Monthly Archives: October 2009

It is well….

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But Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well with my soul

 Last Sunday in church we sang this song written by Horatio Spafford, ” It Is Well With My Soul.”

Horatio had sent his family on vacation on a ship, planning to meet them later.  On the way the ship sank.  His wife survived but he lost 4 daughters in that horrific tragedy.  On another ship, on his way to meet his wife he penned this song in his cabin after passing the spot where he lost his daughters….

It Is Well With My Soul

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Horatio Spafford

 

For Thy coming we wait…

THE SKY!

not the grave…

IS OUR GOAL!!!!!

Oh…TRUMP of the angel…

OH, VOICE of the LORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are all missing a beloved family member and friend today and our hope rests in knowing that one day we will all be together again in the heavenlies, holding hands with Jesus and sharing our stories with each other.  Catching up…let’s not say “goodbye” let’s just say ” see you later!”   May the JOY of knowing Christ overcome your sorrow…just as Horatio let it overcome his.  May you feel His embrace and His love at this time.

God be with you…

Donna

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Willing: Eager to serve!

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Hello!

As a person who had never been out of the comfort zone of the good old U S of A I wasn’t sure what to expect when we got to Slovakia.  Sure, I had done research, read the travel brochures, and seen pictures.  My expectations were rather grim being that Slovakia has a communist history and has  been busy dusting off her shoes for the past 18 years.   No amount of research could have ever prepared me for what I brought back home with me! 

This first photo is what Bratislava looks like from a distance.  This was taken upon our arrival into the city.  These buildings are the remnants of the communist regime.  They all look the same and this picture doesn’t really do them justice because when you first see it, you know you are in another time and another place.  I’ve said it before and will say it again, I felt like I had gone back in time!  

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 A lot of the buildings are in disrepair and look like this.  There is much effort being made to renovate these old relics.  As I walked along the city streets during the week , I noted just how many buildings were being worked on!    Some of the streets were torn up, new sidewalks were being prepared, dump trucks were in and out, jack hammers were heard and men were at work.  This reminded me of how God works on us.  He is constantly chiseling away the old stuff to reveal the new stuff!  He replaces the rotten material with new material, he gives us a new coat of paint when we need it!   I am thankful for the men working on these old buildings in this historical city.   I am also very grateful and humbled for the gracious and abundant hand of God that is always at work on His creation, mixing the colors and creating new!

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In this next photo you can see the old mixed with the new.  The fresh paint of the gray and the pink in contrast to the peeling and faded colors of the past.  I found this transformation amazing to see in this way.  It has given me a new perspective and a refreshed hope.  It tells me that no matter what the decay is, or how old things are, they can be fixed by those who are willing to do the work.  They can be made new and given new life with a little effort and work from the hands that care.  It tells me that all is not lost and that there IS hope. 

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How does this apply to us?  Well, we are all in need of some sort of repairing, from addictions to salvation, we ALL need saving.  Every one of us everyday.  Sure, I like to think that I don’t need any help, who doesn’t like to be independent?  The truth is that I need help every second of the day.  I cannot rely on SELF to do anything.  I must fully rely on God.  In seeing these buildings in this manner  I was able to realize just how much work God has already done on me as well as how much MORE he has to do.  Just because we are saved doesn’t mean we are perfect.  God doesn’t just erase all the bad stuff.  It takes time, prayer, effort, more prayer, and a willingness to change.  We must put action with our prayers.  It happens over time, it is a process.  Just like these old buildings, they are being restored one at a time from the inside out.  A process of renovation.   Removing the old to prepare for the new.  Our whole life is a process of elimination.  Think about that one !  Thoughts?

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This picture is where we spent a great amount of our time.  We cleaned 8 tons of dirt, rock, bricks and stuff out of this old cellar.  At a first glance you think,             ” what in the world can this space possibly be used for?  It is dark, dank and musty. The mortar is crumbling and there is lime buildup on the walls.  It just plain stinks!”   After several days of doing the back breaking, intensive, physical labor of removing the STUFF, mainly 8 tons of dirt, it became evident to us that there was indeed a better plan for this space!  Once we eliminated the dust and dirt, the beauty began to come through.  

Every morning we would eat breakfast in the dining room at the hostel.  It too was in a cellar.  It was  a beautiful space.  Much like what we had been working in all week.  The difference in it was that the dining room had been renovated already.  Each morning I would say to myself, ” that cellar will look like this one day.”  I believe that is what God is saying about us as He watches us struggle and fight to remove our own grime.  I think God is saying: One day these people will look like Me!”  WOW!  Working in this cellar really made me realize how much junk we hang onto, how much dirt is in our lives and with willing hands and hearts, how much of that can BE RESTORED!!!!!!  That is our hope!  Complete restoration in knowing Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior! Woot! Woot!  Isn’t that exciting????

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Do you see the contrast here? From one picture to the next we can and will rise from the dust and dirt of our past! 

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I am not sure what has been decided about using this space and several things were mentioned from a food pantry to a youth center, to a family center.  All of those ideas are wonderful and each will reach the lost in the willingness of the church to serve Jesus Christ.   Today I would like to encourage Roberto, Gabi, Brian, Stefano, Vojta, Martina, Viera and all the members of both churches to continue being the willing hands and feet that serve Jesus Christ right there in Slovakia. 

Romans 10 ( NIV)

14How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Slovakia,

Your feet are beautiful, your souls have been redeemed and your hearts are afire with passion for Christ.  Working side by side with you has brought me more hope and joy than I ever thought possible.  My heart is bursting with the joy that God gave you to share with me.   God has used you to transform me and I thank our Creator for YOU!  I pray that God will allow us to work together again, side by side, with willing hands and hearts.

May your beautiful feet always be busy taking the Good News to the people of Slovakia.

In Christ’s precious and cleansing blood,

Donna

 

Letting Go and Letting GOD!

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Good Morning!  I have been catching my breath this week…getting back into our normal family routine, getting rested from the many plane flights and jet lag of the previous week.  My mind is not quite the same as it was when I left on October 12.  I have a new mindset on many things and that’s a good thing.  I needed to wake up!  We all need cold water splashed on our face every now and then…it can be invigorating! 

This morning I have a message on my heart.  This picture was taken close to our hostel in Slovakia.  I love the contrast of the old and the new, as well as the angle of the picture.  I don’t do anything “normal!”  I guess I was feeling a little helter skelter on this day…haha!  That’s pretty normal for me.  I was truly blessed by this trip and meeting the people there.  The Slovaks have a history like we cannot imagine.  As we worked side by side with them on the bucket brigade and other projects we got to hear about their history of living in a communist regime.  I felt like I had gone back in time.  As Americans, we really have no idea, can’t wrap our minds around it and we are spoiled, spoiled, spoiled, rotten!  These folks have had to fight for everything and still are today.

This picture reminds me of thier history.  You see, as we entered the city we saw a myriad of buildings that were all exactly alike, same sizes, same colors, regimented in rows, street, after street.  Remnants of the communist regime.  The old life. As we drove along we would see splashes of color here and there.  The new life.  In God’s Holy Word we are told to get rid of our old life and take up our new life.  This is what I see in Slovakia.  Jesus never said it would be easy but we know that it leads us to a life eternal.  The Slovaks know that too.  The leaders of the Methodist church there have many challenges, challenges that are unlike ours, yet the same in that the decisions made for Christ all lead to a life eternal. 

On the left building we see the wall crumbling, paint peeling and the building is in great disrepair.  It needs help.  In one way I see this as the falling of the communist regime as well as the peeling away of our old selves.  When we think rotten, act rotten and do rotten, we ARE rotten!   This building represents our old life.  The building on the right represents our new life in knowing that Christ Jesus is our Savior.  It is clean, colorful, and beautiful!  When we accept Christ, and I mean truly, truly, accept Christ as our Lord and Savior then we become like this refreshed and repainted building.  Bright and joyful! 

When I was younger, I always said, ” sure I believe in God.”  But you know what?  My actions did not match my words.  God knew this.  He gave me chance after chance to get to know Him.  Sometimes I would push those chances away and other times I would yearn for them.  Well, I am older now and have a much better understanding of what it means to be a Believer of Jesus Christ.  It’s not about denomination or religion.  For me it is about falling deeply in love with the One who gives us everything He has…His life.  Not because someone tells me to or that it is what the rules say, but because I WANT to, because it has become my heart’s DESIRE, not the world’s.  It is about committing my entire being to doing His will, not mine.  It is about having a firey passion to follow God in all that He asks.  It is about taking baby steps, normal steps and even leaps of faith into His loving arms.  It is about giving up fears and going for the gusto.  It is about overcoming evil and striving to do what is right, no matter how hard it is, no matter what anyone says, no matter if it means losing friends.  If GOD is saying it, then we MUST do it.  It means following GOD and not the world.  It means having your eyes set on the prize of eternal life.  FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS.  It means giving up my old self, my old ways, my lies, my betrayals, my SELF, my attitude of righteousness, my know it all-ness, my addictions, my ego, my gifts, my family, my life, my money, my stuff.  It means leaving all of that at the foot of the cross.  It means dedicating my whole self to Jesus.  The way I act, the way I respond, the way I eat, the way I exercise, the way I talk, the way I forgive, the way I love, and on and on and on.  It is the giving up of self.  It’s not easy and with GOD all things are possible.   As a Christian, I am to walk the straight and narrow road.  I must also have a willing heart.  None of this will happen without it.  I don’t always succeed and I need a lot of encouragement, love, mercy and grace.  The good news is that when I do screw it up, God is right there to pick me up, dust me off and send me on my way again!  Cheering me on the whole way.  I thank Our Creator for always being in that cheering section and for always being willing to lend me a helping hand. 

Ephesians 4 says: ( MSG)

The Old Way Has to Go

 17-19  And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion.

 20-24But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.

 25What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. 26-27Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life. 28Did you use to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can’t work. 29Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. 30Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted. 31-32Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.

I would like to encourage each reader today to earnestly and willingly seek the Lord with all your heart, with all your mind, body and soul.  Don’t do it because I am telling you to, do it because YOU hear God and you yearn to know Him personally.  I guarantee it will change your life forever!  So, go for it, take that leap and hang on for the ride of your life!  I have never laughed so much or experienced such JOY in my soul. 

It is well with my soul…

Many Blessings,

Donna

 

Living in Harmony

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working as a team
working as a team

working in harmony

 

 

Good Morning!

This morning I am missing my Slovak brothers and sisters.  I know that today will be an emotional day at church.  You see at FUMC Hillsville the folks there make their love known, it knows no boundaries and it is as deep as it is wide.    This was my first mission trip as well as my first time out of the USA.  So, I had many “firsts” on this trip.  My mind ran wild with thoughts and anticipation of what was to come.  I really had nothing to compare it to except what others, who had previously taken this trip, had told me.   What was shared with me and what I experienced could not have been any further apart than the sun and the moon.    I am convinced, without a doubt, that God knows what each and everyone of us needs, when, why, and how.  He puts us in situations to make us “get it.”   I “got” a lot on this trip and my perspective has been changed. 

This morning I want to take some time to tell my brothers and sisters in Slovakia how they impacted me!    I truly mean it when I say BROTHERS and SISTERS.  I am not just using that as a cliche.  I truly feel like we are ONE FAMILY.  I did share this with Pastor Gabi before leaving.   I pray that you ALL know how special and loved you made me feel while I was there.  I came with the expectations of teaching you something, how high and mighty is that thought?  God has shown me differently.  He has humbled me by taking me out of my comfort zone.   I should have been asking myself what I was going to learn on this trip!  I can guarantee you that I will the next time!  It’s not about me, it’s about GOD.   I would like to say “thank you” to my newly found family members in Slovakia for being like Jesus to me…you made me feel like the Prodigal son!  The JOY I experienced in Slovakia is like none other I have ever experienced.  I know that God is among you because I can FEEL HIM there.  I see Him in your faces, hear Him in your voices and feel Him in your embrace.  I thank our God for YOU!  I rejoice today for YOU!  Be encouraged in the name of the Lord!  Run the race with endurance…one foot in front of the other…and one day we will meet together in the glory of the heavenlies at the feet of our Father. 

  I love the MESSAGE translation of Romans 15. 

Romans 15

 1-2 Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”

 3-6That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out. “I took on the troubles of the troubled,” is the way Scripture puts it. Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it’s written for us. God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever he will do next. May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we’ll be a choir—not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus!

The Wytheville District Mission Team stepped in and said, ” how can we help?”  The Slovaks needed the cellar cleaned out.  We all did it together.  We did it with strength, sweat, grit, might and a lot of encouragement.  We were like a choir singing in harmony, led by the Master Choir Director!  GOD!  By working in harmony we accomplished much in the time we were there.  More importantly we developed lifelong friendships, even if we never see each other here on earth again, we know, without a doubt, that we will see those friends again when we reach heaven.  They truly are lifelong friends!  Our unity comes in knowing Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and knowing that He gives us eternal life when we accept Him into our hearts and lives.    As we desire to become like Him, HE becomes our lifesong.   When we came together as ONE BODY, our lives were singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to Jesus & I believe Jesus was doing a jig!

It is hard to write this morning and I am struggling with emotions, feelings and words.  I cannot put it all here.  It is too much to comprehend at once.  I know that God will reveal His hand to me in HIS time and in HIS way about this trip and the work we did.  

By His hand, we are led…

Donna

 

devotions

“We are family, I’ve got all my brothers and sisters with me!”

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Team

These people are beautiful!  They are the body of Christ coming together to do the work that was needed to be done, no matter the cost.  Both the Slovaks and Americans, working side by side, hand in hand, feet to feet.  Both with willing hearts to form one HUGE heart for GOD!  I have been so blessed to serve on this team, as an American, representing our country, our conference, our district and our church.  I thank you church family from the depths of my soul, for allowing me to represent YOU, as a part of the body of Christ.  You ALL made this possible and my life has been forever changed.  I now see JOY where I couldn’t before.  I blogged about joy the week before the trip and much to my surprise the joy was there , with the Slovaks, all the time…I was the one who needed it!  I am thier FRUIT!  Our God is so amazing! 

Ephesians 4

To Be Mature

 1-3In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.

 4-6You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.

Oneness……thank you TEAM!  Slovaks and Americans!  I love you all!  You have changed my life forever and I thank God for you!

Donna

 

God is able…

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Hi!

Here we are descending into the dungeon!  Janet is wielding her trusty camera while Josh is leading the way.

We had no idea what was in store for us!

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 This is what we found!

It needed to be cleaned up.

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So, cleanup began, one bucket at a time.  We formed a bucket brigade and began to clean up.  One bucket at a time was sent up the stairs to be dumped into a  hauloff container.  We worked together,  in unity and as the body of Christ.  Slovak, American, Slovak, American, working together to empty decades old debris from the musty cellar.  On Christ the solid rock we stood!

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 Here is the cleanup section.  You will see that all is left now is the dirt on the floor.  There wa a about a foot of it covering the entire cellar floor.  It had accumulated over the years from bad drainage.  If you look closely at the walls, you can see lime buildup on the bricks.  This also needed to be scraped off.

 

Cellar 2

Here is our fearless leader, Pastor Ty, overseeing the trash disposal.  As the trailer filled they were hauled off to the recycle center.  As Americans, we can learn much from the Slovaks about recycling.  They recycle everything!!!!!!  The recycle center was neat and orderly with containers for all sorts of things.  It wasn’t like our dump here where you just dump it in a pile and run over it with a backhoe.  Everything was sorted!  Paper, cardboard, metal, plastic, iron, wood, even weeds from the yard!  I was amazed! 

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This is Vojta.  We nicknamed him VICTOR because we had a hard time saying his name.  He is a Pastor also.  He was like our drill sargent!  A fun guy! 

 

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Here is Josh, standing on the hauloff container filled with dirt.  The other one is filled with bricks.  You can see the buckets we used to get this job done.  We estimated that we moved approximately 8 tons of dirt…ONE BUCKET AT A TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It was an amazing feat and we all enjoyed the hard work and unity as a team.  It was fun and exhausting.  As we moved the buckets up the stairs, Josh would lead us in music…some serious, but most of it was funny!  Josh worked hard to encourage us and to keep those buckets going up those stairs.  He made up a song called the “Bucket Boogie.”  ( the Slovaks pronounce it BOOKuT)  So we nicknamed Josh the Bookut Boogie Boy!  It is a memory that we will all carry with us forever.  Thanks for your undying humor, encouragement, musical talents and beautiful singing voice Josh!  I have been blessed by your commitment to Christ on this trip!

In Christ,

Donna

Beauty in the broken…

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Hi!

I am up early this morning, trying to recover from jetlag.  I went to bed at 7 pm last night and was up at 3 am.  So I guess I am getting a little closer to my 10 pm bedtime and 6 am awakening.  I was exhausted last night!  My body ached and I just needed to sleep, so I did.    This morning I have much on my mind and heart, as usual.  I want to share the work that we did with you in pictures and words, along with some scripture and thoughts of Apostle Paul.  I pray that I can pull it all together as my heart cries out to God for guidance. 

This trip has been the experience of a lifetime, physically, mentally and spiritually.  God was with me the entire time, even when I didn’t know it.  This is becoming evident to me now that I am back at home.  God IS in it all, even the little things.  It is often the little things that we disregard or overlook as “coincidences.”  I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe that God directs each step and we must take that direction with  trust, and a willing heart.  When we do that, He can then do a beautiful work in us!   God is doing a beautiful work in me, one that I cannot put into words.  I have never felt this much joy all at once.  I am seeing things through new  eyes, eyes that see GOD.  I have been able to overcome being angry, being upset, being emotional, homesickness, fear, lack of confidence, and a myriad of other things.  I have been able to do that by the strength of God and by keeping my focus on Him.  God has graciously enabled me to see the world through his eyes, to see the hurt, feel the pain, and to be compassionate when there is no compassion.  My heart’s desire is to do God’s will and I see God fulfilling that desire by putting me in situations to see how I will react.  It hasn’t been easy and I have had to step back several times to reevaluate things, but once I did that, I could feel the emotions melting away and they were replaced with the grace of God.  This morning I am thanking  my Lord for his mercy and grace in every moment of my life.  I don’t deserve it and He sees what I can’t.  Thank you Lord.

As we worked in the cellar in Slovakia I was reminded of Apostle Paul in his prison cell.  This picture is from inside the cellar looking up the stairs.  The MESSAGE says it best for me and I cannot add anything to it.  It speaks the truth and what I feel in my heart at this time.  I have emphasized key scriptures in red.  Think on these things today.

 

Cellar

 Ephesians 3

The Secret Plan of God

 1-3This is why I, Paul, am in jail for Christ, having taken up the cause of you outsiders, so-called. I take it that you’re familiar with the part I was given in God’s plan for including everybody. I got the inside story on this from God himself, as I just wrote you in brief.

 4-6As you read over what I have written to you, you’ll be able to see for yourselves into the mystery of Christ. None of our ancestors understood this. Only in our time has it been made clear by God’s Spirit through his holy apostles and prophets of this new order. The mystery is that people who have never heard of God and those who have heard of him all their lives (what I’ve been calling outsiders and insiders) stand on the same ground before God. They get the same offer, same help, same promises in Christ Jesus. The Message is accessible and welcoming to everyone, across the board.

 7-8This is my life work: ( ask yourself: what is yours?) helping people understand and respond to this Message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise, God handling all the details. When it came to presenting the Message to people who had no background in God’s way, I was the least qualified of any of the available Christians. God saw to it that I was equipped, but you can be sure that it had nothing to do with my natural abilities.

 8-10And so here I am, preaching and writing about things that are way over my head, the inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ. My task is to bring out in the open and make plain what God, who created all this in the first place, has been doing in secret and behind the scenes all along. Through followers of Jesus like yourselves gathered in churches, this extraordinary plan of God is becoming known and talked about even among the angels!

 11-13All this is proceeding along lines planned all along by God and then executed in Christ Jesus. When we trust in him, we’re free to say whatever needs to be said, bold to go wherever we need to go. So don’t let my present trouble on your behalf get you down. Be proud!

 14-19My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strengththat Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.

 20-21God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

   Glory to God in the church!
   Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
   Glory down all the generations!
   Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!

cellar window

As I think about Paul being in jail and look at this picture of the cellar window, I am reminded that we, like Paul, are to be the LIGHT to a dark world.

May you shine bright for Christ today!

I thank God for YOU!

Donna

 

St Martin’s Cathedral

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   Hi!   Everyday after breakfast we would leave the hostel and walk several blocks to the church and mission center.  Most of the days were dreary and cold and we walked in anticipation of what God would have us do this day.  The only store we passed on the way was a book store.  All the books were in another language, everything but English!  I felt very lowly and inadequate being in a store where I couldn’t read!  I love to read!  I did find a beautiful book on Michelangelo that I wanted to buy.  ha!  It was 212 euros!  Which is around $300!  I love Michelangleo and one of my dreams is to visit the Sistine Chapel while I am still alive and well! michelangelo

OK, so I just looked the book up on AMAZON and it is $126 here.  Things are really expensive there!  Especially books and paper items.  So, I feel better that I can read this and it is within my reach. haha.  I’ll try not to covet it too much. 

 Most of you know that I love art and love to draw and share and have many things flowing in and out of my head all the time.  Well, before we left on this trip I was studying Martin Luther and the Reformation period.  Martin Luther did not favor art being used in the church.  Now I know why.  We visited St. Martin’s Cathedral.  In the USA we have nothing to compare St. Martin’s Cathedral to and the enormity of this building is overpowering and overwhelming.  Just standing beside it makes one feel like an ant.  Well, I love the way God works things out and puts people in our path at just the right time.  That night we also had dinner at the Bratislava United Methodist Church.  I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Lenka’s father, who is a Professor at the University in Slovakia.  He used to be theUMC DS of Slovakia and now he teaches theology and religion.  He has even preached at St. Martin’s Cathedral!  Imagine that, me getting to talk to him one on one!  I enjoyed that time so much that I told him I would love to take one of his classes.  I am so hungry for this type of knowledge that I cannot get enough.  ( is this a hint from God that I am to go to school?)   He explained to me that the cathedral was built that large to show how man is to be small before God.  He also said that the shape of the building was in praying hands.  And you know what? It is!  Ok, so it may be evident to everyone else and sometimes it takes me awhile to get it, but when I get it, I get it big.  This one little piece of information gave me a new outlook on Cathedrals, art, etc.. 

When I was inside the Cathedral I was amazed at the amount of adornment that was in it.  I mean it is all over the place. Statues, gold, carvings, monuments, more gold, jewels, paintings, ironwork, stained glass, etc..  It is dripping with it.  Seeing it has changed my perspective a bit and it has helped me understand where Martin Luther was ” coming from.”    It was the most breathtaking thing I saw on this trip.  I could have sat there for hours, soaking up the history, the art, the sermons of the past.  It is unexplainable.  In this picture you can get an idea of the size of it by looking at the background of the city of Bratislava behind it.

St Martins

It towers over the city. St Martins 2

 I am fascinated by it and am very blessed to have this amazing experience with all of these team members!

Our time here was short and we all loved seeing it. 

I thank our God for being a HUGE God and for showing me that He really IS in control of everything!

Standing in His grace,

Donna