as it turns out, Josiah was right.

The Gospel is about the cross. About the One who gave His life as a ransom on that cross.

( In Josiah’s  case the letter “t”, which to his little eyes…looks a lot like a cross.)

At the beginning of this post, I shared this verse…

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.”
-Galatians 6:9

Whatever God has called you to do, leave the results to Him.

In my case, it is parenting. Boy, do I grow weary.

Raising children and teaching and training them in the Word is not always easy.

Others have differing callings, but the Truth is the same. Keep on.

Keep going.

One day, you may get to hear a three year old tell you that the gospel is all about the cross.

😉

For the Cross~

Sheila

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5,000 Garifuna Bibles Printed…You Must Read This…

5,000 Garifuna Bibles Printed!

Yes, there are actually 5,000 Garifuna Bibles printed as we speak.

The only thing left to do is to print covers, bind them up, and ship them to Belize!

Let me explain this phenomenal news to you…

As you know, many months ago, the Lord laid on our hearts to seek permission to reprint the Garifuna Bible. Here in Belize a Garifuna Bible costs one month’s wages. They are too costly for believers to purchase, so most Garifuna churches only average 2-3 Bibles per congregation. One for the pastor, and two to share among the other believers.

Imagine the Lord saving you and you having no Bible to read, meditate upon, memorize, or grow in. 

Through working with a local Garifuna pastor here who oversees 600 Garifuna churches, we found out that there are 5,000 believers WITHOUT A SINGLE BIBLE. This burden fueled us to see Bibles placed into the hands of these believers. We prayed, laid the need at the feet of the Lord, and left it there. A few months later I received an email from a dear pastor telling me he wanted to make this happen. Just months later the Lord brought in almost all of the $15,000 needed to make this a reality.

HERE’S THE INCREDIBLE NEWS…

This morning I was talking with Brother Carney at Pisgah Printing Ministry and he said “We printed the Garifuna Bibles!” My jaw dropped and many thoughts ran through my head…“How much is this going to cost?”…”Why did he go to print without our permission?”…”Did I mis-communicate something?”…etc, etc. So I asked him, “Did you print a mock Bible (one sample)?” …he said, “No, we printed all 5,000”…WOW, I was floored. So, I proceeded to ask him if there was a mis-communication and he said, “No, we just wanted to print them and fill this need”. GLORY TO GOD!

Long story short, his printing ministry is by faith. They do not require payment. Folks donate as they feel led. This being said, the cost of printing one Garifuna Bible is $1. That’s less than half the cost originally quoted by our printer in Belarus! PRAISE GOD!

Since the Lord has been faithful through His servants to provide almost $13,000, we are now not only able to donate $5,000 to this ministry for the Bibles they already printed, but another $5,000 for an additional five thousand Garifuna Bibles–and still have enough to cover freight expenses!

So, we praise the Lord that we are now able to get 10,000 Garifuna Bibles printed and shipped to us here for distribution. GLORY TO GOD ALONE!

Thank you to all who have supported this campaign!

God has done it again. His timing, His work, His way. 10,000 Garifuna Bibles. GLORY!

We will keep you posted with videos on our You Tube Channel and pictures in the near future!

For His Glory ALONE!
Nate and Sheila Steuer

Peace IN the Storm

Have you ever been stuck in a storm?

Maybe you were in town getting errands done, and all of a sudden a storm cloud blows in. Thunder! Lighting! Flash-flood downpours! It’s then that you quickly remember what you left home without…your umbrella!

Belize is no stranger to storms. The thunder and lightning here is like nothing we’ve ever experienced anywhere in our lives.

“He covers His hands with the lightning, And commands it to strike the mark.” –Job 36:32

It’s so intense that it rocks you clear to the very core of your being.

…and then there’s the rain. Let’s just put it this way, we get in excess of 170”+ of rain here in our district. The average person would think, “Wow, then it must rain day and night for months!” Well, not really. When it rains here it dumps an excessive amount all at one time. Four to five to ten inches of rain can fall in a very short period of time, leaving localized flooding throughout the country, and making hearing impossible as it batters the metal roof.

Just a month ago, I was up north in Spanish Lookout driving through hundreds of acres of dry, barren, arid fields.

A dear brother there planted hundreds of acres of corn and was concerned his whole crop was at risk. As we went from field to field, we stopped and dug down into the ground to find the corn seed. He said that if the ground did not receive rain for an extended period of time, then all the seed was at risk of rotting. If it rots, then when the rain does come, there’s no harvest! Thousands of dollars in seed…worthless.

I’ve never farmed in my life, or know much about farming, so it was a day of learning for me. As my heart went out to this dear brother, we prayed for rain and trusted God for the outcome. Praise God just a week later the rains came and his fields were covered in an abundant harvest.

“He will give the rain for your land in its season, the early and late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil.” –Deuteronomy 11:14

Here in Belize, we have gone from months with dry, barren, dusty, cracked, ground…

to saturated, flooded ground…

It’s a way of life. It’s normal. It’s Belize.

We just recently came through our very first hurricane here.

Earl ripped across the landscape of Belize just last night into the noon lunch hour today. Our power has been off and on from midnight to just a few minutes ago. We only ended up receiving an inch or two of rain here, with very little winds. Up north did not fare so well. The eye of the storm ripped through San Pedro…

…Belize City…

…Belmopan…

…and onward west to San Ignacio (we preach on this stage)…

Earl did not leave any minor memories behind. Many are without homes. Many homes are under water. It’s too early to even tell how many lives Earl may have taken.

Earl has left his mark.

Physical storms are normal here.

So are spiritual storms.

While we were preparing for Earl’s arrival, we were dealing with a few other storms that could not be detected by Doppler radar, Accuweather, weather underground, or your local weather forecast. These were storms that could only be detected by the Spirit of God. These spiritual storms have been brewing for some time now.

I praise the Lord for His “warning” alerts when these storms come. His Spirit is always reliable. Guiding, leading, preparing, and discerning the things to look out for; the landmines that are all around us here. False teaching, deceivers, manipulators, and many others that want nothing more than to derail what God has called us to do.

In his ministry work, Paul was no stranger to these landmines (and warned of them)…

Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.” –Acts 20:28-31

I praise God for His warnings through His Spirit. Without His power (as manifested through His Holy Spirit) in my life, I would have crashed and burned many months ago.

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” –John 14:26

Unfortunately, there are many who follow the leading of man rather than God. But Scripture tells us…

“…let God be found true, though every man be found a liar” –Romans 3:4

Appealing to the flesh, instead of the Spirit. Paul said, “I am bound in the Spirit” (Acts 20:22). He knew where his power came from. He knew where the TRUTH came from…

GOD.

It’s real easy as a Christian to hear God’s clear direction and leading and then immediately doubt it was Him.

Why?

For me, I can say, many times it’s because man enters the picture. Men oftentimes sow doubt, discord, and confusion. Where are all these things from?

Not from God… For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” (1 Corinthians 14:33)…but rather our adversary, Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8).

Some of these recent spiritual storms have swirled around doubt.

Did God really say that?
Does He really want me to say that?
Does He really want me to do that?
Does He really want me to go there?
99.999% of the time the answer is…YES!

On some rare .0001% of the times (after seeking a multitude of counsel) I have found that I washearing wrong. It was the adversary planting a seed that appeared to be sown by the Spirit of God.

He’s a good at wearing a mask.

Deceiving.

Why?

Because he’s a hypocrite…

Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” -2 Corinthians 11:14.

When we embrace this TRUTH, it will help us tremendously as we walk through this life.

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” -1 John 4:1

We can confirm we are being led in the TRUTH by the One who IS TRUTH.

The Lord has taught me many things these past 15 months. I praise Him for that.

Things are never what they appear, that’s for sure. Recently I was speaking with a brother who said, “Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear”. Too true. Time and time again, here in Belize, that’s proven to be true.

So, where is God in these storms? (physical & spiritual)

Job 36:27-33 tells us “Behold, God is exalted, and we do not know Him; the number of His years is unsearchable. For He draws up the drops of water, they distill rain from the mist, which the clouds pour down, they drip upon man abundantly. Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds, the thundering of His pavilion? Behold, He spreads His lightning about Him, and He covers the depths of the sea. For by these He judges peoples; He gives food in abundance. He covers His hands with the lightning, and commands it to strike the mark. Its noise declares His presence; The cattle also, concerning what is coming up.”

Did you catch that? Its noise declares His presence”.

He is in the storm!

How about Job 37:2-5, “Listen closely to the thunder of His voice, and the rumbling that goes out from His mouth. Under the whole heaven He lets it loose, and His lightning to the ends of the earth. After it, a voice roars; He thunders with His majestic voice, and He does not restrain the lightnings when His voice is heard. God thunders with His voice wondrously, doing great things which we cannot comprehend.”

“thunder of His voice” (vs 2)
“goes out from His mouth” (vs 2)
“He thunders with His majestic voice” (vs 4)
“His voice is heard” (vs 4)
“God thunders with His voice wondrously” (vs 5)

He is in the storm!

Where was He when Earl arrived in Belize early this morning?

“Out of the south comes the storm, and out of the north the cold. From the breath of God ice is made, and the expanse of the waters is frozen. Also with moisture He loads the thick cloud; He disperses the cloud of His lightning. It changes direction, turning around by His guidance, that it may do whatever He commands it on the face of the inhabited earth. Whether for correction, or for His world, or for lovingkindness, He causes it to happen.” –Job 37:9-13

“He loads the thick cloud” (vs 11)
“He disperses the cloud” (vs 11)
“turning around by His guidance” (vs 12)
“He commands it” (vs 12)
“He causes it” (vs 13)

He was in the storm!

Some storms in our life are for correction, “Whether for correction” (vs 13). Some are for our blessing, “or for lovingkindness” (vs 13).

I believe Earl was a storm of correction (for Belize)…

(Below- BAR in San Pedro BEFORE Earl)

(Above- BAR removed by God AFTER Earl)

…and I will keep that for another blog post.

Spiritual storms are the same. Some are for our eternal good…
“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison…” -2 Corinthians 4:17…and others for our chastisement I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men…” -2 Samuel 7:14 because He blesses those He teaches (Psalm 94:12) and chastises those who He loves (Hebrews 12:7-11).

But, God is still in the storm!

In the eye of a storm (like Earl), is the calmest place.

Tranquility.

Calmness.

PEACE.

God is in the eye of the storm.

When we embrace (trust) Him, in the storms that rage in our lives, we have perfect PEACE…
I like how the KJV renders Isaiah 26:3, Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

He keeps us in perfect PEACE. Because we TRUST in Him.

Now think about this. With Earl, there were 70mph+ winds swirling all around the eye of the storm but perfect PEACE in the center. Absolute chaos surrounding the eye. That’s how storms in our life are (with Christ). While all the clouds gather, (the haters hate, the deceivers deceive, the cars break down, the power goes out, the kids are sick, etc.) we have total PEACE. Because we are TRUSTING in Him alone. We are clinging to Christ. He sustains us and takes us through the storm.

He is in the eye of the storm.

“When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.  The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” -Matthew 8:23-27

Jesus is in perfect PEACE (asleep in the boat) in the center of the storm. They think they’re“going to perish” (looking by sight), but when they seek Him (faith), they TRUST Him, He calms the storm…and there is PEACE.

“Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” and Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!” -Matthew 14:22-33

Another storm.

This time it looks impossible.

In the middle of the storm is JESUS. He beckons “Come!”. Peter responds…

…and everything appears to be going well until Peter starts to sink. He takes his eyes off Jesus and places them on the storm!

Jesus doesn’t leave him.
He doesn’t call him names.
He doesn’t strike him dead on the spot.
Rather He calmly reveals to Peter his heart…”Why did you doubt?”.

WOW.

When Peter got out of the boat he trusted, but quickly took his focus (TRUST) off of Him, he began to sink.

There is so much for me to learn in the storm. So many times, I begin trusting, but quickly end up doubting. Taking my eyes from the only one who is true (JESUS) and placing them on the world (sight). As much as I dislike the storms, I pray that the Lord continues to bring them.

I learn.
I grow.
I TRUST more than I did the previous storm.

How about you?

What storms are you going through today?

Are you sinking?
Or are you TRUSTING?

I pray that I continue to cling to Him…ALONE. Trusting. Waiting. Loving my Savior.

In His love and for His glory ALONE-
Nate

Belize Photo BLOG

“Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count.” -Psalm 40:5

Our desire is to display the Glory of God through His wonders here in Belize. We pray that these photos encourage you. -Nate & Sheila

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The Prayers of Many

“He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and He will deliver us. We have put our hope in him that He will deliver us again while you join us in helping us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gift that came to us through the prayers of many.” – 2 Corinthians 1:10-11

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Have you ever been down?

Or dealt with depression?

Or felt lonely…?

Perhaps you’ve thought nobody cared if you were even alive?

Maybe you are going through some things that just seem insurmountable and you see no light at the end of the tunnel.

I know for sure that I have felt all of those things.

Even before my family and I packed up and moved to a Third World country; I have felt all those things…and more. The darkness of depression has caused me to waste a portion of my life.

Paul sure knew about dreadful situations.

In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul gives us a little peek into some of the hardships he endured. He tells us he was beaten with rods, shipwrecked, spent a day and a night in the sea, and all kinds of dangers.

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Life on the mission field in a Third World country has revealed some things to me. About me.

For example, I want to be able to pick up the phone and be able to call one of my besties if I just need to jabber about the horrendous happenings of my day.

Or, sometimes I just need to fall into the arms of a sister in Christ. Who may not completely understand my situation, but she loves me and wants to help.

Or, maybe I’m craving a mom’s night out. Dinner, followed by a stop at the local coffee shop….perfect!

Or, take a nice warm bubble bath at the end of a hectic, harrying day.

In this place, our phone connection (with the US) is dependent upon our internet connection. (Ah, the wonders of technology…!)

So, when our net is down, not only is my ability to email, Skype, message, etc; gone, but also my ability to simply call someone and cry.

I don’t get mom’s night out here.

I don’t get coffee shops.

I don’t get any hugs from stateside sisters. (until they come here to visit. Yay!!)

We don’t have a bathtub. Or hot water. So, bubble baths are out of the question. Lol…

On June 30, the Lord impressed upon me the verse..

“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” -Colossians 4:2

Well, I have been a pray-er for a long time now. My times talking with the Lord have been refreshing, revealing, and convicting.

But, I realized, as I read that passage over and over again…that even though I pray a lot….

Am I “devoted” in prayer? The Greek word Paul used there means “to be courageously persistent”. Hmmm.

Am I “keeping alert” in it? Am I watchful..?

Do I have an “attitude of thanksgiving”?

The Lord has really shown me these last few weeks more things.

I did not realize how lonely a walk this missionary life is.

It was often easy for me, in the States, with my “regular” (as “regular” as you can be as a homeschooling mother of 6 children, whose husband is a street preacher…Lol….!) life; to say how “busy” I was.

Too busy to make time to see an old friend.

Too busy to return that phone call, or email.

Too busy to sit on the floor and play animals with my children.

Too busy to write a note of encouragement to someone who the Lord put on my heart.

We had a team visit recently. This team will never know what a blessing they were. From a church we attended many years ago.

As I talked with one of the ladies on the team, we were chatting about there only being a few days left on the trip, and then back to the airport.

Then I told her…”that is the hardest part for me.”

The leaving…and then it is back to regular life for me. Hugs, tears, waves goodbye, and then back into the desert of loneliness.

I know I sound dramatic…but seriously…that’s how it feels.

After having 6 children, I can liken the feeling to going home from the hospital after having a baby.

At the hospital, you have nurses attending to every physical need. Lactation consultants fluttering in to encourage you in the correct techniques. Health and wellness counselors stopping by to inspire healthy eating and living habits.  Parenting “experts” dropping in to give their 2 cents on raising healthy, well-adjusted children. Pastors, friends, relatives all popping in with well-wishes and inspiration for your upcoming parental journey. Sometimes bearing gifts of handmade baby items, candy or the promise of a home cooked meal.

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And then, you go home.

Well, that is where you should be. But, it can feel overwhelming.

You were surrounded by legions of help. Now, it is just you, and your husband, left to the weighty task of parenting.

Paul.

2 Corinthians 11:24-28

( my paraphrased listing…)

five times beaten with 39 lashes

-three times beaten with rods

-stoned

-shipwrecked

-a night and a day in the deep

-in dangers from rivers

-dangers from robbers

-dangers from his own countrymen

-dangers from the Gentiles

-dangers in the city

-dangers in the wilderness

-dangers on the sea

-dangers among false brethren

-he’d been in labor and hardship

-sleepless nights

-in hunger and thirst

-in cold and exposure

-then there were the pressures of daily concern for all the churches

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Wow. That is quite a list. Boy, if anybody had reason to despair, I guess Paul would qualify.

“For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life;” -2 Corinthians 1:8

Have you ever felt so burdened that you “despaired even of life”…?

Broken…?

I have. Like you just could not take another step…? Like you were drowning…?

“indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us.” -2 Corinthians 1:9-10

Paul sure did.

But, thanks be to our good and gracious El Shaddai, our God who is mighty and strong. He is able to deliver us out of our many troubles.

I have realized recently, just like the apostle Paul, that I have *many* who pray faithfully for me. And those prayers come before the Lord on my family’s behalf.

“you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.” -2 Corinthians 1:11

THANK YOU!

To each person that prays faithfully for us. Your prayers are vital to keeping us here. The LORD in His power has brought us here for such a time as this; and your faithful prayers on our behalf help to sustain us. Even through the wicked storms that we are currently weathering.

I recently read an excellent work on prayer by JC Ryle, titled, “A Call To Prayer”. It is a short booklet type publication, available free through Chapel Library. Thank you, Chapel Library!

This is also a THANK YOU to those who keep me in touch with their lives. Those who send me their own prayer requests. Pictures of what is going on in their lives.

THANK YOU to the ones who sent our lovely graduating Cheyenne; notes of encouragement and prayer. Cheyenne even received blessings from folks we have never met. Who just want to bless her.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU to those who inquire of our needs here on the mission field.  Simple things such as iron-fortified children’s vitamins, something you could just pop in to any mass market store in the States; and be faced with a multitude of choices….are just plain hard to get here.

THANK YOU to those whose churches faithfully bring our specific needs before the throne of grace, by name.

THANK YOU to those who financially support us. Every penny helps.

Currently, we have storms on many fronts that we are weathering.  Very, very burdensome challenges each by themselves.

The Lord is teaching me what it means to pray.

To be watchful. To be diligent. To be thankful in it….

To be thankful FOR it. And thankful for YOU!

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,” -Philippians 1:3

Thanking God for YOU today!

~Sheila

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