Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Anxiety and the Gospel.



For the majority of my life I have been an anxious and fearful person. It is something that I have always masked with an outgoing personality. I do really like other people, and I love conversations. Especially with people I meet out and around wherever I go. However, I am constantly fighting with my thoughts of letting other people down. I have great fears of saying the wrong things, making a mistake in the things I do, and somehow offending them. It was such a fear in my life that I had began to become an expert at reading body language; just in case I might see something in conversation and take a different turn when it made people uncomfortable. When I was 22 I was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder. It was something that I actually struggled with for the majority of my life without knowing there was anything really strange. In short, my life was surrounded tremendous fears that ordinary people wouldn’t see much as threatening.  I was constantly on edge, trying to do everything right, not let anyone down, and had a very poor view of myself.
               All of that being said, I have faced many challenges when preaching the gospel. I have been threatened, and insulted. I have felt too ashamed and unworthy. I have also felt the weight of the general Christian community at times having a negative view of personal evangelism. It is a strange and wonderful thing to see God work in spite of all of that. It is an awesome gift to see God use me and speak through me in spite of my insecurities. When I felt guilty, at times God would send a friend to remind me that Jesus died for all of my sins (Hebrews 7:27). That my guilt was gone, and I just felt guilty. When I was insulted God would remind my heart, that He was insulted as well, and that these people where didn’t know Jesus. They are people like the people in Nineveh they don’t know there right hand from there left (Jonah 4:11). The one that was the hardest was losing the approval of other Christians. I think that was the hardest obstacle of fear to grow through. The fear that I was doing something wrong because I would lose the favor of people that I respect. It is the greatest lesson out of the whole. It is Gods’ favor that counts (Duet 6:5).
               Not everyone is called to be a street preacher. Everyone is called to make disciples. We dare not keep the most important thing to the existence of life a secret (1 Corinthians 9:16); but I know not everyone is good at conversation on the fly with complete strangers. God gives us all different gifts, but it takes boldness to apply all of them. Everyone deals with fears and insecurities. Everyone has obstacles and learning curves. We see in scripture that God confronts our fears with the truth in a very gentle manner (1 Kings 19:12, Mathew 6:30, Mathew 8:26, 2 Corinthians 12:9).  It takes time to grow and often times it is completely awkward and uncomfortable (James 1:3). I have found that I have had to replace drawing boards out of over use. That really is the only way to grow. Otherwise our following of Jesus never leaves the theoretical realm. The merely theoretical realm is the realm of comfort. It is more concerned about the instructions than following them. It’s never met by frustration of failure, but also can never rejoice in the harvest of successes. “for the blessings he shows, and the joy he bestows are for those, who will trust and obey. ”
               I am thankful for insight into my fears. I am thankful that I have been able to grow through so many of them. I have many more to go, but I think that is the great joy of life. Leaning you can trust God. You can depend on Him, because He really does have the words of life. We need to meet His promises with boldness.  Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  I have found a hard life at times by overcoming my fear and obeying God. I will tell you though, it is a better life. It is one that I can smile at, and one that I see His hand actively work in. Through shadowy valleys and green pastures, we can trust God. He is LORD of all.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Mexico Though My Eyes

By: Rachael Bonato

These are pictures I drew inspired by my trip to La Mision Mexico to stay with the Martins.  Not all of the pictures are finished and some are just sketches.  Rachel made me give them to her anyways. I had an awesome time in Mexico, I can't wait to come back!  Enjoy!



Women at Monday Market

The Arch

Still Life

View From The Patio

Rachel and Archie
Archie in a Sombrero

Girl at Orphanage

Toddler at the Orphanage

Me at Taking a Break
Dan Playing Guitar

Girl Painting

Pretty Hair

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Sin

By: Benjamin Richards

When you sin and do not repent, you will feel sore. At first it will hardly seem to affect your life. But as time goes by, the soreness will grow. It will become a festering wound in your soul. There are many reasons why someone will not repent of a particular sin. They may believe that it is not a sin. Or perhaps they feel that if they are truthful to God which will only worsen their predicament. However, the person in question will discover that, the longer they attempt to ignore the need to confess, the worse their life will seem.

In the book of psalms David explains the feeling of hiding your sin and ignoring talking to God as, “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long” Psalm 32:3. It is very easy for one to convince themselves that keeping it hidden will make everything better. But if you come before God and say lord, I have sinned against you, please forgive me for disobeying you; he will forgive you, and give you peace. God says so in Psalms 32:10 “Many sorrows unto the wicked: but he who trusts in the lord, mercy shall encompass about him. Repentance is part of trusting the lord. You cannot say that you trust anyone who you lie to and try to hide things that they should see. You cannot trust your parents if you are not honest and open with them. Sin in general, regardless of how much you repent, will take a toll on your life; particularly if you repeat the sin over and over.

In Psalms 38:1-6 and 38:8-10, David is telling of the pure cost of committing sin, and the effects that follow as, “O lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness. I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long” 38:1-6. In these verses it is clear that David is pleading with God for mercy. He is begging for understanding, and tells of how his sin is far too much for him to deal with, and how his own foolery has led to his pain. His mind is clearly disturbed by his failing God, and he mourns all day. “I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee. My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me” 38:8-10.


Verse 8 again shows David’s pain toward his separation from God. Verse 9 shows his willingness to admit that he sinned and wants to be with God once more. He says that all his desire is before God. For not repenting and continuing in sin, his heart pants and his strength fails him. When he is with God and follows him with all his ability, then God blesses his life. But when he departs the lord, he loses God’s favor.  It does not mean that anything that does not go well is caused by sin. Jesus covers this when talking about the blind man in John. You shouldn’t apply this logic to everything in your life, but for some people, this is the way it works. There are many types of sin, and many different circumstances. But if you repent for the sins that you know of, and let God take control of your life, you will have a much better life.